HC Deb 07 May 1877 vol 234 cc366-476

I beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich a Question of which I have given him private Notice. It is a Question the reply to which many other hon. Members besides myself await with very deep interest. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, Whether, in the place of his second Resolution, he will substitute words which would make it read as follows:— That this House is of opinion that the Porte, by its conduct towards its subject populations, and by its refusal to give guarantees for their better government, has forfeited all claim to receive either the material or the moral support of the British Crown; and, whether he will abstain from moving his third and fourth Resolutions?


Mr. Speaker, in answer to the Question of my hon. Friend, I need not say that I stand here, as I stood last week, responsible for the whole of these five Resolutions; and, indeed, I do not think it is within my competence myself to move, or rather to adopt, any change in them before moving them, in consideration of the understanding that prevails between Members of this House and the principles upon which Notices are given—unless it were a merely verbal change, which this can hardly be called. Nevertheless, I quite accede to the substance of both the propositions of my hon. Friend. I will read the words of the second Resolution to the House as he has proposed it, because, only having heard them once, it is possible that the House may not gather their full effect. He proposes that the second Resolution, which in its original form is before all the Members of the House, should run as follows:— That this House is of opinion that the Porte, by its conduct towards its subject populations, and by its refusal to give guarantees for their better government, has forfeited all claim to receive either the material or the moral support of the British Crown. Sir, that Resolution is entirely satisfactory to me, though it is not exactly the form of words I proposed; and though, as I have said, I do not feel warranted in making a change and asking the House at once to consider that change, if it be the pleasure of my hon. Friend to move that change I should readily accede to it, and be prepared to support it. With regard, Sir, to the remaining Resolutions, I may say as respects the Amendment of my hon. Friend opposite the hon. and learned Member for Marylebone (Mr. Forsyth), to substitute the word "obtaining" for "exacting," I have no objection to that Amendment whatever. I presume the mode of proceeding would be this—I shall move the first Resolution, upon which I suppose there will be a division. I shall then move the second Resolution, in order that my hon. and learned Friend may have an opportunity, if he thinks fit, of moving to substitute the word which he has proposed; and if out of that Amendment of his a division should grow, I, of course, should be very ready that that division should take place. With regard to the other Resolutions, I shall not think it necessary to trouble the House by asking you, Mr. Speaker, to put them from the Chair.


Sir, I am aware that there is no Question before the House, and that I have no right to address the House, but perhaps I may be allowed to say one word. It appears to me, Sir, that the Resolutions as proposed to be amended by my right hon. Friend are such as will meet with very general support—at all events from this side of the House; and with that conviction I wish to appeal to my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock) not to take the course of which he has given Notice, of moving the Previous Question.


After the important announcement which has just been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, the state of the case is entirely altered. The Resolutions as they will now stand I can cordially support, and therefore I shall not move the Previous Question.


I am not quite sure, Sir, that I heard correctly what fell from the hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock), and I am still less sure whether I understood correctly what fell from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, but as it appears to me the House is getting into a very ridiculous position. Sir, it will be in the recollection of the House that about 10 days ago the hon. Member for East Cumberland (Mr. C. W. Howard) with some solemnity informed the House that in the unfortunate absence of the right hon. Member for Greenwich he desired to give Notice, on the part of that right hon. Gentleman, that he would, on the 1st of May, bring forward certain Resolutions "with regard to the Eastern Question and the prospective policy of the Government." Well, we had that Notice given; and my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff), with a sort of prescient intuition that it was likely there would be something rather curious in this Motion, gave Notice at once that he should be prepared to move the Previous Question. Then, on the following Monday, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich came down to the House, and gave Notice in the usual manner of the Resolutions which he was about to propose; and I remember quite well that he stated at the time he gave that Notice that he was anxious to put them in such a form as would give the House an opportunity of meeting them with any Amendment. [Mr. GLADSTONE I said, I would move them separately.] Yes; or separately — separately with any Amendments. Well, hardly had that Notice been given when the hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone got up and gave Notice that he, on his part, would move the Previous Question. Well, Sir, the question then arose—could any Amendment be moved upon those Resolutions? It is no breach of confidence to say that my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch was anxious to alter the Notice which he had announced to the House, and to move an Amendment upon the first of these Resolutions. But he was informed that in consequence of the step that had been taken by the hon. Member for Maidstone he was precluded from doing so; and that even though the House might not support the hon. Member for Maidstone on the "Previous Question," it was absolutely impossible for my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch or any one else to move any Amendments at all upon the first of these Resolutions. Well, Sir, we on this side of the House have been called the "stupid Party;" and I freely admit that our wits are not so keen as the wits of hon. Gentlemen opposite, especially as the wit of the hon. Member for the Border Burghs (Mr. Trevelyan), for he has discovered a way of turning this difficulty by putting the Question whether certain Amendments would or would not be accepted. Having got the information that these Amendments would be accepted, then my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone is perfectly satisfied, and getting up, accepts the altered state of circumstances, and withdraws his Notice. Sir, I think this is really a very peculiar, and, I am bound to say, a rather undignified position for the House to be placed in, because this is a matter that has been before the country for more than a week; and my noble Friend the Postmaster General tells me that the telegraph revenue has been sensibly swelled by telegrams being sent to all parts of the country to support these important Resolutions. Meetings have also been held for the same purpose, and we were told that the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Jenkins) was contemplating a new edition of his pamphlet which was to blow up the unnatural coalition on the other side of the House; in fact, that he was about to re-establish the mountain, and that the mountain was to bring forth something to-day. But, Sir, I confess that although we shall find ourselves in a position of some little difficulty in proceeding to discuss the very different Resolutions which are now to be submitted to us, still I think that perhaps of two absurdities we had better choose the lesser. Only this, I would venture to suggest to my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch, as the noble Lord opposite has given his advice to the hon. Member for Maidstone that he should keep himself in reserve, so my hon. Friend should not pledge himself, till he sees whether at the end of the speech which we are all expecting to listen to to-night, my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich does really move this Resolution after all. We are so unused to what has passed that I feel that almost anything may happen, therefore I ought to make some such request as that—I beg to move that the Orders of the Day be postponed until after we leave considered the Resolutions with regard to the Eastern Question.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Orders of the Day he postponed until after the Notice of Motion relating to the Eastern Question." — (Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.) Several hon. Members rose to address the House, proposing to raise a question of Order: but Mr. SPEAKER calling on Mr. Gladstone to proceed—


said: I hope, Sir, I am not trespassing unduly upon the patient indulgence of the House in seeking to say a few words upon this Motion, inasmuch as the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the course of his speech, has made a very direct appeal to me, and has thought himself justified in insinuating a doubt whether I am about to move any of these Resolutions at all. I am aware of no ground that the right hon. Gentleman has for insinuating such a doubt, because I leave already told the House that I am as much responsible at the present moment for the whole of these Resolutions as I was on Monday last. But with regard to the question how many of these Resolutions are to be put from the Chair, I think it is the usage of this House, known to all who hear me, and who are practised in the Business of this House, in the case of a string of Resolutions being moved, that it is a matter entirely within the discretion of the person moving them how many of them shall be put from the Chair—provided that he obtains from the House a judgment which, by fair implication, involves the judgment of the House on the whole of his propositions. The principle upon which I have proceeded in this case has been to put forward, in the first place, a Resolution to which, in my opinion, it will be most difficult for all candid and reasonable men to object, and I own that I was sanguine enough to believe that it might be possible to induce Her Majesty's Government to consider that Resolution. Having done so, I might have felt it to be my duty to propose the Resolutions which followed; but, at any rate, I am within my right in declining to put myself to the disadvantage of pledging myself to proceed to a succession of divisions on each of these Resolutions—possibly with diminishing numbers in each successive division. Therefore, I tell the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he has no moral right, and is entirely going beyond the bare courtesies of debate and of this House, in stating that he would wait until the close of the speech in order to ascertain whether any Resolution was moved at all, and when he calls upon me to state whether I do or do not intend to move the whole of these Resolutions. ["No, no!"] The noble Lord the Postmaster General takes exception to that statement. [Lord JOHN MANNERS: I said nothing of the kind.] Well, then, some equally good Conservative behind the noble Lord must have done so, and I beg the noble Lord's pardon for referring to him in that manner. The insinuation of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer is, however, in direct contradiction to my statement that I was about to move the first Resolution, and that I should follow it by moving the second Resolution. The right hon. Gentleman got up and said he should wait until the end of my speech, in order to see whether I moved the Resolutions before he would advise the hon. Gentleman the Member for Christchurch what course he should take with regard to his Amendment. I am bound to say that that is not the treatment which hon. Members of this House are entitled to receive at the hands of the right hon. Gentleman. But the right hon. Gentleman said a good deal more than that; and in addressing myself to this point, I must assume a tone, I am afraid, of retaliation. The right hon. Gentleman says that the House is placed in an undignified position; he says that it is placed in an unusual position, and I even think he said it was placed in a ridiculous position. The last expression is rather strong, but I am not disposed to deny that the position of the House is unusual, or to assert that its position is altogether dignified. But, Sir, I ask if such is the case, to whom is that unusual and that undignified position of the House due? The question which I ask is, who is it that on this important matter has departed from the usage of the House; —who is it that upon the part of the Government which is challenged in its policy, for the first time, I believe in the history of this House, has condescended to meet a Motion of this kind by proposing to put aside a discussion upon it by means of a stifling Amendment? It is the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. From the right hon. Gentleman's side of the House proceeded the first proposal to meet my Resolutions by moving the Previous Question, and when the right hon. Gentleman was appealed to by me, he said that he had no intention of asking the hon. Gentleman who had given Notice of his intention to move the Previous Question to withdraw that Notice. I do not say that the right hon. Gentleman himself proposed to move the Previous Question; but I do say that he was perfectly willing to avail himself of its friendly shelter. If the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War is about to speak, or if the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or any other Member of the Government is about to speak, I request them to tell me of any case in which a Government, challenged upon their policy in this House, have been either moved or have availed themselves of the shelter of the Previous Question. Why, Sir, we have the greatest right in the world to expect that we should be allowed an opportunity of perfectly free discussion on this subject. I speak of the great and vital matters of policy of Governments, and I want to know whether it is in the usage of the House for a Government so challenged to seek, or to employ the shelter of the Previous Question. Why, Sir, we had the strongest reason to suppose that we shall be allowed a perfectly free discus- sion, for again and again the chivalry of hon. Gentlemen opposite was indignant at not being allowed this opportunity of debate on this subject. Why, did not the hon. and gallant—I mean the politically gallant — Member for Mid-Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin), on an early night of the Session, directly challenge me to bring forward this question. The hon. Member could not endure that the policy of the Government should not be brought under discussion in this House, and he challenged me to bring it under its notice. I never complained. The right hon. Gentleman will do me the justice to say that I never complained of the hon. Member giving me that challenge. On the contrary, I said that he was within his free Parliamentary liberty in doing so; but I said that I should take the liberty of choosing my own time and mode in accepting that challenge. But that is not all. The hon. Member for Mid-Lincolnshire spoke only once on the subject, but the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been at it every night. Not an evening has passed on which the Eastern Question has been discussed that the right hon. Gentleman has not challenged us to question his policy. Really after what has been said to-night I must refer to some of the words he has used on former occasions. On the 16th of February, after the hon. Member for Mid-Lincolnshire had referred to this subject, the right hon. Gentleman said the House had as much right to be taken into my confidence—


I rise to Order, Sir. The right hon. Gentleman cannot properly refer to speeches which have been made in this House during the present Session.


No doubt it is against the Rules of the House to refer to what has been said by an hon. Member in a former debate during the same Session. I may, moreover, remind the House that the question immediately before it is the postponement of the Orders of the Day, and I am bound to say that some of the observations of the right hon. Gentleman are more relevant to the subject-matter of his Resolutions than to the Question immediately before the House.


I shall entirely submit myself, Sir, to what you have said; but the right lion Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had expressed doubts as to my intentions which I thought were justified by none of the circumstances, and had by implication complained, as I thought, of myself, but, certainly, of some on this side of the House, of having placed the House in an undignified position. I was therefore, as I thought, under the compulsion to point out whence it was the doubts and difficulties have arisen —namely, as I thought, from the course which had been adopted by Her Majesty's Government. However, I will not prosecute the subject, but I will say as much as I feel it necessary to say upon it when we come to a discussion on the Motion.


I rise, Sir, for the purpose of expressing the hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not persevere with his Motion for postponing the Orders of the Day. I express that hope for two reasons. In the first place, a new issue has been raised, and I think hon. Members of the House are fairly entitled to ask that they should have time to consider the position in which they now find themselves before proceeding to a debate. No doubt the Government had Notice some hours ago of what was likely to take place; but the news has just burst upon the House, and we should have an opportunity of considering the question as it now stands. While I say that, I must frankly own for myself that the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman as we have them at present before us do not appear to me to show that any necessity whatever exists for postponing the Orders of the Day. So far as I am able to gather their purport, they do not amount to really anything. What he now proposes is nothing but a reductio ad absurdum of his previous proposition. But I have a second reason for the wish I have expressed, and that is, that we should rememember the period of the Session at which we have arrived, the pressure of Public Business which exists, and the various matters of importance which we have to consider. I maintain that, under present circumstances, there is no ground whatever for postponing the Orders of the Day.


I cordially second what has just been said by the hon. Member for West Norfolk. If I were to state that the proposed treatment of which we have heard to-night of a grave and serious question was "un-English," I might, perhaps, be making use of an un -Parliamentary expression; but I must say that when the country is balancing, between war and no war, a subject of such importance as this should not be dealt with in the way in which some hon. Members opposite seem to desire. I think the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) has had a sufficient expression of opinion, not only from his own side of the House, but from the country generally, to show him that it would have been better if he had altogether withdrawn his Resolutions. When he found that he could not be followed into the Lobby by a great many of his Liberal Friends—Gentlemen upon whom in the past he has been accustomed to depend, and whom we all respect—he ought, I think, to have taken a different course from that which he has now followed. As it is, he has adopted one of the most extraordinary steps ever taken in this House. I have been a good many years in Parliament; and I cannot remember a case of a Member in the position of the right hon. Gentleman coming down here and asking us—after we had been invited to consider certain Resolutions, after the country at large had been invited to consider them, and after meetings had been held over the land in their support —to take up those Resolutions all at once, in a very emasculated and attenuated form. I shall oppose the suspension of the Orders of the Day, and I think the country will agree with the view I take of the situation—namely, that this is not the kind of treatment to which this House should be subjected.


I entirely concur with the last speaker, and the hon. Member for West Norfolk, in the wish that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should not persevere with his Motion. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) has said that on a previous occasion I challenged him to bring forward a Vote of Want of Confidence in the Government. I did so. It was due to the Government, whom he had so fiercely assailed, that he should do so—and it was of even still greater importance in my idea if there was difference of opinion among us with regard to the policy of Her Majesty's Government — that Europe and that the world should know what the opinion of Parliament, with regard to this question, in reality was. But what is our position to-night? The whole state of affairs has changed. Ten days ago the right hon. Gentleman, through one of his Friends, gave Notice of Resolutions which created sensational excitement, not only in England, but throughout the world. To-night the Galleries are filled. The House is crowded. I, myself, were it not for the charity of my Friends, should be sitting on the steps of the Gangway. But now the right hon. Gentleman comes forward and withdraws two of his Resolutions and attacks the Chancellor of the Exchequer because the right hon. Baronet refuses, as he says, to meet him with a Vote of Confidence. Sir, I sincerely trust that the House will not consent to be treated in this manner. I trust we shall not consent to postpone the Orders of the Day in order to consider effete Resolutions. I hope that for the sake alike of the dignity of the House and the dignity of the country we shall mark to-night in a most emphatic and unmistakeable manner our sense of what I can only characterize as this childish vacillation of purpose.


I hope my hon. Friends who have spoken within the last few minutes will not, after all, resist the Motion for the postponement of the Orders of the Day. Whatever the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gladstone) has to say against the Government, let him say it, and let us have done with it. The right hon. Gentleman gave Notice of certain Resolutions—what their exact meaning might be we might find out, I suppose, in the course of discussion; but, by some inscrutable process, our opponents have agreed upon the course to be adopted this evening, and those Resolutions have now been so dealt with that the opposition of the hon. Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock) has been withdrawn, and the noble Lord (the Marquess of Hartington) will bring, I presume, his now united forces in support of a portion of that which a few nights ago only commanded support of a scattered remnant of his Party. Hon. Members have not allowed us to witness the preliminary proceedings which have led to this result; but we are acquainted with them, although we were not present at the rehearsal of what we have seen enacted here this evening. We have had a tragedy in this House more than once, and the right hon. Gentleman opposite has been the embodiment of it. We have this evening had a farce, and a farce so ridiculous and absurd that those engaged in it could hardly keep their countenances. Why, the hon. Member for Maidstone, as he withdrew the Amendment which he was about to present to the House, could not for the moment cease from laughing, and he had not the gravity of the augur when he looked into the faces of hon. Members. But we are not afraid to meet our opponents on whatever ground they may take their stand. The right hon. Gentleman has said we are afraid of meeting him—that we are afraid of a Vote of Censure; but when I looked through these Resolutions I could not see what it was he wanted to accuse us of. We were informed that he aimed at indicating what should be the prospective policy of the country; but I have not been able to find from the Resolutions what that policy should be. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that two of the Resolutions are of such a character that the Government may accept them; and yet these are the very Resolutions on which he asks you to condemn us. He has withdrawn the others. Does he mean to call attention to those Resolutions which he is not going to press? Is he going to press an indictment on which he is not going to take a decision? Is he going to press those Resolutions which he thinks so milk-and-watery? —["Order, order!"]


I must again interpose. I hardly think the observations of the right hon. Gentleman relevant to the Question before the House.


I bow at once, Sir, to your decision. When the question arose as to postponing the Orders of the Day I thought it desirable and important to show why the Government should be anxious that the debate should proceed; but, as I have said, I at once bow to the opinion which you have just indicated.


I also think that the Orders of the Day should not be postponed. Resolutions about which meetings have been held throughout the country are now brought before us in an attenuated form; and I think that not only the Government, but the House and the nation have a right to longer notice of the extraordinary change which has been made in those Resolutions this evening than we have received.


I am sorry to interpose; but I cannot help rising to express my concurrence in the views of those who think the Orders should not be postponed. I think that as matters now stand we should all ask ourselves, are we in such a position that it is desirable, not in the interests of the House only, but in the interests of the country, that we should now proceed to discuss the Resolutions which we are asked to debate. Is it worth while to set aside the regular Business of the evening for the purpose of considering these two Resolutions alone? It is almost impossible to consider them without discussing those that are to be withdrawn; and as for those that remain, it appears to me that the first Resolution is one of which Her Majesty's Government must approve; and as to the second, it does not seem to me to involve anything on which we are not agreed. In fact, they express precisely the opinion of the Foreign Secretary. More than that, Sir, by proceeding in this way the House may be understood as giving its opinion on the third and fourth Resolutions. I can quite understand the feelings of the Secretary for War in desiring that the question should be discussed and decided at once, and that anything from a Party point of view would be better for his purpose than a postponement. But if we are to rise above Party, if we are to consider the whole country, and I may say the whole of Europe—for all the Governments of Europe are awaiting the opinion of this House as to the policy which it is right to pursue—is it desirable or expedient that a Party vote should be taken under the present circumstances, which would not fully convey to the world what that opinion really is I was surprised that the hon. Member for Maidstone so easily withdrew his Notice, as under present circumstances it seems to me that the Previous Question is the most wise thing that could be put. When we consider that the whole country has been agitated about these Resolutions, I do think it will be in the highest degree impolitic to discuss not the whole four Resolutions, but the first two, which mean nothing.


Sir, I have a suggestion to make, and it is this—that the right hon. Member for Greenwich should propose his first Resolution, and that the Government should support it. As the sting has been taken out of the Resolutions, which during the past week have been agitating the country, it seems to me that this method could be adopted without the slightest danger or difficulty. In doing so we should only accept that with which we can cordially agree.


I, Sir, also should agree with the suggestion made by the hon. Member for West Norfolk (Mr. Bentinck), if I were sure that the issue raised by the Resolutions this afternoon has been materially changed by the statement the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich has made, and I wish to put a question on the subject. Certainly the right hon. Gentleman himself could not have conceived that the statement which he made in the earlier part of the evening has materially altered the issue before the House. The issue has not been altered by his willingness to accept the Amendment suggested by the hon. Member for the Border Burghs, for that Amendment only strengthens the second, and very slightly, perhaps, weakens a single expression in the third Resolution. The important change, if change there be, lies in the statement of the right hon. Gentleman that he would not trouble the House by inviting its decision on the third and fourth Resolutions. The question which, if I were in Order, I should like to put to the right hon. Gentleman is, whether, in view of the discussion which has now taken place, he would not submit the third and fourth, as well as the first and second Resolutions, to the House? I did not understand that the right hon. Gentleman personally held any objection to the submission of these two Resolutions. I understood that he still maintains them as he did when he first put them on the Paper, and that he was only actuated—these were his own words —by a desire to save the trouble of the House. But, Sir, considering that these Resolutions in their entirety have now been for some time before the House; that they have also been the subject of discussion in the country, and that the country has pronounced an opinion upon them, though a very different opinion from that which the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmund's (Mr. Greene) imagines, I do think it is desirable that all the Resolutions should now be submitted to the judgment of the House.


I rise in support of the appeal of my hon. Friend behind me (Mr. Chamberlain) in regard to these Resolutions. Those who have spoken from the Front bench I think have spoken with great justice of the farcical nature of the scene enacted this evening. I cannot but feel that it would be a most undignified proceeding if, after the whole country and the whole of Europe has been invited to observe the Resolutions which the right hon. Gentleman brings forward, they should now be so completely emasculated as has been proposed. Therefore I hope, in fair justice and in honest Party warfare, that the right hon. Gentleman will consent to go on with these two latter Resolutions, and submit them to the opinion of the House. If he only proposes the first two Resolutions, as he has mentioned, I certainly, if the House goes to a division, shall be prepared to vote against postponing the Orders of the Day in order to discuss two simple matters of theory.


It has been said that the Resolutions in their emasculated state do not amount to a challenge of the conduct and policy of the Government, and are such as they may accept them. The Resolutions have also been designated as "milk-and-watery" Resolutions, and what I want to know is, why we should be asked to postpone the Orders of the Day in order to discuss Resolutions of that character? The best solution of the difficulty in which we are placed will be to refuse to postpone them, and I certainly shall not vote for the Motion.


said, that as he was not now entitled to answer the questions which had been put to him in that discussion, he would refer to them when he had the power of bringing forward his Motion.


Sir, the question before the House appears to me to be one which ought to be decided entirely on the ground of the convenience of the great majority of the House. Hon. Members who have urged that the Orders of the Day should not be postponed, undoubtedly, if they think fit, have a perfect right to make that request, because the issue submitted by my right hon. Friend has been, whether materially or not, altered to a certain extent—I will not discuss to what extent —and the House has, if it thinks fit, an undoubted right to require sufficient Notice of the terms of that alteration. On the other hand, I must say it appears to me that the great majority of the House are perfectly willing that the discussion should proceed at once; and as that seems also to be the wish of the Government, I am unable to see why difficulties should be interposed in the way of the immediate commencement of the debate. I wish, however, before it begins, that there should be no misunderstanding as far as I am concerned as to the advice which I have given to my hon. Friend the Member for Maid-stone (Sir John Lubbock), and the position which I myself occupy. It is perfectly true that—as I think has been already pointed out—upon some occasions, when a series of Resolutions are proposed for consideration, the decision of the House is challenged on the whole series by a division on the first Resolution. But, on the other hand, I believe it is perfectly possible for the House to enter on the discussion of a series of Resolutions on the understanding that they will be submitted one by one, and that the opinion of the House will be challenged upon each. Now, Sir, the advice which I gave to the hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone, and which he accepted, was distinctly based on the understanding that the first Resolution would be moved, that the second also would be moved with the Amendment which has been suggested and accepted by my right hon. Friend, but that the decision of the House would not be challenged on the third and fourth Resolutions.


I quite agree with the noble Lord that in this matter regard ought to be had to the convenience of the House; but I would venture to add that there are other considerations which ought not to be left out of sight. Regard ought also to be had to the effect which will be produced, not only in this country, but even in foreign countries, if, after all the preparations which have been made for the discussion coming on this evening, those prepara- tions are suddenly laid aside for reasons which I think would be hardly intelligible in England, and which would be utterly unintelligible abroad. I do not myself think there need be any difficulty in our proceeding with the discussion in consequence of the change which the right hon. Gentleman has made in his Resolutions. Undoubtedly, the change as described by the noble Lord is a change of the most material character—that is to say, if we are only to be asked to affirm the first and second Resolutions, and not to be invited to express an opinion on what is really the substantive and operative part of the Resolutions—namely, that referring to the future policy of the country. That, no doubt, is a material change in the position. It has been said that by accepting the first of these Resolutions we should be accepting, by implication, the whole of them. ["No, no"] The right hon. Gentleman himself made use of an expression—I am not quite sure what he intended by it—as to the acceptance by implication of the substance of the whole.


No, no; I had not the slightest intention of implying that the judgment of the House on the first Resolution had anything to do with its judgment on the other Resolutions. All I said was this—that by implication or inference, I could judge, perhaps, for myself by the judgment on the first what the judgment would be on the others.


I hope, at all events, the House understands all these explanations. I wish to make a suggestion to my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff), which I think may, to some extent, clear up our position. We have been rather taunted by my right hon. Friend for sheltering ourselves behind the Previous Question when challenged on our policy — the challenge consisting in a Resolution which he thinks we ought to accept—rather an odd sort challenge, I think. But now we are left in greater difficulty, because we are told that if we discuss and pass the first Resolution by itself the effect or consequence will be to influence the judgment of a great many besides my right hon. Friend himself as to whether this House would agree to the operative part of the Resolutions; whilst the first Resolution would be supported by the noble Lord opposite and others who would not support the operative part of the Resolutions. If I may venture to use such a simile, it seems as if my right hon. Friend had taken a lesson from a certain picture in the Royal Academy ("The Finishing Touch"), in which a lady who is having her hair powdered keeps her whole body behind a curtain in order that no harm may come to her dress. The right hon. Gentleman appears to me to have taken some such precaution as that, in order that no harm may occur to the great body of the policy which is indicated in these Resolutions. But the suggestion which I would make to the hon. Member for Christchurch is, that he should do that which he was always anxious to do after the Notice of these Resolutions had been given, but which he was prevented from doing by the Notice of the hon. Member for Maidstone—namely, that instead of moving the Previous Question, he should meet the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman with an Amendment—something of this character — "That this House declines to pass any Resolution which may embarrass the policy of Her Majesty's Government, if that Resolution be not accompanied by any indication of an alternative policy." I have no doubt that if my hon. Friend who has been defeated by the tactics on the other side were to move such a Resolution, it would lead us to a clear issue upon the question. I hope that hon. Members on this side of the House will not object to the postponement of the Orders. I can assure them that I speak not in any Party sense, or in any Party interest, when I say that I believe it would be a great detriment to the public interest if, after all, this matter were not to be discussed.


said, what the right hon. Gentleman had suggested was precisely the offer which had been made to him the other night. The offer made to the Government was that the hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock) would withdraw his Motion if the Government would propose a Vote of Confidence in themselves. ["Oh, oh!"] Perhaps that was an inaccurate expression, and he would substitute—if they would rehearse one of those scenes with the hon. Member for Christchurch which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had so well described. They had offered the Government that dress rehearsal the other night. A distinct offer had been made to the Government by the hon. Member for Christchurch, and the hon. Member for Maidstone that day would withdraw the Previous Question if the Government would submit a direct vote on their own policy. He did not think, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had quite accurately described the position of the hon. Member for Maidstone in saying that he had stood in their way.


That is all very well, but the hon. and learned Gentleman has entirely forgotten the circumstances of the case. The hon. Member for Maidstone had the "Previous Question" on the Paper as well as the hon. Member for Christchurch, and it was impossible for the hon. Member for Christchurch to assume the first place, unless he knew that the hon. Member for Maidstone agreed to withdraw his Notice. [Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT: He offered to do so.] Yes, that is just the point—he offered it, but when? When the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) had put an Amendment upon the Paper which the noble Lord and his Friends wished the Government to accept.


It seems to me that we shall be spending the whole night in debating whether we have anything to debate. We on this side are exceedingly anxious that a discussion should take place; and I think that the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a very good one—that the hon. Member for Christchurch should withdraw the Previous Question, and allow us to get an intelligible issue.


I am not going to make any remarks on the general question; but I wish to ask a question of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich and the hon. Member for Maidstone—because I am bound to confess that to us sitting here it seems that we are getting into a greater and greater haze as to the position in which we are now placed. I do not know whether that position is clear to right hon. Gentlemen sitting on the Front benches opposite, but it certainly is not to us. I may fairly ask the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich to tell us whether, he intends to move in some modified form the third and fourth Resolutions; and I think we have also a right to ask the hon. Member for Maidstone whether, if these Resolutions should be put, he will then revert to the Previous Question? The person to decide whether the Resolutions should be put or not is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich; and I am sure it would give much satisfaction to many who intend to support him—as I do—if he would say if he intends to move the third and fourth Resolutions; and if he does, then will the hon. Baronet tell us whether the understanding between himself and the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition holds good? If these two questions are answered, it seems to me that we shall be in a position to begin the debate at once with a clear and distinct issue before us.


thought the right hon. Member for Greenwich should state whether he had determined to withdraw the third and fourth Resolutions before the House could satisfactorily commence any discussion; but he desired to know from the Chair whether the right hon. Gentleman would not have to obtain the consent of the House to that course, and whether he could withdraw them without giving the House a reason?


, in reply said, that the House had no power to compel the right hon. Gentleman, after proposing his first Resolution, to go on with the Resolutions succeeding.


I rise to a point of Order. It appears to me that the Amendment of which I have given Notice takes precedence of all others; but it appears also that the right hon. Gentleman is not going to put forward his second Resolution in the amended, but in the original form; whereupon an Amendment will be proposed by the hon. Member for the Border Burghs. It appears to me that if the Motion for the Previous Question is first put, it will not be possible for the Member for the Border Burghs to put his Amendment; and I should like to know how that stands before I give an answer to the suggestion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which I am quite ready to substitute for my Amendment.


I have to state that I consider that the Amendment of the Previous Question applies not only to the first but to all the five Resolutions, and in the event of the second Resolution being put, the Amendment having claim to precedence will be the Previous Question. In that case the Amendment of the hon. Member for the Border Burghs will be shut out.


again rose to address the House, whereupon


informed the hon. Member that, having already spoken, he was out of Order.


wished to know if the Orders of the Day were postponed, and if the right hon. Gentleman proceeded to move his first Resolution, whether he would strictly confine his speech to the subject-matter of that Resolution, and whether he would be in Order if he entered upon matters germane only to the third and fourth Resolutions?


said, the right hon. Gentleman would be entitled to offer to the House any arguments relevant to the Motion before the House, and it would only be his (Mr. Speaker's) duty to call the right hon. Gentleman to Order in the event of his addressing it on matters not relevant to the subject before the House.


said, a new reason had developed itself for opposing the postponement of the Orders of the Day. He desired to know what they were going to do, although there were a great many hon. Gentlemen who had begun to think, after what had passed, that they might as well postpone the debate altogether. The debate ought to have been entered upon with solemnity, and he could not help expressing his own opinion that the moral effect of the debate—whatever it might have been—would be sadly marred by what had occurred. He should be sorry to say a word which might wound the feelings of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House, but be would take the liberty of remarking that they could not but feel a certain amount of mortification at the spectacle they themselves presented. Whoever had advised the move which right hon. Gentlemen on the front Opposition bench were making that evening, it was a move which, in military strategy, was well known to be almost always disastrous—namely, changing front in the face of the enemy. It was very well known that what they were engaged in at that moment—there was no use beating about the bush any further—was simply an endeavour to hold a reconstructive meeting of the Liberal Party on the floor of the House of Commons. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, unknown to the majority of those who had been gallantly prepared to follow him to a division, when he was repudiated by others from whom he might have looked for the heartiest support, had now made terms with those who sat near him on the front Opposition bench. But what of those Members of that House who had heard these these new Resolutions for the first time, as he would call it; what of the men who stood by him during the last week; what of the country that had answered to his call; what of the resolutions which had been passed in many places, declaring the Motions which the right hon. Gentleman had drawn up to be right and true, and declaring that nothing else would satisfy the country? Was all that had been done in that way to be cast aside at a moment's notice by a sudden shifting of the scenery in that House? What of humble men like himself, who had endeavoured to decide what course they ought to take with reference to the Resolutions as they stood on the Paper, and who had been taken into no one's confidence? A mine seemed to have been sprung on him and others that evening, as the result of an arrangement entered into—he almost hesitated to say—more for the purpose of healing up a split in the Liberal Party than of really facing the gigantic political issue before the House. He ventured to say that the condition on which the hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone had expressed willingness to withdraw his Motion was a condition distasteful to independent men, and that they had a right to be informed whether the last two Resolutions were to be discussed or not. Speaking, he was sure, for others as well as himself, although with no formal authority, he must say that if these Resolutions were withdrawn, it would be better to have no debate at all, for the debate would be merely about truisms, and would be simply a waste of time. He would end as he began, by expressing his profound regret that at a moment not only of European, but of world-wide anxiety, when something decided, something affirmative, ought to be proposed, and when Resolutions had been taken up after a week had been spent in no end of interviews and no end of negotiations, the course to be followed had not been arranged on Saturday or Friday. As it had not been made at that time, he thought they should stand like men to their lines, and not change their front in the face of the enemy.


said, that they had now debated this matter for an hour and a-half, and he would be glad if the right hon. Member for Greenwich would answer the question whether he intended to move the third and fourth Resolutions. He understood the right hon. Gentleman in the Chair to say that it would be competent to debate the whole question on the first Resolution. He thought it was not consistent with the dignity of Parliament to turn it into a debating society. He wished to know whether the right hon. Gentleman meant to challenge the policy of the Government?


thought the question should be distinctly and categorically answered, and in order to endeavour to obtain from the right hon. Gentleman the answer which he believed would not be obtained otherwise, he would move that the right hon. Gentleman be now allowed to answer the question which had been put to him.


The question before the House is, that the Orders of the Day be now postponed until after the Resolutions of the right hon. Member for Greenwich.


I have moved an Amendment.


The question is one simply with reference to the postponing of the Orders of the Day. I am bound to inform the hon. Member that he has not moved any Amendment in a form which I can put from the Chair.


Then I will put myself in Order, by moving that the debate be now adjourned.


, in seconding the Motion, said, that hon. Members also wanted to know whether a vote on the first Resolution was to imply any opinion on the third and fourth.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned." —(Mr. Dillwyn.)


, while feeling it to be unpleasant to take part in such a debate, thought it absolutely necessary to say two or three sentences. Things had been said about a "compact" and a "compromise;" but the part he had played in the matter was a part which he believed a very great number of hon. Gentlemen in the House would thoroughly understand. He was one of those who did not agree with the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman. He did not think we ought to coerce the Turk—he did not think we ought to go to war against Turkey in any circumstances whatsoever; but he was one of those who thought it would be an awful national sin in any way to assist Turkey. It was with that feeling, and because he wished a definite issue to be raised, that he had taken the course he had. An hon. Member, amid cheers on the other side, characterized the first and second Resolutions as a truism. He did not think that, to the minds of many hon. Members, the announcement that under no circumstances whatever, we ought to give support to Turkey was at all a truism. He wished that the tone of the speeches of hon. Members would permit him to think so. If these Resolutions were carried, it would be a reversal of the old policy, and, as he believed, the wrong policy of this country. ["Question!"]


The hon. Member is now discussing Resolutions which are not before the House.


bowed to the decision of the Chair, and wished only to submit, in self-defence, that the first two Resolutions, far from expressing a mere truism, were well worth debating for several nights.


said, the House was very anxious to know what the right hon. Member for Greenwich meant; and notwithstanding the difficulty in which the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan) might be placed by having to make up his mind again for himself, the House, he thought, would act only rationally in listening now to what the right hon. Gentleman had to say as to the course he meant to take.


Sir, I am afraid I must ask the indulgence of the House in answering this question. I cannot answer it without explaining some matters which I think it absolutely neces- sary should be explained, in order to enable the House to understand the position in which I am placed. I shall, therefore, say at once all that I have to say which has relation to the form of my Motion. Now, Sir, I heard in the early part of the Session, on a great variety of occasions, not only from the hon. Member for Mid-Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin), but also from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a very great anxiety expressed that hon. Gentlemen in Opposition—and I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman must have alluded, and, indeed, on some occasions he directly referred to me—that hon. Gentlemen in Opposition who had taken a prominent part outside these walls with respect to the Eastern Question should make their proposals inside these walls. They were told that if they had elsewhere recommended a Vote of Censure on the Government, they ought to move such a Vote in this House; or if they had advocated an alteration of policy, they ought to propose the alteration here; and if they did so, Government would willingly and gladly promote a free discussion of their proposals. I might support at great length, by quotations from the speeches of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the statement I have just made; but I would rather rely on his belief that what I have said is an accurate résumé, in substance, of what fell from him on many occasions. Well, Sir, I felt it was impossible for us, without the risk of damage to the public interests—impossible, I would say, for me as an individual and an independent Member of Parliament, without the risk of damage to the public interests and without violating those rules of public duty and service which old Servants of the Crown are especially bound to observe—to raise any questions in either of the suggested forms so long as Her Majesty's Government were engaged in negotiations which were ostensibly carried on in concert with the other Powers of Europe. Therefore, I heartily concurred in the proceeding of my noble Friend the Leader of the Opposition when he postponed for ever so many weeks—I will say so many weary weeks—any discussion upon this question which could involve a change of general policy on the ground of possible detriment to the public interest. When these negotiations had come to a close, we arrived at a period like that which appeared to be described by Lord Clarendon in March, 1854, of drifting into war; that is to say, the active efforts of the Powers were at an end, and, at the same time, war could not be said to have absolutely begun. It then appeared to me that the time had come when I, who had taken an active part in the proceedings out-of-doors, might fairly be challenged by the hon. Member for Mid-Lincolnshire, by the Government, or by anybody else, to bring this matter in some way or other under the judgment of the House and to sustain the propositions which I have sustained elsewhere. The hon. Member for Mid-Lincolnshire is under an entire mistake when he supposes that in the course of the Recess I have proposed the removal of the Government, or Parliamentary proceedings against the Government. The furthest point to which I went was to declare that it seemed to me necessary in the public interest for the Government to alter its course, to modify and amend the policy which it had adopted. When, after the despatch of Lord Derby in the end of September, after the mission of Lord Salisbury to Constantinople, it appeared to us out-of-doors that some such modification had occurred, then, until the meeting of Parliament, I remained, if I may so say, provisionally contented with what was going on. But it has been plain to me since that new circumstances have arisen—that the position of things is not now as it was when Lord Salisbury went to Constantinople —that new matters have come upon the scene; and therefore I could not conceal from myself that in my own opinion arguments which had been urged in the Autumn for further declarations and further steps on the part of the Government were still valid, and it was still a matter of duty incumbent upon me to bring the question before the House. In consequence I considered with myself in what mode I could best submit these matters to the consideration of the House. My object is not, and never has been, to obtain or ask for a Party advantage against the Government. [Laughter, and "Hear, hear!"] Well, Sir, I understand the class of mind from which a sneer of that description would proceed; but even Gentlemen with that class of mind will recollect that the first time I opened my mouth in this House upon the Eastern Question was strongly and explicitly to commend the Government when their conduct was supposed to be impugned for the course I then believed they had taken with regard to the Andrassy Note, and that for six months after that commendation I remained absolutely silent, unwilling to proceed to cavil or to comment upon the grounds which were before me as to their policy. I cannot pretend to speak as a supporter of the Government who thinks that their conduct in this matter has been laudable or beneficial to the country. My opinion, unfortunately, is the exact reverse; but it was not my object to gain an advantage over the Government any more than to give an advantage to the Government; but my object was, if possible, to do something for the vast interests that are involved in the question. That was my sole object, and it is my sole object now, and for that reason I determined to place my proposal before the House in that form in which it would be most easy for the Government, and most easy for anybody else in this House to say—"We object to parts of your proposal, but there are other parts of your proposal which we do not think objectionable; we will march with you thus far, though we cannot march any further." It appeared to me to be of the utmost importance that there should be, if possible, some union of sentiment upon the subject. I at least wished to do all that was in my power to prevent the question falling into the category of Party questions; and I therefore proposed these Resolutions. They were a whole in my own mind; I could not propose the first without necessarily going to the second, third, and fourth, and to the fifth as a mode of combining them together; but, while I looked upon the entire argument as one, while I believe I am correct in saying that on great subjects such as this it has been the usual method instead of moving an Address on the entire subject-matter, which I could hardly have done in point of form, I put the different parts of the subject in separate Resolutions for the convenience of the House. It appeared that this course was recommended by the most obvious considerations—I do not say of Party advantage or disadvantage. I do not know whether there was the one or the other, but by the most obvious considerations of public policy. I own I had the hope with which I am taunted by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War, and which he seems to have thought it a sin for me to entertain; and, while he taunts me with that hope, he assumes that the terms of the Resolutions with regard to which I entertained it are worth nothing; yet, at the same time, I intended nothing in the nature of an indictment against the Government in my proceeding. Little does the right hon. Gentleman know of the motives that have governed my mind. Himself au honourable and high-minded man, I am truly sorry he is not ready to give some credit to others for being actuated by motives such as those which would prompt him in similar circumstances. In my Resolutions I divided as carefully as I could the several portions of my subject, and I said to myself —"Surely it is hardly possible that the Government will object to allow this House to express, in terms which I think much more suitable than those which they advised Her Majesty to use, but at the same time in terms analogous in their effect, what the House thinks of the conduct of the Government of Turkey in respect to the despatch of the 21st of September." I then went on, it appeared to me, in logical order and in a practical and consistent manner, in the next step, to the establishment of what I venture to think the ineffaceable guilt of the Ottoman Government with respect to the Bulgarian revolt, and I proposed to ask the House to say that neither the moral nor the material support of England ought to be afforded to the Porte; and I had some hope that the Government might be induced to go so far as to say that in the circumstances it was expedient that this great Christian country should make a declaration to that effect. The right hon. Gentleman says he distinguishes between the operative parts of these Resolutions and the inoperative parts; but, in my own opinion, the first and the second Resolutions are highly inoperative. It is quite true that in my own mind they are introductory to the third and fourth; but it is also true that in my own mind they are in themselves most important, most pregnant propositions, to establish which would relieve the mind of the country if it were the pleasure of Her Majesty's Government and of the House to sustain them. With regard to the third Resolution, I know of no reason why it should not be adopted by Her Majesty's Government. I did not in the third Resolution push to its fullest extent the precise policy I myself recommend; I have taken the phrase "practical self-government," because I found it in the despatch of Lord Salisbury, No. 167, page 216, of the second Blue Book presented in February, and because substantially it appeared to me to comprise all that was requisite. Then I placed the word "exacting" in the fourth Resolution, because, whether we use the word "exacting" or "obtaining," I meant to express the opinion I fully entertain, that the united authority of Europe ought to require from the Porte the adoption of those measures which are necessary for peace and justice. But I could not conceal from myself, even in the framing of these Resolutions, that there are many hon. Gentlemen in this House who might be disposed to entertain the earlier Resolutions who would not be disposed to entertain the later Resolutions; and certainly my hope was and my intention was to obtain the judgment of the House, as far as I asked it at all, in the most favourable form and the most favourable manner I could. I therefore intended—if I may describe my intentions when so much is said with regard to motives—when I gave Notice of the Resolutions, to proceed with them in the full expectation that we were to have what is called a fair stand-up fight. It may be wrong on my part; but I own I cannot express the surprise with which I found that it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government, after the invitation they had given to us, and given I may say to me, to make a proposal of 'our policy — after the manner in which my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney had been compelled, as far as compulsion could be brought to bear, to divide the House against his will, when he had proposed something of a policy upon this subject—I was perfectly astonished when I found on Friday evening last that Her Majesty's Government, by whom we were invited to discuss it, and who, therefore, as I conceive, had promised a free, large, and full discussion, intended to support the Motion for the Previous Question, the effect of which, if carried, was to shut out all Amendment; for of course, if the Previous Question was adopted upon the first Resolution, that would à fortiori imply that the House would not be in the slightest degree disposed to proceed with the other Resolutions. In that state of things I considered with myself what I should do, without communicating with my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock) or anybody else; and it appeared to me, undoubtedly, that in all probability my best policy would be to take a division on the first, and to state that although I regarded all the Resolutions as perfectly distinct, yet as I had, in homely phrase, put my best foot foremost, as the first Resolution was most likely to conciliate support, I had in my own mind considered the matter, and certainly I thought, both in point of usage and policy, I should be perfectly justified in refraining from taking the sense of the House upon the other Resolutions. It may be properly pointed out that there is an intermediate course—that I might have asked to have the Resolutions put from the Chair, and might have had them negatived; but I remember the case of my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, that upon him it was endeavoured apparently, as far as we were able to judge, to put in force a practice which one of your Predecessors, Sir, declared irregular and un-Parliamentary—namely, that of what is termed forcing a division. I determined not to expose myself to that risk, and I therefore felt I should be perfectly justified, having submitted a proposal, as being in my own mind a whole, in a series of propositions which hon. Members are entitled to separate and treat, if they think fit, as absolutely independent of one another, in concluding that I should not go forward with the other Resolutions. Then, I found to my great satisfaction that if I did not move my later Resolutions my liberty of stating my plan as a whole remained to me, and that if I did not propose those later Resolutions so as to commit others to their support, which I have not the least desire to do, although committed to them myself, I should have the advantage of meeting the views of my noble Friend and others who sit around him. The hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan), who generally speaks with ability, good sense, and proper feeling, seems to me to treat the question as if my desire to find myself in union with my noble Friend, my old Colleague, and my present Leader, was a sinful desire. I was, however, delighted to find that, partly on the conditions I have described, which are entirely acceptable to me, and partly on the condition of the alteration of the second Resolution, my noble Friend thought it in his power to give a cordial support to these two Resolutions. Sir, I can go a great deal further, and I will say that I am not unable to distinguish between all I should like to have and the amount of support I can get. I say that if it were possible to induce hon. Gentlemen opposite to concur in any kind of Resolutions which would have the effect of clearing up the apparently ambiguous and even dangerous position in which we stand—if that were done in any way they could devise, nothing would give me more pleasure than to meet them. Therefore, desiring to meet them in an amicable frame of mind, and having always in view not the question of benefit to us, or damage to them, but that of advancing these enormous interests which are in some degree placed in our charge, it seemed to me that I could not possibly hesitate to make known to my noble Friend that which was in my own mind, and which I felt would relieve him from every kind of responsibility as to the last three Resolutions, however much I may be attached to them. I hope I have in some degree explained the course I intend to adopt. With regard to the alteration in the second Resolution, I have said I did not think myself justified in moving any alteration whatever, but I should be most ready to assent to the alteration of my hon. Friend. I have no hesitation in going a little further and saying that, though the alteration of my hon. Friend makes the Resolution less complete as a declaration of policy, yet to me, who take what very roughly and popularly speaking may be called the anti-Turkish side, his form of the Resolution is, if possible, more satisfactory to me than my own or any other form. How then could I hesitate, in the circumstances that I have described, as to the course I should adopt? I never heard of any principle, either of prudence or Parliamentary usage, which prescribed that anyone proposing a series of Resolutions on a great subject was bound to have each and all of those Resolutions severally put from the Chair; and having before me the fear of what are called "forced divisions," I must own that it cer- tainly appeared very imprudent on my part to allow myself to be passed through the Candine forks, by leaving it in the power of any hon. Gentleman opposite to throw discredit on them by opposing the withdrawal of the latter Resolutions. I decline altogether to recognize the distinction which has been drawn between the operative and inoperative Resolutions. Logically and morally, as they are connected in my mind, I maintain, the first two Resolutions of themselves embody the most important declarations; and an immense gain would be obtained if it were possible to induce the Government to accede to them. The right hon. Gentleman now represents them as of no value or importance whatever; but if they are as he says, and if they do not contain mischief and poison—why will not the right hon. Gentleman opposite concur with this side of the House in obtaining the united declaration of the House of Commons on this subject. [Loud cheers.] I hear what I believe to be sincere cheers from the other side with the greatest pleasure; and I assure hon. Gentlemen opposite there is no sacrifice I would not make, so far as merely personal feelings and conditions are concerned, in order to obtain that which I desire. I want to relieve my country from what I think a most serious risk of danger, guilt, and dishonour; and in these circumstances I should be the basest of men if I did not endeavour to be guided, in every point that is to be decided, by the consideration in what way I could most effectually take steps towards it. That is the whole case; and so far as I am personally concerned I think I have made a perfectly clean breast of it. The Resolutions, as I have said, are morally and logically one, yet for Parliamentary purposes they are distinct and separate propositions. I felt the concession from me about the second Resolution was one which it was impossible reasonably to decline; at the same time, as stated by my noble Friend, if hon. Gentlemen felt that the alteration I had expressed my willingness to adopt required and entailed the necessity of further consideration, I could not possibly object to that. I think I have answered the questions which have been put to me. Before sitting down I may say—and it is right I should say—that I was so astonished to hear the an- nouncement of the Government to employ the Previous Question on Friday that I did not at the moment see what course I ought to adopt; but, taking a little time to consider, I did come down to the House at a later hour for the purpose of reviving the subject, which appeared quite necessary for me to do. I found, however, that I was prevented doing so by the accident of a count-out, which will happen from time to time, notwithstanding the best arrangements of the Government to keep a House. That alone prevented me from asking for an explanation or saying a word on the subject, and no alternative was left but the course I have now pursued.


said, he regretted that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had not taken the opportunity of the Motion for the Adjournment of the Debate for clearing away much of the doubt and difficulty that surrounded the present position. He did not wish to give any offence; but it appeared to him that some arrangement had been come to between the hon. Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich. Now, they knew nothing of that; but he understood the hon. Member for Maidstone to say that he intended to withdraw his Motion if the right hon. Gentleman would withdraw the third and fourth Resolutions. The House had not yet been told whether the right hon. Gentleman intended to do that or whether he intended to argue and to take the sense of the House upon them. He (Mr. Pell) thought such a course of procedure was hardly fair to the hon. Member who had withdrawn his Motion of the Previous Question, that the matter should be left in that state of uncertainty. He would, therefore, ask the hon. Member, whether he intended to support the demand that the right hon. Gentleman should state clearly whether he intended to divide the House upon the third and fourth portions of his Resolutions if the opportunity were afforded him?


said, that as the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Pell) had referred to him he would ask the permission of the House to say a few words. In the course he had taken he trusted the House would believe he had acted in deference to the views of many whose advice he could not disregard.

It was, moreover, in his own judgment, that which was most calculated to promote the maintenance of peace and the true interests of the country; although he was sorry to differ from some few of his hon. Friends near him. His course had been perfectly clear. As soon as he heard that the right hon. Gentleman intended to modify the Resolutions in the manner now announced, his (Sir John Lubbock's) objections to them ceased. No doubt a number of meetings had been held throughout the country in support of these Resolutions; but it could not have escaped attention that these Resolutions had been supported at the various meetings on very different grounds, some speakers having thought they meant coercion of Turkey by war, and others that they meant neutrality. Their wording, however, in his opinion, pointed to war. But as the matter now stood, the case was very different. The right hon. Gentleman had accepted a modification of the second Resolution which entirely met their objections, and while advocating the general policy indicated in the third and fourth, he would not propose them formally. But it was one thing to support the general tenour of Resolutions, another thing to ask the House to pass them as formal and binding instructions to Government, irrespective of what circumstances might arise. The hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan) had said that the Amendment which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had accepted in the second Resolution had reduced it to a truism. Well, but then, if that were so, what was it before? If the change had made it a truism, then, before the change, it contained a pledge of assistance under certain conditions. But that would have been entirely in opposition to the policy of neutrality advocated at so many meetings. The alteration in the second Resolution which had been accepted by the right hon. Gentleman had entirely changed the character of that Resolution, and made it one of which, for his own part, he could cordially approve. When he was told that the first two Resolutions meant nothing and were unworthy the attention of the House, he must ask himself —"What about those meetings throughout the country, and the resolutions passed at them?" The two Resolutions now before the House seemed to him very clear and very important. They expressed in the strongest possible manner the horror which was felt by this country at the atrocities in Bulgaria, they announced what he believed was the almost unanimous wish of the country—namely, to maintain neutrality. They gave the most solemn possible warning to Turkey; and if Her Majesty's Government would only accept them in the spirit in which they were intended, they would give them the greatest possible assistance in their efforts to give peace, justice, and good government to those afflicted Provinces.


asked the hon. Baronet to explain more clearly what course he intended to pursue, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had not answered the question whether he intended to move the third and fourth Resolutions?


said, it appeared to him that to look at the Resolutions as a general expression of policy was a very different thing from forcing them as binding upon Her Majesty's Government. It was the latter course which to his mind formed the great objection to the Resolutions as they originally stood.


said, the House had been asked to interfere with the regular course of Public Business in order to discuss distinct Resolutions. An appeal had been made by the hon. Members for Hackney, Birmingham, Louth, Exeter, and various other places to obtain a clear understanding whether the right hon. Gentleman did or did not intend to move the third and fourth Resolutions. He also wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he intended to move them?


desired to express his dissent from the remarks made by the hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock), who believed that the Resolutions as they now stood would express the feelings of the meetings which had been held throughout the country. He had attended several of those meetings, and he begged leave to say that the Resolutions in their altered form would not express the feelings of the country. Therefore, the hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone could have no correct knowledge of those feelings.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Question again proposed.


said, that it was due to the House and to the high character of the right hon. Gentleman that he should give a distinct answer to the question whether the third and fourth Resolutions were to be moved or not? To enable the right hon. Gentleman to speak again he begged to move that the House do now adjourn.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Mr. Sampson Lloyd.)


said, it was only fair to the House and to every Member of it, and he must add to the right hon. Gentleman himself, when he was asked to say "Yes," or "No," as to whether he intended to stand by his third and fourth Resolutions, that the right hon. Gentleman should give an answer to that plain and distinct question.


I thought I had answered it before three or four times. My noble Friend is acute enough when he wants to be acute, and I am sorry that I have been unable to convey clearly my intention upon this occasion. I mentioned that I had some days ago, with the Motion for the "Previous Question" on the Paper, made up my mind not to proceed with an attempt to obtain a decision referable to each Resolution for the reasons I have already stated, as being fatal to free discussion; but when I found that by not asking the Speaker to put the third and fourth Resolutions and by accepting an Amendment, to me perfectly acceptable, I should obtain the support of many Gentlemen whose votes were of a value beyond their numerical force, I had no hesitation in making it known that I had no intention of asking you, Sir, to put the Resolutions from the Chair.


said, he also had a question to put. He wished to ask the noble Lord opposite (Lord Elcho) whether he would pledge himself to put his Resolution?


said, he understood that the right hon. Member for Greenwich had determined not to put his third and fourth Resolutions.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

Ordered, That the Orders of the Day be postponed until after the Notice of Motion relating to the Eastern Question.


, in rising to move the first of the Resolutions of which he had given Notice, as follows:— That this House finds just cause of dissatisfaction and complaint in the conduct of the Ottoman Porte with regard to the despatch written by the Earl of Derby on the 21st of September, 1876, and relating to the massacres in Bulgaria, said: I much regret that I should introduce a subject of the greatest importance after discussions which must necessarily have had, I do not say an irritating, but a dissipating, effect upon the mind and attention of the House. Before approaching it, I must deal with one or two preliminary matters.

My hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Macdonald) has spoken of the character of the manifestations which have recently proceeded from the country. I have watched the proceedings and read the declarations and conclusions arrived at steadily and regularly; until to-day, when the number of meetings has entirely overpowered me, for, irrespective of other correspondence, the reports of nearly 100 meetings have reached me since this morning. As a matter of fact, having read all the resolutions passed at the previous meetings, and having oven observed that from day to day their tone became warmer and warmer, I am bound to corroborate the statement of my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford. In a very small number of these popular declarations, neutrality was either mentioned or implied. But I must add, again speaking simply to a matter of fact, though I put no particular construction on it, the reception of the Resolutions now before the House has been singularly different among the authorities that guide public opinion in the Metropolis, and those who address it in the country. Some of the greatest pundits of the Metropolis have been puzzled as to what my Resolutions mean; and I am not sure that there is not a similar doubt and obscurity in the minds of Her Majesty's Government. The people of the country, however, do not appear to have experienced any portion of this difficulty. I am able to say of all the resolutions at meetings held throughout the country, that in more than 19 cases out of 20 their general scope has been in correspondence not merely with the first two of my five Resolutions, but with the whole. It is only fair to admit that I received an account of an adverse meeting held in the great town of Bradford; but it was the adverse meeting, not of the town of Bradford, but of the Executive Committeee of the Conservative Association. I wish to give it its due publicity in order that such weight as it can fairly claim may be given to it. Now, though many of the declarations of opinion have come from Liberal Associations, yet also a large number have come from towns' meetings regularly summoned, and from other public meetings openly convened, largely attended at the very shortest notice, and pervaded by a spirit of enthusiasm equal to that which marked the expression of opinion in September. At one of these towns' meetings—that which was held in Northampton, under the presidency of the Mayor—a gentleman moved a declaration to the effect that it would not be well to interfere with the action of Her Majesty's Government, and not a single person was found to second that motion. There is another town, and that is the town of Christchurch, represented by the hon. Gentleman who is not now in his place (Sir H. Drummond Wolff); he has wisely retired for the refreshment so necessary to us all for renewing the zeal and vigour of the inner man. Well, I am glad to think that the hon. Gentleman who is about to move the Previous Question, if the Notice holds good, is or was entirely at one with me on the substance of this matter. I hold in my hand the report in a Conservative journal of the speech made by him at Christchurch in September, in which he declares positively that the Provinces of Turkey must be liberated; and, as the promises of its Government are worthless, there must be other guarantees. I am glad to see that in the town he represents a public meeting has been recently convened by the Mayor, and a requisition has been made to the hon. Gentleman requesting him to support the Resolutions, the discussion of which he is about to stifle. The hon. Member will tell me if I misrepresent the case.


The right hon. Gentleman is misrepresenting the case. The persons who requested me to support the Resolutions were chiefly persons outside the borough, imported in waggons.


The authentic organ of opinion in a borough is a public meeting convened by the Mayor, and my statement is not weakened by the census the hon. Gentleman has somewhat rapidly taken of the persons attending it, in a manner not, I think, the most complimentary to his constituents.

I now come, Sir, to the main question. These Resolutions would include, undoubtedly, a vital or material alteration of the declared policy of Her Majesty's Government. But my first object, and one of my main objects, is to clear that position of the Government in a most important respect. One of the points which I must endeavour, therefore, to establish is, that that position is at present ambiguous. Am I right in saying that, if this is so, it is desirable that their position should be cleared? I think I can show that I do not overstate the case. I do not propose to move a Vote of Censure on the Government, simply for this reason—that I do not see what public interest would be promoted by my doing it; but I wish to say in the calmest words—yet they cannot be weak words—that I know no chapter in the history of our foreign politics since the Peace of Vienna so deplorable as that of the last 18 months. I speak of that policy generally. Some steps have been taken, especially the mission of Lord Salisbury to Constantinople, which deserved the approval of this House. But that step was immediately met on the part of the promoters of the Autumn movement by their reposing, at least provisionally, their confidence in the Ambassador, and by their abstaining from every step that could weaken his hands. They had to consider the mission in the light of the Guildhall speech. It was difficult to say how far it was modified by that extraordinary speech; but, notwithstanding, confidence in Lord Salisbury's purpose and views was the principle generally adopted, and upon that mission I have not now one word to say of censure, but only of commendation. But while he was at Constantinople there was also another Representative of England there, whose views upon the most vital questions were in direct opposition to those of Lord Salisbury. This utter difference of opinion, as we now know, was known to the Turkish Government, and it counter- acted all along Lord Salisbury's efforts. This, then, is one of the points upon which the positton of the Government is ambiguous and requires to be cleared.

Then, again, with regard to the withdrawal of Sir Henry Elliot from Constantinople at the close of the Conference. The conduct of the Porte had at that time deserved some manifestation of that feeling which it was reasonable for Her Majesty's Government to entertain; and all the other Powers had intelligibly shown their displeasure. But so far from displaying such a sentiment, Her Majesty's Government carefully made it known that the departure of Sir Henry Elliot was no sign of displeasure. Why was that done? It brings into question, if not the sincerity of the Government, yet at the very least their firmness and clearness of purpose. Then, again, why was it that Her Majesty's Government, at the time of the Conference, made a communication to the Porte that the views of the Conference would be words, and words alone, and were not to be enforced either by Her Majesty's Government or with its approval? It is a mild description of that proceeding to say that that rendered the policy and the position of Her Majesty's Government an ambiguous policy and position. You might as well have dismissed the Conference altogether. You might as well have done that which you seem given to do, and, at the outset of the proceedings of that European Parliament, have moved the "Previous Question." The Conference was idle; the Conference became a farce from the moment when Turkey had been informed by England that in no circumstances would she either herself enforce, or recognize the enforcement by others of, the decisions at which the Conference might arrive. Why, Sir, what was the position of the case? England was then the sole obstacle to a policy that would have given reality to the decisions that Lord Salisbury had laboured so gallantly to promote. But, like the power behind the Throne in other days, there was somewhere or other a power behind Lord Salisbury which determined that he should not succeed. And, consequently, at a very early date in the proceedings the Porte was informed on this vital matter. Why was the Porte informed of it? Why was the Porte informed of it then? When was Lord Salisbury made aware of it? Did he know it before he left England? [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: Yes.] Ah! he did? He knew that he was to be allowed to use words, and words alone? Did he know it before Re accepted the mission? My question now is whether, when Lord Salisbury left England, and not only when he left England, but when he accepted the mission and allowed himself to be proclaimed Ambassador, he had been made aware by his Colleagues that the words which he might use, and the decisions at which the Conference might arrive, were to be recommendations simply, and were in no circumstances to be imposed upon the Porte? To that I have no answer. I must answer is for myself. But, whether Lord Salisbury was aware of the intention or not, why was that communication made to the Porte before the proceedings of the Conference? Why was that communication made, which drew forth a lively expression of the gratitude of the Grand Vizier and of the Turkish Government, not to the British Government at large, but to Lord Beaconsfield and Lord Derby? Was the same thing done by other Governments? The Austrian Government, on the contrary, knowing perfectly well with whom they had to deal, had declared that when the decisions of the Conference were arrived at they ought to be imposed upon the Porte by a naval demonstration; and, unless I am much mistaken, it was well known to the Government of Her Majesty that in the opinion of the Government of France the Conference was an idle form if the Porte was to be apprised that force was not to be used with respect to the recommendations of Europe. Therefore, we find Her Majesty's Government, by their unhappy act, playing the evil genius of Europe, and at the most critical moment taking the very step that was certain, in the opinion of the best and most experienced judges, to nullify and frustrate utterly the labours they were ostensibly undertaking. It is a mild description to say that this rendered the position of the Government an ambiguous position.

I am bound to say I think the mission of Mr. Layard has, in its outward aspect, the same effect. I carefully abstain from pronouncing a final judgment upon it. I do not desire to make it a subject of censure. I have known Mr. Layard in two capacities. I have known Mr. Layard when I last held Office under the Crown. I then knew him as the able and zealous Representative of this country at Madrid, discharging his duties in a manner that gave to the late Ministry the most perfect satisfaction. But I cannot altogether set aside my recollections of Mr. Layard in this House, when he was by far the most effective, and by far the furthest-going advocate of the Government of Turkey whom I have ever known to sit on these benches. Consequently, as we find in the Blue Book which was presented to us on Saturday, the appointment of Mr. Layard was again selected as a special subject of thanks by the Turkish Government, and it was acknowledged in a peculiar and very appropriate phrase to be on the part of the Government of Her Majesty, inasmuch as they knew his friendly sentiments towards Turkey, a "delicate attention." A "delicate attention" to that Government which has made itself responsible in full from first to last for the massacres of Bulgaria, and whose fixed intention it is that on the first similar occasion similar massacres should be again perpetrated. "Delicate attentions" to that Government from the Government of Her Majesty are matters which, if not wrong in themselves, at least require some elucidation to show that their position with regard to the crimes of that Government is not an ambiguous position.

Again, Sir, it will be remembered that a despatch was produced to us in the month of May last year, in which it was stated that Her Majesty's Government felt that Turkey was only to depend upon their moral support. Now my second Resolution, which is regarded by the Secretary for War as of so neutral and inoperative a character, carefully states that Turkey has lost all claim to either the material or the moral support of Great Britain. The lines between material and moral support are not always easily drawn. What kind of support did Her Majesty's Government give to Turkey last year when, having sent a squadron to Besika Bay to protect Christian life, they afterwards converted that squadron into a powerful fleet for some other unacknowledged purpose? What kind of support, I say, was the support then given to Turkey? Her Majesty's Government, as far as my knowledge goes, have never disclaimed this ill-omened phrase "moral support." I do not want to pin them to it—God forbid! I wish with all my soul that they may disclaim it; but I wish also to point out that, as far as I know, it has not yet been disclaimed.

What may not be done under the name of "moral support?" Why, almost as much as may be done under the name of "British interests." We sent that fleet to Besika Bay, or, at least, we made that squadron into a fleet when it was in Besika Bay; and what was the effect of the presence of that fleet? I say, without the least hesitation, it was to overawe the Provinces of Turkey bordering on the Archipelago and the Kingdom of free Greece, and to prevent any movement which might have been made in sympathy with the Slav Provinces. And, therefore, although without lifting a hand, it was material as well as moral support that was supplied to Turkey under the name of moral support, for it prevented from pouring into the field those who would have added to the force of Turkey's rebellious subjects.

I venture to say there is a greater ambiguity still, and a more prolific source of it, than those to which I have already referred; it is to be found in the conflicting declarations of the Members of Her Majesty's Government. Having recognized the mission of Lord Salisbury as a kind of point of junction at which we, who had taken part in the popular movement, were able to bring ourselves into a sort of union with Her Majesty's Government, I will go back to nothing in the conduct of the Government which preceded that mission, and thereby I shall get rid of a great deal of awkward matter spoken at Aylesbury and elsewhere. I will not draw a comparison between those speeches, and other speeches which gave some public satisfaction, and tended greatly to arrest the movement which was in progress in the country. I take only what has happened in England since the despatch of September 21 to the Conference at Constantinople. I am bound to say I cannot do otherwise than recognize the most distinct retrogression in the policy of Her Majesty's Government since the closing of the Conference. I also find contradictions which I at least am wholly unable to reconcile in the declarations of the Government. I take first one declaration, which I think ought to be borne in mind, though I do not dwell upon it, because I do not wish to make it a matter of controversy. There was a declaration by Sir Henry Elliot that it did not signify, so far as the main question was concerned, what number of Bulgarians were massacred, because the thing essential for us to do was to maintain our vital interests in the Ottoman Empire. Lord Derby very properly rebuked and repudiated that declaration in his despatch of the 21st of September; where, after describing the outrages which had occurred, and the countenance given to them, he said that no interests whatever could possibly justify acquiescence in the continuance of such a system. That was a sharp antagonism between Minister and Ambassador. But I want to know which of these two conflicting authorities is to come uppermost in the long run. No doubt the authority of Lord Derby is the greater. I am certain that what he wrote he wrote with sincerity. But if I am to look at the tone and tenor of the declarations of the Government for the last two or three months, I am sorry to say that they seem to me to be relapsing into a position in which the outrages inflicted by the Government of Turkey are to be contemplated as matters of sentimental regret, and for idle and verbal expostulations; but in which action is to be determined by whatever we may choose to think to be British interests. That is to say, that our opinion of what we think best for ourselves is, after all, to be, in substance, our measure of right and wrong all over the world. I want to know whether that contradiction subsists, or whether we still have to learn that there is to be no toleration for iniquity, and that no continuance of material or of moral support is to be given to a Government which is so deeply dyed with the guilt of these outrages.

Next I come to a declaration of Lord Carnarvon. There is not a single utterance which has proceeded from the mouth of any Member of Her Majesty's Government that served the purposes of the Government better at the time than this manly speech of Lord Carnarvon. What did he say? I will not quote him at length, but he said— He did not disagree, if he rightly understood it, with the public feeling and opinion, because it had been somewhat loudly expressed, and because here and there there might have been some exaggerations. He thought, on the contrary, it was a credit to the country. He rejoiced that there was neither delay nor hesitation in the expression of that feeling, and, so far from weakening the hands of the Government, he believed that, if rightly understood at home and abroad, nothing could more strengthen the hands of his noble Friend the Foreign Secretary than the burst of indignation which had just gone through the length and breadth of the land. That was the declaration of Lord Carnarvon. No contradiction to it was given by any Member of the Government at the time. But what has been done lately? The noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in a place which I need not name—his words, wherever they may be spoken, are too important not to excite attention—described the sentiment of the British people, manifested last Autumn, as a "got-up" sentiment—we know what is contained in these words—and expressed it to be his opinion that the effect of it had been mischievous. He thus spoke in direct contradiction of that declaration of Lord Carnarvon; for which, when I just now read it, I was sorry to observe there was not, from the other side of the House, a solitary cheer. On the first night of the Session, when this retrogression of which I complain had hardly began to develop itself, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a declaration on the subject of the Turkish Constitution, which I heard with the greatest pleasure, but for which he was, I think, severely rebuked by some of the organs of the Turkish Government in the London Press. He earned the rebuke by speaking, as he did speak, the language of good sense about the Turkish Constitution, which he described as a thing in which no sensible man could place the slightest reliance. In doing that he did not go beyond, but remained completely within, the shadow of that most masterly Paper in which Lord Salisbury—as may be seen from the Blue Book—had torn the Turkish Constitution into rags, and held it up to the contempt and derision of mankind. It is, indeed, a device—first and foremost, to delude Western Europe by a show of freedom, and, secondly, to organize, and thereby strengthen the oppressive force which bears down the subject-races.

But is that the tone now? Read the despatch of Lord Derby to Prince Gortchakoff, which we have received to-day. All is changed. You will find that there Her Majesty's Government says plainly that Turkey should be allowed time to reform herself, and that it is not reasonable to abandon the hope of complete and satisfactory relief to the subjects of the Porte, inasmuch as Turkey has promised that reform. But I will quote one more, as it appears to me, a clear and distinct contradiction. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer told us on a former and not very late occasion that it was a very great hardship to Turkey that she should be complained of for not reforming herself when a war cloud was hanging over her. He said it was a time when it was almost impossible to apply moral pressure to her; and he went on to explain that, in his view, the presence of a Russian army on her frontier made her position one of great difficulty, by appealing to those principles of honour which are supposed to be so highly refined and polished in the Turkish mind. My right hon. Friend distinctly pointed to the Russian armaments as having been an obstacle in the way of the Conference at Constantinople, and as having cut off the hopes of its success; but in saying that he is in direct and diametrical contradiction to Lord Salisbury. Lord Salisbury has publicly declared, and his words cannot be subjected to question, that the Russian armament, on the contrary, constituted the hope of the Conference. I will not trouble the House with lengthened quotations; but Lord Salisbury in substance said that he knew very well that mere words were useless; nay, worse than useless, because delusive, and that it was to the Russian armaments, and the consequent danger to Turkey, and the power of pointing out that danger before her eyes, that the Representatives of the other Powers at the Conference attached their whole hope of inducing Turkey to acquiesce in their conclusions. Even with that advantage, acquiesce she would not. Thus, again, we have important Members of the Government making statements which entirely contradict one another on vital points of the case. And now, this very day, we have the despatch to Prince Gortchakoff, justly hailed with delight by the so- called friends of Turkey. I am not surprised at it, for there is no mistaking the tone of that despatch. In its tone and its tendency it is redolent all through of moral support, it is charged with moral support, and, unless the Government thinks fit to give us some explanation of it which will relieve our minds, we challenge them in this House tonight to have it declared authoritatively whether Turkey has, or has not, lost all claim to our moral as well as our material support.

The House will well recollect the whole line of argument which was pursued by the Government both for some time before and also during the sittings of the Conference. It had become as clear as possible that Turkey had at all times been a country fertile beyond any other in promises. No man knew that better than the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department, when he aptly compared her promises to inconvertible paper, and said that we must have sterling metal. Necessary guarantees, something beyond mere promises, adequate securities, consisting in something beyond and above the engagements or ostensible proceedings of the Turkish Government constituted indeed the pith of the extracts which were read by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the first night of the Session from the Instructions to Lord Salisbury. Well, what has now become of those necessary guarantees? They are all gone to the winds. We are told in the despatch published this morning that we are to found our hopes on the fact that the Porte has promised certain things, and that as it has promised we cannot be sure that it will not perform. This is the vital point; it lies at the root of the whole matter. We are now told to rely on those promises. But, for my own part, I would repeat what I said on a former occasion, when we were trying remonstrance after remonstrance, and protestation after protestation. Those protestations, and those remonstrances, and those representations which have been lavished in such redundance on the Porte by Her Majesty's Government, are all very well up to a certain point; up to the point at which there remains some semblance of a reasonable hope that they may possibly attain their end. But it is not so, when we have found by long and wide experience that they produce no substantial result whatever. It was not thus always; for in the time of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, a man of masterly ability, of iron will, and of a character which did not admit of his being trifled with, something was done in a few points by the Porte, and some improvements, on certain points, were effected in the condition of its people. But during all these later years, the case has not stood so well. With regard to remonstrances made in the time of the late Government, they were not very numerous, for no great crisis occurred in Turkey, and the matters reported were, I believe, comparatively rare. Recently the case has been different. With regard to those remonstrances, which, since the rebellion in her Provinces, have become much more numerous, our experience has been so unbroken and unvarying that the man who persists in a system of mere remonstrances and mere expostulations, really seems to convict himself, either of insincerity, which is not for a moment to be imputed here, or of a total incapacity to understand the affairs with which he has to deal.

I have spoken, then, of contrariety in the declarations of Members of the Government, and of the extremely ambiguous position in which it stands with respect to this question. I think we are entitled to ask that all this ambiguity may be cleared away, and that we may be permitted to know whether after all that has happened we are still to rely on Turkish propositions, and still to afford to the Sultan a moral support. Going outside the Government, I now come to the language of its adherents in the Press and in the country. There never has been a time when I have heard so much of direct communications between the Government and the Metropolitan Press as within the last 18 months; and my belief is that at no time has it been so constant and unfailing. What the tone of the prints is which are supposed to enjoy the privilege of these communications, every one who hears me is aware. I do not hesitate to say that the language which is held among the supporters of the Government in the society of London, and by that portion of the Press which has taken what I may call the Turkish side of this matter—I say which is called the Turkish side, because I believe those of whom I am speaking, and who suppose that they are acting a friendly part towards Turkey, are all the time driving her on to utter ruin— is language, the purpose of which, distinct and unconcealed, is to prepare the public mind for war. And for what war? Not for war under the name of war on the side of Turkey, but for a war to be undertaken under some shadowy pretext of a British interest. Now, what are British interests? and for what purpose is that phrase brought into incessant use? The phrase itself is the most elastic in the world. Consider the position of this Empire. Consider how from this little Island we have stretched out our arms into every portion of the world. Consider how we have conquered, planted, annexed, and appropriated at all the points of the compass, so that at few points on the surface of the earth is there not some region or some spot of British dominion near at hand. Nor even from these few points are we absent. Consider how our commerce finds its way into every port which a ship can enter. And then I ask you what quarrel can ever arise between any two countries, or what war, in which you may not, if you be so minded, set up British interests as a ground of interference. That is the case of India in particular. We go to the other end of the world as a company of merchants; we develop the arts and arms of conquerors; we rule over a vast space of territory containing 200,000,000 people, and what do we say next? We lay a virtual claim to a veto upon all the political arrangements of all the countries and seas which can possibly constitute any one of the routes between England and the East, between two extremities, or nearly such, of the world. We say to one State—You must do nothing in the Black Sea at Batoum, because Batoum and Erzeroum may one day become a route to the East. We say—You must do nothing in Syria or Bagdad, because we may finally discover the Valley of the Euphrates to be the best route to the East. The Suez Canal was made for the benefit of the world; but it is thought by some of these pretenders that we, who almost furiously opposed the digging of it, have rights there which are quite distinct in kind from those of the rest of the world, and that we are entitled to assert our mastery without regard to the interests of other portions of mankind. Then there is the route by the Cape of Good Hope. It happens, however, that at the Cape no one annexes but ourselves. Nay, it appears from news no older than to-day, that we are so stinted in our possessions that it is expedient to make large additions to our territory there; and to make them exactly by those menaces of force which Ministers think so intolerable in the case of Turkey. And then you know, Mr. Speaker, that any additions to our territory are always perfectly innocent. Sometimes they may be made not without bloodshed; sometimes they are made not without a threat of bloodshed. But that is not our fault; it is only due to the stupidity of those people who cannot perceive the wisdom of coming under our sceptre. We are endowed with a superiority of character, a noble unselfishness, an inflexible integrity which the other nations of the world are too slow to recognize; and they are stupid enough to think that we—superior beings that we are—are to be bound by the same vulgar rules that might be justly applicable to the ordinary sons of Adam. Now I do not hesitate to say that, in the particular case of the Eastern Question, nothing is wanted but right conduct on the part of the Government to give the greatest dignity, as well as the greatest security, to the position of this country. We have improperly allowed the vindication of the great cause in the East to pass into the hands of a single Power. It is true that, by the mouth of Lord Derby, the nation has been made to speak that which by its own mouth it does not, and would not, speak at all. He has rebuked a single Power, and has cast upon that single Power the responsibility of consequences, because it has made itself the organ of the collective will, the united judgment, and the solemn conclusions of Europe. That is the course which we have taken, and that is a dangerous course. We ought to view with regret and misgiving anything that puts a single Power in a position to take such a charge upon herself, and most of all in the case of a Power like Russia, which, as a neighbouring Power, has special temptations in matters of this kind. Such a Power as Russia, and, I must add, such a Power as Austria, has of necessity special temptations in this case; and it can never be satisfactory to me to see the subject settled either by Russia, or by Austria, or by Russia with Austria. But the question remains—How are these terrible evils, which afflict Turkey and disgrace Europe, to be met? Are they to be met by remonstrances and expostulations only? The answer echoed back from the Ministerial benches is—"By remonstrances and expostulations only." Now that, I believe, human nature, the conscience of mankind, and the civilization of the nineteenth century, will no longer bear. If you are not prepared to carry further that united action of Europe in which you seemed to engage, but which you defeated by your ill-judged proceedings, you must expect to see it pass into the hands of others, and your remonstrances and your cavils at others will not be appreciated by the general sentiment of the world until you are able to show that you are yourselves ready to enter into some honourable combination for the purpose of applying an effectual remedy to the evil.

Now, Sir, I pass from this general argument to the first Resolution, and to Lord Derby's despatch. That despatch involved one of two things. It was either a declaration that ought to have been followed up, or else it was a gross and unwarrantable insult to Turkey. There is no escape from the dilemma. You have no right to go about flinging those violent words in the face of any Power, unless that Power has made itself a criminal before Europe; and if that Power is to have your moral support, you have certainly no right to use such language. You were bound either to tear that despatch into shreds, or to go further in your own vindication. The language of that despatch was as strong as the language used at any of the meetings held last Autumn. In substance, it demanded reparation for the past and security for the future. I have read carefully to-day Mr. Baring's Report on the Bulgarian massacres. Remember it is now 12 months since those Bulgarian massacres occurred. What has been the position of the Turkish Government in relation to this question? Those massacres occurred in May, but it was three months afterwards before the first intimation reached the other Governments. What had the Turkish Government done during those three months? They had simply been engaged in wholesale imprisonment of Bulgarians in foul and loathsome dens, in bringing them to trial, and in directing scores of executions. That was the view of the Turkish Government with regard to the massacres; and they have not, even at this date, attained to a right conception of the ideas of Europe upon these most guilty transactions, and upon their own complicity in them. Lord Derby demanded that the authors of the massacres should be punished; and this, and the demand for reparation, were the main points of the despatch. We are now in the month of May. Let us see what has been done. Mr. Baring tells us that very great progress has been made in rebuilding the villages—with the forced labour of the people themselves—that many of the women and girls have been returned, and that a few of the cattle have been recovered. These are the substantive results of the despatch. These things have, however, nothing to do with the policy of the massacres, nor do they touch in the slightest degree our principal demands. But what has happened as to the punishment of the offenders and the reward of well-doers? I must go, however briefly, over these particulars of the conduct of the Turkish Government, because it forms the ground for the first two Resolutions which I ask the House to adopt. The despatch of Lord Derby has been, in the main points, treated with contempt. I do not discuss the prudence of that despatch—I hold it to be, in various points, far from prudent —but has the conduct of the guilty persons been approved and rewarded by the Turkish Government, or have they been marked out for condign punishment, as Lord Derby, speaking for the Queen, demanded? Shefket Pasha, Toussoon Pasha, and Achmet Aga have not been executed. One of them was not tried; one tried and acquitted; one tried and condemned, but his sentence was not executed. It is an absolute mockery to which we have submitted. I believe I may say that not one considerable man has had any sentence whatever executed against him. One or two nameless and insignificant individuals have been put to death, whether on account of these massacres does not very clearly appear; but the chief agents have escaped with perfect impunity, and decorations and rewards have been given to many of them. And, finally, of those good Mohamedans, who at the hazard of their lives interfered in the interests of humanity and justice, every one has been either punished by dismissal, or else remains to this hour unrewarded.

In the first place, there is everything short of absolute proof that these massacres were originally designed? If they were not, why were the Bashi Bazouks employed for their suppression? Yet I do not mean to imply that the employment of the Regulars would have afforded a security against outrage. On the contrary, they committed on many occasions gross cruelty and outrage. Yet they were, on the whole, far behind the incredible fury and wickedness of the Bashi Bazouks. Again, why were the Mussulman population armed? There is no sufficient answer. There was war. Yes, but the war did not occur for two months after. There was a rebellion in the small province of Herzegovina. But there were Turkish troops there to deal with the rebellion. It was a wanton and wilful act on the part of Turkey to arm those irregular troops. The extraordinary excuse you find in some passages of those Blue Books is, that there were Russian agents who suggested it to the Turks in order to cause the massacres that ensued. There is no proof, I know, of such a suggestion: still such is the allegation. But even if that were the case, does that diminish the guilt of the Turk? Not by a single hair's-breadth. I admit that the question is wrapped in mystery, and that we can only judge of facts: but this we know—that after the massacres, and when the Turkish Government was well informed of them, they proceeded not to punish the perpetrators, but to imprison and hang more Bulgarians; and that when a stir began to be made in Europe, illusory inquiries were set on foot, and that from these inquiries there proceeded reports which it is idle to describe except in plain words as lying reports. They are described as lying reports by the Consul of the United States; and in language exactly equivalent, though rather more civil, by Mr. Baring and Sir Henry Elliot, as, I think, utterly untrustworthy reports. When the stir was made in this country and elsewhere, which Lord Derby says was got up, and did so much mischief, he wrote the despatch to which I have referred, and he now deplores the agitation which led him to write it. Well, what was done? A Commission was appointed with much solemn form; but care was taken to pack that Commission, partly at the time and partly later on, with men considered safe. So, that while one or two good men were members of it, they should be always in a minority. The result is that, instead of affording redress, it has added infinitely to the disgrace of Turkey: by its delays, by violence, by obstruction, by intimidation, by what it has done, and by what it has not done; finally, by those acquittals which caused at last Mr. Baring's indignant withdrawal from a scene where he did not wish or could not bear longer to witness a prostitution of justice. Well, we know what has been done as to Shefket Pasha and the rest. Why is it that the offenders named in the Papers laid before us remain unpunished? It is because these miscreants possessed instructions to act as they did from persons still higher in the Ottoman Government. These persons in high places, it is now too plain, directed these outrages, for which a show was made in some instances of trying the perpetrators, and in other instances apologies were made for failure to apprehend them. Every portion of the conduct of Turkey in regard to these massacres possesses a dramatic unity and integrity. I make bold, without asking the House to hear the repetition of the numerous details, to say that I have myself demonstrated it, in a tract now before the world, and founded on the highest evidence. Follow it out. Examine it carefully. Everything comes home to the door of the Porte itself. Even if Shefket Pasha had been punished, why should the tool only be punished, and not also the hand that used it? And yet not only is not that the case, but we find Abdul Kerim, the man who gave him the instruction, appointed to the highest command of the Turkish Army now massed on the Danube. It seems almost idle to argue in the face of the evidence we have in reference to these cases; and the Blue Book just placed in our hands has added new horrors to those with which we were before but too abundantly supplied. It will be remembered that, as a refinement of wickedness unknown anywhere else in the world, Consul Schuyler charged upon Selim Effendi, who was employed in these inquiries, that he tortured prisoners in prison to compel them to give evidence of such a kind as suited his purpose. Selim Effendi ad- dressed a letter to me, as I had referred to the charge, and said that it was very hard upon him to be made the subject of such an accusation, that all the proceedings in the Court were perfectly open, and that nothing of the kind could have, or had occurred. But the charge was not as to what had occurred in the Court; it related to what had occurred secretly in prison. He answered the charge which was not made, and passed by the charge that was made. In reply to his letter, which was perfectly becoming and courteous, I addressed a letter to him, and pointed out this fact; adding that he would doubtless answer the charge, which rested on the authority of Mr. Schuyler. Well, that was four months ago, and not another word have I heard from or of him.

We have, Sir, other cases of a most loathsome and revolting kind in the Blue Book that has been recently placed before us, as to which an English Vice Consul says, at page 46 of the Blue Book circulated May 5, that the evidence left him absolutely no room to doubt; and of these he gives the most painful and horrible details. I will not dwell upon them, but, as the volume is in the hands of Members, will spare them the pain. Suffice it to say that they were systematically carried on by Suleiman Aga. When the facts were made known, how was he punished? He was deprived of his sword for three days; and was then consoled by being retained in his office of Chief of Police, which he holds to this day. The Vice Consul gives an account which shows that these tortures were inflicted on the people, and especially on the priests, to make them give particular evidence.

Suffice it, Sir, on the whole, to say that the evidence, of which I have here given but a few points, when taken together, is conclusive. The outrages and massacres in Bulgaria were not the acts of the Bashi Bazouks, or the Regulars, or of the Mussulman population, except as mere instruments of the Porte. As instruments they are guilty, and as instruments alone. These massacres were not accident, they were not caprice, they were not passion. They were system, they were method, they were policy, they were principle. They were the things done in Damascus in 1860; and I may say that the Liberal Government of that day took up those massacres in a very different manner from that in which Her Majesty's Government has proceeded; so that, under the pressure then exerted by the European Powers, the Porte was compelled to hang a Pasha. Like deeds were done also during the Greek Revolution; and again and again they will be done, until the Turkish Government finds that there is some adequate authority determined to say they shall not be done again.

If these things cannot be denied—and I know they cannot be denied—are we to continue this miserable farce—for so I must call it, since this it appears to have become — of expostulation? You do not expostulate with malefactors in your own country—you punish them. The Home Secretary would consider it a senseless proceeding to expostulate with a murderer, and ask him not to commit such a crime again; or even to protest against his committing it. But with respect to Turkey, we know exactly the the process, and how it is managed from beginning to end. When there occurs some crime or outrage, if there are not foreign agents near, no notice is taken of it, provided a Mohamedan be the guilty party. If it be a Christian, it is a very different matter. For example, you will find in these Papers an account of a Turkish boy who seriously wounded a Christian woman. She was pregnant, and she was seemingly about to die; but the report of the Consul is that unfortunately there was no law in the country by which the Turkish boy, being only a boy, could be punished. Would that apply to a Christian boy? In Miss Mackenzie's and Miss Irby's most sensible and dispassionate work, you will find an account of a struggle between a Turkish boy and a Christian boy. They fought desparately. The Christian boy fought in self-defence. They were both so much injured that they kept their beds for several weeks. The Turkish boy died, and what happened? There was plenty of law to be found then. The Christian boy was condemned to be hanged; and the Grand Vizier, who was travelling through the Province, delayed his departure in order to see him executed; and thus he gives the Christians a solemn warning of the consequences that would follow their resisting injury. One and the same lesson runs though all these transactions. "You rayahs are allowed not to enjoy life, but to live. Your tribute is the condition of your life. You must take your life on the conditions we name; and if you raise your hand—it may be to secure justice by force— you will be the subject of crimes and outrages which, whatever their nature may be, will become virtue and public service when committed for the sake of maintaining Ottoman dominion over the unbeliever whom he has a right to rule." What I have said may sound like exaggeration. It is no such thing. It is, I maintain, a plain matter-of-fact description of the way in which Turkish power has been maintained. Nay, more; it is the way in which alone this unnatural domination can be maintained, with ever-increasing difficulty, and upon occasion with ever-increasing horror, until the day of its doom shall come.

I pointed out last year that in the Autumn of 1875 a body of Herzegovinian refugees had been invited to go back to their homes. In an evil hour they accepted the invitation, and returned, escorted, as they had taken unusual precautions, by a force of Turkish Regular troops; but they were massacred by some of the Boys, their Mussulman landlords. In was done in the sight of the escort; and the escort raised not a finger in their defence. This was at a time when the Turkish Government and Mr. Consul Holmes were inviting the refugees to return home. The facts were made known to Lord Derby; he addressed to the proper authorities an indignant despatch, demanding that there should be an inquiry, followed by punishment of the offenders and redress to the injured persons. No further notice has, however, been taken of the matter. His despatch remains like water poured out upon the sand. There was probably a promise of inquiry; this is one of the usual shifts; and I may state, on the authority of Mr. Baring's last Report, that this is the uniform course pursued by the Turkish authorities.

What I want to know therefore is, whether we are to continue to make ourselves ridiculous, and at the same time utterly to delude the world by what the Government is pleased to call remonstrating upon these subjects. This matter grows worse and worse. We have in the Papers which were delivered to us two days back a new crop of horrors reported from Erzeroum, as having occurred no longer ago than on the 14th of March. A body of troops went into a village and demanded food and money. Their demands were, of course, complied with. They then proceeded to maltreat the men, and to violate the woman and girls, several of whom died in consequence of the treatment to which they were subjected. On this occasion again an energetic telegram was despatched in the first instance. Afterwards Lord Derby spoke with bated breath, and desired that the attention of the Porte "might be called" to the matter. It mattered not a straw whether his language were strong or weak. It is the old story. As on the previous occasion, nothing came of his demand. My contention is that this conduct is not compatible with the decency of the case or with the honour of England; and that if no result is to follow upon communications of the kind to which I allude they ought not to be made. It is bad enough to say that you will take no notice of crimes such as those; but it is worse to notice them in a way which you know full well can produce no result, yet which deludes this country and the world by seeming to promise one, and by making a vain show of interest in the condition of the Christian subjects of the Porte.

Passing to the second of my Resolutions, let me refer to the daring assertion which has been made by the opponents of the subject-races, that the outrages have ceased. We have had no Papers given us for three months; and the Papers, which were circulated so lately as the day before yesterday, supply us with no recent intelligence upon the subject. I take, however, such rather stale intelligence as they do give. The only evidence which the Government has afforded to us on the point shows that up to the 20th of February last the same atrocious and horrible state of things, concerning which complaints had been previously made, continued in Bulgaria. In those Papers Mr. Baring states that the lives and property of Christians were scarcely safer at the end of February, than they were in May of last year. I ask the House, then, to support the Resolution which alleges that the Porte has lost all claim to our moral as well as our material support.

Shall I be told, that we have withdrawn from Turkey our moral as well as our material support? This is a point at present very doubtful, which ought to be made clear. It is true that we have denounced the perpetrators of these outrages. I say we have denounced the wrong people. These perpetrators were only tools. That there were tools only, is demonstrated by the fact that they remain unpunished, free, rewarded, decorated. Why is this? Because they acted in obedience to orders—written orders in some cases — and from the highest authorities. I have spoken of Abdul Kerim; but unless other high personages are very much calumniated, they too are implicated in the guilt of these proceedings. Assuredly, no name is more odious than the name of Midhat Pasha to the Christians of Bulgaria. There is in Turkey an admittedly intolerable Government. Has it improved during the last quarter of a century? I am responsible for one, for having then believed, on the great authority of Lord Palmerston, and on the even higher authority of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, with his large experience of the Porte, that its Government might be improved. Some men, with deeper insight than that possessed at the time by any politician, knew that the case was hopeless. A quarter of a century ago, however, we thought that we ought not to despair of the improvement of Turkey, as long as a ray of hope remained. Since then a time surely sufficient for trial has elapsed, during which perfect peace has been secured for Turkey from without, and she has had no evils or mischiefs to deal with, except those provoked and promoted by her own gross and monstrous misgovernment. But have things improved in Turkey in that period? I believe that, upon the whole, instead of improving, they have become worse. I do not, of course, question the local improvements, which have been the result of an increase in the number of Consuls and Foreign Agents; because wherever a Consul or a Foreign Agent resides there is usually a little precinct formed, within which comparative security is enjoyed. Nor do I doubt that here and there some partial, indecisive measures have been adopted for the purpose of putting into execution a portion of the promises of the Porte. But since 1854 there has been in Turkey a great increase in the centralization of the Ottoman system, and in the taxation; and a multiplication of the agents of the Government in the persons of those whom it is a mockery to call police. The result has been that there has been an aggravation of Mohamedan as well as Christian grievances; and there is far more discontent among the Mussulman inhabitants of Turkey now, than existed a quarter of a century ago. Mr. Baring, in referring to the Turkish police, states that they are little or no better than organized bands of brigands. But this Force, which is one of the greatest curses of the country, is a Force which does not belong to the older Ottoman system. Again, of late, Turkey has acquired a passion for a National Debt, for large standing armies, for iron-clad fleets, and for improved arms; and the result has been that a great increase of revenue was necessary, It has been raised in a disproportionate degree from the Christian Slav Provinces, and it is this endeavour to obtain an enormous revenue which has been one of the greatest curses of the country. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: Hear, hear!] The right hon. Gentleman cheers that statement. But what remedy is he prepared to propose for this state of things? Why, he is prepared to look on and to expostulate. I say that it is better, it is more honest, not to look on, and to withhold this expostulation, rather than to profess our interest and. to pursue a method such as the one now in use. And here I may, perhaps, be allowed to offer a suggestion to the right hon. Gentleman. Why should he not prepare printed forms of expostulation? There might be blanks for the number of villages burnt, for the number of men killed, and for the number of women violated; and there ought to be another blank to be filled up as occasion required by the word "expostulate," or "represent," or "regret," or, if necessary, "protest." This would save a considerable amount of labour at the Foreign Office, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as the sovereign guardian of the public purse, might really, by the simple means that I suggest, effect some reduction in the cost of that establishment. This is a sorry subject on which to jest. But it is the Government who have made a sorry jest of a matter in itself very solemn. It is a sorry jest constantly to reiterate expostulations of this character with the knowledge founded on long experience, that as a general rule they will work without being followed by any result. The Porte, which well understands the force of words, knows that our expostulations begin in words and that they end in words; and it is time that the people of England and the people of Turkish Christian Provinces should begin to understand as much.

It appears to me that if Her Majesty's Government desired really to pursue an effective policy, they should have gone further than I have yet indicated; but they would have done a great deal if they had gone as far as I have hitherto suggested. They would have conveyed an amount of confidence to the minds of the people of this country which they are now very far from feeling.

But, Sir, in my opinion, a just denunciation of outrages which former events had placed within our cognizance, and a real, not an equivocal withdrawal of support from Turkey, though they are more than we can yet be sure of having obtained, are very far from filling up the measure of our duties and our honourable obligations. I argue that we ought to use our influence in the great Council of Europe for the effectual deliverance of these Provinces from oppression, but not for their transfer to any foreign dominion. Now, it is a foreign agency, not under our control, to which we have chosen to make over the fulfilment of engagements which are ours. I must, therefore, consider our relation to that foreign Power. We need entertain no fear at all that the action of Russia in the present effort will endanger British interests. Russia is not mad enough to touch British interests in the execution of the purpose she has in hand. We have, however, given Russia a magnificent opportunity, of which she can avail herself, to plead truly that what she asks is what Europe asks; and the difference between her and other nations is that they are content to put up with, and she is not content to put up with, Turkey's infatuated refusal to give securities for the improvement of her Government. You may say that she is pursuing selfish objects; but, if that be true, that is an additional condemnation of your policy, because if she was untrustworthy, why did you leave her to act alone and unrestrained in accomplishing this work? I had hoped that Her Majesty's Government might even have been disposed to have accompanied me thus far, and that we might all look forward to the establishment in these Provinces of local self-government and local liberty, and so saving them from transfer to any other foreign dominion. In this, as in other hopes, I am baffled; and instead of a wise co-operation in the endeavour to effect a great good, I am called upon to consider the misdeeds of Russia. We are told that Russia has been guilty of the greatest cruelties in Poland. I hear hon. Members opposite cheering that statement; but no cheers came from that quarter of the House when, at the time those cruelties were being committed in Poland, remonstrances against them were moved from this side of the House. I put aside, for the present, cases in which the tongue of calumny has been busy, or cases in which there may be a doubt about the facts. Apart from such cases, there have been at least two occasions on which, in my view, the conduct of that Power cannot be defended. The first occasion was when the Emperor Nicholas took up arms to put down by force Hungarian liberties—the liberties of those Hungarians who, at the time, were very anxious to interest the world in their own affairs, but who do not now appear desirous of extending those liberties to others; a fact which, had we known at the time it was to occur, might have somewhat modified our feelings in their favour. The claims of those Hungarians, however, were at the time just, and we thought that the proceedings of the Emperor of Russia, who lent to Austria the effectual aid of his armies in suppressing them, were unjust and unwarrantable; but I never heard any objection to his conduct proceed from hon. Members opposite. Again, as to Poland, I remember that as late as during the second Government of Lord Palmerston, a Motion was made by Mr. Horsman on the subject of the proceedings of Russia in Poland, but Mr. Horsman was not one of the Party who sat opposite; on the contrary, he was a Gentleman who on all questions of foreign policy expressed the strongest Liberal opinions, and the support which his Motion received proceeded almost wholly from this side of the House. One word with regard to the Papers which have just been laid upon the Table of the House with reference to the misdeeds of the Russians in Poland. That Paper purports to be presented by command of Her Majesty, which means that it has been presented at the instance of Her Majesty's Government. [Sir H. DRUMMOND WOLFF: By command of Her Majesty, in pursuance of an Address.] [Lord JOHN MANNERS: It was moved for from the opposite side of the House.] I have no doubt it was moved for from the "opposite" side of the House; my hon. Friends on this side of the House have always been desirous of exhibiting the cruelty in Poland; but the disposition of the Government and their Friends to hold up to reprobation the cruelty in Poland, appears to me to be of much more recent origin. Now, Sir, for my own part, I rejoice in the fact that the misdeeds of a Government should come to light, come how they may; but I think this mode of proceeding was eminently a shabby mode. You produce the misdeeds of other Governments; do you produce your own? Will you lay on the Table a detail of the proceedings by which the Mutiny was suppressed in India? I cannot recollect a more distinctly culpable proceeding on the part of any country than the slaughter of the Dyaks by Her Majesty's naval Forces, and by Sir James Brooke. But that evil act was discussed, vindicated, and approved in this House. I will give you another case. There is an official Report of my own in the Colonial Office, rendered in 1858-9, when Lord Carnarvon was Under Secretary, which sets forth the proceedings of the British Government in Cephalonia, at a time when a predial rising had taken place. It was a serious predial rising, which official panic or the selfish alarms of a class magnified into a rebellion. As such it was insignificant, almost ludicrous. But martial law was maintained in the island for six weeks. I believe one of our soldiers was wounded. A score of the people were shot, and many scores were flogged, and the punishment of flogging is one viewed by the Greek population, as I have often been assured, with a horror even greater than capital punishment. Will you lay that Report on the Table? What is the meaning of producing charges against other countries when you are not prepared to produce your own? [An hon. MEMBER: The Cephalonian Report, I think, has been laid on the Table.] I think not, I must have known of it. And I proceed with my general argument.

One of my greatest objections to the policy of Her Majesty's Government has always been, since we began to attend to it at the end of last July, that it tends so extravagantly to facilitate the execution of the most selfish aims that Russia could possibly entertain, and to enhance her influence and her power. It is a tremendous thing to infuse into the mind of the Christian subjects of the Porte the conviction that they have no other hope, no other ally, but Russia. It is hardly possible to dispute that that has been the effect of the policy of Her Majesty's Government. That the misgovernment of the Slav Provinces should cease is my first and great object, but I confess it would be with qualified satisfaction, although with a real satisfaction, that I should hear of the cessation of that misgovernment, unless I felt that a healthy growth of local liberty would come into the place of the abominations now afflicting these Provinces. I had hoped that something might be obtained from the Government with reference to the first and second—and even perhaps the third — Resolutions, which would have enabled me to avoid trespassing at so much length on the indulgence of the House. With regard, however, to the fourth Resolution, I was absolutely hopeless. I admit that it challenges the course of the Government, and suggests another course. If you wish, for the sake of humanity, for the sake of the peace of Europe, for the sake of the obligations this country has incurred, to close the Eastern Question, it cannot be satisfactorily done except by action which shall be both united and real. And my complaint against Her Majesty's Government is, that whenever they have seemed to concur in promoting united action it has always been done under conditions which have made that united action useless and even visionary. Do not let me conceal my own belief. I have in my fourth Resolution expressed the strong opinion I entertain—namely, that the policy of 1826 and 1827 was a wise and just policy. But that was a policy that had no more the approval of what I may call the West-end of London, than the Christian cause has now. That portion of England does not express the true sentiments of England. Looking over all the great achievements that have made the last half-century illustrious, not one of them would have been effected if the opinions of the West-end of London had prevailed. The Test Act would not have been repealed. Parliament would not have been reformed. Slavery would not have been abolished. Municipal Corporations would not have been opened. The Corn Laws would not have been repealed; nor Free Trade established; nor the Tariff reduced to a few lines; nor the Navigation Laws done away; nor the Universities opened; nor the Church of Ireland disestablished; nor the Land Tenures of that country re-enacted. I might extend this long list. I regard it with sorrow and misgiving that the nation has ever been in advance of those who ought to have been its leaders. But the fact being so, I cannot relax my efforts in this cause out of deference to the opinion of what I have called the West-end of London.

But then I am told that there has been, in relation to this question, inaction on the part of Liberal Governments. Now, Sir, this is a subject much too wide to be disposed of by a taunt, or by any incidental remark. It is a question of history; and if a Motion were made for a complete inquiry into the conduct of all Governments since the Crimean War with regard to this great question, I, for one, would not object to it. In my opinion, it is totally impossible for any man or for any Government in Western Europe to raise the Turkish Question, simply of his or their own motion. How was it possible for us during the Franco-German struggle, or during the protracted controversy that resulted in the Geneva Arbitration, to raise the Turkish Question? Nay, even if we had been more free, there were no events in Turkey on which we could take our stand. There was, so to speak, no point of departure. There was no revolt of which we could examine the cause; there were no massacres of which we could expose the guilt. In 1860 massacres did occur in Syria, which may be partially compared with the massacres in Bulgaria in 1876. A Liberal Government was then in office; and observe the very different course pursued by that Government. Whether we had been wise and right in all things I know not. I am by no means prepared to claim for us off-hand a sen- tence of universal acquittal; but this I know, that at a very early date, in the affair of the Lebanon, Lord Russell wrote a letter in Which he positively announced that a British squadron would be sent to the coast of Syria, and that if necessary marines would be landed. At the same time France declared her intention of sending troops to Syria. We heard nothing then about fears of provoking Turkish valour to desperation by these rather decided methods. On the 28th of July Lord Russell said that the remaining points, which were of essential importance, appeared to be to obtain the assent of the Porte to the intervention of foreign troops, and the fixing of a time for the intervention of those troops, to cease. On that the consent of Turkey was given, and the foreign intervention did take place. And how was the consent of Turkey given? It was given in a Conference by Safvet Pasha, on the 27th of August, and in terms which were very remarkable. You might have had just the same terms now if you had chosen to seek them in the same manner. They are these— It is owing to the counsels of the Representatives of the Powers, and the vision held out to us of foreign troops landing on our territories, notwithstanding the refusal which we should have given to the conclusion of the Convention, that we have been reduced to choose the lesser of two evils. The consent of the Turkish Government was obtained; but it was given in view of this—that they had before them the vision of foreign troops landed in Syria, notwithstanding their refusal, and they were reduced to the choice of the lesser of two evils. I ask for a comparison between our course throughout in the matter of the Lebanon, and the course of the existing Government since the Autumn of 1875. I might refer to other matters; but I will not now pursue the subject.

I will next say a few words only on the nature of cur obligations in this particular case. It is much too late, in my opinion, to argue whether we are bound to take up the case of the Christians in Turkey or not. We might have argued that question before the Crimean War. But in the Crimean War we did two things; and I must repeat the challenge I have made to the Government with regard to those two things, for they are of vital importance in this great con- troversy. The first was, that we abolished the power of interference which previously existed, and which was lodged in the hands of Russia. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for War have told me that they do not admit that such a power of interference existed. I think it is possible that they may have misunderstood my statement; because I am quite certain that if they hold that proposition in the terms I have just stated, they are holding it in the face of history and of law as recognized in Europe for a hundred years. They may have understood me to say that Russia had, by the Treaty of Kainardji, a Protectorate over the Christians. Now, I admit that she had no Protectorate over the Christians. A Protectorate is a scheme involving direct and positive powers. She had no such powers in regard to the Christians in Turkey generally. What she had was this—a stipulation from the Porte that the Porte should firmly protect the Christian religion and its churches. Of that stipulation she had a right to require the fulfilment, as well as of every other stipulation in her Treaties. There is not the least doubt that it is a distinct stipulation. To set up the doctrine that this distinct and substantive stipulation is a mere Preamble, that it is absorbed in the latter part of the Article, is really little less than ridiculous. The latter part of the Article is separated from the earlier part by the Italian word which can only be translated by "furthermore," or "moreover," or some equivalent. Russia had a covenant with the Porte for the protection of those churches, and she had the same right to require its fulfilment as she had with respect to every other covenant in the Treaty. That, I say, cannot be doubted. Now, let us look at the opinions upon this point. I quoted the other day the opinion of the standard historian of the Turkish Empire—Von Hammer. He expressed the general historical judgment of the world on this point. But, if you want a legal opinion, I will quote that of Bluntschli, who is, I observe, considered as the highest authority as a jurist at present living on the Continent of Europe. He says— In the consciousness of this duty and of this right, Europe has repeatedly intervened in Turkey as well as before as after 1856. First of all, Russia made a claim to a sole protection of the Greek Christians, and obtained the establishment of it from Turkey by Treaty in 1772 and 1812. There is the opinion of Bluntschli. It is not a controversial opinion; he states it as a notorious fact, in a matter which has never been contested. I am responsible for the translation; but the words "obtained the establishment of it," I believe, fairly represent the words of the original. Since I spoke before on the mattes, I have referred to the authority of Sir Robert Phillimore, and I find in him what I expected. I have had the honour of his friendship for half a century, and I did not open this question without having consulted him. He has entered into an argument to show that Russia did not possess by the Treaty of Kainardji the claim which was made at the time of the Crimean War. In that we are all agreed. But Sir Robert Phillimore has never denied that this stipulation for protection in the Treaty of Kainardji was a binding stipulation; that Russia had a right to require it to be carried into execution, and a right to interfere with Turkey on a breach of it, just as she had in regard to any other part of the Treaty. As far as I know, opinions are not at variance on this point, unless, indeed, it is intended by the present Government to set up in 1877 a construction never heard of for over 100 years after the Treaty was concluded.

In such a matter, without doubt, we cannot omit to refer to the Blue Books of 1854. I must own it has not been in my power to read through the whole of those Blue Books—or rather to reread them, for I was pretty well familiar with them at a former period—and, therefore, it is possible some assertion may be found in some part of them which more or less expresses the opinion that appears now to be maintained by the Government. Yet I think not so, because I have looked over them as well as I could, and because I find what seems to me a most distinct declaration on the part of Lord Clarendon, that some right of that kind on the part of Russia was acknowledged by us. I recollect myself, taking my memory for what it is worth, that this was distinctly our position in the controversy. We held that Russia misconstrued the Treaty, and overstated her right; we never, I believe, denied that she had some right; and accordingly, I find, also, in Book No. 1, that on May 26th, 1853, Baron Brunnow sends in a Memorandum, in which he speaks of the engagements of the Porte, dating from the Treaty of Kainardji, as granting to the Orthodox Church that freedom of worship, that tranquility of conscience, and that peaceable possession of rights which Russia could never cease to watch over. In the same book, on the 21st of June, Lord Clarendon, says in reply, on the part of the Government, that on the basis of Baron Brunnow's Memorandum, a complete and satisfactory arrangement might have been concluded without compromising the dignity of the Emperor. I think, then, I have made my demonstration complete; and, if so, the case stand thus—That there was a Treaty engagement, under which Russia was entitled to require from the Porte a protection of the Christians, and to resent it against the Porte as a national wrong if she did not protect them. That right was entirely destroyed and swept away by the Crimean War, through the expenditure of our blood and treasure, and of the blood and treasure of our Allies; and we could not thus sweep that right away, in my opinion, without becoming responsible for the consequences; without ,being as solemnly bound as men can be bound in faith and honour to take care that those, for whose protection it was intended, should obtain either the same thing or something better in its place. But, besides all I have now said, and even independently of this, as I believe, perfectly irrefragable argument, what was the case of the Crimean War on the very face of it as a dry matter-of-fact? It was this—That Turkey was about to be engaged in a contest of which the probable result was her defeat. I apprehend there was no doubt of that. It was probable she would be defeated. We intervened to prevent that defeat. We, together with our Allies, gave her a new lease of her existence; we gave her resources; we gave her the strength, of which she has been making such frightful use in Bulgaria. And now is it possible for us, on any principles, I care not what, which will bear to be stated in the face of day, so to put out of view the obligations, which our honour entails on us, as to say—"We wash our hands of this business, and will have nothing to do with it?" Much more, how can we say—"We will consent to pay delicate attentions to the Government of Turkey, and to be affording her in a thousand indirect forms moral assistance"—which in many instances is apt to glide into material assistance—"against any nation which may attempt to carry into effect the judgment of united Europe?"

I hope I have made pretty clear the state of the case, as it bears upon the third and fourth Resolutions. I have pursued not the best tactics, perhaps—for I am, perhaps, no great tactician—but the best tactics in my power. Very simple they have been. They have consisted in attempting to obtain the assertion, by as many as possible, of what was valuable in itself, even although it was not the whole of what seemed to me valuable or even essential. On that account I ranged my Resolutions in the order in which they stand; and when I found myself threatened with extinction by the somewhat rude machinery of the Previous Question, so that a free and unfettered discussion, even of the first Resolution, was to be rendered impossible, I came readily to the conclusion that it would not be expedient or becoming for me to ask you, Sir, to go through the idle form of putting each of them in succession from the Chair, with the certainty of obtaining a decision that they should not be put. But I am bound to say that to the whole of these Resolutions I, as an individual, steadfastly adhere. I ask no sanction from my noble Friend near me (the Marquess of Hartington) for anything except that for which he votes. I think it would be the meanest and paltriest act on my part to endeavour to crib from him some indirect support for that which he is not prepared to support overtly. I really know not on what grounds he is not willing to accompany me in the whole of these Resolutions. I would thankfully accept his aid, as I would the aid of the Government, for I think the union of the English people in this great matter is an object of the highest importance. There is not one of you opposite who can more deeply deplore than I do the use of the rude irregular methods to which we have been driven in order to exercise an influence upon the foreign policy of the country. I look upon these methods as, at the best, unsatisfactory and imperfect; I look upon them, in every case, except the case of necessity, as vicious and bad. It has been that necessity alone which has driven us to the point at which we stand to-night. For my part, I think no day of peace likely to come for the East, no final or satisfactory settlement, unless it be by the authority of united Europe. I see the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General has been complaining of violent language, and of the imputation of motives on my part. He is, I suppose, on the way to high judicial office, and from one in his position, as compared with other Members of this House, I have a right to expect something more than the average share of judicial temper. But what said he to his constituents? I have never imputed motives to the Government. I have never said they were governed by love of power. I should have been ashamed of such a statement. I cannot, indeed, account for their conduct, except by the supposition of some singular delusion, or some sinister influence which they do not themselves understand, and are not conscious of, so strange does it appear to me. But never have I imputed to them motives inconsistent with their perfect honour. Yet what says the hon. and learned Gentleman. He goes to his constituents, and to them he announces that I have entered into a warfare against the Government, animated by a vindictive malignity founded on my exclusion from office. ["Oh, oh!"] These are the judicial words of the hon. and learned Gentleman. I am glad he has come into his place. It gives me the opportunity of expressing a hope that when he resigns that place for one more permanent, more dignified, and more enjoyable, he will proceed in a different spirit to deal with the suitors, and even with the culprits, who may be brought before him. No, Sir, I impute no motives. If a word I have said seems to convey them, I disclaim it, and in a moment I would wash it away; but I believe no such word has passed my lips. It is a great crisis, Sir, in which w e stand. Legislative Bodies are at all times occupied, more or less, in the making of history, and it is a very grave passage of history which we are now engaged in making. Sir, there is before us not one controversy, but two. There is the controversy between Russia and Turkey; there is the controversy between Turkey and her revolted subjects. I think the Government and their supporters out-of-doors in the Press are committing a great error in this—that it is the first of these two controversies—that between Russia and Turkey, which, after all, is only symptomatic—to which they address their minds. In my opinion, the other is the deeper and more important. The other is a controversy which can have no issue but one, and I do not hesitate to say that the cause of the revolted subjects of Turkey against their oppressors is as holy a cause as ever animated the breast, or as ever stirred the hand of man. Sir, what part are we to play in regard to it? Looking at this latter controversy—the controversy between Turkey and her subjects—the horrible massacres of last year, the proofs of which have been afforded that they are only parts and indications of a system; that their recurrence is to be expected, nay, that it is a matter of moral certainty, if they are now allowed to pass with impunity; looking at the total want of result from Lord Derby's efforts, at that mockery which has been cast in our teeth in return for what I quite admit was upon ordinary rules and principles an insulting despatch, can we, Sir, say, with regard to this great battle of freedom against oppression which is now going on, which has been renewed from time to time, and for which one-third of the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina are at this moment not only suffering exile; but, terrible to say, are upon the very verge of absolute starvation; upon which depends the fate of millions of the subject-races that inhabit the Turkish Empire—can we, with all this before us, be content with what I will call a vigorous array of remonstrances?—well intended, I grant, but without result, as expressing the policy and satisfying the obligations of this great country. Can we, I say, looking upon this battle, lay our hands upon our hearts and, in the face of God and man, say with respect to it—"We have well and sufficiently performed our part?" Sir, there were other days, when England was the hope of freedom. Wherever in the world a high aspiration was entertained, or a noble blow was struck, it was to England that the eyes of the oppressed were always turned—to this favourite, this darling home of so much privilege and so much happiness, where the people that had built up a noble edifice for themselves would, it was well known, be ready to do what in them lay to secure the benefit of the same inestimable boon for others. You talk to me of the established tradition and policy in regard to Turkey. I appeal to an established tradition, older, wider, nobler far—a tradition not which disregards British interests, but which teaches you to seek the promotion of those interests in obeying the dictates of honour and of justice. And, Sir, what is to be the end of this? Are we to dress up the fantastic ideas some people entertain about this policy, and that policy in the garb of British interests, and then, with a new and base idolatry, to fall down and worship them? Or are we to look, not at the sentiment, but at the hard facts of the case, which Lord Derby told us 15 years ago—namely, that it is the populations of those countries that will ultimately possess them—that will ultimately determine their abiding condition? It is to this fact, this law, that we should look. There is now before the world a glorious prize. A portion of those as yet unhappy people are still making an effort to retrieve what they have lost so long, but have not ceased to love and to desire. I speak of those in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Another portion—a band of heroes such as the world has rarely seen—stand on the rocks of Montenegro, and are ready now, as they have ever been during the 400 years of their exile from their fertile plains, to sweep down from their fastnesses and meet the Turks at any odds for the re-establishment of justice and of peace in those countries. Another portion still, the 5,000,000 of Bulgarians, cowed and beaten down to the ground, hardly venturing to look upwards, even to their Father in heaven, have extended their hands to you; they have sent you their petition, they have prayed for your help and protection. They have told you that they do not seek alliance with Russia, or with any foreign Power, but that they seek to be delivered from an intolerable burden of woe and shame. That burden of woe and shame—the greatest that exists on God's earth—is one that we thought united Europe was about to remove; that in the Protocol united Europe was pledged to remove; but to removing which, for the present, you seem to have no efficacious means of offering even the smallest practical contribution. But, Sir, the removal of that load of woe and shame is a great and noble prize. It is a prize well worth competing for. It is not yet too late to try to win it. I believe there are men in the Cabinet who would try to win it, if they were free to act on their own beliefs and aspirations. It is not yet too late, I say, to become competitors for that prize; but be assured that whether you mean to claim for yourselves even a single leaf in that immortal chaplet of renown, which will be the reward of true labour in that cause, or whether you turn your backs upon that cause and your own duty, I believe, for one, that the knell of Turkish tyranny in those Provinces has sounded. So far as human eye can judge, it is about to be destroyed. The destruction may not come in the way, or by the means that we should choose; but come this boon from what hands it may, it will be a noble boon, and as a noble boon will gladly be accepted by Christendom and the world.

The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the first of the Resolutions of which he had given Notice.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House finds just cause of dissatisfaction and complaint in the conduct of the Ottoman Porte with regard to the Despatch written by the Earl of Derby on the 21st day of September 1876, and relating to the massacres in Bulgaria."—(Mr. Gladstone.)


in rising to move an Amendment to the Motion, said, he understood the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had begun by alluding to some transactions which had taken place in the borough which he (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) had the honour to represent, and had stated that he had at a meeting last year expressed sentiments which justified the Resolutions then before the House. He was sure the right hon. Gentleman was not desirous of misrepresenting him; but he certainly had done so, when he had referred to this newspaper account without reading any extracts. He begged, therefore, permission of the House to make a personal explanation. On the 7th of September last year, either the very day, or just before the right hon. Gentleman's pamphlet was published, he was asked to attend what was called an atrocity meeting at Christchurch, and he found that two or three local gentlemen, Liberals, wished to advocate the establishment of an independent kingdom in Bulgaria. He had, therefore, written to say that he deplored the atrocities that had taken place in the Balkan Provinces; that it was sufficient to protest against the horrors which had taken place; and that all that could be done was to determine, as far as our influence went, that they should not recur; but that he could not join in any political demonstration on the subject of the future government of those Provinces. While concurring in the first part of the Resolution to be submitted to the meeting, he had taken exception to the latter part, because a public meeting was not capable of entering into the details of negotiations which could only be settled by statesmen after quiet consideration. In those circumstances he attended the meeting, and, according to the report in The Times of the next morning, he began his address on that occasion by expressing the hope that they would be unanimous, as they were not met for a Party purpose, but to deplore the atrocities and the misgovernment of the Turkish Provinces, for which they desired an effectual remedy, though they could not say what it was to be. They had all, at different times, deplored these atrocities, and they did so now; but they said they were not to be remedied by any arbitrary or violent action on the part of this country. The right hon. Gentleman had then stated that he (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) had been requested by another meeting to support the Resolution before the House. He would read a letter he had received that afternoon, to show how erroneous was the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, and how these meetings had been got up by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite. His correspondent said— I am told that a day or two before circulars were issued to the leading Liberals, asking them to attend and bring as many friends as possible, and up to mid-day on Friday it was spoken of as a meeting of Liberals. On Friday afternoon, however, a few bills were posted that a public meeting would be held, &c.; subject, 'The Eastern Question.' The meeting was, of course, a packed one, and they passed all their resolutions. Mr. Davey was then supported by all the Dissenting ministers. I hear that two or three waggon loads of people came from Milton, outside the borough. Having disposed of that which was merely a personal question, and one scarcely consistent with the dignity of the right hon. Gentleman to have brought forward, he would venture to submit to the House his reasons for moving the Amendment, with which he should conclude. First, he moved that Amendment, because he thought any discussion in that House at the present moment on the Eastern Question highly dangerous, and that the best mode of disposing of the matter would be by the Previous Question, so as to show to the world in general, and to the public of this country, that the House of Commons was not inclined in any way by public discussion to embarrass the future action of the Government. The crude manner in which the hon. Member for East Cumberland (Mr. C. W. Howard) had given Notice of the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman showed that a Motion would be brought forward relative to the prospective policy of Her Majesty's Government. Now, he was not aware that such a Motion had ever been brought forward in that House. They might condemn the past or the present; but a condemnation of a course to be pursued, which must be guided by contingencies as they arose would, not only by that House, but by any assembly of business men, be rejected and repudiated. He had always advocated the right of intervention on the part of this country established by the Treaty of 1856, and his advocacy was not founded on the substitution of the right of Europe for the rights of Russia, but on the few words, the "concert of Europe," which gave this country and Europe a right of intervention in the affairs of Turkey, or any other country, when they were dangerous to the peace of its neighbours. He had, therefore, last year pressed on the Government for an intervention. He had pressed Her Majesty's Government again on the Motion brought forward by the hon. Member for Portsmouth (Mr. Bruce), and, on another occasion, had asked the Prime Minister, whether the time had not arrived to intervene by means of a Congress, or, if necessary, a Commission, on the affairs of Turkey; and he urged upon the Government that a Conference was necessary. But, while doing so, he never contemplated or suggested in any way the authorization of the idea that England should act alone, or without the assistance of her Allies, and of those who with her had signed the Treaty of Paris. The right hon. Gentleman rather took credit for the way in which Liberal Governments had acted towards Turkey; but their conduct was one of the principal reasons for objecting to the Motion, for it was owing to the action of several Liberal Governments in regard to the misgovernment of the Turkish Provinces that it was impossible for any Government to take any other steps now than those which had been taken. With great self-glorification the right hon. Gentleman referred to the action of the Government of Lord Palmerston in 1860 with regard to Syria. But what was the position? In 1856 the Treaty of Paris was signed; in 1857 occurred the Indian Mutiny; in 1858 and 1859 nothing occurred in Turkey, and the Conservatives came into office. In the latter year, after the Liberal Government had come in, they had intervened in the affairs of Syria, and he gave them credit for so doing. But Syria was not in Europe; it was not surrounded by States of the same nationality and the same religion; it was entirely isolated from Europe; it was feasible for the Powers to delegate one of their number to send a Force there without any danger of the occupation becoming permanent. But the right hon. Gentleman had taken good care not to refer to what had occurred subsequently; for in 1862 and 1863 disturbances had occurred in Servia, Herzegovina, and Montenegro, and what had the Government of that day done? Why Lord Russell, as the organ of the Government of which the right hon. Gentleman was a leading Member, wrote a despatch to the Powers who signed the Treaty of Paris, in which he denounced those disturbances as the result of scarcely-concealed conspiracies in those Provinces to bring about anarchy, plunder, and bloodshed, and declared that it was incumbent on the Powers of Europe to preserve the general peace in words almost identical with those which had been most properly used by the Government of the present day. The right hon. Gentleman now spoke strongly of the Government having announced before the Conference of Constantinople that there was to be no coercion; but in 1869, when he was the head of a Government with a majority far greater than that of the present Government, Lord Clarendon authorized a Conference to be held at Paris on the affairs of Crete, and, under circumstances almost analogous to the present. Then the right hon. Gentleman, through his Foreign Secretary, not only repudiated coercion, but told the now revolted Provinces that they were not to anticipate any encouragement if they followed the example of Crete. On that occasion Lord Clarendon, writing to Lord Lyons on January 5, 1869, said— Her Majesty's Government, anxious to avert the occurrence of events that might threaten the maintenance of peace, and convinced that this feeling is shared by every other Power, thinks that by laying down in distinct terms certain principles of public morality and of International Law, the Conference may give, though indirectly, a clear and unmistakeable warning to other Provinces, where there is reason to apprehend that insurrectionary movements against the authority of the Porte might find encouragement, that the Great Powers of Europe would view with the strongest disapproval any unwarrantable proceedings on the part of such Provinces inconsistent with the principles so laid down by the Conference. Yet now the House was invited to acquiesce in these violent Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman. There was another occasion on which the right hon. Gentleman had the opportunity of showing sympathy with the Christians of Turkey; but which he did not take advantage of. In 1871 the signataries of the Treaty of Paris were invited to make the state of the Christian subjects of the Porte a casus belli. What said Lord Enfield in that House in answer to Sir John Gray?—"That the state of the Christian subjects of the Porte was improved." Yet a Report had been laid on the Table that day which showed that 20 days before that reply of Lord Enfield was given, a despatch had been received from Consul Holmes, in which it was said that the state of things had in no way improved. Consul Holmes, writing from Bosna Serai, on February 24, 1871, said— The unnecessary delay and neglect, to the prejudice often of innocent persons, the open bribery and corruption, the invariable and unjust favour shown to Mussulmans in all cases between Turks and Christians, which distinguish the Turkish administration of what is called 'justice,' throughout the Empire cannot fail to suggest the question—what would be the lot of foreigners in Turkey were the European Powers to give up the capitulations? I am convinced that their position in the Provinces, at all events, would be intolerable, and that they would quit the country to a man, while the outcry and feeling in Europe against Turkey would ultimately cause her ruin. The universal ignorance, corruption, and fanaticism of all classes precludes all hope of an efficient administration of justice for at least another generation. In the face of that despatch the Government of the right hon. Gentleman in 1871 gave the improved state of Turkey and of its Christian subjects as a reason for strengthening the hands of Turkey against Russia and the other Powers of Europe. There was a second reason why he objected to the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman—namely, that from first to last, both in his Resolutions and in his speeches in the country, he had tried to make them the subservient supporters of the policy of Russia. He charged the Conservative Party with wanting war, but it was the right hon. Gentleman himself who advocated war. Not a syllable had he uttered that night but what meant war against Turkey with the European concert which he had devised in his own head, but which the Papers before the House showed was utterly impossible for that purpose. In speaking in favour of Russia he had urged that night, as he had done on two previous occasions, that the Crimean War having abolished the Treaty rights of Russia, and especially those said to be obtained under the Treaty of Kainardji, we were bound to assume the position which Russia had occupied previous to the Crimean War under that Treaty. On a former occasion the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Butler-Johnstone) took issue with the right hon. Gentleman with reference to the Treaty of Kainardji; he therefore would not refer to the text of the Treaty, but would confine himself to showing that the right hon. Gentleman was utterly incorrect in the view he had taken of it. He preferred citing written and published documents to any language he could himself use. What was the interpretation put on that Treaty by Count Nesselrode? Count Nesselrode, writing to Sir Hamilton Seymour, dated St. Petersburg, June 14th (26), 1853, said— As to the Treaty of Kainardji, it is very true if taken by the letter, that the rights and privileges of the Greek religion are not mentioned in express terms, but the protection given to the religion and to its churches well implies to the eyes of every man of sense and good faith that of the rights and privileges of the said churches. From the moment the Sultan undertook towards us to protect them he thus conferred on us the right to watch over the manner in which he would fulfil that engagement. That was the pretension which was combated by the Crimean War. He would put it to the right hon. Gentleman whether he was not a party to the Memorandum which, in 1854, was submitted to Russia by the Plenipotentiaries of Austria, France, and Great Britain. The Conference was held at Vienna, and that document was sent as the basis of the Conference at which Lord John Russell was our Plenipotentiary to Prince Gortchakoff on the 28th of December, 1854. It said— Russia, in renouncing the pretension to cover with an official Protectorate the Christian subjects of the Porte of the Oriental rite, equally renounces as a natural consequence the revival of any of the articles of former Treaties, and notably the Treaty of Koutchouk-Kainardji, the erroneous interpretation of which has been the principal cause of the present war. In other words, what Russia tried to convert into a Protectorate of all the Christian subjects of the Porte was the principal cause of the Crimean War. But the Crimean War did not abolish the rights of Russia. It merely resisted the pretensions of Russia to exercise a Protectorate which had never legally existed and which would have been unendurable to Turkey. What again said Lord Clarendon in his Circular dated June 19, 1855— By the Treaty of Kainardji it is provided that the Sultan shall protect the Christian religion and its churches, and it was upon a complete misinterpretation of this Treaty, but without even an allegation that its stipulations had been violated, that Russia claimed a right of interference between the Sultan and 10 millions of the Sultan's Christian subjects. If the claim had been yielded to, and if a great wrong had thus been perpetrated, the authority of the Sovereign within his own dominions would in a great degree have been transferred to a foreign Power, and an important step would have been taken towards the overthrow of the Turkish Empire and the establishment of Russian supremacy on its ruins. That was the result advocated by the right hon. Gentleman. From first to last the right hon. Gentleman had advocated subserviency to Russia, and he (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) felt persuaded such a sentiment must be abhorrent to that House and the country. In his speech at Blackheath, when Russia was carrying on what had been called an unofficial war in Servia with respect to Turkey, the right hon. Gentleman took the opportunity for advertizing his sympathy with Russia. "I, for one," he said, "am ready, as an individual, to give the right hand to Russia when her objects are right and just." The right hon. Gentleman had also by continuous action encouraged the pretensions of Russia. What happened at the Conference at St. James's Hall? The right hon. Gentleman had played a great part in that Conference. He distinctly advocated the policy which was contained in the fourth Resolution, and referred with approbation to the course taken by Mr. Canning in 1826, in invoking the aid of Russia and inviting the concert of all Europe for the establishment of Greek independence; and what had been the result of that document? The Protocol of the 23rd of March (4th of April), 1826, to which the right hon. Gentleman alluded, was referred to in the Russian declaration of war against Turkey of the 26th of April, 1828, and see what followed? By the Treaty of Adrianople, Russia certainly did obtain some privileges for the Greeks, but she obtained for herself additional territory in Asia. She gave the Greeks the Morea, but she took Anapa and Poti. By the Treaty of Kainardji, while she assumed to protect some churches, she took Kinburn, Kertch, Yenikale, and Azoff, conquests which were hostile to England. And what was wanted now? To obtain towns in Asia. How did she assist the Christians in Bosnia and Bulgaria? Why, by advancing her armies against Kars, Erzeroum, and Batoum. Why did Russia advance by the Black Sea? Mr. Palgrave had told us. He said— Anxiety is sometimes felt at the news of Russian conquests in Central Asia and the security of our Indian possessions is by some thought to be jeopardized by the appearance of the two-headed eagle in Bokahra and Samarcand. But in truth the Russian flag over Alexandropol, within a day's ride of Kars, is much nearer India. Let the line of country, the comparatively narrow line, of which we have been now speaking, from Batoum and the Ajaras on the Black Sea down to Bayazid and Van once become Russian territory and the entire Tigro-Euphrates Valley, now separated from Russia and Russia's obsequious ally Persia, by Kurdistan alone, becomes Russian also. The Persian Gulf and the directest of all Indian routes, a route where no wide desert tracts, no huge mountain chains intervene, nothing but the serviceable sea, will thus be not only open to, but absolutely in the hands of, our very doubtful friends. The exclusion of all commerce, all communication by the most important line, except what is Russian and through Russia, will be the first and immediate consequence; what may be the ulterior results time alone can tell. But if India have a vulnerable point next after Egypt, it is the Euphrates Valley and its communications. But all the conquests of Russia to which he had referred had been made under the pretext of protecting the Christian subjects of the Porte. He asked the House whether the policy of the right hon. Gentleman had not given to the Russians the greatest possible encouragement by the hope of assistance from this country. He never heard from abroad but he heard stories which he would not believe unless the right hon. Gentleman himself were to corroborate them, as to the encouragement which the right hon. Gentleman held out to the advance of Russia. He had heard of letters written by the right hon. Gentleman to Russians in which he spoke of the Russian advance as "The Holy Cause," and he was informed that when General Ignatieff was in this country the right hon. Gentleman urged him not to allow the Russian Army to be demobilized. The conduct of the right hon. Gentleman certainly gave some colouring and confirmation to those rumours. In fact, the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman might have been dictated at Moscow, composed at St. Petersburg, and telegraphed from Kischeneff by the same hand that composed the Russian Manifesto. With regard to them, he would say the first was a platitude and the second was a trap. The first Resolution merely declared on the part of the House what had been stated over and over again by the Government to Turkey, and the second tied our hands in case the necessities of the country should call on us to take action. The first Resolution was a Vote of Censure on Turkey. But what right had we to pass a Vote of Censure on Turkey any more than on Russia? How were we to obtain the concert of the Powers? The right hon. Gentleman had condemned the Government for producing Papers proving the cruelties of Russia in Poland, and he had contrasted that with the acts and even cruelties of Englishmen elsewhere. But if his argument held good for bringing forward statements against Turkey, surely the argument held good also for bringing forward statements against Russia. The right hon. Gentleman, in throwing this country into the arms of Russia, apparently forgot that those Papers had given us the most terrible list of cruelties perpetrated by Russia in Poland not in 1862 and 1863, but within the last three or four years. Colonel Mansfield wrote to Lord Granville in 1874, describing how the soldiers had surrounded the peasants, and on their refusal to change their religion, had given 50 blows to every man, 25 to every woman, and 10 to every child, while one woman, more vehement than the rest, had received 100. In one village a peasant suffocated himself with charcoal rather than have his child baptized by the official parish priest. Later, the peasants were assembled and beaten by the Cossacks, until the military surgeon declared, that if the punishment were continued longer it would endanger life; then they were driven through a half-frozen river to a church, where they were compelled to enrol their names as of the official religion. The British Consul at Odessa also wrote home, stating the cruelties which had occurred there, and that the ground of them was proselytism. And these were the acts of Regular troops and of the Government of Russia, a Government which came forward with all these professions of philanthropy; that was the Government to which the right hon. Gentleman wished us to become subservient. He asked again, how were they to obtain the concert of the Powers, seeing that Germany had declared that she would not consent to the occupation of Bulgaria by troops of any of the guaranteeing Powers to carry out their policy? It was his intention on this occasion to propose not the "Previous Question," but an Amendment, of which he would give the terms before he concluded. He thought the House had great occasion for thankfulness to the Leader of the Opposition for the part he had taken in this matter. The noble Lord last year rather resented any compliment from the Ministerial side of the House, and therefore it was with every apology that he ventured to state how much the noble Lord's conduct was generally appreciated for its statesmanlike, patriotic, and candid character. But the noble Lord was like the successor of an abdicated Emperor, who, repenting his abdication, tried to grasp the substance of a power, the symbols of which he had. resigned. The noble Lord. recollected very well the maxims laid down for the guidance of the Liberal Party, when led by Lord Palmerston—namely, that Russia should not be allowed, like a great giant, to stride from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. And he recollected, also, the patriotic conduct of the Conservative Party in 1854, 1855, and 1856, when, being in a minority of only 19, instead of obstructing, they gave a loyal support to, the Governments of Lord Aberdeen and Lord Palmerston. He did not ask tonight for a Vote of Confidence in Her Majesty's Government. What he asked the House to do was to reject a Vote of Confidence in the Russian Government. He believed the House to-night, by rejecting the right hon. Gentleman's Resolutions would relieve the Government from the dangers and trammels of a mischievous restlessness, and enable them to proceed upon their course of watchful neutrality, to maintain the honour and interests of this country, and the peace of Europe. He begged to move the Amendment of which he had given Notice

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "House" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "declines to entertain any Resolutions which may embarrass Her Majesty's Government in the maintenance of peace and in the protection of British interests, without indicating any alternative line of policy,"—(Sir Henry Wolf,) —instead thereof.

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


said, they had frequently been invited to bring their opinions on this question to the test of discussion and the judgment of the House, but up to the present time they had scarcely had an opportunity of taking part in a discussion which presented any more than a peg on which to hang their speeches. He confessed he feared at one time to-night that the present opportunity was also about to pass away, but this fear had entirely vanished after hearing the magnificent speech of the right hon. Gentleman. It might be true that the right hon. Gentleman only intended to propose the first two Resolu- tions, but three-fourths of his speech had been devoted to a justification of the principles laid down in the concluding Resolutions. The hon. Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) might think Resolutions of that kind inopportune. Indeed, he might think all Resolutions which did not imply implicit faith in the Government were inopportune; but these Resolutions were not inopportune to hon. Gentlemen sitting on his (Mr. Chamberlain's) side of the House. The negotiations of Her Majesty's Government had entirely failed, so that they could not be accused now of hampering the efforts of the Government. They were in the presence of a great crisis. They were in fear, and not altogether without reason, that this country might once more, as in the past, drift into war—a war which would bed abhorred by the majority of the people of this country. It was, therefore, the duty of every man to speak out, and to protest as best he could. He pointed out that the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman could not have been proposed much earlier. They were intended, as he understood, to formulate their opinions as expressed in the Autumn agitations. Whatever might be the feelings of the hon. Member for Christchurch as to the resolutions passed at those meetings, their policy, or their wisdom, even he might feel some patriotic pride in the spirit which dictated them—a spirit which distinguished a free people, hatred of oppression, of cruelty, and of tyranny—a spirit which was the guarantee and justification of our liberties. When the hon. Member spoke of these meetings having been got up, he clearly knew very little of popular agitation. He (Mr. Chamberlain) had had something to do with agitation, and with agitation which had been successful. He knew that money could do something, and that organization could do more; but he knew that neither money nor organization could move a popular agitation, unless there was a deep-felt popular sentiment on which to work. The object of these meetings was twofold. in the first place, it was intended to prevent a drop of English blood from being shed or a pound of English treasure being spent to uphold the detestable tyranny of the Turks; and, in the second place, to enlist all the influence which the Government could bring to bear in order to secure the better government of the Christian Provinces of Turkey. At that time the country had reason to fear that the Government was going to pursue what was sometimes called the traditional policy with regard to the Eastern Question. Certainly, nothing had been said by the Ministers to show the country that it was an erroneous impression. When, however, the Blue Books were distributed, they found some Members of the Cabinet, especially Lords Salisbury and Derby, had become convinced of the futility of such a policy, and their despatches teemed with expressions as strong as anything that had been said at the Autumn meetings, although of course couched in more diplomatic language. In fact, in deference to the public agitation, the Government had changed their policy. ["No, no!"] Hon. Gentlemen opposite who cried "No" were, of course, entitled to their opinion; but Lord Derby had said himself, in one of his despatches, that the Government would not now be able to fulfil their Treaty obligations in consequence of public feeling in this country. ["No, no!"] That expression implied that the Government would have carried out their Treaty obligations had it not been for the public agitation. ["No, no"] That did not seem to please the hon. Gentlemen opposite, or suit their views. Then he should give them the opinion of another Member of the Government. They had been told it was true the Government had changed its policy, but only changed it because events had altered, as a man changed in summer a heavy coat for a light one, but then this showed that the Government had a different mind in February from what they had now, and what they said on this side of the House was, that the Government had, if not actually taken the coat from their wardrobe, cut it after their pattern. Then, as regarded the second object, they found the proposals at the Conference almost exactly what was contemplated by those who moved to secure self-government for the Christian Provinces. It was quite true that the proceedings of the Conference were accompanied by an ostentatious assurance of non-intervention, which some of them thought courted the failure which subsequently ensued; but Her Majesty's Government said they had hopes of success, and it did not, therefore, lie with the Opposition to challenge the policy. But their negotiations had entirely failed, and now a new responsibility had been cast upon those who thought that the objects which they sought in the Autumn were of supreme importance to re-affirm their necessity, and to point out means by which they could be accomplished. This was the more necessary because they had some evidence of re-action on the part of Her Majesty's Government. During the time of the Conference the Government appeared to have loyally supported Lord Salisbury, both in his attempt to bring moral coercion, and in his willingness to provide material coercion with the consent of the Porte; but when the proposals were rejected by the Porte, then the Government desisted from bringing pressure to bear upon Turkey, and appeared to have fallen back upon their traditional policy, and renewed their distrust of Russia. He was not a sympathizer with Russia. He confessed that he could not altogether regret that she was earning a well-deserved retribution for her treatment of Poland and the tribes in Central Asia, and the persecution of the Jews and Catholics; but could they regard with satisfaction the position in which they had been placed by the policy of Her Majesty's Government, under which Russia was left to be the arbitrator of the destinies of those Provinces, and their unhappy populations had no choice between the almost bestial tyranny of the Turks and the iron despotism of Russia? But when the Member for Christchurch spoke of the right hon. Member for Greenwich making these Resolutions subservient to the interests of Russia, he begged to submit that it was not in the interest of the Russians that these Resolutions were submitted to the House, for these Resolutions proposed to take the matter out of the hands of Russia and put it in the hands of united Europe. The hon. Member for Christchurch in August last said that he did not then share in the distrust of Russia. The hon. Member then believed that England would be as popular as Russia if she showed the same interest as Russia in the welfare of the Christian subjects. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had, in reference to this subject, called attention to the fact that no nation, unfortunately, had an entirely clear record in this matter, and least of all this country, whose very name for long years was a bye-word for our perfidious treatment of foreign policy, and who had much to regret for her doings in Asiatic countries; and, to come nearer home, they could not regard without shame some of our past dealings even in connection with Scotland and Ireland. He hoped that we were prepared to judge Russia as we desired to be judged—by her present intention and her present actions, and not by what took place in the past. If hon. Members would take an impartial view of the case of Russia as it had been presented by Prince Gortchakoff, he then hoped it would be agreed that Russia had been harshly used. The hon. Member for Christchurch said that Russia had no Treaty rights with regard to the Christians in Turkey; but at least she had a traditional interest in the subject, and it was simply impossible for her to see her co-religionists tortured, and to remain all the time silent and unmoved. From the first Russia said that peace was impossible unless some guarantee was given for the better government of the Christian Provinces of Turkey. She had formulated her demands; and he thought that they were just and reasonable. They had been accepted by this Government, and had been presented to the Conference, where, of course, they were refused by the Turks. Then, at the instance of the English Government, they had been reduced again and again until they had dwindled down to the Protocol; but these successive concessions had only hardened the Turks, who had rejected all of them contemptuously. And yet the Government now turned round upon Russia, and expressed doubt of her sincerity and intentions, and threw upon her the responsibility of the war; while it was clear that in the interests of peace she had made successive sacrifices, and at the instance of Her Majesty's Government she had been content to accept less than originally she had a right to demand. For himself, whatever motives they might attribute to Russia, whether interests of aggrandizement or sincere desire for peace, he could not see how she could have refrained from using force to secure the objects for which she had made so many sacrifices. Attacks had been made on the right hon. Member for Greenwich, but he should not follow that example by attacking Her Majesty's Government in a similar spirit, for although their policy was inconsistent in detail, yet he thought that it might be explained by one prevailing idea. He believed that the one thing Her Majesty's Government had been sincerely anxious for was the preservation of peace, almost at any price, though the means taken were not very likely to secure the object; that was what explained the despatch of Lord Derby to the Government of Austria, urging them to take such measures as would assist the Turks to put down insurrection—an insurrection which the right hon. Member for Greenwich considered to be a war in one of the holiest of causes. Undoubtedly, the same desire for the peace of the world induced the Government to accept the Andrassy Note, to refuse their concurrence to the Berlin Memorandum, to urge upon Turkey to accept the demands of Russia, and then at another time to urge Russia to withdraw demands refused by Turkey. But, unfortunately, these proceedings had not resulted in staining their object, and war had broken out. We had allowed Russia to draw the sword alone when we might have held the hilt, and in order to avoid the bare risk of an intervention with all Europe against Turkey, we had placed ourselves in a position where we might, in some unreasonable panic, be alone, face to face, in a war with Russia. The Government said they would not interfere unless British interests were affected. He would not presume to say that this policy was a gospel of selfishness, because he did not know in what sense the words British interests were used. If they only meant a jealous fear lest our trade should be injured, then it was unworthy of us; but if, on the contrary, they meant that we had undertaken a vast responsibility in connection with our Indian Empire, whose happiness lay in the continued security of our rule, then he said that these were interests to guard, and, if necessary, to defend, even by the sword. But then, in this ease, Russia had a right to ask Her Majesty's Government at what point they considered that those interests would be imperilled. Russian statesmen had a right to complain that we had no definite policy, and they never knew at what point they might overstep an imaginary line, and invite our hostility, and as long as this was uncertain the English people might find some morning that in the course of the night the Russian Army had unwittingly overstepped the mark which the Government had placed upon their maps, the passing of which was to be the passing of the Rubicon, and the signal for the commencement of hostilities. Her Majesty's Government should give the House some information as to the point at which they considered that British interests would be interfered with. One thing he was quite certain of—that British interests would be no longer identified by the people with Turkish misgovernment and misrule. He confessed that he thought, looking at the whole of the subject, that we had less to fear for British interests than we had to fear for the condition of those unhappy Provinces. He should tender his support to the third and fourth Resolutions of his right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich, which sought to protect these Provinces, as well from any other foreign dominion as from the tyranny of Turkey. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Christchurch had told them that now such policy was too late. He (Mr. Chamberlain) could only say that it seemed to him that it was n ever too late to try the experiment. One thing was quite clear—that the experiment had not been honestly or sincerely tried up to the present time. It might have been tried with a good chance of success at an earlier period, when the Government were asked to join in the Berlin Memorandum. A joint intervention with all Europe against Turkey was a risk which might be righteously encountered in order to prevent the certainty of the war in which the two countries were now engaged. The Conference at Constantinople was a distinct acceptance of the principle of international arbitration. International arbitration was only an idle dream unless they were willing to accept at the same time the idea of international obligations. England especially had a duty cast upon her to do something for the relief of these poor suffering people, whose condition was very much the result of our past interference: Because he believed that the Resolutions faithfully represented the opinions of the great mass of the English people which hitherto had had no representation in the House, but only in the agitation out-of-doors, and because he believed they were just and expedient, he should offer to them his humble and hearty support. He knew that their defeat was a foregone conclusion; still he hoped that in the end the policy which they indicated might prevail.


I am not going to dwell on the somewhat unhappy wrangle which occurred at the beginning of the evening with respect to the form which this debate should take. I feel, however, bound to say, that under all the peculiar circumstances of the case, seeing that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, who, throughout the last Autumn, led a great agitation on this subject, at last had declared that the time had come when he could not, consistently with the course which he then took, remain silent with respect to it any longer, and in consequence had placed a series of Resolutions on the Notice Paper, on which he distinctly intended to invite the opinion of the House—not separately, but as a whole—the country, from one end of it to the other, will, I think, learn with astonishment tomorrow morning that the right hon. Gentleman has changed his course at the last moment, and has abstained from inviting that opinion. Therefore, whatever may be the view taken as to the moving of the Previous Question—and I, for one, would have preferred meeting the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman with a more decided opposition—I believe my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) has done well, when a person occupying the high position of the right hon. Gentleman at the last moment strikes out the pith of his Resolutions and changes the front which he presented, not only to this House, but to the country, in giving the House an opportunity of expressing its opinion that it will decline to entertain the question of any Resolution which might embarrass Her Majesty's Government in the maintenance of peace and in protecting British interests, especially when such Resolution indicates no alternative line of policy. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of all the meetings which have been held in the country, not only during the Autumn, but in the past week. Now, as to those which were held in the Autumn, I can only say that I, for one, should have been ashamed of my countrymen if public expression had not been given from one end of the laud to the other of their utter detestation of the horrors which had been committed in Turkey. Do you think that because we happen to be Ministers we are not Englishmen? Do you think that because we happening to be Ministers of the Crown pursue a line of policy which you do not like we have not the feelings of Englishmen? Do you suppose that we twelve men are the only persons in the country who have not been alive to the horrors which have been going on in Turkey? If you think that, or if you have let the country think that, you are grievously mistaken. And I am bound to say that you have misled the country, and led it to think that because we have pursued the policy that we considered right and just, we are more callous than you to the horrors of all that has been going on in Bulgaria. ["No, no!"] The right hon. Gentleman says "No, no," but it is true. I think these allegations against the Government are perfectly false. But when you come to the meetings that have been held during the last week, they are not the spontaneous feeling of the country. It is a matter of notoriety that they are meetings held for the express purpose of backing up those Resolutions which the right hon. Gentleman now disdains to put before the House. ["No, no!"] Yes, and if the opinions of those meetings are to be gathered as the opinion of this House apparently is to be gathered, if all the horrors perpetrated in Turkey are to be paraded before the country, if they are to be spoken of by the most eloquent man who can be found, if you propose Resolutions containing some policy to stop these horrors, and if at the same time you strike out the pith of those Resolutions, I do not wonder at your getting any expression of opinion at such meetings. The right hon. Gentleman has said that the policy of the Government has been ambiguous. I hope to show before I sit down that it has been as clear as possible, and has proceeded in one straight line. The right hon. Gentleman said that no policy could be more deplorable than the policy of the Government during the last 18 months. Eighteen months! And in his very next sentence, he said that when we went to the Conference at Constantinople the country had confidence in the Government. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Confidence in Lord Salisbury.] I am coming to that. I thought that the right hon. Gentleman stated that when the Conference went on the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends held their hand. Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me to ask this question? When was the meeting of the Conference at Constantinople? And when was the meeting of the so-called Conference at St. James's Hall? Did they not stay hands? How long did they stay their hands? If you compare dates you will find that there was very little time between the two to stay their hands in. The right hon. Gentleman says that he had confidence in Lord Salisbury and the proposals he made at the Conference. Now, if there has been one thing against which Englishmen ought to protest it is when an attempt is made to separate one Member of the Cabinet from the others. [Cheers.] Yes! this attempt to separate Lord Salisbury from the other Members of the Cabinet led some people to believe that the Cabinet were not united until the publication of the Blue Books, when all these castles in the air fell to pieces, and it was shown that every word uttered by Lord Salisbury expressed the firm declarations of the united Cabinet that sent him out and gave him his Instructions. The right hon. Gentleman has said there was a power behind Lord Salisbury which had previously determined that he should not succeed. I tell the right hon. Gentleman that a person holding his position in this House, unless he has some evidence to bring before the House, ought not to make such a statement. [Mr. GLADSTONE pointed to the Blue Books lying on the Table before him.] I repeat, that unless he has some evidence to prove the fact, he has no right whatever to make that statement. Nay, more, I will prove to him before I sit down that the statement is untrue, and that no such charge can be made, or ever ought to have been made. The right hon. Gentleman says we had determined that the Conference should fail, and that it must needs have failed, because we told Turkey that we were not going to enforce the decision of the Conference by arms. Now, I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman, if any Gentleman who has taken any part in these meetings has ever put to the people of this country this question straight out—"Will you go to ware?'' And that is the question which you shirk to-night. That is the one thing that you do not dare to put to the country and to this House. Are you prepared to go to war against Turkey as an ally of Russia? The right hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity of answering me. Let him answer that question if lie can—not in a dozen or even a hundred sentences — but by a simple "Yes" or "No." It is a simple question. It is a vital question. It is a question that admits of no deviation. It can only be answered in a monosyllable one way or the other. Are you prepared to engage the country in a war with Russia as an Ally against Turkey? We did not get at the answer to that question in a long wrangle of an hour-and-a-half, when we heard that the third and fourth Resolutions were to be withdrawn. The right hon. Gentleman at considerable length went into the declarations of the Ministers and their Supporters. To my mind it is perfectly marvellous, if you consider the enormous number of pages in the Blue Book and the speeches that have been made, that you cannot pick out one single sentence to show that we could have done anything that we have not done. The right hon. Gentleman says that the Press, which has supported the Government, has to a certain extent prepared the country for war. I want to know how, when, and where? And what war? The right hon. Gentleman has spoken in reference to British interests, of the enormous territory we have, and says that when we speak of British interests being affected we can find them anywhere, whenever we want an excuse for war. I hope to tell the right hon. Gentleman before I sit down what those British interests are. Then he went on to say, and for the best part of an hour—I assure the right hon. Gentleman I listened to him with attention and admiration, and agree in a great deal he said—he went on to speak of the massacres that had been committed. Well, nothing would induce me to say a word here or anywhere else of defence of the acts of the Government in Turkey, which he has condemned. I utterly abhor them from the bottom of my soul, and I speak not only for myself, but for every Member of the Cabinet. I will not separate myself from the Government any more than will Lord Salisbury. The Government is one on that point; and I believe that if a Liberal Government had been in power, with the right hon. Gentleman at its head, they could not have felt more utter detestation of those acts than we have.

There is another point on which I must say a word, though it is going back to an old story—I mean as to the Treaty of Kainardji. The right hon. Gentleman has on every occasion referred to that Treaty. His conscience is not easy on the subject of the Crimean War, and he always seems to me to try and invent some way of escaping from responsibility in reference to it. Well, to-night again, the right hon. Gentleman has fallen back on the Treaty, and quoted the authority of a great historian in support of his view. But it happens that the historian was not attempting, in the passage which he quoted, to describe accurately the precise extent and effect of that Treaty; he was endeavouring simply to give prominence to the fact that the extraordinary fate was reserved for Turkey at that moment of being compelled to admit for the first time the intervention on the part of her Christian subjects of a Power which she had reason to believe was her deadly enemy. If you wish to understand what the meaning of the Treaty was, not as an abstract question, but as a practical one, surely you should see what was the conduct of the Ministers who dealt with it in 1856. The right hon. Gentleman has said that much correspondence passed on the question, and he referred to one person who, as he stated, knew more of Turkey, and had more influence in Turkey, and understood the question better than any other man—namely, Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. The Ministers of the day very properly took the advice of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe on this very point, and in his reply he wrote— As the Treaty thus evoked to serve as the basis of another more stringent and comprehensive one is doubtless within your Lordship's reach, I will only observe with reference to it that of the four Articles which alone, as I am assured, have any bearing on the subject the 7th allows of a limited Russian interference only for one particular church and its ministers, and of no direct protection at the 8th relates exclusively to pilgrims; 14th accords to Russia the right of protecting one specified church in this neighbourhood; and the 16th applies exclusively to Wallachia and other Provinces restored to Turkey by the Treaty. Well, again, what said Lord Clarendon, who will surely be admitted to be a high authority— The whole question as regards Russia turns upon the interpretation of the 7th Article of the Treaty of Kainardji by which Russia engaged to protect the Christian religion and all its churches throughout European Turkey; but so carefully did the Porte guard itself against any right of interference on the part of Russia, that by a subsequent portion of the Article that interference was expressly limited to the right of making representations with respect to a church in Constantinople and to take those representations into consideration. But it is this unlimited interpretation of the Treaty which has been throughout insisted upon by Russia, and for which she is now prepared to go to war. He had yet another document to quote to the right hon. Gentleman, and it is an extract from the views communicated by the Plenipotentiaries of France, Austria, and Great Britain, to Prince Gortchakoff in Dec., 1854. They say— La Russie, en renonçant à la pretention do couvrir d'un protectorat officiel les sujets Chrétiens du Sultan du rit Oriental, renonce également par voie de conséquence naturelle, à faire récrire aucun des Articles de ses Traités antérieurs, et notamment du Traité de Koutchouk-Kainardji, dont l'interpretation erronée,"—[Cheers.]—Yes, that is the point—"a été la cause principale do la guerre actuelle. That was an exact description of the case. Well, the question came to be debated in the House of Commons in 1856, and during the discussion an hon. Member spoke as follows:— It is said that what the Sultan gives today he may revoke to-morrow, and that the Treaty does not give to the Allied Powers that right of interference which seine hon. Members think necessary for the security of the Christian subjects of the Sultan. And what was Lord Palmerston's reply? I do wish," he said, "those who hold that opinion to remember for a moment what was the cause of the war. It was that the Emperor of Russia sent Prince Menchikoff to Constantinople with a demand which, if agreed to, would have given to the Emperor a right of interference in favour of the Christian subjects of the Sultan which was held by the Government of the Sultan, and by the English and French Governments, and admitted by the greater part of Europe, to have been a practical transference of sovereignty over 12,000,000 of the subjects of the Sultan to the Emperor of Russia. The war took place in consequence of the resistance of the Sultan to that demand; and if the treaty had placed that firman of the Sultan under the guarantee of the Allied Powers in a greater degree than the note of Prince Menchikoff required that the protection of the Christians should be placed under the Emperor of Russia, the only effect of a war commenced to maintain the independence of the Sultan, and to protect him against an authoritative interference of foreign Powers in the relations between him and his subjects, would have been to multiply by five the evil which he had previously resisted, and to give to all the Allies those very powers to resist which they took up arms to defend the Sultan. Therefore, a war begun to maintain the independence of the Sultan would have ended in utterly destroying that independence."—[3 Hansard, cxlii. 121-5.] The course thus condemned by Lord Palmerston is the very course which the right hon. Gentleman wishes us now to take. He wants us to act in concert with Europe in the direction of coercion. [Mr. GLADSTONE dissented.] The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head; but it is true, nevertheless. I want to call the right hon. Gentleman's attention to this, for it is the contention of Her Majesty's Government, and it was the contention of the Government of which Lord Palmerston was a Member, in 1856, that the fact of the Firman having been adverted to in the Treaty, and the issue of it having been recorded in the Treaty, would give to the Allied Powers that moral right of diplomatic interference and of remonstrance with the Sultan which, says Lord Palmerston—"I am perfectly convinced would be quite sufficient to accomplish the desired purpose." Who, I would ask, is responsible for anything that may be deficient in the way of power to do what hon. Members opposite want? It is surely the Government which was in power in 1856, and if the Government of that day held the opinion which the right hon. Gentleman who has brought forward these Resolution now holds, they would have insisted on the insertion in the Treaty of a much stronger Article than that which was inserted.

The right hon. Gentleman further objects to the notion that the Treaty of 1856 was carefully revised in 1871, but he seems to forget that he was solely responsible for the last-named Treaty. He says further that the Treaty was passed in a hurry, and that England and Prussia, who were parties to it, had no time to think of it; at all events, that Prussia was so much engaged in the French war that she did not even take the trouble to answer Prince Gortchakoff's note. So far as Prussia or Germany—call it which you will—is concerned, I am quite sure the right hon. Gentleman's memory is at fault. He seems to forget that the Conference on which the Treaty was based was held in London at the express instance of Prussia, that it was Prussia which took the leading part in these negotiations from the beginning, and that at its close Her Majesty's Government, of which the right hon. Gentleman was then the Leader, thought fit to express thanks to Prussia for the part which she had taken in the business. I hope we shall hear no more of the statement in reference to the Treaty of 1871 that Germany had no time to consider it. The right hon. Gentleman has thought fit to say that the policy of Her Majesty's Government in reference to this matter has been ambiguous, but nothing could be wider from the truth. He has said that the policy ,laid down by Lord Salisbury at the Conference was right, but that that was not the policy of the Government, and he has chosen to refer to some words which I used in the Autumn, and to which. I still adhere, as does also the Government. How does the case stand? If any hon. Member will look at the proceedings which took place before that Conference, he will see how far we deserve the charge of the right hon. Gentleman. He says that we put a stop to all the good that could have resulted from the Conference by telling Turkey that we would not enforce the decisions of the Conference by war. Let me remind him that the whole gist and basis of the Conference was that we would not interfere with the independence or integrity of Turkey. Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to say that when Europe had gone into the Conference on these terms, she should have taken advantage of the position so gained, and then have turned round and said to the Turks—"If you don't agree to our terms we will go to war with you?" I say that if we had departed from that basis we should have been guilty of a gross breach of faith. The words I used in the Autumn, and to which the right hon. Gentleman has alluded, are true, and will be substantiated in the docu- ments now upon the Table of the House. What were the Instructions which were given to Lord Salisbury before he went to the Conference at Constantinople? In the Instructions given to Lord Salisbury before he left for Constantinople, it was laid down that— Pacification cannot be attained by Proclamations. Powers have a right to demand, in the interest of the peace of Europe that they shall examine for themselves the measures required for the reform of the administration of the disturbed Provinces, and that adequate security shall be provided for carrying those measures into operation. And that security was eventually laid down in the proposition for an International Commission, and in the provisions as to the appointment of the Valis. When the right hon. Gentleman says that our policy has been ambiguous, I reply, that if ever a policy has been marked by two distinct landmarks, it is that of Her Majesty's Government. What are those two distinct landmarks—and don't put them upon Lord Salisbury, because they are the embodiments of the opinions of Her Majesty's Government, and are to be found in the Instructions given to him before he left this country. The first of these landmarks is as follows:— Her Majesty's Government cannot countenance the introduction into the Conference of proposals, however plausible or well-intentioned, which would bring foreign armies into Turkish territory in violation of the engagements by which the Guaranteeing Powers are solemnly bound. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Where is that to be found?] That is to be found in the Instructions which were settled before Lord Salisbury went abroad, and it is one in which I entirely agree. The next landmark is also one in which I entirely concur, and it is as follows:— It should be understood by the Porte that Great Britain is resolved not to sanction misgovernment and oppression, and that if the Porte by obstinacy or apathy opposes the efforts which are now making to place the Ottoman Empire on a more secure basis, the responsibility of the consequences which may ensue will rest solely with the Sultan and his advisers.—[Turkey, No. 2, 1877, pp. 3-6.] It has been said by the right hon. Gentleman that the Government has sanctioned the maladministration and oppression going on in Turkey. Let us look to the facts. The Conference came to an end, and let us hear what were the last words which Lord Salisbury used on that occasion—not as speaking for himself alone, but as the mouthpiece of the Cabinet— it is my duty to free Her Majesty's Government of all responsibility for what may happen, and I am therefore instructed to declare formally that Great Britain is resolved not to give her sanction either to maladministration or to oppression, and that if the Porte from obstinacy or inactivity, offers resistance to the efforts now being made to place the Ottoman Empire on a more sure basis, the responsibility of the consequences will rest solely on the Sultan and his advisers."—[Ibid. p. 362.] That was the policy of Her Majesty's Government, and the question is whether they should have gone further or not? But after the Conference was brought to a conclusion Russia was still not at all satisfied. Russia had then massed her forces upon the frontiers of Turkey, and she determined to take further steps in the matter. In the Circular which Prince Gortchakoff sent throughout Europe he still felt how necessary it was to maintain, at all events, the appearance of European concert, and therefore he made in it a remarkable statement which I wish he had always kept in view and had acted up to—namely, that European concert should be preserved.

The right hon. Gentleman, in referring to the Protocol, seems to forget that Russia was not the assenting party to it, but was the originator of' it. It was not a European—it was a Russian Protocol. Russia at that time stood in full armour upon the frontiers of Turkey, and under such circumstances disarmament by Turkey was impossible, because the attitude of Russia had excited not only the apprehension, but the fanaticism of the Mussulman population of Turkey. I believe that it was the attitude of Russia at that time that was the obstacle to the internal pacification and reform on the part of Turkey. In all these circumstances Her Majesty's Government consented to sign the Protocol, not perhaps believing that it would effect much, but at all events, as it was there stated, in the interests of peace. What was the conduct of Turkey after that? Turkey was not asked to be a party to the Protocol, which was a document drawn by the Powers themselves, and in which they agreed to give her time to see what she could do in the way of reforming her Government, re- serving to themselves the right, if she did nothing in that direction, of future interference. Well, Turkey protested against that document, claiming to be treated as an independent Power, and protesting against what she considered to be a humiliation of her as a Sovereign country. In doing that I think she was unwise; that she was blind—utterly blind—and foolish. She is now suffering for her folly, and I have not a word to say on her behalf. Yes; but still the Protocol had held out to her that Europe would allow her time to see whether her promises would be fulfilled; and yet, almost immediately after that Protocol had been signed, Russia throws it at her and holds it to her head as though it were a loaded pistol, and requires her at once to reply to it. Russia said there was no guarantee that reform would be carried into effect, that all chances were closed against conciliation, and that there was no alternative but coercion. I entirely deny that. Russia insinuated that she was doing a work on behalf of Europe. Now, Her Majesty's Government felt bound to protest against that. I do not know what grounds Russia had to suppose that she was charged by Europe to carry out the objects of the Conference or the Protocol. I maintain that Her Majesty's Government replied, not only with justice, but with dignity, to the letter which Russia sent. We said— Her Majesty's Government cannot, therefore, admit, as is contended by Prince Gortchakoff, that the answer of the Porte removed all hope of deference on its part to the wishes and advice of Europe, and all security for the application of the suggested reforms. Nor are they of opinion that the terms of the Note necessarily precluded the possibility of the conclusion of peace with Montenegro or of the arrangement of mutual disarmament. Her Majesty's Government still believe that with patience and moderation on both sides these objects might not improbably have been attained. Then we go on to say— But the course on which the Russian Government has entered involves graver and more serious considerations. It is in contravention of the stipulations of the Treaty of Paris of March 30th, 1856, by which Russia and the other signatary Powers engaged, each on its own part, to respect the independence and territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire. In the Conferences of London, 1871, at the close of which the above stipulation with others was again confirmed, the Russian Plenipotentiary, in common with those of the other Powers, signed a Declaration affirming it to be an 'essential principle of the law of nations that no Power can liberate itself from the engagements of a Treaty nor modify the stipulations thereof unless with the consent of the contracting parties by means of an amicable arrangement.'

I ask the House, I ask the country, whether Russia has performed her duties under that Treaty of 1871? Her Majesty's Government would willingly have refrained from making any observations on the subject, but as Prince Gortchakoff seems to assume, in a Declaration addressed to all the Powers of Europe, that Russia is acting in the interest of Great Britain and other Powers, they felt bound to state, and I feel bound to state openly here, in a manner equally firm and public, that the Russian Government is not acting in concert with the other Powers. If any Power has more than another prevented united European action, that Power is Russia. Russia and Turkey are at war—war in a part of Europe which is the most inflammable you can conceive—in that part of Europe where every Power has an interest, and I am sorry to say an almost antagonistic interest. Of that war we feel the effects in this our own country at the present moment in the rise in the price of' bread. War having broken out, the landmarks of the policy of the British Government are as clear as they were before. They have nothing to do with the war. Great Britain has declared absolute and strict neutrality. What the result of the war may be God only knows, but all the efforts of' the British Government must clearly be as far as possible to localize the war—to reduce its area to a minimum. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich have talked about British interests, and the hon. Member for Birmingham has challenged Her Majesty's Government to point out what are the British interests which can possibly be drawn into this war. The policy of Her Majesty's Government is one of strict neutrality between the parties. We warned them as long ago as May, 1876, that they had nothing to expect from us. We warned them at the Conference, and since there has been no loss of time in the issue of our declaration of neutrality. So far, therefore, as it is a Russian and a Turkish war, we have nothing to do with it. In the war between Russia and Turkey we are absolutely impartial. There is the first clear landmark. Whether the war will produce the results which it is supposed will be produced is another matter. Although our efforts will be directed to prevent that war from spreading, it is impossible for anyone to say where it will stop. I am afraid that Russia, by the action she has taken, has assumed a most serious responsibility. Other nations may soon be drawn in—other interests may soon be involved. And there are interests that may be touched which technically it may be within the rights of belligerents to attack, but which practically are altogether outside and foreign to the objects and purposes of this unhappy war. There are English interests, there are European interests, there are Indian interests, there are world-wide interests which may be concerned. We do not want additional territory — we want nothing. We wish this war had not broken out. Batoum and other places have been spoken of, but there is the Suez Canal, in which not only England, but the world, is seriously concerned. Why the Suez Canal should be attacked by Russia in any shape I cannot imagine. Whether attacked by Russia or by Turkey, that is a question of not only English, but European interest. It is the road from the West to the East of the world. Take another place in which not simply England, but the world is interested. I mean Egypt. Alexandria is for practical purposes an English, a French—nay, a European town. No place can be of more commercial importance than Alexandria. Is Europe to allow Alexandria to be destroyed or Egypt to be occupied? Well, what am I to say about the Treaties as to the Straits of the Dardanelles and the possession of Constantinople? Is it necessary for carrying on the war between Russia and Turkey, and for the protection of the Christians in Turkey, that Constantinople should be either attacked, approached, or occupied? I say "No." These are questions which no country in Europe could regard with indifference; and when I mention them I hope they are so remote that they will not practically arise. But they are questions which must be considered by any British Government, and which any Ministry, even if the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) himself were at its head, would not dare to neglect, or if it did, the country would very soon send it an answer which it could not mistake. And that is the second clear landmark. However, I hope, as I have said, these things are in so remote a future that we need not contemplate them. Let me quote the words which the Emperor Alexander used on the 2nd of November last to our Ambassador. His Majesty said— He had on several occasions given the most solemn assurances that he desired no conquest, that he aimed at no aggrandizement, and that he had not the smallest wish or intention to be possessed of Constantinople. Let us see that His Majesty keeps to his words. He continued— All that had been said or written about the will of Peter the Great and the aims of Catherine II. were illusions and phantoms They never existed in reality; and he considered that the acquisition of Constantinople would be a misfortune for Russia. There was no question of it, nor had it ever been entertained by his late father, who gave proof of it in 1828, when Ins victorious army was within four days' march of Constantinople. Our Ambassador further wrote that— His Majesty pledged his sacred word of honour in the most earnest and solemn manner that he had no intention of acquiring Constantinople, and that if necessity should oblige him to occupy a portion of Bulgaria, it would only be provisionally, and until peace and the safety of the Christian populations were secured."—[Turkey, No. 1, 1877, p. 643.] If the Emperor keeps his word, thus solemnly pledged, British interests will not be concerned. But a victorious army is a difficult thing to deal with, and a country once aroused is not always so easily quieted. All I can say is, that, as far as Her Majesty's Government are concerned, they sincerely trust that no action of Russia will ever require them to protect those interests which he outside of this war; but that if those interests should be affected, of course it cannot be expected that either Europe or England will not interfere to protect them. I am sorry to have detained the House so long, but I must say one word before I sit down on the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman. I am bound to confess that when I read them the first time I could make neither head nor tail of them, and the debate during the early part of this evening showed that others shared my difficulty. Some have said that the first two Resolutions have nothing in them, and I caught from the right hon. Gentleman that he himself had very much that opinion, for he thought Her Majesty's Government might accept them; and yet he said they were brought forward practically because he thinks the policy of the Government so entirely false and erroneous that he felt bound to protest against it. Now, I could quite understand a Resolution being moved by the right hon. Gentleman declaring that we are bound to interfere in consequence of what has gone on in Turkey and to join Russia in the present war. If that is what the right hon. Gentleman means, why in the name of goodness does he not say so? I have never yet seen an account of any one of the meetings held in the country at which that issue has been put straight before them. Do you mean war or do you not? That is the question. The right hon. Gentleman said we have used every possible expression we could use, that we have remonstrated and expostulated, and pressed and protested; and he suggested to us a blank form in which you could put in any word you want. The word that he wants us to use is war. [Mr. GLADSTONE dissented.] The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. If that is not it, what is it? I can tell you what it is. It is as clear as daylight. What he means is this—"If you will only say you will go to war if they don't do these things, although you don't mean to go to war; if you will only bark loud enough, though you don't mean to bite, Turkey will give way." Well, I call that conduct utterly unworthy of us. [Cheers.] Yes, you tried that policy on in the case of Denmark. I do not like the position of the boy who writes up "No Popery," and then runs away. If you mean to go to war, say so. When that issue is put plainly before the country I know what the answer of the country will be. But the right hon. Gentleman goes on to say that what he wants is practical self-government and local liberty. He speaks of these things as he might of a cargo of rice or a bale of merchandize, that you could tumble out at once into the middle of Turkey. Why, practical self-government and local liberty are the growth of years. All we can do is to sow the seed of them; but depend upon it the fields in which that seed will not grow are fields which are ploughed up by war and watered with blood. The one result of war would be this, as was said in reference to Greece, there would be a generation of men missing, old men and boys alone would be left to till the soil. Now, let me ask in that case what is the good of these Resolutions? The whole sting of them is gone. The one thing on which the right hon. Gentleman comes before the country he has taken away from the judgment of the House, and he has left something which hon. Members below the Gangway opposite say is not worth debating. I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) when he says—"Is that all you have to offer us after the speeches you have made? If you do feel bound to put something before the country, let us, at all events, decide that something. Don't bring that something before us and then wipe it off the slate." If you are displeased with our policy, turn us out; but first show us what policy you have to offer in place of ours. Do not imagine that the country will think of the hundred votes you may obtain in the division. They will only see that you have decided nothing, and that what you wished to carry into effect you have not had the courage to put before the House. Looking at the whole question and at the time which hon. Gentlemen opposite have chosen to bring it forward, I must say I think their object has been not so much to unite Europe, or to unite England, as to unite the Liberal Party. As the right hon. Gentleman seems to think the policy of the Government ambiguous, let me before I sit down once more state clearly what it has been and what it is. It has been that they will not in any way sanction oppression or tyranny in any part of the world where they have the power to interfere. It has been to preserve inviolate our Treaty engagements, and to set an example which, if followed by other nations, would materially add to the happiness of the world. It is, deeply as they regret the war, to maintain the strictest neutrality between the contending nations. It is, outside the necessities of this actual war, to maintain, as they ought to maintain, and as any British Government would maintain, those interests of England which ought to be maintained. They have no thought of fear; they have no thought of gain. Before the face of this House, of England, of Europe, of the world, they are conscious of the honesty of their own purpose. They are conscious of their own earnest desire for peace; they are conscious, if need be, of their strength. They have, I hope, the wisdom not to use that strength improperly, and wherever and whenever the opportunity may offer to stop this war, to heal these wretched divisions, to improve the condition of these Christian populations in a way which will really improve them—and that way, in my opinion, is not by war—to localize, to minimize, or to wipe away the effects of this war, there the Government will give their services.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Childers.)


apprehended there could be no two opinions on the point that it would be necessary to adjourn the debate. The only question was as to the day for resuming it. [Cries of "To-morrow."] He hoped it would be the pleasure of the House to continue the debate to-morrow. The ,hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms) had an important Motion, which stood first on the Paper for to-day, and the second was a Motion of the right hon. and learned Member for Clare (Sir Colman O'Loghlen). He hoped they would waive their rights with regard to these Motions, in order to allow the present debate to be resumed.


said, that under ordinary circumstances he should not for a moment have hesitated to give way, but a section of the House to which he belonged believed that it was an urgent necessity that the House and the Government should know more fully what the opinion of the country was, and that an Adjournment of the Debate until Thursday would be of essential service for that purpose. The right hon. Member for Greenwich had changed his Resolutions, though he (Mr. Helms) did not believe he had changed his course on this question, and the country should have an opportunity of considering the matter before the resumption of the debate. He felt it, therefore, his duty not to accede to the appeal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


said, he very much regretted the position which his hon. Friend the Member for Hackney had taken up. It was undoubtedly necessary from time to time, when important questions such as this arose, that the House should seek to make itself aware of the opinion of the country. But the Resolutions of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) had been on the Table of the House and before the country for some time, and the country had had an opportunity of expressing its opinion on them. That opinion was known to hon. Members who represented the constituencies. Now, he did not think it would conduce to the dignity of their deliberations if they were deliberately to postpone a discussion such as this in order that they might receive instructions from their constituencies. As he had said, the general scope, nature, and tendency of the Resolutions of his right hon. Friend were already known to the country, and it could not be necessary that the constituencies should have an opportunity of expressing their opinion as to any changes which had that night been made in the Resolutions. It would be much to be regretted, therefore, if his hon. Friend and those who had Notices on the Paper refused to give tomorrow for the continuation of the debate. He might remind his hon. Friend that it was not probable, even if tomorrow was devoted to the discussion, that the debate would be finished that night. They would probably be in the position of having to appeal to Her Majesty's Government to give another day, and he could scarcely consider it fair, in the present position of public Business, that they should call on the Government to sacrifice the time at their disposal if hon. Members on that side of the House were not prepared to make some sacrifices also.


said, the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition had stated that the Resolutions had been on the Table of the House for several days, but how many of them he (Lord Eslington) wished to know now remained? The country had supported the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich on many occasions; but they had been deceived on that occasion, because the Resolutions to which they had given their support had been withdrawn. If the debate were adjourned what were they to discuss? There was one Reso- lution, which was a truism, on which all probably were agreed; and there was another to discuss, the terms of which were to be altered, and until to-morrow the House would not know what they were. It was a most unsatisfactory position for the House to be placed in. He wished very much to know what was the question before the House? Great national interests were to be sacrificed in order to indulge a Party purpose, and he regretted it.


said, as he had a Motion for to-morrow evening he would willingly withdraw it if the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Holms) would withdraw his Motion, but if his hon. Friend would not take that course, he should retain his Motion.


said, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had not withdrawn the substantial part of his Resolutions. It was desirable that time should be given in order that the House might hear a few more echoes from the country on this great question.


said, they could come to a decision without outside pressure. There were many reasons why the debate ought to be brought to a speedy conclusion. He had not much respect for public opinion as expressed in the papers during the last week, which had no doubt been got up to order.


expressed a hope that if the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Holms) gave way, that the Government would give him a day for the discussion of his Motion relative to the Army.


said, as hon. Members opposite had alleged that the agitation of the last few days had been got up to order, it was desirable that they should wait and see whether the agitation of the next few days was got up to order also. This was the most important debate of the Session. The greatest interest was felt in the country upon the question; and it was most desirable that the country should have the opportunity of considering the alterations which had been proposed in the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman before the debate was resumed. He therefore urged his hon. Friend the Member for Hackney not to give way. The debate should not be resumed so early as to-morrow.


put it to the Government, whether it was worth while to resume the debate to-morrow, when it was well known it could not be concluded before Thursday?


thought the fact that the debate was not likely to conclude tomorrow was an unanswerable argument for resuming it to-morrow. If it was not resumed to-morrow, the debate would not be concluded on Thursday. He hoped, therefore, the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Holms) would defer to what seemed to be the very general desire of the House.


protested against extending the time for resuming the debate over to-morrow, merely to get up an extraneous expression of opinion, whether sham or otherwise. It should be remembered that the Business of the House had to be proceeded with, and that that Business was the Business of the country. The Government would, therefore, press the resumption of the debate to-morrow. If it did not go on, the Government would not be prepared to give Thursday. If it went on tomorrow, and was not finished, the Government would give Thursday. But the Government felt strongly that, having given up Monday, they had a right to call on private Members to give up Tuesday. Therefore, his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer would to-morrow move that Notices of Motion be postponed till after the Order of the Day for resuming the Adjourned Debate on the Eastern Question.


explained that what he had said was not solely with regard to his own particular Motion. He believed he was giving expression to the general opinion on that side of the House. Under all the circumstances, however, he would yield to what he understood to be the general wish of the House, and waive his claim for precedence with his Motion. He hoped, however, that the Secretary for War would endeavour to find an early day for discussing the Army Estimates.


assured the hon. Member that he would do all in his power to secure the earliest opportunity for the proposed discussion.

Question put, and agreed to.

Debate adjourned till To-morrow.