Order road, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [7th May],
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.)
And which Amendment was,
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 lino of policy,"—(Sir Henry Wolff,)
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. BOURKE
said, that holding the position he did, it had been his fate to have to wade through every document in the Foreign Office relating to this subject which had been written during the last three years, and he was sure that the House would sympathize with him when he said that it was no light undertaking to attempt to consider any portion of this great subject. He trusted, however, that the Housewouldnot be alarmed by that statement, because he could assure them that he did not intend to address them at any great length, especially after the observations that had fallen from the hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Walter). The subject, indeed, appeared to him to have been very nearly exhausted, and the case of the Government had been put in a most satisfactory manner by his Superiors in office who had preceded him in the debate, and therefore it was his intention not to traverse the ground which they had already gone over, but to confine his observations to certain topics which had not yet been alluded to, or which if they had been alluded to, had only been touched upon lightly. Notwithstanding 733 the great difference between the Resolutions of the right hon. Member for Greenwich as originally proposed and as they now appeared upon the Paper, to which attention had been directed by the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster), he did not think that any candid man could maintain that the Government, after all that had passed during this debate, could avoid looking upon these Resolutions as a whole. There was much in the speech of the right hon. Member for Bradford last night to which he (Mr. Bourke) had listened with most sincere pleasure. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the speech of his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary as one calculated to dispel many dangerous delusions. Why those delusions came to be entertained it was not for Her Majesty's Government or himself to divine, and certainly no man of judgment who had read what the Government had written, or had heard what they bad said from the beginning to the end of this discussion, would feel himself justified in charging them with having given the slightest ground for those delusions. The right hon. Gentleman also went on to say that lie was satisfied with the interpretation which the Home Secretary had placed upon the word "neutrality." The position of Her Majesty's Government had from the first been based upon that interpretation of the werd. The right hon. Gentleman proceeded to say that he was strongly in favour of the maintenance and of the protection of British interests in case they were attacked. That also was one of the cardinal points in the policy of Her Majesty's Government. The right hon. Gentleman also spoke of the mediatorial duties which it might become incumbent upon this country to discharge from time to time while the war was going on. For his own part, he (Mr. Bourke) hoped that it would not be long before Her Majesty's Government were called upon to discharge those duties, and he could only say that they were fully impressed with the fact that those were among the most important of their duties, and he hoped that the earnest they had given with regard to Servia was sufficient to satisfy the House and the country that they would never allow the slightest opportunity to pass of using their mediatorial offices when they could be usefully employed in order 734 to restore peace to Europe. The right hon. Gentleman had also spoken of the duties which would be incumbent upon this country in reference to the arrangements which would follow when the war was brought to a conclusion. Her Majesty's Government were peculiarly alive to those duties, and it was in view of them that they did not wish to have their future action hampered in any way, because they felt that the events that might ensue might have a very vital and powerful effect upon the future destinies of this country as well as those of the South-eastern part of Europe. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that he had never been in favour of England acting by herself or of her joining Russia, and that there would have been great danger to the peace of Europe if she had gone to war against Turkey, or had joined the other Powers in going to war with her. That was the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, and that was the principle upon which they were acting; and there could not be a clearer exposition of the policy which had guided them from first to last. But the right hon. Gentleman then proceeded to make some statements in which he could not concur. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that he deeply regretted that Her Majesty's Government did not adopt the policy of calling upon Europe to put pressure upon Turkey, and, if necessary, to use coercion. He (Mr. Bourke) was totally unable to reconcile that principle, so laid down by the right hon. Gentleman, with the other one he had stated that he was in favour of; in fact, he thought that the right hon. Gentleman had been too anxious to hunt with the bounds and to run with the hare upon this occasion, and that this desire had laid him open to the charge of inconsistency. If the last principle laid down by the right hon. Gentleman were correct, he ought to lay himself at the feet of the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney), who had certainly never said anything stronger in favour of coercion than was contained in that principle. No one could well mistake the meaning of the very able and logical speech of the hon. Member for Liskeard—it meant the dismemberment of Turkey pure and simple. He (Mr. Bourke) based his objection to the dismemberment of Turkey upon the same grounds as were put forward by the Secre- 735 tary for War. What commission, human or divine, had we to say to a country—"You shall be cut to pieces?" What commission, human or divine, had we to enter on a crusade against Turkey, or to attack a young Monarch, who certainly was not responsible for any of these acts of misgovernment and of cruelty which had of late disgraced the Government of Turkey, and to tell him that we were going to dismember his country for no reason in the world except for the misgovernment and the cruelties in which he had no part? The hon. Member for Liskeard had complained that we were in conflict with all the other European Powers in regard to these negotiations, as to putting pressure upon Turkey, and that the policy of Her Majesty's Government had been to keep them back from acting in the matter. There was, however, nothing in the whole history of this business that justified that statement. On the contrary, the concord of the European Powers, with the exception of Russia, with reference to the non-coercion of Turkey, was unanimous from first to last. The hon. Member further said that the question rested primarily with England and Germany, and that it might have been settled by the joint action of those twe Powers, if we had addressed any communication to Prince Bismarck on the subject. He (Mr. Bourke) should like to know his authority for that statement. The hon. Member might know more of Prince Bismarck's mind than Her Majesty's Government. Prince Bismarck spoke his mind in the most candid manner to many persons, and it was quite possible that the hon. Member had had these confidences made to him by Prince Bismarck. If he had, he had been more fortunate than Her Majesty's Government, and he (Mr. Bourke) could not find anything in the Blue Books, or in any private letter which had been written, which would justify the statement that Prince Bismarck was ready to join them in the policy suggested. The hon. Member had then proceeded to draw a picture of the relations between France and Germany, which, in his opinion, was over-coloured. He (Mr. Bourke) hoped and believed that the feelings of animosity between those countries were not so strong as had been represented. France, great as she had been in the past, had a great future before her, and by pursuing the paths of peace she would 736 attain greater glory and greater power than she had gained by pursuing the old ways of war. In regard to the Germans, he could not believe that a great and philosophic people, educated as they were—and they were the best educated people in the world—would long allow feelings of resentment towards France to rankle in their besoms; and he sincerely hoped, notwithstanding what had been said to the contrary, that France and Germany would be united hereafter—and that in the course of a very short period—in the path of peace and progress. At the same time, he would point out that, if the unhappy state of feeling to which the hon. Member for Liskeard referred really existed between those two countries, it would manifestly have been futile to have gone to Germany and asked her to join in an European concert, when the first thing that would have happened would have been that the spirit described by the hon. Gentleman would have been evoked in France, and thus have utterly destroyed any hope of concert. The hon. Member for Liskeard went on to say last evening that the policy which he recommended—namely, that of coercion—would be a safe and an easy policy; but he could not agree with the hon. Gentleman, and he did not think that the remarks which he made on that point were worthy of a Member of his independent character and courage. He (Mr. Bourke) thought the course recommended by the hon. Gentleman to be one of a very mean character. What was his suggestion? It was this—"What is the Turkish Fleet without the head of an Englishman?" and he conveyed the impression that the Turkish Fleet was commanded by Englishmen; that there was not a single iron-clad in it which did not depend for navigation on an English engineer; and that if war broke out between England and Turkey, the consequences would be that the Ottoman Fleet would at once be given up to them. For his part, however, he could conceive no more dastardly conduct than that of a man who, having undertaken the responsibility of commanding a Fleet, sbeuld give over his ships to an antagonist, which would be the part of a traitor. The hon. Gentleman said, in effect, that the Fleet would be given up, and there would be an end of the question. Had recent events 737 justified that opinion? Did the events of 1828 justify it? He did not believe it. Of course, if war were to take place between Turkey and England the English officers now serving in Turkey would leave that service; but if the Turkish Fleet were destroyed to-morrow, I do not think that it would in the least degree alter the opinion of the Mussulman population with respect to their duty to their country; and if the whole of the Fleet was sent to the bettom of the Black Sea to-morrow, it would not alter their character or determination one iota. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich the other day described the policy of Her Majesty's Government during the last 18 months as deplorable; but he (Mr. Bourke) would like to know exactly when the right hon. Gentleman came to entertain that opinion, and how long it had been shared in by those who sat beside him on the front Opposition Bench. He was glad to see that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright) was in his place, for he wished to make his acknowledgment, the first time he had an opportunity, of the patriotic course which the right hon. Gentleman took last year, when he went in July with a deputation to the Foreign Office to see Lord Derby, and when, as the House was well aware, Lord Derby made an important declaration with regard to the state of foreign affairs which then ex-1 isted, and, amongst other subjects, went minutely into the question of the Berlin Memorandum. That declaration having been made, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham very kindly said to Lord Derby—I think I shall only express the common and unanimous feeling of the gentlemen present by saying to Lord Derby that we are greatly obliged to him for the manner in which he has received the deputation, and that we have been greatly interested in the speech he has been kind enough to deliver to us. My own impression is that it will have a very salutary effect in all parts of the country. At this moment there is, other circumstances adding, from the political position, a great gloom over almost all the industrial and commercial interests of the country. It is impossible to say how much is due to one cause and how much to another; but no doubt the whole is greatly aggravated by the threatened war. I think the speech we have heard will have some influence in removing some of that gloom and in dispersing some of the clouds which are now hanging over us, and I think I may say that the speech Lord Derby has delivered to us is one calculated to give 738 satisfaction to the country as it gives satisfaction to us, and we feel greatly indebted to hint for it.He quoted this not for the purpose of alleging any inconsistency on the part of the right hon. Gentleman, but in order to show how fully he had trusted the Government, and how thoroughly his views coincided with those of his departed Friend (Mr. Cobden), who told the House that he never gave a vote with more sorrow than he gave the vote which called Lord Aberdeen and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) into office, because he considered that event the cause of the Crimean War. It had been described by a graphic pen. [Mr. GLADSTONE: When did Mr. Cobden say that?] He was quite certain he had read it in Hansard. He was sorry he had not the extract, but pledged himself to produce it to the right hon. Gentleman in a very short time. So much for the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham. Mr. Carlyle, whom he was going to quote, described the circumstances that led to the Crimean War as "the greatest mass of stupidity, mismanage ment, and folly which this country ever knew." He was sorry to see the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe) was not in his place, because in the course of his speech the other evening that right hon. Gentleman alluded to the Berlin Memorandum, and said that it seemed to him to be the turning point in the question; that it contained all the principles upon which a settlement could possibly be effected; and that we had refused to assent to it on the ground of a merely technical objection. The House would recollect that the right hon. Gentleman humorously spoke of some hon. Members of the House as having drank the wrong beer; but he (Mr. Bourke) thought the right hon. Gentleman must have drunk of the Water of Lethe since he delivered his speech at Croydon, for what did the right hon. Gentleman say at Croydon on the 14th of September? He said—As for power, look at the power we exhibited lately. Why, three Emperors entered into a league to make a certain regulation with regard to Turkey. They sent it to our Government, and our Government most properly refused to join that league. What was the result? Did they carry it on without us? They did not think fit to consult us before they 739 came to that resolution, and only asked us to assent to it as a matter of courtesy, but when we disapproved it the whole of their proceeding was rendered abortive, and England, I may say, was astonished at the amount of power she so exercised.What was the opinion of the Colleagues of the right hon. Gentleman and of certain other Members of Parliament as to the Memorandum? As to the noble Lord opposite (the Marquess of Hartington), there had never been any doubt of his opinion. The noble Lord had never concealed his view, which was that we ought to have rejected the Memorandum without argument, on the ground that it had been agreed to without consultation with England. And what had Lord Granville said? His Lordship said, as to the Berlin pro-posals—I stated in the House a month ago [on the 30th of July] that I could give no opinion till I had seen the document. After reading that Paper I agree that it would not have been wise to assent to that document.So much for the opinions entertained by the Colleagues of the right hon. Member for Greenwich on that matter. He did not think it could be maintained, after what he had stated, that the opinions of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) with reference to that document were shared in by those Friends with whom he was accustomed to act, at least up to the month of September last. But the fact of the matter was, that there were defects in the Berlin Memorandum which rendered it perfectly impossible for Her Majesty's Government to acquiesce in that Paper. It would have been equally impossible, and it was admitted by Prince Gortchakoff himself, for the Turkish Government to execute all the engagements—such, for instance, as those with regard to building houses—which the Berlin Memorandum would have imposed upon them. What they wanted was that there should be an end to corruption and bad government in Turkey; but they were afraid that the effect of the Berlin Memorandum would have been to remove the responsibility of reform from Turkey, and place it on Europe generally. Even if other parts of the Berlin Memorandum had been deemed admissible, the last paragraph would have made it impossible for Her Majesty's Government to sign it, because it would have bound 740 this country to take more efficacious measures in case those proposals did not succeed. The insurgents would never have laid down their arms; the refugees would never have returned, if they knew that Europe held out to them the hope that if they only went on with the insurrection she would come to their aid. The Government knew very well what efficacious measures meant. From the despatch at page 143 of the Blue Book of last year—[Turkey, No. 3, 1876]—they would see that before they received the Memorandum Lord Augustus Loftus told Her Majesty's Government what Prince Gortchakoff took to be the effect of the Memorandum, and also that he believed the proposal was made with a view to military measures being adopted in case other means did not answer. Therefore, Her Majesty's Government proceeded upon the assumption that the Berlin Memorandum really meant the partition of Turkey. With regard to Servia, he thought no one would accuse Her Majesty's Government of being remiss in their endeavours to put a stop to the war, or of being careless in bringing about a mediation. He did not think, moreover, that anyone would feel that, in the energetic arrangements which went on with regard to peace, Her Majesty's Government did not go to the very utmost in meeting the objections which were made by the Powers to their proposals. He could not help thinking that anyone who read the Papers would see that had it not been for the persistent perseverance of his noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs those bases of peace would never have been considered at all. Then, as to the Conference, he need not say that Her Majesty's Government had great difficulty in obtaining the consent of the Powers to the basis on which it was held. Everybedy knew that Austria objected strongly, as also did other Powers. However, the Conference met, and, as the House was aware, Her Majesty's Government were of opinion that Turkey had done most foolishly in not accepting the proposals made at the Conference. He did not believe that the acceptance of those proposals would have been a blow either at the integrity or the independence of the Porte. He did not think Lord Salisbury ever used wiser words, or words which could be more substantiated by great writers on 741 Jurisprudence and International Law than in saying that when they came to talk of the independence of the Porte, it was a comparative term. ["Hear, hear!" from the Opposition.] He did not know whether those cheers were ironical or not; but nobedy could suppose after what Turkey had shown of late of two great attributes of independence—the power of making war and the power of making Treaties—that she was not an independent Power. But if she had accepted the proposals of the Conference — even the most stringent ones made by Lord Salisbury—they would not have been a blow at her independence; for they only asked her to give in trust for a time certain attributes of her independence; and if she had done that, he had no doubt she would have laid the foundation for internal peace, would have regained the sympathies of Europe, and would have lost nothing in comparison with what she had lost by misgovernment and through the transactions which had gone on in her States for the past three or four years. And if in after years a Power had attacked her independence and integrity, it would have been opposed by all the Powers at the Conference which had asked Turkey to make that sacrifice. The Conference, however, had failed, and the right hon. Member for Greenwich gave as a reason for its failure that Lord Salisbury had been powerfully counterwerked by Sir Henry Elliot, and he also suggested that a party of the noble Lord's Colleagues at home were working in the same direction. There was not one syllable in the Protocols of the Conference which pointed to such a conclusion; and if any person would take the trouble to look through the Blue Book, he would see that Lord Salisbury was throughout the Conference supported in his policy by his Colleagues at home. The right hon. Gentleman and some of his Friends opposite had tbeught proper to bestow a lavish praise on Lord Salisbury, a praise in which he (Mr. Bourke) heartily concurred; but when they said that someone at home was counter-working against him, and that that was the reason why the Conference failed, he could not but think that they threw the greatest aspersion on Lord Salisbury's character. That alleged counter-werking could not have occurred without 742 Lord Salisbury knowing it. Therefore, the assertion came to this—that Lord Salisbury allowed himself to go to Constantinople to be the mere stalking horse of a policy before Europe when he knew that that policy was to receive its death blow from his Colleagues the moment he suggested it. How those who recognized Lord Salisbury's high character as much as he (Mr. Bourke) did could believe that he would have consented to play the part of a puppet in such an extraordinary way, he could not understand. Then, again, the right hon. Gentleman had referred to the communication made to the Porte which drew forth from it expressions of lively gratitude, and seemed to think that that was a dreadful crime on the part of Her Majesty's Government. That was, in truth, a very small circumstance, though a great deal had been made out of it, and he was very sorry to have to alludo to it, considering that it had already been disposed of in "another place." It was really only an expression of courtesy made by our Minister at Constantinople when Midhat Pasha became Grand Vizier. It was a most commonplace expression, and had no political significance whatever. The right hon. Gentleman had further alluded to, and seemed to think it a great crime to have sent Mr. Layard to Constantinople. All he could say was, that ever since he had known anything of foreign politics he had always heard of Mr. Layard as a person eminently qualified to fill the position to which he was now sent. He would further add that when the House came to see the Papers relating to what was now going on, they would find that since Mr. Layard had gone to Constantinople he had done very good service to this country. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the sending of the British Fleet to Besika Bay, stating that it had prevented Turkey's enemies from appearing in the field. He (Mr. Bourke) denied that it had had that effect. In the first place, it was perfectly consistent with the position of neutrality which Her Majesty's Government had taken up. Besides, how could the sending of the Fleet to Besika Bay have had the slightest effect upon the provinces of Herzegovina and Bosnia, which at that time were the theatre of war? Then the right hon. Gentleman had said we allowed the lead to slip into other hands. 743 If that had been the case, it certainly was not the fault of Her Majesty's Government. How could that be made a taunt against the Government? They had done one thing consistently—notwithstanding that Turkey had gone to war with Russia—they had kept England at peace, and had abstained from taking that course which the hon. Member for Liskeard had suggested last evening, and which must have landed this country in war. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that he had reason to believe that the French Government at the time of the Conference did not agree with Her Majesty's Government, and that they thought it was an imprudent thing to have made the declaration that they would not have recourse to war. There was nothing in the Blue Books to warrant that statement; but, on the contrary, there was much to show that the French Government was entirely in accord with them on that subject. On that point, he would only quote the following passage from a letter in The Livre Jeane dated Versailles, November 19, 1876, written by the French Minister for Foreign Affairs to Messieurs de Bourgoing and de Chaudordy at Constantinople:—We should only separate ourselves from the other Powers should they wish to support the conclusion at which they have arrived by measures of material coercion, and if they should deem fit to proceed to a military occupation of either of the Provinces whose lot is concerned, or of other points of the Turkish Empire, we could not associate ourselves, even morally, with measures of that nature without departing from the strict neutrality which we have laid down for ourselves, and without the risk of being dragged into complications from which we are determined to remain aloof.Her Majesty's Government had never said anything more decisive than that in regard to abstaining from coercive measures, and therefore the right hon. Gentleman was entirely in error in saying it was ever entertained by the French Government that it should resort to coercion. That despatch, in his opinion, furnished a complete answer to the charge of the hon. Member for Liskeard that England had thwarted the other Powers at every step. [Mr. EVELYN ASHLEY inquired what was the date of the despatch.] It was dated Versailles, November 19, 1876. Nor was that the case with regard to France alone, and if England had been so rash as to pro- 744 pose any such step, he believed there was not a Power in Europe who would not have opposed it. Then, again, as to Italy, he found in the Green Book this paragraph—At same time, Minister said that the Italian Government were strongly opposed to any military occupation of any portion of the Turkish Empire.So that all the Powers of Europe, in fact, were in favour of the policy of Her Majesty's Government on that point. With regard to the Protocol, a short explanation was necessary. Prince Gortchakoff, shortly after the Conference, asked the opinion of Her Majesty's Government upon the state of affairs, but Lord Derby at that moment did not think it wise to write an answer. The wisdom of that course very soon became apparent, for before many clays had passed Prince Gortchakoff requested that no answer should be given, as there would be another communication. That other communication was the Protocol, a very onerous and important document. Then came the negotiations which resulted in the signing of the Protocol and the appending thereto of the Declaration by Lord Derby as to the views of England in the matter. He wished to say a few words about that Declaration. The Protocol was, no doubt, put forward in favour of peace; but if England had signed it without making that Declaration, she would have signed a document put before her which might have been used afterwards in the case of war. For that reason it was absolutely necessary for England to take the precaution she did. They were anxious to make sure that a document put forward for one purpose should not be used for another. It was quite clear that the mobilization of the Russian Army greatly impeded the prospect of the reforms which were required of Turkey being carried out, and it was necessary for England to declare that, if demobilization were not carried out, the Protocol would be null and void. To that course Russia did not take the slightest objection. He was not sure, indeed, that it was not suggested by Russia herself. Russia, he believed, said something like this—"We are going to demobilize, but we do not want to say so in the Protocol. You are perfectly welcome to say that if war takes place the Protocol shall have no effect, and be null and void." A great 745 deal has been said about the last despatch written by Lord Derby. On that point he wished to say that if Her Majesty's Government sincerely differed from the Government of Russia, which was a friendly Power, upon grounds which she had stated in the Protocol, , was this country to come to the abject state of being afraid to mention such a subject of difference? He considered that it was absolutely necessary not to preserve silence on that subject. It was not only necessary with regard to the other Powers of Europe, but it was only fair to Russia herself. It would have been grossly unfair to Russia, if Her Majesty's Government had allowed her to go on, and then, perhaps, subsequently to object to the course she had taken. What Her Majesty's Government had done had been done in the most friendly spirit to Russia, and they would have been guilty of the greatest insincerity and laches, not only towards England, but towards Russia and the rest of Europe, if they had refrained from expressing their opinion at that juncture. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Forster) had blamed Her Majesty's Government on the point; but he would ask the right hon. Gentleman what was meant by the Declaration of 1871, where it was declared that no Power could be relieved from the obligations of a Treaty without the consent of the other parties to that Treaty? That was the Magna Charta of the other side of the House, which they always put forward as a great diplomatic triumph. It seemed to him (Mr. Bourke) that, in sending the despatch referred to, Her Majesty's Government were only acting up to that Declaration, if that Declaration had any meaning at all. The great reason why the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had taken the course he had done was the way in which Lord Derby's despatch of the 21st of September last had been treated by the Porte. The right hon. Gentleman had said most truly that Shefket Pasha and ethers concerned in the atrocities had not only not been punished, but had been promoted. It was unnecessary for him to say anything on that question of the atrocities, as he had spoken as strongly as he could several times on the matter; but when they were asked to make that the main cause of a great future change of policy, he thought the 746 House ought to recollect that there were other circumstances to be considered which ought not to be forgotten. He firmly believed that the demands made in that despatch of the 21st of September would have been acceded to had not the whole Ottoman race been firmly convinced that the Russian Army, which had then been for many months massed upon their frontier, was about to doom them to destruction. It was quite true that the despatch was written in September, and that the Russian Army was not massed on the Turkish frontier till November; but an inquiry was promised in September, and would have been carried out had it not been for the warlike preparations of Russia. Certainly there could be no doubt as to the evil effect of the conviction which possessed the minds of the Mussulman population that the Bulgarian insurrection was instigated and intended for their destruction, and as a justification of pre-determined Russian aggression. In that condition of things it was impossible for the Ottoman Government to deal with the question in the way which he believed they would have wished. However, he did not wish for one moment to excuse the Ottoman Government for what they had done. He believed they had acted foolishly and rashly; but he could not forget that, under the circumstances in which they found themselves for the last six or eight months, it would have been impossible for them, without danger to the Throne of the Sultan, to accede to the demands made upon them. Something had been said about Mr. Canning's policy in regard to Greece 50 years ago. Now, on that subject, he would point out that nothing was snore likely to lead to error and bad consequences than to draw an analogy between incorrect parallels, such as between that case and the present. The condition of things in Greece in 1826 and the condition of things in Turkey at the present time were in some respects the same, but in some respects they were also wholly different. They were similar in this respect—that the pacification of Greece was an object of the Government of this country in 1826, and that there was a danger then that Russia would go to war without the concert of the other Powers; but if they looked at the whole course of Mr. Canning's policy, from the Treaty of Verona 747 down to his death, the one principle running through it was his firm determination that nothing should induce him to use force in any shape or way if he could avoid it between the belligerents. When Mr. Stratford Canning, the present Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, went to St. Petersburg in 1824, one of the bases on which he was to proceed in the negotiations was the strictly mediatorial character of the proposed intervention. There was to be a complete disavowal of force. The negotiations broke off because Russia would not agree to that principle. Again, when the Duke of Wellington went to St. Petersburg in February, 1826, the instructions drawn up by Mr. Canning pointed to an abjuration, by all the parties concerned, of any employment of force against either the Turks or the Greeks, and also to an abjuration of any means of aggrandizement. In connection with the Protocol of April and the Treaty of July, 1827, the same principle was observed by Mr. Canning. From the first to the last—from the first intervention of Mr. Canning in the affairs of Greece, till the Treaty was concluded—there was nothing to show that he ever for a moment entertained the idea of this country using force in favour of either belligerent. On the contrary, he never seemed to lose opportunities of abjuring the employment of force. He held in his hand a very important document, and he would like the House to permit him to read a portion of it. It was a subject which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich put great stress upon, and he (Mr. Bourke) wished to state what he believed to be facts in regard to it. It related to the Conference which was held in September, 1825, between Mr. Canning and the Greek Deputies, on which occasion Mr. Canning told them—That their sanguine and enthusiastic friends, who suggested to them the supposed facility with which England, by her interference, might bring the struggle in which the Greeks are engaged to a favourable termination, deceived either the Greeks or themselves. They reasoned as if upon the assumption that the contest between Turkey and Greece was not only the only contest now existing, but would continue to be the only contest in the world after England had joined in it; and that it would have to be fought out by the Ottoman Porte, on the one side, and Greece, with England as her protectress and ally, on the other. They forgot that there existed between England and Turkey Treaties 748 of very ancient date, and of uninterrupted obligation, which the Turks faithfully observed, and to the protection of which British interests of a vast amount were and are confided within the dominions of Turkey; and that all these interests must at once be put in jeopardy, and the obligation of the Treaties which protect them be at once advisedly broken by the first blow which Great Britain should strike, as the ally of Greece, in hostility to Turkey.Surely nothing could be much stronger than that. Mr. Canning went on to say that if the course recommended by the Greek Deputies was followed, the result would be that—Every Power from henceforth would pursue its separate interests, without regard to previous connection or obligation. The war would spread to the West as well as to the East; it would soon become general throughout Europe; and long before its conclusion, whenever that might arrive, the separate interest of Greece, though the main cause of the contest, would be forgotten in the general confusion.He might go on reading other portions of that important document, but would not trespass further on the time of the House. He was quite prepared to furnish a copy of it to the right hon. Member for Greenwich, if he wished it. [Mr. GLADSTONE: What is it?] The Memorandum of the Conference he had referred to. He felt certain that if the right hon. Gentleman traced the whole of the proceedings of Mr. Canning with reference to Turkey, from the Declaration of 1822 down to his death, he would not find a single word which justified the opinion that Mr. Canning ever for a moment contemplated the use of force. Then with regard to the Instructions which led to the battle of Navarino, he might remark that in the Treaty of July, 1827, there was not one werd said about force. All that the Powers said was that they would concert measures, and Instructions were given to the Admirals, after Mr. Canning's death, to the effect that they were not to interfere between the contending forces. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to imply that the Duke of Wellington did not follow out the policy of Mr. Canning; but there was reason to think that if Mr. Canning had lived, he would have agreed with the Duke of Wellington in characterizing the Battle of Navarino as an "untoward event." With regard to the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman, he would only submit further that it was absolutely necessary for the safety of the country that the Government should not 749 be bound; but that they should be free to take the course which, as events proceeded, was best adapted for securing the honour and welfare of the people. If he had possessed anything like the eloquence of the right hon. Gentleman—most unaffectedly he said it—and if he could appeal to him with any hope of success, he would have sought even at that moment to impress upon him that, above and before all things, it was important in the present emergency, for the sake not only of this country, but of the world, to show Europe and the world that we were a united people. In particular was it needful that Parliament sbeuld sbew that it was not divided. He was afraid that that was too much to hope for, and that the attempt to persuade the right hon. Gentleman of that necessity would have been a bepeless task; but, at all events, he was certain that if anything happened which made it necessary for Her Majesty's Government to appeal to the confidence of the House of Commons in connection with this subject, that appeal, notwithstanding the strictures of the right hon. Gentleman, would not be addressed in vain.
§ SIR ROBERT ANSTRUTHER
I shall advert in a few moments to some of the remarks made by the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; but before I do so I would advert more particularly to the position in which we on this side find ourselves in regard to the Resolutions moved by my right hon. Friend. I am one of those Members of the House who had no difficulty, as soon as I heard these Resolutions were put on the Table, in making up my mind that I would vote not only for one or two of the Resolutions, but for all the Resolutions, and not only for all the Resolutions, but for all exactly as moved by my right hon. Friend. I am not going to say that I do not think the proposed Amendment to the second Resolution is an improvement. But that by the way. It is impossible to conceal from ourselves that we have received a severe handling from the other side because of what happened on Monday last, when the right hon. Gentleman altered the second Resolution, and said he was not going to put two of the others at all. I think the noble Lord the Vice President of the Council (Viscount Sandon) was rash enough to say that the right hon. Gen- 750 tleman's courage had failed him at the last moment. My experience of the right hon. Gentleman's courage is not such as would seem to corroberate the remark of the noble Lord. The hon. Member for Mid - Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) described his policy as that of "childish vacillation." I do not think that my experience of my right hon. Friend will bear out that remark. Various other things were said, and I regret that something was said by The hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) in his able speech yesterday afternoon, when he used the remarkable expression that the action of the right hon. Gentleman was such as to make scoffers rejoice. I do not think I am a scoffer, but I certainly rejoiced, because it appeared to me that the transactions of Monday last were of an extremely simple nature, and I do not know why the hon. Gentleman should object to the course taken by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone). My right hon. Friend moved his Resolutions as an independent Member of Parliament. He had not consulted his Colleagues, but when these Resolutions were tabled my right hon. Friend found that certain alterations would enable a large number of his Colleagues and other hon. Members below the Gangway on the same side of the House to vote for his Resolutions. Was lie to be blamed, because he so amended his Resolutions as to enable them to vote with him? It is what you all do every day—hon. Gentlemen on the other side, perhaps, not on so large a scale, but we all do it on a small scale. If Amendments to Resolutions before the House enable us to gain a large amount of support, we amend our Resolutions, and we do not think we have done anything to disturb the confidence of those who vote for us. Therefore, that my right hon. Friend should be blamed for amending his Resolutions to enable his Colleagues to support him, I cannot for a moment understand. Now, we conic to what they are. The first and second are the only ones actually before the House. My hon. Friend. who has just resumed his seat (Mr. Bourke) has spoken of the Resolutions as a whole, and has said they must be taken as a whole. I am quite willing to take the position laid down by the hon. Gentleman, and to take the Resolutions as a whole, and I will admit, for the 751 satisfaction of my right hon. Friend, that although the terms of the Resolutions have been removed, the mind and soul of the Resolutions yet remain. Had the mind and soul not remained, my right hon. Friend never could have spoken his magnificent speech. Had they not remained, we should never have been able to give him the support we do. The whole country would not have been able to afford him that cordial support which we believe he has received. We are asked to say that this House finds just cause of dissatisfaction with the conduct of the Ottoman Porte in relation to Lord Derby's despatch. I think we may at least claim the vote of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State, who very justly stated in his speech that he could not defend the action of the Ottoman Porte for the way in which it had received Lord Derby's despatch. It is quite true the hon. Gentleman took a strong line of defence of the Porte. He maintained that the whole of the Moslem inhabitants of these Provinces looked upon the rising as intended for their entire destruction, and on that account it was impossible for the Sultan to bring the offenders to justice. And the hon. Gentleman excused the Sultan for not having done that. Now, it is remarkable that Lord Derby, in that very despatch, made a remark upon that very point, and it does much to dispose of the entire point raised by the Under Secretary of State. In paragraph 4 of the despatch, Lord Derby says—Moreover, it is conclusively shown that not only was the most culpable apathy displayed by the great majority of the Provincial authorities in allowing or conniving at such excesses, but that little or nothing effectual has been done in the way of reparation. While 1,966 Bulgarians were arrested for complicity in an insurrectionary movement which was at no time of a dangerous character, only a score or so of the murderers of unarmed men, women, and children have been punished."—[Turkey, No. 1, 1877, p. 237.]Then my hon. Friend (Mr. Bourke) excuses the conduct of the Porte because the Moslems believed they were to be driven out. The Under Secretary of State has no other excuse for the Porte, and he must concede that he is bound, from the tenor of his speech, to vote for the first Resolution of my right hon. Friend. I may refer to one or two other remarks on the subject of coercion. As far as I understand, the remarks on that 752 subject amount to this—My right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) did not recommend coercion by England alone. He did not even mean coercion by England and Russia together. What he desired to advocate was that what is required should be obtained by the whole of the European Powers. This is a very different thing. If the whole of the Powers unite in demanding or exacting from the Porte a certain course of proceedings, then, in the very nature of the case, the Porte must yield. What I desire for a moment or two to do is to comment on some of the speeches that have been made, and especially on that remarkable speech the hon. Member forMid-Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) delivered to us on Thursday afternoon. The remarks of the hon. and gallant Member for Berkshire also (Colonel Loyd-Lindsay) and all the hon. Members on that side have been based on undisguised hostility to Russia. My hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Lincolnshire said Russia meant war all along. [" Hear, hear " from the Ministerial Benches.] I am much obliged to hon. Members on that side, who exactly confirm what I said as respects hon. Members below the Gangway at least.
Perhaps you will allow me to say that what I said was it was generally said from what we know now that Russia had apparently meant to go to war.
SIR ROBERT ANSTRUTHER I
am glad to accept the correction of my hon. Friend, but I think his opinion can be gathered from another source. About a fortnight ago he made a brilliant speech at the Middlesex Conservative Working Men's Association, and in the course of that speech he said—If war arose, it would be due to the settled, deliberate, and determined policy of Russia, and to the criminal recklessness of those who last autumn so utterly misled her as to the true feeling of this country.Was that a true statement of the case? I will concede at once that I have no more desire to see Russia mistress of Constantinople, in possession of the Suez Canal, and erecting a second Sebastopol on the Persian Gulf, than hon. Members opposite have. It appears to me that, either from prejudice or other causes, some hon. Members have not been able to take an unprejudiced view in that respect. I see the noble Lord the Member for South North- 753 umberland (Lord Eslington) in his place, from whom we are accustomed to hear safe and wise counsels. In his speech last Tuesday he said that he would not believe one word of one promise made either by the Emperor or the Russian Government in the matter. I do not think that was a statesmanlike expression. I do not think you can suppose that people outside, and certainly not people abroad, will imagine that you are arguing this question in a calm and dispassionate manner when you say that you will not believe one single word of the promises made by Russia in this matter. I have looked through all the documents laid on the Table of the House in relation to this question. I will not trespass on the House, but I will say there is no evidence in the Blue Book of any desire of Russia from the first to go to war. On the contrary, if we take the evidence in the Book, there is much evidence to the contrary. From the very first, Russia has desired to act in concert with the Powers. I do not think there is any difficulty at all in sbewing that. As long ago as the 13th of November she declared, through Lord Augustus Loftus, to the Earl of Derby, that above all things the desire of Russia was to act in co-operation and concert with England. [Laughter.] Of course, it cannot convince hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House who do not believe one word of what Russia has said. I do not think that Russia showed in the Andrassy Note, in the Berlin Memorandum, and at the Conference, that she was not acting in concert with other Powers. In the Conference, she went with Lord Salisbury to such an extent that at last a report was spread abroad that she was not capable of going to war, that her armies were incapable of marching, that she had no men and no horses. All this showed her sincere desire to act only in concert with the Powers. All the proposals of the Powers were rejected, all the proposals of the Conference failed, and Russia acts by herself. Is she to be blamed for acting by herself? I ask the House to consider her position in regard to the Slav population. There are in all 100,000,000 Slays. ["No, no"] At page 646 of No. 1 of the Blue Books there is a letter from Lord Augustus Loftus to Lord Derby, dated the 4th November, where he 754 speaks of a conversation with a Russian nobleman of high rank and position, well-known for his admiration of England and all things English, and most anxious to maintain a good understanding between England and Russia. His opinion is that the Eastern Question was viewed throughout the nation, from the highest to the lowest, as one of religion and humanity, and that the feeling of the Christian Slays was so powerful that the Emperor could not risk any opposition. No financial or any other consideration could turn them from the policy they believed to be their duty, and that of the 100,000,000 of the Slavonic race who were determined to liberate their Christian brethren, from the yoke of the Mussulman. Well, I do not think it at all wonderful that the Slays in Russia should desire to free the Slays of the Provinces from the yoke under which they groaned. I consider every man in this House desires to see them released from the tyranny of those who rule over them. That being so, I cannot conceive that Russia is to blame in acting on the instincts of her people, who desire to relieve the Slays from the Turkish yoke. Now, I am perfectly well aware that my noble Friend the Member for Fladdingtonshire (Lord Elcbe), sitting opposite, is prepared not only not to sympathize with her in the relief of the Christian Provinces from the yoke of the Mussulman, but he has further put an Amendment on the Paper in which he desires to take the opinion of the House upon this matter, and he proposes to move—That this House, while anxious to promote the well-being of the Christian subjects of the Sultan, and of all races under his rule, condemns the interference of a Foreign Power by force of arms in the internal administration of the Ottoman Empire.Well, Sir, if you are not to interfere by force of arms, how are you to interfere at all? And now we come to the question of my hon. Friend behind me (Mr. Courtney)—the question of coercion. I admit that I could not follow my hon. Friend in his argument where he spoke of the dismemberment of the Turkish Empire. I think he carried his argument too far, and I think he would not in that proposal find a large amount of support in this House. But it does appear to me that if you are to do anything at all, and not to rest satisfied with the 755 position in which Her Majesty's Government are, you must be prepared to take a more active and decided line than you have up to the present time adopted. There is no use in trying to blink the matter. My hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard has been taunted because he complained that the Government have pursued a policy of inaction instead of action. What has been the result of their policy? It has been said that the true policy of the Government is to maintain the integrity and independence of Turkey. But have they done so? They have not. It has been said, too, that their policy is to maintain the peace of the werld. They have failed in doing so; but the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State has said that if they have so failed, they have at least maintained the peace of the British Empire. The hon. Gentleman has taken credit to the Government for that; but that was not the programme with which the Government originally set out. The object they had in view was to secure the good government of Bulgaria and the other Provinces, and in that they have failed too. Now, ought they to have adopted any other course? This I believe—that if we are to come to any satisfactory conclusion, it will be necessary to arrive at a distinct and settled policy; and it appears to me that it ought to have been adopted at the time when Russia proposed an occupation of the Provinces. Prince Gortchakoff said that he believed those measures would avert war, and would ensure the better treatment of the Christians in Turkey. I think, Sir, we may rely upon this—that the Eastern Question cannot be settled without England; and the result of the policy which has been pursued by Her Majesty's Government is this—that the Power which is denounced from the other side as being all that is bad has been put by England into a commanding position from which you will hardly be able to move her. If Russia be all that hon. Gentlemen on the other side says she is, why have you allowed her to stand before the werld as the only country that would make the smallest sacrifices in the interest of the Christians? Why is she in this position of protection, which you might have assumed if you had been so minded? You have by your own act put her into a position in which she has an immense 756 advantage over you, if she desires to use it; and you will find that if she once makes her footing good in the Provinces, and you go to war with her, as some people wish you to do, you will find it exceedingly difficult to get her out of the Provinces; whereas, had you acted in friendly concert with her from the first, you would been able to share with her all the benefits she would derive from the sympathy of the Slav races, of which she is the only friend, and you would have been able at once, if you found she was going beyond the bounds she ought to go, to say—"I have been acting in concert with you; I have gone with you; and I am prepared to go with you so long as you fight for the protection of the Christian subjects of the Porte only; but the moment you go beyond that, I am no longer with you, and I am prepared, if need be, to resist you." ["Hear, hear!"] Yes, it appears to me that, sooner or later, we shall have to intervene in some shape or other. ["No, no!"] If any hon. Member has any doubt on that subject he has only to read the despatch of Mr. Jocelyn, Chargé d'Affaires at Constantinople, which was published on Saturday last. If what is stated in that despatch is correct, it will be impossible for thiscountry to remain inactive, even if it was desirable. He says—There is no doubt that the present situation is an extremely critical one, and the country, torn asunder by the efforts made in so many different directions under the factions I have named, is drifting to a crisis which cannot long be delayed. A few weeks may suffice to determine its character, and it is the opinion of all serious politicians here that the part intended to be played by Europe in dealing with this country should, in order to be effective, be at once declared."—[Turkey, No. 16 (1877), p. 250.]There can be no doubt that the present situation is one of extreme difficulty; that the country is divided by factions; and that a crisis is fast coming and cannot be delayed. If the view I take of the position is correct, Great Britain cannot merely stand aside. I have heard it is desired even now that this country might join with other countries in bringing this war to a close, and I saw in The Times of yesterday an answer which was proposed to be sent to Lord Derby's reply to the Russian Circular, and from which I gather that even now the Russian Government is willing to co-operate with our Government and other Governments in bringing this war to an end, 757 and securing the objects she has at heart. ["No, no!"] It may very well be that my views are wrong views. But they are my own, and I have to thank hon. Gentlemen on the other side for the courtesy with which they have received them. I also thank most heartily my right hon. Friend for bringing these Resolutions before the House, and obtaining an expression of feeling from the House which will do more, I believe, to bring about a satisfactory solution of the matter than anything else.
§ LORD ELCHO
My hon. Friend who has just sat down (Sir Robert Anstruther) has expressed his astonishment that objections should have been raised on this side of the House to the action which was taken on Monday last in reference to the original Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich. He said that course was a very simple one, and it was an arrangement approved of and come to by the different Members on that side of the House as to what they thought best. For my part I confess that, looking solely to the interests of the country, and having regard to the course taken by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, I sympathize with the opinion so eloquently expressed by the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan), when he said that at the present time, in the midst of events which might lead to such serious complications—as to which no man could foretel what the results would be—it was most desirable that the opinion and determination of England, which Europe is anxiously looking for, should be plainly and unmistakeably expressed as to what action she tbeught ought to be taken in this Eastern crisis. I think, with the hon. Member for Louth, it is greatly to be regretted that these Resolutions have, in the interest of a Party, not in the interest of the country, been altered, and partly withdrawn, their spirit, however, still remaining. If this had been done to prevent the position of England being misapprehended, I could have understood it; but what are we to say when we find that the object sought is simply to prevent further disorganization of the Liberal Party? Let us, then, hope that, whatever the result may be to the nation, the Liberal Party will not be further split up on this occasion; and that, at the cud of this transformation scene, 758 we may see the pleasing tableau of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich lying down in peace with the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition, and the junior Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain), while the senior Member (Mr. Bright) gives them his blessing. Such may possibly be the result upon the Party; but, as regards the question of coercion, have you succeeded in shirking it? Though the Opposition has tried to evade the question, they have practically failed to do so. I venture to think the course that has been pursued shows very clearly that the House of Commons as a whole would not entertain the project of coercion by force of arms. This is the feeling of the country as a whole; of this side of the House with one or two exceptions, and of the majority of those on the other side of the House. ["No, no!"] I repeat that, taken as a whole, the feeling of the Opposition is against coercion, and thus upon this point a large majority of this House will support the Government in the policy which it has adopted. The chief doubt that up to last Monday night existed in the minds of European statesmen was as to the attitude likely to be adopted by the English Liberals in regard to that particular branch of the question. That doubt was at once dissipated by the fact that the particular Resolution of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich which embedied the principle of coercion, and also another proposal to the same effect, were withdrawn at the instance of a majority of the Members sitting on the Opposition Benches. [" No, no!"] Hon. Members may dissent from what I am saying, but I simply express an opinion founded upon fact; and I venture to say further that the right hon. Gentleman was forced to abandon the coercive part of his own proposals and to minimize the remainder into something which it is not easy to understand. Indeed, I do not yet know whether we have reached the "irreducible minimum." As a whole, then, the House of Commons opposes the idea of coercion, and in so far they disapprove of the action of Russia. The Resolutions now before the House are but a small portion of the great question which was raised by the proposals as originally drawn. As a wbele, they state a fact, and indicate a policy, the fact being that 759 certain atrocities have been committed and that they remain unpunished, while the policy indicated is a policy of guarantees. I will not attempt to palliate the conduct of the Turkish Government in allowing the persons who instigated or committed the atrocities to go free; but I would ask the House to place itself, when considering a question of the kind, in the position of the Government affected. In the first place, you know how these outrages were exaggerated — ["No, no!"] — not in quality, but in number they were exaggerated. At the outset, it was said that 60,000 persons had been killed. or deported; Mr. Baring subsequently put down the number at 12,000; but within the last few days the chief agent of the Bulgarian Relief Fund (Mr. Storey), who has lived much in the country, has stated that the number of persons, including Turks, killed in the course of the insurrection does not exceed 4,000. This is further confirmed by a letter which has been published. from Mr. Hamlin, an American gentleman, who has resided in Constantinople for many years. Then, further, let it be remembered that if savage agents were employed in suppressing the insurrection, in deference to wbese advice was that? In pursuance of the advice of General Ignatieff, who said that the outbreak was trifling and local—not worth the serious importance that would be given to it were Regular troops sent to deal with it, and that the Bashi Bazouks would be sufficient to cope with it. The means adopted may have been cruel; but do you think the Government of Turkey could afford to be very nice about the means of suppressing a rebellion which they thought might spread, especially when an alarming attack was made by a Circassian upon the Cabinet. Depend upon it, you will find every nation cruel in the use of means when it is frightened by having what it deems a great danger to confront, and that in its straits it will use whatever means are ready to its hands. The course taken by the English Government in regard to the insurrection in Jamaica and in India not very long ago are cases in point. In judging of the conduct of the Turkish Government as regards the non-punishment of those who have been condemned capitally, we must remember the state of public feeling in that country. The 760 men who suppressed the insurrection were regarded by the Mahomedan population as having deserved well of their country, and the Government could not altogether overlook that feeling. Further, supposing it to have been easy to have confronted. Mabemedan public opinion at the time by punishing the men who put down the rising, and to have executed Shefket Pasha, yet when the Conference was sitting, and our demand was made, somehow the Turks regarded its assembling as a proof that England was turning against them, and they felt that no good would come of attempts to conciliate English feeling at the risk of exciting Mahomedan hostility. The primary sentence passed upon Shefket Pasha has not, it is true, been carried out, but the secondary punishment has been imposed, and he has been banished to Bagdad. [Laughter from, the Opposition.] That seems to excite the risible faculties of hon. Gentlemen opposite; but I can assure them it is no laughing matter for them or anybody else who goes there, for the plague at this moment is raging at Bagdad, and there is thus every hope for those who are thirsting for his blood, that in this indirect way the primary sentence of the punishment of death will be carried out. I do not wish to defend the action of the Turkish Government—in fact, I think that it would perhaps have been wise to execute the sentences passed in the first instance; but I ask the House as fair, straightforward Englishmen to consider what may be said on the other side of the question. So much for the first Resolution. The second involves questions of guarantees, and also involves a sort of negative policy of non-assistance, moral or material, to the Ottoman Porte. But this Resolution must be read in connection with the others; and I should like to know whether the right hon. Gentleman who has brought the Resolutions forward wishes, in reference to the revolted Provinces, to see guarantees established in the form of new Servias and Roumanias, or whether he would prefer a second Greece created by means of a second Navarino? The whole of this movement turns on the form in which guarantees are to be given, and on the mode of obtaining them. As regards the latter point, Her Majesty's Government are urged to adopt a variety 761 of methods which range from remonstrances and moral pressure to military occupation and coercion. I do not say that Her Majesty's Government have been to blame in the manner in which they have sought to obtain guarantees from the Porte; but I think they have been somewhat inconsistent in the view they took of the nature of the guarantees to be required. If hon. Members will look through the Blue Books they will find that up to the time of the Conference all the guarantees which were to be obtained from Turkey were to be guarantees granted of her own free will—guarantees the result of and contained in the measures of reform which Turkey herself promised. At the Conference, however, the scene so far changed that the guarantees to be demanded were to be external to Turkish reforms, and were to be forced upon Turkey by the moral pressure of united Europe. They took the form of the nomination of the Governors of Provinces and of the appointment of a Commission by Europe, to see that the proposed reforms were carried into effect. These guarantees Turkey naturally refused, and it has been said that the Government had counterworked Lord Salisbury. But so far from this being the case, Lord Salisbury and those who went out with him from the Foreign Office were entirely ignorant of the character of the Turkish mind and of the feelings and the sentiments of that country; they disregarded altogether the warnings of those who were acquainted with the position of affairs at the Porte, and who pointed out that Turkey would not accept these conditions, and therefore that it was needless to propose guarantees which would trench on their independence and authority. If there has, however, been any inconsistency in the conduct of the Government upon the question, there is much justification for it, and their difficulties have not been lessened by the meetings out-of-doors, by the pamphlets and letters that have been published, and of which we have heard so much, or even by the speeches which have been delivered in this House. The Members of the Government had had a very difficult task before them to bring matters to a satisfactory settlement and to maintain peace when the interests of European States were as divergent as they were. I recollect an anecdote of 762 the old coaching time, to the effect that a coachman met a complaint respecting his driving by saying—"Ah, its all very well for you to talk; but did you ever drive three blind 'uns and a belter?" I believe that the difficulty of accomplishing such a feat is nothing as compared with that which Lord Derby has had to accomplish in trying to persuade the Powers of Europe to unite upon this question. I believe that Russia has intentionally embodied in the different propositions made to Turkey, matters to which she knew it would be impossible for the latter to assent, and that she has used the Protocol, as has been well said by the Home Secretary, as a pistol to present at the head of the Porte, and that she has done so with the purpose of bringing on war. I know a gentleman who is thoroughly acquainted with the Russian Army, who months ago told me almost to a day when war would be declared, and my relative, Lord Lucan, who served with the Russians in 1828, and in the Crimean War, and is familiar with the character of the country to be traversed, told the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs last October that there was no occasion for fear that war would break out during the winter, because it was impossible for the Forces to move, and that, therefore, we were perfectly safe until the month of April. And accordingly, in the month of April war has been duly declared. Therefore, everything goes to show that these negotiations were so many flies, thrown out to amuse this country and Europe until the roads became firm and the proper season for war had arrived. As regards the general conduct of the Government upon the question, it has been well described by a Whig statesman, Lord Fortescue, who said, after the Conference, that his impression was that Her Majesty's Government had, under circumstances of peculiar difficulty, conducted the foreign affairs of this country as well as most, and better than some. Who the "some" are I leave it to right hon. Gentlemen opposite to ascertain from Lord Fortescue. I, however, go beyond that, and assert that Her Majesty's Government, especially in the recent despatch of Lord Derby, have shown a due regard for the interests of this country, and have given fair, beld, and outspoken expression to the feelings of the English people upon this vital question. Reverting to 763 the proposals of the right hon. Member for Greenwich, what he asks in his original Resolutions is a guarantee of autonomy for the disturbed Provinces of Turkey; but it appears to me that the autonomy thus desired is neither practicable nor desirable. Mr. Lawrence Oliphant, wbe was formerly Member for the Stirling Burghs, and well-known in this House, has an article in The North American Review, in which he says that there are 11 races and 11 religions in Bulgaria; that they hate each other most heartily; that the members of the different Christian sects are united only in one thing, and that is not in resisting the oppression of the Turks, but in the persecution of the Jews. These are the people you have to deal with, and if you want to test what Mr. Oliphant has said as to the state of Christian and Mahomedan feeling, you have only to refer to what took place at Constantinople at the close of the Conference. When General Ignatieff left Constantinople there was no address presented to him from the Christians of Turkey; but there was one to Sir Henry Elliot. In the popular Chamber, too, you have Christians voting against the interposition of Russia. As regarded the practicability of autonomy, even assuming that these different sects can be brought to unite for the purposes of autonomy, where does the right hon. Gentleman propose to draw his geographical line? Will he draw it North of the Balkans? If he does so, he will leave out the district which has suffered more than any other. Will he draw it South of the Balkans? If he does so, he will have the Greek element threatening war, as you will find from the address from the Greek community of Philippopolis presented to Lord Derby, in which they say that any delineation which placed their Province under Bulgarian administration, would provoke a new civil war between Greeks and Bulgarians. As regards Greece, it is a favourite dream with some politicians that she will yet acquire Constantinople; but this is the one thing which Russia has over and over again said she could never assent to. This was announced beth to Lord Heytesbury and to Sir Hamilton Seymour by the Emperors Alexander and Nicbelas. But the autonomy which the right hon. Gentleman desires is as undesirable as it is impracticable; for it is to be remembered that by 764 the recent Constitution of Turkey, an autonomy has already been established of the widest kind—not an autonomy applicable to a Christian sect in a particular part of the Empire, but an autonomy extending througbeut the whole Empire. Yet that is the sort of autonomy at which some Liberal Members sneer. ["Hear, hear!"] Yes, astounding as the fact may be, we find the Liberals sneering at this great gift of a Constitution granted by the Sultan to his subjects, such as the Emperor of Russia dare not dream of in his own dominions. I think we may pass by the sneers of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich—[Mr. GLADSTONE: Lord Salisbury.] I dispute Lord Salisbury's authority upon this point, for I ventured to point out that if Lord Salisbury had taken the advice of those who knew the Turk, we should not have been landed in our present difficulty. But let us see what an authority whom the right hon. Gentleman will respect says about the matter. Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, to whom the right hon. Gentleman dedicated his pamphlet—I believe he did so without his previous knowledge, and that when the noble Lord read it, he was surprised at its contents—speaks of the Turkish Constitution as a thing of undoubted and almost unbeunded liberality. "The reforms were adopted," his Lordship says, "under strong pressure from without;" and he adds—"Give them a fair trial, and it will turn out a reality." A fair trial! This was all that Lord Derby and the Powers asked in the last Protocol. I will therefore set the sneer of the right hon. Gentleman and other extreme Liberals in the House—such as the hon. Gentleman the Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands)—against the words of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. We have been asked to force either autonomy or guarantees upon Turkey; but I venture to think, if you once embark in the policy of interference in the internal affairs of other States, you will simply land yourselves in chaos. It is a most dangerous principle, and not to be thought of. People only talk about such interference when a country is weak, and they would not think of applying the principle to America. Moreover, in the present instance it appears that those who advocate interference would rather some one else did it, instead of doing it themselves. The 765 Crusaders of old went out themselves, and those who preached the Crusade accompanied them. Thus, in old days 60,000 Englishmen went to the Crusades, but our modern Crusaders stay at home and urge others to do their werk for them, thus proving their faith in the great doctrine of vicarious sacrifice. I protest against such a method of crusading. It is said, however, that Turkey is a special case, and that the right of interference is based on the Treaty of Kainardji. I hold in my hand, however, a document drawn up by an able diplomatist—not Sir Henry Elliot—who is thoroughly conversant with Turkish affairs, and who clearly points out that a falsehood which ought to be exploded is the old one that by the Treaty of Kainardji Russia had a right to interfere in the internal administration of the Turkish Empire; and that all it did was simply to give her power of interference so far as regarded the form and toleration of the wership in the churches. Now, nobody contends that the rights of free worship have not been enjoyed by the Christian populations of the Ottoman Empire. The only thing that can by any possibility be construed into restriction in that respect is that they have not been allowed to ring their chapel bells. But as to that, within my own recollection, the Scottish Presbyterians were not permitted to ring bells in London, and a similar prohibition was applied to those who wershipped according to the Episcopal form in Scotland. It may, however, be fairly assumed that if Turkey is let alone, in due time civilization will have so far advanced, under the new Constitution, that the use of bells will be allowed there, and, in any case, the prohibition cannot now be looked upon as an intolerable grievance. Then it may be said that there are special grounds for interference in Turkey, and that we undertook the Crimean War for the sake of Turkey. No doubt, you have interfered there. You have not done so, however, for the sake of the Turks themselves, but for the sake of yourselves and the rest of Europe. You have unquestionably conferred benefit on Turkey and kept her alive; but that does not now give you the right to interfere in her internal affairs. Such a contention would be absurd, for if the fact of your having done something for the advantage of a country gave you a future right to in- 766 terfere in her internal affairs, Spain, Italy, Sicily, and Belgium, and France also, in short, wherever a British Army has been, would come under your influence. Turkey is, no doubt, in a special position, in regard to the rest of Europe being guaranteed by Treaties; but that special position is no argument for coercion; on the contrary, it is entirely against it. So far from interference with Turkey being justified by Treaty, it is all the other way; she possesses a Treaty which distinctly guarantees her independence, and provides that, in the event of difficulties arising, they shall be settled by concerted action on the part of the great European Powers. If hon. Gentlemen opposite, under the guidance of so brilliant a Leader as the right hon. Gentleman, once embark upon a policy of interference with the internal affairs of other States and of refusing to execute guarantees which they have given, and of twisting them to purposes they were not intended for, we shall be landed in a quagmire of dangers and inconsistencies from which it will be difficult to extricate ourselves. We should, moreover, endeavour to realize the position in which Turkey is placed, and appreciate the difficulties of her situation. Do not let it be imagined that in defending Turkey I am defending Turkish misdeeds, or that my humanity is not as great as that of hon. Gentlemen opposite; but my feelings of humanity are not confined to the Christian inhabitants of Turkey, they extend to other people, and to other parts of the world where acts of injustice are perpetrated. Let us, then, see what is the character of the much abused Turk? He has been described as anti-human, as "the only anti-human specimen of humanity," and it is said that he is unspeakable; but this is not the opinion of those who have come in contact with him and who know him. On that point I wish to quote the authority of my hon. Friend the Member for the Kirkcaldy Burghs (Sir George Campbell), who has had much experience of Maho- medans in India, and who has, moreover, a well-regulated, well-disciplined mind, as in his Handy Book on the Eastern Question, from which I am about to quote, he says at its commencement that he agrees with every word in the speech of the Duke of Argyll. It is a case of "God Bless the Duke of Argyll." Well, he says, "there is a deal of good in the 767 religion of the Turks; "that" our ideas regarding it are terribly coloured by ancient prejudices; " that " it is derived in a great measure from the same sources from which Protestantism eventually spring; " that " their religion affects their manners and daily life, perhaps more than does that of most Christians; " that " they wership God in a very earnest way "; and "that in the matter of sobriety alone, they have an enormous advantage over modern quasi-Christians." What the Permissive Bill may now effect the Mahomedan religion does effect; that many practical virtues are enforced by their religion in a high degree; that their prayerfulness and active belief in God much exceeds the easy-going religion so common among us. [Cries of "Question!"] I am speaking to the Question, because the policy of hon. Gentlemen opposite is very much influenced by the opinion which they entertain of the Turkish character, of which, perhaps, they have very little knowledge, except what they obtain from the columns of The Daily News. The high authority from which I am quoting goes on to say, that "it is, in a great measure, a mistake to represent the Mahomedans as fanatical;" that "it provokes him to hear people who ought to know better talk of this terrible Mabemedanism;" that "their supposed craving for Christian blood is a mere myth;" that "the freedom of religious belief and wership in many Mahomedan countries may be compared with the intolerance of many Christian countries;" that "the Moguls in India and the Turks in Europe exhibited the perfection of religious toleration." Can as much as that, I ask, with justice be said of the Russians? I do not wish to enter into the subject of Russian toleration; but, if I do, I may quote the testimony of Lord Shaftesbury in 1853, and our own Consuls in 1874, to show what is to be expected from it. It is well described in a pamphlet which has been put into my hand by Sir Patrick Colquhoun, in which it is asked what we should think if Dissenters of various denominations were driven between a line of policemen and riflemen to a church belonging to the Establishment, and there, with the gentle assistance of the sabre and the bayonet, forced to sign the abjuration of their faith, a sort of thing which occurs not unfrequently in 768 Russia in the case of unorthodox Christians. But the subject of Russian intolerance is one upon which it is unnecessary to dwell, and I will pass for a moment to the present position of Turkey. If there is any disposition on the part of Turkey to be savage and fanatical, it should be remembered that she now finds herself face to face with her hereditary enemy, and that this result has been brought about by a system of intrigue on the part of Russia from first to last. That that is so is amply proved by the Reports of Consul Holmes and other evidence embedied in the Blue Book, and in referring to the subject I may be allowed to quote from the hon. Member for Poole's interesting Life of Lord Palmerston to show that that policy on the part of Russia is nothing new. Lord Palmerston, in reference to the Polish Insurrection, writing to Baron Brunnow, said—I am very sorry for you, but it serves you perfectly right for what you have been doing in Servia and the Turkish Provinces. Did you not send out agents provocateurs to stir up insurrection? Have you not imported into Servia and the Turkish Provinces, not by the high road, but through by-ways and mountain passes, 90,000 stand of arms?That is the opinion of Lord Palmerston as to the action of Russia at that time, and that is a pretty fair specimen of what has been going on ever since and recently. These are matters which, in dealing with the question before the House, ought not, I contend, to be left entirely out of sight. Now, as to the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman, speaking especially of the second, which provides that if the guarantees are not granted, we shall withhold all moral and material support from Turkey, it occurs to me that if those words mean anything they mean a great deal more than some hon. Gentlemen on the other side imagine, and perhaps more than even the right hon. Gentleman himself intended them to mean. If they mean that we are not to interfere for the sake of the Turks, no one will dispute with him, because none of us, as I understand, look to interfere for the sake of the Turks. But do they mean that under no possible circumstances are we to interfere? ["No, no" from the Opposition.] Well, if that be so, then the Resolution is, in my opinion, open to the strongest objection. I maintain that, under certain circumstances, we shall 769 be obliged to interfere, and therefore the Resolution is a snare and an embarrassment to the Government, to the House, and to the other Powers also. That being the view which I take of it, I shall unhesitatingly vote against it. There is not, I may add, a word in it about Russia or England but the right hon. Gentleman asks the House to trust the werd of the Emperor, to emulate Russia's noble conduct, and throw over our traditional policy. Now, I maintain that the traditional policy of this country, and of all our great statesmen, is a sound policy—a policy which is summed up in a leading article of The Times as one of "lively and deserved distrust." For my own part, when I am asked to put confidence in Russia and in her moderation, all I can say is that I am unable to sing this new song. I cannot unlearn the history of the past; I cannot ignore the facts of the present; and that being so, I am not prepared to accept Russia as the Apostle of Christianity and civilization. I stand by the traditional policy of England, and I decline to sing this new song. I cannot approve the spread of Christianity and civilization by force and spoliation. We are told to trust to the word of the Emperor of Russia. I do not wish to throw any doubt upon the word of the Emperor; but it is well to remember that a Representative of the Emperor assured Lord Granville most solemnly that the Russians, if they went to Khiva, would not remain there. How has that promise been fufilled? And when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich criticizes the words and actions of the Duke of Wellington in the despatches and letters written in connection with the Greek question in 1826 and 1827, where the Duke says—It makes me sick when I hear of the Emperor's desire for peace. If he desires peace, why does he not make it … I put the honour of the individual out of the question, and I look at the case only as it relates to the powerful Monarch of a great Empire … I said I did not sit there to manifest confidence in any Sovereign, but to watch over the interests of this country.Those words, to my mind, have the true English ring of Britannia metal—[Laughter, and cries of "Britannia "s—I beg pardon, I mean sterling metal. And I would rather have written them than be responsible for the acres of type 770 in speeches, pamphlets, letters, and postcards with which this country has been deluged upon this question. There is not a word in the Resolutions about the interests of England, though there was certainly something on the subject in the right hon. Gentleman's speech. I listened to the first part of that speech, and considering the position occupied by the right hon. Member for Greenwich, for five years as Prime Minister of this country, I was astonished at the manner in which he sneered at and bespattered the fair name of England. ["Oh, oh"] I venture to think that the interests of England should have something said for them, more than the "Previous Question," and it was in that belief that I ventured to Table the Resolution which stands in my name. As a matter of form, I cannot bring the Resolution forward; but, practically, it is a counterblast to the right hon. Gentleman's Resolution. As lie has changed his front, the first part of my Resolution is unnecessary, for the House has practically declared against the principle of coercion, and therefore by implication has condemned the action of Russia. As to the second part of the Resolution in reference to what the Government should do, I am perfectly satisfied with what I have read of the excellent speech of the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the question of neutrality, and the despatch of Lord Derby in answer to the Russian Circular. In the latter part of my Resolution I express a hope, which I am sure every hon. Member will cordially reciprocate, as to the maintenance of neutrality in the war between Russia and Turkey. But I think every reasonable and rational man must admit there may be a time when you must draw the line. It may come sooner than you think. Persons cognizant of the state of the Russian and Turkish Armies, and the districts where they are engaged, believe that by the first week in July Russia will be in Adrianople, and by the first week in August in Constantinople, and others think even sooner than that. I have heard Count von Moltke maintains, from a military point of view, that if Russia crosses the Balkans she must go on. There is no position where she can stop with safety, and she must advance to Constantinople. It is not when Russia occupies Constantinople that it is time to speak. An in- 771 formant has told me that the views of Russia are to take Erzeroum, Kars, and Batoum, and to descend the Euphrates Valley as far as the plague will allow, and even to advance to the Levant and occupy Scanderoon. The transference of the control of the Black Sea from Turkey to Russia will follow, and we may even have, as one of the conditions of peace, the transfer of the Turkish Fleet to Russia. Looking at all these things, and to the interests of England, which the right hon. Gentleman must admit he has disregarded—["No, no!"] No? I think I have heard Sir Henry Elliot held up to scorn and odium by the right hon. Gentleman because he ventured to weigh in the balance the death of 4,000 of a Greek sect in the Turkish Empire against the interests of England. [An hon. MEMBER: 12,000.] Be it 4,000, 6,000, 10,000, or 20,000, I venture to say the interests of England are not for one moment to be weighed with the slaughter, sad and unhappy though it be, of these people. The interests of humanity, civilization, and Christianity are much more at stake in the maintenance of the Empire and interests of England than in the interests of a section of the Christian population of Turkey. I believe that the Government will stand by the interests of my country; while by maintaining a strict neutrality, so long as English interests are not affected by this war, that they will, in the words of my Resolution, take efficient measures so as to " enable them, should occasion arise, promptly to protect our interests and maintain our Empire in the East." And if they do this, whatever may be said to the contrary by a certain number of persons, who sympathize strongly with the Greek religion, and with the Christians in Turkey, Her Majesty's Ministers will, I am confident, be supported by the backbone and manhood of the nation.
§ MR. ANDERSON
said, the House had just heard from the noble Lord exactly that pro-Turkish and anti-Russian speech which might naturally have been expected from him. He would admit that it was not an unfair speech from the noble Lord's point of view, with the exception of the remarks about the alleged sneers against this country, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, which remarks were in very bad taste. The noble Lord had 772 spoken of Russia having all along intended to go to war, and he (Mr. Anderson) differed from him on that matter. According to the noble Lord, Russia had merely contrived to pass the time over until the approach of spring enabled her to take the field.
§ LORD ELCHO
I said that a relative of mine told me in October that the Russians could not go to war till April—that they could not march till the roads were dry.
§ MR. ANDERSON
said, he thought that was pretty much the same thing that he had said. He had understood the noble Lord to mean that Russia was determined to go to war all the while, and that the Conference and all the other negotiations were therefore futile. But that was not in accord with the opinions which had been held by the Conservative side during the Conference. They then held out to the public that there would be no war, and the Government were grounding their policy on the certainty that Russia had no money to go to war with, and that therefore they were quite safe in following a policy which the Liberals called a weak and vacillating policy, certain to drive Russia into independent action. The noble Lord said that the only reason we had for interfering with Turkey was that we had done her good; but the real reason for interference was that while meaning to do Turkey good, we had done great evil and wrong to the Christian Provinces. We had taken the protection of those Provinces away from Russia, and had left them to Turkey, and that was why we were bound to look after their welfare. The noble Lord had also quoted a passage from the beok of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell). According to his (Mr. Anderson's) recollection, the remarks quoted were applied by his hon. Friend to the Turkish people. [Lord ELCHO: Hear, hear!] But it was the Turkish ruler that was the "unspeakable Turk." There was a vast difference between the Turkish people and the Turkish rulers. Then the noble Lord said the second Resolution meant a great deal or very little; but he (Mr. Anderson) maintained that it meant exactly what it said—that Turkey had forfeited all claim to our support. It did not say that we were not to interfere in her favour, if we chose to do so. It only said that she 773 had no claim on us for interference. He sbeuld have been content had the Resolution gone further, and said that we had no right to interfere, except for the defence of British interests. There had been a great deal of cavilling at the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich. One line taken was a mean sort of questioning of his motives. That was pretty much the line taken by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam-werth (Sir Robert Peel), who spoke of the right hon. Gentleman's conduct as being mischievous and ungenerous, and said that the agitation was most unbecoming, and that the right hon. Gentleman had divided his Party and had entered into closer communion with the Liberation Society. Then there was another class, of which the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Baillie Cochrane) might be taken as an instance. The hon. Member did not impugn the right hon. Gentleman's motives at all, but tbeught him only weak, and said he got so excited by his own eloquence that he did things that were very blameworthy and wrong; he acted from the best of motives, but the blunder all the same was a grievous one. Well, he (Mr. Anderson) did not admit either of those lines of cavilling. He maintained that the right hon. Gentleman's conduct had been thoroughly right all along. The country had judged the right hon. Gentleman more generously, wisely, and justly, and recognized not only the grandeur and grasp of intellect, but the nobility of soul that was quite above everything small and mean. In the Autumn the right hon. Gentleman found a great outburst of national indignation, somewhat spasmodic, perhaps, somewhat unrestrained, but thoroughly genuine and spontaneous. He did not create it; he simply directed it into useful channels, and turned it to such purpose as to change the policy of the Government away from a national danger. It was because the country knew that he saved it from a danger then that it responded to him now. The right hon. Gentleman stood on far too high a ground to need any defence from him; but he wished such a defence could have come from some of the right hon. Gentlemen who sat beside him on the front Opposition bench and he regretted that the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster) did not take the opportunity of offer- 774 ing one last night. However, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) would be judged by the country and by posterity; and he was sure that the verdict would be that, moved by a lofty patriotism that could rise above mere Party, now as before, the right hon. Gentleman had saved his country from an imminent danger. The Home Secretary made a speech the other night which had been to a great extent the keynote of the debate, and had given a very emphatic denial, on the part of the Government, to the charge of callousness and indifference which had been made against his Party. He (Mr. Anderson) wished particularly to know if the right hon. Gentleman meant to exclude from that disclaimer his illustrious Chief? it looked almost as if he did intend it, and it was whispered no doubt in the country that he had thrown over his illustrious Chief in the Cabinet Council on Saturday. [An hon. MEMBER: "No, no!" and laughter.] Probably the hon. Gentleman who cried "No, no!" had been made acquainted with the Cabinet secrets. He (Mr. Anderson) thought the country would wender, when it saw by that disclaimer that both sides of the House had all along been actuated by exactly the same feelings of horror at the Bulgarian atrocities, at the enormous difference between the two sides in the mode of expressing those feelings. The country would remember that when hon. Member after hon. Member on the Liberal side last Session had risen to denounce those atrocities, the other side were absolutely silent. So well did Lord Beaconsfield dissemble his feelings of horror that he succeeded in convincing the country that he really was callously indifferent. Lord Beaconsfield said when the agitation commenced that the statements which were made were nothing but coffee-house babble, and yet they were now told that the noble Earl had the same feelings of horror as anybody else all the time. If the noble Lord was simply dissembling his feelings, all that he (Mr. Anderson) could say was that it was a very unfor- tunate thing for him to do. He remembered that on the 7th August, Lord Beaconsfield, wbe sat where the Chancellor of the Exchequer sat now, received with what seemed to be an incredulous sneer the statements which he (Mr. Anderson) made with regard to 775 the horrors afterwards proved to have occurred at Batak; but now they knew that the noble Earl was only dissembling his feelings. What had been the result of that dissembling and of that apparent incredulity. It was so terrible that it would take a whole life-time of good deeds to atone for it. The effect was to encourage the Turk in his policy of violation and carnage, to give the cue to Sir Henry Elliot in his policy of silence and suppression, and to guide all the Consular investigations, so that even now we had Consuls like Mr. Holmes sending in utter travesties of the truth. As for the rest of the Cabinet, the right hon. Gentleman said they felt as men and as Englishmen; but their private feelings did not matter. What the country wanted to know was, bew they had felt as Ministers, and that could only be found in their policy; and he felt bound to say that but little trace of such feeling was to be found there. The past policy of Ministers, whatever their feelings were, had been one of favour to the oppressor and neglect of the oppressed, and there was little trace of sympathy in the despatches, except in the one to Sir Henry Elliot, referred to in the Resolutions, and in an occasional very mild protest by Sir Henry Elliot; neither despatches nor protests being followed up to any good end. And what of the followers of the Cabinet? If all their names were put in the ballot bex on the Table, it would be hard to draw out one who had not had something to say in deprecation or in derision of those indignation meetings, which showed how the heart of the country was stirred during the Autumn. Coming to the Resolutions, he was one of those who cared very little what the special werding of them was. He could accept them all or more. All he wanted was, that the Liberal Party should speak out plainly, to show the country that they were still in opposition to the Government on this question. It had been said that the Resolutions meant coercion, and that coercion meant war. He was not sure that coercion meant war even in the future, but he was sure there had been a time, and a prolonged time, too, when coercion by united Europe—which was the only coercion in which Liberals believed—weuld have been effective and successful in procuring protection for the Pro- 776 vinces and in averting war. But it was Her Majesty's Government who had all along broken away from the concert of Europe. At the time of the Berlin Memorandum, Europe was united in favour of coercion, and England alone refused to join. Europe was again united with regard to a month's armistice, and Lord Derby then abandoned his own proposal, tried to force on the Powers a totally different proposal, got refused by Italy and Russia and snubbed by Germany, and then withdrew entirely and remained isolated for most of October, and thus became answerable for all the later bloodshed of the Servian war. Her Majesty's Government were entirely to blame for the failure of the Protocol, and for the failure of the Conference to which Lord Salisbury was sent with his hands tied by the declaration by Lord Derby on 19th December, that it was the settled decision of Government not to coerce. That made the failure a foregone conclusion; and, in fact, all the time he was utterly unable to convince the Turkish Government that Great Britain was in earnest. But it might be said all that was over and past, and that as war had commenced, we ought to take care to keep out of it ourselves, and he admitted that there was a good deal in that; but that ought not to be our sole object, for we had a grave responsibility on account of those Provinces. The future policy of the Government must be judged by the past, and that was why it was necessary to look at the past. He believed the Government sincerely meant their policy to conduce to the peace of Europe, but the Liberals all along denounced it as weak and vacillating, and as certain to fail, and it had failed. The policy of the past was likely to be the policy of the future—a.policy of open neutrality along with a secret leaning—he could hardly, after the answer to Prince Gortchakoff, call it a secret leaning—to the Turks. It was, therefore, necessary for the Liberal Party to make a stand against that policy. The Home Secretary had said that only for certain specified British interests would we go to war, and these were Egypt and Constantinople. He feared there was danger to the country in that statement—he took the strongest objection to the view that an attack on Constantinople by Russia would be sufficient reason for us 777 to go to war. We had forced Russia into independent action by refusing to assist her in securing protection for the Christian Provinces; and if Russia now thought, as she well might think, that her best course, as a belligerent Power, was to aim a deadly blow at the heart of Turkey—and she could best do that by threatening Constantinople—he held that we had no right to interfere to prevent her from doing it. If the Government wished to go to war with Russia about her threatening Constantinople, he would join any section of the Party, however small, and oppose them by every means in his power by refusing Supplies, by obstructing Public Business, by anything that could be done of compel the Government to go to the country on the question, rather than see this country go to war with Russia for threatening Constantinople. The only British interest which he knew of at present, which he would admit of as being a sufficient ground for our restraining Russia, would be an attack on Egypt. He thought we were bound to maintain our way to India, but our way to India was through Egypt, and not by the Bospberus and Constantinople. He maintained that the pro-Turkish feeling of the Conservative Party had justified the agitation got up by the Liberals, for it was inflaming this country against Russia, and if it were not checked, very likely the next thing would be that the sentiment of the fear of Russia would become a sentiment of love and favour for Turkey, such as was entertained by the hon. Members for Christchurch and Canterbury. Then there were other hon. Members who, if they loved Turkey less, hated Russia more; and these two classes were driving the Government towards war for Turkey. The danger of the public being excited into a warlike feeling had been greatly increased by the silence of the Liberal Party; and the taunt that the Liberals were silent in Parliament after having spoken in the country, was not altogether undeserved. But its motive had been misunderstood; they were told early in the Session that negotiations were pending, and that their speaking out would only hamper the Government. That was the reason why they were silent. Perhaps they allowed that reason to weigh too strongly with them. But if they had spoken then, they would now 778 be told that their speaking had caused the failure of the policy of the Government. He thought, therefore, that there was some argument in favour of their not having spoken out sooner. But as soon as the negotiations were at an end there was no longer an excuse for silence, and there had arisen a determination to speak out, and the mere announcement of the Resolutions had been enough to awaken the country, and to let it be known that the country was ready to prevent the Government from going to war on the wrong side. That was the thing which they had feared. The country knew that to fight for Turkey was to fight for the empire of tyranny, of brutality, of slavery, and of every vile thing which was abhorrent to the honest instincts of our people. The country knew that it was for Turkey that the East African deserts were white with the bones of poor captives. The country knew that the horrors of the slave dhows in the Red Sea, in which some 50,000 slaves crossed that sea annually, were due to Turkey, and those 50,000 slaves which crossed that sea were a small part of those who were torn from their homes. Regarding those 50,000, he would say one more word. They were told the other day that the Egyptian Government had sent a ship of war down the Red Sea for the suppression of the Slave Trade, and no doubt they would be told through their enlightened Consuls that that ship of war had found no trace of any slave traffic; that not one single dhow had been captured; and therefore it was absolutely certain that no such traffic existed. Why, the Khedive took care to give information for weeks beforehand of his intention to send that ship down the Red Sea, and no doubt the slave dhows took care to be well out of the way. The country knew also that it was for Turkey that the infamous traffic in Circassian slave girls was kept up; and that being so, it would be contrary to all their deeds and traditions, contrary to all their duties, contrary to everything they thought right, for this country to fire one shot or to spend one drop of blood in support of Turkey until she had purged herself of all those abeminations and of all their vile adjuncts. He, for one, rejoiced that this issue of slavery was likely to arise out of this war. Turkey had spurned our advice and 779 laughed at our counsel; she had given us a soufflet in the face of Europe and the world. She had chosen the arbitrement of the sword. Let her take it. Once more it seemed to be a struggle of the North against the South—of freedom against slavery. True, the question of slavery had not arisen in the beginning of the war. Just as in the great struggle of North against South in America, the question of abolition was not the earliest object of that war, but was an after issue which sprung out of it; so he believed that the question of slavery would be one of the issues which would hereafter spring out of this war, and when the time came, as he believed come it must, when Turkey would have to sue for peace, he hoped this country would have something to say to the conditions of that peace, and that they would take care that one of those conditions should be the complete suppression of all slavery both in Turkey and in Egypt. They—the Liberals—had made their solemn protest, the object of which was that if they should be dragged into war they should not draw the sword in supporting wrong against right; that they should help the oppressed and the downtrodden, and that they should not fight for a tyrannical Government which they despised and for infamies they hated.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
Mr. Speaker, as I am about to take a different course, when the division is called, from the great bedy of the Conservative Party which sits on these benches, I am anxious to address a few words to the House, assigning the reasons which actuate me in separating myself on this occasion from those with whom I have usually acted for so many years. I am about to take a rather prosaic view of the situation; and, first, I have to express my sense of gratitude to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich for having undertaken the Leadership of public opinion upon this Turkish question. I do not myself go quite so far as the right hon. Gentleman in the phase of opinion which he has expressed with such matchless eloquence. In 1853 and 1854, at the commencement of the Crimean War, I had occasion to declare myself a pupil and a supporter of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, and I have never found reason to regret my adhesion to a statesman who, for so many years, has manifested a greater knowledge of the 780 Eastern Question, and a greater aptitude for dealing in an amicable, but decided, manner with the Ottoman people and the Ottoman Government than any other man; and at this moment I rejoice in the belief that there is no real difference between my own imperfect perceptions and Lord Stratford de Redcliffe's matured judgment. I know not what that noble Lord may think of the course I am about to adopt, but it seems to me that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, in the first Resolution which he has recommended to the House, in a speech that I do not remember to have been surpassed, either within these walls, or within the walls of the old House of Commons, distinctly affirms the policy enunciated by Lord Derby in his despatch of the 21st of September, 1876. And what is that policy? The dispatch affirms the right of this country, as one of the Powers who were engaged in the Crimean War, and after all the sacrifices which this country made during that war, it affirms the right of England upon that score to express an opinion upon the conduct of the Turkish authorities towards their Christian subjects. Now, I have heard it disputed whether Russia had, previous to the Treaty of 1856, a right to intervene; but I can cite the authority of Lord Russell in 1853, to the effect that Russia possessed that right, and that the then evil was that she possessed it exclusively. I hold, Sir, that this is a matter for the exercise of mature judgment on the part of this House for the present with a view to the future. I approve of the discretion of the right hon. Gentleman in abandoning his two last Resolutions, because I contend that it is not the function of this House to interfere actively with the foreign policy of the Government. It is the function of Her Majesty's Ministers to conduct our foreign policy, to make peace, and to make war. It is our function to judge of their conduct after their conduct has taken effect; and by the two Resolutions which the right hon. Gentleman now proposes he asks that the House shall affirm the policy enunciated in the despatch of Lord Derby, to which I have referred; and, going beyond that, he also proposes that this House, after it has affirmed that policy, shall declare its opinion, that unless the Ottoman Government conforms to that policy, it is 781 not worthy of and shall not receive either the moral or material support of this country. I confess, Sir, that I do not understand why Her Majesty's Government, who have of their own free volition proclaimed neutrality, should object to the House of Commons affirming their previous policy, which we have no reason to believe that they themselves are prepared to abandon, and on the rejection of which by the Ottoman Porte they declared the neutrality of this country. I do not understand, I say, why Her Majesty's Government should object to such a declaration on the part of the House of Commons. And when I look at the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff). which is in these words—That this House 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,I cannot forget that the hon. Member for Christchurch found it convenient to abandon his original intention of moving the " Previous Question," because if he had moved the " Previous Question " upon these Resolutions, lie would have proposed that the House should abandon its function of expressing a judgment upon the conduct of Her Majesty's Ministers in their foreign policy after that policy had taken effect. It appears to me, then, that this Amendment of the hon. Member for Christchurch was drawn up with a view to the two latter, and not the first two Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, since the last two Resolutions contemplate a future policy. Now, I would not have voted for these twe latter Resolutions, bewever I might agree with them in substance, for this reason—I hold that it is not the business of the House of Commons to dictate a foreign policy beforehand to Her Majesty's Government. I hold that that is beyond our function, and I regret that Her Majesty's Government should have given their sanction to this Amendment, because it appears to me to infer, that the House of Commons has no right to judge of the past and actual conduct of Her Majesty's Ministers. I, for one, will not consent, on the part of the House of Commons, to 782 abdicate that great and important function of judging of the conduct of the responsible Ministers of the Crown. I listened attentively to the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho), and it seemed to me that the Crimean fire was still burning within him—his speech and those of some other hon. Members on this side of the House reminded me of what was once said to me out hunting in Northamptonshire—"Their regimental riding is perfectly terrific." It seems to me that they decline to review the conduct of Her Majesty's Government, but are satisfied with declaiming against Russia. I think it much to be regretted that Her Majesty Ministers did not take action in co-operation with the three Northern Powers, as was proposed to them in the Andrassy Note—that they did not join in addressing Turkey in decided language in support of that document. [The hon. MEMBER: The Berlin Note.] The Berlin Memorandum was not issued till May, 1876; the Andrassy Note reached Her Majesty's Ministers in December, 1875; the Berlin Memorandum is dated May. 1876. Their may have been reasons for Her Majesty's Government not accepting the offer which was tendered to them by the three Powers; but if there were such reasons I lament, that they delayed so long in originating some decided policy of their own for the prevention of these sad disturbances in Turkey, and for the avoidance of any pretext for a declaration of war on the part of Russia alone. My belief is, that decided action on the part of the Powers, when the Andrassy Note was issued, or even so late as on the appearance of the Berlin Memorandum might then have induced acquiescence on the part of Turkey. It is my feeling' that the Ottoman Government have believed, that our remonstrances and those of Europe have not been made in earnest that induces me to vote for the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich. What do those Resolutions imply? They imply this—that Turkey having been saved by the exertions of England, France, and Italy united, from subjugation by Russia between 18541856, and her position in the European comity of nations having been granted by those same Powers, that these Christian Powers have a right to intervene, when outrages are committed upon the 783 Christian subjects of the Sultan, which appear to have originated in differences of religion. The noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire has dilated upon the tolerant feeling among individual Mussulmans, and in the Ottoman Government. He even said—"Cite me a single instance of a refusal by the Ottoman Government of a site for a Christian church." The noble Lord can never have read—one might doubt whether he had ever heard of—the Treaty of Kainardji, one principal article of which stipulates for the right on the part of Russia to erect and to protect a Christian Church of her rite in Constantinople, while other articles in the Treaty of Kainardji were framed for the express purpose of insuring tolerance to the Greek Churches in the Turkish dominions. The noble Lord went so far, that he reminded me of the speech which was made by the hon. Member for Galway, last night, who, speaking as a Home Ruler, said he thought it was better, that occasional outrages of the Bulgarian type should occur than that the Russian form of government, than that the system of the Russian Church, should prevail. For my part I do not believe in the tolerance of the Mabemedan religion. For what, Sir, caused the liberation of Greece from the Ottoman dominion? Was it not that a series of outrages, of tortures and impalements, the violation of women, and the murder beth of men and women, at last drew down upon Turkey the outraged feelings of Europe? Turn to the page of history and you will find that such outrages as these Resolutions condemn had repeatedly occurred before and during 1826 and 1827; before the battle of Navarino, and in a form quite as aggravated as that which we all unite in condemning. I desire, Sir, that it could become part of the International Law, that when any State exists by guarantee, and is thus rendered to a great extent irresponsible, that the Powers, who guarantee that State and, thus render it comparatively irresponsible, should have the right to exact complete religious toleration towards its subjects from the State so guaranteed. Now, how is International Law created? It is the embediment of public opinion emanating from one State and adopted by others. It has not the specific sanctions of munipal law; but it has a much wider opera- 784 tion, and it seems to be that when several States unite to guarantee another State, and thus render that State irresponsible, because its existence thereafter no longer depends upon its own strength, it would be a wholesome and a peaceful principle, that this country should, in its own case and by its example, originate this system, that the guaranteeing Powers, who become responsible for the integrity and qualified independence of the State they guarantee, shall also become responsible for the toleration, that the guaranteed State shall, in all matters relating to religion, extend to its subjects. I thank the House for allowing me to express the grave and prosaic motives which actuate my vote in the present instance. I have observed that recollections of the war from 1854 to 1856 have induced many hon. Members of this House to forget what great changes have come over the Government of Russia since that Crimean War. The late Emperor Nicholas was a gallant soldier, but he was an intolerant Governor, and anything but peacefully disposed. He proposed to this country to join in the partition of Turkey. He offered England Egypt, if she would agree to his possessing Constantinople. But the present Emperor, made wiser than his father by experience, has striven to maintain peace, and, it should not be forgotten, he has accomplished the greatest act of liberation known in our days—the liberation of the serfs in his own dominions. I heard with sincere regret the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire rake up the melancholy occurrences which have taken place in Poland in order to use them as a set-off against the Turkish outrages in Bulgaria. The right hon. and learned Baronet the Member for Clare (Sir Colman O'Loghlen) recently moved that a despatch with respect to Poland, written in 1863 by Earl Russell, should be reprinted, and placed in the hands of hon. Members of this House. That despatch was an indictment of the conduct of the Russian Government, and that indictment was issued by the English Foreign Secretary upon imperfect information. I, therefore, asked Her Majesty's Government to accede to a Motion for the reprinting of Prince Gortchakoff's despatch of 1867, to which they consented; and that despatch has been re-printed. 785 And why? Because any hon. Member who may take the trouble of reading that despatch will find that the severities in Poland, to the exercise of which the Emperor Alexander was reduced, were occasioned by an insurrection during 1863, 1864, and 1865, which had throughout been stimulated by the Vatican, while treacherously negotiating with the Emperor of Russia, who desired a Concordat with the Holy See, meanwhile fomented an insurrection during which his officers were poisoned. ["No, no!"] I say "Yes;" an insurrection, during which every means that malice could devise was used to destroy his authority. ["No, no!"] I speak from documentary evidence, when I say that the Emperor was obliged to resort to severe measures. I have no love for the Russian form of government; but I cannot deny that that Government is tolerant of the religions of different communities within its dominions. ["Oh oh!"] Yes, I repeat it. But, at the same time, the Russian Government will not permit this—it will not permit proselytism. I will not attempt to justify that prohibition to the Russian extent; but that is the law of Russia. Every community in Russia is protected in the exercise of its religion, but it must not proselytize; and it was because a system of proselytism and insurrectionary agitation, originating with the Court of the Vatican, as is proved in that despatch, was being actively carried on, that the Government of Russia resorted to repressive measures. But even, if you take what happened in Poland and set it against the outrages, the rapes, the murders, and the impalements in Greece of 1826, 1827, and even in 1828, and again the murders, the rapes, the impoverishment, the tortures, the cruelties that have been perpetrated in the revolted Provinces of Turkey within the last 18 months, there can be no doubt which aggregate of suffering is the greater. Russia may have been severe, but she has not been brutal. Still, while looking forward to the future, it seems to me probable, that it may be necessary that we should in some way again co-operate with the Turkish Government. I value the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary that, as a Member of the Government, he would be prepared to take every means for the defence of 786 Constantinople, for the defence of the Suez Canal, for the defence of the highway of the werld between West and East in which English interests are the most concerned. I do not, Sir, altogether trust the Government of Russia; but at the same time, I cannot forget that Russia was the great Ally of England in vindicating the freedom of Europe from the tyranny of the First Napoleon, and that witbeut Russia we could not have vindicated that freedom, and that without Russia England could not have established, by the Treaty of Vienna a peace which lasted 40 years. I have not forgotten all this. At the same time I know that the Emperor of Russia is liable to be overberne by a military caste in the Russian aristocracy and other classes—a military caste, whose support he is obliged to cultivate in order to maintain the connection of his vast dominions. I know that the Empress Catherine is said to have declared that external war is preferable to domestic disturbance, and I know that Russia has acted upon that principle. Therefore, while not trusting Russia blindly, I am not prepared to join in the denunciations of that country, and her Ruler of which we have heard so much from these benches, and which I believe to be rather a remnant of the hostility against Russia, which was generated by a former state of things than dictated by statesmanlike views. I am not prepared to join in these wholesale denunciations of Russia, and I shall vote for the first two Resolutions proposed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, in order to affirm this principle—that, whenever England may guarantee the integrity of any State, she ought to be in a position to demand toleration for all its subjects.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
said, that, while willing himself to support the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) he could not concur with the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) that his right hon. Friend was to blame for not pressing them in their original shape; for had he done so, the division would not have shown the real opinion of that side of the House. Neither was his right hon. Friend in error in that he had submitted too large a proposition to the House. His right 787 hon. Friend had not abated one iota of his policy. He only asked the House to divide on his first Resolution, but he retained the wbele, and the discussion of three nights would be mainly on those propositions. A very great advantage had arisen from the discussion of this great subject. In the first place, it brought out that the opinion of the country, as manifested by great public meetings, was similar to what it was last autumn. It was said that these public meetings had been got up. He presumed that public meetings must be called by somebody, but then it did not follow that people would come. Something like 300 meetings had been held in different parts of the country upon the question, and that fact alone would give a fair idea of the state of feeling. It had also blown to the winds the war policy which had been lately weven by the Tory Press. It had compelled the Government to turn the peace side of its policy to the front, and he thought the Government ought to be obliged to his right hon. Friend for giving them an opportunity of eliciting the opinions of the country. Then, the discussion had elicited from the Home Secretary a speech with which most hon. Members on that (the Opposition) side agreed. Then there was another thing which the debates had elicited; there had been apologists for Turkey, but there was not one, except the hon. Member for West Cumberland (Mr. Percy Wyndham) who had ventured to rise and maintain that we should fight to preserve the integrity of Turkey and to maintain the Treaty of Paris. The policy enunciated by hon. Members opposite who favoured Turkey appeared to be a policy of general neutrality, tempered with a certain regard for British interests. That was what they sheltered themselves behind. But the Home Secretary had said that British interests were a long way off. [Mr. CROSS: I hoped they were.] The right hon. Gentleman stated that British interests lay in the direction of the Suez Canal, of Alexandria, of the Bosphorus or the Dardanelles, but he cared very little about Batoum, or even Bulgaria. We had, therefore, no fear of being hurried into a war on behalf of British interests, and the Country would have time to consider the question. The Home Secretary endeavoured to prove 788 that there had been no difference within the last few months in the opinion of his Colleagues; but the whole speech of the right hon. Gentleman showed a difference of tone from the earlier speeches of Lord Derby. It seemed scarcely possible that the right hon. Gentleman could have been a party to the noble Lord's despatch to Prince Gortchakoff. [Mr. CROSS: I argued from it.] That there had been differences of opinion among the right hon. Gentleman's Colleagues during the last 18 months must be apparent to any one who read the papers and watched the question. The Government had either altered its policy, or there had been a difference of opinion, and of these two alternatives he thought the latter more charitable. What his right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich proposed was, that the Government should endeavour to restore the European concert with a view to the protection of the interests of the Christians in the East, and in that respect he differed materially from the hon. Member for Liskeard, who would be ready to take action against Turkey without any European concert. The European accord was first impaired at the time of the Berlin Note. The Berlin Note was proposed by the Three Powers; and, as the Government said, it was rejected solely because this country had not been consulted. The Under Secretary of State for the Foreign Office had justified that rejection on the ground that the adoption of that Note would cost Turkey £3,000,000 in building the beuses of the Bosnian refugees; but it appeared from the famous letter of September that Turkey was expected at any rate to re-build the houses of the Bulgarians. He would quote part of a despatch reporting a conversation between Lord Lyons and the Due Decazes with reference to the Note. It appeared that the Duke had expressed his surprise and regret at the refusal of the British Government; that he feared that an armistice was then impossible, and took a gloomy view of the consequences which might follow in the form of a continued spread of insurrection, the ultimate dismemberment of the Turkish Empire, and a European war; adding that it would be a public calamity if England were to stand aloof. That was the opinion of the French Government, who had not been consulted any more than ourselves 789 by the Three Northern Powers as to the Berlin Note, yet that Government had given its consent without hesitation, and, in the opinion of the French Minister, our rejection of that Note had been most unwise. It was yet possible that all the consequences which had been prophesied by the French Minister might become true. The accord of Europe having been first broken by our rejection of the Berlin Note, then had occurred the atrocities, and he need not remind the House that Her Majesty's Government, after the Autumn agitation, yielding to the manifest feeling of the country, had changed its policy. He did not blame the Government, for he thought it a most wise change. Again, they had endeavoured to act in accord with the rest of Europe, and that had brought about the Conference and the Mission of Lord Salisbury. The Instructions of the noble Lord and his acts at the Conference had given universal satisfaction to the country; but it appeared to hon. Members on his side of the House that, though a very proper course had been taken in thus endeavouring to restore the accord of Europe, yet that attempt had been doomed to hopeless failure, because, although it was made known to the Turks that this country would no longer give them support, every act of the Government was calculated to make the Turks believe that we were not in earnest, and would not use coercion. First among these causes of failure came the Mansion House speech of Lord Beaconsfield, in which the friendly communications from the Emperor of Russia were suppressed. Next came the action of Sir Henry Elliot at the Conference. It was evident that the Ambassador had taken an opposite course to that of Lord Salisbury, and had acted as the marplot of the Conference—there was also the fact that Engineer officers had been sent to Constantinople to report on a scheme of defence for Constantinople at the very time when the Conference was sitting; and lastly, there had been the tone of the speeches of the Government supporters and of the Tory Press—neither of which had been checked by the Government. All these acts were calculated in every way to make the Turks believe that they might count on the assistance of England, and that the general tendency of the Government was in 790 favour of Turkey. Nothing could have been more injudicious again than our informing the Turkish Government at a most critical period of the Conference negotiations, that whatever might be the result of those negotiations, England would not force the conclusions of the Conference upon her. That was a most grave diplomatic error, for it was throwing away the only chance which Her Majesty's Government had of inducing Turkey to give her assent to the conclusions of the Conference. He was of opinion that after calling the Conference, the Government ought to have used pressure to induce Turkey to assent to its conditions. It might be said that that would have been an act of war; but in his opinion it would have been the only way of avoiding war and securing the peace of Europe. It had been said by the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that the other great Powers of Europe were unwilling to use compulsion against Turkey; but listening to the extracts which had been read to support that proposition, he (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) had come to the conclusion that what the foreign Powers objected to was the territorial occupation of any part of Turkey. Austria had been cited as objecting to compulsion, but he would remind the House that it was Austria who, while she had objected to the occupation of Bosnia, had suggested a naval demonstration against Turkey, and there was no doubt both France and Italy would have united in such a demonstration, and that if it had been made the assent of Turkey to the conclusions of the Conference would have been obtained. From neglect, however, of using any one of the several modes which existed of bringing pressure to bear upon Turkey, every hope of success had been lost, and the Conference had proved a failure. When the noble Lord opposite (Lord Elcho), and other Speakers said that an opportunity should have been afforded to Turkey to work out her own reforms, and that the meeting of a Parliament in Turkey was a most important event, he would ask permission to quote an extract from a despatch written from Rustchuk by Consul Reade to Lord Derby. It ran as follows:—I have been making diligent inquiries as to the state of public feeling in this vilayet, and I am now in a position to lay before your Lord, ship the result up to the present moment. The 791 employés of the Government in general are very elated from the results of the Conference, and are by no means dejected from the prospects of a war with Russia. They get their pay, and appear to think they have little to lose. it is very different, however, with the people, Mussulmans as well as Christians, who know they have everything to lose, and who continue to suffer as much as ever from the incorrigibly deplorable system of government which they are under. Indeed, if anything, the state of things is worse than ever….. I am assured …. that were a foreign force (a Russian one alone excepted) to make its appearance in this Province, it would be received by the whole population, Mussulman as well as Christian, minus the employes, with open arms."—[Turkey, 1877, p. 188.]Could anything have shown better the fiasco of the Conference, at which Lord Salisbury had been permitted to menace Turkey with a Russian war? It was consequently not fair now to abuse Russia for coercing Turkey. It could not be desirable to give Turkey further opportunities of reform, and the opening of a Turkish Parliament could have no important effect, considering that the Christian Deputies were nominated by the Government. The promises of that Parliament came to nothing, and certain decisions already were fatal to all reform. One of these was that no Christian Governor could be appointed, and another that no Christian should be in the Army. He wished to direct the attention of the House for a moment to the state of the Provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which were the original cause of the insurrection, but to whom since the Bulgarian atrocities very little notice had been accorded. He did so, because the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had read a despatch from Consul Holmes describing the state of Bosnia in glowing terms. He (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) had been in constant communication with a relative in one of those Provinces, and from all the accounts he received, and which he believed to be of an authentic character, he was in a position to say that the statements of Mr. Holmes were wholly unreliable. He could not but think that the Government had been misled, but not wilfully, by that gentleman, who himself said he was reported to be a passionate Turkophile. Mr. Holmes only knew Turkish and was unacquainted with the language of the Native population, and whose communications with them were made entirely through the Turkish authorities. Consul Mimes had informed us that there 792 was no insurrection at this moment in Bosnia, that the few so-called insurgents were a mere band of brigands, and that the refugees from Bosnia had been driven away, not by the atrocities of the Turks, but by fear of the insurgents. In beth these respects Consul Holmes was completely misinformed. Upwards of two-thirds of the whole Christian population of Bosnia and Herzegovina had fled across the frontier. There were about 110,000 in Austria, and nearly the same number in the two Provinces of Montenegro and Servia; they had been driven away from time to time by bands of Bashi Bazouks, who committed every kind of atrocity. He was informed, on good authority, that no fewer than 1,700 villages in Bosnia and Herzegovina had been burnt. [Mr. BOURKE: Name!] He would give his authority to the right hon. Gentleman, but he must decline to state it to the House. He might, however, mention one authority—namely, Mr. Evans, the author of a beok of travels in Bosnia. If the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had any doubt on the subject, he would refer him to the despatch of Vice Consul Freeman, dated March 17. Mr. Freeman spoke of the atrocities committed by the Turks, of the great extent of the insurrection, and of the refugees having been driven away by the atrocities of the Turks. Numerous refugees had, doubtless, been permitted to return to their country; but in almost every case in which they had returned, they had been received with such dreadful acts of cruelty that they had been driven back over the Austrian frontier. The condition of Bosnia and Herzegovina was so terrible that measures should be taken to ameliorate it. He asked whether some responsibility for that condition did not rest on England? It appeared to him that it was the duty of this country in every respect, as a matter of honour and justice, to do something for the unfortunate Christian population in these Provinces in the East. In conclusion, he would simply say that the honour of the country and the interests of peace of Europe were involved in proceeding further in the direction pointed out in the Resolutions of his right hon. Friend, and therefore he intended to give them his cordial support.
§ MR. J. R. YORKE
said, if he had believed that this country could at the 793 present time do anything to ameliorate the condition of the unfortunate Christian population of Bulgaria, he sbeuld have listened to this debate with more interest and pleasure than he had been able to do. The debate had been protracted and important, but he submitted that between the two equally harmless propositions which they had been debating there was hardly a penny to choose. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) in which he so eloquently denounced the Turks, could not possibly in the present crisis do either good or harm. It reminded him of the celebrated curse in the "Jackdaw of Rheims"—He cursed him in living, he cursed him in dying—Never was heard such a terrible curse;But what gave rise to no small surprise,Nobody seemed a penny the worse.Two years ago he (Mr. J. R. Yorke) brought a Motion before the House, which he thought at the time might have been of some service. At that time the right hon. Member for Greenwich was engaged in pelting the Pope with pamphlets, and did not come down to do him the honour of listening to the arguments with which he supported his Motion. He at that time called attention to the threatening condition of affairs in Turkey, and strenuously urged the Government before it was too late to try what urgent remonstrances might do with the Porte. The only official support he obtained was that given him by his right hon. Friend the Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter), who came forward manfully and supported the statements which he had made. Possibly there was then time, though not too much, to save the Porte if active measures had been taken. The Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs stated on that occasion that the progress of Turkey was slow but sure, and that he did not think the Christian subjects of the Porte had much to complain of. The progress of Turkey might have been sure, but it certainly was not slow, for within three months from that time the bankruptcy of Turkey was announced, and within four months the rebellion in the Herzegovina broke out. What an age separated them now from two years ago. They were somewhat in the position of the friends of an estimable gentleman, the late Mr. Odger, whose remains 794 were recently followed to the grave by several hon. Gentlemen opposite. Mr. Odger not being a good financier, lived and died in poverty, and his bedy was accompanied to the grave by a large number of admiring friends, who, if they did not assist him during his life, were anxious to show their respect for him after his death. In the same way when they in England could have done something to save the Porte from impending bankruptcy they held their hand, and now they were called together on that solemn occasion to shriek over the grave of the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire. He also endeavoured on the occasion to which he referred to point out the numerous grounds of hope, some of which still existed, for the restoration of Turkey. It should be remembered that she had passed through severer trials than the present. After the battle of Navarino her fleet was destroyed, her integrity was interfered with by the creation of the Kingdom of Greece, she had lost her ancient military force by the destruction of the Janissaries, and her very existence was threatened by the revolt of Mehemet Ali. Yet she had survived these calamities, because in primitive Oriental societies recovery followed more quickly on misfortune than in societies of a more complex character. If, at the time Sultan Abdul Aziz was dethroned by a successful revolution there had been secured for Turkey a short interval to take breath, it was possible she might have reformed her ways and peace been secured. But the ambition of Russia was the obstacle that stood in the way. All who had followed the various phases of the Eastern Question would agree with what was stated in the Turkish manifesto as to the machinations of Russia and especially of her Ambassador, General Ignatieff. In his opinion the manifesto of the Turks was beth dignified and true, and as a proof he would refer to a despatch dated December 10, 1876, from Sir Henry Elliot to Lord Salisbury to show that the former believed it to be an entire delusion on the part of the English newspapers to suppose that, provided the Marquess of Salisbury and General Ignatieff could come to an understanding upon the measures of reform to be expected from the Porte, no further difficulty need be apprehended, as the acquiescence of the Imperial Govern- 795 ment would be a matter of course. Sir Henry Elliot added—The united action of Great Britain and Russia must have immense weight with the Porte, but the influence of Her Majesty's Government as a friendly adviser is note what it was a short time ago. The declaration of important personages that the Turks must be driven out of Europe causes a feeling of distrust against anything we may recommend in concert with Russia. Convinced that Russia intends to attack it, the whole nation has resolved to offer the best resistance in its power, and that resistance will certainly be stubborn, though possibly futile; but the Turks say there would be less discredit in being driven by force from their territories than in being cajoled out of them.In a conversation, too, between Captain Ardagh, R.E., and a Turkish gentleman it was remarked pointedly thatthe confidence which had long been reposed by the mass of the Mahomedan population in England as their best friend and adviser was rudely shaken by the expressions employed by Mr. Gladstone in regard to them, and that, although they were convinced of the friendly attitude of the present Government, they were bound to consider that, in a Constitutional country like England, Mr. Gladstone's Party, as they described it, might any day come into power and reverse the policy of their Predecessors.There was one subject to which he wished to refer before he sat down, and that was, lie wished to call attention to the undignified position in which we stood with regard to the Tripartite Treaty, by which France, Austria, and England guaranteed the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire, and agreed that any attack upon Turkey's independence would be considered by them a casus belli. Now if the second Resolution of the right hon. Gentleman were carried, what position would this country find itself in, supposing—which he admitted was not very likely to happen—that we were called on by France and Austria to make war under the provisions of the Tripartite Treaty? We would find ourselves in the ambiguous position of having passed a Resolution in the House of Commons at once in contravention of Her Majesty's Declaration and of our international obligations. He was surprised that the right hon. Gentleman did not make this Treaty the object of his attack, for on a former occasion he made a statement in reference to the Treaties and the different guarantees by which this country was bound, and he said there was not an immense difference in them, and he said that he was of opinion that the 796 Tripartite Treaty was the one of all others from which this country could not liberate itself without the assent of France and Austria. He contended that in bringing forward these Resolutions the right hon. Gentleman had taken a course which might embarrass the Government, while, on the other hand, the conduct of the Prime Minister had been made the object of continual attack by hon. Members opposite, for he had been accused of regarding the Bulgarian atrocities with cynical sneers and with having concealed evidence in his possession as to the feelings and disposition of the Emperor of Russia; and yet it had never been imputed to him that at any critical period in the history of the country he had come forward to embarrass the Government of the day with Resolutions such as those before the House. In his speech at Glasgow in November, 1873, Mr. Disraeli said—Whenever this country is externally involved in a difficulty, whatever I may think of its cause or origin, those with whom I act and myself have no other duty to fulfil but to support the existing Government in extricating the country from its difficulties and vindicating the honour and interests of Great Britain.In his opinion the conduct of Lord Beaconsfield during these negotiations had been wise, patriotic, and dignified. He (Mr. J. R. Yorke) did not wish to impute to the Emperor of Russia throughout these negotiations any intention to deceive. He was, no doubt, honourable and true in his declarations; but few persons had less control over the destinies of the future than a despotic Ruler. On the other hand, the Prime Minister of a country like this was powerful because he had the people of the country at his back, and was supported by a great Party, whereas the Emperor of Russia was a despotic Ruler, and though he might desire peace he might by force of circumstances be driven into war. To rely upon his intention, therefore, was to rely upon a broken reed. He was sorry he had detained the House so long; but he hoped that when they went to a division the House would show that the Government still retained the confidence of the country, and that the majority would be an inducement to the Government to pursue in the future, as in the past, that course with regard to their foreign policy which would best 797 serve the interests of the country, and, at the same time, be worthy of public support.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK
said, that in the few remarks he was anxious to address to the House, he should not discuss the question before it in any Party spirit. Indeed, he was as anxious as the hon. Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) that the House should not pass any Resolution which would be likely to embarrass the Government. But he could see nothing in those now proposed which could have such an effect, and the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary seemed to him to be as strong an argument in their favour as any which had been delivered from the Liberal side of the House. Before, however, he proceeded to consider the course which this country, under existing circumstances, should pursue, he trusted he might be allowed to express the pain with which he listened on Tuesday evening to the accusations brought by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) against the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, who had done so much for the benefit of his country. For his part, he begged to thank the right hon. Gentleman for the conciliatory course which he had adopted. He should hardly have thought it possible for any one sitting on that side of the House to forget the splendid services he had rendered to the country, and the numerous victories to which he had led the Liberal Party during his long and illustrious career. As regarded the Resolutions now before the House, it appeared to him that there were three principal questions before the country—should they join Russia and go to war against Turkey; sbeuld they join Turkey and go to war against Russia; or sbeuld they maintain a strict neutrality? As to the first point, whether they should join Russia and fight against Turkey, the second Resolution in its original form stated that, until the conduct of the Portehad been essentially changed and guarantees on behalf of the subject populations had been given, the Porte had lost all claim to receive the material or moral support of the British Crown.These words, however, clearly implied that Turkey would have, if not a legal, at any rate an indirect, claim on this 798 country for material aid under certain conditions. If we were to pass this Resolution in that form, and if, then, Turkey punished the offenders and gave material guaranteesfor improved government, surely it would have been very difficult for us to refuse to assist her. How could we have said—"It is true you have fulfilled all our conditions, but still you must not expect any help from us?" This Resolution in its original form, in fact, took the decision of peace or war out of the hands of this House and our gracious Sovereign, and transferred it to the National Assembly of Turkey and the will of the Sultan. He was glad, however, that the right hon. Gentleman himself thought the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for the Border Burghs (Mr. Trevelyan) to be an improvement. He (Sir John Lubbeck) considered it to be most important from their point of view, and that, in its amended form, it represented the opinions of an immense majority of the people of this country. As it at present stood, it clearly expressed that the Porte, by its cruelty and misgovernment had forfeited all claim on us. Then they came to the second question, should we join Russia and coerce Turkey? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, in his fourth Resolution and in his speech, called upon us to "exact" certain reforms from Turkey. Exaction, however, implied force, and Her Majesty's Government had pledged themselves to Turkey to use no force. He regretted very much that Her Majesty's Government should have made any such announcement. After that had been done, there was certainly very little chance of bringing the negotiations to any satisfactory termination. But, whatever course it might have been advisable for us to take when Turkey rejected all our representations, if we had been free to act, it seemed to him that, under existing circumstances, when war had broken out, and after the solemn assurances given by Her Majesty's Government to Turkey that we would not use force, the House could not call on Her Majesty's Government to make war on Turkey. Even those who most regretted, as he did, that such assurances should have been given, must feel that we were bound by them. He had avoided entering into any criticisms of the past, nor would he 799 speculate on the future. There was much to be said for uniting Bulgaria to Roumania, for annexing Bosnia and Herzegovina to Austria, and for a large addition to the kingdom of Greece. These questions might arise hereafter, but they were not before them now. For the present, there remained the policy of a strict and watchful neutrality. He had listened with much pleasure to that part of the Home Secretary's speech in which he announced that Her Majesty's Government were unanimously in favour of that course, an announcement received with great and general satisfaction throughout the country. He thought it was desirable that nothing should be said in that House which could inflame the feelings of the people of this country against Russia. A strong feeling of irritation was, he feared, springing up, and those who said anything calculated to fan it, took upon themselves a very serious responsibility. They had heard much of English interests abroad, but were not English interests much stronger at home—upon the shores of the Thames and the Mersey, rather than at Batoum and other places in Turkey? They ought to remember that Russia co-operated in freeing Greece, Servia, and Roumania. He tbeught that at present it would be wiser, more generous, and more politic to suspend their judgment, than to condemn Russia, though Russia must know that this country viewed her conduct with distrust in consequence of what had occurred in the past. Still they ought not to forget that the Emperor Alexander had liberated the serfs, and therefore he hoped that the Czar would now sbew that in the present crisis he had been acting a loyal part: that his object was to benefit the unfortunate Christians of Turkey; that he had not been so base as to use their sufferings as a mere excuse for his own aggrandizement. If the Emperor Alexander fulfilled the pledges he had given, he would add a bright page to the history of his country, set a noble example to the werld, and do more to promote the true interests and prosperity of Russia, than if he added many millions to his subjects and annexed even the fairest provinces of Asia to his already gigantic dominions.
§ MR. GRANTHAM
said, he approved more of the plain-spoken principles of 800 the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) than of the vote-catching policy enunciated by the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Shaw Lefevre), who supported the course taken by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, because it would add to the numbers at the Liberal side on the Division List .Probably that would be the case, for tbeugh the House knew, yet the people outside would not know that the division was taken upon one of the Resolutions, for the speeches delivered by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite had been directed to the five Resolutions as they were placed on the Table of the House by the right hon. Gentleman, and the people outside the House would naturally assume that the division was really upon them. Hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House had been most unjustly taunted with being indifferent to the atrocities which had been committed in certain of the Turkish Provinces. For his part, he could say that he should not have risen to address the House, but for the taunts which had been cast at hon. Members on that side of the House, because of their apparently inconsistent opinions respecting the atrocity meetings of last Autumn. They agreed on that side with hon. Members opposite in rejoicing at the outburst of national indignation when these atrocities were heard of; but they were also all agreed on that side of the House in a feeling of national indignation against those who had used those atrocities for the purpose of endeavouring to rally the broken forces of the Liberal Party. The sufferings of the poor Christians had been more a cry for the purpose of catching votes for the poor Liberal Party of England. He (Mr. Grantham) had attended one of the Autumn meetings at which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for London University (Mr. Lowe) delivered that remarkable speech in which he declared that the policy of England must be changed, and that, while begging forgiveness of Russia for what was past, England should ask to be allowed to join her in the future. It was true that there was some talk about Turkish cruelty at that meeting; but there was much more about Tory coldness and want of sympathy, and that nothing would satisfy the people of England but the substitution of the right hon. Member for Greenwich and his Friends for 801 Lord Beaconsfield and the present Ministry. He felt justified in publicly denouncing there the false pretences under which he had been inveigled to that meeting. Never was there a time when the irresponsible intellect of the country had such a dangerous power as at present, never was there a time when one man by his pen or his voice could have such influence in the country for good or ill; and he therefore asked the people of England to take warning by the lesson of last Autumn, and not always to believe in the speeches and writings, however brilliant, that were made by those who were not responsible for the government of the country. He believed that the wise and prudent conduct of Her Majesty's Government had, at a roost critical time, steered the country clear of an imminent danger, and he therefore heartily supported the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Christchurch.
§ MR. WALTER
said, he should follow the advice which he had ventured, somewhat presumptuously, to offer to the House at an earlier period of the evening, and condense his remarks into the space of a few minutes. His object was to offer a few observations, founded on what he might call the key-note of the evening's debate, which was sounded by his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He referred to that which had, in his opinion, been the mistaken policy of Her Majesty's Government during the earlier part of the negotiations which had resulted in the present war, a policy which he would describe as one of international coercion. His hon. Friend, following in the line of his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War, spoke strongly and emphatically against the right or expediency of using coercion under almost any conceivable circumstances, but especially under the circumstances to which their attention had been recently and painfully called. He proposed to submit to his hon. Friend who opened the evening's debate certain reasons which induced him (Mr. Walter) to think that the policy was mistaken, and those reasons were proved by one of the objects which the Government had in view —namely, the maintenance of peace. He held that no State could, by virtue of any Treaty or other obligation, divest itself of its natural right to interfere, if 802 necessary, by force of arms, with any other State, if circumstances justified such interference. And he held that the circumstances which, in our case, could justify such interference were such as would interfere with the peace of Europe or would involve the maintenance or suppression of some gross system of tyranny or persecution. There was a remarkable instance of this international interference which occurred within the recollection of himself and of many Members of the House—he referred to the interference of England and France in the separation between Belgium and Holland. That was a case in which the English Government pursued a policy precisely opposite and different from that which she had seen fit to adopt on the present occasion, and which was advocated by his hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Bourke). In the year 1814 this country, in conjunction with Russia, Prussia, and Austria, solemnly created and guaranteed an union between Holland and Belgium. They did it by virtue of conquest, and for the purpose of maintaining a certain balance of power in Europe. That Treaty was further confirmed by the Congress of Vienna, and the state of things, so settled, subsisted for 15 years down to 1830, when France, England, Prussia, Russia, and Austria, as the result of Conferences held, determined upon the separation of Belgium and Holland. But that was not all. The separation was assented to by the King of Holland, but subsequent arrangements were necessary in order to carry the Treaty into effect. A Conference was therefore held in London, and various bases of separation, which were called "irrevocable bases," although they were repeatedly changed, were laid down for the purposes of the arrangement for carrying the separation into effect. The conditions were extremely hard upon Holland, whose King naturally objected to Belgium agreeing to them. Other bases still more severe, strict, and harsh were then laid on Holland, and when Holland declined to accept them, England and France, without the concurrence, and, indeed, against the wish of the other co-signatories to the Treaty united, used the force of arms, and by besieging Antwerp compelled the King of Holland to accept the terms. He did not complain of that act of interference, although he remem- 803 bered that, in this country, the excitement at the time exceeded anything that had occurred in connection with the present war. But if that act was justifiable, it was surely a far more high-handed act than that which Russia had performed on the present occasion, and incomparably more high-handed than that which Her Majesty's Government would have performed had they taken a more sound and correct view of their international obligations—he meant the step of enforcing upon Turkey the law and the will of Europe. The mistake which had run through all the negotiations and policy of the Government from the very beginning of these unhappy transactions had been their settled determination on no account whatever to entertain the idea of a concerted interference of Europe in order to carry out its will. England interfered in the case of Holland in order to preserve her and Belgium from civil war, and if it was justifiable to interfere for such a purpose, there was surely a better ground for interference in the cause of humanity and of a country misgoverned and Provinces so tyrannically ruled as had been the Turkish Provinces during many years. A great deal had, and more might be said about the non-acceptance of the Berlin Memorandum by the Government. Its acceptance would, undoubtedly, have given a good basis for the concerted action of Europe; but at the time when it was presented it was fair to urge there did not exist the same means for bringing pressure on the Turkish Government that there had since been, for the Bulgarian massacres had not yet occurred. Had they only occurred before the Memorandum, public opinion would have forced the Government to accept it. The Conference followed upon the non-acceptance, and he believed the failure of that Conference was predestined to be a failure. The mission of Lord Salisbury reminded him of the mission of twe very eminent Ambassadors to another great tyrant in a much earlier period in the werld's history than the present. Two Ambassadors were sent to Pharaoh, King of Egypt, with regard to the liberation of the chosen people from bondage; but the difference between their mission and that of Lord Salisbury was that Moses and Aaron were armed with the power of plagues, while the noble Marquess who repre- 804 sented England at Constantinople had no such power. In spite of this, however, it might turn out—and he should not be surprised at it — that the very policy adopted by the Government—a policy which had landed the Turkish Empire in war—might, though not at once, be the means of determining the existence of that Empire. Looking at the Resolutions, he entirely concurred with the opinion of his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary that at the present moment England had only one policy—namely, a policy of observation and neutrality. It must be borne in mind that in debating this question they were in the position of persons who, having only seen twe acts of a drama, proceeded to construct theories as to its close. The second act of this drama was now proceeding, but how that act might develop itself they could form only a very imperfect opinion. With regard to the third act, which related to the negotiations that must inevitably follow the war, they were in total ignorance. How could they, therefore, attempt to pass a judgment satisfactorily to themselves, or to form now any judgment at all upon transactions of which they only knew a part? Years hence the historian of those events might have very great reason to say how blindly and impotently the whole subject had been treated. For his own part, he devoutly hoped that it might be simply the threshold of the Eastern Question—a question which had been the terror and bugbear of statesmen from the beginning of this century. What was that question? Surely, it did not mean a continuance and maintenance of the Turkish Empire, nor did it mean a substitution of Russian for Turkish rule. Neither of these was the problem which statesmen had in their minds when they talked of the Eastern Question. The real question was the true mode of dealing with the dismembered elements of what now constituted the Turkish Empire. In his view, speaking under clouds of uncertainty, the problem was one that must sooner or latter be solved, but it could not be solved by statesmen who said—"Don't mention it in my time; let it be reserved for those to deal with who will come after me." He should not be surprised if lie lived to witness a solution of this question. He believed that, at all events, their descendants would 805 look back upon this whole period of Turkish domination in Europe as the most disgraceful and miserable period of this century. He had lived to see changes which 50 years ago the strongest statesman would have scouted as impossible. He remembered that when he first entered upon public life the problem was how to create an united and independent Italy; and he also remembered the look of surprise and compassion with which that eminent and sagacious man Mr. Charles Greville received a suggestion that such a consummation was possible. After a few years had elapsed, however, that dream became a reality. He had lived to see the settlement of another question, which one of the cleverest men in England had declared would remain to be settled a hundred years hence—namely, that of the abelition of the temporal power of the Pope. He had also lived to see the re-construction of the German Empire, which was regarded as being one of the greatest problems of the age. The fourth problem of our time, and ono which still remained to be solved, was the Eastern Question, and it was one which statesmen must face. Whether it would be solved in our time He only knew who determined the fate of Kingdoms; but that it would be solved, and solved at no distant date, he had not the slightest doubt. He would not detain the House longer, but would merely quote the words which he had read the other day in Sir Gardiner Wilkinson's werk to the effect that—The Turks came into Europe as a horde, they gained power as a horde, and they remained as a horde, and they are the only instance in the history of the world in which a nation has gained the zenith of its power and is hastening to its fall without ever becoming civilized.He believed that the Turkish Government was incapable of civilization, and he was convinced that that was the opinion of the wisest and the deepest thinkers who had given their attention to the subject. He should give his vote in favour of this Resolution, not because he thought that it conveyed any censure upon the Government, but because it embedied the views he had just expressed, and which amounted to a distinct declaration of the present diplomatic attitude of the country towards the Eastern Question. That attitude was one of strict neutrality and observa- 806 tion; but with no intention whatever of supporting the Turks. He did not blame the Government for not having used coercion. If they tbeught that to use coercion would occasion greater evils than now existed; if they thought that it would bring into play dangerous complications between Germany and France, and would perhaps bring about the massacre of the Christians in the Turkish Provinces, they, acting under a sense of their responsibility, were quite right not to use it. Had they used it he should have praised them; but he did not blame them for not having used it. He was prepared to vote any money which the Chancellor of the Exchequer might ask for keeping the Russians out of Constantinople, but he would not vote one shilling to keep the Turks in it.
§ MR. HERMON
thought it was scarcely sufficiently understood that the people of this country were not inclined to go to war, either on behalf of Russia or of Turkey. Connected as he was with trade, and with a part of England which was dependent entirely upon the commerce of the Kingdom, he could bear testimony to the fact that the warlike speeches, resolutions, and meetings of which so much had been heard had a tendency to upset that revival of industry of which they were sanguine enough to believe they had seen some evidence. On behalf of those whom lie represented he was prepared to say that the constituency of Preston were not prepared to go to war in support of either Russia or Turkey. They were not prepared to go to war either in defence of a declining Empire, which was unwerthy to exist in its present state, or in support of a Government which sought to enforce upon another country which was too weak to withstand the pressure principles which were abhorrent to Englishmen. For his own part, he admired the character of neither the Russian nor the Turk. When, however, the necessity for maintaining the honour of the country arose, or when a struggle for existence had to be made, the country would give its full support to a beld policy on the part of the Government. This debate had shown the feeling of the country on this question, and had proved that the nation was now convinced that the great Power which was now invading Turkey was doing so, not altogether for the sake of relieving the 807 oppressed Christian inhabitants of the Turkish Provinces, but for its own territorial aggrandizement and selfish purposes. He felt confident that the manly declaration of the Home Secretary the other night, that the Government were entirely wedded to a system of strict neutrality, would win the confidence of the country. We were not inclined to rush into war for Russia or Turkey. Neither of them, he thought, deserved our confidence or esteem. If the time should come when the Government felt it necessary for the protection of our interests, he believed they would receive a generous support from the other side. But he hoped that any step in that direction would be well-considered, as it might lead to trouble or disaster to this country. He thought the Government was entitled to the thanks of the country, and he trusted they would stick to their policy of neutrality.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, he would not have risen if he did not believe that Her Majesty's Government fairly understood that, looking to the great interest which had been taken in this debate on both sides of the House, to the number of Speakers who still wished to address it on beth sides, no division would be taken that evening. His noble Friend (the Marquess of Hartington) stated early in the evening that if there should be any chance of bringing this debate to a conclusion, he (Mr. Goschen) would willingly surrender any claim he might have to address the House, with the view that the debate might be brought to a conclusion. But those who had attended the debate through the course of the evening, and Her Majesty's Government itself, must recognize that it could not be concluded this evening, and, therefore, lie proposed to make some observations if the House would permit. The debate had, on the whole, been satisfactory. He believed there were many hon. Members on his side of the House who believed that this four nights' debate had been most distinctly of advantage to the country. And he believed that opinion was shared even by hon. Members opposite, for it had been an advantage to the country, as was said by the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that in the course of this debate many illusions had been dissipated. He had said that the debate had been satis- 808 factory to the Opposition. They had seen a distinct change of tone come over the Government. ["No!"] That was a matter of opinion, and he clearly thought a change had been expressed. He believed his right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich would be satisfied that in doing what he thought his imperative duty in bringing this matter before the House, he had assisted to a great extent in dispelling the fears which might have been entertained of our going to war. Those fears had existed. They might have been unjust. If they were unjust, it was well that they should have been dispersed—that the atmosphere should have been cleared, and that we should know better where we were. He thought we did know better where we were. As he had said, he believed the course of this debate had been satisfactory in most quarters, but there was one quarter where this debate he believed would not be satisfactory, and that was at Constantinople. More warnings had been addressed to Turkey, not only from his side of the House, but from the other, than were contained even in those voluminous Blue Books which they had all been studying. He believed that by the effect of this debate the voice of the country would be understood, beth at Constantinople and in Europe. He must allude, as so many other hon. Members had alluded, with satisfaction to the manly, straightforward, and precise speech of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. By what an interval they seemed to have been removed from the time when the Secretary for War addressed the House in a bellicose speech, and, without defining British interests, poured out a torrent of words with regard to vague interests which none of them could measure or appreciate! The Home Secretary had taken a different line; he had defined British interests, and he (Mr. Goschen) trusted that before this debate closed, as hon. Members on his side recognized that hon. Members opposite were not pro-Turkish in the sense they were sometimes stated to be, so hon. Members on the Ministerial side would recognize that hon. Members on his side were not pro-Russian in the sense in which they were said to be. He hoped there would be reciprocity on beth sides. He trusted it was not necessary in a debate of this kind for hon. Mem- 809 bers on his side of the House to indulge in the splendid "Rule Britannia" perorations which they had heard from some hon. Members. Some of those perorations had been magnificent and sublime. The noble Lord the Vice President of the Council (Viscount Sandon weund up with a glowing description of the rugged peaks and the distant seas over which the flag of England waved; and he assured them that never would those rugged peaks and distant seas be ravaged by the sword. Then the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel) had trotted out the British Lion, and not only trotted him out, but had jumped upon his back and galloped him up and down the floor of that House amidthe enthusiastic plaudits of his Friends. For himself, he (Mr. Goschen) had thought that noble beast was too noble an animal to be used for such circus riding. He turned with pleasure from such perorations as those to the steady and prudent peroration of the Home Secretary. That right hon. Gentleman had defined British interests and told them what they were; and in most of his definitions hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House had been able to agree. The Home Secretary had spoken of Egypt and of the Suez Canal, and no one, he believed, in that House would deny that that was a British interest. He had spoken also of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, and no person on either side would deny that England had an interest in the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus. They therefore found common ground on those British interests, and it would be idle to say that hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House were one whit less keen or less zealous in their regard for those interests than hon. Members opposite. But he would not pin the right hon. Gentleman — it would not be fair — to any statement or idea that in enumerating those British interests he had made an exhaustive catalogue. No English Minister could do that. And, therefore, he freely admitted that there might be other British interests which this country might be bound to watch over which were not included in the right hon. Gentleman's catalogue. But he remarked that there was one British interest—he was wrong—there was something which once used to be considered a British in- 810 terest, which had not been enumerated by the right hon. Gentleman. He had noticed its absence, the House would notice it, and he was sure Europe would notice it. In mentioning what were British interests the right hon. Gentleman had not chronicled amongst the number the maintenance of the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire. He wished to emphasize that fact. The right hon. Gentleman had rightly, as he considered, omitted that from his catalogue of British interests, and, if he had not omitted it, and if its omission were not the view of the Party opposite, there would have been a clear issue between those sitting on that (the Opposition) side, and hon. Members opposite. Because he believed be should not be disavowed by a single hon. Member near him when he said that the maintenance of the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire was no longer an article of their creed. He ventured to say it was well that the Turk should know that that was the view of the House of Commons and also of the Government. He believed that the Turk had taken a different view; that the Turk throughout those proceedings had said—possibly he was saying it to himself at that moment, but lie would not say it at the conclusion of the debate—"I, the Turk, am a British interest." It was his profound conviction that this idea in the Turk's mind that he was a British interest had been at the bottom of half the misfortunes and disasters which had occurred in those negotiations. Even although in the present Resolutions the House was asked to declare that Turkey should have no claim to the moral or the material support of England—"Never mind," said the Turk, "I am a British interest. I may—in fact, I know, I have no claim for support, but I belong to the category of British interests. I am asked to punish the authors of the massacres. Why should I do so? I can refuse; I am a British interest. Am I not the door-keeper of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles? Why should I mind the remonstrances of England? I know they do not love me for my own sake, but they must have me; I am necessary for them, and I shall be defended." Now I ask the House, in all common sense, if this was the opinion of the Turk, was it not natural, even when we reduced the irre- 811 ducible and minimized the minimum, that he should say to himself—"I am safe; I can refuse everything, because I am a British interest. Every officer of the Navy or Army of England believes me to be so. Public opinion in England for me is strong; and. on that I take my stand." Well, he believed that the main upshot of that debate would be to explode that theory and view in the eyes of the Turk. Whether there was a majority for the Resolution of his right hon. Friend or not was comparatively immaterial, and was not the real point at issue; but the real point was, that the Turk should know what was the judgment pronounced on him by that House, and that was a result well worth a four nights' debate. That judgment was that we did not regard the maintenance of the integrity and independence of the Turkish Empire as a British interest, and that we would not give Turkey moral or material support. He entreated the House to give him its attention on that point. For years past—since 1854 and in 1854—Turkey believed, and had a right to believe, that we fought for her independence and to maintain her integrity and her power. The idea that that power was necessary for British interests had been so rooted in the mind of this country and similarly in the mind of France, that the Crimean War occurred; and he wished hon. Members on both sides of the House now to consider the position and to appreciate the motives of his right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich. What had been the position that his right hon. Friend had placed before the House? He had said—"I, among others, have a certain responsibility in connection with the Crimean War; the people of England have a certain responsibility in connection with the Crimean War, and having caused the Christian populations to remain under Turkish sway, we have a certain responsibility with regard to them." The question had been asked over and over again in these debates—"Why should England, animated by a merely humanitarian spirit, make this crusade?" His right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich had given the answer. It was, because we had maintained that Power by our arms, our treasures, and our Treaties, under whose sway the Christian populations were now placed, and were now 812 suffering. And that argument had not been dealt with by a single hon. Member who had addressed the House. He had closely watched the debate, and he said boldly that that argument as to the special responsibilities of England towards the Christian Provinces of Turkey had not been met. Had we not that responsibility? [An hon. MEMBER: That is a very old point.] Yes; that was a very old point. It dated from the Crimean War. But though our duty in that matter was old, we had not yet discharged it; and it was because the country felt its responsibility that it was so excited. It was a sense of that responsibility resting upon us as a nation which had induced his right hon. Friend to say that as long as he had a pen that would stir the masses of England, a voice that could be heard in Parliament, and a name that would command attention, he would labour to have justice done. He (Mr. Goschen) wished to remove the impression that we were going upon an imaginary crusade. There was the Secretary of State for War, who wanted a commission from on High before he would take in hand to deal with the insurgent Provinces. There was no need for any commission from on High when there was an historical responsibility which had been incurred by the country; and he trusted that, since war had broken out, the special duties of England to the Christian Provinces of Turkey which were still under her sway would not be forgotten in the din of arms. It might fairly be said that Turkey had been deposed from the position of a protected and favourite ally of this country to that of a deserted offender. Could it, then, be maintained that the Autumn agitation had borne no fruit? He would be frank in regard to that agitation. There was a time when he had some misgiving as to the agitation. He did not know whether it would bear fruit, or whether it would remain barren; and he did not like to think that the agitation should exist in the face of Europe without bearing fruit. But it had borne fruit, and the fruit it had borne was this—we had changed our traditional policy. We had sacrificed what used to be an article of our political faith, and we had done that because Turkey had refused the advice and remonstrances of England, and had continued in a course which the English 813 Government itself had advised it would lead to peril and to ultimate disaster. Lord Derby wrote in September that if Turkey did not meet the demands of England, Her Majesty's Government would find it practically impossible to interfere in defence of the Ottoman Empire. Those were very curious, very extraordinary, and very significant words. Anyone reading that despatch would say—"But for the atrocities, Her Majesty's Government would have undertaken the defence of the Ottoman Empire." That would, no doubt, have been our traditional policy. Lord Derby had written that in the event of a war between Russia and Turkey, the sympathies of the English nation would be found to be in opposition to its Treaty engagements. The event had actually occurred, but he thought it would now be admitted that Lord Derby had been wrong in his reading of our Treaty engagements—that in fact, there existed no Treaty engagements binding us to defend the Ottoman Empire. It was evident that at the time those words were written it was in the mind of Her Majesty's Government that in the extreme case of war with Russia they might, but for the discovery of these atrocities, have found it necessary to interfere on behalf of the Ottoman Empire. Well, they had not so interfered, and in place of any interference, we had a satisfactory declaration of the absolute neutrality of Her Majesty's Government. He had rejoiced to hear speaker after speaker on the opposite side of the House expressing satisfaction at that declaration, and he entreated hon. Members opposite to observe the neutrality not only in that House, but out of it. He hoped that wherever they had influence, in their constituencies, in the Press, or elsewhere, they would enforce and maintain that idea of absolute neutrality. It was one of the outcomes of that debate. They had been told time after time that the natural and logical result of the Autumn agitation would be coercion in concert with Russia. That he denied. There had been a result already achieved, and that had been the change in the position of Turkey in the heart and mind of this country. It was not fair to say that war would be the only natural result. The noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) said that the Opposition did 814 not wish to coerce Turkey, and that if they did not wish to do so themselves they must also disapprove of Russia doing so. In using that argument the noble Lord seemed to forget, like so many others, that there was a certain werk to be done in the East, which all the Powers of Europe together had been anxious to see done—namely, that the Christian Provinces of Turkey should be relieved from Ottoman misrule; and that it did not follow that because we did not wish to coerce Turkey ourselves, therefore we ought to discountenance any other Power which undertook the work. It was clear that Her Maj esty's Government had really expected all along that Russia would go to war with Turkey. That had been the one distinct point from beginning to end, and yet they now wrote a despatch to Russia as if they were perfectly surprised at the course she had taken, and had never thought such an event possible. If he was not mistaken, Lord Salisbury himself had alluded to the gathering of the Russian Forces on the Pruth as ono of the facts which would assist in bringing the Conference to a successful close. He would not go further into the matter at that late hour, but would just remark, as had been pointed out by several speakers, that there was a question of coercion by this country alone, in addition to a question of coercion in concert with Russia—there was the question of a European concert, and lastly, the course of absolute neutrality. The hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) had argued forcibly in favour of coercion in concert with Russia. This was a course which might have been adopted at some previous time, but it was now too late. He could not admit the arguments which had been urged by the Vice President of the Council respecting the future, in which it was said that coercion in concert with Russia would have been difficult, because our aims and our interests would have been different. True, it might have been difficult, but would it not be equally difficult to arrange with a victorious Russia at the close of the war? In one way or another, it would be necessary for us, when that time came, to seek to settle the question in concert with Russia. It had also been asked how it would have been possible to bring the European Powers to act together with a view to coercion. Would not 815 Europe have to take that concerted action at the end of the war that she had refused to take at the beginning? We might say we would observe absolute neutrality; but we could not wash our hands of the matter, and it would be absolutely necessary that England should deal with it more or less in the future. The arguments adduced against the concerted action of Europe had not been strong, unless the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was right in saying that the States of Europe would have refused to join us. The hon. Gentleman referred to and made quotations from Green Books and Yellow Books, but it was impossible to form an independent judgment without seeing the despatches. All these had not been seen, nor was it known what passed between Lord Salisbury and Prince Bismarck, and between Lord Salisbury and the French Ministers; and one of his difficulties in voting for the third and fourth Resolutions would have been that sufficient was not known of the conflicts of European interests to enable one to judge whether such concerted action as they contemplated would have been possible or practicable. We might desire it, but it might be impossible to procure it. If he had spoken of "silent and cynical Germany," as the hon. Member for Tamworth said yesterday, he did not speak of the German people, which were neither silent nor cynical; but he applied the werd cynical to the German Government, and the remark was neither libellous nor unfair, for the German Government had shown considerable cynicism during the last four or five years. He should like to know what Her Majesty's Government thought in their hearts, though he hoped they would be discreet enough not to say it, with regard to the part played by Germany during these transactions. The direction in which the force of Germany might be employed in this Eastern Question was an unknown fact, and it was a grave matter, which caused considerable alarm and anxiety to all European statesmen. To Her Majesty's Government must be left the responsibility of securing concerted action, as they alone could know whether it was possible; but they could be kept up to the mark by being reminded that without concerted action it would be impossible to 816 solve the question. At present it was not likely that the country would know more than they did now. For the greater portion of the last month it had been the duty of both sides of the House to severely criticize and to discuss the action of the Great Powers with whom they were in alliance. Great freedom of speech had been employed with regard to the action of Russia, and the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, referring to Lord Derby's last despatch, had asked, whether Her Majesty's Government were to be so abject as not to address their opinions to Russia about her conduct? but he (Mr. 'Goschen) was not aware it was necessarily abject to refrain from writing such a provocative response. We were entitled to pronounce a strong opinion on this point; but not when Russia had done that which she had led us to expect and given notice that she would do during the last eight months. More especially was it the case since she had complained that it was not the Russian, but the English Declaration which destroyed the effect of the Protocol. The English Government placed Russia in a position in which she had an advantage she ought never to have had, and it was open to Russia to say that, after all her declarations, no course was open to her but to declare war. They had criticized the action of Turkey. They had spoken their views of Russia, and surely they might state that Russia had no other course to pursue after her many declarations than to go to war, without its being fair on that account to bring the charge against the Opposition of being pro-Russian in their tendencies. Was it because they had fairly stated their opinion of the Government? Was it wise, or patriotic, or just, of hon. Members opposite to declare that a great Party in this country was pro-Russian? They were in a minority, he knew; but still they were a great Party, and had great influence in the country; and was it right to declare before Russia and Europe that the influence of that Party was to be used in a pro-Russian direction? It might be useful as a party manoeuvre to create the sense of some anti-national disposition on their part — it might help them at an election or to get up a cry; but was it likely to be of use in the councils of Europe? At all events, the 817 Liberal Party in that House would be prevented from taking the part which they thought their duty as Englishmen demanded by any such charge as that. He ventured to think that the Government, at all events, would agree with him in this — that the atmosphere should be cleared, and that they ought not to be stigmatized as anti-English in their views because they thought that Russia had a perfect right to do what she had done. There was another point on which he wished to say a few words. There might be Russian victories—they could not tell—and he wanted to know what would be the bearing of hon. Gentlemen opposite and of the Government under these circumstances? Would they stand—he hoped and trusted that so long as those interests, which were truly English, as referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, were untouched, they would stand steady, and not allow the country to become jealous or excited because there were Russian successes. This was a matter of extreme importance. He ventured, in conclusion, to appeal to the Government that they would, even when this debate was closed, remain staunch to the letter, and not only to the letter, but to the tone of the speech of the Home Secretary; that they would use all their influence in and out of Parliament to maintain that tone. He hoped they would not forget that there was still werk to be done in the East in favour of the oppressed populations of the Turkish Provinces — werk which might be easily forgotten or overlooked if there were Russian victories and Russian successes. He trusted this country was great enough and strong enough not to feel jealous of any Russian victories, which might be in favour of the Christian populations in Turkey. Let them remember the story of the Suez Canal. They were jealous of that great werk; but they ended by buying it, and now they looked upon the Suez Canal as one of the greatest of English interests. Let them remember the work to be done which they themselves had recommended during many months of weary labour. That redress which they could not wring or wrest from the Porte might come, and he trusted they would not be jealous if it did come, by Russian arms. He was not saying anything anti-English in 818 giving utterance to that sentiment. He hoped that redress would be given which they had asked for in the name of tho Queen, but which they had not got. They wished redress to come, because they thought it the duty of England to ask for redress and for the punishment of the oppressors. The Government itself had given eloquent expression to the demand. Then he thought it was not anti-English to say that if that redress should come—from whatever quarter—he trusted the Government would not run national jealousy against national duty. He said shame on the men who attempted to raise the fierce fires of national jealousy, which so often blood alone could quench, on such an occasion. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department had done much to clear the air. He trusted that in the months to come no fresh cloud might gather to sweep across the clearer sky.
§ DR. KENEALY
said, that he was unable to regard this great Eastern Question from a Bulgarian point of view, neither could he consider it from a Muscovite standplace; he looked at it only as it affected England, her interests, and human liberty. He therefore would, with the leave of the House, direct particular attention to the Resolutions which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had placed before them. The first Resolution was a Vote of Censure upon the Turkish Government. He would feel obliged to the right hon. Gentleman, when on Monday he should come to review the debate, if he would give one single instance in the whole Parliamentary history of England where the House of Commons had passed a Vote of Censure upon any foreign Government for its internal policy. The next fault he found with the right hon. Gentleman was that he spoke of guarantees, but did not give the House the least information as to what he meant by guarantees. When the right hon. Gentleman called upon the House to say that it was essential that guarantees should be given, he was bound to state what, in his mind, constituted such guarantees as Turkey ought to give. The House had heard something about a joint occupation of certain Turkish Provinces by Russia and Austria, and about sending fleets of all the Powers to the Bosphorous. But surely the right 819 hon. Gentleman never would consent to such a joint occupation by Russia and Austria, because that would mean permanent possession; and the united fleet could only be regarded as a blockade of Constantinople. There was another portion of the second Resolution which seemed to cut the ground from under the feet of the right hon. Gentleman and his supporters, for it said that if the Ottoman Porte did not do certain things, it would be considered by that House to have lost all claim to receive either the material or moral support of the British Crown. That implied that if the Ottoman Porte should do certain things, it would be entitled to receive our material or moral support. But he understood the right hon. Gentleman and those who had engaged in the autumnal campaign to have based their action on this—that Turkey had already forfeited all right to the material or moral support of England. How would the right hon. Gentleman reconcile these opposite views? Upon the third and fourth Resolutions he did not like to say anything, because he did not know whether they were before the House or not. The right hon. Gentleman had advocated local liberty and practical self-government in the disturbed Provinces of Turkey; but it was not clear what he meant. As for "local liberty," every person in Bulgaria had at this moment as much local liberty as was enjoyed anywhere. He objected to support a Resolution which the right hon. Gentleman had not fully explained to the House. Again, what was "practical self - government?" Did that mean autonomy? [Mr. GLADSTONE: That was Lord Salisbury's phrase.] He did not care whose phrase it was if he could not understand it, and he had little respect for Lord Salisbury's Mission, which had been disastrous to the interests and character of England. Lord Salisbury appeared to know no more of the Oriental Question than the most ignorant man in the country, and ought never to have been sent to represent us in the Conference. It seemed, however, that he had used those words, and he supposed that practical self-government was what the Irish people looked for—namely, the right of passing their own laws. He hoped, then, that they—the Irish Party at all events—would not believe in the sincerity of that Party which demanded this self- 820 government for Bulgaria and refused it to Ireland. When the Irish people asked for their undoubted right, then the right hon. Gentleman said that it involved the dismemberment of the Empire; but when the Bulgarians asked for the same thing, he did not say that it meant the dismemberment of the Turkish Empire. He and his followers had no right to pass a Resolution for that object when they refused to pass a Resolution for the dismemberment of the British Empire. He proposed next to criticize in a friendly spirit parts of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, and some sentiments of those who were prepared to back him. The hon. Member for Glamorganshire (Mr. Hussey Vivian) had declared that he supported the right hon. Gentleman because "he had never done anything to tarnish the fame of England." In his (Dr. Kenealy's) judgment that reason was not well founded, for he had always considered that the right hon. Gentleman had done so, beth in the Alabama surrender and in the tearing-up of the Black Sea Treaty, which we had gained by spending oceans of blood and gold. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter) supported the Resolution on the ground that this country "was not afraid of Russia." He remembered when the late Mr. Cobden made a similar declaration, stating that we could easily crush Russia. He used an illustration with a piece of paper in his hand, and declared that we could crumple her up as easily as he did that piece of paper. The comparison was unfortunate, for it afterwards turned out that she was a most formidable opponent, and but for the assistance we received from the late Emperor of the French we should probably have been defeated by her. He was not afraid of Russia; but he did not think it wise to despise her. A great deal had been said about the atrocities; but the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) had proved that the number of persons destroyed by the Bashi Bazouks did not exceed 4,000 or 5,000. Why should we reproach Turkey with causing such a loss of life in repressing a most wicked rebellion? We considered ourselves to be at the head of civilization and Christianity, and yet the number of persons we had massacred in putting down various rebellions would amount 821 to millions. Yes, how many had we destroyed in successive Irish rebellions? The sum total was beyond counting. During the late Irish Famine we were confessedly responsible for the sacrifice of more than 1,000,000 of lives by our cruel and ignorant, and often perverse, legislation. He saw the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt), the Leader of the Home Rule Party, present, and he, if he liked, could testify to the truth of what he had stated. As to Turkish misgovernment, he could only say that there was no more tolerant Power in the world than the Ottoman, and the truth was that the real persecutors of the Christians were Christians themselves. Those were the persons in whom the odium theologicum really existed. The English Legislature it was that in the last century passed a law setting the same price on the production of the head of a Roman Catholic priest as on that of a wolf. These Resolutions were not politics, but faction, and the whole outcry raised against these Turks was faction of the lowest and basest description; nor were the Penal Laws repealed until 1793. The Turk, as a general rule, was a mild and more Christian governor than many Christian governors generally were, and if he suppressed insurrections with severity, he only followed the example of other rulers. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had for 30 years been engaged in connection with Coercion Acts, and lie was surrounded by seditious men, who said that the hangman and the gaoler were the pillars of English power in Ireland. These were the associates and friends of the right hon. Gentleman; but there was not one of the men to whom he had referred who would get up and say that the hangman and the gaoler were the pillars of Turkish power in the Principalities. The seditious character to whom he alluded could not, however, do much harm—noted as he was for being a liar. Russia was a great aggressive Power, and if she ever became the mistress of Constantinople, she would become the mistress of Europe. He asked the House not to be led astray by the newspapers, which were usually written by persons who knew nothing—persons who lived from hand to mouth in garrets, coffee-houses, and public-houses, and pretended to be the great "we" of the Press. Let them not be led 822 astray by those ignorant people. They should study the subject for themselves, and they would see that English statesmen for the last century, from Pitt to Palmerston, held the opinion that if Russia became the mistress of Constantinople she would become dominant in Europe. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) determined to go to Turkey, so he packed up his "bag and baggage," and went to see for himself. The right hon. Gentleman was as active as a second Peter the Hermit. He passed over the Continent of Europe like some fiery comet, shaking portents from his hair. But what did he discover? He supposed nothing; for the right hon. Gentleman had been silent up to the present debate; and he had heard little from him of the dreadful massacres which had frightened all the old women, or of the subjugation of the Christian races, of which so much had been heard. The noble Lord, too, the nominal Leader of the Opposition—he wished he was the real Leader, because then they would see the Opposition conducted with sense and statesmanship, not by oratorical phrases and sophistical arguments — the noble Lord fled to Turkey also. They had all read of Howard, the pilgrim of philanthropy in the last century—the noble Lord might be regarded at one period as the Apostle of Atrocity. He went to Constantinople and, no doubt, impressed upon the Sultan the vast advantage of union and harmony in his dominions, the necessity for suberdination and respect for authority, and the great evils of divided allegiance; but he returned to England a perfect Turk. He had most wisely seceded from the wild and frenzied movement of last Autumn, and had declined to advocate the coercion of Turkey, because he was not a Russian, but an Englishman who had the interests of his country at heart. The Secretary of State for War had been sneered at by the Opposition for claiming also, and truly, to be a Minister who had his country's interest at heart, while the Party who so sneered praised Lord Salisbury to the skies, because he had made himself the cat's-paw of General Ignatieff. Their hypocritical praises reminded him of the old line—Timeo Danaos et done ferentes. Sir Henry Elliot had this inestimable advantage over Lord Salisbury—that he knew all about Turkey, and that Lord Salisbury 823 knew nothing about it. Her Majesty's Government, however, with a weakness for which he blamed them, frightened by the turbulent meetings of the Autumn, had. practically censured Sir Henry Elliot by recalling him who was the truest, most honest, and also the bravest Representative that England ever had in Turkey. But it seemed that Mr. Baring had sent in a Report. He was informed by persons who were in a position to judge, and who were quite as accurate as Mr. Baring, that there was an amount of exaggeration in that gentleman's Report that had scarcely ever been equalled. But when that Report was published, every conventicle in the country was aroused. The Rev. Simpson, the Rev. Jobson, and the Rev. Dobson, who knew nothing about the Eastern Question—very good and pious and sincere men in their own sphere, but not to be followed on a great matter of politics like this—got up their little meetings, and they howled and they hooted, and. they made the greatest noise ever known, and he was sorry to say that the Government was frightened by their tumult. Several Members of the Government made speeches, and when he heard of that he said—"Oh, that mine enemy would make an after-dinner speech!" and they did so and they committed themselves. The Government ought to have relied upon the common sense of their countrymen, and should have seen that the wbele of this autumnal disturbance was founded upon fraud and. folly. He knew the people of England as well as any man, and he knew that they were prepared. to back Her Majesty's Government in keeping the Russians out of Constantinople. He did not believe in the infamous charge brought against the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich by a small official of the Government, that he was actuated by "vindictive malignity." The course he had pursued had been too considerable to allow them to suppose he was actuated by such a base spirit as that. He believed the right hon. Gentleman was simply led on by the inconsistency of his nature, that he could vary, flit about, and adopt ten thousand different colours, and still imagine he was the same consistent statesman. The right hon. Member for Greenwich had been everything by turns, and nothing long. He reminded him of a well-known poli- 824 tical waverer and wanderer of a past age, of whom it had been written—A man so various, that he seems to be,Not one, but all mankind's inconstancy.The autumnal meetings would have been beneath our notice but for the tremendous results they produced. They fomented insurrection, they encouraged Russia, and misled her, as she had been misled in 1854 by a deputation of English Quakers from this country, who told the Czar Nicholas that England was resolved on peace. This advice led him headlong into the struggle which ended in defeat and in his own death. He feared the Quakers of our own time were giving equally rash counsel; and it was a curious thing that if ever we were carried into a bloody war, the friendly, peace-loving Quakers should be at the bettom of it. The Turks were no liars in their public documents; he could not bestow the same encomium on the Russians. If one of the public documents of the Turks was true, Russia was one of the greatest criminals that ever rushed into a wicked war. That document stated. that the Christian populations in Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Bulgaria rose in insurrection solely at the instigation of Panslavic Committees paid by Russia. After that solemn declaration of the Turkish Government, which all knew and confessed, was it not farcical, was it not insulting, for the House of Commons to be told that the inhabitants of those Provinces rose in insurrection because they were suffering untold oppression? when, in fact, they were goaded by the priests and the agents of Russia—an aggressive and wicked Power—to rebel against their just Sovereign. Lord Beaconsfield had been denounced for his Guildhall speech, because in it he had. warned the Czar, about the time when he was mobilizing his forces, that England would fight through twe, three, nay, a dozen campaigns, sooner than allow her Eastern possessions to be wrested from her. He honoured. Lord Beaconsfield for that patriotic speech; it was absolutely necessary, as an English statesman and as a Chief of the Government, for him to make it at the time he did; for the Autumn meetings had persuaded. Russia that England meant "peace at any price," and. that she would submissively assent even to the conquest of Constantinople. And now from his place in the 825 House he himself warned Russia, speaking the voice of millions—[Laughter]—speaking the voice of millions, he repeated, with the single exception of the hon. Member behind him—[Renewed laughter)—that if she attempted to take Egypt, Constantinople, or the Euphrates Valley, England would resist her to the last drop of her blood. The Emperor of Russia delivered his Moscow speech to what was described as a very enthusiastic audience. He (Dr. Kenealy) did not know whether that enthusiasm was purchased; but he knew that enthusiasts could be obtained in this country at half-a-crown a-head for any "Liberal" meeting in Guildhall. And what did the Czar say at Moscow on the 10th of November? He declared that he "would act independently," and he immediately mobilized his troops in immense masses. Let him act independently. We also here in England shall act, if need be, in the like manner, and we shall see whither his independence will conduct him. As for the Berlin Memorandum, it meant war, and its rejection would be the brightest jewel in Lord Derby's crown of glory. The right hon. Member for Greenwich had proposed coercion for Turkey, and by an extraordinary Nemesis of Providence, his Party had imposed coercion on him. It was to be hoped that his Party would take other opportunities of coercing him, for there was no man in this country who needed more than the right hon. Gentleman the strait waistcoat of moral restraint. In conclusion, he warned the Government that rapidity of action in war meant success, and that Russia was taking great strides towards the object of her ambition. Already she was marching onward with immense energy. The noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire had told them that a friend of his had calculated that she might reach Constantinople by the 1st of August. He believed that she would attain it before that time; and he implored the Government to lose not an hour in sending the Fleet into the Sea of Marmora. In the name of our commerce, which Russia stopped by prohibitory duties, wherever her sceptre waved; in the name of religion, which Russia threatened while she pretended to be its protectress; in the name of humanity, outraged by that Power in all lands where she swayed; in the name of liberty, which this cruel despotism 826 trampled down in her dominions—he implored the Government to be prompt. He saw this mighty Power advancing surely but rapidly—a very ocean of blood, in which they might all be overwhelmed; and he called upon the Ministers of England to lose no time in saying to her in tones of thunder—" Thus far shalt thou go—but no farther."
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Waddy.)
§ MR. GREENE
objected to the adjournment of the debate, which he said had been moved merely for the purpose of pleasing a few hon. Members on the opposite side of the House when they had decided upon war, whilst hon. Members on his own side of the House had decided in favour of peace. The subject had been thoroughly thrashed out, and the House was quite prepared to go to a division.
MR. OWEN LEWIS
said, that he had endeavoured to speak on the last two nights, but was unable to do so; and, as an Irish Catholic, he thought he ought to get an opportunity of taking part in the discussion.
§ MR. WHALLEY
thought an opportunity should be afforded for replying to the unmannerly and unjust charges which had been brought against Russia. They had had that night an exhibition of utter recklessness on the part of the hon. Member for Stoke (Dr. Kenealy) in the name of the people of England. The hon. Member had made an unfounded and scandalous statement against Russia, whose just claims to their notice had been lost sight of.
§ MR. MACDONALD
rose to Order, and asked whether The hon. Member was speaking on the Question of the Adjournment of the Debate?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
thought the House would be glad to come to a decision as to the Adjournment as the hour was getting late. It was obvious that a great many more hon. Members were anxious to take part in the debate, but he must appeal to hon. Members to come to a decision on Monday night. The Government had given up two Government nights, and he supposed Monday must be given up too, and he thought it only reasonable to ask that the debate should end 827 on that night. It was intended that the holidays for Whitsuntide should be from Thursday next to the Thursday following, no unreasonable time to take, considering the shortness of the Recess at Easter and the severe debates which the House had lately had; but he feared it would not be possible to propose that the holidays should be so long unless the Government should get a day next week instead of Monday. He would then give Notice that on Tuesday he would move that Government Orders of the Day sbeuld have precedence, and if that course were not acceptable to the House, he feared that it would be necessary to curtail the Whitsuntide holidays.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER,
as one of those who wished to speak on the question, said it would be impossible for him and others to do so unless hon. Members made shorter speeches, and that being so, he hoped no hon. Gentleman would on Monday night be allowed to speak over half-an-hour, or to send for water.
§ SIR WILLIAM FRASER
said, he had heard some dark rumour that it was the intention of the Opposition to carry the debate over Whitsuntide, and lie trusted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not move the Adjournment for the holidays until this debate was carried to a conclusion and a division had taken place.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
trusted, from the short discussion that had taken place, that this long debate might be closed on Monday. The suggestion about Tuesday appeared to be a reasonable one under the circumstances; and he trusted that those hon. Members who had Notices of Motion on the Paper for Tuesday would give the suggestion their consideration.
§ MR. R. POWER
said, he had prepared a very beautiful speech, and if he could not deliver it to the House, he intended to issue it in the form of a pamphlet.
Question put, and agreed to.
Debate further adjourned till Monday next.