HC Deb 15 May 1863 vol 170 cc1773-4

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether her Majesty's Government are aware of certain outrages that have recently been committed by Russian Troops on the Circassian Tribes of the Eastern Shores of the Black Sea, with which were combined an insult to Her Majesty; and whether Her Majesty's Government are prepared to support those clauses of the Treaty of Paris which provide for the free navigation of the Black Sea in the cases of certain vessels which are about to trade with Circassia? It was reported that some troops of the Czar, availing themselves of the absence of the guards of certain outposts on the Circassian territory, had fallen on defenceless persons, and killed a number of them, including old women and children.


We have no report, Sir, of the occurrence to which my noble Friend alludes. At the same time, there have been so many acts of the same kind committed by Russian troops in different parts of world that I do not at all dispute the accuracy of the information to which the noble Lord refers. As to the navigation of the Black Sea, the Treaty of Paris was very clear on the subject. With regard to the coast of Circassia, my noble Friend is aware that for a considerable time there have been some very undecided questions connected with it, because the Russians contend that by the Treaty of Adrianople Turkey gave them possession of the whole coast of Circassia. I believe that Turkey did not possess the whole of that coast; and she could not have given that which she did not legally possess. I am not, however, aware that there is now pending any particular controversy by which that question is raised; and as regards the provisions of the Treaty of Paris, for securing that the trade of the Black Sea shall be open to all nations, I do not think there is any doubt with respect to those provisions.