HC Deb 29 May 1863 vol 171 cc6-148

said, that he regretted extremely that upon a recent occasion, when a discussion on Greece was brought forward by his hon. Friend (Mr. Baillie Cochrane), the matter in issue should have been extended, and that they should have found themselves engaged in a partial and premature debate on the condition of Turkey and her dependencies. As he was the chief culprit, he apologized for having led the House into that partial discussion. If, however, he was premature in bringing forward the subject, he had long felt that that question, at the shadow of which diplomatists were said to tremble, ought not to be shirked, and that it ought to be discussed by Parliament whether the policy of the past should be the criterion and standard of British policy for the future. He could not believe that even the most ardent advocates of the maintenance of the Ottoman Empire were prepared to argue that question upon abstract principles. It was a matter of expediency. Of two evils it was better to choose the least. It was thought wiser to prop up a dynasty rotten to its heart's core with corruption and misrule, a blight and a curse over every district and family of men upon which its shadow falls, rather than face a general convulsion, a European war, and the possible aggrandisement of Russia. He was not prepared to find fault with the policy of the past. It was impossible to over-estimate the result of a premature rush upon the assets of the "sick man," and he was bound to say that each successive statesman had done his best by expostulations and entreaties to remedy the barbarous nature of Turkish government. If those expostulations and entreaties had borne any fruit, that would have been the vindication of the past and the justification for the continuance of the same policy. But if, as he would show presently, entreaties, remonstrances, and warnings had not only been set aside, but deliberately disregarded, if the present state of Europe were totally different from what it was when that policy was expedient, then he would ask if the expressions which flowed so glibly from the lips of Gentlemen on the Treasury bench in favour of independence, self-government, and security were mere sound without significance or meaning, or whether those expressions were local and sectional in their application, referable to the rest of Europe, but totally inapplicable to people whose lot was cast to the east of the Adriatic. The fear of Russia had been the mainspring of our policy in the East. He was not disposed to say that the apprehension was exaggerated. He was not prepared to say that the old aggressive spirit of Russia had died out, or that its old diplomatic cunning had been forgotten. The intrigues of Russia in Greece, Circassia, and the Danubian Principalities showed that she was still intent on the policy of the past; but Russia in 1863 was very different from Russia in 1853. The Crimean war had used up all the material elements of Russian strength. No one, save a person who was in the East at the time, could form an idea of the profound impression which was created by the fall of Sebastopol. The day before the news arrived the general impression throughout the East was that the power of Russia was irresistible. The day afterwards the impression was as general that the prestige and reputation of Russia had crumbled into dust. There was also the just disaffection of Poland, eating into the heart of Russian strength; there was the struggle of new and old ideas surging like two conflicting tides throughout the length and breadth of that enormous empire; and there had arisen constitutional Italy close to the menaced possessions of the Porte. If, then, the prestige and power of Russia were thus abated, what was it which gave strength to Russian intrigues? He contended that it was the attitude of England; and that if we changed our policy, the weapons of Russian aggression would fall harmlessly to the ground. If the nationalities in the East saw that England was not indifferent to their wishes, and that she was anxious to see them emerge from the prostration of centuries, caused by Turkish barbarism and misrule, he believed they would hear very little more of Russian intrigues. The impression was, that the affinities in race and religion between Russia and two-thirds of the inhabitants of European Turkey made Russia irresistible, and must draw those people under the influence of the Czar. There never was a greater mistake. If they asked a Servian whether he wished to become a subject of Russia, he would tell them, emphatically and with truth, that he preferred his own independence and his own liberty to being at the beck of a Russian Governor, and to seeing himself or his friends hurried to Siberia simply because he or they chose to express their sentiments with freedom. But, if Servia had been disposed to join Russia, which she was not, Servia was not to be blamed; because, when the Servian emissaries at the Congress of Vienna appeared to remonstrate against the barbarities endured at the hands of Turkey, they were laughed at by the assembled diplomatists, and told to carry their complaints to Russia. In Greece there was an affinity of religion; but when Greece shook off her Bavarian ruler the other day, it was not to Russia that she turned. She paused to see how the news was received in England; and when she found the revolution favourably received, her thoughts were not turned to St. Petersburg, but to London. She determined to act by our advice, and abiding by our counsel, she had behaved with singular moderation and prudence amid great perplexities and disappointment. He was at a loss to find any ground upon which to justify the continuance of a policy which was not only illogical and inconsistent, but at the present moment actually inexpedient. It was illogical and inconsistent, because, in the case of these Turkish nationalities, England acted in a manner diametrically different from the manner in which she acted in Italy and elsewhere. She hailed with approval the rise of every country into the family of nations. She had been the true and stanch friend of Italy, and had supported her in all her difficulties. When Italy shook off her native princes, she did not appeal in their favour to the stipulations in the Treaty of Vienna. But when France wished to redress any great grievance or wrong, and to ameliorate the condition of these dependencies of the Porte, in order that when hereafter the break-up occurred, which every one expected, something established might be found; then England intrenched herself behind the stipulations of the Treaty of Paris in favour of Turkey, although it was notorious that Turkey had deliberately violated, and was violating, every one of those stipulations; and thus by acquiescing in these violations England became a conniver and participator in these Turkish iniquities. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer were present, he should ask him whether the course which we were pursuing was consistent or just, and he would remind the right hon. Gentleman of his memorable speech, delivered on the 4th of May 1858, upon the union of the Turkish Principalities. The right hon. Gentleman, speaking on the English policy of keeping the dependencies of the Porte weak, disunited, and oppressed, made use of these memorable words— It will be a dangerous and slippery course on which to embark when we refuse that which is suited to four or five millions of men, and when we say that God Almighty sent them into the world, not to pursue their own happiness and welfare by such unreasonable means as are in their power, but to be made the victims of those public and private interests, which are subserved by other views, extraneous to their interests, but which an overpowering force has determined to carry into effect.… Surely the best resistance to be offered to Russia is by the strength and freedom of those countries that will have to resist her. You want to place a living barrier between her and Turkey. There is no barrier, then, like the breasts of freeman.…. If you want to oppose an obstacle to Russia, arm those people with freedom, and with the vigour and prosperity that freedom brings, but after the pledges that have been given and the wishes that have been excited and stimulated, do not keep them in this miserable state of weakness and disunion. Do not palter with them. After the pledges which have been given, do not withhold that which alone can satisfy their desires and vindicate your lame, but give them that which, if you will give them, will raise up in that quarter friends for you and antagonists to the ambition of Russia more powerful than any you can buy for money."—[3 Hansard, cl. 59.] Those were the expressions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he claimed them for himself on the present occasion. He would ask the House to apply them to Bosnia, Bulgaria, the Herzegovine, the Greek Islands, and above all to Servia. All he desired was this, that when the sick man died, as he in all likelihood would ere long, like one of his own pariah dogs, unhonoured and unlamented, there should be found some free, self-governing communities towards which the remains of the shattered Turkish empire might gravitate, without convulsion and without disturbance. There was hardly, he might add, a post which arrived from the East which did not bring accounts of anticipated massacres and insurrections in every quarter. Those shocks might be at present comparatively slight, but they were pre-monitory of something far graver. Now, what he wanted was, that precautions should be taken to render that break-up, which must assuredly come, as innocuous as possible. Premonitory symptoms, such as those to which he referred, had been long remarked in Italy. Precisely the same signs appeared there as were now being exhibited in the East. He was reading the other day a despatch from M. Chateaubriand, which contained some passages most apposite to his argument. M. Chateaubriand, in writing a despatch on Italian affairs in the year 1829, made use of the following expressions:— The world takes for conspiracies what is only general uneasiness, the result of the times, the struggles of old society with the new, the combat of the decrepitude of the old institutions against the energy of young generations, and lastly, the comparison which every one makes between what is and what may be. Those words were a commentary on what was then taking place, and a prediction as to events which had since come to pass, and which we ourselves had fostered and encouraged. Now, he trusted that we should not be found fighting on the side of old and decrepid institutions against the wants and aspiration of a new generation, and that we should not be the only nation in Christendom, with the exception of Austria, in favour of the Mohammedan barbarism which is instead of the Christian civilization which might be. He could not, he might add, help thinking, that if the Chancellor of the Exchequer were free from the trammels of office, he would be found rising in his place to support the view which he advocated.

He did not wish to enter into a description of the present state of Servia. It was sufficient to say that her people were happy and contented with their Government, and that she had gained much by escaping from the grasp of Turkey. If hon. Gentlemen would read—which they probably would never do, for the book was a dull one—Ranke's History of Servia, they would find that under the Porte that country was a scene of insurrection, massacre, and bloodshed; that her population was brutalized, and that there was no security for either life or property. She was, in short, in the same position as the Sclavonic dependencies of the Porte by which she was now surrounded. But if any one wished to see the reverse of that picture, he would be able to do so by referring to a work which had been written by an English clergyman who had visited Servia this year, the Rev. Mr. Denton. He would find, from that account, that her people had become happy and contented; that improvements were steadily going on; that roads were constructed in all directions, and that all the progress which she had thus made had followed her escape from Turkish rule. The clergy in Servia were respected. She had a popular Assembly, elected by universal suffrage, and that Assembly had used its power with judgment and moderation. With such an example before their eyes, one would have supposed that Her Majesty's Government would have endeavoured, as far as lay in their power, to promote the security and advancement of Servia, and to bring the Sclave dependencies of the Porte into a similar position. When, however, an insurrection had, a year or two ago, broken out in the Herzegovine, provoked by the intolerable tyranny of the Turkish Government, we took a course exactly the reverse of that which we pursued in the case of Italy. He had been told by a person of undoubted authority, that the Italian sympathizers had been led to understand that they might conduct their operations as they pleased in Sicily and Naples; but that if they attempted to cross the Adriatic, they would find an English vessel to meet them. His hon. Friend the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs had, moreover, procured money for the Porte, to enable it to preserve its solvency and march its army into the revolted districts. He would, no doubt, say that those oppressed subjects of the Porte were miserable rebels, unworthy of English consideration and regard, while he was among the most strenuous supporters of the divine right of insurrection upon the other side of the Adriatic. But to go back to the case of Servia, he maintained that she furnished a notable example of what might be the advantageous results of an escape from Turkish rule. We, however, instead of taking advantage of the circumstances which had arisen to increase the stability of that country, rewarded, instead of punishing, last year, when a most unprovoked and barbarous outrage was committed upon her, the persons by whom it was perpetrated. Instead of cutting away, those sources of discontent which existed in Servia—a course which the French Government begged of us to take—we had made them permanent—we strengthened and enlarged the Turkish fortresses. When, he might observe, the Turks first conquered Servia, a number of invaders entered with them, and remained and occupied the country; and when she recovered her independence, those Turks still continued to occupy several towns and forts. In the year 1830—an important date—on the peace of Adrianople, and in accordance with the stipulations of the Treaty of Akerman, the Sultan Mahmoud issued a Hatti Sherif granting to the Servians certain rights. That Hatti Sherif he might call the Magna Charta of Servia. By it the Porte stipulated that all the Turks holding property in Servia should quit the country within a period of twelve months, and that the authority of the Porte should not interfere with the internal administration of the affairs of the country; the main point being, that the article of the Convention should be in accordance with the understanding of the Servian people. In 1833 the Porte issued another Hatti Sherif, taking away from the Servians all that had previously been granted, and giving to the Turks permission to remain in the country. This was a purely and entirely illegal act. It was not executed with the co-operation of the Servian deputies, and never received the sanction of the Servians. The Russian Government never appealed to the second Hatt, because it was notorious at Constantinople and elsewhere that it was Russia, for whose fancy things were going on too well in Servia, who instigated the Porte to withdraw from the Servians the concessions which had been granted only three years before. But throughout the papers, Mr. Longworth, Earl Russell, or Sir H. Bulwer never referred to the Hatti Sherif of 1830, but only to the illegal one of 1833.

He would not enter into the disputes and discussions which were continually going on between the Servians and the Turks. Let it suffice to say, that the main point in dispute latterly was the occupation by the Turks of four gates in the interior of the town. These gates had as little to do with the fortifications of Belgrade as had the Temple or Holborn Bars to do with that of London. There was no doubt that the Turks had a right to garrison them; but their presence thus in the interior of the town led to constant disputes: it was as if there had been a garrison of cats in the midst of a community of dogs. The Servian Government saw the evil and the danger of this state of things, and in February 1861 M. Garaschanin, the President of the Ministers, went to Constantinople to endeavour to come to terms with the Porte upon the subject. All he asked was that the Turks should remove their garrisons from the gates, the Servians, in return, being willing not to press for the removal of the Turks from the country, on condition that they should render obedience to the law. M. Garaschanin remained at Constantinople from February till October, fed on promises, in accordance with that procrastinating policy of the Turks, which was pursued not only from their indolence, but from its eminent success; so much so that there was an Arab proverb, that a Turk on a broken-winded donkey would tire a gazelle to death. He then returned to Belgrade, having warned the Porte that an outbreak must occur, and that it would be impossible to preserve the peace. Sir Henry Bulwer himself, in one of his despatches, referred to the apathy and procrastination of the Turks, and to the impossibility of inducing them to come to any decision upon this subject. For some time previous to the 15th of June, there had been constant disputes and contests between the Turks and the Servians, in which persons had been killed on both sides. On that day a Servian boy went to a well near one of the Turkish guardhouses. He was driven off by two Turkish soldiers, and so severely beaten that he died the same day. The Servian gendarmes arrested the two soldiers, and were taking them to the Turkish guardhouse, when the Turks rushed out, fired upon the Servians, and killed two of them. The Servians immediately rushed to arms and attacked the Turkish guardhouses. Two of them were taken by storm, and the attack upon the third, in which were the two original offenders, was continued all night, during which time, no doubt, great outrages were committed. The statement of Mr. Longworth, that after the fight was over a cartload of dead Turkish women was taken to the citadel, was entirely contrary to the truth. It had been proved upon oath that during the night five women were killed, of whom three were Servian, and two Turkish. At length a truce was made, and a convention was signed by the Pasha, the foreign Consuls, and the President of the Council, providing that the Turks should be taken out of the guard-house, and delivered to the Pasha in the citadel. These terms were religiously fulfilled, and everything was believed to be settled. On the following morning, however, at half past eight o'clock, the President of the Council received a message from the Pasha desiring his presence, and that of the Consuls in the citadel. The Consuls were on their way to the citadel, when all at once there commenced the barbarous bombardment of an unoffending town, which lasted for five hours. Fortunately no great destruction of life was occasioned, because the Turks were very bad marksmen, and their shells did not explode. The shells were, however, scattered about the town, and there they might be seen to this day. At last the Austrian Consul got into the citadel, and with much difficulty put an end to the bombardment. In order to prevent its repetition, the French Consul General pitched his tent on the glacis of the fortress, while Mr. Longworth pitched his in front of the Servian barricades. In the middle of the night the French Consul heard the Turks called to arms. He rushed into the citadel, and found that the Pasha was about to renew the bombardment, because lights were moving about—these lights being actually on the Austrian side of the water—and it was only when threatened with the displeasure of the Emperor Napoleon that he abandoned his intention. Mr. Longworth's account differed from this, but Mr. Longworth was a man who was Turkish in heart and soul, and who believed that the Turks were a long-suffering and benevolent class of people horribly oppressed by overbearing and tyrannical Christians. The statement which he had now made to the House would be found in the book of Mr. Denton, who stated that he derived his information from a foreign gentleman who was unconnected either with the Servian Government or the Turkish authorities, and whose impartiality was to all who knew him a guarantee of the fidelity of his narrative. He would mention the name of this gentleman to any hon. Member in confidence, but he would not state it publicly lest its publication should injure him. The report received from M. Tastu, the French Consul General, corroborated this statement as to the origin of the quarrel. In writing to M. Thouvenel on the 21st of June 1862, he said— I cannot paint to your Excellency the stupefaction and indignation of this city (Belgrade), when the bombardment commenced without any warning, after a day spent in executing religiously the convention concluded under the auspices of the consular body—that is, that with every possible courtesy the Mussulmans should be conducted to the fortress, although at the time the citadel and even certain Turkish houses never ceased firing shots at the town. M. Tastu went on to say that the shops had been opened, and that every armed Servian had gone in procession to the burial of two Servian officers killed the preceding evening, when "in the open day, when the light penetrated everything, and when there could be no excuse from the troubles and events of the past night, the Pasha ordered an act to be committed which even the most cruel and menacing aggression could not have justified." The Prussian Consul backed up the statement of M. Tastu, and asserted that every pretext for bombardment was wanting. The account derived from the Italian Consulate in Belgrade entirely justified the Servians and condemned the outrage on the part of the Turks. It was a curious circumstance, in connection with these papers, that in the series of documents whitewashing the Turks, making excuses for what they did, and endeavouring to create false impressions in this country as to their abominable violence, Mr. Longworth had not dared to insert the document forming the cardinal point and pivot on which the merits of the whole transaction rested. The paper he referred to was the protest signed by the whole of the Consuls against this barbarous outrage on the part of the Turks. Mr. Longworth did not include that in the series, because he knew that it would be inconsistent with all the others, and that it would prove a signal refutation of everything else that he had written. He forgot how long his hon. Friend (Mr. Layard) had been endeavouring in that House to obtain the production of the protest, which, it appears, Mr. Longworth was very unwilling to give, and naturally was unwilling to give that which was alone the direct contradictions to his statements. The House would perceive from its terms that this reluctance was very natural— The Pasha Governor of Belgrade, having given orders for the bombardment of the town, without any previous notice, and having, it is true, convoked the consular body, but without having ever heard them, and when every one had the right to rely upon the convention passed with the Servian Government in the presence of all the members of the consular body, the undersigned leave upon him the responsibility of an Act so contrary to the principles of the rights of nations, and, having protested in the most formal manner, they can henceforth do no more than wait in the bombarded town the fate which may befall their countrymen until the orders of their Government may reach them.—Signed by Longworth, Tastu, Meroni, and Vlangely. He was perfectly convinced that the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs had never seen that document, and did not know of its existence, when he wrote his memorable answer to the expostulations of the Prince of Servia, who represented that it would be impossible to govern the country if such outrages were to be permitted. The noble Lord said— It appears that an attack was made by the Servians on the gates of the town, occupied by the Turks in virtue of ancient usage and recent treaties, especially the Treaty of Paris of 1856. Two of these gates having been carried by assault, the Consuls persuaded the Turks to evacuate the remaining two—in all, four gates. But no sooner had the Turkish residents left their houses than those houses were plundered by a disorderly mob. For this pillage and disorder no redress was offered by the Servian authorities, and the next morning muskets were fired at the garrison in the citadel. Had Earl Russell read Mr. Longworth's despatches, he would have seen that compensation was distinctly offered for any property destroyed, and would not have committed himself to a statement directly the reverse of fact. He would have seen also that the muskets were fired, not by the Servians, but upon the Servians, from the fortress and from Turkish houses. Earl Russell proceeded to apologize for the bombardment— So far as Her Majesty's Government are informed, these lamentable events had their origin in the violation by the Servians of the relations established by treaties between the Sublime Porte and Servia. And he went on to give a scolding to the Prince of Servia— So long as ill-intentioned persons are allowed to draw your Highness into measures of defiance and of violence, in open violation and contempt of solemn treaties, it is impossible that Her Majesty's Government can ask the Sultan to give to his enemies means for assailing the security of his empire. The noble Lord had been the victim of lengthened correspondence with Mr. Seward, and must be aware how much mischief a correspondence of scolding and menace did, not only to the person who indited such letters, but to the country by which despatches written in that spirit were permitted. The noble Lord was infinitely more to blame than Mr. Seward, for the noble Lord knew well what he was about, whereas Mr. Seward walked according to the light which was in him, and about him, knowing no better. The Earl of Clarendon, when at the head of Foreign Affairs, did not write letters of scolding and menace to every foreign Power with which he entered into correspondence, and yet he was not aware that the interests of England had suffered in consequence of any want of spirit in his style of correspondence. The Servians having been bombarded within an inch of their lives, diplomacy stepped in. M. Thouvenel wrote a letter to the French diplomatic agents on the 21st of July 1862, in which he said— While the right of garrisoning these fortresses incontestably belongs to the Porte, I do not hesitate to believe that the Porte would act wisely in acceding to the demands of Servia. Turkey, in evacuating these provinces, would find itself placed in the same position it occupied towards Moldo-Wallachia and Egypt. The Ottoman Government does not possess in these provinces any right of garrison, and its suzerainty suffers nothing in the absence of fortified spots, which would in truth be, as in the case of Servia, merely occasions for conflict. The personal experience which I have of the disposition of the Servians induces me to believe that they would be little disposed to abuse these concessions. Their discontent can alone induce them to favour those troubles which may arise in other Turkish provinces. On the contrary, if their wishes were satisfied, they would have less inclination than ever to second those of neighbouring populations. I see no better means for the Porte to take away from these agitations the only chance they have of creating real danger than by deferring to Servian demands. M. Thouvenel's counsels were perfectly right; but they did not prevail, for England said these fortresses should remain, and Austria coincided in that opinion. What was the result? Three hundred houses were to be levelled at Belgrade, in order to increase the rayon of the fortress. It might have suited Austrian policy some time ago that the Sclave populations should be depressed, but he did not think such a course was in accordance with the present interests and new policy of the Austrian empire. An opinion had been expressed upon this subject by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the debate on the Danubian Principalities, which took place in May 1858. He said— It is natural that Austria should view with the utmost jealousy anything that tends to give freedom, vitality, and strength to her neighbours on the Danube. It is impossible to blame her on that account, but it is probable, it is natural, it is reasonable and right, that we at least should beware of being drawn into her policy.… I must really say, that if it were our desire to embroil the East, to sow the seeds, and create the elements of permanent difficulty and disunion, to aggravate every danger which threatens Turkey, to pave the way for Russia, and to prepare will- ing auxiliaries for Russia in her projects southwards, we could not obtain that object by any scheme better than of abandoning our pledges and promises, and giving in to the Austrian policy."—[3, Hansard, cl. 65.] A practical commentary upon what had occurred was furnished in the letter of The Times correspondent, who said, in writing from Belgrade during the present year— Since the last bombardment many mercantile houses have crossed from Belgrade to Semlin. With the present reinforcement of the Turkish garrison no now firms will come in. They will prefer to settle in Semlin—a result advantageous to Austria, but certainly not to the Sultan, nor to free-trading England. A few figures would show clearly the lamentable effects of the bombardment. During six months of 1860 and a similar period of 1861 the imports into Belgrade amounted to 30,000,000 and 31,500,000 of Turkish piastres. For the corresponding six months in 1862, following the bombardment, they had fallen to 16,000,000, being a decrease of trade amounting to exactly one-half. This is indeed a melancholy achievement on the part of England. Austria may rejoice in the depression of a neighbouring people, whose advancement to power she dreads. Russia may rejoice at the prospect of Servia being drawn into the circle of conspiracy and revolt. But what can England rejoice at? Is it in losing a great opportunity of acquiring the confidence of the Sclavonic inhabitants of Turkey? Is it in being utterly untrue to all those antecedents which she most delights to glorify—sympathy with the oppressed and aversion to oppressors? The noble Lord at the head of the Government made a speech not long ago at Edinburgh which he had read with great pleasure. Drawing his inspiration, like the old Greek orators, from the natural scenery round him, he compared England to the rock of Dumbarton; how she was the citadel of freedom; how she had held out her hand to Greece, to Italy, to Belgium, to Portugal, and to Spain, and was willing to assist all other nations exerting themselves to obtain the blessing of free and Parliamentary institutions he supposed, that if the noble Lord had been reminded of Servia, he would have replied that every rule had its exception, and that Servia was his exception. But would the House of Commons, with the words of the Chancellor of the Exchequer still hot and ringing in their ears, admit such an exception? He (Mr. Gregory) had said some time ago that Turkey was sick unto death, and that it was time to put her house in order and look out for a successor. He would not say that she might not linger on a little longer under the stimulants of English doctorings and of English capital, if we were fools enough, on the recommendation of his hon. Friend (Mr. Layard), to pour the hard earnings of the nation into this Serbonian bog of extravagance and misappropriation. But he denied that anything could revive that which was rotton to the core. No man, even if endowed with superhuman vigour, could infuse new life into that which was paralysed by vice, or struggle against the notorious administrative incapacity which characterized that Power. If an angel came down from heaven, he could not do it; he would return to the place from whence he came weeping such tears as angels are said to weep; and from all we hear, the present Sultan has uncommonly few of the attributes of an angel. The proofs of this assertion would be found not in blue-books or pamphlets got up to mislead public opinion, but in our own Consular Reports and in the despatches of the Foreign Office. Some papers were presented to the House which contained an account of the farewell visit of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe to the late Sultan. On the 6th of October 1858 Lord Stratford wrote to the Earl of Malmesbury to say that he had had an interview and a conversation with the then Sultan. He said— I submitted that little had been done in execution of the Hatti-Humayoun since its promulgation two years and a half ago; that a feeling of disappointment, and almost of despair, was on that account spreading throughout Europe; that the proofs of it were to be found not only in the remarks of private individuals and of public men in high stations, but in the Continental press—in that of France particularly—and of late, to a certain extent, in the leading journals of England; that the necessity of a comprehensive reform having been recognised by the Ottoman Government, and corresponding measures proclaimed by His Majesty, it was most desirable to pass without any unnecessary delay from the old to the new system. Lord Stratford added that the Sultan listened to him with an attitude of reserve, and, on being pressed, said that he was an honest man and that what he declared he meant. As to the honesty of his professions, it appeared that he set to work immediately afterwards to build two palaces, and that in six months previous to Lord Stratford's visit the debts incurred on the civil list amounted to no less a sum than £3,000,000 sterling. Lord Stratford was one of the most able and determined diplomatists England ever had. His mission and incessant endeavours were to improve the condition of Turkey; yet he summed up the condition of Turkey in 1858 in a passage which he would read to the House; and a most memorable summing up it was. Lord Stratford had been continually urging the Porte for many years to carry out reforms in its administration; and when he took leave of Turkey, this was his statement— Abuses continue to swarm in every department. The prohibition of bribery and corruption is merely on paper; no public example has yet been made of any public functionary accused of these offences. Some charges have been submitted to an inquiry leading to no result. Though mixed tribunals have been established partially, the judicial procedure is still defective and the course of justice impure. The new codes of law which are said to be in progress, have yet to come into practice. Commissions have been formed for the amendment of prisons and a better organization of the post office and police; but no improvement of consequence has hitherto resulted practically from their labours. The fiscal department is quite as irregular and defective as ever. The great Elchi passed away, and Sir Henry Bulwer took his place. Sir Henry Bulwer, when he went to Constantinople, saw everything in couleur de rose, and declared that things were not half so bad as people imagined. The army was good and the navy tolerable, and he then proceeded to say— Life and property, which were formerly at the mercy not only of the Sultan, but of every Minister and Pasha, are now, on the whole, secure against any act of vengeance, illegality, and oppression, that is not sanctioned by a tribunal and the forms of law. It unfortunately happened that this statement was contradicted by every one of our Consular Reports; but he would read to the House a commentary by Earl Russell, written a year after this flourishing description by Sir Henry Bulwer. On the 25th of August 1860 Earl Russell, in a spirit of horror and indignation at the atrocities committed in Syria, wrote a despatch to Sir Henry Bulwer, in which the following passage occurred:— It was with a shock of amazement as well as of horror that the intelligence of the massacres of Hasbeya, Zahlé, Deir-el-Kamar, and Damascus, was received in Great Britain. It was not that a barbarous Mohammedan or Pagan tribe had murdered by wholesale other tribes with which they were at enmity—it was not the utter inhumanity which marked and deepened the shade of these murders—it was that Turkish Pashas and Beys, chosen by the Sultan to govern and protect his subjects, were evidently abettors and favourers of these massacres. Among these, Kurschid Pasha was one of the most prominent. The troops commanded by him either looked on in apathy, or actually participated in the worst of these massacres. Fuad Pasha, whom some persons regarded as the prop and column of the Turkish Empire, and who was sent to Syria, proposed to leave this man in the administration of the Government; and it was not till a British Admiral interfered, that he consented to deprive the Pasha of his authority. Earl Russell went on to say— Achmet Pasha, at Damascus, gave full sway to the dissolute mob which murdered and plundered Christians. Othman Bey, at Deir-el-Kamar, did still worse; he disarmed the Christians, and then admitted their murderers to slay the unarmed multitude. When the news of these events, even in imperfect reports, reached this country, men naturally said, 'The blood and treasure of Great Britain and France were poured out freely to maintain the independence of the Sultan. They asked no territory, no exclusive privileges in return; they asked only that the Christian subjects of the Porte might be treated with humanity, to the great advantage of the Sultan himself. An outbreak of fanatical Mohammedans we could well understand. But this treachery, brutality, and cruelty, on the part of those selected by the Sultan himself to govern his best provinces shows either some deep design to exterminate the Christians, or an unheard-of degree of weakness and apathy at Constantinople, or an amount of venality and corruption which it is difficult to credit.' You must not be surprised that such feelings should be excited and such reflections made; nor would it be of any use to conceal from the Porte that either the whole system of the Ottoman Government must be replaced by one founded on integrity and justice, or the Sultan must prepare himself for the abandonment of his cause by his best and most persevering allies. No words so strong or so damning should be used by him (Mr. Gregory) as were to be found in this despatch from the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to Her Majesty's Ambassador at Constantinople. Sir Henry Bulwer wishes to acquit the central authority of any sympathy with such enormities. But why was not Kurschid Pasha punished? At this moment, as the Times' correspondent informs you, he, though nominally banished to Rhodes, is the great man of the island, the fountain of all honour and advancement. Tahir Pasha, another of the most guilty actors in the Syrian massacres, now enjoys his palace and every luxury at Beyrout, and Namik Pasha, of Jiddah massacre notoriety, was made Seraskier, or Minister at War, of the present Sultan, and has since (if he is rightly informed) been appointed to the Government of the great Pashalik of Bagdad. It was to be remarked throughout these despatches of Sir Henry Bulwer, that although they began hopefully, a gradual despondency seemed to be coming over his mind. He appeared to give up the thing as a bad job, and not to be able to see a my of light in regard to the future of Turkey. In the bitterness of his heart he said— The period has arrived when even the friends of the Turkish Government cannot merely be just, for the present abuses, which it may be fair to admit are the consequences of preceding evils, must nevertheless be now either immediately removed or greatly modified, as the only condition on which the sovereignty of the Sultan can be much longer exercised. He would not trouble the House with any more extracts from Sir Henry Bulwer, but there was one point on which he wished to call particular attention. In 1860 Prince Gortschakoff issued a circular to the diplomatic agents of Russia, complaining of the horrible maladministration of the Turkish Empire, and in particular of the cruelties inflicted on the Christians. When that circular was issued, it became necessary, of course, for England, in her character of patron and protector, to contradict the statements of the Russian Minister. Whereupon Sir Henry Balwer issued a circular containing twenty-four questions upon the state of Turkey to all our foreign Consuls. Now, if Sir Henry Bulwer had been desirous of ascertaining the exact and literal truth whether the statements of Prince Gortschak off were correct or not, he would have written to the Consuls to give a plain and candid answer to the questions. But he did nothing of the kind. Sir Henry Bulwer took up his pen and drew up a paper which was neither more nor less than a brief for the Government of Turkey. He says— It seems to me, indeed, that more evil arises at present from the want of power and authority somewhere, than from the actual abuse of power and authority anywhere. I have also been made acquainted, through the channel of our consular agents, as well as by other means, that great efforts have of late been made by persons of various kinds, not identified with or belonging to the native population, to get up discontent among the population, and to excite them to make complaints that may reach the ear of the European Powers, and that in this way the Sclave population has been especially brought to imagine that it may obtain, through foreign protection, great advantages, and even arrive at an independent existence. I have likewise been informed that a conspiracy among the Sclavonic race, with the object of making a revolution in this empire, actually exists, with chiefs selected, and plans more or loss defined; and that though such conspiracy may not at this moment be formidable, its leaders imagine it may become so by exciting the sympathies of the Great Western and Northern States.…. Her Majesty's Government wishes also, as you well know, to maintain the Ottoman Empire, which, in its fall, would produce a general disorganization in the East, accompanied probably, by a war throughout the world, the whole producing a series of disasters which would certainly not benefit any class in Turkey, and would be likely to cause great calamities to mankind. Well, having blown the trumpet in that way, he sent out his circular of questions on the state of Turkey. He (Mr. Gregory) could perfectly conceive the faces of those unfortunate Consuls—he could understand their feelings, when they struggled to write in conformity with the wishes of their chief. On the one hand, they were called upon to be very careful in regard to their answers for fear of saying anything which might offend the preconceived opinions of him who was the fountain of honour and advancement. On the other hand, they had to respect conscience and humanity; and he was bound to say that with one exception they had shown themselves honourable men, and had revealed a lamentable state of violence, corruption, oppression, intrigue, misery, and disorder. It was true, when they told of some atrocities, they immediately proceeded to say there were some excuses for them—if these things had occurred, still they were not quite so bad as they might have been. But seeing that those men were most of them struggling against an influence which they could not resist, he could not but give them credit for what they had said. But there was one signal instance which would show the value of those documents which were presented to Parliament. Consul Skene, of Aleppo, wrote two reports diametrically contradicting one another. In the one everything was represented as going on in the best possible way, in the other everything was exactly the reverse. In his first report he describes the country as laid waste by the incursions of the Bedouins, and the extortion of the farmers of the revenue, who are generally members of the local council. He says— The cultivator's grain is threshed and ready for sale, but he must not move it until the tithe is taken by the farmer. Prices are falling in the market with the daily increasing abundance. He implores permission to sell, and receives it only on consenting to double or treble the tax. In lieu of 10 per cent there are instances of 40 per cent being thus wrung from him, when the want of the necessaries of life for his family prevents his waiting longer. The peasant is next forced to convey the collector's share to town without remuneration, to feed his numerous satellites, to bring him presents of poultry, lambs, and forage, which latter produce is not tithed. He has no means of redress, for the voice of the all-powerful council drowns every complaint. The Pasha is appealed to, and shrugs his shoulders. In the towns, until quite lately, trade and manufactures were in a flourishing state. Want of confidence in the future is withdrawing capital from circulation, trade stagnates, and one-half of the looms previously worked are now at rest. The Christians are in a state of abject terror. They dare not acquire landed property for fear of unfair treatment. Of the Mussulmans he says— It is in vain that one talks to them of the altered circumstances of Islam, which are incredible to them. Vegetating in their narrow circle of contemptuous exclusiveness, they are animated only by personal and party rivalries. Their religion of pride cannot admit that a religion of humility is compatible with power abroad or prosperity at home. What they hear of Christendom is therefore regarded by them as an idle tale. Of the local councils, or Medjis, he thus speaks— Composed of cruel, venal, and rapacious accomplices, the Medji oppresses the people and enriches itself, while Pashas are powerless, when willing to cope with its collusive chicanery. I have followed the same familiar phases of provincial government with unvarying issue in Bosnia, Bulgaria, and Roumelia, in Asia Minor and Syria, and I have thus been forced into strong convictions on the subject, which I hope to be held excused for thus expressing freely. But, in his second despatch, when Consul Skene had received the circular of the 20th of August, he says— Whatever may be the condition of the provinces of Bulgaria, Bosnia, and Herzegovine, it is certain that in Northern Syria the almost total absence of crime of any kind is one of the most remarkable features of the country, and is not equalled in any part of Europe. There have been, no doubt, conflicts between sects, such as the massacre of the Christians at Aleppo in 1850, and those of Lebanon and Damascus this summer, but no impartial and dispassionate observer can class such incidents as inherent parts of the existing state of society. That was the way in which Mr. Consul Skene spoke of a massacre in which 8,000 people were killed— They prove that a change is taking root in favour of the Christians, and not merely that they are oppressed by the Turks. Religious tolorance is professed by the Government authorities in this province, and there is no practical violation of the principle of any importance. It has even been evinced recently in a very striking manner by the Ulema; Mussulmans insulting Christians in the streets having been severely rebuked by them, and some of the most revered Imaums having publicly in the mosques preached the equality before God of all mankind, as proved by quotations from the Koran. Your Excellency expresses the belief that it is an exaggeration to contend that things are in a much worse state than, under the circumstances, might be expected. This view of the case is fully corroborated by my experience during many years passed in the provinces of both European and Asiatic Turkey, as well as at Constantinople. Now, would the House like to know the meaning of that extraordinary conversion on Consul Skene's part? It was this, as explained by himself— On the 4th of August I had the honour of forwarding my replies to the queries contained in your Excellency's circular of June 11, which had reached me only a few days previously, and yesterday I received the other circular bearing the same date. I thus furnished what information I could without being aware of the motives dictating the questions, and without being in possession of the valuable instructions conveyed by the other circular. I shall therefore endeavour now to supply the deficiencies of my replies. Well, that conduct of Consul Skene's would be ludicrous were it not that one's sense of the ludicrous was overpowered by fellings of indignation, that a great and kindly nation like England should be befooled and misled by documents such as those.

In 1856, a firman was issued, embodying the principles upon which the Turkish Government was thenceforth to be carried on; and on the faith of that firman the European Powers guaranteed the indemnity of Turkey. It would be said that that firman was in existence only seven years, and consequently too much was not to be expected. But that firman was identical with the edict of Gulhané in 1839, and Tanzimat in 1845. The Turks had had therefore, for twenty-four years, every opportunity of amelioration; and what had been the result? The firman delared the equality before the law of the Christians and the Mussulmans; that Christian evidence should be received; that Christians should be allowed to hold property; that the collection of the revenue should be reformed; that roads should be made, and a proper system of police established. But ten of the twelve consuls report that Christian evidence is not received; many of them state that a Christian dare not hold land; all state the collection of the revenue to be unjust, oppressive, ruinous; those who refer to the matter at all declare that nothing whatever has been done to make roads, and that the police are the terror rather than the protection of the district they watch over. But what is more important than all is this, that the universal testimony of these Consuls goes to this, that all prospect of the revival of the East by commerce, manufactures, and education is to be looked for in the Christian element, and in it only. Mr. Abbott, the Consul of Monastar, tells us— The Christian members of the local council dare not dissent from an opinion emitted by the Mussulman members. One Christian member of the Council at Monastar was poisoned for opposing his Mussulman colleagues. The peasantry are reduced to the greatest pressure, in having to pay thrice or four times what is legally due to the farmers of the revenue. A Christian never dares to present in a suit one of his co-religionists to give evidence. It is the custom of unprincipled litigants to produce Mussulman false witnesses, whose testimony annuls the validity of a document made in a public office. This illegal mode is often adopted to dispossess a rightful owner of his property. They (the Turks) willingly make converts either by compulsion or intimidation. Consul Calvert, of Salonica, reported— It is unfortunately the fact that during several centuries the Christians have been sorely oppressed. As their moral degradation has, during this long period of oppression, become hereditary, so their elevation to a higher standard of social and political worth will only be attained progressively after the removal of the oppression. At the capital all the resources of the State are collected, and there lavishly expended. One-half of what is usually thrown away would, within the last twenty years, have sufficed to make good roads throughout this province. The State appears not to care how its revenues are raised, provided it receives them. By a late decree the Christian population was called on to furnish statements of the contributions arbitrarily levied on them, with the ostensible object of remedying the injustice. When this was done, the Government forthwith assessed them at the full amount of these exactions, on the presumption, that having paid them once, they were able to do so again. They pay that amount at this moment. Many of the Christian families have been reduced into a state of serfdom to their Mussulman landlords. He describes the bribery of the cadis or judges, as infamous and unblushing. They hold their office but for one year, and the most important judgments affecting landed property are delivered by them during the last days of their office, influenced solely by bribes. "I am inclined to confess," he says, "that the people do not appear to have any confidence in their Government." Consul Longworth's testimony was curious. He did not answer any question, but he said he had just seen the Grand Vizier, and had asked him if those stories of the oppressions of the Christians were true. The Grand Vizier assured him "that not a single case of oppression experienced by Christians at the hands of Turks had been brought to his notice." As to the charge of Cadisor Mohammedan judges acting arbitrarily or unfairly, "proofs of such arbitrary conduct, though challenged and sought for by the Grand Vizier, were wholly wanting." But Consul Long worth said he remembered once to have heard something of the kind complained of in Crete. Now, let them consider what was the value to be attached to Consul Longworth's testimony. Consul Calvert, writing of the Grand Vizier's proceedings at Monastar, let them into the secret. He stated— The conduct of no public functionary at this place has undergone investigation. It seems to have been expected, that with the view to encourage complaints to come forward, the Grand Vizier would have placed at least one of the notoriously delinquent officials under arrest. There can be no doubt, that had his Highness thought fit to resort to such an expedient as this, the example would have inspired with confidence those who now refrain from laying informations against high-placed and influential parties here. Consul Longworth, forgetting, however, what his friend the Grand Vizier had told him, that no case of oppression on the part of the Turks towards the Christians had ever taken place, complained of an abuse—namely the abduction of Christian girls by Mohammedans, which he admitted called for correction; and he also said that the Christian testimony was not admitted before the tribunals, and the result of this was, that "as the only means of securing justice to Christians, Mussulman false witnesses were permitted to give evidence on their behalf." Major Cox, Consul at Bucharest, writing of the condition of Bulgaria, stated— That the evidence even of the wealthiest and most intelligent Christian in Bulgaria will be rejected, when that of a gipsy will be taken; that there is nothing the police cannot do with impunity in the villages; that the women will not offer any resistance to a Mohammedan; that the peasant goes to sleep in the stable, and leaves the Mussulman guest to do as he pleases with his wife and daughter. Let the House recollect that Major Cox was writing of the very province of which Mr. Longworth gave such a flourishing account. Was it wonderful, therefore, that those conspiracies had taken place? Does it require the emissaries from Servia, of whom Sir Henry Bulwer is in such dread, to produce revolt, while such is the oppression under which these people are laid low? Consul Finn, of Jerusalem, began his report thus— In point of regular orderly government and development of resources this province is far behind most, if not all, European countries, and, as far as I can learn, behind Egypt. Oppression against Christians usually begins with the fanatic populace, but it is neither repressed nor punished by the Government—a remarkable instance of which is presented in our Nablous case of April 1856. There was another case in Gaza in 1856. But Sureya Pasha showed a disposition to depress Christians on his first arrival; for instance, in imprisonment of the Coptic priest and deacon in the common prison. The popular fanaticism never breaks out until the fanatical tendency of the governor is visible. Consul Blunt, of Smyrna, gave in his report a remarkable description of the decay of the Turkish race. That gentleman stated that in 1830 the Turkish population in that district was 80,000, and it was now 41,000. In 1830 the Greeks numbered 20,000, and they were now 75,000; and he mentioned that rapid as was the increase of the Greek population, the decrease of the Turks was in a greater ratio. Consul Blunt described the Christians as improving rapidly in intelligence and wealth, buying out the thriftless and improvident Turks; but still, he said, they were not allowed to carry arms, in consequence of which, from the want of efficient police, they were exposed to the attacks of brigands; their evidence was not admitted between Mussulman and non-Mussulman, and they were grievously oppressed by the exactions of the farmer of the revenue, who committed incredible abuses. Consul Blunt made some very true observations as to the tyranny of the Greek clergy, which were confirmed by Consul Calvert in the following terms:— A vast deal of discontent among the Christians arises from the petty exactions and tyranny of their own ecclesiastics, who exercise an almost unbounded authority, recognised by the Porte, over them. Here, as everywhere else in Turkey, every sort of injustice, malversation, bribery, and corruption is openly attributed to their clergy by the Christians. But why was this? Because the Greek bishoprics were bought and sold at Constantinople. The Patriarch appointed the person he was told to appoint, no matter how ignorant that man might be, no matter how tainted his character. If he could pay the money, he was consecrated bishop. The consequence was, that these ecclesiastics were the scourge and terror of their flocks; and being supported by the Government, they bore down all resistance. But such was not the case in Servia and in Greece. Nor would this oppression continue one moment, if these Christian nationalities could achieve even the rudiments of self-government. The consular reports show how entirely promises contained in the Imperial firman had been disregarded. The Vice Consul Zohrab, writing from Bosnia Serai, mentioned that in Bosnia and the Herzegovina the Mohammedan population was 400,000, and the Christian population 710,000. Of this Christian majority the Vice Consul wrote— The hatred of the Christians towards the Bosniak Mussulmans is intense. During a period of nearly 300 years they were subjected to much oppression and cruelty. For them no other law but the caprice of their masters existed. In the belief that the direct administration of the Porte would materially ameliorate their position, they were induced, in 1850, to lend a hearty assistance to Omer Pasha; and to their aid must be attributed the rapid success of the Turkish arms. Their hopes were disappointed. That they were benefited by the change there can be no doubt, but the extent did not nearly come up to their expectation. They saw, with delight, the extinction of the Spahi privileges, and of the corvée; but the imposition of new and heavy taxes, the gross peculation of the employés sent from Constantinople, and the demands of the army, filled them with disappointment and dismay; and with these causes of complaint their previous servile condition was almost forgotten. Their hopes had been raised high to be cruelly disappointed; their pecuniary position was aggravated, while their social position was but slightly improved. A humiliation they experienced at this time at the hands of Omer Pasha disappointed them greatly, and impressed them with the hopelessness of expecting real benefits from the Turks—they were disarmed, while the Mussulmans who had opposed the Government were permitted to retain their arms. False imprisonments are of daily occurrence. A Christian has but a small chance of exculpating himself when his opponent is a Mussulman. Christian evidence, as a rule, is still refused. Christians are permitted by law to possess landed property, but the difficulties opposed to their acquiring are so great that few have as yet dared to face them. As far as the mere purchase goes no difficulties are made; a Christian can buy and take possession; it is when he has got his land into order, or when the Mussulman who has sold has overcome the pecuniary difficulties which compelled him to sell, that the Christian feels the helplessness of his position and the insincerity of the Government. Under one or other plea the Christian is in nineteen cases out of twenty dispossessed, and he may then deem himself fortunate if he gets back the price he gave. Few, a very few, have been able to obtain justice; but I must say that the majority of these owe their good fortune not to the justice of their cause, but to the influence of some powerful Mussulman. Is it surprising that the Christians should think, at length, of the only remedy apparently left to them—an appeal to arms? They see the success which has attended such efforts in Servia, Greece, &c. and they naturally suppose that a like attempt will produce a similar result. Thus I do not hesitate to say that Bosnia and the Herzegovina, which ought to have been now prosperous, contented, and peaceful, have been turned into discontented, disloyal, poverty-stricken provinces, through the unworthiness of the Sultan's lieutenants, and the gross misconduct of inferior employés. Consul Abbott, of the Dardanelles, gave similar testimony. As to any hope of improvement from the spread of education, he said— The ignorance of the Mussulmans on all educational matters is notorious; indeed, they delude themselves with the idea that they are so infinitely superior to the conquered races that it would be derogatory in them to improve their minds in the same way as the Christians do. The rayahs have begun of late years to understand the immense importance of education and the great advantages to be derived from it, and they demonstrate a most praiseworthy desire for acquiring knowledge and for having their children properly educated. The utmost that a Turk will attempt is to follow the old beaten track of his ancestors in merely learning to read the Koran and to write sufficiently well to be able to compose a letter with tolerable correctness and elegance. The Turkish khoja, or schoolmaster, is totally ignorant of geography, general history, natural science, and modern languages; indeed, the Turks deem such knowledge to be quite useless. Now, what he had been telling the House were no mere gossiping stories, no random travellers' tales, but the deliberate statements of our own officials. He could almost fancy Sir Henry Bulwer, when he read these despatches from which he had quoted, exclaiming, "Lo, I told you to bless the Turk, and you have cursed him altogether." He had shown that there was no hope of improvement from education. The Turk ignored and despised education. Whatever education was to be found in that country had been derived from foreign sources, and even then it was a varnish which hardly concealed the original pinchbeck underneath. It was also noticeable, that while foreign education was generally accompanied with more or less scepticism, the old ingrained fanaticism would still be found remaining when there was any occasion to call it forth. The old Turk died as he bad lived—hoping everything—believing everything—and fearing nothing. Young Turkey dies as it has lived—hoping nothing and believing nothing. For centuries the Turks had been masters of that part of Europe and Asia which produced the greatest poets, the greatest historians, the greatest architects, the greatest philosophers. Have the Turks ever allowed the spirit of the conquered so to interpenetrate them as to produce one single writer whose name we can remember? They have hardly even now, in the nineteenth century, a printing press or a newspaper. What could be expected from a country which was destitute of a system of jurisprudence, and which had not learnt to discriminate the rule of religion from the rule of law? There was no doubt a sort of code in Turkey; but it was altogether imperfect. Instead of civiliza- tion expanding the law, the law impedes and fetters civilization. Among the lower classes of the people one might, perhaps, discern frugality, bravery, and generosity; but whenever a Turk emerged from that rank, he lost those qualities. There was no middle class, in our conception of the term. The Turks spoke no foreign language, and engaged in no commercial enterprises beyond the seas. There were no great Turkish bankers, no great Turkish houses of business, no Turkish manufactures. All these affairs were in the hands of the Christians. The old aristocracy, who were bad enough without doubt, were gone, and had been succeeded by a bureaucracy infinitely worse. If the men who governed the provinces were possessed of talent, energy, and honour, there might be some hope; but those were not the characteristics by which men acquired high offices in Turkey. There the sources of honour were bribery and corruption, and things at which he scarcely dared to hint. He would try and lay down before the House an illustration of what Turkish Government is, and what Turkish rulers are. If one could suppose the foreign dependencies of England peopled by inhabitants as submissive as the natives of Lower Bengal, who had lost all spirit, self-confidence, and independence during long years of oppression, and if one could conceive further that the keepers of the worst houses in the purlieus of the Haymarket were gathered together, and sent to rule these dependencies, stimulated only by a desire to gratify their basest passions and to accumulate wealth, then one would have a parallel to the Government of the Turkish provinces. The result was, as one might expect, that all life and hope were trampled out of the people, and that civilization was destroyed by the parasitical race that destroyed all it clung to. Any one who had been in Asia Minor must recollect journeying over desolate tracts of country, where once stood populous and flourishing cities, and where now not a single cultivated field was to be seen. The irruptions of foreign barbarians had in some degree tended to produce that result, but there was still life left until the Turks came and crushed it out. In his Turkish Diary Mr. Senior said— The Turks are not worse than they were—they imported with them every one of their bad qualities. When they seized Asia Minor and Roumelia, they seized a country populous and of enormous wealth; for 350 years they have been consuming that wealth and wearing out that popu- lation. At last, having lived for 350 years on this capital, they have reduced the country to a desert, and they find themselves poor. They use the most mischievous means to prevent large families—they kill the female children, the conscription kills the male. What was fifty years ago a populous Turkish village is now a burial ground and unused. The Turk relies on the rain to wash his streets, on dogs to keep them free from offal, on the sun for making passable those tracks which he calls roads, and on the climate for enabling him to live in his timber house without repairing it. He would rather copy than invent, rather attribute events to destiny than to causes which can be explained. His only diplomacy is war, his only internal means of government are poison and the stick. Now, who was the great apologist and supporter, the grande decus columenque, of this state of things? It was no other than the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Yet it was not long since that he read in an interesting work the following passage with reference to a Christian community in Asia:— The Nestorian community had greater wrongs to complain of than their Patriarch. The Turkish Governors, so far from fulfilling the pledges given to the British Embassy, had sent officers to the mountains who had grievously ill-treated and oppressed the Christian inhabitants. The taxes which the Porto had promised to remit for three years, in consideration of the losses sustained by the unfortunate Nestorians during the massacres, had not been, it is true, levied for that time, but had now been collected altogether, whole districts being thus reduced to the greatest misery and want. Every manner of cruelty and torture had been used to compel the suffering Christians to yield up the little property they had concealed from the rapacity of the Turkish authorities. There was no tribunal to which they could apply for redress. A deputation sent to the Pasha had been ill-treated, and some of its members were still in prison. There was no one in authority to plead for them. They had even suffered less under the sway of their old oppressors, for as a priest touchingly remarked to me, The Kurd took away our lives, but the Turks take away wherewith we have to live. And these are the reflections of the writer— Wherever the Osmanli has placed his foot he has bred fear and distrust. His visit has been one of oppression and rapine. The scarlet cap and the well-known garb of a Turkish irregular are the signals for a general panic. The women hide in the innermost recesses to save themselves from insult; the men slink into their houses, and offer a vain protest against the seizure of their property. The name affixed to the book from which he had just quoted was "A. H. Layard." The assailant of Italian princes, the advocate of Italian independence, the denouncer of those who oppressed the ryots of Bengal, was the same man who now cast scorn and contumely on these unfortunate Christians —who wished to do no more than the Italians were doing—and he would fain have England believe that a crushing, ignoble, and insolvent dynasty, the garotters of the East, for that was the best word for it, was mild, beneficent, and progressive, and a capital speculation to invest in. It was remarkable, that when a single province had escaped from the grasp of the Porte, it had always improved; and that whenever it again fell back under the Turkish dominion, it had immediately relapsed. This was the case when Albania was removed for a time from the Ottoman rule by the virtual independence of Ali Pasha, and when Syria was similarly relieved by Mehemet Ali. The policy he recommended was very simple—that we should cease to be the crutch on which Turkey leans; that our shield should not be ever thrown over all her misdemeanours; that she should be forced to carry out that reciprocal engagement she undertook in return for the guarantee of her integrity; that the moral weight of England should be employed to obtain for the Christian provinces of the Porte self-government as far as possible; that the centralizing system should be discouraged, and instead of fresh governors being sent out every two or three years to the provinces to make fortunes by plunder and corruption, that to the governors appointed notice should be given that their tenure of office depended on good behaviour, and that the succession might be extended to their descendants in reward of a wise and beneficent administration. This is French policy: this is the policy of MM. Thiers and Guizot: they professed equally with ourselves the desire to maintain the Sultan's integrity, but not by the misery and depression of his subjects. Above all things, he (Mr. Gregory) wished to see the Turkish Government warned that every massacre of Christians which it was too weak to prevent or too fanatical not to connive at, would be punished by loss of territory Such a policy as this would be more logical, more consistent, more beneficent-in one word, more Christian, than that which we have hitherto pursued. He was sorry he should have trespassed at such length on the attention of the House, but he knew what he had said to be true; and knowing it to be true, it would have been connivance to have remained silent. He was convinced the time would come, and that ere long, when he should be justified for having protested against the continu ance of a policy which rested only on expediency, and which, when that expediency no longer existed, became a scandal to England and a misfortune to the world.

Amendment proposed, To leave out From the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, that She will be graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before this House, Further Papers relating to the condition of Turkey, —instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, he thought the House would feel itself indebted to his hon. Friend for having brought that important question under its notice, not only on account of the events which had recently occurred in the Kingdom of Greece, but also on account of the conduct of Her Majesty's Government in connection with the proposed cession of the Ionian Islands. The fact of the cession of the Ionian Islands having been promised by the Government had naturally led to a great deal of excitement in the Christian provinces ruled by Turkey, because that cession could only have been promised on the principle laid down by Earl Russell in his famous despatch of October 17, 1861, that every people had a right to choose their own Government. It was only natural that an astute people like the Greeks should assume, as they had assumed—though they remembered how many Ionian annexationists were shot by order of Sir Henry Ward, and how the recall of Sir John Young was suggested by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on account of his recommending the union of the Ionian Islands with Greece—that the object of Earl Russell in promising the cession was to strengthen the kingdom of Greece, and that the cession would be followed by fresh steps towards increasing their territory. In the Ionian Islands one-third of the people were Italians, whereas in Thessaly and Epirus seven-eighths were Greeks; and the plea for annexation was even stronger in the one case than in the other. He was glad that his hon. Friend had called their attention to the financial condition of Turkey, because that was a subject of great importance, especially at that moment, when it was proposed to raise another loan of £8,000,000, upon the recommendation, if not the actual guarantee, of Her Majesty's Government. Ever since 1855 there had been a Turkish loan almost every year, and it could not be denied, as the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Hubbard) showed last Session, that to our Government it was owing that the Turkish proposals had been accepted with such facility in this country. The time had arrived when they ought to distinctly understand what was the real state of the Turkish finances, and he was prepared to prove that the statements made by Lord Hobart and Mr. Poster were perfectly erroneous. In the Report of 1861, Lord Hobart stated that the revenue of Turkey was £9,700,000, and the expenditure £11,000,000, and he added that the civil list of the Sultan, amounting to something more than £1,200,000—which sum, however large, did not include the whole of the allowance for the Imperial establishment—was an item of expenditure with which there was considerable difficulty in dealing; for whatever sum was set down in the Budget, it rested with the Sultan to restrain his expenses within the limits prescribed. Lord Hobart and Mr. Poster put the whole debt at £41,000,000, but in point of fact it was £50,000,000. He held in his hand an extraordinary statement, taken from the latest published Turkish accounts—those issued in June 1859—and would the House believe that the personal expenditure of the Sultan—not his civil list, which appeared as a separate item of about £1,200,000—amounted to no less a sum than £9,600,000, nearly equal to the whole revenue of Turkey. Some of the details were curious and interesting. The kitchen department—frais de cuisine—was put down at £24,000 a month. £70,000 per month appeared as the allowance for the thirty-six wives of the Sultan. The expenses of the other ladies connected with the Imperial establishment, of whom there were 1,780, amounted to £18,000 a month. Nearly an equal sum—£15,000—was put down for 2,000 porters, attendants, and servants of various kinds. Those peculiar gentlemen who generally started up when the ladies of the harem took their midday walk cost £7,000 a month. The pensions allowed to those ladies who had left the seraglio amounted to £80,000 per month. With regard to the Sultan's expenditure, he would quote an authority which the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary would hardly dispute. Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, writing to Lord Malmesbury on the 6th of October 1858, said— The Sultan assented to these suggestions for a reform; and, judging from his manner andr countenance, I feel a strong persuasion that he is deeply grieved by the extravagance which has been disclosed, and sincerely inclined to regulate the Imperial establishment for the future on sounder principles. But the difficulty of realizing his intentions cannot be concealed. The discipline of the harem has been so much relaxed since the death of the Sultan's mother, and the number of its inmates has reached so extraordinary a figure, that no light task devolves upon the superintendent. One of the Turkish Ministers informed me that in six months the debts incurred on the Civil List had amounted to no less a sum than £3,000,000 sterling. That was Lord Stratford de Redcliffe's statement, showing that the Sultan's personal expenditure absolutely amounted to the whole revenue of the country. And while the Sultan incurred that enormous expenditure, the departments were governed under the extortionate and tyrannical system which the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Gregory) had be well described. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary had fallen into error with regard to the amount of the Greek population; whereas his hon. Friend put that population at 2,000,000, in point of fact it was 6,000,000. But, in truth, the Turkish Empire had no real existence at all, and was only supported by the sheer energy and strong will of the Great Powers. The various provinces were like marbles thrown into a bag—they touched but did not adhere to each other. The tyranny exercised in them was not violent and sudden, but acted like a screw which was always pressing the people down. At Constantinople, Russia, France, and England constantly struggled for pre-eminence. He had no wish to see the Turkish Government broken up and the Ottoman empire destroyed. God knew they had spent millions of money, and lavished thousands of lives, in upholding that Government; but they had a right to demand that the pledges which it had taken towards its Christian subjects in 1856 should be carried out. If those pledges had been fulfilled, not only would the Christian population have been benefited, but Turkey would have become more prosperous. Let the House not be misled by the general impression conveyed to it from time to time by the hon. Under Secretary. That hon. Gentleman, when he rose to reply, would say that these things had been ex- aggerated. Well, but what was the opinion of Earl Russell himself upon the state of Turkey? Writing to Sir Henry Bulwer on August 25th, 1860, Earl Russell said— The Wood and treasure of Great Britain and France were poured out freely to maintain the independence of the Sultan. They asked no territory, no exclusive privileges in return; they asked only that the Christian subjects of the Porte might he treated with humanity, to the great advantage of the Sultan himself. An outbreak of fanatical Mohammedans we could well understand; but this treachery, brutality, and cruelty, on the part of persons selected by the Sultan himself to govern his best provinces, shows either some deep design to exterminate the Christians, or an unheard-of degree of weakness and apathy at Constantinople, or an amount of venalty and corruption which it is difficult to credit. You must not be surprised that such feelings should be excited and such reflections made; nor would it be of any use to conceal from the Porte that either the whole system of Ottoman government must be replaced by one founded on integrity and justice, or the Sultan must prepare himself for the abandonment of his cause by his best and most persevering allies. Surely, then, he was entitled to urge the necessity of pressing upon the Ottoman Government the duty of fulfilling its pledges towards its Christian subjects; and he would, in the first place, recommend Her Majesty's Government to desist from that intervention in the affairs of Turkey, which, instead of strengthening, positively weakened her. His hon. Friend the Under Secretary would probably say that all these abuses existed under the former Sultan, but not under the present. On that point let him listen to an extract from The Times correspondent at Constantinople, who always gave very fair accounts and very good information. The Times correspondent, on the 7th of April last, wrote— After a dynasty of reforming monarchs, Turkey has at last got a chief of more antique mould, who seems very likely to arrest the movement that is so fast dis-orientalizing the East; meanwhile, the Turks, compelled from their distrust of Christians to perform alone the military duty of the whole empire, are wasting away under the intolerable burden. The curse of barrenness is upon them, and all the efforts to support this barbaric empire against external aggression and internal decay seem likely ultimately to be battled by the disappearance of the race on whose behalf they are undertaken. That was written by a close and accurate observer, resident in Turkey. For himself he desired to see that Government strengthened, if it were conducted on principles of justice towards the Christian population. If he had any influence with the people of Greece, he would urge them to abstain from any views of ambition and territorial extension in Turkey. They had quite enough to do within their own borders. But nobody could tell what the future might bring forth, and therefore it was impossible to say what destinies might yet be in store for Greece. The hon. Member for Halifax (Mr. Stansfeld) had described the Eastern question as the great European question of the day, and spoke of England being bound to decaying Turkey by intolerable bonds. But if Turkey fell to pieces, the kingdom of Greece and the other adjacent nationalities might be certain that that country would be best fitted to fill the place which Turkey had occupied which should have shown the greatest amount of civilization, the greatest powers of Government, and the greatest moral influence.


moved, that the House be counted; but notice having been taken that forty Members were present,


Sir, in the very few remarks which I propose to make this evening, I intend to confine myself entirely to that one of the provinces, alluded to in the speech of the hon. Member for Galway, which I have chanced to visit—I mean the Principality of Servia. It does not appear to me that very much turns upon the question as to how far the Servians were, or were not, the beginners of the affray which led to the bombardment of lust summer. It is sufficient for my purpose if it is admitted that the bad feeling between the Servians and the Turks is continually increasing, and that it has been intensified, as well by the recent events as by the national movement which recalled the family of Obrenovitch to the throne. For, Sir, if this be the ease, no one will dispute that an end should be put to this bad foiling, if this can be done without making any concessions which should be unjust to Turkey, or otherwise injurious. The question is, can such concessions be made without being unjust to Turkey, or doing other mischief? I think they can. All that the Servians ask is, that the Turks should retire from the Servian fortresses. Let us see what case they can make out in favour of the justice of this proposal. In 1830 the Porte gave a free constitution to the Servian people, and agreed, amongst other things, that all Turks within the Servian frontier should, if they wished to remain there, retire within the fortresses. The Porte, however, continually evaded the fulfilment of its obligation, and the summer of 1862 found a large Turkish population still dwelling in the very heart of the city of Belgrade. Then came the events of which we have heard in detail from the hon. Member for Galway. Now, what I want to know is, would it not have been more just, and more wise, for the British Government when the Conference assembled, to regulate the affairs of Servia, in consequence of the ferment caused by the bombardment, to have instructed its agents to have insisted, that as Turkey had not fulfilled her engagements, and had brought about so much mischief by not fulfilling them, she should be punished by being obliged to go a step further than she had engaged to do thirty-two years before, and should evacuate the Servian fortresses. Of what use are those fortresses to Turkey? They were useful once, as outposts against Christendom, but Turkish barbarism has ceased to be aggressive, and I presume that not even my hon. Friend the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs can hope or wish to see the horse-tails once more amongst the vines of Buda. But are they perhaps useful for defence against Austria? No one who knows the relative position of Turkey and Austria could dream of such a thing. If any one does, let him descend the long line of the Save, and see how large a force Austria keeps even in time of peace upon her military frontier. He can then judge how many hours any one of these tumble-down fortresses could, with the exception of Belgrade, maintain itself against Austria; and Belgrade, hemmed in by a hostile population, would be no serious military obstacle. But it may be said that these fortresses, materially useless, are useful as a symbol of the power of the Suzerain. I answer, that this sentimental objection cannot outweigh the proved evil which arises from the existence in the Servian territory of a number of sanctuaries whose inmates are licensed to commit amongst the surrounding Christian population all those atrocities which are recorded in the statements which have been circulated amongst us within the last few weeks. But it may be said that this concession would diminish the prestige of Turkey. Sir, I think that that would be no loss, and that, thanks to the prestidigitation of the noble Lord the First Minister, Turkey has a great deal more prestige than she deserves. But we are told that the Servians are the vanguard of Russia; that they do not aspire to be an independent nation, but merely to form part of a great Pansclavie monarchy, I answer that it is very easy to say this, but where is the proof? Can those who bring forward this argument point to anything in their recent history which makes in that direction? One sees at Belgrade plain enough traces of French influence and German influence; but where are the traces of Russian influence? In their early struggles, the Servians looked to Russia, naturally enough; because when England was occupied with a great war, and before increased knowledge had given our people some interest in these distant regions, little sympathy could have been felt here for a people whose country was hardly more accessible, for all practical purposes, than Bokhara is now; but things are completely changed. A nation which is proud of its ultra-popular form of government can hardly have much sympathy with the system even of the Emperor Alexander II.; and if it is not to similar tendencies of government, but to ties of race, that we are to look—why, the Polish war is an excellent illustration of the way in which the Sclavonians 'love one another.' This question of the Servian fortresses is only one corner of the great Eastern Question, into which I do not mean to enter, further than to say that I am sure the Servians make a great, though a very natural mistake, in supposing that England is their enemy. They have one enemy in the Cabinet of England, but I should be surprised indeed to learn that the majority of the Cabinet were in their hearts opposed to them. There is one thing only in the Eastern policy of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton which will be inherited by other English statesmen—the determination that Russia shall never hold Constantinople—a policy grounded not only upon the feelings of Englishmen, but upon the feelings of all the nations of the West; a policy well summed up in the words of a living poet— Alas for you! alas for us! Alas for men that think and feel, If once beside this Bosphorus Shall stamp Sclavonia's frozen heel! Sir, I hope that Constantinople may never belong either to Russian Sclavonians or Servian Sclavonians; and the Servians, to do them justice, have no wish to have it. They are quite content that it should be, as it will, I hope, one day be, a free port under the protection and guarantee of all Europe and of the whole civilized world.


Sir, I entirely agree with my hon. Friend who has brought forward this Motion (Mr. Gregory) as to the vast importance of the subject which he has submitted to the consideration of the House. This so-called "Eastern Question" is undoubtedly one of the greatest problems that has ever been submitted to any generation of men. Its possible solution has engaged the earnest consideration of the ablest politicians. It has excited the deepest interest amongst statesmen of every nation. It does not, it would appear, excite a corresponding interest in this House On a previous occasion my hon. Friend entered very fully upon the subject, I fear to an unwilling audience. On another occasion, when he was about to bring it on, it was not possible to collect a sufficient number of Members to form a House. But my hon. Friend's speech, like good wine, only improves, as we have seen to night, by the keeping. Notwithstanding all the speculations and theories that have been hazarded, and the confident assertion, so often made, that Turkey is on the very eve of falling to pieces, no living man has yet been able to give any satisfactory answer to the question of what is to become of the Ottoman Empire, or to propose any political combination which could replace it. My hon. Friend has not brought us nearer to a solution of the difficulty he has no doubt made an admirable speech, characterized by his usual ability and research. But it was deficient in one, and not a very immaterial respect. My hon. Friend had nothing to propose; and when he sat down, he was at a loss to know what form of Motion to place, Sir, in your hands. This has been precisely the case with all those who have previously attempted to discuss this most difficult and perplexing question. I cannot, therefore, blame my hon. Friend. It is true that in the course of his speech he made certain suggestions on the policy which the Government ought to pursue in Turkey, especially with regard to the Christian subjects of the Sultan. I think I shall be able to show him that the policy he recommends is the very one which the Government has pursued. But he has made certain assertions which cannot be allowed to pass unchallenged. In justice to Her Majesty's Government, in justice to their Agents in Turkey, in vindication of their policy, in fairness to the Turkish Government, and in the cause of truth, these statements should not be allowed to go forth to the world uncontradicted.

The early part of my hon. Friend's speech was devoted to Servia. I shall therefore begin by commenting upon that part of it. If I am compelled to say hard things of the Servian Government, I regret it. I have been challenged by my hon. Friend, and he must be answerable for them. But I wish it to be clearly understood that I do not confound the Servian people with the Servian Government. Against the Servian people I have no complaint to make. My hon. Friend the Member for the Elgin Burghs (Mr. Grant-Duff) was not justified in asserting that the noble Lord at the head of the Government, or any other Member of the Government, is an enemy to the Servian people. I distinctly and positively deny that such is the case My hon. Friend has no doubt obtained the information which he has given to the House from what he considers good and reliable sources. But I wish he would himself visit the countries whose condition he attempts to describe. I understand that he intends shortly to do so, in order to satisfy himself of the truth of what he has stated. The celebrated Bayle recorded in his journal the fact that he had on a certain day embraced the Roman Catholic religion; a subsequent entry stated that he had, on that day, commenced the study of logic. Gibbon observes that Bayle would have done more wisely to have reversed the process—to have commenced the study of logic first, and then to have satisfied himself as to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. I would venture to address similar advice to my hon. Friend. Let him study the condition of the countries that he describes on the spot, and then let him speak with the confidence which such experience may entitle him to feel. But if my hon. Friend does visit those countries, I trust he will permit me to offer him some words of caution and advice. Let him go without any preconceived opinions, and a mind free from prejudice of any kind. Let him judge for himself, see with his own eyes, and bear with his own cars, and not see through the eyes and hear through the ears of that class of persons who beset the traveller in the East, and are always ready to take the utmost advantage of his ignorance or his credulity. Let him learn a little of the language of the people; and, above all things, let him implicitly believe, in the words of the in- spired writer, "that all men are liars." Sir, I have said that in justice to the Turkish Government the statements made by my hon. Friend should be openly met and denied. Let us remember bow differently the Turks are situated from the Servians. They have no clever and specious gentlemen moving in European society, cajoling Members of Parliament, endeavouring to influence the press, printing and largely distributing pamphlets of various descriptions, and by all these means, sometimes not very scrupulously pursued, seeking to enlist public opinion in their favour. They have too high a sense of their dignity to do such things. They have no newspapers; or if they have, they are written in a language which few in the rest of Europe can read. They are compelled to bear all the calumnies heaped upon them in silence, and with that resignation so becoming in a good Mohammedan, leaving their justification to time or fate, and relying upon the ultimate triumph of truth and justice. My hon. Friend has given to the House what he no doubt believes to be a true sketch of the history of Servia. But there is so much to add and so much to correct, that when that process is gone through, I fear little will be left of the original matter. I will endeavour to submit to the House what I believe to be a more accurate history of that country, founded, not upon mere assertion or hearsay, but upon official documents to which I shall refer for the statements that I may make.

It is well known that in the early part of this century the Christian population of Servia rose against their Mohammedan rulers, and that after a long and bloody struggle under the lead of a Servian hero, Czerny George, or Kara-George as he is usually called, achieved that semi-independent position which they now enjoy. At that time the power of the Sultan was very much weakened by external wars and internal disorganization. The Servians were assisted by the Russians, not materially—for, to their great credit, be it remembered that they fought unaided, and owe their liberty to their courage and determination alone—but by diplomatie interference and representations at the Porte. What the Servians had gained by their arms was confirmed and guaranteed to them by articles in the Treaties of Bucharest, Akerman, and Adrianople, concluded between Russia and Turkey at the end of wars and differences be- tween these two countries. Little has been said during this discussion about these treaties; indeed, they have been passed over, I believe, in silence. And yet they—and not, as my hon. Friend would lead the House to believe, a certain Hatti-Sherif—proved the basis of of the liberties of the Servian people. My hon. Friend has, in very strong and, I think, unjustifiable language, denounced the Turkish Government for having violated treaties. I think I shall be able to prove, that so far from such having been the ease, the Porte has faithfully fulfilled them. The Hatti-Sherifs which were subsequently issued by the Sultan were merely Imperial Rescripts carrying out the conditions and terms of the articles of the treaties I have mentioned. By the separate Act relating to Servia, annexed to the Treaty or Convention of Akerman of October 7, 1826, Mussulmans "other than those belonging to the garrisons" were prohibited "from establishing themselves in Servia." The greater part of the Turkish landowners had already been expelled. Many, however, still remained, naturally unwilling to give up their lands and property, to which they were entitled by ancient and hereditary rights. It was true that they had been promised compensation by the Servian Government if they could not dispose of their lands. As it will be seen hereafter, this was a very important condition, the non-fulfilment of which was subsequently one of the principal causes of misunderstanding between the Servian Government and the Porte. The Turkish Government now proceeded to carry out the provisions with regard to Servia contained in the treaties to which I have alluded. It is a remarkable fact, but one which I shall be able, I think, to prove to the House, that henceforth the Porto always appeared as the defender of the Servian people, maintaining their liberties and their privileges, and supporting them against arbitrary and despotic rulers. I must interrupt my narrative for a moment to remind the House, that although Kara-George was the acknowledged leader of the Servian people in their revolutionary war, and is always mentioned in their traditions and history as its hero, yet he did not become their Prince. It was Milosh who was first selected to govern the Principality of Servia. Kara-George was murdered; the family of Milosh probably best know at whose instigation. The first Hatti-Sherif determining and confirming the liberties of the Servians was issued in 1829. To that document my hon. Friend has made no allusion, although it is of no less importance than that of 1330, which Servian agents, for purposes of their own, would now make us believe is the one and only charter of their rights which binds the Turkish Government. This latter document, prepared in consultation with the Servian deputies at Constantinople, was drawn up in a fair and liberal spirit. It secured to the Servians the entire management and control of their own affairs. It provided an economical administration, well adapted to a simple and poor population, only emerging from almost complete barbarism. There is one clause in this Hatti-Sherif which so peculiarly illustrates the desire of the Porte to protect the Servian people against their rulers that it is worth quoting— The Servian nation," it is declared, "shall pay to the said Prince the sum requisite for his maintenance and expenses, but this sum must not be an intolerable burden upon the poor. It is not improbable that this restriction was but little palatable to the "said Prince," and that it was one of the causes of his hatred of the Turkish Government. Another article declares that the members of the Representative Council shall not be dismissed unless they have been guilty of grave offence to the Porte, and towards the laws and constitution of their country; thus protecting them against the arbitrary will of the Prince. This Hatti-Sherif further gave the Turkish population twelve months for the sale of their lands. It is important that the precise terms of the article upon this subject should be quoted, as they do not bear out the assertion of the Servians and of my hon. Friend, that all Turks, excepting the garrisons of certain fortresses, were compelled to leave Servia within one year. They are— The Turks who possess landed estates or property in Servia, and who would be desirous to sell them and to quit that country, shall be allowed a period of twelve months to do so, to the Servians, at a reasonable price, which will be determined by Commissioners appointed for that purpose. But the revenues of the vineyards, gardens, estates, and lands belonging to Turks unwilling to sell them, and to break off their connections with the country, shall be valued at a reasonable price, and paid into the Treasury of Belgrade with the annual tribute, and the said Treasury will forward the money to the proper owners. No Turks, except those who garrison the fortresses, shall be allowed to inhabit Servia. It was found impossible to carry out this arrangement with regard to land and property held by Turks without the most manifest injustice and wrong; accordingly, with the express consent of the Servians and of the Russian Government, who, be it remembered, had guaranteed the liberties and privileges of the Servians—a consent given through the Russian Embassy at Constantinople, and recorded in the Hatti-Sherif itself—the time for the sale of lands belonging to Mussulmans was enlarged to five years by an article in a fresh Hatti-Sherif, issued in December 1833. The following are the terms of the article:— In the above-mentioned my last Imperial Firman, a period of twelve months was granted to the Turks living in the small towns about the fortresses (the city of Belgrade excepted) to sell with advantage their estates and to quit Servia; but as that time appears now insufficient for this purpose, and with the view of altering it and of enforcing it into a law, we have authorized the said Turks to stay five years longer in Servia, dating the term from the day of the issuing and promulgating the present Firman. This was surely a reasonable concession to these unfortunate landholders, called upon thus suddenly to surrender the property so long held by their forefathers. That the orders of the Sultan were unfortunately not enforced, and the reason why they were not enforced we shall presently see. It now rested with Prince Milosh to carry out the intentions of the Porte, and to give to the Servian people liberal institutions, and a constitution founded upon these Hatti-Sherifs. But Milosh was a cruel, rapacious, and despotic ruler. He was uneducated, and a semi-barbarian. His only object seemed to be to keep down the people and to make money. The Servians made repeated appeals to him for their promised constitution, but in vain. At length, fearing a popular outbreak and expulsion from Servia, which was imminent, he granted a constitution, but revoked it again within forty-eight hours. The Servians, driven to despair, appealed to the Porte to protect them, and to compel the Prince to grant them their liberties. They sent a deputation to Constantinople in 1838, who obtained from the Turkish Government, and returned to Servia with, a fresh Hatti-Sherif. If any Hatti-Sherif is to be considered "the charter" of the Servians, it is this one. It is termed "A Statute in the shape of a Firman, granted by His Highness the Sultan to the Inhabitants of the Province of Ser- via," and is usually called the "Organic Statute." It fully confirms the entire freedom of the management of their affairs to the Servians; limits the annual revenue of the Prince to 4,000 purses (£20,000) a year; enjoins an economical administration; and directs that three functionaries shall be appointed Directors of Internal Affairs, of Justice, and of Finance. These officers are to be responsible to the Council for the management of the affairs intrusted to them, and may be called upon yearly for an account of their stewardship. The members of the Council cannot be removed at the pleasure of the Prince; they are to discuss the affairs of the nation, to settle the amount of taxes, to fix public salaries and emoluments, and to control expenditure. In fact, this National Council, to consist of seventeen members, Servians by birth, was to be a representative assembly of the Servian people. The constitution thus given, although it might not be considered perfect when judged by higher standards, was not ill-calculated for a semi-civilized people. It provided a cheap and economical administration, and secured to them the complete control of their own affairs. In addition to this Statute, a Firman was issued to the Pasha of Belgrade, directing him to summon a General Assembly of the nation to ratify the liberties thus granted to the Servians. Still Milosh persisted in his despotic course, and refused to fulfil the terms of the new constitution. The Servians at length rose, and expelled him from Servia. He was succeeded by his son, Milan, who died shortly afterwards, and Michael, the present Prince, assumed the Princedom. Although that rank was originally elective, the Porte had consented to make it hereditary. Michael trod in the footsteps of his father. He aimed at governing despotically. He entered into intrigues with foreign Powers against the Porte, began to stir up the neighbouring populations, and to demoralize the country. He soon contrived to disgust both his own people and his Sovereign. The Servians rose against him, and he was compelled at the end of 1842 to fly the country. The adherents and advocates of Prince Michael now wish to make it appear that he was expelled by the intrigues of the Porte. At that time no such assertion was made; nor in the protest which Prince Michael thought fit to make on leaving Belgrade is there any mention whatever of such intrigues, or is the Turkish Government accused of having had any share in his expulsion. I can speak with the confidence which personal knowledge can give of what happened at this time in Servia. My first entry into political life was a private mission with which, I was, intrusted at that time by that illustrious diplomatist Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. I was sent to Servia to report upon what had occurred. I was in intimate relation with the Servians leaders. And who were the men who had placed themselves at the head of the popular movement against Prince Michael? Were they Turks, or friends and partisans of the Turks? No, they were the old brothers in arms of Kara-George, who had fought with him in the War of Independence, and with him had expelled the Mussulmans from Servia—Vutchitch, Petronievitch, Zuban, and others; not men of an artificial French refinement, but simple, brave, honest, patriotic, men, who loved their country, and were prepared to lay down their lives for her liberties. They, in the name of the people, proclaimed the son of their old leader, Alexander Kara-Georgevitch, Prince of Servia. When the Consuls of the foreign Powers at Belgrade# asked Kiamil Pasha, then representing the Porte, whether he was going to support Alexander, he answered that it was his duty to consult the Servian people. The General Assembly Was called together, and they would have hone other but Alexander for their Prince. The Porte accordingly confirmed their decision. M. Zuban, who presided at one time over the Administration of Justice, was sent to Constantinople to carry on negotiations with the Porte. I knew him intimately. For many an hour has he sung to me the popular songs of his country, describing her bloody struggles with her ancient oppressors, and celebrating her victories over the Turk, accompanying himself upon a primitive fiddle with one string. We talked together in dog Latin, which was then the medium of communication between the Servian statesmen and the outer world. These men, with all their rude, simple, primitive habits and mode of thought, more truly represented the Servian people than some who pretend to greater refinement and civilization. They, at least, were honest, and had the real interests and good of the Servian people at heart. The popular revolution which had taken place in Servia, did not, for various reasons, suit the Russian Government. It protested against it, and peremptorily called upon the Porte to revoke its recognition of Alexander, and to discountenance this assertion of popular rights. The Porte for some time refused. It is well known that Russia was on the point of making the question one of war or peace. It was principally owing to the interference of Lord Aberdeen, then Foreign Secretary, that a Hussion invasion of Turkey did not take place. The Porte, under the advice of England, consented to a new election in Servia; but the people unanimously insisted upon having Alexander, and even prepared themselves to resist by arms any interference in their affairs. Prince Alexander Kara-Georgevitch reigned in Servia for nearly eighteen years. During that period there was peace in the Principality; there was no Servian question in agitation; we heard nothing of Turkish oppression and Turkish outrages; we had no discussions in this House about Servia. There were, probably, but few hon. Members who even knew that such a semi-independent Principality existed. These facts furnish the best proofs that the people were well satisfied, and had no reason to complain. We have heard from my hon. Friend of the improvements which have taken place in Servia, and which contrast, he says, most favourably with the state of Turkey; how roads have been constructed, how schools have been opened, how the education of the people has advanced, how their national prosperity has increased. I willingly admit these improvements, and believe them to have been not merely showy and superficial, but real and substantial, and such as are required amongst the Christians of the East. But let me remind the House that it was during the liberal, quiet, and peaceful administration of affairs under Prince Alexander that they took place. It is to his reign that Servia owes them. During the whole of this period the Turks, who had not left the Principality as they ought to have done, lived on the most friendly terms with the Christians. I remember that such was the case when I was at Belgrade. They bought and sold of each other; no quarrels or outrages were heard of. M. Garaschanin himself made an admission to Mr. Longworth, which he now endeavours by vague assertion and indiscriminate accusations to explain away, but which facts prove to be true—that only two riots occurred during those years, and only one Servian was killed. Why had not the Turks quitted Servia, as it was agreed that they should do? Some families had left—had given up their lands and property, relying upon the promises of indemnification; but up to this day those indemnities have, I believe, never been paid. As long as this question remained unsettled, it was difficult to force the remaining Turks to quit the country, and to become starving beggars and outcasts. Negotiations were constantly going on at Constantinople on the subject. I will not say that the Servian Government was alone to blame. I have no doubt the usual dilatory and procrastinating policy of the Porte interfered with a settlement; but, at any rate, during the reign of Alexander no mischief ensued, nor was any outbreak ever feared. At the same time, those elements of a misunderstanding which ought, in common prudence, as well as in justice, to have been removed, were allowed to remain. Mr. Consul General Longworth thus describes the condition of the Turks of Belgrade during this period— As to the Turks of Belgrade being a, turbulent population, the charge I never before heard advanced during a residence of two and a half years at Belgrade. On the contrary, I have always understood, that being but a comparative handful amidst the Servian population, they were remarkable for their quiet and inoffensive conduct to everybody. M. Garaschanin has stated to me, that for twenty years previously to the restoration of the dominant family there were only two riots, and one Servian killed, in the town. Finally, if the Turks were people of such violent and disorderly character, why, it may be asked, have the Jews always preferred taking up their abode in their quarter of the town? Whilst Alexander reigned, the administration of their affairs was in the hands of the Servian people. They paid their annual tribute, a small sum, not amounting to more than £20,000, to the Porte. The Turkish Government never interfered with them. It is perfectly monstrous and ridiculous to talk of constant Turkish outrages and of Turkish oppression, as the Servian gentlemen who circulate these pamphlets do. No one ever heard of them before. Forty pandours, or policemen, were sufficient to keep order throughout the Principality. The taxes were very light, and the administration was simple and inexpensive, and at the same time such as suited the wants of the people and the social condition of the country. That the Servian nation was satisfied, and had no complaint against the Porte, its conduct during the Russian war furnishes ample proof. A rumour having prevailed that Austrian troops might be sent into the country to prevent the Servians taking part against the Turks, the Servian Government drew up a memorandum [Parl. Papers, Session 1854], in which this remarkable passage occurs— As far as concerns internal insurrections, we fear them now less than ever. The whole nation is perfectly convinced that its most precious interests impose upon it the maintenance of tranquillity and order, and the avoidance of anything that could involve it in the war, and turn Servia into a battle-field. Filled with a deep gratitude to the Suzerain Court for the privileges which have been so graciously confirmed to them, and for the attitude which they have been allowed to hold during this war, the Government and people of Servia are too much alive to their own interests, and too much attached to the happiness of their country, to hesitate a moment as to the line of conduct to be followed, Their consciousness of their own situation will preserve them, better than any threats whatever, from all false and injurious measures. In other respects, since the war has broken out, has not Servia sufficiently shown that she both knows, and will remain faithful to, her duties and obligations? Notwithstanding all that may have been said, she has never ceased following a line of conduct, retiring it is true, but loyal and conformable to her engagements. Neither will she henceforward deviate from this line of conduct. The Sublime Porte may be perfectly sure of this. The Servians resisted every attempt to induce them to arm against the Turks in favour of Russia. Surely, if they had so much reason to complain against the Porte as we are now told they had, if the outrages described had been committed, if there had been that interference in their internal affairs, now would have been the time for escaping from Turkish oppression. Yet they steadily refused to take part in any way against Turkey, and remained faithful throughout the war to the Suzerain Power. This state of things did not suit the views of the partisans of Prince Milosh, and of those who had countenanced the ambitious schemes of his family. Intrigues were industriously carried on, and at length an outbreak was brought about, and Prince Alexander was compelled to leave Servia. Most untruthful statements—and statements which the writers perfectly well know to be untrue—have been made by the gentlemen who have written and circulated these pamphlets about Servia. They denounce the policy of Alexander as "anti-national;" I believe it to have been "national" in the best sense of the word—national because most conducive to the to the true interests, happiness, and prosperity of the Servians. What they call "subserviency to the Turks," I would term a respect for treaty and other engagements, honourable to the Prince and his advisers. Prince Milosh returned to Servia. The policy of Prince Alexander's reign was reversed. The Servian question immediately turned up. Pansclavonic intrigues and designs were again heard of. Risings took place in Montenegro and amongst the adjacent Christian populations. Servian agents appeared at Bucharest. The Servians were incited against the Turks. Riots were brought about. Reports were industriously circulated of Turkish outrages. It was evident that something was brewing. But before his schemes could be matured and carried out, Milosh died. His son, the present Prince, who had been expelled in 1842, claimed the succession as an hereditary right. The Porte denied that right, and was perfectly justified in doing so, as it had ceased on the expulsion of the family, when the right of election had again been claimed and exercised by the Servian nation. The Turkish Government, as the protectors of the Servian people, and as the guarantors of their liberties, wished them to choose for themselves. However, rather than run the risk of complicating matters in Servia by raising difficulties, the Porte yielded, reserving to itself the right of objecting. The "Berat," or firman of investiture, was sent through the Turkish Commissioner, whom Prince Michael had the bad taste to treat with marked discourtesy and disrespect. It was evident to any one acquainted with the state of things in Servia that it was his intention to commit an open breach with the Porte. One of his first steps was to raise the pandours, or police-guard, at Belgrade, to 300 men, and to enrol amongst them refugee Montenegrins, and Christians from other parts of Turkey known for their crimes as well as for their enmity to the Turks. It has been denied by M. Garaschanin that these Montenegrins were enrolled. They have since been removed from Belgrade, and have been placed in hiding for the time. Mr. Consul General Longworth thus describes the constitution, of this corps— The disorder and perturbation of which Belgrade has been so long the theatre, the crisis of which has been the late outbreak, was in a great measure brought about by a body of men called 'gendarmerie.' They were instituted by Prince Milosh, about a year after his return to Belgrade, and consisted at first of 120 men. Before that time the Servian police had been composed of some thirty pandours, as they were called, who, co-operating with the Turkish police, succeeded perfectly in keeping the peace of the town—Turks and Servians living on the best terms together, and, as I have been assured by M. Garaschanin, only two riots having occurred, and one man being killed, during the course of the twenty years. The chief business of the gendarmerie was to intimidate the Turkish population, and gradually encroach on the functions of the Turkish police, so that they should be at length practically superseded by them. This force has been from time to time augmented, and last autumn, when the National Assembly was convoked at Kragugevatz, their numbers were doubled: their equipment and organization were also completed; in addition to pistols and side arms, muskets and bayonets were kept in depôt to be distributed to them on an emergency; they were also subjected to military drill and discipline. The moral composition of the corps was even more formidable than the physical. Its chief was a certain Barlwatz Birkish, who in the revolution of 1842, assassinated the father of ML Garaschanin. The way in which it was for the most part, and more especially of late, recruited, was most scandalous. The best recommendation to employment seems to have been a character for ruffianism. Montenegrin and Bosniac refugees, animated by a spirit of vengeance against the Turks, were preferably enrolled in this corps. It was natural to expect that such men would not prove very manageable, or that their lawless ferocity could always be kept within the bounds prescribed by the interests of the Servian Government; it seems hardly fair, however, on the other hand, to visit these crimes with the severity it has been advised to do of late, nor will it thereby escape responsibility. The impression made by this system of terror on the Turkish population, who naturally shrink from a collision, well knowing by experience that, right or wrong, they would be sacrificed, was very painful to contemplate, when the Servians themselves, conscious they were driving them to despair, declared them to be arming: but I have been at great pains to clear up this accusation, and I feel convinced it was unfounded; they showed great patience and forbearance to the last. Then succeeded a series of riots and outrages. We heard of Turks assaulting and slaying Christians. Inroads were made from Servia into the adjacent Turkish provinces. The Turks revenged themselves. Murders were committed on both sides. In 1861 the Prince convoked the Skuptchina, or General Assembly. This is a general meeting of the Servian people held at Kragugevatz, in the centre of Servia. The object of the Prince being, it would appear, to curtail the liberties of the people, and to extend his own power, he first thought it necessary to propose three measures which might conciliate popular favour. These were:—That the succession to the Principality should be declared hereditary; that a militia of 50,000 men, with a reserve of 70,000, should be raised; and that he alone should represent the Servian nation in its relations with foreign Powers, and should conclude all treaties and conventions. These three measures amounted to a virtual declaration of independence of the Sultan. They were in direct violation not only of the solemn engagements between Servia and the Porte, but of stipulations in treaties with European Powers. The Prince next proceeded to curtail the rights and liberties of the Servian people, in violation of the Hatti-Sherifs of the Suzerain Power, which had guaranteed these rights and liberties. He introduced a change in the constitution of the Skuptchina itself, which has the effect of reducing its number by 100, and thus rendering the process of bribery and intimidation easier. By a law, which he con-trived to got through the Skuptchina, he gave himself the power of dissolving as well as of convoking this Assembly at his pleasure, choosing the time most suitable to himself. A period of three years must now elapse before the nation can demand its convocation. It will be remembered that the Sultan's Hatti-Sherif empowered the National Assembly to meet yearly. He further deprived the Assembly of the right of electing its President, Vice President, and Secretary, who are to be elected by himself. Formerly this Assembly met armed. Its members are now prohibited to go armed, whilst the Prince is at liberty to surround the Skuptchina with an armed force of his own, and thus to interfere with its independence. He next proceeded to violate altogether the Organic Statute embodied in the Hatti-Sherif of 1838, which had been given to the Servian people at their own request and with the consent of Russia, and the execution of which had, moreover, been placed under the collective guarantee of the great Powers of Europe by the Treaty of Paris. Under that Statute, as I have stated, the members of the Council could not be dismissed without having been guilty of some infraction of the laws of the country. They are now entirely at the mercy of the Prince, and can be dismissed at his pleasure. The Prince has further arrogated to himself the right of naming the President and Vice President of the Council, who are to exercise their functions until changed by the Prince, who will also appoint the Secretary, and who can even pension them all off; thus placing this body, whose duty and function it was to protect the liberties of the people, entirely at the mercy of the Prince. By the Statute the three functionaries appointed for the management of affairs were to be directly responsible to the Council; they are now virtually responsible to the Prince alone. Both the Porte and Her Majesty's Government, through Mr. Consul General Long-worth, protested against these proceedings of the Prince, not only as an unwarrantable assumption of independence and as a violation of solemn engagements and treaty stipulations, but as a direct attack upon the rights and liberties of the Servian people. We warned him that this course of illegality could not fail to end in trouble to himself and in serious danger to Servia. By declaring his succession hereditary he had deprived the nation of their undoubted right of election. Popular election might or might not be a convenient system, but that was not a question either for the Porte or the Prince to decide upon. The Sultan had guaranteed to the Servian people the right of election, and the Prince had no power to deprive them of it without their consent together with that of the Suzerain. Again, it Was ridiculous, it was monstrous, to endeavour to raise a militia force of 50,000 men, with 70,000 reserve, out of a population of about 1,000,000—thus placing almost the whole adult available male population of Servia under arms, and converting the Principality into a camp. When the Prince Was asked why so large a force was required in a country whose rights and actual status were guaranteed by the great Powers of Europe, and upon which Turkey had never attempted or even meditated any attack, he coolly replied that it might be for the defence of Turkey herself. When Turkey declared that she had no need of such defence, other excuses no less frivolous were invented. The right to negotiate independent treaties with foreign States was a complete throwing off of the suzerainty of the Sultan. Is it surprising that the Porte should have remonstrated against these pretensions? Is it surprising that it should desire to enforce its undoubted rights? Is it surprising that it should have felt alarm at these undisguised preparations for aggression upon Turkey? What followed? Within a very short period intrigues were rife in the adjacent Turkish provinces to stir up the Christians to insurrection. Russian consular agents were sent to nearly every town of any importance in Bulgaria. I believe no less than twelve Were thus appointed. Servian and Russian political agents were actively engaged in exciting the Bulgarians and the Bosnians to rise. Reports were industriously circulated that the Prince of Servia himself was shortly about to cross the frontier into Turkey, and to place himself at the head of the Christians. Negotiations were secretly opened with the Prince of Montenegro and the Christian insurgents in Herzegovina. Turks and Servians were murdered in Servia. My hon. Friend has carefully omitted all reference to these things. He has not even noticed the fact of the previous murder of twelve Turks by the Servians in 1860. Mr. Consul General Longworth Over and over again, by direction of Her Majesty's Government, warned the Prince and the Servian Government of the inevitable consequences of their proceedings. We did not offer these warnings as the enemy of the Servian people, but as their, friend, taking a sincere interest in their prosperity and Welfare. The natural result of what I have described was, that the Turks took alarm, and were greatly irritated. Rumours had long been prevalent that the Servians contemplated an attack upon the fortress of Belgrade. So much importance was attached to these reports that the Austrian Government had actually offered to the Turkish Government to send assistance to the fortress, an offer which was declined. In the papers concerning the bombardment of Belgrade laid on the table of the House will be found a warning despatch from Mr. Longworth, written on the 2nd of June, more than a fortnight before the bombardment, which shows that the Servians were pushing the Turks to extremities, and that a collision was becoming inevitable.

I think I have shown, that whatever may have been the faults of the Turks—and I do not hesitate to admit that much blame attaches to the Turkish Government for not having come to a settlement of some questions pending between them and the Servian Government, against, let me add, the urgent and repeated remonstrances of Sir Henry Bulwer acting under the instructions of Her Majesty's Government—whatever may have been the faults of the Turks, I say, it is evident that the Prince and the Servian Government had determined to come to an open rupture with the Porte. I do not of course mean to affirm that they intended to drive the Turks into bombarding the town of Belgrade, or that they had even anticipated that event. That they had designs upon the fortress is more than probable. They certainly had certain schemes which, by exasperating the Turks and bringing about a collision with them, they believed they could carry out. M. Garaschanin expressly admits it in the pro- clamation which he addressed to the Servian people after the bombardment and the concessions made by the Porte. These are his words;—"We have gained what we under other circumstances could only have gained with far greater danger and bloodshed." What did such language mean if it did not mean that the Servian Government had certain objects in view which it had determined to attain by open violence? The despatches of Mr. Longworth prove beyond question that what I have stated was the case. My hon. Friend has attempted to cast discredit upon those despatches, and has spoken of Mr. Longworth in language which I heard with regret. Mr. Longworth is one of my oldest friends. I have known him since the year 1839, when we first met in the East. Her Majesty's Government has not a more honourable, conscientious, and able public servant. To an intimate knowledge of every part of the Turkish Empire, acquired from public employment and travel in nearly every one of its provinces in Europe and Asia, he adds—as I am sure every one will admit who reads his despatches—a very remarkable literary power. Moreover, he is a man who is accustomed to think much for himself, and to think deeply. So far from his being a friend to the oppressor, in early life, with great courage and daring, he made his way into Circassia, and aided the brave mountaineers of that unfortunate country in their struggle against Russia. His very interesting work upon Circassia—perhaps the first which drew attention to that region—may be known to some hon. Members. At a later period he accompanied, as British Commissioner, Fuad Pasha, who was at the head of the Turkish forces in Albania and Thessaly, when the Greeks invaded those provinces. He speaks the Turkish language fluently, and is intimately acquainted with the various races, Christian and Mohammedan, which form the population of the Turkish Empire. Such being the character and experience of Mr. Longworth, my hon. Friend and the House may place the fullest reliance upon the statements that he had made. Mr. Longworth shows you that outrages had been constantly committed on Turks by the Servians, and that the Turkish population of Belgrade were driven well-nigh into a state of despair. He states, what has never been denied, that during the night of the 15th, in spite of the convention between the Servian Government and the Turkish authorities, the Turkish quarter had been sacked by the Servians, and that men and women had been barbarously murdered. He tells you that he himself saw a cart-load of slaughtered Turkish women. Others saw the same sight. My hon. Friend denies that the Servians fired upon the fortress. Upon very good authority the contrary is stated to have been the case. The Austrian Consul declares, that whilst he was in the castle in conference with the Pasha, shots were fired into it. However this may be, the question is not who fired first, or what immediate event brought about the bombardment. What it is necessary to prove, and what I have endeavoured to show, is, that by a series of events, by numerous outrages instigated by the Servian Government and Servian authorities, a collision with the Turks was rendered inevitable. My hon. Friend has spoken as if Her Majesty's Government or Mr. Long-worth justified the bombardment of the Servian portion of the city. Nothing can be further from the fact; on the contrary, they have condemned it most emphatically and most unreservedly. It was an unjustifiable act—an infamous act, if you will. Nothing could be stronger than the words of the consular protest quoted by my hon. Friend, and the first name to which is that of Mr. Longworth. My hon. Friend has exclaimed with great energy that Mr. Longworth "did not dare" send home that protest, and that consequently it had not been printed amongst the papers; but I can assure him that he is entirely mistaken. There could have been no possible motive for withholding this document, which was alluded to over and over again by Mr. Longworth in his reports and despatches. The simple fact is this—that Mr. Longworth having sent a copy of it to Constantinople, was under the impression that it had been forwarded from thence to England. Having been informed of his mistake, he at once sent the copy which has been printed, and is now ready for distribution amongst Members of the House. An endeavour has been made to show that the subsequent conduct of Mr. Longworth was entirely at variance with this protest. I see no inconsistency between them. Mr. Longworth did what every humane man would have done under the circumstrnces. Whilst the bombardment was going on, the first thing to do was to stop the effusion of blood and the destruction of property—to protest against them. When quiet was restored, then was an appropriate time to inquire into the history and origin of the attack, and to tell the whole truth. This was what Mr. Longworth did. But was the Turkish Government, as my hon. Friend appeared to insinuate, privy to the bombardment, or did they approve of it? On the contrary, the very moment the news was forwarded by telegraph to Constantinople, they disgraced the Pasha who had ordered it, without waiting for further information, or for his defence and explanation; and they instantly despatched to the spot one of the ablest and most enlightened Turkish statesmen, Ahmed Vefyk Effendi, to institute a full inquiry, and to do justice in the matter. The real origin of the bombardment appears to be this:—The command of the fortress was in the hands of a civilian, and it is well known that men unaccustomed to war are apt to get unnecessarily alarmed, and to lose their heads when the sound of firing is heard and they are exposed to attack. He had been long aware that designs were entertained on the part of the Servian authorities against the fortress. He believed that the moment had come for putting them into execution. Acting partly under an exaggerated sense of responsibility, and partly from panic, he adopted the extreme measure of bombarding the town. But I repeat what I have already distinctly stated, that nothing could justify this act, and that Her Majesty's Government have unequivocally condemned it. I willingly concur, moreover, with my hon. Friend in the satisfaction he feels that owing to the very bad practice of the Turkish gunners so little comparative danger was done to life and property. Still it must not be forgotten that the Servian Government, and those who engaged in the intrigues which I have described, are mainly responsible for this untoward event.

My hon. Friend has complained that the fortress is not only to be left in the hands of the Turks, but that Servian property and houses are to be destroyed in order to furnish a new rayon to it, and that it is to be made stronger than it was before. But what is the real state of the case? The fortress is not only a Turkish fortress, and has always been one, but its possession is formally guaranteed to Turkey by the Treaty of Paris. As a fortress, it requires a certain rayon. That rayon formerly existed, but the Turks, who are an easygoing and careless people, allowed Servians as well as Mussulmans to encroach gradually and to build houses upon it. This accounts for the gates occupied by Turkish troops, and standing in the middle of a Servian or mixed quarter, of which we have heard so much. They were once the gates of the enceinte of the fortress, and unquestionably belonged to the Turks as part of it. It was, no doubt, very inconvenient that, under the altered circumstances of the city, these isolated posts should still be held by Turkish troops. They have now been given up, and that part of the question is at an end. But it is only fair and just, that if the Turks retain the fortress, it should he placed in a state capable of defence. The Turks might claim their ancient rayon. It was decided to refer the matter to a joint Commission, composed of experienced engineer officers appointed by Turkey and the Great Powers. After a full inquiry and examination on the spot they have unanimously decided upon the rayon which is absolutely necessary to the fortress. My hon. Friend has spoken as if only Servian property was to be destroyed to form that rayon. That is altogether a mistake. Very few Servian houses are, I believe, to be pulled down; those to be destroyed are, with the exception of a few Jewish, Turkish. And it must be remembered that above 1,000 Turkish houses and shops have been utterly destroyed to satisfy the Servians. The Servian Government and their friends in this country are not satisfied, and ask that the fortress of Belgrade itself should be given up and destroyed. Of what use, my hon. Friend asks, is this stronghold to Turkey? What do the Turks want with a fortress at the junction of the Danube and the Save? The Turks themselves differ in opinion from the Servians and my hon. Friend. They believe that the fortress of Belgrade is necessary to them. The same questions have been asked with regard to Gibraltar. [Mr. WHITE: "Hear, hear!"] My hon. Friend the Member for Brighton (Mr. White) cheers as if he approves of these questions being asked with regard to it. Well, the English people think that Gibraltar is useful and important to England, and have no inclination or intention to give it up. The Turks think the same of Belgrade. They may believe that it may prevent the occupation of Servia by a foreign Power; may prevent Servia being made a basis of operations against Turkey, as Wallachia and Moldavia are well known to have been made. Moreover, that historic fortress is associated with the ancient glory and victories of the Ottoman race. Can we expect that they will willingly surrender it? and more especially as a recompense to those who have driven them into their present straits, and have wantonly outraged them? My hon. Friend would seem to wish the House to believe that it rested with Her Majesty's Government whether or not the fortress of Belgrade is to be given over to the Servians. But this is a question not for Her Majesty's Government to decide, but for the Turks.

The conduct of the Servian Government since the bombardment has been entirely passed over by my hon. Friend. What has occurred since that event, and whilst the great Powers have been endeavouring to effect some arrangement between the Porte and Servia? We find large supplies of arms clandestinely, I would almost say treacherously, sent into Servia. According to some statements, as many as 100,000 stand; according to the lowest estimate, between 40,000 and 50,000. These arms were not purchased in the open market, and for an avowed purpose, but wore secretly furnished from Imperial arsenals in the south of Russia, and furnished, there is every reason to believe, without payment. They were secretly sent across the Moldo-Wallachian frontiers, and under the charge of Russian and Wallachian officials. When information was obtained as to what was going on, and remonstrances were made by the Porte, and by some of the great Powers, the fact of arms being sent was boldly denied; then it was asserted that the arms were few, and were not intended for Servia at all. When the whole transaction was fully exposed, the Prince of Servia came boldly forward, and declared that the arms were for him, and that he had a perfect right to receive them. At the same time vessels came up the Danube, under the Russian flag, laden with gunpowder and munitions of war, and destined for Servia. Now, these proceedings were not only in direct violation of the Prince's engagements and duties to the Porte, but of the treaties with foreign Powers, which prohibit the importation of arms or ammunition of war into Turkey, of which Servia is a province. Is it not natural that the Turkish Government should view these proceedings, undisguisedly hostile, with some degree of alarm? Are they to remain idle and to take no step whilst their avowed enemies are arming? All the Turkish Government have done—and very prudently under the circumstances—is to send a few troops to the Servian frontier to maintain order, and to be prepared to defend the province of Bulgaria against an attack. Well, this is at once seized upon as a great cause of grievance, and Mr. Garaschanin exclaims very loudly against the threatened attack of the barbarous Turks, and the oppressions and outrages to which the unfortunate and innocent Servians are exposed. His cries are repeated in this country, and we hear the conduct of the Turkish Government denounced in this House. It really would seem, that when "Eastern Questions" are discussed here, hon. Gentlemen lose all sense of justice and right. Let a people believe in Mahomet, or pay respect to Confucius, and no treatment can be too bad for them. They may be deprived of their property or their lives with impunity, so long as those who rob and murder them are Christians. If I venture to protest against these doctrines, and to urge that equal justice should be dealt out to men of all creeds, I am denounced as a Turk, or a friend of the Turks. This intolerance of those who do not agree with us may be a form of Christianity; but it is certainly not the Christianity in which I have been taught to believe. The British Government warned the Russian Government of the dangerous consequences of the course it was pursuing in encouraging the Servians in their designs upon Turkey, and in supplying them with arms. Lord Russell, in a prophetic strain, pointed out, that if there was to be a great Pansclavonic movement, Warsaw must eventually become the centre of it. His words were speedily verified. The Polish revolution broke out within two or three months after they were uttered, and it is not impossible that some of the arms intended for Servia, and that some of those who went to play the part of instigators of rebellion in Turkey, may have found their way into Poland. It is a dangerous thing to play with fire in a neighbour's house, when one's own is built of inflammable materials. I trust that this lesson may not be lost upon Russia.

These preparations for eventual aggression upon Turkey are, I fear, still continuing. A large number of redoubts, about a hundred in number, are being raised by the Servian Government on the Turkish frontier, and nearly 100,000 men are being armed, and exercised. Is it, therefore, surprising that the Turkish Government should be taking ordinary precautions to defend, themselves, and is it not the, height of injustice to ask Her Majesty's Government to prevent them doing so? Because Her Majesty's Government do not step in and commit so flagrant an act of injustice, we are denounced as the partisans of the Turks and the enemies of the Christians. I utterly and indignantly deny the truth of any such accusation. The same accusation was made against the British Government in the case of Greece. Greece offers in many respects a parallel, and certainly a warning, to Servia. Instead of turning their attention to the development of the resources of the country, to the prosperity and happiness of its people, to their education, to the extension of commerce, and to the construction of roads and of public works, the Greek Government were led away by wild schemes of dominion and aggrandisement. The Turk was to be ejected from Europe, and the Cross triumphantly planted above the Crescent upon the dome of St. Sophia. Her Majesty's Government warned the Greek Government, that if they were desirous of promoting the real interests of the Greeks, even that future greatness which they contemplated for the Greek race, their true policy was not to sacrifice everything to temporary intrigues and illusive schemes, but to turn their whole attention to the material improvement of Greece, and to fit her people for self-government, so that she might furnish an example to Eastern nations; and if the occasion should arise when any addition could be made to her territory, she might be ready for it, and worthy of it. For giving such advice and opposing the ambitious designs of the Greek Government, Her Majesty's Government were, over and over again, denounced as the enemies of Greece. Our conduct was contrasted with those Powers which, because they encouraged her, were supposed to be her friends. What happened? The rulers of Greece brought the Greek name into general contempt, and they fell without sympathy from Europe or from their people. The Greek people, recognising the justice and wisdom of the advice given to them by England, turned to her in their difficulty, and elected by unanimous acclamation an English Prince for their King. In like manner we have said, and say, to the Servian Government, "Abandon your ambitious schemes, and your intrigues amongst the Turkish populations. Seek to improve the moral and social condition of your own people, develop the resources of your country, make the utmost of your free institutions, show that there is an Eastern Christian race capable of governing itself. You have nothing to fear from without. Your internal independence, the administration of your own affairs is solemnly guaranteed by all the great Powers of Europe. The Turks have neither the intention nor the desire to interfere with you. You may so educate and civilize your people that you may one day worthily represent the Sclavonic race; but that time is not yet come, and you are rendering its advent more remote, if not impossible, by the course you are now pursuing. "Such is the advice that we tender to the Servian Government. In tendering it we are called the enemies of the Servian people. I contend that we show ourselves their truest friends. If we are the enemies of any persons, it is of those intriguers who for motives of self-interest would deceive and mislead them.

Long before my hon. Friend knew anything of the Servian people I had felt a deep interest in them. There was a time when as a young man I looked with some enthusiasm upon that frugal, honest, simple, industrious race, as likely to form the nucleus of a wide-spreading Sclavonic civilization. But I confess that my hopes have been greatly damped by the events of the last few years. I fear that Servia is being deluded into taking the same course as that which has been so fatal to Greece. Formerly, the people were lightly taxed; they enjoyed a cheap administration; they were allowed a voice in their own affairs; there was no standing army to tread down their liberties; they were on friendly and neighbourly terms with the Turks; they were making slow but certain progress. I see them gradually deprived of these blessings. What do we find? Recently Prince Michael has turned the three functionaries who were to preside over justice, finance, and home affairs, into seven Ministers of State. There is a Minister for Foreign Affairs, a Minister for War, a Minister for Justice, and I know not for what else. He must have Diplomatic Agents at the European Courts. Servia must have above 100,000 men under arms. And all this with a population of not more than 1,000,000 of souls! Why, such things are simply ridiculous! We are hearing, too, of a vast extension of territory. There are whispers that Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Bulgaria are to be united under one Prince, and that Prince the Prince of Servia. To bring the public opinion of Europe round to this notable scheme, pamphlets are liberally published and circulated, and no doubt cost a great deal of money. Now, what is the immediate result of all this? Quarrels with the Porte are daily taking place; brigandage is increasing; the country is gradually becoming demoralized; the taxes are nearly doubled, and will be probably quadrupled; the husbandmen are being taken from their fields and the artisans from their labour, the people are gradually becoming discontented; and to crown all, the last news from the Principality is that the Prince has declared eight districts in a state of siege and under martial law, and reserves to himself the right of placing the others in the same condition! Such are the results of the policy of Prince Michael and his advisers. The Servian people are beginning to sigh for the quiet times of Prince Alexander. All they want is to remain at peace and to be on friendly terms with their neighbours. They do not want, for the sake of promoting Pansclavonian schemes, to pay four times the amount of their former taxes; nor do they require a standing army or a Corps Diplomatique. In a short time we shall, no doubt, see the Servian Government coming to this country for a loan. We shall hear of concessions to influential persons. Very probably the exertions of their friends may obtain the money for them. But British sympathy is very much cooled by the non-payment of dividends. We shall see the case of Greece over again; interest will not be paid; and Servia will fall into discredit and disgrace. It is not impossible that the Servian Government may succeed in involving Servia in a war with Turkey. Then one of two things will happen: either Servia will be left alone to fight her battles against the Turks, or she will ask for and obtain foreign assistance. If she be left alone, the Turks will sweep the Servians off the face of the earth. Servia, with her small population, however brave and warlike, and her limited resources, can have no chance alone and unaided against the well-organized and numerous troops of Turkey. She may then turn for assistance to some foreign Power—to Russia or to Austria Russia may march troops to her aid, and she may free herself altogether from Turkey. But what will happen then? Servia independent of Turkey means Servia dependent upon some other Power. But will her position be then improved? I venture to say that it would not. I do not think that Servia of herself can take her place as an independent State amongst the Powers of Europe. We hear a good deal about a great Selavonian Kingdom with the Prince of Servia at its head. But let the Servians learn to govern themselves before they attempt to govern others, let them render themselves able to maintain their own independence. Let them secure the substance before they endeavour to grasp at the shadow. I hope the words of warning and advice that I have ventured to utter may reach the Servian people. I fear they will have little effect upon those who, from motives of ambition or self interest, are seeking to lead the nation astray, and to plunge it in great difficulties and danger. I believe that the course I have ventured to recommend is the one best calculated to promote the prosperity and to insure the real freedom of Servia.

My hon. Friend the Member for Galway (Mr. Gregory) has quoted, with reference to the union of the Danubian Principalities, a passage from a speech made some years ago by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer then described, with his usual power and brilliancy of language, the duty of England with regard to the wishes of the populations of Wallachia and Moldavia, then in favour of union. With the principles then so eloquently laid down I most entirely and heartily agree; in those opinions I entirely concur. Upon those principles and opinions the British Government acted. If the inhabitants of the Principalities desired their union, it was not for us to oppose their desires. The Turkish Government confirmed the choice, made by the inhabitants of the two provinces, of one Prince. But with a view, not to its own advantage, but for the protection of the Wallachians and Moldavians, the Porte reserved to itself the right, after the death of Prince Couza, to continue or to dissolve the union as the interest of the Principalities themselves required. Although we had no right to interfere with the wishes of the inhabitants of the Principalities when they demanded their union, it was allowable to have an opinion on the subject. I ventured to state in this House that I believed the union would not advance the prosperity or the happiness of the people. Has it done so? I have good reason to believe that it has not. In these provinces, too, the Prince is endeavouring to curtail the liberties of the people. Already discussions with the Assembly are leading to the assumption of arbitrary power. Class is being set against class. The expenditure is being increased. Ambitious schemes are being developed. The country is gradually being demoralized. Amongst other arbitrary acts, the Prince, in violation of the arrangement made by the protocols of Paris and of his duty, has confiscated the revenues of the Greek convents; and when an ecclesiastic of rank was sent to remonstrate he was thrown into prison, and has been condemned to three years hard labour in the mines. Already an influential and growing party is formed in Moldavia anxious to dissever the union, and to return to the old state of things. Have the prosperity and happiness of the Montenegrins been increased by the course they have taken at the suggestion of their so-called friends? Last year, without any provocation, they made a wanton attack upon Turkey and committed great atrocities. We urged them not to engage in a hopeless struggle with the Turks. We advised them, over and over again, to accept the very fair and reasonable terms offered to them. But in vain. They were led away by schemes of conquest and hopes of support. The result was, that they were defeated, and would have been entirely overpowered if it had not been for European interference. As it is, the best blood of the race has been spilt, the bravest and most warlike of their young men have been killed, and it will take Montenegro a quarter of a century at least to recover the strength she possessed before embarking in this fatal war. I venture to think, that if it were the object of Her Majesty's Government to befriend the Turk at the expense of the Christian, to throw the latter back half a century, and to render his chance of being happy, prosperous, and free more remote than ever, we could not do better than adopt the policy suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Galway. It is because we do not wish to inflict these injuries upon the Christians that we have adopted the policy I am defending. I know of no States that might enjoy more real happiness, independence, and prosperity than the three Danubian Principali- ties under the suzerainty of the Sultan. It is their interest to be on good terms with the Porte, as it is the true interest of the Porte to have a good understanding with them. They are useful to Turkey as frontier provinces, which, from their peculiar position and constitution, might form a barrier against invasion or attack. On the other hand, Turkey is no less useful to them. For she, a considerable military Power, is bound to protect them, whilst they are at the same time placed under the guarantee of the European Powers. Thus they can direct their whole energies, their whole resources, to the development of their prosperity and to the perfecting of their institutions. They need no army to defend them, and no diplomacy to represent them;—a simple, modest, and economical establishment for their Prince is all that is necessary. The people should consequently be more lightly taxed than almost any other in the world. They are going to throw away all these advantages at the bidding of a parcel of intriguers who have picked up the outward varnish of civilization in European capitals, and have returned home, having acquired some bad French and worse morals. These men, by their speeches and writings, seek to mislead a quiet, inoffensive, and ignorant people, who only desire to remain at peace, and to cultivate their fields and to bring up their children. They make them believe that the time has come for exterminating the Turks and appropriating their lands. The kind of surface civilization which this class of men would wish to introduce is the most mischievous and detestable thing imaginable. Those who support and encourage them, and advocate their political schemes, are, I am convinced, the worst enemies not only of the Servians bat of all the Christian subjects of the Porte.

Let me now say a few words upon the general condition of the Turkish Empire, which has formed the subject of a considerable portion of my hon. Friend's speech. I must say that my hon. Friend has not given us much new matter. What he has said has been said over and over again. The immediate fall of the Turkish Empire has been confidently predicted for the last century. The unquestionable proofs of its decay have formed the theme of innumerable travellers of all nations; yet it has outlived some kingdoms, and may outlive others. My hon. Friend has repeated old stories which I remember to have heard when I first went to Turkey nearly twenty-five years ago—stories which have been handed down for generations from father to son, and have formed the traditionary stock-in-trade of the laquais-de-place of Pera for the instruction and amusement of innocent and credulous tourists. I really think my hon. Friend fully believes in the romantic histories of hundreds of unhappy ladies tied up in sacks seen floating in the Bosphorus, and in those rows of human heads daily exposed in front of the Sultan's palace, which so many travellers have been sent to look at—from a respectable distance. In one of the numerous pamphlets published in the form of a letter, from which I fancy my hon. Friend has largely drawn his information, we have this passage gravely quoted from what he hag informed us is the Code Napolé on of Turkey:— And the tributary (or Christian) is to be distinguished in the beast he rides, and in his saddle, and he is not to ride a horse; he is not to work at his work with arms on; he shall ride on a saddle like a pillion; he shall not ride on that except as a matter of necessity, and even then he shall dismount in places of public resort; he shall not wear clothes worn by men of learning, piety, and nobility. His women shall be distinguished in the street and at the baths, and he shall place in his house a sign and mark, so that the people may not pray for him or salute him. And the street shall be narrowed for him, and he shall pay his tribute standing, the receiver being seated, and he shall be seized by the collar, and shall be shaken, and it shall be said to him, 'Pay the tribute, O tributary! O thou enemy of God!' The precious production from which this passage is extracted is signed by a M. Markovitch. It is but a sample of the wicked and audacious statements put forward by the gentlemen who have constituted themselves the representatives of the Servian people in this country. It is said that in former days, when a Representative of one of the Christian Powers was received in audience by the Sultan, he first went to the door of the Grand Vizier's apartment, and having knocked at it, humbly waited admittance. The Minister, having been informed that an infidel tributary was outside, exclaimed, "Clothe and feed the dog, and bring him in." A fur pelisse was then thrown over the Ambassador, and he was led into the presence of the Grand Seignor. Such, tradition says, was the ceremony on the occasion, and even the proudest of Christian nobles had, it is asserted, to go through it. I do not know whether it was still the custom when Lord Stratford first went to Constantinople. At any rate, I am sure he would not have submitted to it. The degradation inflicted upon Christians, as described in the extract from M. Markovitch's pamphlet, is of the same class. M. Markovitch wishes us to believe that these things are still in existence. He knows, as well as I do, that there is not a word of truth in what he states. It would be as well to quote the laws and usages as regards the Jews which existed in the thirteenth century, as proof of the actual condition of that people in England at this day. All I can say is, that I have travelled in Turkey as much as most persons, and have never seen these things. As far as I, a Christian, am concerned, I have always been treated with the utmost consideration, kindness, and courtesy.

Three years ago the Russian Government, for purposes of its own, made strong representations to the Porte on the state of its Christian subjects, and violently denounced their treatment and the oppression to which they were subjected. The Sultan, desirous of showing that these accusations were, if not unfounded, very much exaggerated, directed the Grand Vizier, Mehemit Kabrisli Pasha, a very enlightened, liberal, and upright statesman, to proceed to the European provinces of Turkey to make inquiries into the condition of the Christians, and to invite complaints from them with regard to their greivances. The Grand Vizier was accompanied by a Council to aid him in his investigations, and to examine all charges made against the provincial authorities. The Council was fairly and liberally constituted. It was composed of four Christian gentlemen of different sects and of four Turks. In addition, the Consuls of the various European Powers were invited to meet and to assist the Grand Vizier in his inquiries. Moreover, a local Medjlis, or Court of Inquiry, was formed, composed of two Christians, two Turks and one Jew. Writing of this Court Mr. Vice Consul Blunt (September 24, 1860) remarks— I accidentally had an opportunity of watching its proceedings, and I am glad in being able to report my having heard that the Christian members as well as the Jews were treated with the same regard as their Turkish colleagues, and that they took a prominent part in the deliberations. Mr. Consul General Longworth, in his report of the result of the Grand Vizier's tour of inspection, says— The task which the Grand Vizier has had to perform, to investigate the affairs and redress the grievances of this province (Bulgaria), has indeed been most arduous; he has, however, accomplished it with energy, justice, and impartiality. At the same time Sir Henry Bulwer, by a circular addressed to all British. Consular officers, invited answers to a series of searching questions relating to the condition of the Christians, and to improvements which might be made in it. My hon. Friend has ventured to assert that this circular was merely a blind, that it was issued in order to carry out foregone conclusions, that it plainly told the Consuls what they were expected to say, and that they reported accordingly. Such accusations against Her Majesty's Ambassador scarcely deserve notice. I will not condescend to repudiate them. Sir Henry Bulwer's object, the object of Her Majesty's Government, who authorized and directed the step taken, was to ascertain the truth, and nothing but the truth. Not satisfied with his accusation against Sir Henry Bulwer, my hon. Friend goes further, and accuses us of not even giving the genuine reports of the Consuls, but of "cooking and garbling them." These accusations are utterly unfounded. But my hon. Friend himself, with strange inconsistency, quotes from these very documents all that suits his purpose; and, indeed, chiefly relies upon them for the case he thinks he has made against the Turkish Government. He has, however, taken good care to pass over all such parts of them as may tell against himself, or give the House a just and impartial view of the whole question. I will endeavour to supply the deficiency; and as my hon. Friend has confined himself to quoting such passages as may furnish accusations against the Turkish Government, I will point out such as may present some evidence in its favour. Surely, if these reports can be quoted on one side, they may be equally quoted on the other. Indeed, I believe them to give a very fair, just, and impartial view of the state of Turkey in Europe, and of its Christian population. The very contradictions they seem to contain furnish proof of the fact. Such contradictions and inconsistencies are precisely what we might expect to find in a great country in a state of transition, and amongst populations so various and so little civilized. I have some personal acquaintance with nearly every Province of the Turkish Empire, and these Consular reports fully confirm the impressions that I have derived from actual observation on the spot. They show cases of shameful wrong and oppression, they point out many instances of miscarriage of justice, they prove that the Christian subjects of the Porte are very far from being yet placed on a footing of equality, either as to religion or civil rights, with the Mussulmans; they abound in statements which naturally cause indignation in the minds of those who read them. On the other hand, they furnish evidence of great and substantial improvements in the condition of the Christians of Turkey; they describe a very remarkable advance in the material prosperity of the country; and what is most important, they establish that there is an earnest desire on the part of the Sultan and his Government to do justice to all his subjects without distinction of creeds, to put an end to the abuses which all admit to exist, to develop the resources of his country, and to secure the happiness and welfare of his people. These attempts may not have been crowned with complete success, though I conscientiously believe that such progress in salutary reform has been made as to lead to a hope that in the course of time the condition of both Turks and Christians will be most materially changed for the better.

There are certain things which, it appears to me, these reports, if fairly and impartially read, fully establish. They are these:—1. That a great change has been going on in the condition of the Christians throughout every part of Turkey during the last twenty years. 2. That there is no systematic oppression of the Christians by the Turkish authorities, and certainly not by the Turkish Government. 3. That they are exposed to occasional acts of injustice and Wrong by the local officials, who are generally corrupt, are frequently almost beyond the control of the Central Government, and too frequently commit acts of cruelty and oppression with impunity; but that the grievances of the Christians arise as much, if not more, from the misconduct and corruption of their own Bishops and Chiefs as from the Turkish authorities. They suffer, indeed, infinitely more in some places from their own coreligionists, who, be it remembered, are generally the very farmers of the taxes and the collectors who have been denounced with so much justice. A Christian may manage to escape from a Turkish oppressor, but he can with difficulty avoid the scrutinizing rapacity of his fellow-Christian. As one of them said to me one day, "I can conceal my property from a Turk, but my Christian Bishop and my Cojabashi (civil head of the community) knows every corner of my house, and every piastre that I possess. They can squeeze the very last para out of me." 4. These Reports further prove that the charge so frequently made against the Mussulmans, of the forcible abduction and conversion of Christian girls are almost invariably devoid of truth; that such occurrences are indeed so exceptional that they may be almost said not to occur at all. It is shown that in nearly every case the women themselves have gone off with Mohammedan lovers of their own free will, and have refused to return, even under intimidation, to their friends. In cases of conversion, the Turkish authorities, it will be observed, show the greatest desire to arrive at the truth, and to discourage Christians from leaving their faith, and thus giving rise to embarrassing questions. 5. These Reports prove that the Christian populations in Europe are constantly excited to complain by agents and intriguers from Servia, and sometimes from foreign nations, who make the most of the grievances which really exist, circulate the most exaggerated statements concerning them, and drive the people into insurrection against the Turkish Government; and 6. It is admitted that the Christians have great and legitimate cause of complaint on the score of the administration of justice, and that as a rule Christian evidence is not yet received in the Turkish Courts against a Mohammedan, notwithstanding the introduction of new Courts and the orders of the Sultan. In the vicinity of Constantinople such evidence is received; but at a distance from the capital I fear it is still almost invariably, if not rejected, at least not accepted like the evidence of a Turk. This is, no doubt, the greatest and most crying injustice of which the Christian subjects of the Sultan have to complain. I will not attempt to defend the Turkish Government; but I must remind the House of the extreme difficulty of dealing with such delicate questions arising between two opposite and rival religions. When we condemn the Turks, it is surely but just to see how other nations, boasting of a far higher civilization, and of far more liberal laws, act in similar matters. And let it not be forgotten that in the one case there is a fundamental distinction of creed, whilst in the other there is only a sectarian distinction. Religious difference has unfortunately entailed civil incapacity in too many countries. In the Roman States, for instance, a Protestant, I believe, has no civil standing. I am not sure that he could be received as a witness. He cannot hold land; at least, I know that a friend of mine, a Protestant, who married a Roman lady, was not permitted to administer her lands until he had become a Catholic. I mentioned a case last year of a Protestant lady in Rome, who had married a Catholic subject of the Pope, wishing to join her husband who was dangerously ill in England; she was refused a passport except on the condition of taking it in her maiden name. In order to see her dying husband, she consented to these terms, thus being compelled to admit that she had been living in a state of concubinage with him. In Spain, until very recently, a Protestant was not allowed to have decent and Christian burial, and we all know how Protestant converts are treated there. I mention these things to show how difficult it is in a country claiming to be highly civilized, and even in the present century of progress, to eradicate old intolerant principles, to stay religious persecution, and to abolish unjust and oppressive laws which have marked the distinction from time immemorial, not between opposite religions alone, but between differing sects. I beg hon. Gentlemen opposite, who represent Roman Catholic constituencies, to believe that I do not cite these instances by way of making any attack upon them, or of wounding their feelings. I will admit that the Governments to which I have alluded are only executing the laws of their country. I am free to allow, and I do it with a sense of shame, that Protestant, as well as Roman Catholic, Governments are equally open to reproach. I could point, for instance, to the condition of Roman Catholics and of Jews in Sweden and Norway. We well know the years of struggle that it took to induce a British Parliament to concede to our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects an equality of religious and civil rights. Many hon. Gentlemen think that even yet the task has not been accomplished, and that unjust and invidious distinctions still exist. I mention these facts to show, that whilst condemning the Turks for the injustice of their laws and customs as affecting Christians, we are bound, at the same time, to take into consideration the immense difficulties under which the Turkish Government—a Mohammedan Government labours in dealing with these questions. I think that it would be but just on our part, now that we see that the Sultan and his Ministers are anxiously and earnestly desirous of reforming this state of things, to give them our sympathy and support, rather than to overwhelm them with such sweeping condemnations and reproach as have fallen from my hon. Friend this evening.

I shall proceed to establish some of the points that I have laid down, by extracts taken from the Reports of British Consuls and Vice Consuls in European Turkey. If I weary the House by these extracts, I trust that it will pardon me in consideration of the importance of the subject and of my desire that the truth should be known. The Reports to which I would particularly call the attention of the House are those of Mr. Consul General Longworth, of whom I have already spoken; of Mr. Blunt, Her Majesty's Consul at Smyrna, a gentleman who has for many years filled Consular appointments in various parts of Turkey, who is well acquainted with the Turkish and Greek languages, and with the different populations; and who, from his intelligence and ability, is well entitled to speak on these subjects; of Captain Ricketts, who has carefully visited nearly every part of Turkey in Europe, and whose Reports are especially able, interesting, and truthful; and of Major Cathcart. I will first read to the House some extracts from the Reports of Major Cathcart, who was Her Majesty's Consul in Albania. Writing from Prevesa, he says— There can be no doubt that the Christian population is now in a far more favourable position than they occupied twenty years ago, when the Pashas were practically irresponsible, and any tyranny or exaction might be practised, so far as the Christians were concerned, with perfect impunity. Each year since the promulgation of the Edict of Gulhané has witnessed a gradual improvement in the position of the Christians; and when the old state of things is understood, the surprise is that the Government have been able so success fully to contend with the prejudices and fanaticism of the Mussulmans as to have been enabled to raise the Christians to the position they now are in. Who, ten years, or even six years ago, would have believed it possible for Christians and Turks to deliberate judicially, as in the Medjlis, side by side, together, each representing their own class? Life and property, unless in some out break where the Government authorities are over powered, are safe; titles to property are recognised; and, so far as the Government is concerned, they certainly attempt to administer equal justice, though no doubt the corruption of the sub ordinate officials, which extends more or less through every class, paid or unpaid, Turk or Christian, often defeats the good faith and intentions of the Porte.…. From all I have seen or heard of the com- plaints of the Christians of this province, I am bound to say that I believe no real oppression, systematically carried on, exists. There are crimes, as in all countries, and, from the maladministration of officials, whether Christians or Turks, culprits often escape punishment; but that the Sultan's Government deliberately apply themselves, on all occasions, to obstruct justice, and to harass and maltreat the Christians, I deny.…. It occurs, no doubt, that personal friendship or money-bribes occasionally stand in the way of a fair administration of justice; but a re-organization of the tribunals (Medjlis), as recommended, will assist to purge this evil. That the Edict of Gulhané and the Hatti-Humayoun have gradually improved the whole state of the province requires no demonstration. They have given the Christians their present position, who, instead of being trodden down as they were twenty years (or less) ago, now are almost secure from molestation, and loudly assert their rights: but, not having abated a particle of their old antipathy to the Ottoman Government, they magnify everything in the shape of restraint; and any quarrel or disputed question with a Turk (if decided against them) is termed an 'oppression;' while their own conduct, as far as my experience goes, shows them to be often capable of the very crimes they impute to the Turks, who, I think, stand far higher in honesty and general morality than the majority of the accusers.…. I do not think that the Mohammedans evince any desire to make converts; renegades are generally very badly viewed. I have heard of no instances of conversion by compulsion, nor can I ascertain that anything of the sort has been charged against the Mohammedans in this province for many years.…. Cases of violence towards Christians are very rare, at least in Epirus; but in Northern Albania, amidst a population such as that of Scutari and Ghegheria, which has never been disarmed, and where the Tanzimat is almost practically inoperative, they occasionally occur, and may always be attributed to personal ebullitions of the old fanatical religious animosity which unfortunately still subsists between the races, and which breaks out on occasions where their interests come in contact, but are in no wise chargeable as the act of the Government, who do their best to smooth these hatreds, which are by no means exclusively confined to Moslem and Christian, but are equally virulent between Greek and Latin.…. A vast deal of the discontent among the Christians arises from the petty exactions and tyranny of their own ecclesiastics, who exercise an almost unbounded authority, recognised by the Porte, over them. Here, as everywhere else in Turkey, every sort of injustice, malversation of funds, bribery, and corruption, is openly attributed by the Christians to their clergy. The lower grades of priests, who are miserably poor, are obliged to labour manually, and to dig and delve in the fields, like any other peasant, for a living, and are usually grossly ignorant; while the upper ranks roll in riches obtained from the vast unaudited funds of the Church, and are generally mixed up in every intrigue by which any money, influence, or position is to be obtained. The expected inquiry of the Sadr-a-zam will probably present a plentiful crop of complaints against the Greek Bishops and Priests, and they are already using every means to pacify their angry flocks, and avoid the disagreeable exposures which may ensue. With regard to the Christian authorities in the Councils, the heads of communities, £c., they are by no means generally guided by any abstract ideas of justice; and the usual arguments of the suitors have quite as much influence with them as with any Mussulman, who, as a body, I consider to be of far higher principle, more truthful, and more honest than the bulk of the Christian population.…. There is certainly very little fanatical feeling in general on the part of Moslems and Christians towards each other in this province; they even, in certain parts, intermarry, and live on very good terms, each keeping their several fasts and feasts; probably the little bigotry which exists is owing to the independent position of the warlike Christian tribes, and the fact, also, previously mentioned, of most of the Mussulman rural population being the descendants of Christians. The Latin Christians, of the North, however, and the Greeks of Epirus, hate each other with all the virulence of sectarians. Blood feuds still prevail to a great extent, in Northern Albania, especially in Ghegheria, where the population have never been even partially disarmed; and the privilege is, I believe, granted to them, as they have not of late years taken part in the many Greco-Albanian insurrections; added to which— he continues—and I beg the attention of the House to this account of those Montenegrin heroes for whom so much sympathy is expressed by some persons in this country— they have to guard themselves against the Montenegrins, who continually harass their frontier, robbing, killing, cutting off heads, noses and ears, and committing at this day all the atrocities charged against the Turks of old. In these countries quarrels have been handed down for centuries in the families of the chiefs am: their followers, but in Epirus private vengeances are much more rare. Mr. Blunt, Her Majesty's Consul at Smyrna, who has held the same post at Adrianople and Salonica, and has beet employed on special service in various-parts of Turkey in Europe, and who has been in Her Majesty's Consular Service in the East since the year 1832, writes:— Notwithstanding the very imperfect and faulty system of administration, the onerous abuses in the collection, by the farmers, of the tithes, the general condition of the province is daily improving; an improvement, however, which is more generally to the advantage of the Christian races who are, if I may be excused the expression, buying up the Turks.…. Several estates have been purchased by Franks. Amongst the latter there are sever British subjects, who have purchased large farms in the interior, and are cultivating them with success. In the more immediate vicinity of Smyrna very few Turkish landed proprietors remain; an at the principal villages where the Frank an Christian population resort during summer, nearly all the Turkish proprietors have disposed of their property.… It is a well-known fact, which no person of experience in the country would or could venture to dispute, that since the destruction of the Janissaries in 1820, from which period may be dated the more rapid decline of Turkish power, and the subsequent publication of the Gulhané Hatti-Sherif, there has been an evident daily improvement in the state of the Christians. I first came to Turkey in 1820; consequently an experience of forty years enables me to express opinions founded on constant personal observation, and therefore fearlessly state that the Christian population, in this part of Turkey particularly, is not only better off, and more considered, than they were five, ten, fifteen, and twenty years ago, but that they feel and know they are so, and they also feel their increasing influence, without using the word 'power;' for the alarm evinced by the Turks makes them the more conscious of it, and the lower orders never lose the opportunity of showing it. On two occasions since my arrival in 1857, the lower orders of Christians of the Greek Church have disarmed some of the military guard sent to keep order during the performance of their Easter ceremonies. I know of no inequalities dependent on religion. It does occasionally occur that some old fanatical Turk will call a Christian a Claour; but generally speaking, in the towns the term is never used, but in the villages it is still used, not only by the Turks, but by the Christians, who from habit will say. 'Our Giaours.' I have heard the same expression used by Greek priests when addressing a Turk.… The great majority of persons engaged in trade in the towns are Christians. There is no difference whatever in the tenure of land. Both Turk and Christian are upon a footing of perfect equality. It may with safety he asserted that the Christians are much better off than the Turks; for there is no drain upon the Christian population for troops, and the Mussulman and Christian pay the same taxes on their produce.… Generally speaking, the Christian population have far more reason to complain of grievances emanating from their own clergy and primates than from the Turks. The Christians are not so numerous in Asia Minor as they are in Roumelia, where the evil is more general, and weighs more heavily on the Christian populations.… With respect to the moral state of the province, it may with safety be asserted that there is less crime than is hoard of in provinces of the same extension, in more civilized countries where an effective state of police is kept up; and this is the more extraordinary when the police system is so very defective, where there are so many religious sects, where fanaticism is prevalent amongst all classes, and the population generally go armed, although they are not allowed to wear arms in the towns. I can entirely corroborate these observations of Mr. Blunt with regard to the state of crime in Turkey, from personal experience of some extent. It may, I believe, be safely asserted that in no country in the world is there less crime than in Turkey. This remark applies not only to the rural districts, but to the great cities, and most especially to the Mohammedan or Turkish population. In the Turkish quarters of Constantinople crime is exceedingly rare. It is prevalent in the quarters of Pera and Galata because they are inhabited by a mixed population, one of the most corrupt and demoralized-in the world—of Pranks, Greeks, Ionians, and Maltese, the scum and refuse of Europe. My hon. Friend the Member for Galway in reading the statement of Mr. Consul Skene, as to the rarity of crime in Northern Syria, not only threw a doubt upon it, but treated it with some degree of ridicule. I believe what Mr. Skene states to be perfectly true. My own experience, as I have said, completely corroborates it. I have travelled in most parts of Turkey, very rarely accompanied by guards or any number of fellow-travellers, very frequently entirely alone, and even unarmed. I have done so amongst the wildest populations. Wherever the Turkish authority can be enforced I have never met with the slightest accident or experienced the slightest outrage. Of course, when travelling amongst wild tribes which resist the authority of the Government, and upon the outskirts of the desert, a traveller not properly protected by a chief runs the risk of being plundered. I have no doubt my hon. Friend represents a highly moral population; that in Galway agrarian outrages and crimes of any kind are unheard of. But let me ask him whether he would be content to pitch his tent in a field or in the open country in that part of Ireland, and retire to rest with his portmanteau open and his property unguarded, with the expectation of finding any part of it next morning. And yet I have done so night after night in Turkey; ay, even in some of the wildest districts. I have passed many and many a day in Turkish villages. Everywhere I have been received with the utmost kindness and hospitality. But I will tell my hon. Friend this fact, that should the traveller, when about to halt for the night, see a Mussulman village on the right hand, and a Christian village on the left, he will turn to the right and not to the left. If he doubt my word, let him appeal to those who have had any experience in the East. In speaking of the state of crime in Turkey, I exclude, of course, those horrible massacres and outrages which have arisen from an outbreak of religious fanaticism, or have been the result of the rivalry of different races and creeds, and have frequently been incited by, or have owed their origin to, foreign agency. Mr. Vice Consul Blunt, son of Mr. Blunt of Smyrna, writing from Pristina, one of the most unsettled parts of Turkey in Europe, and on the Northern borders of Albania, says— A Christian village is in general better formed and cleaner, its yards more stocked, and its inhabitants better clothed than the Turkish. "During a holiday the state of prosperity of the Christians is seen in relief. It is indeed a rare exception to see a Bulgarian woman or girl who has not an embroidered shirt and apron, a string of gold or silver coins, on her person.…. More than two-thirds of the population of Uscup are engaged in agriculture. Improvement is perceivable in this source of industry. In the space of ten years—from 1850 to 1860—the value of the tithes has more than doubled, and in the same ratio the prices of every other commodity has increased. This state has also given an impetus to trade, and, notwithstanding the absence of good roads, communication between the districts and contiguous provinces has been more regular and connected. For a long time the province has been a prey to brigandage: this evil originating from a mountain population unsubdued, and eminently warlike and mercenary, has more sway in the plains. But it may be said that its development has been rather arrested than promoted; Christian churches and monasteries, towns and inhabitants, are not now pillaged, massacred, and burnt by. Albanian hordes as used to be done ten years ago. On the whole, the undersigned can say, without fear of contradiction, that the province of Uscup is in that happy state of transition from bad to good, perhaps slow in its operation, but on that account not less sure in its effects.… The exactions of the Greek clergy and the primates of the towns fall almost entirely on the peasantry. On the whole, the conduct of this body is arbitrary, and very frequently cruel. Corporal punishment and confinement in irons are availed of by it in the exercise of Church discipline over its flock.… The clergy and primates are as much to blame in this respect as the subordinate authorities (Mudirs and Medjlises). The principal oppressions under which the peasants labour arise from the system of farming the taxes; and it may be said that in six cases out of ten the Christian merchants and the Tchorbadjies, and very often the clergy, avail themselves of it unsparingly.… I should state, however, that the change for the better within the last five years is scarcely perceptible, and will only be properly appreciated hereafter when ifs advantages stand out prominently as from the background of the past. The Christians themselves admit that their general condition is improved, but they think that more ought to have been accomplished by this time. The progress of the work of reconstruction does not keep pace with their fond hopes of something better than they seem ever to expect from their present rulers. Mr. Richard Abbott, writing from Monastir, the capital of Western Roumelia, says— I venture respectfully to state to your Excellency, that from my knowledge of Turkey and its inhabitants, I firmly believe, that notwithstanding any privileges and advantages which may be granted to the Christians, these, although apparently satisfied at first, will never desist from complaining eventually of the Turkish yoke, and making their complaints reach the ear of European Powers, magnifying to a great degree, as is their usual habit, any injustice to which they may have been subjected by Mussulmans. The Bulgarians and Greeks have only to look back to ten, fifteen, and twenty years, when with justice they might have complained of the burden of their thraldom; but now, how great is the difference? Mr. William Abbott, Acting Consul at the Dardanelles, observes— That the masses are far from being happy, is undeniable. The rural population universally complain of their Primates much more than of the Government officials, with whom they are seldom placed in contact, and the Primates throw the blame on the officials. The peasantry, especially in the Christian villages, dare not denounce the tyranny of their Primates, having no hopes of obtaining redress from the officials, and every one is apprehensive of the persecution to which he would be exposed, even in the event of so doubtful an occurrence happening as their getting justice done. For this reason they meekly submit to injustice, as the lesser of the two evils; but they cannot be said to be disaffected towards the Government, entertaining the belief that it is not aware of the extent of their sufferings.… The spiritual chiefs are invested with a certain extent of judicial power over their flocks, and in the exercise of it, as well as in ecclesiastical matters, money removes every scruple, and all decisions are previously bargained for in the most unblushing manner. The Christians are exposed to many arbitrary exactions on their part. The barefaced simony which disgraces the Greek Church, and the gross ignorance of the clergy, are facts unfortunately too notorious to need any mention of them. The clergy, instead of being in the receipt of regular stipends, are obliged to contribute a fixed annual sum to their diocesans, whose principal aim appears to be that of amassing wealth at the expense of their co-religionists. Although the people are fully aware of these corrupt practices, the clergy maintain great influence over their minds; the various sects are firmly attached to the creed of their forefathers, and are blind to the superstitions which characterize their Churches.… A large proportion of their grievances is owing to the rapacity of their own authorities, and they undoubtedly suffer more vexations in the collections of the taxes at the hands of their Primates than from Government functionaries. I trace in the conduct of the chiefs of the communities the origin of the failure of the valuable institution of the Medjlis, which was conceived in a most liberal spirit by the Government. Mr. Charles Calvert, a gentleman who has filled many Consular appointments, and has great experience of Turkey, thus describes the condition of the Christians in Macedonia, writing from Salonica, the capital of the province— There are very few Protestant subjects of the Porte in this neighbourhood. Part reside in the town of Salonica, and part in the district of Cassandra. Some are Jews and some are Greeks. All the annoyance they have been subjected to has proceeded from the sect from which they have seceded. The Jewish Rabbis pronounce the 'kheyrarn,' and the Greek Bishops the anathema, against the seceders, the effect of which is to reduce the objects of the ban to the greatest distress. They are avoided by their relatives and former friends; no one will either buy or sell with them, or give them employment; so that, from actual want of the means of subsistence, they are obliged to recant. In Russia, the Government has made it a penal offence for a Jewish Rabbi to pronounce a bun, but I do not know whether their own clergy are privileged or not to anathematize the disobedient members of their flocks. It would be a greats boon were the Porte to prohibit the practice of anathemas and excommunications, for the reason that it interferes with the principle of toleration in matters of faith, which has been established through the benevolence of the Sultan. The Turks may well be excused their fanaticism, when so much bigotry, intolerance, and uncharitableness prevail amongst the Christian sects. The Greek clergy, I regret to have to add, are, for the most part, the greatest opponents to the circulation of the Scriptures amongst their flock, although the latter have generally evinced readiness to receive them. The Christian authorities—by which I mean their Spiritual Chiefs and their Primates ('Cojabashis')—are even more rapacious and tyrannical in their small sphere than the Turkish authorities are in a larger sphere. The Bishops and Metropolitans are guilty of many acts of oppression and cupidity towards their flocks, which, if committed by Turks, would rouse a storm of indignation on the part of the Christian sympathizers. Only a few days ago, the Bishop of Vodena, being in want of money, sent to a small hamlet of only forty families in his diocese and extorted 1,000 piastres. The assessed taxes are collected by the Cojabashis, who resort to the harshest measures in order to exact more than is justly due, so as to enable them to appropriate the surplus Mr. Holmes, Her Majesty's Consul in Bosnia, who has had equal experience in European and Asiatic Turkey, says, writing from Bosna Serai, the capital of the province— Since I have been here I have not heard much of the Mussulman oppression in the town. This, I am told, is partly to be attributed to the expected visit of the Grand Vizier. The troops seem very orderly, and I hear no complaints of their conduct, and altogether—though I hazard any opinion at such a critical moment with hesitation—I think that there is no danger of any outbreak of Moslem fanaticism, provided that the Christians of Servia and Montenegro fail in their constant endeavours to excite the Bosniac Christians to rise, that the progress of revolt in the Herzegovine be checked, and also that the punishment of the chief criminals in Syria be speedy and commensurate with the enormity of their crimes. Mr. Consul Zohrah, also writing from Bosnia, says— The Christian population is socially better off now than it was twenty or ten years ago. The protective laws, though indifferently administered, are still extended over them. Their financial position is worse; twenty years ago, it is true, they had no laws beyond the caprice of their landlords; but their landlords, well aware that to ruin them would be to ruin themselves, allowed them to enjoy a greater share of the fruits of their labour than they can hope to enjoy now after paying their landlords, their taxes, and their priests. In the Herzegovina I calculate the peasant's share of his crop at 33 per cent. Major Cox, who was the British Member of the Montenegro Boundary Commission, and has made several very valuable and interesting reports upon the state of the European Provinces of Turkey, says of their Christian population— The general condition of the Christians of Bulgaria must be regarded as prosperous, but the country at large is much infested and scourged by bands of robbers.…. In no part of European Turkey through which I have travelled have I been able to substantiate a single case of forced conversion or of abduction of Christian females by the Mussulmans, and I believe the grievances generally may be regarded as the result of the corruption of the officials and the mal-administration of the laws; in such grievances the Mussulman has a share, though perhaps not an equal share, with the Christian. But there is one grievance peculiar to the Christian; it is that of the non-reception of Christian and Mussulman testimony on equal terms. Could this be rectified, I think that the natural progress of the reforms already commenced would soon leave the Christian population without any peculiar grievance, and give them a secure legal defence against the many petty annoyances of which now they complain. "In Bulgaria, Bosnia, and the Herzegovine, the Roman Catholics or Latins appear better affected toward the Government and the Mussulmans than are the Greek Christians—a circumstance which I attribute to the fact that the clergy of the former are better educated and of a better class than those of the latter. In Bulgaria such is the want of mutual confidence among the Christians, that bitter as is their hatred of the Mussulmans, the Government has no cause to fear a revolt, unless a foreign army march into the country. The temper of the population of Bosnia and the Herzegovine is different from that of the Bulgarians. The Mussulmans complain that the Government has given a degree of liberty to the Christians, under the name of reforms, which they did not need, and do not know how to appreciate; or this account, and by nationality, they (the Mussul mans of Bosnia and the Herzegovine) have a dislike to the Turkish Government. Again, the Christian of Bosnia and the Herzegovine have been exposed to the efforts of armed bands of propagandists who, until a month prior to the death of Prince Miloseh, crossed over from Servia; and to those which from time to time are made by the semi-insurgent tribes who inhabit the Herzegovino-Montenegrin frontier. Also the wealthy among the Christians of Bosnia and the Herzegovine are fewer than among those of Bulgaria, and the people as a race are braver. Mr. Mayers, Her Majesty's Vice Consul at Rustchuk, on the Danube, says— I am told that upwards of a hundred individuals availed themselves of the liberty thus given to them by His Highness, and addressed to the Grand Vizier letters of various descriptions, but not one of them was of a nature to indicate that there existed any ill-feeling amongst the Turks against the Christian population, or any tendency on the part of the Osmanlis to oppress the Rayahs. Mr. Consul General Long worth, to whose great knowledge and experience of Turkey I have already alluded, confirms all the reports that I have quoted. He thus expresses himself— My own experience, however, leads me to infer that in many places, and I should say the majority of them, it were vain to look for independence of character in the Christian members of these Councils, not more from the domineering spirit of the Turks than their own disposition, which is crouching and corrupt; corruption and falsehood, indeed, are the chronic infirmities, though in a different degree, of the generation, both Christian and Moslem. Time and education alone can effect a change for the better. The Government may, by its Edicts and Hatti-Humayouns, hasten and advance such a reform; but I question very much whether more evil than good will not arise from proclaiming a social equality which is, in the present state of things and relations of society, morally impossible. He thus describes the evil influence exercised over the adjacent populations by the Servian Government, and the unceasing intrigues which are resorted to, to keep them in a constant state of discontent and insurrection, thus frustrating every attempt to improve their condition, politically, socially, and morally— During the last three weeks, a band of eighteen brigands, divided into three companies, have been wandering about this district. Their chief is a Servian, and they are joined by two or three Rayahs from a Rayah village situated close to the Servian boundary, but the greatest part of them are from Servia. A few days ago a Christian boy was captured by one of these bands, at the village of Schakofza, taken into the hills, and a ransom demanded for him from his father of 32,000 piastres. The police were immediately despatched in pursuit of the brigands, surprised them, and killed two; four of them escaped, of whom two were wounded. The boy was released, and brought to the Grand Vizier at Nisch, where he made the following statement:—'That the brigands in question went, generally speaking, by Mussulman names, although they were really Servians, and not Mussulmans; that he had heard them say they had received orders to kill a certain number of people near Nisch; that they would also kill his father, and they could not take a ransom for him. The boy was sixteen years old, and delivered his statement, as far as I was able to ascertain, in a straightforward manner. As a proof, however, that his evidence was to be relied on, a written list of fifteen Christian names was found on the person of one of the robbers who was killed, and two of the people whose names were mentioned therein have been actually murdered. One of them was a Rayah at the village of Lonnitza, and the other a Christian notable in the village of Dol; both of these Rayahs were known to have lived on friendly terms with the Turks, The object for which they were hired appears to me to have been as follows:—To cause a general belief that the Mussulmans were constantly killing the Christians, and to create disturbances throughout those very districts which the Grand Vizier was visiting, so that it might hereafter be said that even the presence of the Grand Vizier was not sufficient to prevent disorder and murder. Be this as it may, the same secret agency that has directed bands of robbers to enter Bosnia from Servia; the same policy that in Servia stoops to any method, however base and degraded it may be, provided that it can increase the hatred between Mussulmans and Christians, has most probably directed these banditti to invade the district of Nisch, and has furnished them with the means of committing the most cold-blooded assassination. Servia is guaranteed against any armed movements on the part of the Porte; is she, on that account, to be allowed to continue to spread the flames of revolt throughout the Turkish provinces adjoining her frontier? If such a line of conduct on the part of Servia be suffered to exist any length of time, I do not see how the Porte can (in these provinces at least) enter upon and carry out that work of reform which is now so seriously demanded of her by the Powers. It is, indeed, surprising that a province which has suffered so much during the infamous administration of Zeinel Pasha, and which has been the scene of foreign intrigue for so long a period, should be found to be, generally speaking, in so tranquil a state. The reason of this, however, may be attributed to the total indifference, or rather unwillingness, of the greatest part of the population to change their present condition. It is fortunate for the Porte that Zeinel Pasha has been, at last, removed; that a man like Osman Pasha has been appointed as Vali; and that the Grand Vizier has been sent to redress those grievances which demand the most immediate attention. Mr. Vice Consul Blunt, writing from Us-cup, in Northern Albania, gives the following remarkable account of the misconduct of the Greek Clergy and Primates:— The charges against the Greek ecclesiastics were also of a very serious nature. The Archbishop of Sciarkioi was found guilty of receiving and giving bribes, of levying unjust fees on his flock, and, what is worse still, of having violated a Bulgarian girl. Charges of a like gravity were also proved against another priest of Sciarkioi. The Archbishop was dismissed from his diocese, and sent to Constantinople, there to be dealt with by the Porte. The other priest has been condemned to the galleys for life. The priest of Lashotnitza, in the district of Leskowatz, one of the chiefs of the conspiracy against the local Rayahs, and to which I alluded in my report to your Excellency of the 7th instant, has been found guilty of having taken a very prominent part in the murder of the Kogiabashi Christo, and has in consequence been sentenced to be hung. There were many charges of oppression and fraud against the farmers of the taxes: most of them were carried through the Court. Against Velko, a Bulgarian, 170 'arzuhals' (petitions) were lodged; and against Rangheli and Sovanco, both Bulgarians, 239! The following extract from the report of Major Cathcart serves to show how differently a case of injustice and oppression is viewed when committed by a Christian and when committed by a Mohammedan:— In all cases of a Turk taking the law into his own hands, it is always termed an 'oppression,' and put to the Government account; but the reverse case, when a Turk may suffer at a Christian hand, is considered quite natural—as illustrated lately by an Ionian at Arta, who dragged an Ottoman subject, tied to his horse's tail, through the streets to the Vice Consulate—a deed which, if perpetrated by a Moslem, would have rung through the whole district as a Government 'oppression;' but, being the act of a Christian, is quite differently interpreted by his co-religionists; and, in consequence, I was# asked to mitigate the punishment inflicted. In order not to confine myself to official sources, I have consulted persons who are in an entirely independent position. Allow me to quote a passage from a letter dated March 10 of this year from Mr. Abbott, a merchant established at Salonica— We have just had a change of Governor General of Macedonia. Husni Pasha, who had been three years governing this fine province with great justice, and having extirpated brigandage, making the whole province as safe as any district of France or England, has been removed to Janina, that is, to the government of Epirus, where, it appears, his excellent administrative qualities are required. Hakif Pasha has come from Epirus to Macedonia. We had him four years ago, before Husni, for a short time, and, from what we then saw of him, have every reason to expect he will not be inferior to Husni. Such appointments do honour to the Porte. My hon. Friend the Member for Galway has quoted somewhat largely from the despatches of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, as if the opinion of Lord Stratford entirely confirmed his views in regard to the condition of the Christians and the Turkish Empire in general. I will venture to affirm that if he had quoted fairly and impartially from those documents, the House would have seen that the very reverse is the case. Lord Stratford confirms the reports from which I have troubled the House with so many extracts; and it is most important that the House should be made acquainted with the opinions of one who can speak with unexampled experience, and who has had more opportunities of examining the real state of the Turkish Empire—Has had more intimate acquaintance with its leading statesmen—has more thoroughly and completely investigated this complicated and difficult Eastern question than any living man. Amongst the despatches laid upon the table of the House in 1861 will be found one addressed by Lord Stratford to Lord Malmesbury, dated the 22nd of April 1858. In it are the following remarkable passages; the whole despatch (which I cannot now read) deserves the serious attention of hon. Members:— It is in these respects that a motive power capable of surmounting the resistance which in no country fails to oppose the establishment of great innovations, however salutary, is wanted. There is no lack of authority on the Sultan's part. The latent resources of his Empire are immense. His revenues are increasing. His people would cheerfully conform to changes founded on justice, and calculated to protect as well as to promote the operations of industry. The difficulties are principally moral, the results of religious prejudice of defective education, and of inveterate abuses in every administrative department. But Europe is at band, with its science, its labour, and its capital. The Koran, the harem, and a Babel of languages are, no doubt, so many obstacles to advancement in a Western sense. But the changes already in practice augur well for further improvement Would it be reasonable to despair of a country where, in a comparatively short lapse of time, a regular army has been substituted for the janissaries, where the influence of the priesthood has been effectually controlled, the arbitrary power of the provincial governors extinguished, the application of the sacred law to judicial procedure greatly modified, the employment of Christians in the service of a Mahometan Government materially extended, the objections to borrowing on interest practically set aside, and liberty of conscience in religious matters solemnly proclaimed. Surely with these miracles in our recollection and with a knowledge, derived from history, of the slow, interrupted process of reform in our own and other countries, we should not lightly abandon the hope we have embraced of Turkey's re generation. Bearing in mind the additional assurance of its progress, traceable in such incidental facts as the command over Turkish troops in trusted during the late war to British officers, the Sultan's subscription in favour of the sufferers in British India, and the offers of auxiliary levies for Her Majesty's service, proceeding from Mussulman chiefs in Turkey, we may continue, even with some degree of confidence, to ground our policy; in the Levant on that expectation. Nearly two years and a half have now elapsed since the promulgation of the Sultan's Hatt, and not much less since the ratification of the Treaty of Peace. The importance of the charter may be estimated by the fact of its being applicable to all the Sultan's subjects alike, whether Mussulmans or non-Mussulmans. It comprises, moreover, all the departments of administration, at the same time that it confirms all the old and existing privileges from the earliest times to the latest, including the Gulhanéand the Tanzimat. Though some of its provisions are of special application to those who were formerly designated Rayahs, others in greater proportion affect the entire population of the Empires Its pervading principles are the reform of abuses, the fusion of classes, the development of resources, liberty of conscience, and improved intercourse with foreigners irrespective of religion. Its ultimate object is the conservation of the Empire, together with the security of persons and property. Does Sir Henry Bulwer, the present Ambassador at the Porte, differ from Lord Stratford? He has surely not spared the Turkish Government when they deserved condemnation. My hon. Friend the Member for Galway has quoted some strong passages in that sense, and has relied upon them to establish his indictment against Turkey, although he does appear to charge Sir Henry Bulwer with an undue leaning towards the Turks; Sir Henry's reports on the state of Turkey are amongst the most searching and the most suggestive that have been sent to the Foreign Office. Let us see what is his opinion of the condition of the Christians and of the state of the Turkish Empire; He says, writing from Constantinople, July 26, 1859— Whether the Turks have done a great deal, or very little, depends on the point of view from which we look at the subject. If we compare Turkey as she is with what she was twenty-five or thirty years ago, the change is marvellous, Men who lived at the former period tell me, every day, they can hardly credit the state of things they see now, when they remember what existed in the days of their youth. On the other hand, when you compare Turkey as she is, to what she ought to be, in order to stand side by side on equal terms with the first and most civilized States in Europe, the progress she has to make is so immense that that which she has already made appears almost insignificant. In no countries are great reforms made, especially when they involve social changes, except as the generations which grow up in one set of ideas have been replaced by generations which grow up in another; but in this country especially, a country composed of various races with various religions, each sect being exclusive and fanatical, and one race especially being the dominant one—in a country, moreover, which has always hitherto been ruled by a loose and undisciplined system of government—any change that would suit our notions of justice, government, and law can only be a work of great difficulty and considerable time. In a despatch of the 24th April 1860, he says— In the mean time I must impress this fact in the strongest manner on Her Majesty's Government—viz., that there are at the present moment at the head of affairs three or four men, equally remarkable for their integrity and ability, who have risen to their exalted position solely on account of their integrity and ability; and I feel confident that your Lordship will agree with me, that when men without any other advantage than that of integrity and ability rise to the first place in a Government, whatever in other respects that Government may be, the State which such Government represents cannot be considered lost beyond redemption. Such a symptom in Turkey, though perhaps the only startling one I could give in the history of its improvement, is also, perhaps, the very best by which such improvement could be illustrated. Again, writing on January 18, 1861— I have always been hitherto of opinion, that though all that might be desirable has not been done in the way of change, there is not on record a country in which so much has been changed, notwithstanding great difficulties, as in Turkey during the last twenty years; and my conviction in this respect is still what it was. I think that I have now shown that all the reports we have received from the East, whether from Her Majesty's Representatives or from Her Majesty's numerous Consuls and Vice Consuls, entirely agree in their statements, and completely corroborate what I have ventured to state to the House. To insinuate that there has been systematic collusion between men of such high character and such untarnished honour, to say that they have wilfully-deceived Her Majesty's Government, and that they have told that which they know to be untrue in order to please the Foreign Office, or to support any particular line of policy, is so monstrous an accusation that it cannot merit the serious consideration of the House, and scarcely deserves either refutation or notice in an assembly of gentlemen.

To go one step further. It would seem that some people think the Turkish Government more liberal than an English Government in certain respects. I received a few days ago an interesting circular on the subject of the cultivation of cotton in Turkey, signed by the eminent firm of Neil Brothers &Co. They describe the great and liberal encouragement given by the Turkish Government to the cultivation of that most important article of produce, the concession of lands by the Sultan for the purpose, and the attempts successfully made for the introduction of seed into Turkey from other parts of the world. After praising the Turkish Government for their great liberality they add these words— Certainly of no other competitor can this be said. Nor have those who would encourage the cultivation to deal with an obstinate and impracticable Government, like that of India. I regret that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India is not in his place to vindicate the Indian Government, and to show that it, at least, is not so far behind the Turkish Government. I have the authority of my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Mr. Potter) for stating that the increase in the cotton cultivation of Turkey during the last year has exceeded that of all other countries. My hon. Friend has fallen into the same error to-night as others have committed in this House. He has talked of Christians as being unable to purchase land in Turkey, and has pointed out that, consequently, its cultivation cannot be developed. But the law of Turkey does not differ with respect to the possession of land from the law of this country. A subject of the Sultan, whether Christian or Mohammedan, may hold land; a foreigner cannot. But even in the case of a foreigner, the Turkish Government has acted with great liberality, as the circular which I hold in my hand shows. By several ingenious fictions of law, which it is not necessary to describe, foreigners are virtually enabled to possess land, and I have never heard of an instance in which they have been deprived of it. But my hon. Friend has contradicted himself, when having in one part of his speech declared that Christians could not purchase land, in another he has said that they are gradually buying out the Turks.

Before I conclude, I must say a few words on the finances of Turkey, which have been somewhat rudely assailed. The Turkish Government, as it will be remembered, being desirous of introducing a good system into the administration of their finances, and of removing the abuses that existed, requested the English Government to afford them their advice and assistance. This request was willingly complied with, and two gentlemen in the public service, of great experience and capacity, Lord Hobart and Mr. Foster, were sent to Constantinople for that purpose. Perhaps no stronger proof could be afforded of the progress made by the Turkish Government and their desire to bring their institutions more into accordance with the civilization of Europe, than their willingness to submit to representatives of the Governments of England and France (for the French. Government also sent a Commissioner, the Marquis de Plœuc, a gentleman of considerable knowledge and ability) the whole of their finances, and to make those Governments acquainted, without reserve, with their resources and present condition. I will venture to affirm that no Government has ever taken a more liberal course. I will venture to assert that Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, in his most ardent desire for the reform and improvement of Turkey, had never dreamt that a Turkish Ministry would thus voluntarily appeal to foreign Powers and lay bare to their agents the condition of the whole finances of the empire. Lord Hobart, Mr. Foster, and the Marquis de Plœuchad access to all the books, accounts, and returns of the Government. They were treated with unreserved confidence. Having examined with great care the financial condition of the State, they made certain suggestions as to the method of keeping the public accounts, as to imposing new taxes and discontinuing the collection of others, as to the mode of dealing with the revenue, and as to the payment of the debts and consolidation of the liabilities of the Government. Some of those suggestions have already been acted upon with much success. Others, I am convinced, will, in the course of time, be carried out. One part of the advice they most strongly urged upon the Porte was the withdrawal of the paper money, which had been greatly depreciated, and the constant fluctuations in which caused great embarrassment, not only in all commercial operations, but in the daily monetary dealings of the people. They also suggested the consolidation of the floating debt. For these purposes they recommended the raising of a loan in England. The Turkish Government accordingly negotiated a loan in this country, for nominally £8,000,000, but yielding only £5,000,000. I will pass over any personal charges that may have been made against me with regard to that loan. I feel sure that the House will not think it necessary for me even to notice them. The question I have to deal with is simply this:—Has the money been applied to the purposes for which it was raised, and in accordance with the pledges given by the Porte to those who advanced it—that is to say, to the withdrawal of the "caimé," or paper money, and to the consolidation of the floating debt? Now, I repeat what I have declared before, that it has been, every farthing of it; and that the assertions so confidently made in this House, and in the press, that any part of it has been diverted to other purposes—that it has been used by the Turkish Government in subduing the Montenegrins, and for oppressing the Christians, are utterly unfounded and untrue. I have laid upon the table of the House the Reports of Lord Hobart, who was especially sent out by the English Government at the request of the English bondholders and of the Porte, to superintend the application of the proceeds of the loan. They show that the Turkish Government have most faithfully and honestly adhered to their engagements; that every farthing of the loan has been devoted to the purposes for which it was intended; that the mode of its application has given entire satisfaction to the commercial classes, native and foreign; and that no less a sum than £9,000,000 sterling of paper money—that is, the whole paper currency of the empire, has been withdrawn from circulation in the short space of a few months. Sir, I will venture to affirm, that there is no nation in the world that can point to such a result, to an operation of this magnitude and importance, carried out in so short a time with such success, with such liberality to the holders of the depreciated coinage, and with such general satisfaction to all classes. It is surely unparalleled. It is true that the amount of the loan raised in England in 1862 did not prove sufficient to consolidate the whole of the floating debt: a further sum was required. By Lord Hobart's advice, I believe, the Turkish Government determined to contract another loan, which has been raised partly in France and partly in this country. That loan has been negotiated on even better terms than the previous one, thus furnishing a complete answer to those who assert, that had the Reports of Lord Hobart and Mr. Foster been published earlier, the previous loan would not have been obtained. So far from such having been the case, these Reports have increased the confidence of the public in the resources of Turkey. Moreover, these documents furnish the strongest possible evidence of the earnest desire of the Turkish Government to be guided by European advice in the improvement and reform of the administration of their finances. They show how much has already been effected in that direction, whilst at the same time they point out that there is still much to be done. I would wish especially to impress upon the House that the Christian subjects of the Porte—the Greek, Armenian, and Christian merchants—will chiefly profit by these great reforms. The principal trade of Turkey is in their hands; and however useful or advantageous these financial operations may prove to the Turkish population in general, it is they who will principally reap the benefit.

Now, let me ask the attention of the House to the increase of Turkish trade as a proof of increased prosperity, and of an improved condition of internal administration. In 1831 the Turkish import trade from England amounted to £888,684; in 1839 it had increased to £1,430,224; in 1848 to £3,116,365; and in 1860 to £5,639,898. The export trade had increased no less rapidly from £1,387,416 in 1840, to £3,202,558 in 1856, and £5,505,492 in 1860, the Danubian Principalities included. In fact, the trade with England had increased in twenty-three years 635 per cent. The results as regards France have been no less remarkable. In 1833 the imports from that country amounted in value to 16,730,000 francs; in 1856 they had risen to 91,860,000 francs. The exports in 1833 were only 874,000 francs; in 1856 they had risen to 131,546,258 francs. The revenue of Turkey shows a no less extraordinary result. In the time of Sultan Mahmoud it amounted to only £3,000,000 a year; in 1850 it had risen to £7,000,000: it has now reached £15,000,000, and there can be little doubt, that if the present course of reform and improvement is persevered in, the revenue, owing to the vast resources of the country, may be even doubled without inconvenience or over-taxation. My hon. Friend has endeavoured to explain away these startling facts, which admit of no denial, by saying that the Turkish Government can go on getting money, because it can plunder and rob the people with impunity, and that it does so whenever it is in want of it. But my hon. Friend has surely spoken without reflection. Such a process must have an end. No Government, however despotic, can go on robbing the people of what they possess. If it did, the result would be not a rising, but a failing revenue; not an improving but a decaying trade; not prosperity, but penury, bankruptcy, and misery. We have in Turkey, as I have shown, proofs of a daily-increasing revenue; consequently, of an increasing population. How can ex- cessive taxation account for this state of things? But in Turkey the taxation is considerably less than 10s. a head, whilst in this country and France it amounts to considerably more than £2. These are facts which cannot be contradicted. But, lest I might be misled with regard to these proofs of progress by information given from what my hon. Friend seems to insinuate are interested sources. I have sought an independent and unbiassed authority. I requested Mr. Gilbertson, who has been for some time the General Manager of the Ottoman Bank in the East, who has been employed in many of the financial operations of the Porte, and who is a gentleman of great experience and ability, to give me his opinion upon the state of Turkish finances, and upon the improvements which the Turkish Government has introduced. I will not trouble the House with the whole of his letter, but I will read from it one or two paragraphs. He says— The Public Works Commission elaborated a system for the formation of roads, a Stamp Act was promulgated, and a licensing system framed, productive duties on tobacco and salt were established, the police force of the capital was increased in efficiency and diminished in cost—a measure having its fiscal value. Under Kiani Pasha the custom-house abuses rapidly diminished, and the revenue benefited proportionally, for the Crown could now do away everywhere with the pernicious system of farming the customs revenues. It is not pretended that these and other reforms have abolished all abuses in the improved administrative departments; many, and crying ones, notoriously exist, but the improvement is enormous, although its real extent and importance can only be fairly estimated by those intimately acquainted with the habits and prejudices of the Eastern people. It is, no doubt, perfectly true that these reforms could not be introduced, these loans raised, and these operations carried through, without adding to the public debt of Turkey. But by a wise provision a sinking fund has been created, by which this foreign debt will be gradually diminished one-fiftieth every year until it will be entirely extinguished in fifty years. So elastic are the revenues and resources of Turkey that I cannot doubt, that if the Porte continues as it has begun, it will experience no difficulty whatever in meeting its obligations. It must be remembered, to the great honour of Turkey, that she has never failed to pay her debts with the greatest punctuality, and that the credit she may command in the market, and the power she has of raising money, is not to be attributed, as my hon. Friend would lead the House to believe, to the undue *** assistance of the English or any other Government, but to the simple fact of people being willing to lend money to a State which has hitherto faithfully discharged its obligations. It is very easy to reproach the Porte with irregularities, and with a bad system of taxation. But the difficulties with which the Turkish Government has to contend are far greater than hon. Gentlemen are probably aware of. One of the greatest of their difficulties will be found in what are called the capitulations. By these capitulations, or conventions entered into with European Powers, the subjects of these Powers are placed in an exceptional position. They claim certain rights and privileges—amongst them those of not paying Turkish taxes, and of not obeying Turkish laws. I will not say that these capitulations were not at the time necessary for the protection of foreigners, and that in some respects they are still so. But they are, at the same time, the cause of infinite trouble and embarrassment, not only to the Turkish Government, but to the Representatives of the Powers whose subjects claim the benefit of them. Let me mention a case to illustrate this as regards the imposition of just and necessary taxes. Amongst the taxes which the Porte was recommended to raise in lieu of other taxes which were for some reason or another objectionable was one upon horses and, I believe, donkeys too. The Representatives of some of the great Powers objected to the payment of this tax by their subjects, on the ground that it was a personal tax from which they were exempted by the capitulations. As some of the Representatives would not allow it to be levied, of course the others were under the necessity of refusing also. As the Porte did not consider it just to levy a tax upon Turkish subjects which foreigners refused to pay, the scheme dropped, and thus a considerable and legitimate source of revenue was abandoned.

My hon. Friend has denounced the large expenditure of the Sultan himself as an instance of the reckless extravagance of the Turkish Government. He has told us of the vast sums lavished by the late Sultan upon his palaces. It would have been only just and fair to the present Sultan if he had added that His Majesty has, of his own free will, renounced nearly £25,000 a month of his civil list, and has generously paid a large amount of the arrears owing to the troops out of his own pocket. He has, moreover, insisted upon various retrenchments, and has endeavoured to inculcate doctrines of economy on the officers of his household and his Ministers, Whilst these retrenchments and reforms are being made in the administration of the finances, the Turkish Government are not going back from that liberal commercial policy which has always characterized Turkey; on the contrary, they have continued in the course of free trade, and have recently concluded treaties with this country and other States, placing their import and export duties upon a very low scale, and encouraging the most liberal commercial intercourse with the rest of the world. Turkey is already beginning to feel the advantage of this extension of her free-trade policy, and I have no doubt that she will soon reap benefits even greater from it. My hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale (Mr. Cobden) should be the last man to run down and denounce those who have been amongst the first and most apt of his pupils.

In considering, as we have done this evening, the condition of the Turkish Empire, let us remember that we always hear the worst side of any grievance of which the Christians may have to complain. European Diplomatic Representatives and European Consuls have constituted themselves the advocates and defenders of the Christians, and very few cases of oppression escape their vigilance, and are not brought to the notice of the Porte. The Turkish Government and Turkish local authorities are compelled to submit, however unwillingly, to their constant interference. There is no doubt that too often it is justified by the case itself; but very frequently the grounds of complaint are very slight indeed. The Christians have, unfortunately, got into a habit of seeking foreign interference to save themselves from doing that which is even right, such, for instance, as paying a just debt, or even for the sake of revenging themselves upon a Mohammedan. This state of things naturally leads to very great inconvenience, and often to very gross injustice. I remember a former Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs, who was well known for his wit and ready humour, taking an opportunity of practically showing the absurdity of pushing this interference too far. The British Ambassador had sent a dragoman to the Porte to remonstrate on the subject of some grievance which had been brought to his notice by a Christian community. The Minister listened with attention to the remonstrance, and promised redress. The dragoman was about to leave the room, well satisfied with his success, when the Minister for Foreign Affairs requested him to remain a little longer. "I have," said he, "a very grave case to bring before Her Majesty's Ambassador. His Majesty the Sultan has received a letter from England which informs him that the English people are labouring under the most grievous injustice; their bread is actually taxed; and although there is abundance of corn in neighbouring countries, yet they are not allowed to bring it into England, but are compelled to pay a great price for their loaf, and are in consequence in danger of starving." He pulled from his pocket the letter, describing in very eloquent and touching terms the suffering and misery of the English people, and denouncing the unjust and iniquitous law-which caused them. That letter was signed "Richard Cobden." "The Sultan," continued the Minister, "takes the most lively interest in these poor people; he is deeply touched by this account of their misfortunes. Will you have the goodness to represent the case to the Ambassador, and beg him to inform Her Majesty very respectfully that the Sultan would be extremely gratified if she would repeal these bad laws, and permit her subjects to eat cheap and un taxed bread?" After all that has been said of the present state of Turkey, I would ask hon. Members to contrast it for one moment with her condition not many years ago. Then rebellion and insurrection were rife from Belgrade to the Persian Gulf. Ali Pasha, of Janina, had successfully resisted the Government of the Sultan, and was at the head of an army. The Pasha of Egypt had not only thrown off his allegiance, but threatened to march upon the capital itself. The Mamlook Pashas of Bagdad were almost independent. In Asia Minor the old feudal chiefs, the "Dereh Beys," as they were called, and in Turkey in Europe the various hereditary Pashas, refused to pay tribute or to acknowledge the authority of the Sultan. Russia was threatening the Turkish Empire from the north, and had already deprived it of some of its provinces. The janissaries, a bold and disaffected band of armed men, constantly threatened the life of the Sovereign himself, and committed acts of the most grievous oppression both upon the Christian and Mussulman populations. Now, Albania and the formerly semi-independent tribes of Western Turkey have been reduced to subjection and are under the control of the Porte, pay their taxes, and furnish troops. Not only is the Viceroy of Egypt no longer in open hostility to the Sultan, but he is anxious to draw nearer to his Sovereign, and to re-establish the most intimate and friendly relations between that province and the rest of the Empire. We have recently heard of the Sultan's visit to that part of his dominions, of the lively interest that he manifested in its prosperity, and of the enthusiastic reception with which he was greeted by both Christians and Mohammedans. The independent Pashas and Dereh Beys have long since been reduced to subjection, and obey the laws of the Empire. The advance of Russia has been stayed, and she no longer threatens the Turkish Empire with invasion or war. The cruel and lawless Janissaries have been utterly destroyed, and in their stead the Sultan has a large and well-appointed army. As Sir Henry Bulwer observes, these changes are indeed "a miracle," and no other country can show the like of them.

I have now pointed out what Turkey has done. I think any impartial man must admit that she may hope for a prosperous future if her statesmen persist in a wise policy, and continue earnestly in the path of improvement and reform. Now, let me ask my hon. Friend what he is aiming at. I confess, that having very carefully listened to his speech, I am at a loss to understand what policy he recommends us to pursue with regard to Turkey. He has proposed no Resolution to the House. Does he wish to break up the Turkish Empire altogether, and deliver over its spoil to others? If so, the task, I can assure him, is not so easy a one as he imagines. I pointed out some time ago, when a debate upon the subject of Turkey took place in this House, that a large portion of the population of Turkey in Europe, probably at least one third—Mr. Longworth assures me that his own inquiries lead him to believe still more—are Mussulmans or Turks. These constitute the great bulk of the landed proprietors. Now, I would beg the House to consider what handing over the European Provinces of Turkey to the Christian population means. It means either the expulsion or the extermination of every Mohammedan. There is no disguising the fact. I have heard it asserted myself over and over again by those who advocate the rising of the Christians against the Turks, and by those who have taken part in insurrections in Turkey. It is not an easy thing to deprive 4,000,000 of human beings of their property or of their lives, more especially when they are of a warlike and brave race, are inured to arms, and have to deal with a degraded and pusillanimous population such as the Christians at present undoubtedly are. If you wish to incite them to this struggle for life or death, reflect first upon the inevitable consequences. Hitherto the Turkish Government, which is after all a long-suffering, a humane, and a liberal Government, has not had recourse to the supreme measure for its defence. But suppose the Sultan, pressed on all sides by foreign Powers, the Christians brought into revolt, and his very throne threatened, were to call upon his Mohammedan subjects to make the last great struggle for their property and their lives, what would be the result? Why, I do not hesitate to say that the most terrible massacre that history can record would ensue. Thousands and tens of thousands of Christian lives would be sacrificed. Some European Power might perhaps interfere to stay the slaughter, but no interference could take place until it had reached a climax too horrible to contemplate. And could we blame the Turks for making this last great struggle when everything they hold sacred and dear was at stake? Would not the same thing take place in any other country of the world where one part of the population sought to expel or destroy the remainder, from which it differed in race or creed? I repeat that in the East Christian supremacy means Mohammedan extermination; and the Mussulman knows it full well.

But let us suppose that the Christian population, having expelled or exterminated the Mohammedans, were left to govern themselves. Would they succeed better—would they be more quiet, more tolerant, more forbearing to each other? I doubt it. The Armenian hates the Greek as much, if not more, than he hates the Mohammedan. The Greek hates the Armenian as much as he hates the Catholic. The Catholic hates them all. Each sect is ready to persecute and destroy the other sects. Has my hon. Friend been at Jerusalem at the time of the celebration of Easter? Has he seen the horrible and scandalous scenes which take place in the very precincts of the sepulchre of our Lord? Has he seen Catholics, Armenians, Greeks, and Copts slaying each other on the spot where, of all places on the face of the earth, one would believe that Christian men would forget their differences and seek a holy peace? Has he seen a Mussulman guard called into a Christian Church to divide and calm these enraged combatants? Has he seen the dead bodies of these believers in Christ laid out in ghastly array by Mohammedan soldiers? If he has not, let him go himself to Jerusalem, or read the accounts of those who have witnessed these sad and degrading spectacles. I would specially refer him to the graphic picture given by my friend Mr. Curzon of these scenes, in his interesting and instructive work on the Monasteries of the Levant. Did my hon. Friend read a few days ago a letter in The Times newspaper describing the Eastern ceremonies in the Church of Jerusalem? If he did, he must surely have blushed for shame at the conduct of those who, pretending to the title of Christians, had assembled to worship at the shrine of Him who had taught peace and good-will amongst men, What must the Turk, with his reverence for holy places and his simple faith, think of these blasphemies and these profane mummeries? The writer of that letter actually condemns a Turkish officer who, half in jest, half in earnest, endeavoured to separate with a whip those engaged in unseemly and unholy combat. Surely this mode of dealing with these fanatics was, after all, more humane and more tolerant than the use of the sword and the bayonet, and the discharge of volleys of musketry into a helpless crowd of men, women, and children. Perhaps the hon. Member for the King's County (Mr. Hennessy) can describe to us how Christian and civilized men recently treated, in Christian churches, a congregation whose offence was the singing of patriotic hymns and the offering up of prayers for the liberation of their country; how the most holy places were stained with blood, and how the ferocious Cossacks dispersed with their lances the unhappy crowd. And how would the Christians, let me ask, treat the Jews, who form no inconsiderable portion of the population of Turkey, and are treated with humanity and liberality by the Turks? It was only last Easter that the Turkish authorities at Smyrna, perhaps the most civilized city in the East as far as the Christians are concerned, had to interfere to protect the Jewish inhabitants from being murdered by Greeks and Catholics. I hold in my hand a slip cut out from a Constantinople paper—not a Turkish paper, remember—giving the account of an outrage committed at the same period upon the Jews in a village on the Bosphorus, which might have led to fatal results, had not the Turkish authorities interfered. You will remember that Mr. Longworth has told us that the Jews of Belgrade lived for quiet and protection amongst those Turks whom the Servians now denounce for their cruelty and intolerance. I have read to you the descriptions given by our Consuls of the oppression and the injustice committed by the Greek Bishops and Primates upon their own people. My hon. Friend says that they do this with the support and at the instigation of the Porte. He is, I can assure him, entirely mistaken. So far from this being the case, the Porte has endeavoured to interfere and to restrain them. But when it has done so, what has been the consequence? Why, the clergy appeal to the Russian Government, whom they look upon as their protector, and a fresh cause of grievance is raised against the Turkish Government for interfering with the liberties and privileges of the Greek Church!

Whatever may be the bad government of the Turk—and I admit and condemn its shortcomings as much as any man—it must at least be allowed that they are the only people who can maintain anything like order amongst the many different opposing sects and races which constitute the Turkish Empire. Does my hon. Friend think that the people of Turkey would be any happier or more prosperous under Russian rule? Not very long ago 11,000 Bulgarians were induced by Russian agents to leave their native country and to settle in Russia. They were so inhospitably received, they were exposed to so many hardships and to so much oppression, that out of this number 4,000 died; the remainder took the first opportunity of returning to Bulgaria, although they had to abandon everything, and to cross the frontier in a state of absolute destitution. The Turks received them kindly. I have heard from eye-witnesses, that when they found themselves again in their native villages and fields, these poor people threw themselves on the ground, and, kissing it with affectionate ardour, exclaimed, "God be praised, this is our own earth!" What, let me ask, takes place in Circassia and amongst the independent tribes of Mohammedan mountaineers when they once get under the sway of Russia? In the Crimea there was once a prosperous, happy, and industrious Tatar population. Their country was conquered by Russia. What became of them? Let an eminent traveller, well known to most hon. Members of this House, tell the tale. I quote a passage from Mr. Oliphant's Shores of the Black Sea. He writes of the Crim Tatars— It was melancholy to think that the inhabitants of these lovely valleys were gradually disappearing under the blighting influence which Russia appears to exercise over her Moslem subjects. Of late years the Tatars have been rapidly diminishing, and now number about 100,000, or scarcely half the entire population of the Crimea. Their energy, too, seems declining with their numbers. Whole tracts of country susceptible of a high state of cultivation, and once producing abundantly, are now lying waste; their manufactories deteriorating, their territorial wealth destroyed, their noble families becoming extinct, their poor ground down by Russian tax-gatherers, and swindled out of their substance by dishonest sub-officials. Remember, it is this very Russian Government which is continually denouncing the Turks for ill-treating their Christian subjects, and which is constantly interfering for their protection. These exiled Tatar tribes from the Crimea and the mountains to the east of the Black Sea seek an asylum and hospitality in Turkey. They are not refused to them. On the contrary, they have been received, fed, and clothed, and have had lands given them. In Asia Minor are several flourishing communities of Cossacks, who have taken refuge from Russia, and are now amongst the best subjects of the Sultan. Whilst we condemn the treatment of the Christians by the Mohammedans, let us at least make some allowance for the feelings of the Turks when they see the sights that I have described. Do you think the Mussulman inhabitants of Bulgaria can behold, unmoved and unconcerned, the long lines of their co-religionists, deprived of their all, and well-nigh of their lives, slowly crossing the frontiers of Servia, driven forth as beggars and outcasts from the lands which they have inherited from their forefathers, merely because they happen to differ in faith from those amongst whom they sought to live?

My hon. Friend has denounced, in no measured terms, the fanaticism of the Turks. He has used language which I confess to have heard with great regret. Let me ask him whether he does not think that he himself will be responsible for a good deal of that fanaticism. Will not such speeches as he has made this evening tend to awaken or increase that fanatical spirit which was gradually dying out? The debates in this House reach nearly every part of the world. They are translated and noticed throughout the East. We have a large Mohammedan population in India. They may think, from reading what has fallen from my hon. Friend, that we Christians are prepared to treat with intolerable injustice those who profess Mohammedanism, that their rights and liberties are not to be respected, and that as we advocate the expulsion and extermination of the Mussulmans of Turkey, so their turn may come next, and that they are to be driven from India. I have often heard it said, by persons well acquainted with the populations of India, that speeches made in Parliament had no little share in bringing about the deplorable events which took place a short time ago in that country. Moreover, will not these speeches tend to excite the Christian population, to lead them into bloody and hopeless struggles, and to encourage those who are endeavouring to bring about insurrections and outbreaks in Turkey? I am afraid my hon. Friend and those who use similar language incur no small amount of responsibility, and may have partly to answer for events which we may yet have deeply to deplore. But I will venture to tell my hon. Friend that what he has denounced as religious fanaticism is not so much religious fanaticism as that instinct of self-preservation which must exist in every race. The Mussulmans, as I have said, are led to believe that their time is come, that the day of their destruction is at hand, that the Christian Powers are going to deliver them over—their property and their lives—to their implacable enemies. Is it surprising that they should look upon Christians with suspicion, that they should show some signs of irritation and anger? The Turkish Government has never been a really intolerant Government. At Constantinople and in other cities of the Turkish Empire you may see the mosque, the church, and the synagogue standing side by side—a prospect not visible in many capitals of Europe. You may see wending through the streets the processions of the Roman Catholic priesthood, with their flaunting banners of many colours, and their gaily-dressed images of the Virgin and the saints; or you may pass the solemn burial procession of the Greeks, with the corpse exposed and adorned with flowers and gaudy finery. You will observe the Turkish population looking on with decent respect, and even sometimes with a certain degree of reverence. Where, I ask, in Europe, even in the most civilized and liberal countries, could such sights be witnessed? In dealing with a country so full of the anomalies that I have described, with so much to condemn and so much to approve, Her Majesty's Government has, I am convinced, followed a consistent, a liberal, a humane, a statesmanlike, and, if I may be permitted the use of the word, in the sense I mean, a "philosophical" policy. We have no desire to advocate and support conduct on the part of the Christians which we condemn in the case of the Mohammedans; nor do we wish to see Christians oppressing or exterminating Mussulmans, any more than to see Mussulmans oppressing or cruelly treating Christians. What we desire is, that equal justice should be done to all races, creeds, and sects. My hon. Friend has quoted some extracts from the despatches of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. That distinguished diplomatist may be classed amongst the first and the truest friends of Turkey. At the same time, no man has done more than he has done to promote the real interests and to secure the just rights of the Christian subjects of the Porte. During his long and successful career in the East he succeeded in effecting great reforms, mainly directed to the improvement of the condition of the Christians, although not less beneficial to the Empire at large. His constant and earnest endeavours were directed to the abolition of such barbarous laws as still marked the inferiority, the servitude, of those who were not Mohammedans. Through his energetic interference the punishment of death, previously inflicted upon renegades from the Mohammedan religion, was abolished. Under his advice, and at his instance, the Sultan issued that celebrated Imperial rescript, the Hatti-Humayoun, which virtually admitted the civil equality of the Mussulman and the Christian, and which laid down principles which, if fairly and impartially carried out, would leave little to be desired in the Turkish Empire. But let it be remembered, that whilst Lord Stratford was pursuing a policy which was entirely consistent with his own generous, humane, and enlightened views, he was at the same time obeying the instructions of his Government, and was acting up to their policy and opinions. Nor would any other instructions have been sent to any other ambassador at Constantinople, whether those instructions were issued by Lord Aberdeen, Lord Clarendon, Lord Malmesbury, or the noble Earl now at the head of the Foreign Office, or whether they were addressed to Lord Stratford, Lord Cowley, or Sir Henry Bulwer. The English Government has always acted, in its advice to the Porte and its instructions to its representatives, upon principles which may shortly be summed up thus:—A thorough reform of the abuses which are admitted to exist; a fusion, as far as possible, of the various races, classes, and creeds which form the heterogeneous population of the Turkish Empire; complete religious toleration for all creeds and sects; equal civil rights to all the Sultan's subjects without any distinction whatever; and the admission of the Christian subjects of the Porte to a share in the administration of the affairs of the Empire. These are the great principles still kept in view by Her Majesty's Government, and which I defy my hon. Friend the Member for Galway or any other Member of this House to prove have ever been departed from in any one instance whatever. On the contrary, there is not a despatch, not an instruction sent from this country—some of them have been quoted this evening—which is not only not at variance with them, but which does not insist over and over again upon them. Nor has any representative of this country acted upon other principles. Let my hon. Friend show that they have, and I will then admit, but not till then, that there is some foundation for the accusation that the Government of this country has supported and does support the Mohammedans against the Christians, that it is the friend of the one and the enemy of the other.

I attach great importance to the admission of Christians to a share in the administration of the affairs of their country. I believe that their admission would be as much to the benefit of the Turks themselves as to the advantage of the Christian. But let us even in this matter be just to the Turkish Government, and consider the difficulties with which it has to contend. How can we, with any degree of reason or fairness, ask the Turks to trust and to admit to a share in the Government those who declare themselves to be their enemies, and who are instigated and influenced by those whose avowed object it is to overthrow the Ottoman Empire, and who would employ those very Christians as their agents in the attempt? And let me remind my hon. Friend that by speeches encouraging the Christians in their hostility to the Turks, he and his friends render it still more difficult for the Turkish Government so to admit them. Before the Greek war of independence, Christians were not excluded from public employment; on the contrary, they had a considerable share in the administration of public business The conduct of foreign affairs, for instance, was almost entirely in their hands. The Governments of Wallachia, of Moldavia, and of some other parts of Turkey, were confided to Greeks, generally to the Fanariots, as the Greek inhabitants of the Fanar, a quarter of Constantinople, are called. After that war, and in consequence of the seeds of enmity and hatred against the Turks which it sowed, it became more difficult to employ Christians, especially Greeks, in the Government, particularly in the administration of the internal affairs of the Empire. But that the Turkish Government is not opposed to the employment of Christians, but, on the contrary, is inclined and willing to avail itself of their assistance when it can do so without what it considers danger or inconvenience, is proved by the fact that the distinguished gentleman who has so long and with so much ability represented Turkey in this country (M. Musurus) is a Greek, and that the representatives of the Porte in many other capitals of Europe are of the Christian faith. Moreover, Christians, especially Armenians, are very generally employed in the internal administration of Turkey, especially in matters connected with the revenue.

Sir, I have been more than once twitted in this House for being the advocate of the Italians and of supporting liberal institutions and the rights of the people in Italy, whilst at the same time I am the enemy of the struggling Christians of Turkey. No one has condemned me more energetically than my impetuous Friend the Member for Poole (Mr. Danby Seymour). He assailed me a short time ago with a perfect whirlwind of sarcasm and abuse. "What!" he exclaimed, "you, who pretend to be the friend of the Italians, you who make speeches in favour of Italian unity and in- dependence, now support those barbarous, those cruel Turks, and encourage them in every outrage upon the unoffending Christians, who only seek to turn out their oppressors and to make themselves independent. Shame upon you!" Allow me to point out to my hon. Friend that nothing could be more inappropriate or more unjust than a comparison between the Italian people and the Christian populations of Turkey in Europe. The Italians are a wonderfully intelligent, an illustrious, highly-civilized and cultivated people, inhabiting the whole of the peninsula of Italy, speaking one language—for I cannot accept the mere dialects of the common people as differences of tongue—possessing the same glorious literature, boasting of the same great men, inheriting the same wise and liberal institutions, claiming a common inheritance in those imperishable monuments of former greatness and power which adorn their common country. Centuries ago they showed the same genius, and the same capacity for self-government which, after long and cruel repression, has again hurst forth in our day. Moreover, they have a common religion, and whatever antiquarians may say as to the remote origin of the people of this or that part of the Peninsula, we may accept them all as now virtually belonging to one and the same race. Now, what is the condition of the Christian population of Turkey? They are divided into many and hostile races and creeds, they have no common language and no common religion, and no common literature which could mould the opinions and influence the feelings and habits of a people. Indeed, it may be said, that they have no literature whatever; for although the prying and industrious philologist may discover a few traditionary ballads and tales amongst the Bosniacs, Serbs, or Bulgarians, I cannot accept them as a literature. Moreover, as a general rule, the Christians form the labouring and working part of the population, and are not the great landowners. On the other hand, how are the Turks situated? They have a common religion, to a great extent a common language; they have a literature of their own, and an extensive one, whatever value we may attach to it. They are, besides, the holders of the greater part of the soil in Turkey. They are not like the Austrians in Italy, or the Russians in Poland, only encamped in the land and holding the people in subjection by the mere force of arms, without having any other footing in the country. If one-third or more of the population of Italy had been of Austrian origin—I am now applying the comparison to Turkey in Europe alone—and the greater part of the land had been held by Austrians, the case would have been very different, and the liberation of Italy from their yoke would not have been so easy a matter. The conquest and settlement of the European portion of Turkey by the Ottomans resembled, in many of its features, that of the conquest of England by the Saxons or by the Normans. The conquering race became the governing race, and dividing the lands amongst them, settled themselves permanently in the country, keeping, it is true, the conquered in subjection, but so far amalgamating with them as to form one nation. Fortunately, in England there was no difference of religion between the conqueror and the conquered. Consequently, the distinction of race in the course of time disappeared. Unfortunately, such has not been the case in Turkey. The Osmanli conquerors have retained their faith—the Mohammedan; the conquered have remained Christians. They have consequently never amalgamated, and the distinction between the races is as broad now as it was three or four centuries ago. Hence all the evil; hence arise the vast difficulties in dealing with the Eastern question, which is in truth far more one of a religious than of a purely political character. Ireland might furnish us with even a still closer analogy. As in Turkey, the conquerors were of a different faith, and they have retained that faith, and have consequently not amalgamated with the conquered. Their descendants, the minority of the population, hold a great part of the land. The language of the two races was long distinct. The English are still looked upon by the native Irish as invaders. The measures which you advocate for Turkey, if applied to Ireland, would mean the entire expulsion of the descendants of the English conquerors, and of the Protestants of Ireland, whether of Irish origin or not, and the surrender of all their lands and property to the Roman Catholic population. The English Government has pursued a different policy. It has sought by wise laws and just administration, by removing civil and religious inequalities, and by giving the Irish people an equal share in the administration of the affairs of the Empire, to reconcile them to the different races and creeds, and to render them all good and faithful subjects of the Crown. It is precisely this policy that we recommend to the Turkish Government.

My hon. Friend the Member for Poole (Mr. Danby Seymour) reminds me that what I have said about language, literature, and traditions does not apply to the Greek race. It does not perhaps in the same degree as to the Sclavonian inhabitants of Turkey. But the Greek race forms but a very small portion of the subjects of the Sultan. The numbers given by my hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Mr. Baillie Cochrane) are, I am convinced, very much exaggerated. The true estimate would be much nearer that which I gave on a previous evening—namely, 1,500,000, or altogether between 2,500,000 and 3,000,000 including the Kingdom of Greece—than 6,000,000 as he has stated. But even with respect to the modern Greeks, I must point out to the House that whilst their language differs greatly from the ancient written Greek, so much so that the classics are only understood by those Greeks who, like ourselves, have made a special study of them—their traditions and literature are not of ancient Greece. They do not follow the noble and elevating precepts of the old philosophers, but rather the narrow and demoralizing doctrines of the Byzantine theologians; they do not look to the bright examples of the illustrious heroes of ancient Greece, but to the miserable corruption and debasing in trigues which brought the Lower Empire to the depths of infamy, and led to its fall; they are not familiar with the names of Leonidas, of Miltiades, of Sophocles, of Socrates, of the great warriors, poets, and philosophers of antiquity, but of the Con-stantines, the Theodosiuses, the St. Chrysostoms, and the Cyrils of the Lower Empire: in one word, their traditions and their aspirations are not linked with Athens, but with Byzantium. In saying this, I would, of course, make an exception in favour of the learned men of the present capital of Greece and of those who have studied in its University. I am speaking of the great body of the Greeks scattered throughout the East.

It is remarkable that the best and most popular institutions of the people of the Lower Empire were respected by the Turks when they conquered the European provinces. I refer to the municipal institutions which they found prevailing in the country. It is, perhaps, not known to many Members of the House that the Christian subjects of the Sultan forming communities and villages, like the inhabitants of a considerable part of Italy, enjoy such institutions as enable them to administer their own affairs without interference, and to acquire habits of self-government, which have been thus developed to a considerable extent. For instance, all that relates to the ordering of ecclesiastical matters is left entirely to them. The assessment and collection of the taxes of the community belong in most instances to its own chief, the Turkish authorities rating the villages or quarters of a town at a gross sum, and leaving the inhabitants to apportion and raise that sum as they deem best. Very often the police, and even the administration of justice of a Christian village are left entirely to its head, who is generally a person selected by the villagers themselves for his ability and his superior wealth. I do not pretend to say that these institutions are by any means perfect; but I am of opinion that they would form the groundwork of much better institutions, and that if they were developed and extended in a right direction, they would enable the Turkish Government to increase the liberties of their Christian subjects, and to remove many of the grievauces of which they now justly complain. But even under these institutions, such as they are, many Christian communities in the East have acquired considerable wealth and prosperity, and have enjoyed much freedom and happiness. I may mention as instances, the villages of Ambelakia, hanging on the wooded sides of Ossa above the classic and lovely vale of Tempe, so graphically described by Mr. Urquhart in his work entitled The Spirit of the East; and the Greek communities of Zagorie, inhabiting some of the most picturesque and beautiful valleys of Pindus, remarkable for their wealth and intelligence, and the curious representative system by which their affairs are administered. At the same time I cannot overlook the fact that the very existence of these municipal institutions, if I may so term them, is the cause of much of the oppression and wrong under which the Christians suffer. The extracts from the reports which I have read prove that the complaints of the Christians are as much directed against their own bishops and civil heads as against the Turks. These bishops and chiefs have the power of imprisonment, of fine, and of punishment by torture, and in many cases these powers are exercised in the most arbitrary and disgraceful manner. We have seen that some of the most rapacious and unjust collectors of the taxes and farmers of the revenues have been Christians, and that the Turkish Government have been made responsible for their illegal and arbitrary acts. What I wish to see, Sir, is the development of these institutions. I wish to see the Christians taught habits of self-government. I wish to see them advancing in wealth, in education, in social condition, in morality, in honesty, in manly independence—preparing themselves, in fact, to play that part which Providence may have in store for them. These things can, I believe, be accomplished by keeping the Turkish Government in the path of reform—by encouraging it in its endeavours to improve the condition of its Christian subjects. They cannot be accomplished if we are continually inciting the Christian populations to insurrection, and if we do all in our power to render any understanding between them and their Turkish fellow-subjects and their Turkish rulers impossible. I will venture to affirm, that if the English Government were to follow much of the advice given by my hon. Friend, we should throw back the Christian populations of Turkey, instead of advancing their interests; that we should render the development not only of their prosperity, but of that of the Turks, impossible.

We have, too, be it remembered, a duty to perform towards the Turkish Government. We have treaty engagements—we have pledges to fulfil. It does not become us, claiming to be a Christian and civilized Government, to violate these solemn obligations. My experience of the East has led me to the conviction that in dealing with Easterns it is above all things essential to preserve good faith—to be true to one's word. The Turks have many excellent qualities, and travellers who are really acquainted with the Turkish population admit their hospitality, their honesty, and their truthfulness. The Sultan of Turkey and the Turkish Government have given proofs of these qualities more than once They have always been punctual in discharging their obligations. Should we not be equally punctual in discharging ours? Surely my hon. Friends below the gangway cannot have forgotten the conduct of the Sultan with regard to the Hungarian refugees, when Turkey was prepared to go to war with Austria rather than surrender those who had sought refuge within her frontier. Why, in return for what she has done, should we, admitting all that is bad and corrupt in Turkey and all that requires reform, treat her ungenerously, and refuse her our sympathy, advice, and assistance in her endeavours to advance and improve? If we do so, will not she naturally lose all the confidence she now feels in England? Shall we not lose that influence for good, those means of promoting the prosperity and welfare of many millions of Christians which we now possess, and which it is our duty to exercise with justice and discrimination? Sir, there are two kinds of bad Governments. There are those bad Governments which boast of their badness, make their badness a principle, and persist in it against all remonstrance and in spite of all shame. Such, I fear, were some of the Italian Governments. There is another kind of Government, with very much to shock and condemn, but which admits its defects, struggles to remove them, and endeavours to reform itself. Of this kind I believe the Turkish Government to be; and because I believe this, I am desirous that we should give Turkey our sympathy and support in carrying out measures which are really intended for the benefit of her people. My hon. Friend the Member for Galway has done me the honour of reading an extract from a work which I published some years ago. He has quoted to the House the words of indignation with which I characterized the proceedings of the Turkish authorities in a remote part of Asiatic Turkey. Sir, I have not contented myself with mere words of indignation and with mere speeches. As far as my humble means have permitted me, I have done my best to bring such things to the notice of the Turkish Government, to obtain redress for the sufferers, and to prevent the repetition of such atrocities. I have nothing to retract from what I have written about the misconduct of the Turkish officials in the Nestorian mountains. I was myself a witness of that misconduct. I sent the strongest representations to Constantinople, and both Lord Stratford and Lord Cowley did their utmost to obtain redress and justice for the sufferers, and the punishment of those who had ill treated them. I fear that justice has never been fully done to these poor people. I have denounced other instances of oppression, for I do not deny that the Nestorians present no solitary case. That Lord Russell has denounced such acts of misgovernment and such atrocities, in the strongest language, his eloquent despatch upon the Syrian massacres quoted by my hon. Friend is amply sufficient to prove. And yet my hon. Friend would seem to insinuate, indeed he has almost said, that we not only are indifferent to these things, but rather by our support of the Turk encourage, if we do not connive at them. But, Sir, whilst admitting the occurrence of these deplorable events, we must surely make some allowance for the Turkish Government when we consider the immense difficulties with which it has to contend—the vast extent of its territory, the variety of races hostile to each other which it has to govern, the impossibility of exercising a superintending control over its servants, scattered over the Empire, and the constant interference of foreign agents, not of one nation alone, who weaken its authority and encourage the hatred and jealousies which unfortunately exist amongst rival creeds. We must bear in mind, too, the semi-barbarous condition of a large portion of the population, the fanaticism, whether of the Mussulman or of the Christian, which is still ready to burst forth in deeds of violence and blood, and the want of a sufficient number of able, honest, experienced, and educated public officers, to whom can be confided the administration of affairs in distant provinces far from the control of the central authority. I will venture to affirm that no Government that could be mentioned has had greater or even equal difficulties to overcome.

Now, Sir, there are two policies pursued in Turkey. The one policy is to weaken the authority of the Sultan, to render it impossible for him and his Ministers to govern the Empire, to incite the Christian population to constant and hopeless rebellion and insurrection, and thus to frustrate all attempts at their material improvement, to nourish the feeling of hostility between races and creeds, and to prevent all progress and reform—thus preparing the way for the fall of the Empire and for its ultimate partition, with a chance of some gain in the scramble for its remains, and treating it as if that fall were near at hand. That, Sir, is not the policy of Her Majesty's Government. The other policy is to strengthen the hands of the Sultan in his endeavours to improve the condition of all classes of men under his rule, and to place them on a perfect equality both in regard to their civil and religious rights, to give him a hearty sympathy and support in the carrying-out of all measures which may have this end for their object; to condemn frankly and openly, but at the same time with a due respect to the independence of Turkey, such instances of misgovernment as may come to light; to assist him in promoting peace and goodwill amongst all his subjects without distinction of creed or race, to be true to promises and to respect treaty engagements, and to secure to the whole of the Empire that internal tranquillity and good Government which will contribute more surely than disaffection and insurrection to the advance of the Christians in material wealth and prosperity. Such is the policy that has been pursued and is still being pursued by Her Majesty's Government. I believe it to be a generous, a just, and a wise policy. I will not admit as an excuse for it that it is a policy of expediency. It is not a selfish policy, but, as Lord Russell truly says in a despatch of the 9th of August 1859— I wish to make it clear to the Sublime Porte that these reforms are not urged with a view to increase British influence or any other foreign influence, but with a sincere desire to render Turkey a fit member of that European system to which she is acknowledged to belong, to increase her prosperity, and to provide for the better security and contentment of the Sultan's subjects of all creeds. I freely admit, and I repeat it most distinctly, that the Christian subjects of the Sultan have still many grievances, and that they are still exposed to oppressive restrictions and distinctions; that they may be sometimes treated with cruelty; that they have not yet equal rights with their Mohammedan fellow-countrymen. But I look with hope to the eminent statesmen who direct the affairs of the Empire for the ultimate removal of these evils, Especially I have hope in the young Sovereign who has recently ascended the Throne, who to great energy and firmness of character and to great ability unites the most humane and liberal disposition, the most earnest desire to improve the condition of all classes of his subjects, to extend to them equally his protection, to civilize his people, and to develop the resources of his vast Empire.

I regret that the noble Lord at the head of the Government is prevented taking part in the discussion of this evening. He has been the most consistent, the most earnest, the most eloquent advocate and supporter of the policy I have described. It may appear presumptuous in me to speak approvingly of what he has done. I do not do so because I have the honour to be a Member of the Government of which he is the Chief. I have advocated that policy, as far as my humble abilities have permitted me, as long as I have had a seat in this Assembly. I approved of it, and believed it to be a just and wise policy, long before I had the honour of being a Member of the House of Commons. The opinions I have formed on this subject have not been formed hastily and without due consideration. They have been formed after the most earnest thought, and with the conscientious desire to come to a sound and righteous conclusion. They have been weighed and matured whilst riding as a solitary traveller over the vast plains of Asia, as well as whilst mixing with those races and tribes of Christians whose prosperity and happiness it has ever been my sincere desire to promote. It is my solemn conviction that there is no part of the foreign policy of the noble Lord which will hereafter contribute more to that great fame which he will leave behind him than his Eastern policy—a policy consistent with true humanity, best calculated to promote the real interests of both Christians and Mohammedans, and most conducive to the maintenance of the peace of the world.


said, it would seem, from the speech of the Under Secretary, as if all the evils in Turkey had been caused by speeches in that House; but he (Mr. Maguire) could not understand how it was, that when an evil existed of such magnitude as to provoke indignation, the expression of that indignation was the creation of the evil itself. Now, Parliament, so far from having spoken too strongly of the abuses in Turkey, had not spoken strongly enough; and he thanked his hon. Friend (Mr. Gregory), who in his able speech had shown, upon incontestible authority, the great abuses which existed in Turkey in spite of the interposition of our Government. No doubt our Government had, from time to time, remonstrated with Turkey; but it had been clearly shown that those remonstrances were, to a large extent, unavailing, and that the words which our diplomatists had written had been written upon water. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary had endeavoured, by contrasting the condition of Rome and Constantinople, to defend the state of things in the latter, and be had stated that Protestant evidence was not taken in cases before the Roman tribunals. Now, he (Mr. Maguire) could mention the name of an English Protestant gentleman, a friend of his, who informed him that five or six years ago he had a case involving a large amount of money brought before the highest Roman tribunal—the Rota; that he was on one side, and the Roman Government on the other; that the lawyers were most able, and that the Judges decided according to the strict letter of the Roman law, and in his favour. The English Protestant gentleman won his case, although the Roman Government was on the one side, and the English Protestant on the other. That was his answer to the hon. Gentleman. Indeed, he might remark that the speech of the hon. Gentleman was more moderate than usual, and was also both able and interesting, and that his allusion to Rome was peculiarly mild. It would appear, however, as if the very name of the Pope had an effect on the hon. Member just as the flutter of a red rag had upon the lordly animal, the bull, stimulating it to pugnacity, and sometimes to ferocity. The hon. Gentleman would endeavour to prevent the voice of that House from being raised against the abominations which existed under an effete and rotten despotism, by representing the terrible consequences of the Turks being driven back into Asia. The hon. Gentleman had asked what would happen if the Turks were driven out of Europe, and he asserted that the Greeks and Catholics would then attempt to massacre each other. There was a conclusive answer to that. In Greece there were Catholics and members of the Greek Church, and both lived in amity. Under Otho, at least, there had been various ministers of the Catholic religion in the Government, and not only on the mainland, but in the islands—for instance, in Tenos, Seira, and Naxos—there was a large Catholic as well as Greek population, who lived on the best possible terms. Therefore, if the same result were brought about in a liberated Turkey, as had been brought about in independent Greece, he, for one, would not be dissatisfied. The hon. Gentleman had spoken of Turkish soldiers laying out the bodies of the members of Christian sects at Jerusalem, and attributed the alleged massacre to religious feuds between members of the Catholic and Greek churches; but if the hon. Member told the entire story, it would be seen that what took place was owing to a panic caused by the Turkish soldiers, and not to any religious animosity of one class of Christians against another. Really, it was most unfair not to state the entire case in a matter of the kind. The hon. Gentleman asked, rather significantly, whether the Turk was to keep his hands constantly in his pocket. In reply to that question of the hon. Gentleman, he must say—certainly not, and for this very good reason—because Turkey had its hands constantly in the pockets of simple John Bull. For the last dozen years the Turk had both his hands up to the very elbows in the pockets of this country. Turkey was now making a new attempt to impose upon the amazing credulity of British capitalists. A document had been issued that morning in reference to this question of Turkish finance, and, so far from inspiring confidence in the mind of the English people, it was, in his opinion, calculated to impair the efforts made to foster and promote a new Turkish loan. That document he now held in his hand, and he would refer to it in order to show how this confiding and honest Government of the Sultan was dealing with the Commissioners, and how far the long-promised reforms were really carried out. He would quote two passages, one from Lord Hobart's despatch of the 20th May, and the other from his despatch of the 10th of December; and it would be seen, by contrasting the two, that this Government, which they were told had, in the most unreserved manner, surrendered its finances into the hands of the Commissioners, actually misrepresented one item of its liabilities to the amount of £3,000,000. In his despatch of May the 20th, 1862, Lord Hobart said— In order to deal in a thoroughly satisfactory manner with the subject under consideration, it would obviously have been desirable that the Committee should have before it a complete list and explanation of the various items of the floating debt, so that it might be able to form a judgment as to the amount of metallic money which would be required for its liquidation. But, on the one hand, no such information was forthcoming; and, on the other, it was evidently of the utmost importance to arrive at an immediate decision in regard to the paper money.… It was determined, therefore, without further delay, to take the statement of the Grand Vizier as to the amount of metallic money which would be required for the floating debt, and upon that statement to proceed at once to the consideration of the course to be pursued. The Grand Vizier represented the floating debt at £7,700,000; but, on referring to the despatch of December the 10th, it would appear to be quite another figure Lord Hobart says— Floating debt, £10,900,786. This debt was (as stated in my former despatches) estimated by Fuad Pasha, in his statements to the 'Preliminary Committee' in May last, at about £7,700,000. But that amount did not (as it now appears) include a sum of £2,250,000 due to certain bankers to whom assignments had been given on arrears of revenue, but for which assignments 'consolidfés' have been now substituted in the way of guarantees for payment; nor did it include a sum of £967,000 for arrears of pay due to the army. Here, then, was a false representation of the floating debt to the amount of more than £3,000,000; for instead of its being but £7,700,000, it was within a fraction of £11,000,000. Was such a representation fair on the part of the Turkish Government when endeavouring to raise a new loan from the capitalists and people of this country. The want of good roads and of internal means of communication were acknowledged in Turkey, and promises were held out that measures would be taken to supply that want. This occurred about two years ago, when a former loan was hoped for, and the same thing was hinted at now, when another loan was to be bolstered up. What the state of the internal communication was, appeared clearly from one of Lord Hobart's and Mr. Foster's former despatches, where it was stated that a certain quantity of agricultural produce, which, when bought at the farm, only cost four piastres per kilo, was sold at the seaboard for from forty to fifty piastres, the great difference in the price being occasioned by the difficulty of transit. Was there any civilized Government in the world that did not consider its first duty was to establish roads and afford facilities for the transit of merchandise, and free communication between various parts of the country for its inhabitants? We should not be surprised at hearing of such a state of things existing under the Government of the King of Dahomey; but in European Turkey, which England was propping up and supporting, it was rather too bad that it should exist in the year 1862, after repeated promises to the contrary. Lord Hobart, in his despatch of the 27th November 1862, says that "the measure of most urgent necessity is the construction of roads and the improvement of the means of communication generally." In the same despatch Lord Hobart also referred to the assessment of the "Verghi," or income tax. Now, that same income tax was, of all the abominable systematic abuses that could be imagined, the worst. A man might be assessed over and over again; the rich might escape, and the poor man might be overtaxed, and yet there was no redress for the wretched victim. Under the "liberal" Government of the Turks, this oppressive income tax existed to the present moment. According to Lord Hobart, "as at present adjusted, it bears most heavily upon the productive industry of the country." And this was the reforming and progressive Government of which the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary spoke 'with such enthusiasm! Now, if this country was asked for additional loans, it was entitled to see that promises of material improvement were really commenced. But there was something more important still. Fully £100,000,000 of treasure had been lavished by this country, and the best blond of the Three Kingdoms had been shed, in defence of the territorial integrity of Turkey; and yet the Turkish Government continued deaf to the remonstrances of our Government, and still persevered in its denial of justice to its Christian subjects. In the name of common sense and common humanity England was therefore bound to insist that the Turkish Government should fulfil the obligations it had entered into. What did The Time correspondent; writing on the 2nd of April, say? The correspondent, of The Times was a gentleman who knew Turkey, and was not likely to play into the hands of those who desired to: pull down the Turk and raise up the Christian in its place. The Times correspondent wrote on the 2nd of April, after alluding to the amounts' of the Turkish loans and home debt— It is marvellous, when all these fabulous sums are added up, to witness the credit with which the Turkish Government seems to be invested in the eyes of European capitalists; and in endeavouring to account for that phenomenon, one naturally looks about him to ascertain whether the advancement and prosperity of the country in any way justify this reckless confidence in its good faith and in its resources. Whatever reforms had been promised, it was clear, from Lord Hobart's letters, that no substantial advance had been made by the Turkish Government. It was not enough for England to remonstrate; but if her protest were disregarded, she ought to join with the other Powers in compelling the Porte to act justly towards the Christian population. It was all very well for the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs to try to palliate the conduct of Turkey, and say that the Turkish Government had so many difficulties to contend with; but would the hon. Gentleman be as tolerant of similar proceedings on the part of other Governments?—Christian Governments, ruling over Christian people, having the same origin and language and religion—not a Government of a handful of infidels oppressing many millions of people, who, like the people of this country, believed in the Redemption. The hon. Gentleman endeavoured to weaken the case against this odious despotism by exaggerating the number of the Turks, and decreasing the number of Christians in European Turkey. He endeavoured to show that the Turks were more numerous than was supposed. But he (Mr. Maguire) bad the means of showing that this was not the case. King Otho, not many years since, cherished the dream that he might one day sit on the throne of Byzantium; and, with a view to that event, he employed two very able men to travel through Turkey and collect information as to its population, its strong places, and its condition. Now, the statistics thus obtained showed that there were not more than 2,000,000 of Turks in European Turkey. For instance, of 200,000 inhabitants in Candia, not 20,000 were Turks, or other than Greeks; of 30,000 in Rhodes, only 2,000; of 35,000 in Scio, only 1,000; of 50,000 in Mytelene, only 5,000; of 60,000 in Samos, only 10,000; of 10,000 in Patmos, only 20. In Albania, two-thirds were Greeks, a large number were Greco-Va-lacks, and the Turks were comparatively few. In Thessaly, out of a population of 200,000, as many as 170,000 were Greeks, and but 30,000 Turks. In fact without going into further statistics, the Christian population was very numerous throughout European Turkey generally, and the Turks were comparatively a mere handful—that is, about 2,000,000 of Turks to 11,000,000 of Christians. And was a Christian nation, which had squandered its treasures and shed its blood for this rotten system—which was a blot on European civilization—to endure that this mere handful of infidel barbarians should trample upon those who held the same faith as themselves? The hon. Gentleman would have the House believe that Christian testimony was received in Turkish tribunals; but it was in the ambassadorial or consular courts, under the protection of the different European Powers, and not in the native tribunals, governed by Mohammedan law. The hon. Gentleman stated that the police of Constantinople were increased, and their cost diminished. That might be true; but what was the character of the force in the in- terior? According to Lord Hobart and Mr. Foster, the Turkish police, so far from suppressing or discouraging brigandage, were themselves robbers and oppressors of the people—the very vilest and worst of the population. The Turkish police were a scourge, not a protection. It was all very well to point to Constantinople and the great cities, and say that there the Christians enjoyed freedom. But if no flagrant wrong were done to Christians in Constantinople or Smyrna, it was only because there were the Ministers and Consuls of Christian Powers in those cities. But in the interior of the country, where there were no representatives of these Powers to keep watch, Turkish cruelty had full scope. The Turks were unchangeable in their hatred of Christians, and they never failed to treat them with cruelty or hardship when they had the opportunity of doing so with impunity. In the remote village, the pettiest Aga, with his guard of Turkish soldiers, was a despot, and the Christians were his slaves. The Turk was now what he ever was, unless where he was restrained by fear. Why, even in the Mohammedan mosques of Calcutta, under the very shadow of British rule, a prayer was to this day continued to be offered up every Friday, which was worthy of the Turk of four hundred years since, or of Mahomet when he overran the countries which he conquered by the sword. If one wanted to know what the Turk was, let him observe the Greek subject of the Turkish Government as he first appears in this country. A short time since, a Greek, from one of the Turkish provinces, came over to this country, having inherited property left him by a relative in London. It was curious to observe how cringing and subservient, from long oppression of his fathers, that Greek was. He was servile, and almost abject; but he was not long in the company of freemen, and breathing the atmosphere of a free country, when he held his head up like a man, and lost the sense of his former dependence. England was not responsible for the conduct of other Governments—she was for that of the Government of Turkey. Having guaranteed the continuance of the Turkish rule, England was bound to see that it acted wisely, justly, and humanely. She was bound to see that it redeemed its promises in favour of that portion of its population upon which all its hopes of progress and development depended. The Christian element was that alone which saved it from utter annihilation; and of the Christian population the Greek was the most energetic, the most enterprising, and the most successful. If they prospered, it was altogether irrespective and in spite of the Government under which they lived; for a more effete, incompetent, and utterly incapable Government did not exist. They were told that the present Sultan was an economist. He, for one, had no faith in his alleged economy. The total debt of Turkey was £55,000,000, and the interest on that debt subtracted £4,500,000 a year out of the revenue, which they were told was about £15,000,000; and yet the Sultan, who was now raising another loan, had a civil list of £1,250,000—besides any other sum he might think fit to obtain. Out of the last loan, he had defrayed the expense of his costly trip to Egypt; and out of the next he would build ships or palaces at the expense of John Bull. The Sultan had already squandered large sums, and he was prepared to squander more. The hon. Member for Gal way was entitled to the thanks of the country for having brought this subject so ably before the House; for Parliament must continue to raise its voice until it forced Her Majesty's Government to take such steps as would bring the Turkish Government to its senses—or that rotten system would ere long be driven back to Asia, and the Christian people who groaned under its rule be rescued from its oppression.


said, he regretted that so much fine language had been thrown away in defence of a Government which was effete and rotten to the core. In his opinion, the Christian population of the East had not received proper treatment at the hands of the English Government for some years past. The policy of England should be to foster them as far as possible. If there had been any improvement in their condition, it was due to the efforts, not of their own, but of other European Governments. He could not agree in the remark of Earl Russell in one of his despatches, with regard to the bombardment of Belgrade, that the Christians had forfeited all claims to sympathy from the Christian countries of Europe. He entirely dissented from that statement, and regretted that Her Majesty's Government, while willing to extend the hand of help to the people of Italy and of Poland, had refused assistance to the struggling Christian populations of the East. The reports of the English consuls showed that the fanciful picture drawn by the Under Secretary of an Arcadia in Turkey was as unreal and deceptive as a mirage, and had no substantial existence. In conclusion, he trusted that in their future policy in the East the Cross would be more thought of than the Crescent, for the day might soon come when the Crescent would be replaced by the Cross, and then they would deeply regret the course they had hitherto pursued.


said, he was afraid that the subject under discussion did not excite much interest at that moment, because all eyes were directed rather to the West than to the East. In the debate Turkey had been regarded more with a view to European politics than with respect to the internal condition of that country, but he did not regret the turn which the debate had taken, on account of the valuable information which had been elicited, especially with respect to Servia. He believed, indeed, that the case of Servia, which had been so ably brought before them by the hon. Member for Galway, was in reality the case of the Christian population of Turkey generally. On one point every hon. Member who had taken part in the debate, including the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary himself, seemed to be agreed, that the Turkish Government had not given those concessions to its Christian subjects which some years ago it promised to grant, and which England had spent an immense amount of blood and treasure to obtain. The reform which Lord Stratford de Redcliffe extracted from the Turkish Government in 1856 embraced the eligibility of Christians for public offices, religious toleration, improved administration of justice, the establishment of mixed tribunals, the admission of Christian evidence in courts of law, an efficient police, the development of the resources of the country, the encouragement of education, and reduction of expenditure. No fairer programme could have been sketched; but, unfortunately, the promises of the Turkish Government, though given in the most solemn manner, had not been fulfilled. All the Consuls who had sent in reports, fourteen in number, agreed in declaring that the Turkish provinces were still in a very bad state, that the lands were lying waste, that brigandage existed to a deplorable extent, and that the general administration was exceedingly defective. All reported that the trade of the country was almost entirely in the hands of the Christians, while the; landed proprietors were chiefly Mohammedans; a statement that explained the observation of the Under Secretary, that the trade in Smyrna and other ports was in a flourishing condition. Eight of the Consuls remarked that Christian evidence was not admitted in any courts whatever, and the whole of them represented that reform was required as much as ever in nearly every department of Government. When the House considered that the reports of the Consuls were written under very peculiar circumstances, that the object of their authors was to give the most favourable impression of the Turkish Government, he thought the evidence which they afforded of the lamentable condition of the Christians was entitled to the greatest possible weight. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary had quoted the report of Mr. Consul Homes, but he had not read the passages in which it was stated that the Tanzimat was disregarded; that the Christians had given up all hope of an amelioration of their condition under the present régime; and that they were daily subjected to fresh hardships. The Christians no doubt suffered most from the maladministration pursued in Turkey, but the Mussulmans also participated in its evil effects. The House had not long ago heard a moving account of the state of the prisons in Southern Italy; but the state of the prisons in Turkey was a great deal worse. Mr. Abbott, the Consul at the Dardanelles, stated in his report that the internal state of the Turkish prisons was in the last degree revolting to humanity, and a disgrace to any nation having any pretensions to civilisation. Having himself witnessed what was called the administration of justice in Turkey, he could only describe it as the most extraordinary perversion of that sacred word which could be conceived. When he had seen both the murderer and the relations of the murdered person chained together and dragged along many miles of country to give evidence, he not did think it surprising that there should be a difficulty in attaining the ends of justice, or that everybody should flee away whenever a great crime was committed. These were the measures resorted to by a nation which aped all the airs and graces of Paris, and yet retained in its heart all the barbarism of the Tartar horde. He knew the strong feeling entertained in this country in regard to the slave trade, and a convention had been concluded between us and the Porte on that subject. But not very long ago he himself witnessed a steamer coming down the Nile laden with a cargo of slaves. He asked to whom the slaves belonged, and the answer was, "To the Government of the country," The effect of the convention had been to take the slave trade out of the hands of private individuals and place it in the hands of the Government, and he believed, on the authority of trustworthy travellers, that at that moment black slaves were as much procured in the East as in former days, though, perhaps, white slaves were not. In mentioning these things he did not wish to throw obstacles in the way of Her Majesty's Government, but he was most anxious that they should pursue the policy which was strongly and fearlessly carried out at Constantinople by Lord Stratford de Redcliffe—the policy of insisting that the Turks should fulfil the solemn engagements into which they had entered, and the non-performance of which brought discredit upon their name.


My hon. Friend the Member for Southwark (Mr. Layard), towards the conclusion of his very able speech, asked what this discussion could lead to—what was the nature and object of the debate? Now, I hope that one result will be to prevent the necessity of any more discussions of the kind in this House. This debate has arisen, as was very properly stated by my hon. Friend, in consequence of certain transactions which have taken place in Servia. Our Foreign Office has pursued a particular course in consequence of those events, which has had the effect of bringing to England certain Servian gentlemen, persons of eminence in their own country, who have been forwarding pamphlets to Members of Parliament, making in fact an appeal to this House against the conduct of the Foreign Office. That, I apprehend, is the origin of this discussion. I think that we are becoming more and more the debating society of the whole world. The Convention of France incurred some ridicule for having called themselves the orators of the human race; but we seem to be fast arriving at the same position. Now, what is the case that is brought before us for judgment? It seems that a Turkish Pasha, having the command of a fortress in Belgrade, the capital of Servia, took it into his head, in a moment of panic, to bombard that city. It was an outrage that was of course repudiated by everybody. It was an attack which would not be tolerated even in war; for we all know that the great warrior the Duke of Wellington laid it down as a rule that you are not justified in bombarding a city even to carry out a strategic movement in the face of an enemy. But here, in consequence of a fracas between two boys at a well, or something of that kind, the Pasha bombards the capital of Servia That act was followed by a meeting of the representatives of the great Powers at Constantinople; and I believe, that, with the exception of England and Austria, all the representatives were willing, and indeed anxious, that the wish of the Servian population should be complied with, and that the fortification should be rased to the ground. My hon. Friend (Mr. Layard) stated this point rather inaccurately. It is not that the Servian Government or the population of Belgrade wish to have the fortress surrendered to them; what they say is, let the fortress be destroyed. I believe that France, Russia, Prussia, and Italy, are all desirous that that course should be followed, and that England and Austria are the only Powers opposed to it. Well, what can be the objection to it? When Servia obtained her independence—for she is practically independent of Turkey—it was on the condition that seven fortresses should be occupied by the Turks. Two have been abandoned, but there are still five which the Turks are allowed to occupy, and of these the one at Belgrade is the most important. What is the use of that fortress to Turkey? Turkey has no territory within about 200 miles of Belgrade, and the fortress guards no frontier, for Russia does not come down to the opposite side of the river. Now Belgrade, with one front to the Danube and another front to the Saave, standing at the continence of those rivers, is most admirably situated for a commercial centre, but its commerce is menaced with destruction, because the population say, "What security have merchants for the future that it will not be bombarded again by any Turkish Pasha who happens to get into a panic?" And the consequence is, that the prosperity and the growth of the city is threatened for the future. What, then, is proposed? Instead of rasing the fortress to the ground, it is proposed to extend it. I hear that our Government are consenting parties to a plan for clearing away the houses in front of the fortress, and that a large part of the bank of the Danube, affording the greatest facilities for commerce, is to be sacrificed for this purpose. Now, in whose interest can this be? Is it for the benefit of Turkey? Turkey is incurring a very large expense for keeping up this fortress; but what possible benefit can it derive therefrom? My hon. Friend went into a long history of Servia and its people, and wound up by a very elaborate argument to show that the Servians are more indebted to the Turks than they are to themselves, and that we are under a great delusion to suppose that there has ever been a grievance or a quarrel between them. I read the other day Ranke's celebrated history of Servia, and I thought I had never met with a more heroic struggle for national independence than that which was sustained by the Servians against the Turks. It is true they had no princes nor potentates to lead them. They were swineherds and bandits, men who had fled from Turkish tyranny to the forests and mountains, that took the lead in the Servian insurrection. If the Servians were really so indebted to the Turks as the hon. Gentleman describes, they have shown themselves very ungrateful; for one of the conditions on which peace was made with Turkey was that no Turk should be allowed to live in Servia except in those fortresses. The consequence is, that you have no Turks in Servia, except the garrisons in those fortresses, with nothing to protect. And this is a state of things insisted on by the perverseness of our Foreign Office. Suppose our Foreign Office is allowed to have its way, what may be the consequence? Although my hon. Friend has spoken somewhat disparagingly of the Servians, he acknowledges them to be a brave, spirited, honest, and industrious people. There is no doubt that one of the first things they will do, when they arm themselves, will be to attack these fortresses. I hope the expression of opinion in this House, and the tendency of the public press, will have their due influence upon the Foreign Office, and that we shall not have the subject again brought before us. I think our Government has taken up a very absurd position.

The question of Servia has led to the larger one of the whole condition of Turkey. That question will be understood by a statement of one or two compendious facts. When we speak of Turkey in Europe, we are apt to associate it with the idea of an Ottoman race. If you include the Danubian Principalities, Moldavia, Wallachia, and Servia, Turkey in Europe consists of about 15,000,000 of souls, of which from 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 only are Mohammedans, and the rest Christians. If you exclude the Danubian Principalities, then you have at least two Christians to one Mohammedan in Turkey in Europe. I have heard it said that the proportion is three to one. However, I will be within the mark. And now you have this question before you. Is your foreign policy to be administered in the interest of a small minority of Mohammedans, or in the interest of the Christians in Turkey? I think it would be well if my hon. Friend (Mr. Layard), who is a young man, notwithstanding that he has had long experience, would take a hint from what he has heard in this House, and would re-consider his views with regard to the question of Mohammedan ascendancy in Turkey. He seems to be of opinion that we must acquiesce in that ascendancy, but I rather suspect he has too much good sense to content himself with that as a permanent policy. I rather think he looks upon it as a transition state of things. But the noble Lord at the head of the Government does believe in the Turkish Government as a permanent Power in Europe. I think he is the only statesman in Europe—and I have taken some pains to ascertain their recorded opinions—who does believe in the civilization of the Turks, in their progress, and their capability of development. A good deal has been said by my hon. Friend to show that the Turks, after all, are not such bad masters, and that the Christians are not in a very disadvantageous position. I hold in my hand a report on the condition of the Christians in Turkey, which has been laid before us by our Consuls in Turkey, and which shows, I think, conclusively, on one vital point, what is the state of things. I allude to the question of the admissibility of Christian evidence in courts of law against Turks. My hon. Friend has referred to Mr. Longworth, our Consul at Belgrade. I had an opportunity of making his acquaintance, about twenty-seven years since, at Constantinople. I believe Consul Long-worth deserves all the credit that my hon. Friend has given him for his zeal, truthfulness, courage, and devotion to his duty. But Consul Longworth is an enthusiast—I had almost said a fanatic—in his love for the Turks and his hatred for the Russians. He began life with such a morbid horror of Russian power and Russian conquest, that it by degrees enlisted him on the side of the Turks, whom he regarded as a bulwark against the Russians. From the time of his expedition into Circassia—for though a civilian he committed himself to the perils of a campaign—he has shown himself an ardent and enthusiastic enemy of Russia, and friend of Turkey. Therefore, I take his statements with all the alloy which is due to a person of his strong predilections. [The hon. Gentleman then read an extract from Consul Longworth's despatch, dated 14th July 1860, in which that gentleman admitted that Christian witnesses were excluded from giving evidence in Turkish courts of law, while on the other hand there was an organized system of Mohammedan perjury to supply their places in the Mussulman courts of law.] Similar testimony is given by our Consul at Bucharest. He says, that as the law is at present administered, the testimony of a Mohammedan gipsy will be taken, while that of the wealthiest and most intelligent Christian will be rejected. The Christian population are, in a word, outlaws. Do hon. Members realize to themselves the state of things in which the majority of the population in Turkey—that which is the most intelligent, the most progressive, that which comprises all professions, all the foreign trade, that which, in fact, makes up all that is civilized in Turkey—is not allowed to give evidence in a court of law against a Mohammedan for any crime that may be committed against them. Only realize to yourselves the interior of a province like Bulgaria or Bosnia, where some of the marauding Mohammedan police, or brigands—for they are both of the same character—enter a Christian village, and rob and murder, or commit the last outrage upon the wives or daughters of the poor peasants—those ruffians cannot be convicted on the evidence of Christians, My hon. Friend the Member for Southwark has said that this was the old state of things, and that to mention this matter is like talking of the condition of the Jews in this country in the thirteenth century. Now I received, so recently as yesterday, a letter from Dr. Sandwith, who risked his life and sacrificed his health in defence of the Turks at Kars, and which might have been written in anticipation of the very language used by my hon. Friend, and this is an extract from that letter— As a traveller in Turkey of only two years ago, I can assure you (and you may quote me if you like) that the Christians are still obliged to bear degrading badges of subjection in the interior of the country. They are to this day distinguished in their dress, saddles, and horses, and they dare not adopt any of the distinguishing marks of the Mussulman. They dare not wear white turbans, or yellow shoes; their houses are marked, and they frequently lose their lives from robbers, because they dare not carry arms. I remember a case in which a Christian, having lost many sheep from robbers, at last loaded a gun and kept it by him. The next time the robbers came he fired and killed one. This Christian was publicly executed for having shot a Mussulman. This is the latest intelligence from Turkey. My hon. Friend shakes his head, but he must allow me to tell him that I put the evidence of Dr. Sandwith on a par with his own. The hon. Gentleman alluded to a point bearing on this question—namely, the capitulations between the Turkish and other Governments, by which Christians from foreign countries, residing in Turkey, became extra-territorial, and are allowed to carry their own laws and administration with them; and he speaks of the great disadvantages to Turkey of having these mixed tribunals in that country. There is no doubt it is a very great evil; and probably the hon. Gentleman remembers that at the Conference in Paris in 1856, when the last arrangement respecting Turkey was made, the Turkish Ambassador made a strong appeal against the perpetuation of those capitulations, giving foreigners a distinct jurisdiction in that country. It was admitted by all the Members of that Conference that it was an evil which ought to be abated, and it was suggested, that as they were then admitting Turkey into the system or concert of European States, that was a good occasion for providing for the future removal of that anomaly. You will see that, in the despatches of Sir Henry Bulwer from Constantinople he constantly alludes to the evil effects of these capitulations. He says that there are separate jurisdictions for all the Christians who reside there, and an appeal has been made to put an end to that state of things, on the ground that it interferes with their system of taxation. What did Lord Russell say in answer to that? Well, my hon. Friend shakes his head at the testimony of his chief. I want to know to what extent his incredulity goes about the character of Turkish administration. Lord Russell, writing to Sir Henry Bulwer on the 12th May 1860, says— But there is one thing which must not be forgotten; the capitulations rest on the principle that Turkish rule and Turkish justice are so barbarous that exceptional privileges are required. No one would think of asking for separate tribunals for Englishmen in France, or for Frenchmen in England; but so long as law in Turkey is undefined, so long as pashas are allowed to sell justice and protection, so long will the privileges of consular tribunals be necessary. And what have we done during this Session? If hon. Gentlemen will read the blue-books that have been presented to them, they will find more than a hundred pages devoted to a code of laws for administering justice to Englishmen in Turkey. I find that the order of the Privy Council on the subject begins with this declaration—"Whereas her Majesty has jurisdiction and authority in Turkey." You will not trust the meanest of your subjects in Turkey under the Turkish authorities. My hon. Friend knows that the towns of the Levant swarm with Maltese and Ionians, our fellow-subjects, entitled to our protection. He knows that they are to be found in Smyrna, in Alexandria, and in Constantinople, that they constitute the vagrant and least reputable part of the population of those places, and are the source of perpetual trouble and annoyance to our Consuls; but not one of them would be allowed to be tried by the Mohammedan tribunals, if he committed an act of treason, or insulted the religion of the country in which he resided. Will the hon. Gentleman tell me that is a proper position in which to leave the native Christians of Turkey? Is that a state of things that we should exert our powers of diplomacy to maintain there? Upon what theory are we doing this? I suppose it is upon the assumption that some amelioration is going on. My hon. Friend says that the Turks are never heard here—he says they do not send us pamphlets—it is only the Servians, he says, that distribute pamphlets, and make us hear their case. But if we do not hear the Turks, we hear what their friends say of them. If we did not read the despatches from Constantinople, we might be in ignorance of their condition, but who can speak so badly of the Turks as our representatives do? Will my hon. Friend tell me how far he agrees in the following extract from the correspondence of Sir Henry Bulwer? In a despatch dated April 24, 1860, Sir Henry Bulwer says— Wherever the Turk is sufficiently predominant to be implicitly obeyed, laziness, corruption, extravagance, and penury mark his rule; and wherever he is too feeble to exert more than a doubtful and nominal authority, the system of government which prevails is that of the Arab robber and the lawless Highland chieftain. That is the statement of our Ambassador in Constantinople, living amongst the Turks. What does my hon. Friend say—does he agree with him? [Mr. LAYARD nodded apparently in assent. The indication of approval was followed by cheers, and loud cries of "Hear, hear!"] The Christian population, in spite of all that is done to degrade them, are receiving some light in this age of great movements and startling events. The Christian population of Turkey are becoming more and more dissatisfied with this state of things. My hon. Friend (Mr. Layard) complains that there are agitators in Turkey who are endeavouring to excite the people into insurrection. A startling revelation of the same kind is made in the despatch of Earl Russell, dated July 3, 1862. He says— All the great Powers must be aware that there exists a conspiracy scarcely concealed, in all the provinces of European Turkey, to throw off the rule of the Sublime Porte, and to substitute for it some kind of anarchy. Some persons talk of a Sclave, some others of a Greek Empire; all look to plunder, to power, to revenge, and bloodshed. In this position of affairs it is incumbent on the great Powers represented at Constantinople to give the most striking proof of their fidelity to their solemn engagements, their regard for a Power whom they have admitted into the European system, and their determination to preserve unbroken the general peace. Sir Henry Bulwer also refers in two despatches to a threatened insurrection and conspiracy, in which the chiefs are indicated, and the line of policy defined by which the Christians are to unite against their Mohammedan rulers. Ought anybody to be surprised at that, when in the year 1863—nearly seven years after the Conference in Paris, which was to bring the Turkish Empire into concert with the European Powers—we are told that there must be a new code of laws to govern the meanest of our subjects when they reside in any part of Turkey? That is evidence that the Turks have entirely failed to do what we expected from them. Are we, then, to be surprised if the Christian natives of Turkey are beginning to feel that all hope from foreign interference is at an end, and that they must think of some other means of redressing their wrongs? Is it not consistent with all that happens in the world that when a nation is oppressed, the people will take the redress of their grievances into their own hands? Hon. Gentlemen attempt to frighten us by predicting the consequences that must follow from a civil war in Turkey. It is to produce great calamity and general disturbance all over the world. This is the raw-head-and-bloody-bones that is to be substituted for the former terror of Russia. Earl Russell says there is a plot for setting up a republican government on the Danube, and we are to be frightened by the apprehension of having a great revolution in Turkey. How are we to deal with it? I have a plan that is very simple. I would apply the principle of non-intervention to the case of Turkey, as we have already done in the case of Italy. We have indeed avowed that principle. At the Conference of Paris in 1856 nothing was more clearly defined as the result of the war in the Crimea than that there should be no future interference in the internal affairs of Turkey. There was an express provision in the Treaty of Paris that no European Power should have the right to interfere between the Turkish Government and its subjects. Then why not carry out that principle, and let it be acted upon? If you observe that principle, I do not see much fear of any great calamity to Europe from a revolution in Turkey. I regret that it should be necessary to pass through a revolution in Turkey, or that any nation should have to resort to a civil war to right themselves; but if there is to be a civil war in Turkey, which is the most likely result of the present misgovernment in that Empire, the wisest thing statesmen can do is to try so to arrange matters that the civil war in Turkey shall not spread to the neighbouring States. If the officials of our Foreign Office—which is the most conservative department in the world until it is invaded by public opinion from without—will address themselves honestly to this new state of things, and apply the principle of non-intervention—if there be a revolution in Turkey, they will narrow it within the territory of Turkey, There is a fallacy running through the whole of Earl Russell's despatches in reference to the internal difficulties of Turkey. He is constantly treating the question as if we had a particular engagement with the Sublime Porte, as he is pleased to call it, and that we are bound to maintain the power of the Sultan. There is no engagement of the kind. All we bound ourselves to do, and all the other Powers have bound themselves to do, by the Treaty of Paris in 1856, is, that we will respect the territorial integrity of Turkey. We have bound ourselves mutually to each other that we would not invade that territorial integrity. Let all the efforts of the Foreign Office be directed to carrying out that resolution honestly. Let England and France come to a clear understanding on the subject. My opinion is that England and France are acting under a complete delusion in regard to each other's intentions in the East. I do not believe that England has a desire to appropriate any part of the Turkish Empire. If any portion of the Turkish territory were offered to this country, this House would with unanimity reject such an offer. We have too much of what I will call extra-territorial possessions already. The French opinion of us is the same as our opinion of them. The French believe that England would aggrandise itself at the expense of Turkey, and we believe the same of France. Now, I do not believe that France has any more desire to get possession of part of Turkey than we have; but if the two nations would understand each other on the subject, how easy it would make the diplomacy of Europe on this important question. Then England and France might say to Austria and Russia, "Here are we, France and England—we have no desire of territorial aggrandisement, and you, in the same way, are bound not to interfere." Prussia and Italy would no doubt join with France and England in that view, and by such a course you would simplify the question of Turkey. A civil war in Turkey—so insignificant in itself, in its commerce, and in everything that can affect the civilized world—which did not spread to neighbouring countries, might occur with little more effect on the destinies of mankind than if it happened in the interior of Africa. That which gives such vast importance to the Eastern Question is the danger of other countries quarrelling over the carcass of Turkey. Besides avoiding such a danger, how much better it would be for the domestic government of Turkey if France and England properly understood each other. The rivalry of France and England has been a perpetual source of discord in that country. Every British Consul, every Minister and employé, in Turkey, feels sure that he will be pleasing those in authority at the Foreign Office if he places himself in opposition to France. That is known in Turkey, and the hands of both parties are paralysed when they ought in conjunction to exercise a beneficent influence in that country. I will give you an instance. After the horrible massacre in Damascus, Lord Dufferin, an able and accomplished nobleman, went out there as the representative of England. Knowing his intelligence and humanity, no person can doubt that he went with feelings of indignation at the outrage that had been perpetrated. Everybody body must know that Lord Dufferin entered on his task with feelings of indignation against the Government under which it had taken place; but when he arrives on the field of action, he seems to be more preoccupied with the question how the French troops were to be got out of the country than how redress could be obtained for those persons who had suffered. There was one fact illustrative of this point. In one of his despatches he speaks of a Mr. Graham, from whom he had derived information respecting the massacre in the Lebanon. He says that in the course of a conversation which Mr. Graham had with one of the Druse chiefs, who had been the chief instigator of the massacre of the Maronites, the Druse chief admitted that they were under the impression they were doing something most acceptable to England, because by destroying the Christians they were weakening the French influence in the country. If the views of England and France were known to be in accord on the question, it would prevent any such feeling as that. I say, if any such atrocity as the massacre of Damascus should occur again, I would wish it to be known that the English nation would rejoice if the French Government would send from Toulon half a dozen regiments and ships of war to protect the Christians. If when that horrible affair took place, the French Government sent two or three regiments to Syria, the knowledge of it would penetrate to the remotest part of that country, whereby an act of humanity would be done, and the people of England would have no right to be jealous of such an act.

We shall probably be told that our Foreign Office is doing nothing to bolster up the Ottoman rule over the Christian races. But I maintain that both in a financial sense and by their diplomacy the British Government have lent themselves to the support of the Turks in a most material way. Something has been said on the subject of the finances of Turkey by my hon. Friend the Member for Southwark. I am not about to contend that we should do anything to prevent capitalists in the City lending their money to Turkey, or any one else; but we ought to be jealous of any one in the position of a Minister of the Crown doing anything which can indirectly be construed to mean the advocacy of a public loan to a foreign Government. My hon. Friend the Member for Southwark, speaking in March of last year, just before the Turkish loan was announced, stated that Turkey owed only £14,000,000 of public debt, and that her floating debt was very small. The funded and floating debt of Turkey amounts at this moment to £55,000,000, on which there is 8 per cent payable for interest and sinking fund, and therefore she has to bear an annual charge of nearly £4,500,000 on her debt. Mr. Foster and Lord Hobart, in their Report on the financial condition of Turkey, of December 1861, stated that the debt of Turkey was £41,000,000, and that there was a deficit the year before; while his hon. Friend (Mr. Layard), speaking in March 1862, with that Report in his hand, but before it was laid on the table of the Blouse, seemed to indicate that there was a surplus. The noble Earl at the head of the Foreign Office lent his name in a most improper way; the subject was brought before the House at the time, though I did not happen then to be present; he allowed his name to be appended to a document which accompanied the circular inviting the subscription to the loan of 1862. The noble Earl did not say that the Government was responsible for the loan—on the contrary, he said that it was not—but he stated that English Commissioners had been sent out to assist the Turks in their finances. When we consider what superstitious importance people attach to anything that comes from an official man, especially from one in high position, we cannot doubt that the circular had great effect in producing subscriptions to that loan. My hon. Friend the Member for Southwark took an opportunity last year of telling us that Turkey was honest in paying the interest on her debts. I maintain that she has never paid any interest at all, because she has borrowed all the money to pay the interest. What had been the growth of the Turkish debt? In 1853 there was a loan of £5,000,000 guaranteed by England. In 1854 there was a loan of £5,000,000, for which the Egyptian tribute was pledged, and in 1858 another of the same sum, for which the customs revenues of Constantinople were the guarantee. In 1861 there was M. Mires' loan of £3,000,000, and an internal loan of £3,000,000. In 1862 there was a British loan of £8,000,000 guaranteed by the revenues on salt, licences, stamps, and tobacco; and in the same year there were the internal loans called Consolidæs, amounting to £12,000,000. In 1863 there was the Oppenheim loan of £1,000,000, and again in 1863 the last loan of £6,000,000, for which the balance of the revenues not pledged to the loan of 1862 was given as guarantee, making altogether £48,000,000. There must be added £7,000,000 of floating debt, so that the total debt is now £55,000,000. There had been great exaggeration in what was said respecting the scope of Mr. Foster's and Lord Hobart's financial mission to Constantinople in 1861. They were not sent out to administer the Turkish finances; they were sent out to do a little book-keeping for the Sultan, and they only got such accounts as the Turkish Government chose to give them; and all they did was to put them into a state of addition and subtraction. It is true they made a running commentary on the state of things in Turkey, and I must say their commentary is, on the whole, an unsatisfactory one, and I suspect, that if their statements had been published before the loan of last year, that loan would not have been received quite so favourably as it was. There is one fact mentioned in that Report which I think contains volumes of information. It says that the Minister of every department has power to issue any number of promises to pay, for which he is not called upon to give any account till they are paid. Nobody, therefore, knows what promises are issued, and there is no check or control upon the head of the department. You therefore do not know what has been actually expended, and the whole administration of finance is in a most unsatisfactory state. It is not my business to advise those who lend their money to the Turkish Government, but I cannot help thinking, considering that Lord Hobart and Mr. Foster stated that the in-come of Turkey in 1859, the last year for which the accounts were made up, was only between £9,000,000 and £10,000,000, and that she has now to pay for interest £4,500,000 a year, that from the moment you cease to lend to Turkey she must cease to pay the interest on her debt.

Now, there is one point connected with the prospects of Turkey of vital importance. All the accounts agree that the Mohammedan population is rapidly diminish-We might believe that my hon. Friend (Mr. Layard) and his noble chief (Lord Palmerston) could have a chance of seeing their hopes realized in the future improvement and prosperity of their darling Turks, if it were not for the fatal cause that the race is dying out Thirty years ago Lamartine, not an unfriendly critic, spoke to this fact, exclaiming, "Turkey is perishing for want of Turks." The same opinion is expressed by a recent traveller, a calm and severe observer, Mr. Nassau Senior. Every authority concurs in stating that the Turkish element in the population is rapidly diminishing. Consul Blunt, who has known the country for forty years, in his report, states that in 1830 the Turkish population of Smyrna was 80,000, and that it is now 41,000; and that in 1830 the Greek population of Smyrna was 20,000, and that it is now 75,000. He adds— Visit any town or village where there is a mixed Mussulman and Christian population: in the Turkish quarter no one is visible, no children in the streets; whereas in the Christian quarter the streets are full of children. I think I can divine what is passing in the mind of my hon. Friend the Member for Southwark. He will be disposed to object, that if the Christians are doing so well, how is that consistent with the misgovernment which is alleged? My answer, in the first place, is, that the circumstance of the Turks having been a dominant race has been fatal to their improvement in the arts of peace, and to their commercial prosperity. They have depended upon the unrewarded labours of others, rather than upon their own exertions. There are other causes which check the growth of that race. The Turkish population supplies the whole of the army, and that forms one great cause why the Mohammedan element is diminishing. But the greatest cause is to be found in the demoralization of the people—in the evils of polygamy, and in those other vices which escape our criticism because they are not to be alluded to. I have in my hand a letter dated 8th January 1863, addressed to the Rev. Ernest Hawkins, secretary to the Society for Propagating the Gospel, by a gentleman resident at Constantinople, whose name I am willing to give to any Member privately, as a guarantee for the truthfulness of what is said. He says— Few of you in England know the real horrors of this country. You will see what I mean when I tell you of my intention of getting a number of tracts written or lithographed, to be distributed by a Turk on the bridges, Ac. The tract is to consist of such passages as the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. An Englishman, knowing multitudes of these people, reckons that not two in a hundred are guiltless; a Turkish teacher tells a European that those who are innocent are not more than two in a thousand. What is our policy supporting? I have been asked how the English, the most moral of all people, can sustain by their patronage these deepest immoralities? I replied that for the most part they are quite ignorant or unwilling to believe what they hear.… The decay of the Turkish people is going on rapidly; their numbers are fast decreasing, through vice, disease, neglect, and corruption. Well, Sir, we are told that Turkey has vast resources. This is the latest phrase to justify the policy of these loans. It is true that she has vast natural resources. That is the mournful part of this subject. A country that might have been one of the most populous and prosperous in the world has been condemned to sterility by the misgovernment of its Turkish rulers. They are almost the only people whose history is without one redeeming feature. Mohammedans in other countries have done something in their day and generation. The Arabs have given us some contributions to civilization, but the Turks have done nothing but conquer and devastate. I will quote the opinion of a writer who will be listened to with pleasure even by those who do not agree with his views, on account of the masculine beauty of his language. Professor Goldwin Smith, of Oxford, says— The great resources of the country, instead of being an encouraging feature in the case, are the most damning evidence against the character and government of the Turks. How abject must the race be under whose dominion a land, once teeming with wealth and swarming with population, has sunk to such a state of wretchedness as the provinces of Turkey present at the present day! If the country were naturally poor, there might be some hope for its lords. Its natural fruitfulness bids the advocates of their rule despair. I do not wish to be understood as bringing any indictment against the Turkish Government, or as exciting a spirit of hostility towards its people. I want to have an English policy founded on justice towards the majority of the population of Turkey, and on our own honest and legitimate interest. For 400 years the Christians in Turkey have been suffering from Mohammedan misrule. They have passed through a process of retributive suffering, brought on, probably, by their own vices and immoralities; but they are evidently awakening to something more hopeful and better than the past. Now, I am not going to offer any panegyric upon the character of the Christian races in Turkey. God knows that no people could have been subjected to the Turkish Government without suffering great moral deterioration, but there is this distinguishing feature about the Christian population in Turkey—that they are a progressive people; that they are seeking to catch the light of Western Europe and to enter upon a new path of civilization and progress. God forbid that the policy of our Foreign Office should find itself for a moment enlisted in opposition to their aspirations!


Though it is with some reserve I rise to take part in a debate which would have been more properly closed by my noble Friend at the head of the Government—whom, as the House is well aware, no cause but one absolutely imperative would have prevented from being present—I am unwilling to allow the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale (Mr. Cobden) to pass without a few observations from this bench. At the commencement of that speech my hon. Friend remarked, with truth, that the Members of this House were growing to be more and more "the orators of the human race." Sir, I believe that remark to be as true as it is pointed, and no doubt it requires forbearance and circumspection on the part of this House to determine the occasions on which we shall enter into a discussion on questions of foreign policy. If our discretion in these matters is not properly exercised, great mischief may be done. At the same time, I think it is impossible not to see, that extended though the relations of this country are—relations extending over the whole surface of the globe—we must feel more especial interest in the concerns of nations respecting whose affairs circumstances have led us to take as active a part as we did in reference to the Turkish Empire at the time of the Crimean war. It is impossible not to notice that the discussion of this evening has been marked by a warm interest in the fate of the Christian subjects of Turkey. In some respects we may feel that this state of mind exhibits a reaction from that which naturally prevailed during the Crimean war. The fact that we were fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Turks against a Christian Power for what we thought and what I still believe to be justifiable and, indeed, necessary objects, tended to weaken our natural and legitimate sympathies with our fellow religionists in the East, and to throw the balance somewhat unduly, perhaps, on the side of the Turks. Far be it from me to say or do anything to check the expression of those sentiments, and I trust, if there were need, that I should always be ready to raise my voice in the same sense as my hon. Friend's; but at the same time we must recollect that we are bound to hold even the scales of Justice, and not to allow those legitimate sympathies to divert us from the calm and judicial temper in which we ought to address ourselves to the consideration of the difficult questions connected with our Eastern policy. I make no complaint, therefore, either that this discussion has been raised, or of the lively interest which has been expressed from all quarters in the condition of the Christian subjects of Turkey. To one part of the speech of my hon. Friend I listened with perfect satisfaction. I mean that part in which he spoke of the immense advantage which would result from a mutual confidence and co-operation between France and England in the conduct of Eastern policy. I will go all lengths with him in the general principle which he inculcated, and I will venture to say that Eastern policy cannot be conducted successfully with a view to European, to Christian, or to any other human interest, if there be a fundamental discord between England and France, and that the hope of our attaining to really satisfactory results must depend, in a principal degree, upon a thoroughly good understanding between these two leading Powers of Europe. Therefore, I agree entirely that nothing can be more unwise than that any one in authority—I do not mean in executive authority merely—but any one in a station of influence, should inculcate jealousies and suspicions between these Powers. But at the same time I must observe, that while there can be no doubt as to the general principle, in the application of it practical difficulties must arise. My hon. Friend referred to an important instance—that of Syria. What case could be more simple, more free from suspicion of intrigue than the interference of France at the time of these horrible massacres, not so much for religion as for the sake of common humanity, No doubt the case for interference was strong, and I rejoice that that interference did take place, by which I hope some guarantee was secured beyond the mere power of the Turkish Government against the repetition of these scenes. Yet I am bound to point out that for the very reason that the outrages were gross, that interference was loudly called for, and that that interference was justifiable, that it required to be watched with the utmost vigilance, and not altogether without some degree of suspicion. I am not now saying it was to be suspected because it was French interference. What I say with respect to France I would assert as cordially with respect to England if the case had been our own. If the cry of distress had first found an echo in this country, and we, instead of France, had undertaken that sacred work, still, from the fact that it involved a forcible assumption of power and authority in a foreign territory by a State not having the sovereignty of that territory, the extent to which that interference was to be carried, and the duration of time over which it was to extend, would have required to be cautiously, vigilantly, and suspiciously watched by all the Powers which were neighbours and even allies of the Power by which the interference was carried on. Therefore it is impossible to separate between the frank acceptance of the general principle that confidence ought to prevail, and the duty of that vigilance which must be exercised when, in an extreme case, extraordinary remedies have to be resorted to.

My hon. Friend (Mr. Cobden) attacked the conduct of the Foreign Office in late years with regard to Turkey. In the first place, he criticised the conduct of my noble Friend the Secretary of State and of the hon. Under Secretary with regard to a kind of testimonial which they were supposed to have given as to the solidity of the Turkish finances. Some time has elapsed since that proceeding, and I believe my hon. Friend the Under Secretary, having been attacked on the point in this House, has given a specific answer. It is plain that it has been no part of the desire of the Foreign Office that the people of England should be kept in the dark with respect to the state of the Turkish finances, because it was at an early period after the assumption of office by my noble Friend that the not injudicious measure was adopted of sending to the Ottoman Empire two highly capable gentlemen for the purpose of making an investigation, upon British principles, into the state of the Turkish finances; and of laying, of course with the consent of the Ottoman Government, the results of the investigation before the British people. Therefore, whether my hon. Friend may approve, or not, of particular expressions of opinion, he will admit that the Foreign Office has consistently pursued a course which was most likely to bring to the knowledge of this country the real condition of Turkish finances. But, if I am rightly informed, the result of the publication of the Report framed by Lord Hobart and Mr. Foster was not such as my hon. Friend would hare supposed, for I understand that the loan made to Turkey since the publication of that Report has been made on terms more favourable than the loan which preceded it. No doubt the state of finance disclosed in that Report is not one which a critical financial eye could view with entire satisfaction; but, at the same time, the disposition which has been shown by the Turkish Government to allow a full and fair investigation into their finances appears to have inspired the money-lending people of England with a greater degree of satisfaction than could be balanced by any dissatisfaction which they might feel at the defective and imperfect financial arrangements of the Ottoman Empire.

In a large portion of his speech my hon. Friend made charges of a very broad character. He charged the British Government, through the medium of its organ for the management of Foreign Affairs, with a general indifference to the grievances under which the Christian subjects of the Porte are still known to labour, or even with a disposition to deny the existence of those grievances. I will venture to say that that charge is not borne out by the Papers laid before Parliament. If it were so, and if we had shown any luke-warmness in pressing on the Porte the removal of those grievances, then we should deserve the heaviest censures which my hon. Friend could pass upon us. If thoroughly understood, the principle of British policy, which no Government can venture even if so disposed to imperil, is that we should endeavour by every means in our power to uphold the civil and political privileges of the Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire, and to improve, so far as we are able, these conditions. And this not for one reason only. I think the noble Lord who spoke so well to-night, in reminding us of the vigour of character displayed by Lord Stratford de Redcliffe in his recommendations to the Porte, was not guilty of any disloyalty to the Ottoman Government. It is not out of mere regard for the Christian subjects that we hold such language, but because we believe that the Ottoman race and the Ottoman Government are best upheld by such a course. That I am sure is a principle in asserting which I shall be supported in the strongest terms by every Member of Her Majesty's Government, and therefore I do not think my hon. Friend is borne out when he said we were endeavouring, by drawing vague pictures of impending anarchy, to frighten the House and the country into a support of the Turkish Government as it is. It is our duty, in compliance with the faith of treaties, to be loyal to the Turkish Government; but, for the reason that we desire to be loyal to them, it is our duty likewise to separate between that Government and its abuses. Nor am I at all sorry that the declarations made in this House tonight will have the effect of proving, if further proof were necessary, that whatever may be said by the British Administration to the Ottoman Government upon that subject is but the faithful expression of the feeling which is entertained by the representatives of the people of England, and by the people themselves. My hon. Friend, however, went on to recommend a policy. And here I have the satisfaction of saying that I am quite certain that my hon. Friend the Under Secretary would have nothing to object as regards the principle laid down by my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale. His policy is a policy of non-intervention. Well, Sir, that is the policy of England. Only we must understand what is meant by nonintervention. We are not to intervene against the Christian subjects of Turkey. If it be true—and it may be true, but that is a question, and more or less a speculative or independent opinion—that the Christian subjects of Turkey are developing their energies at the rate conceived by my hon. Friend, I say it would be monstrous on the part of a Christian or of a civilized Government, or on the part of any Government at all, to presume to interfere for the purpose of checking that development. To interfere by friendly remonstrances for the purpose of removing grievances is one thing. It is, I apprehend, though the term "interference" may not be properly applicable, a course of proceeding recognized by the Treaty of Paris. But to interfere, which my hon. Friend seems to think has been the course or the intention of the Government, for the purpose of witholding from the Christians and giving to the Ottomans the influence, the strength, or any part of the social and political advantages which but for us would be the natural consequence of the growth of the Christians in number, intelligence, and wealth, is a policy which I am quite safe in renouncing and repudiating on the part of the Government, and on the part, I will presume to say, of my hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State. But with respect to non-intervention we are not prepared to depart from the principle which, for European purposes and interests, has been followed. The present, like previous Administrations, have deemed it a matter of general European concern, and therefore of British concern, that Turkey should not be made the subject of foreign intrigue and of foreign aggression. My hon. Friend used very strong language on this subject when he said that the people of England (I forget the exact words) had been in a state of disgraceful panic and cowardice with respect to apprehended designs of Russia on Turkey. It is not now necessary to go back to a discussion of the causes of the Crimean war, but I am bound to say that when we speak of non-intervention in Turkey—when we speak of repudiating all ideas of resisting the natural and general development in force, numbers and intelligence of the Christians of that empire—we by no means mean to assert that the ancient policy of this country is to be repudiated, and that we hold it hence forth a matter of indifference what schemes are formed by any foreign Power against the existence, or against the territorial independence, of the Ottoman Government. And I am hound to say also, that while a real and lively sympathy does exist through out the country for the Christian population of Turkey, on the other hand there does exist a belief that the principles on which the Crimean war was waged were sound principles, and that the question whether wholesale aggression from any European Power on Ottoman territory is to be permitted or not is a fair subject for consideration by the British Government, and for the adoption of such measures, whether of diplomacy or force, as circumstances may appear to the Government to warrant. My hon. Friend towards the close of his speech drew a deplorable picture of the general condition of the Turkish race. I ask not whether the description is in all respects accurate, or in some degree exaggerated. I am afraid, as regards the history of the Turks from the time of their first appearance in the Western world to the present day, he would be a very bold man indeed who was prepared to contend that their conquests and dominion have been favourable to the happiness of mankind or the progress of civil- ization. But, however that may be, what is the use of drawing these highly-coloured pictures, unless you recommend a particular policy? I will respectfully ask my hon. Friend himself whether descriptions of this kind, which, no doubt, are not difficult to draw, are altogether relevant to our discussion; if, in point of fact, our discussion is a discussion of men who wish to make the best of circumstances as they find them, and to take advantage of every favourable opportunity to direct the policy of the country, amid all the difficulties of the, Eastern question, in such a manner as on the whole will tend to produce the least injury and the greatest good. If my hon. Friend is prepared to say the condition of the Turks, the history of the Turks, or the conduct of the Turks is still such that in his opinion the whole world ought to be permitted to pull down that which exists without the slightest regard to what follows, then, I confess, it is entirely in accordance with the argument of my hon. Friend. But we have got the fact of the existence of the Ottoman Power to deal with. Are we prepared to encourage a general crusade against that Power? It would be a total reversal of British policy. If we are not prepared to encourage that general crusade, then I say it is very doubtful whether it is prudent or whether it is advantageous to any of the interests involved to rip up the history of former times, or even to expose and lay bare the sores which are to be found in all societies, and which I freely grant are to be found in a grievous degree in that particular description of society—the present state of the Ottoman race—to make them the subjects of discussion in a political arena, and to bring to bear the feelings of hon. Members, rather than their judgment, in finding a solution of the circumstances and the best course dictated by expediency. As far as I may venture to express an opinion, it seems to me that nothing can be more plain in the first place than the duty of all Governments friendly to the Ottoman Empire to uphold the civil rights of the Christian subjects, and, nay more, I will venture to say not altogether to exclude from regard the condition of the Mohammedan subjects of that Government, with respect to whom the noble Lord opposite has very fairly stated that they hear no niggardly share of these abuses and oppressions. But, while upholding these rights, it is fair to recognize whatever improvement has taken place, and to endeavour to develop the energies and lead forward the spirit of improvement by gentle means, rather than by means of force; and, while not shrinking from a tone of decision, such as our traditional policy, the sacrifices we have made on behalf of Turkey, and our diplomatic engagements fully warrant, not holding language which can have no other effect than to render the existing authority in Turkey despicable in the eyes of its own subjects. With respect to predictions for the future as to what will happen between the Mussulman and Christian races, I confess it is a subject which, in the sphere of political discussion, should be received with great sobriety. Let us leave to Christian and Mussulman, as far as in our power, a fair and open stage, and let us discourage all attempts and acts for the repression of their natural energies. Let us firmly adhere to the ancient policy of this country, founded on the belief, that whether the existence of the Ottoman Empire in Europe be in itself desirable or not, it is a matter of profound European concern to take care that the destruction of that Empire be not made the means of introducing more serious evils and dangers more menacing than any which may attend its continuance. Let us avoid all presumptuous predictions as to what it may be, and as to the time which it may endure. Let us endeavour to inculcate on the Ottoman Government a spirit of liberality and justice, so as to induce it to seek its strength rather in the mild and equitable treatment of its Christian subjects, than in straining its power against them; but let us remember that with the general obligations of humanity and prudence in regard to the subjects of that Government must be combined those special obligations of good faith which we have undertaken towards the ruling authority itself, and the strict observance likewise of those wider considerations of policy which make us feel that Europe at large, and England as a great constituent portion of Europe, has a great, a living, and a vital interest in the disposal of those territories which constitute the dominions under the Ottoman rule.


said, that with reference to the fortress of Belgrade, he wished to observe that there was no country in the world in which such a garrison was maintained under the same conditions. Its existence was at once a source of vast expense to Turkey and of great irritation to the Servians. He further contended that it ought to be the object of the Government to combine, as far as possible, the interests of the Porte with the goodwill of the people with whom she was placed in contact.


said, that he would not weaken the force of the debate, with which he had every reason to be satisfied, by making any observations, but would merely ask leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

SUPPLY considered in Committee.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again on Monday next.