Order read, 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 line of policy,"—(Sir Henry Wolff,)—instead thereof.
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. WADDY
Sir, if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) had pressed all his proposed Resolutions upon the House, I should have heartily supported him upon all; but I nevertheless recognize not only the prudence, but the propriety of the course he has adopted in dropping all but the two to which our attention is now invited. The later Resolutions involved detail rather than principle; and the real principles for which we seek to contend are sufficiently developed in the first two Resolutions. The others, therefore, are, comparatively speaking, unnecessary. It was no doubt right that their Proposer should, as a personal matter, wish to bring them before this House and the country. Both here and "elsewhere" he has been repeatedly challenged to give form and definition to his policy, and he has now done so clearly and distinctly. But there are points of difficulty and doubt in the policy as so detailed as to which differences of opinion naturally exist, amongst even the right hon. Gentleman's most loyal supporters. And, when a declaration of national importance is to be made, it is right that it should be enunciated with the sanction of a Party, and, as far as possible, an united Party, and not of one man, however eminent, or even of a small section, however influential and energetic. But the tactics by which this Motion is met are, at least, remarkable. So long as all the Resolutions remained on the Paper for discussion, and indicated an alternative policy, which, if wrong, the Government might have exposed, they made no sign of attack, but tried to give the "go-by" to the discussion by 866 moving the "Previous Question." They did not attempt by a definite Amendment, to challenge the opinion of the House on the merits of the question. But when that part of the Resolutions to which they might logically have objected had been removed, they wake into indignation, because nothing objectionable remains, and hash up suddenly an Amendment complaining of the want of that very "alternative policy" which they had previously thought it inexpedient to propound. This obvious attempt in both cases to score a merely Party triumph, regardless of the duty to speak clearly to the Empire and the world in a moment of so much excitement, and on an occasion of such deep importance, is in harmony with the undignified feebleness which asks us to provide them with a policy, because, I suppose, they are, on consideration, heartily and reasonably ashamed of the results of their own. Now, Sir, I apprehend that the questions to be considered are these—Are these Resolutions right in time, and are they right in substance? First, then, as to time; it certainly does not lie in the mouths of hon. Gentlemen opposite to find fault with us in that respect. They cannot allege that we are too soon, for they have been frequently taunting us with lethargy or cowardice in that respect. We have waited with a loyal desire that our language and acts should not entangle you in difficulties at home or abroad. On the 22nd June the Premier—then in his old place in this House—admitted that "the House has shown safe forbearance and patriotic reserve." You had to do two things—to relieve the victims of most atrocious wickedness, and to avert war on the Continent of Europe. We have waited till you have confessedly ceased to interfere on behalf of the oppressed, and we have waited till the war has actually begun. Then, are we too late? We could not fairly challenge this issue before now. You had inherited a policy which you had not made, and by which successive Governments had been guided. And while you were called to break through the traditions of generations, it would have been disloyal and unfair to hamper you or trouble you until our duty became imperious. But, now the reason for silence is gone and the time for warning has arrived, Sir, I proceed to ask whether these Resolutions 867 are right in their drift? I support them because they have enabled us already to obtain from the Government a declaration of their intentions, which, although far from complete or satisfactory, is, at all events, much more intelligible than anything we have hitherto had. I support them, also, because they enable us to lay down the one principle by which we mean to hold. It is this—As matters now stand we will not go to war, either in alliance with, or on behalf of Turkey. This is all that we can now do, because by the mistaken course the Government has adopted we have been reduced into a helpless position of contradiction and disquiet at home, and of vacillation and degradation abroad. We have found it impossible to ascertain the real truth amidst the conflicting statements made by Her Majesty's Ministers. For instance, on the 21st September Mr. Disraeli said—Servia was beaten, exhausted, and in despair, and came to us and said—'Do what you can for us.'A week later, on the 28th September, the Earl of Derby said—I think no decisive success having been obtained on either side, both parties may fairly and honourably treat the matter as a drawn game and return to the status quo."What was the nation to understand and which was it to believe? In such a perplexing condition of things it became necessary for us to inquire what were the sources of information at the command of those who reported so differently their purport. On August 11th, Mr. Disraeli in this House said the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the City of Oxford (Sir William Harcourt) had assumed—That they (the Government) never heard of these affairs until the newspapers published accounts which were brought under the notice of both Houses of Parliament … The state of the facts was exactly the reverse."—[3 Hansard, ccxxxi. 1139.]The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, on the very same night, and in the same place, flatly contradicted this by saying that—He felt bound to admit frankly that the Government really had no idea of the events which had occurred in Bulgaria, until attention was called to them in the House; and he gladly took the opportunity of saying that the Government and the country were very much indebted to the newspaper correspondents, through whom those events had become known."—[Ibid., 1117.]868 The same contradiction is observable in the views taken of the Bulgarian atrocities. I need not refer only to the language used in the course of this debate by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary and the noble Lord the Vice President of the Board of Education; but long before to-day many Members of the Government have characterized these misdeeds in terms of vigorous and worthy indignation. On the 11th August the Under Secretary of State says that "unprecedented acts of barbarity—atrocities—had occurred to such an extent as to justify all the indignation" of the country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in Yorkshire, said—We are not prepared to sacrifice the interests of those whose sufferings have so excited our feelings.On the 3rd October, Lord Carnarvon—Felt it the duty of any Member of the Government to express his utter horror and detestation of the abomination," and he claims "punishment for the offenders in these iniquities.And yet, at the same time, the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire charged those whose indignation was thus justified, with "criminal recklessness," and Lord Derby spoke slightingly of the "mischief of got-up meetings." There is, however, a more striking and more mischievous instance of this. On the 16th September Mr. Baring's Report had been received; on the 19th September it was in The London Gazette; and on the 21st September Lord Derby's firm despatch was sent, in which he spoke of the "just indignation" of England, and charged that the wicked "acts continue and the Porte is powerless or supine;" and yet on the 20th September, fresh, most probably, from the very Cabinet Council in which that despatch had been read and approved, the Prime Minister spoke at Aylesbury—pooh-poohed the whole agitation, inveighed against those who took part in it, and charged them with out-Heroding Herod!! It was just from that time that there seemed to have begun a fresh de-departure in the laches of the Government. They found their popularity decreased and decreasing. The Premier himself on that occasion admitted it in these words—Gentlemen, under ordinary circumstances, a British Minister, whatever might be his difficulties, would have the consolation of knowing 869 that he was backed by the country. It would be affectation for me to pretend that this is the position of Her Majesty's Government at this moment.Then what was to be done? What was shortly the problem the Government had to solve? It was this—Turkey had, by the grossest misgovernment, tyranny, and wickedness, driven certain Provinces into revolt. They had secured the support of certain neighbouring States, chiefly allied by race and religion. Europe, and we ourselves, had protested in vain against her crimes. She became worse instead of better. Hastening to decay, she devoted her failing strength to obstinate cruelty. This festering sore was the plague-spot of Europe, and Russia was in chief danger; but no advice or warning was of any avail. "We looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, and behold a cry." At last the climax came of those terrible atrocities in Bulgaria, and then one mighty voice rang through the land and roused it to indignant wrath. What did you do? You could not follow where that voice bade you, because it was the voice of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich. If the Front bench had had wisdom and nobility enough to do it, their Followers were too numerous and strong and obstinate for them. So they tried to find some rallying cry, some counter-cry, which might change their national cause. And somebody hit on "British interests." It became at once the watchword in the mouths of people who did not really know what they meant by it; and here we have it once more in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff), and twice in that of the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho). We do not yield to hon. Members on the other side of the House in our anxiety to support British interests; but we believed our best interests were to localize the evil, and to join to repress it with others who are like-minded with us. We believe it to be to our interest to preserve the credit of the British name, and we believe with Lord Derby that "no political consideration would justify the toleration of such acts." We think it is a pity that his acts lately have not been worthy of that noble declaration. You have found a political consideration which does justify the toleration of these 870 acts, and more still, which, while it exacts no punishment on these offenders, justifies the ill-treatment of a friendly Power, which in this case, at all events, has acted honestly, openly, and fairly with us. Russia took us fairly into her councils; she gave us diplomatic pledges in the face of the world. Her Sovereign pledged his own personal honour. The man who had just before been your welcome guest, on whom you had conferred the freedom of your capital, whose daughter had married one of your Princes, and whose conduct had been approved by your own special Ambassador, is threatened with a thinly-veiled insolence by your Prime Minister at a Guildhall banquet. Even then he yields point after point, till his enemies charge him with weakness or cowardice, because they will not give him credit for moderation. He shows such unwillingness to launch into the fray that he is suspected of not being competent to fight the weakest European Power, though just before he had been charged with seriously intending to atack India. And at last, when he has asked what we admit to be right, and minimizes his demands to the very lowest point, we insult him, because he will not brook the obstinate insolence to which we have chosen to submit. We keep him as an ally, treat him as a friend, and grasp his hand in amity, till we suddenly disengage our grasp to smite him in the face. The result is that it will be almost impossible to keep out of war now. We might have done so if we had acted up to our professions, and righteously claimed from Turkey the punishment of evil. But now it is too late. The war has begun, and it is impossible to say how soon we may be involved in it. I do not at all undervalue the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, or the limitations to vague British interests which he has given us. But we must go further still. It is quite possible for us to keep well within the lines indicated in that speech, and yet to find ourselves at war within a few months. Indeed, it is almost certain that we shall be so involved. Take one illustration. We are told that the seizure of Constantinople by Russia would be an interference with an interest, and no doubt that is true; but it does not follow that we should be entitled to complain, much less that we 871 should resort to arms. By what right can we pretend to stop a victorious army and prevent it from seizing the prize for which it has fought—or to regulate and define the necessities and course of military operations. How can we claim to prevent the Russians seizing Constantinople in this war any more than we could interpose to bar the Germans from occupying Paris a year or two ago? Paris is much more on the road to India than Constantinople is. Even if it were not so, we could not interfere. In fact, the various interests of our nation are so numerous and wide, that there will be hourly peril of some misunderstanding arising, or some injury being done; and if we were to take any part in the quarrel at all, we should have done so while there was yet time to prevent war. It is now too late. The course of events has rendered it impossible for us now to take the line which would have been successful, if taken in time; and, therefore, I say that the mistaken policy of the Government has infinitely increased the danger of war. This debate has already done great good. It has calmed the anxiety of the public, and it has rendered it more difficult for the Government to commit us to a war policy. But we must still more earnestly proclaim the doctrine which is the principle of these Resolutions. We must make it clear that no inducement shall lead us to sanction a war with Russia on this present quarrel. If such a war does arise, if our soldiers are sent to mix their blood with that of the Bashi Bazouks who perpetrated the outrages at Batak—if our English officers are sent to associate with Shefket Pasha and his infamous colleagues, we will reserve to ourselves the power to say to the country and to posterity, that the alliance was not of our making or by our consent—Non hæc in fæder a veni. By all the opposition we can offer to it, we will, if possible, prevent the war which you, alas, have made only too probable, and will endeavour thus to secure and preserve the safety, honour, and welfare of our Sovereign and of her dominions.
said, the position of Turkey had been described as impotent, but what was that of Europe? Her Majesty's Government had failed to secure European peace and good government in Turkey, and all Europe, which 872 ostensibly wished for the same thing, had also failed. Why was that? The answer was not found in Blue Books, nor in the decorous language of diplomacy; but the fact was, that we were now in the presence of a war which every nation wished to avoid; and this was caused by the condition of Western Europe, which prevented any kind of united action amongst the Great Powers of the Continent. That was a thing known to the whole world, and as an example they had not to go further back than a week or two, when the first soldier in Germany, Von Moltke, in a speech to the German Parliament, had thought it necessary to recommend an addition to the enormous military burdens of his country on account of the proceedings of the French. Her Majesty's Government had done all that was possible to obtain an effective European concert, but their efforts had been neutralized by the fact that the concert was only skin deep. The Germans and French had interests of their own to attend to, and that prevented either acting freely in Eastern matters. There was no doubt Turkey would have been brought to her senses, if Europe had been united; but the Turks were as well aware of the disunion as we were. That was the reason of the failure of Her Majesty's Government to secure European concert. Under these circumstances there had been only one European Power tolerably free to act, and that was Russia. She had only one other Power to deal with—namely, England. Why was it that we had not been favoured with accounts of Lord Salisbury's interviews with Prince Bismarck and the Due Decazes? We had read the account of the noble Lord's interviews with the statesmen of all the other Powers, and as the interviews with Prince Bismarck and the Duc Decazes had been omitted, the fair inference was that the conversation had revealed such a condition of things with regard to the relations of Western Europe that, though it might be confidentially communicated to the noble Lord, it could not be laid before the House. Under those circumstances, the long diplomatic campaign which was undertaken with reference to the Eastern Question had been conducted under conditions which made success almost impossible. He did not blame Her Majesty's Government, for they had had before them the tremendous respon- 873 sibility which must be incurred by any Government of this country which plunged into war a nation having such an enormous industrial superstructure resting on a basis of peace. They could not, therefore, deal with the Eastern Question with the freedom of one of the armed nations of the Continent. Having to deal with the traditional Russian policy of dismembering Turkey, their efforts had been paralyzed by the fact that they could not encounter them like one of the great armed Powers. It would hardly have been possible for any Government, throughout the course of such protracted negotiations, to pursue invariably the right course. At the same time, he thought there had been a great deal too much scolding addressed to Turkey, and too little persuasion and encouragement to follow the best policy. Now, something might sometimes be done by persuasion and something by threatening; but you would not induce people to do what you wanted by scolding. It had been said that we ought to have threatened war, though not to have made it; but he did not know where the Government could have found a diplomatist to carry out such a policy. We had no Representative with the talent possessed by some foreign officials for dazzling those with whom they came in contact, while concealing their own views, and the discussions of this House would have revealed the meaning of such a policy, even if an English Government could be found to adopt it. He, however, did not believe that policy would advance the interests of the country. With the settled determination of this country not to be involved in war, it would not have been honest for us to have adopted a threatening policy. He thought, however, more judgment might have been shown in our conduct at the Conference. He thought there had been a great deal too much identification of ourselves with Russia, to induce the Turkish Government to support the views which we advocated. Moreover, when the Conference met, the Emperor of Russia by his Moscow speech had in effect made a declaration of war, and had followed that declaration by mobilizing his army and by actually organizing a set of civil officers, some among the vilest instruments of her tyranny in Poland, to undertake the 874 civil government of certain of the Turkish Provinces. When at last the Conference met and propositions had been made and gradually minimized, they had always contained the one point to which the Turkish Government had objected from the first, and in addition they had never contained any condition relieving them from the fear which they entertained of the presence of the Russian Army. Even when the Russian Government had accepted the Protocol, of which they had heard so much, they had accompanied it by a declaration which was tantamount to a declaration of war against Turkey, and an insult to Europe. Of course Russia had acted ostensibly on the most philanthropic principles, and had manifested a remarkable desire for autonomy in the Turkish Provinces; but he did not discover any autonomy in their own territory, seeing that not later than Saturday he read a telegram from Berlin stating that Russia had taken this opportunity to abolish all municipal institutions in the Baltic Provinces, and to put them under the direct control of the Minister of the Interior. He had not much faith in that peculiar species of charity which not only did not begin at home, but it did not even end there. Notwithstanding that several mistakes might have been committed by Her Majesty's Government, yet he thought that, on the whole, the course they had adopted had been as satisfactory as, in the circumstances of Europe, could have been hoped for. In the altered relations of States they had had to contend with difficulties which did not exist in the condition of Europe when this question had to be dealt with some years ago. He felt the greatest horror for the atrocities that had been committed; but it might not have inspired him with so much astonishment as it had others, from his knowledge of the country; and he could only express his regret that previous Governments, knowing the condition of the country, had not employed the powerful influence of En gland after the Crimean War to urge reforms in Turkey, as they might have done. There was considerable reforming power in Turkey, with a considerable desire for reform; and it was with regret that during all those years he had never found that the English Government had really exercised its influence in support of that desire for 875 reform; and that, whenever it was exercised, Russia had always tried to discourage it. With regard to what had been said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich as to our Ambassador at Constantinople, he (Mr. Bruce) believed that so far from palliating Turkish abuses Mr. Layard was as hostile to them as the right hon. Gentleman himself. He might add that Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, to whose strength of will and energy the right hon. Gentleman had paid so high a compliment, effected many reforms in Turkey. He was not an enemy of Turkey, but an enemy of Russia; and the secret of his influence in the East was not only his great intellectual power and his great strength of will, and his determination that Turkey should carry out reforms, but he was able to say to the Turks that if they did not make such and such reforms, he would force them upon them; while, if they did, he would prevent any one from doing them any harm. The case, however, was very different now, and when it was known to the Turks that the relations of the various States of Europe were such as to render it impossible for them to act together in enforcing their views, and that we should give them no support or protection, our diplomacy was not unnaturally doomed to disappointment. It was owing to that knowledge that they took up that obstinate tone, which, in his opinion, was the reverse of wise. But it was asked why should we not enter into an alliance with Germany? and the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) had spoken of an agreement with Prince Bismarck. Prince Bismarck, however, had never shown the slightest disposition to enter into any agreement of the kind suggested, and if any hon. Gentleman could tell the House what it was that statesman really meant he would be giving it an amount of information which the debate had failed to afford. The difficulties of coercion were very great in the present relations of European States, and as to our joining Russia, he did not think that the interference of that Power was very popular in the disturbed Provinces themselves. It would be most unfortunate in the present state of circumstances in Europe if the English Government were to form any alliance with any one Power that might lead to complications with others. 876 Indeed, no greater danger could be incurred. As to the present condition of affairs, he could only say that the Government of Turkey had thought proper to take a course opposite to that advised by Her Majesty's Government, and by that they must stand or fall. The English interests involved in the question had been very satisfactorily defined by his right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Home Department and by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Goschen), and upon that point it would, after their speeches, be out of place for him to say more, except that they must be maintained. The heart of the English nation would go in support of its honour and its interests, and be ready to support its position if attacked by any Power. It would, at the same time, be their duty to endeavour as far as possible to minimize the discord, to localize the war, and to exercise their influence to the best of their power in adjusting the conditions of peace and obtaining good government for those disturbed Provinces. With these great objects in view, he should be sorry to see Her Majesty's Government hampered by any abstract Resolutions, and he sincerely hoped that, as the Government had undertaken these great duties, it would have the unanimous support of the English people in its endeavours to carry them out. Everybody might rest assured that on whichever side the influence of England was exerted it would be in the interests of justice and humanity, and in a far greater degree than it would be exercised by Russia or any other Power.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, he had heard, and he believed both sides of the House had heard, with great satisfaction the moderate speech of the hon. Member who had just sat down. Whatever might be thought of all these Resolutions and all those despatches he believed also that both sides of the House and the country at large had reason to be glad that this debate had taken place. We were beginning to understand better where we were. It was inevitable that there should have been a good deal of Party feeling in the matter, but the course of the debate had been satisfactory. They had taken a new departure since the admirable speech of the Home Secretary had been delivered. 877 Everybody had felt that. That speech had removed a good many fears which had existed on the Opposition side of the House, and he hoped he might say it had not dashed on the other side a good many hopes. The downright Saxon in which the Home Secretary addressed the House was a great relief after the vague mystifications which before had spread disquietude and alarm throughout the country. Whether hon. Members agreed with the Home Secretary or not, they, at all events, knew what he meant. What had the Home Secretary told us? The right hon. Gentleman had told us that he hated those miscreant deeds as much as any on the other side did. As to the conduct of the Turks, he did not in any way seek to palliate or minimize it. He had nothing to say for it. He had told us that their conduct in that matter and with respect to the Protocol was blind, foolish, and mad; that they were suffering for it and ought to suffer; and that he would in no way interfere between them and Russia in order to prevent their suffering. In that the Opposition agreed with him. The right hon. Gentleman left Turkey, so far as Russia was concerned, to her fate. The Home Secretary also alluded to British interests, and those interests no longer lay in the Channel like torpedoes, so that no one could tell where they were or where they might explode. The Home Secretary had buoyed them, and now they knew, as Europe knew, where they were and how they were to be avoided. The speech of the Home Secretary had re-assured the House and the country, and the confidence so inspired had not been shaken even by the somewhat pro-Turkish speech of the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Bourke). The declaration made by the Home Secretary alone was a sufficient justification of the debate, and whatever division might be taken, the speech was one in favour of the second Resolution. It might be said—"Oh, you knew, or ought to have known before, what you say you have learnt by this debate." No, that could not have been known before, and was not known even on the other side. Speeches had been heard in that debate which were full of ire and fury against Russia. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid-Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) called upon Her Majesty's Government to make prepa- 878 rations for war. But preparations against whom? And why make preparations, if we were not going to war? Then, outside, we had an inflammatory Ministerial Press, where every morning and evening appeared the most mischievous and dangerous stuff, which, unjustly or justly—and many hoped unjustly—was attributed in this country in some form or other to Ministerial inspiration. But the speech of the Home Secretary had assured us that the Government repudiated all that stuff, and that declaration had not been made an hour too soon. The declaration of the Home Secretary had been accepted with satisfaction by the House and the country, so far as it went. It amounted to this—that, except from the specific contingencies to which he had referred, this country would not interfere in the quarrel between Russia and the Turks. So far so good. It might have been a good deal worse. But then came the practical question—did this policy of strict neutrality leave us or Europe in a satisfactory position? For his own part, he (Sir William Harcourt) did not think it did. It left Turkey at the mercy of Russia. Now, nobody, even hon. Gentlemen opposite, could doubt what was ultimately going to happen. Russia would destroy Turkey. But, outside time limits of the Home Secretary's declaration, what did that mean? It meant that Russia would deal with Bulgaria, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Albania, Epirus, Thessaly, Salonica, Asia Minor; and in the catalogue of British interests given by the Home Secretary there was no mention of Asia Minor. When next they came to make a settlement of this question they would have to do so with an enormous and a successful Power. Russia might be moderate. He hoped and believed she would; but, even if so, what would be the consequence? Russia would establish a dominant influence in the East of Europe which England might have shared. But Russia might not be moderate, and then what would happen? Why, then we should have to rescue British interests out of the jaws of the victor. That was a situation full of peril and pregnant with war. Might they not have avoided it? The Homo Secretary had asked—"What would you have done?" The Home Secretary had dealt frankly with the Opposition, and he ought to be dealt with frankly in re- 879 turn. The right hon. Gentleman put the question straight—"Will you join Russia in the war now against Turkey?" Now he (Sir William Harcourt) would give the answer first, and the explanation next. He would answer, in the monosyllable in which an answer had been invited—"No." But there was a time when he would have joined the other Powers, including Russia, in coercing Turkey, and that was before the commencement of this war, before the separate negotiations commenced. He believed if the Government had taken that course then, they would have averted the danger of a future European war which now greatly menaced us. He believed that if, in conjunction with Europe, England had joined Russia, we should then have done what it was of the greatest importance that we should do—we could have put Russia under conditions and terms with respect to the nature of the force used and the limits of the coercion to be employed; and in that manner might by anticipation, before the struggle commenced, have taken care that British interests should not be infringed. They now found themselves in a very different position. Then Russia would have been in a minority; now she was in a majority of one in the management of the affair. It was because of the weakness of our Government in not having taken that step—unquestionably a bold, but a true course—that he condemned the policy they had pursued. But the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs took objection in limine, saying we could not have done that, because Europe would not have joined us in a policy of coercion. If that was true, it was a vital objection; but was it true? It could be disproved out of the mouth of the hon. Gentleman himself in the speech he made the other evening. The Under Secretary of State explained why the Government rejected the Berlin Memorandum—namely, because it meant coercion and intended the dismemberment of Turkey and nothing else. But who were the parties to the Memorandum? They were the Five Powers; and if these Five Powers meant coercion, and nothing else, as the Under Secretary said, why did the Under Secretary tell us that they would never have joined in coercion, seeing that had we agreed to it, they would have joined us in it? According to the Under Se- 880 cretary of State himself, the Berlin Memorandum meant coercion, and the Government refused it, because it meant coercion. But the Secretary of State for War took the matter up in a higher tone, and said — "Whatever Europe might have done, we could not have joined in coercion, because we had no commission from Heaven." That was the augument of the Secretary of State for War. He always cited Providence on the side of the Treasury Bench, and hurled anathemas at the Opposition, treating hon. Members on that side as if they were Hivites and Hittites, and as if he were administering a sort of Jewish theocracy. When he heard the glowing eloquence of the Secretary of State for War, which they all heard with so much pleasure, it occurred to him that he was impressed with the theory which the Prime Minister once said pervaded the works of, and was entertained by a modern historian—namely, that Providence was, on the whole, on the side of the Tories. [Laughter.] Well, he did not wish to go into that line of argument, being for terrestrial justice and a more mundane policy. He should like to put it to the Secretary of State for War what was the condition in which the Government might have interfered in the affairs of Turkey for the benefit of the oppressed Provinces? It was the same condition under which we interfered for the emancipation of Greece. That was one of the brightest and most successful acts of diplomacy that Europe ever accomplished, and it was done under the glorious initiative of England. Why could not that policy have been repeated? The Under Secretary of State fell into a remarkable error in his account of that policy. The Memorandum of the Treaty said that it was undertaken for several causes — on account of the unity of Europe, and for the purpose of restoring tranquillity; and even Conservative statesmen were not ashamed to avow that they were acting in the affairs of Europe in the same humanity, which, indeed, was placed in the fore front of that celebrated Treaty. Well, but the Under Secretary of State said that Mr. Canning never contemplated force in the matter. The hon. Gentleman never could have heard of the additional Article of that Treaty, of the Instructions given in London on the 12th of July to the 881 Ambassador at Constantinople and the Admiral of the British Fleet. All these things contemplated an ulterior resort to force in case the remonstrances did not succeed. Lord Dudley, the Foreign Secretary of Mr. Canning, and also of Lord Goderich, had given an account, which exactly described the kind of coercion he (Sir William Harcourt) had always advocated. He said—What the Treaty provides is that in case of the failure of remonstrances, and of an armistice established by the naval force, the Allies shall consider ulterior measures;—just the words of the Berlin Memorandum—It does not necessarily lead to hostilities. We should first exhaust every means except war, and even if war were necessary choose the hostile steps bearing most directly on our object, and least calculated to abate the general tranquillity.That was the policy of the Treaty of 1827, and the kind of coercion that ought to have been resorted to in the present crisis. The Government ought now to have used remonstrances first, and then that limited coercion which was necessary to accomplish the object they sought. It was said that force was not employed on the occasion he had mentioned; but they would remember that the ports of Greece were blockaded. He knew it was said that the Duke of Wellington objected to the separate war which Russia then waged. But all the force used by the Allies failed to overcome the obstinacy of the Turks, and nothing but the Russian invasion brought them to reason. England did not object to that invasion, for she carried on joint operations with Russia in the Conferences that were held in the course of the campaign throughout the years 1828 and 1829; and what was the conduct of Russia after the great conquest of Adrianople? She loyally agreed at once to the conclusions at which the Conference arrived and departed from the city, taking nothing from Europe, and only a few insignificant places in Asia; but leaving behind her as the monument of her great victories the charter of the liberties of Moldavia and Wallachia. If this year or the next she should so act, and leave to Bulgaria the same liberty she had then left to Wallachia and Moldavia, he for one should devoutly wish her success. The slight historical sketch which 882 he had given showed clearly the advantage of antecedent co-operation. They had then agreed to co-operate with Russia, by force, if necessary, and they had co-operated; but it would not be possible for England now to go to Russia and put upon her conditions similar to those by which she was bound at the time of the Treaty of Paris, which followed upon the victories which culminated in the capture of Adrianople. There was an Article in the Treaty that none of the Powers should seek any advantage from those operations. The Government might now have had the same opportunity. They might have had to claim to bind Russia as the price of their co-operation. Could they now, if Russia succeeded, go to her with the same confidence and say—"Give us those terms which you offered if we would co-operate." The more they suspected Russia the more they were to be condemned for having taunted Russia into going to war without having placed her under any terms whatever. It was said that the Government were restrained by Treaties. He had not been able to understand what was their view of the Treaties; but, so far as he understood the speech of the Home Secretary, the right hon. Gentleman held that England was bound by Treaty not to support Turkey. This was not his reading of the existing Treaty obligations of England; but he was content with the interpretation put upon the facts. These were the reasons why, before the war, he would have joined Russia in action against Turkey, accompanied by coercion and force, limited to the objects and confined and restrained sufficiently to accomplish those objects. They ought to have had the courage shown by Canning and Wellington. They objected to the coercion of Turkey, yet the coercion was taking place at that moment, and the consequences of their policy was to have left the coercion of Turkey to the single hand of Russia; and that was the very last Power in whose hands they ought to have left it. What was to be done? He could not go the whole length of his hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard; they could not now impose terms on Russia. They could have done so at one time. He would have been willing to have gone with Russia in a "limited" partnership, but he could not go into an adventure of "unlimited" lia- 883 bility. They were going to relieve the European Provinces; but what policy would they adopt for the relief of the Provinces of Asia Minor? One of the great advantages they might have had before the war would have been that Asia Minor would have been excluded from the field of hostilities. They had lost that great opportunity. Then they were driven to a line of neutrality which he did not think the best; but it was the only one they could now adopt, and it was the only one that the House and the country approved. But it should be a real, genuine, impartial neutrality; they did not want a hostile neutrality like that of his right hon. and fervid Friend the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel), who the other evening shouted for neutrality in a voice which sounded as though he was proclaiming war. His right hon. Friend played the part of the "meek-eyed dove of peace," but he did it with the air of Bellona herself. With regard to Lord Derby's despatch to Prince Gortchakoff, a more offensive piece of neutrality he had never heard of. Why was it written? It was replied—"Because it was indispensable; if they did not put in a disclaimer they would be admitting that Russia was executing the mandates of Europe." This was a dangerous argument to use, inasmuch as no other European Power had issued such disclaimer, and Russia might claim that in the course she was pursuing she was executing the mandates of Europe. [Cries of "No!" from the Ministerial benches.] But, surely, if the silence of England would have given consent to the action of Russia, the silence of the other European Powers must have a similar effect. All this meant that upon this, as upon every other occasion, the Government had isolated themselves from the action of every Power in Europe, saying in effect that England would have neither Allies nor co-operators; and instead of taking the prudent and dignified course which had been taken by Germany, Austria, France, and Italy, Her Majesty's Government had hurled at the head of Russia this insulting despatch. When the war was over and Turkey was destroyed—as he hoped she might be—England would have to settle the affairs of Eastern Europe in concert with the Five Powers, and he would ask in view of this whether the despatch of Lord 884 Derby could be regarded as a wise or statesmanlike preparation for the negotiations which would have to be conducted? At all events, the four wise virgins who sent no answer to Russia would be in some position to deal with Russia when the proper time came. When the time came that some arrangement had to be made with regard to Eastern Europe, we should find ourselves the only Power that had taken the attitude we had assumed. All this, no doubt, was much to be regretted, and had it been brought about by any one else than the Foreign Secretary it would have been a very dangerous policy to pursue. There was, however, one very amiable and very pleasing quality about Lord Derby's despatches which neutralized and redeemed them from what otherwise might have seemed to be an imprudence. The despatch of the 21st September, no doubt, was a very fierce and awkward despatch, but then he was kinde nough to let the Turks know that he did not mean anything, and the result was that they took no notice of it, and were not in any way disturbed by it; and perhaps Prince Gortchakoff, when he learned that the despatch of the 1st of May meant strict neutrality, would treat that document with about as much regard as the Turks had shown to its predecessor. One word before he sat down as to the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich. He thought there was a general concurrence as to the second Resolution. ["No, no!"] He took it they were all agreed that this country was not to help Turkey. He had not heard it said in the course of the debate that we should render Turkey any assistance. As far as he understood the Amendment moved on the other side of the House it was directed against the first Resolution, which related to the condition of the Christian Provinces in Turkey. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff), which the Government intended should displace the first Resolution, must be accepted as a condensed statement of the policy of Her Majesty's Government, and from it it appeared that they desired peace; they desired that British interests should be protected; but it did not appear from it that they desired the better government of the oppressed Provinces. If peace were to be restored to-morrow, there 885 was nothing to show that Her Majesty's Government would not be willing to allow the state of things that existed in those Provinces to be perpetuated. It was necessary to note the errors of the past, and their consequences, even if it were too late to repair them. But what most occupied their minds were the perils and prospects of the future. He hoped, therefore, that hon. Members opposite would do him and those around him the justice of believing that they were equally anxious with themselves for the protection of British interests; but they stood there to declare that British interests could not, must not, and should not be protected by upholding Turkey. Her Majesty's Government might defend Constantinople if they pleased, but they must not and should not enter into a war in support of Turkey. If the statesmanship of Her Majesty's Government was worthy of the reputation and sentiments of this great nation, they could find some other means of defending British interests which would reconcile them with the dictates of justice and with the demands of civilization. They could not defend those interests through the odious and execrable dominion of Turkey; that was a policy which was worn out, and which was condemned and discarded by the nations of Europe and by the conscience of the English people. He agreed with the right hon. Member for Greenwich that the knell of the Turkish Empire had sounded. For his own part he (Sir William Harcourt) had longed to hear that passing bell, and he rejoiced to see the day approaching when better hopes were dawning for the unfortunate inhabitants of those oppressed districts; and his only regret was, that we had forfeited the right which we might have used of taking a considerable share in that glorious enter-prize. We should, however, still have an opportunity of taking a part in the settlement of Eastern Europe, and when that settlement occurred we could not disregard those great principles of nationality which for the last 10 or 20 years had been re-constituting Europe. He ventured to hope that whichever Party in the State might then be conducting the destinies of this country, England, under their guidance, would play a part worthy of that freedom which she had achieved for herself, and of that responsibility to mankind 886 which her greatness imposed upon her.
SIR TOLLEMACHE SINCLAIR
Sir,—Previous speakers on both sides have erroneously assumed that the defence of Turkey against Russia has been the traditional policy of England. Even if this was the case, it would not be a sufficient reason for adhering to that course if it is shown, as it has been, to have been useless and wrong, more especially under the totally different circumstances of the present crisis. I propose to prove that the very contrary is the fact. During nearly 200 years, from 1686 to 1877, there have been 10 wars between Russia and Turkey. All of these, with one exception, and the Crimean War, have ended most disastrously for Turkey. In the whole of that period England has only fought once for Turkey against Russia, and the end of that contest was, that Russia merely ceded a small portion of territory at the mouth of the Danube, and limited her maritime Force in the Black Sea. England then made no demand that Russia should refund to Turkey or ourselves the cost of that war, on the principle so successfully applied by Germany to France; and in 1806 we not only did not support Turkey against Russia, but we actually took the side of Russia against Turkey. On that occasion Turkey treacherously turned against us at the most critical moment of our terrific conflict with Napoleon, after we had rescued Syria and Egypt gratuitously for them from the French, and we then forced the Dardanelles, and demanded that the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia should be ceded to Russia, these being the very Provinces for which we fought in the Crimean War. Therefore, while the assistance we gave to Turkey was comparatively trivial, in the campaign which we fought with Russia we endeavoured to render her most signal benefit. In 1774, Austria deprived Turkey of the Bukowina. The Treaty of Kainardji, in 1774, it is quite evident, gave Russia the right of protecting the Christians in Turkey. It is not usual to put Articles in Treaties which have no meaning. If these Articles were intended to have no meaning, why were they inserted? But there is further evidence of this, for Lord John Russell, in a despatch to Sir Hamilton Seymour, in 1853, said— 887The protection of the Christians of Turkey by Russia was no doubt prescribed by duty and sanctioned by Treaty,and the Plenipotentiaries at Vienna of four Powers said it was necessary to abolish the exclusive Protectorate which, for 180 years, had been exercised by Russia, so that, even if Russia's Treaty-right was insufficient, as 40 years' prescription suffices in England, 180 years should be adequate for Russia. I can hardly state a higher authority than that for this assertion, for Lord John Russell was then the Foreign Secretary, and England was responsible for any admissions he had made. In the year 1787, England first entered into negotiations on behalf of Turkey; but they were mere verbal representations, and never went so far as a threat, much less of recourse to arms. At the Treaty of Peace, also, we strongly urged Turkey to give way to Russia. I have already alluded to what took place in 1806, and will not repeat it. In 1812 the whole of Bessarabia was ceded to Russia, and we, who made such a point of preserving the independence of the Turkish Empire, never even interfered to prevent that cession. In 1826 the Treaty of Akerman was signed, and the Sultan had the baseness to send a Circular to Europe, stating that when he signed the Treaty he had not the slightest intention of being bound by it. This was an illustration of the perfidy of the Turk, which reminds me of a story of Mirabeau's brother, who said of himself—"I swore, indeed, but I did not promise to keep my word;" and on another occasion—"In any other family than my own I would be considered a rogue, but a clever fellow; in my own I pass for an honest man, but a dunce;" and again he said—"Je suis payé mais non vendu." In 1827, at the battle of Navarino, we displayed anxiety for the integrity and independence of the Turkish Empire by destroying the Turkish Fleet and placing the Black Sea at the mercy of Russia. That is precisely the way in which I would be prepared to protect those interests now. The other day the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Baillie Cochrane) quoted passages from the Duke of Wellington's despatches, which he had found in the last number of The Edinburgh Review, but was very careful not to quote the Duke's latest despatches. In the great Duke's latest 888 expression of opinion on the Eastern Question he had said—It would be absurd to think of bolstering up the Turkish power in Europe. It is gone, in fact. We must reconstruct the Greek Empire. There is no doubt it would have been better for the world if the Treaty of Adrianople had not been signed, if the Russians had entered Constantinople, and if the Turkish Empire had been dissolved.After that, I hope no one will get up in this House and say that the Duke of Wellington was to the last in favour of the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire. It is sometimes said that it was impossible for the Russians to take Constantinople; but in 1829 the Duke of Wellington himself had said there had been nothing in the world to prevent the Russians from taking Constantinople, and the Prussian Envoy had said the same, because Diebitsch, at Adrianople, was nearer to the Dardanelles than to Constantinople. No Power could have prevented the capture of the Turkish capital at that time, and it must be said that Russia gave then a signal proof of moderation. Therefore, we ought to trust Russia again if, for strategical reasons, in the present war she finds it necessary to threaten or to capture Constantinople. My own opinion is, that the Russians will be compelled to enter Constantinople. The French, equally with ourselves, are great sticklers for the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire; but in Algeria, in 1830, they forgot this principle, and when the Sultan demanded of France the tribute he had been accustomed to receive from the Dey, the French Government, of course, laughed at the demand. In 1833 the British Government refused succour to Turkey when Ibrahim Pasha arrived within 80 leagues of Constantinople. There was no valid excuse at that time for refusing our help, if our policy had been the defence of the integrity and independence of Turkey, for we were at that time free from complications at home and abroad, and nothing would have been simpler, if we had thought proper, than to succour the Turks. In their extremity they appealed to Russia for assistance, and Russia sent a small fleet and army, took possession of Constantinople, and held the city for the Turks against Ibrahim Pasha. I have spoken to a large number of hon. Members of this House, and 889 have not met with one who had ever heard that in 1833 Constantinople was in the hands of the Russians. Ibrahim Pasha was obliged to give in and make terms, and then Russia retired most honourably from Constantinople, and neither asked, nor received an adequate equivalent for the vital service she had rendered. Now, as I have said, I contemplate the possibility and the probability that, in the course of this war, Russia will be compelled to take Constantinople. It is all very well to say—"Strike at the extremities," but the sure way to success is to strike at the heart. That was how the German Government got the better of the French, and, if the Russians were well advised, they would take the same course, and march straight to Constantinople; and if she should do so, I am quite sure that on the side of the House from which I am speaking, they would be disposed to trust Russia. There was no hon. Member of the House, surely, who would dare to set his judgment against that of the Duke of Wellington in such a matter as this. As, in 1833, Russia had given signal proof of good faith with respect to the possession of Constantinople, it would be highly culpable for England to go to war with her with the view of preventing her from taking temporary possession of that city. In 1839 Mehemet Ali revolted. At that time the French were burning to revenge Waterloo, and our Regular Forces were under 100,000 men, of whom three-fourths were in Ireland or in the Colonies, and not more than 25,000 men and 40 guns could have been collected to defend our shores against the 300,000 men and 300 guns which the French could have brought against us, whilst we had only three ships of-the-line and three frigates to guard the coast of the Channel against the French naval force, and we had only nine line-of-battle ships in the Mediterranean against 15 French sail-of-the-line of much heavier weight of metal and more numerous crews than ours, supported by five Egyptian sail-of-the-line. Yet in 1840 we risked a defeat, and even our national existence, to prevent the ungrateful Turks from being regenerated by the more enlightened government of Mehemet Ali; and Russia, instead of joining France and Egypt against us, which would almost have insured our defeat, and instead of then 890 securing Constantinople, as she might have done, by arrangement with France and Egypt, joined with us in maintaining, by force of arms, the integrity of that Ottoman Empire which she is persistently accused of wishing to appropriate. In 1853, the mixed Commission decided in favour of the claims made by Russia as to the possession of the Holy Places by the Greek Church, to the unbounded irritation of the Latins, and especially the French, who had obtained a Firman by threats, on the pretext of an obsolete Treaty 100 years old, contrary to the recent Firmans between Russia and the Porte. Prince Menschikoff then sent in an ultimatum to the Sultan, in which he demanded that in the Ottoman Dominions the Greeks should have precisely the same privileges as the Latins, and that these privileges should be made perpetual and irrevocable. As the Sultan refused these just, necessary, and moderate terms, the Russians occupied the Principalities as a material guarantee. A Conference was then held at Vienna, at which the four great Powers were represented, and on the 31st July, 1858, a Note was prepared by the Plenipotentiaries, which was immediately accepted by Russia, without the slightest alteration, and which embodied the very principle for which she had all along contend ed—namely, equality between the Greeks and Latins, and permanence of those privileges which the Turks had been in the habit of alternately giving and withdrawing. The Porte insisted on important alterations, which would have left the oppressed Christians at their mercy; but these were instantly declined by Russia, and then the four Powers most inconsistently and unjustly sided with Turkey and against Russia, whilst they were obviously bound in honour to adhere to that Note, and at first they expressed disappointment and dissatisfaction at the conduct of the Porte. The Turks then declared war, and commenced hostilities by firing on a Russian flotilla. The Russians then, in their turn, subsequently sent a declaration of hostilities, and then the English and French Fleets entered the Dardanelles, and instead of settling themselves the terms of peace, obsequiously asked the Porte what their terms should be. The Porte demanded (1) Evacuation of the Principalities; (2) Revision of the Treaties; (3) Maintenance of religious 891 privileges of communities of all confessions; (4) Definitive settlement of Convention respecting the Holy Places; and we most absurdly approved of these terms, instead of insisting that the evacuation alone should suffice. In November, 1853, the Russians destroyed the Turkish Fleet at Sinope, and early in 1854 the Emperor of the French, who was leading England by the nose in the whole negotiation, wrote a hypocritical letter in favour of peace, to which the Czar replied that much before the Russian occupation of the Principalities, when England hesitated to assume a hostile attitude, Napoleon took the initiative in sending his Fleet as far as Salamis. That while Napoleon made it appear that the explanatory commentaries of the Vienna Note rendered it impossible for France and England to recommend its adoption by the Porte, he should have recollected that the Russian commentaries followed, and did not precede the pure and simple acceptance of the Note by Russia, and also their urgent recommendation of it to Turkey. Besides, the Czar added—If any point of our commentaries had given rise to difficulties, I offered a satisfactory solution of them at Olmutz, and such it was considered by Austria and Prussia. Unfortunately, a portion of the Anglo-French Fleet had entered the Dardanelles under the pretext of their protecting the lives and properties of English and French subjects, and in order to allow the whole to enter without violating the Treaty of 1841, it was necessary that the Ottoman Government should declare war against us. I learn for the first time from your Majesty, that while protecting the reinforcement of Turkish troops upon their own territory, the two Powers have resolved to prohibit to us the navigation of the Black Sea—that is to say, apparently to take from us the right of protecting our own coasts. Would you, yourself, Sire, if you were in my place, accept such a position? I boldly answer, No."—[9th February, 1854.]As to the Crimean War, I consider it a most foolish and a most wicked war, and one cannot but feel indignant at the weakness and cowardice of Austria in connection with that struggle. In my opinion, when we had induced the Russians to leave the Principalities, the war should have ceased; but we were then tied to the chariot wheels of Napoleon III., the tyrant of France, and it suited his dynastic purpose to continue the war until the conquest of Sebastopol. Therefore, we continued that war until we had inflicted the greatest loss upon a nation 892 which had been our oldest, our best, and our most consistent Ally. When Lord Aberdeen met Parliament in February, 1854, he said he could not "prove" that there was any danger to this country in the war between Russia and Turkey. Now, if there was no danger in February, it was difficult to understand how there could be danger in March, when war was declared, the affair of Sinope having happened in November, and everything being in state quo; and I look forward with alarm to the approaching Parliamentary Recess, when the country might suddenly find itself "drifted into" a perfectly unnecessary and wrongful war. In February, 1854, Austria assured the English and French Ambassadors at Vienna that—If the two Western Powers would fix a day for the evacuation of the Principalities, after which, if the notice should be unattended to, hostilities should commence, the Cabinet of Vienna would support the summons,whilst Prussia declared that she was not called upon to engage in the struggle until her own interests were involved, which would only be the case if Russia, which then occupied the Principalities, should annex them. On this Herr Von Vincke, the Leader of the Prussian Liberals, said—Instead of co-operating on the basis of that which she considers right and just, Prussia is making herself the post-boy or letter-carrier of Europe.In consequence of this Austrian intimation, we stupidly and precipitately sent an ultimatum to Russia on 27th February, requiring the promise of the evacuation of the Principalities, but nothing else, by the 30th of April, and unless this pledge was given within six days, the British Cabinet would consider the silence of the Cabinet of St. Petersburg equivalent to a declaration of war. The answer of the Czar, as might have been anticipated, and as perhaps was desired, to this unnecessarily insulting and peremptory despatch, was—L'Empereur ne juge pas convenable de donner aucune reponse à la lettre de Lord Clarendon.Austria then having cleverly and unscrupulously led us on the ice, and committed us irretrievably to war with Russia, sneaked out of the quarrel and left us to our fate, having made, as it were, a fool's mate of us in the political 893 game of chess. Obviously, Austria and Prussia, as everyone now sees, though we were then as blind as bats, have the chief interest in preventing Russia from acquiring either the mouths of the Danube or Constantinople, and they were, as it were, by the irresistible force of circumstances, in the front line of the battle, whilst England and France could, with the most perfect safety to their interests, have remained wholly aloof from the contest, and the most we could have been reasonably expected to do in a case of Russian annexation of the Principalities or of Constantinople, would have been to send our naval Forces to control the Russian Fleet, whilst Austria, and not only Prussia, but Germany, should at their own cost have furnished all the land Forces, and we have been made catspaws of to snatch the German chestnuts out of the fire. Napoleon, however, actually pretended in his message to his credulous and obsequious Chambers that—France had quite as much interests, perhaps more, than England in the influence of Russia not being extended indefinitely over Constantinople, for to rule at Constantinople is to rule over the Mediterranean.Yet the Turks who do rule at Constantinople do riot rule over the Mediterranean, nor would the Russians if they held Constantinople, for all the Powers that border on the Mediterrranean combined would not be a match for England alone, and though it would be monstrous for Russia to have a single port or the smallest squadron in the Mediterranean, no one, of course, could reasonably corn-plain if, as the French have often boasted, it "became a French lake." On the 20th April, 1854, Prussia and Austria signed a Treaty by which both guaranteed each others' territories, and which declared that either the annexation of the Principalities, or an attack on the Balkans was a necessary casus belli. The Russians evacuated the Principalities early in July, and the Austrians, after delaying 10 weeks from the date of the signature of the Treaty by which Turkey allowed them to occupy these Provinces, and waiting some weeks after the last Russian had retired, moved bravely forward on the 20th of August, as soon as there was no possible risk of fighting, and by this occupation they shielded Russia from an attack on the part of the Turks, and released a large 894 number of Russian troops, who were sent to fight against us in the Crimea. On July 25, Count Nesselrode told Austria—We replied by silence to the summons of France and England, because it was couched in an offensive form, was preceded by open provocation, and was destitute of all conditions of reciprocity. If, in the opinion of the Austrian Government, the prolonged occupation of the Principalities was the motive of the war, it ought to be a consequence that when the occupation ceased the war should cease. If the interests of Austria and the whole of Germany should suffer temporarily from our operations on the Danube, they must suffer still more, as well as other neutral States, from the situation, brought about by the maritime operations of France and England in the Euxine, the North Sea, and the Baltic.Austria and Prussia both expressed their opinion that Russia, in evacuating the Principalities, "had removed the only ground of complaint which could justify a hostile attitude towards her;" but the French and English Governments took a widely different view, and would no longer be satisfied with the status quo ante bellum, and wickedly and foolishly involved both England and France in an aggressive war against Russia, which has cost us above £100,000,000 of treasure and tens of thousands of lives, whilst it has retarded the emancipation of the Christians from Turkish oppression and cruelty, and the advance of Russia in civilization by nearly a quarter of a century. On 18th April, 1855, Lord John Russell, supported by M. Drouyn de l'Huys and Austria, proposed at Vienna a system of counterpoise in the Black Sea between Russia and Turkey, to which Russia agreed, and the war might then have terminated, and a very large part of the slaughter and pecuniary loss of the Crimean War might have been spared; but the French and English Governments refused to adopt this reasonable proposition, and in consequence both Lord John Russell and M. Drouyn de l'Huys resigned. At last, in December, 1855, Austria, after repeated efforts, succeeded in bringing about negotiations for peace; but so bellicose were France and England that Count Buol stated that, when he sounded the Cabinets of Paris and London—Although we found them embued with the firm resolution not to lend themselves to the initiative of any overtures for peace, nevertheless, to our great satisfaction, we found such dispositions in those Cabinets as to lead us to hope that they 895 would not refuse to examine and accept conditions of a nature to offer all the guarantees of a permanent peace.Considering that we were then victorious over Russia, it would have been more magnanimous and more consistent with nations which make such gushing professions of Christianity, to have generously tendered to Russia such conditions of peace as were consistent with its national honour, instead of taking, as we did, an unfair advantage of our victory, and inflicting on that great country the indignity and wrong of limiting her Fleet in the Black Sea—which was thus made into a Turkish lake—to an insignificant and insufficient number of vessels, and placing her coasts and the Christians of Turkey at the mercy of the barbarous and incorrigible Turks, expressly barring all the Powers, individually or collectively, from giving these oppressed Christians aid, whatever cruelties might be perpetrated upon them, even if, for instance, one-third of the whole population was either massacred or sold into slavery, as in the case of the Greeks at the end of the War of Independence, whilst previously for 180 years the wretched Rayahs had enjoyed the constant protection of Russia. Soon after the conclusion of peace, the question of the relation of the Principalities to Turkey arose. Russia, and even France, wished to erect them into a separate Kingdom; but Austria and England, true to their retrogade policy, wished to keep them in strict subservience to the Porte. On this subject The Times remarked in 1858—Diplomacy does, indeed, cut a sorry figure in this matter. First, she regarded the Provinces as so important to Turkey that she went to war rather than suffer them, even for a time, to be rent from her; then she referred what was really the question of their future connection with Turkey to the people themselves; she overruled their decision because she wished them still to be dependent on Turkey, and she has now apparently ended by giving them a constitution which annihilates their dependence as effectually as if they had been formally united into a single kingdom; and in performing this feat she has kept the Provinces in an unsettled and miserable state for what, doubtless, appears to great diplomatists the very moderate period of two years and a-half.In 1860, in the case of the Damascus massacres, when the French occupied Syria, the Turks stated that they yielded to force, and they would have none the 896 less yielded to force now, if our Government had applied force in the right way and at the right time. In 1861 The Times said of the Crimean War—Never was so great an effort made for so worthless an object. It is with no small reluctance we confess that a gigantic effort and an infinite sacrifice have been made in vain.In 1867 the European Powers agreed to recommend the Turks to give up Crete, after they had as usual destroyed a large proportion of the inhabitants, and this seems a novel way of preserving the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. In 1871 the Russians very wisely seized the opportunity of the Franco-Prussian War to repudiate the humiliating and unfair condition of the Treaty of Paris, and as the Turks were the first to assent, and we were under the influence of the Belgian scare, not caring to be more Turkish than the Turks, and having no Allies, we were obliged to submit. In the same year the Turks, who are so indignant at any of their territory being taken from them, declared Tunis an integral part of their Empire; and only last year the Khedive made an unprovoked and unjust war on Abyssinia, hoping to annex further territories to Egypt, and consequently to the Turkish Empire; but was ignominiously defeated by the brave Abyssinian Christians in spite of the aid of renegade Europeans. In 1873 England was obliged to check Turkish aggressions in South Arabia, tending to impede our communications with India. In 1874 Austria, Germany, and Russia informed the Turks that they considered themselves justified in concluding separate Treaties with Roumania, and they paid no regard to the protest of the Turks. Some years ago we too infringed the integrity of Turkey, by annexing Aden and Perim, to the great indignation of the French, who themselves had annexed Algiers. In 1875 the insurrection in Herzegovina broke out, and the English Government were expressing the strongest hopes that the insurrection might be suppressed. For my own part my strongest hopes at that time were that the rising would succeed, and if I had been asked, I would most willingly have subscribed towards the expenses of that insurrection. I consider that the Russians were much better justified in helping the Christians in Turkey and the Servians, than we were in fighting against Don Carlos in Spain; 897 but then we are infallible, and it is obviously monstrous for Russia to prevent Turkey from its natural right of exercising any amount of cruelty on its own niggers, the Rayahs, and it is wonderful clemency of the Turks not to exterminate them altogether. Nothing could be more suicidal than for our Government to tell Turkey that under no circumstances would we resort to coercion. Whether we intended to coerce her or not, it was foolish to tell her that we would not. If a man had a dispute with another, and told him he would not compel him to pay what was demanded of him, most probably he would not pay. Hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to think that Christianity and demoralization go together in the case of the Rayahs, whilst Mahomedanism and all the virtues characterize the Turks; but if this is so, why do they not turn Mussulmans? Then, besides giving encouragement to Turkey, we have insulted Russia in every way. Among other things, we said that Russia was afraid to go to war; but the Russians had at no time shown a fear of war. It was alleged that she built a bridge for retreat, but it seems to be forgotten that on the occasion of the negotiations about the armistice, Russia sent an ultimatum to Turkey and, as usual, the Porte which never yields to argument gave in to force. Turkey wanted four years to effect her reforms, and the fact has been lost sight of that Russia offered to delay hostilities for a year, if at the end of that time England would join in a coercion policy. I do not think that that point has been touched upon. I wish to say a few words, in conclusion, in reference to the conduct of Russia. I certainly, sitting as a Liberal Member of this House, cannot and will not attempt to palliate the misconduct of Russia with reference to Poland, which, however, was nothing in comparison with the Turkish atrocities in Bulgaria and elsewhere; but still, even in reference to Poland, about the worst thing which was alleged against Russia—namely, its treatment of the Polish ladies, was precisely the same as that of General Butler to the ladies of New Orleans during the War of Secession in America. As to the innumerable Polish nobles, they were the oppressors of their unfortunate serfs, and Madame de Motteville said of their ostentatious appearance—"Many diamonds and little linen." 898 I have several things to say in extenuation of the conduct of Russia. Perhaps few are aware, that in a preceding century the Poles invaded Russia, annexed great portions of that country, and imposed a Polish Prince on the Russian Throne; and, therefore, there was a hostile feeling in Russia against Poland on that account. In addition to this, as you all know, there was a continual state of anarchy in Poland, and in the seventeenth century Sweden conquered Poland, and held it in bondage for five years; and when the Partition of Poland took place, it was not a Russian proposal at all; but the Russian Government, seeing that Prussia and Austria were determined to have a partition, decided that the least evil was to have its own share of the plunder. On the occasion of the rebellion of the Poles in 1861, Prince Gortchakoff, the Governor, at first acted with great forbearance; and though General Gerstenzweig, the military Governor, was assassinated, no very severe measures were adopted; and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Warsaw, Felinski, exhorted the Poles to submission. In May, 1862, the Grand Duke Constantine was appointed Governor, and begun with a lenient policy; but his life was attempted by Jaroszynski and Telkner, the chief of police, as well as many other Russians, were murdered, some of whom were poisoned. Upon this, deplorable measures of excessive rigour were adopted to quell the rebellion and restore order; but none of them were so bad as the conduct of the French under General Pelissier, so recently as the reign of Louis Philippe, who suffocated a large number of men, women, and children in a cave in Algeria; but then, ill-treatment of Roman Catholics by Greek heretics is a much more heinous sin than infinitely worse treatment of mere Arabs by orthodox Catholics. Then what has been the conduct of Russia towards this country? In 1553 the Anglo-Russian Company was established. In 1597 the Czar Ivan solicited the hand of Queen Elizabeth; and in 1697 Peter the Great visited England, for which he had the greatest admiration and regard. In 1800 we had Russian troops in Guernsey, guarding that island for us against Napoleon. In 1801 we churlishly refused to exchange some Russian soldiers, who had been taken prisoners while in our pay, against an equal number of 899 Frenchmen in our prisons, to the just indignation of Russia, and Napoleon then wisely not only released them freely, but gave them money, clothes, and every necessary. On the occasion of the invasion of Russia by Napoleon, the Russians performed one of the grandest acts in history, and that was the burning of Moscow. I should like to ask, if we were invaded by the French or Germans, if our nobility and gentry would be found setting fire to their houses in Eaton and Belgrave Squares, and whether they would not rather counsel submission? An instance of the noble conduct of Russia was shown in the Crimean War. They paid every farthing of the interest on their debt. They might have lodged it with some neutral Power to be paid over at the end of the war; but they did not do that, they paid it at once. Much has been said in regard to the low state of Russian credit; their Three per Cents. were, however, at upwards of 50, or considerably higher than ours w ere during one period of our war with France, and the Turkish Six per Cents of 1869 are only about 8. Then it was said that Russia had an eye to India; but if that were so, why did she not send money and adventurers to India to injure us during the Mutiny, or to China when we were simultaneously at war with that country? I maintain that Russia has acted in the most honourable and friendly manner towards us at those junctures. There is another thing—what did Russia do at Tilsit? Why she insisted on the restoration of half his dominions to the King of Prussia. Then, in the year 1875, Russia alone prevented Germany from renewing the war with France which she had intended to commence; and another point was that in the Crimean War, the English prisoners were treated, not only with humanity, but with great kindness by the Russians. Lieutenant Royer, speaking on this subject, said—The English prisoners were well cared for. They were told to ask for everything they might require, and that they should have it for the asking.One of the officers declares that if they had been wrecked on the Coast of England, they could not have received greater attention than was lavished upon them. To such an extent was this carried that the English officers were not allowed to burn tallow, but were supplied with wax candles. Above all, the 900 Czar nobly emancipated upwards of 20,000,000 of serfs at a cost of about £120,000,000, which is an infinitely grander achievement than our emancipation of the West India negroes at a cost of £20,000,000. Passing to another point, people speak about the corruption of the Greek Church, but for many centuries the Greek and Roman Churches were united—in the 13th century, a union was effected between them which lasted for three years—and surely we should say nothing against the Greek Church, seeing that in 1723, and on several occasions since, a union was proposed between the Greek and English Churches. I may further add, that the Americans have the greatest regard and esteem for the Russians, and not a single American would degrade himself by fighting with Turkey against Russia and the oppressed Christians, though Englishmen can be got to do this discreditable work. We have been taunted on this side of the House with having stated that there was a division among the Ministers of the Crown on this subject. In the newspapers I find the subject commented on and names given. I think it is clear that there are three parties in the Cabinet. The general opinion is, that the Prime Minister, the Secretary for War, and the Postmaster General are strong for Turkey, and would have been quite willing to have launched us into a war in support of Turkey against Russia. On the other hand, I believe there are Lord Salisbury, the Lord Chancellor, and the Home Secretary, who are in favour of the Christians in Turkey. But half the Ministers are neutral, and as the wind blows in one quarter or another, they change sides. In short, the Ministry have boxed the compass of political vacillation. A great deal has been said about Mahomedans sympathizing with the Sultan, but there are no fewer than 165,000,000 of Mahomedans, of whom only 40,000,000 are Turks, and the general body of Mahomedans do not regard the Sultan as their head. I will spare the House any further allusion to the events of the last two years, on which I would have wished to enlarge, and also upon the Resolutions before the House, as these subjects have been exhausted by preceding speakers, and I have already occupied too large a portion of your time. I have now only to thank 901 you for having listened to me so patiently.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
said, that in his desire to be brief, he would neither quote from Blue Books, nor send out for water, but would address himself directly to the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich. In bringing forward these Resolutions, the right hon. Gentleman had incurred a grave and a solemn responsibility, having regard to the circumstances of the case. A war had commenced, the results of which no one could predict, because it was impossible to say at what moment it might not become a great European war. It was difficult to localize a war such as this. It was not much to say that war existed between Russia and Turkey, but no one could tell when it was to end. The great armaments that existed on the Continent alone presented considerable danger, for there were at present 9,000,000 of men actually armed and ready to fight at a short notice, whenever the interests of their respective States were interfered with; and under such circumstances he contended that the course pursued by the right hon. Gentleman was not a wise or a statesmanlike course. The proceedings of that House were looked upon with attention and interest by the nations on the Continent, and discussions of this kind ought not to be lightly raised. At the same time he would not deny that the wise and prudent and statesmanlike opinion of that House might have been useful, if obtained on Resolutions brought forward in the beneficial interest of mankind; but what had the right hon. Gentleman done? Two of the Resolutions were, he (Sir George Bowyer) said it with all respect, impracticable, and had created a schism in that Party of which it was difficult to say whether the right hon. Gentleman was or was not the Leader, and the others were failures. That certainly was not the time to speak of giving a liberal and representative system of government to the Christian Provinces of Turkey when the tide of war was about to sweep over them. These two Resolutions, however, had been thrown overboard, and a reconciliation effected between the discordant sections of the Party. The result was, that the question now before the House was of a Party character. Now, that was, in his opinion, a very unfortunate 902 circumstance. It was, also, unfortunate that the right hon. Gentleman should have expressed the opinion that the House of Commons did not represent the feelings and interests of the English people, and that the cry should have been taken up and spread. What were the Resolutions on which the House was now asked to state its views? The first expressed dissatisfaction with the conduct of the Porte; but what was the use of expressing dissatisfaction? The second was of a very peculiar character, It was as follows:—That, until such conduct shall have been essentially changed, and guarantees on behalf of the subject populations other than the promises or ostensible measures of the Porte shall have been provided, that Government will be deemed by this House to have lost all claim to receive either the material or the moral support of the British Crown.Now, supposing Turkey, when hard pressed by Russia, were to offer us those guarantees, should we be bound to go to war with Russia? [Cries of "No!" from the Opposition benches.] Well, it seemed to him impossible to put any other construction upon the Resolution. The country, however, would not consent to another Crimean War. In his opinion that war was one of the greatest misfortunes in the history of England. We had offered our advice to the Turk, he had not accepted it, and he must take the consequences. It was not difficult to foretell the result of a contest between an Oriental army like that of Turkey and the great military machine which Russia possessed. But the Turks had gone into the struggle with their eyes open, and this country could not in any way interfere. If Russia attempted conquest, she would commit a great crime against Europe, and so many conflicting interests would be drawn in, that the war would probably extend all over Europe. In that case, indeed, circumstances might arise which would make it impossible for us to avoid going into war. If, on the other hand, Russia should be wise and moderate, and, acting upon the Declaration she had made, sought only to ameliorate the condition of the Christian inhabitants of the Porte, and to secure for them the rights of humanity which they had been deprived of by the Turkish Government, then they might see a satisfactory solution of the Eastern Question, which would pre- 903 vent for the future those calamities and crimes they all so much deplored. For his part, he thought it very possible that the wisdom of the Czar and of the Russian statesmen might lead to a result with which we should all be satisfied. In fact, the objects of the Conference might thus be attained. He considered that Her Majesty's Government took an honourable course in frankly declaring that they were not prepared to use force to carry out the decisions of the Conference; while with regard to the diplomatic efforts which had been made, it was his opinion that there had never been such a concert among the Powers of Europe as was likely to prevent the Turks from showing obstinacy or resistance. Upon the whole he thought Her Majesty's Government had done all they could have done in the difficult circumstance in which they were placed. The Resolutions of the right hon. Member for Greenwich could do no good. Parliament ought only to interfere if it had a policy to prescribe. These Resolutions prescribed no policy, and, therefore, he thought they would do more harm than good. For his part, he refused to make this a Party question. If the right hon. Gentleman had been at the head of the Government and similar Resolutions had been proposed, he (Sir George Bowyer) would have voted against them, as he was now going to do. This was a question which ought to be left in the hands of the responsible Executive Government.
§ MR. O'CLERY
wished to point out that, if the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich meant anything, they meant war against Turkey; and although that was now denied, he should like to know whether the question had been asked the various meetings which had been held in support of the right hon. Gentleman's policy, whether they would be content with mere words. If the outcome of all the agitation which had been got up was simply to be such an unreal debate as that in which the House had been engaged for the last week, then the action of the right hon. Gentleman had ended, he could not help thinking, in a complete and utter failure. The right hon. Gentleman never opened his mouth to condemn, in 1862, the massacres of the Abruzzi, when 7,000 peasants were slaughtered by the Piedmontese Govern- 904 ment, and he endeavoured to produce a revolution against the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, which was ultimately successful. Nor did he ever protest either in 1863, or during the 14 years which had since elapsed, against the horrors and massacres committed in Poland by the Russian Government. The right hon. Gentleman, with singular bad taste, always contrived to interfere in the internal affairs of States that were weak, and endeavoured to cripple the actions of Sovereigns who were powerless to resist the attacks of a powerful Minister, as he once was, and a Leader of public opinion in this country, as he was at present. As he (Mr. O'Clery) had said, he went out of his way to promote the downfall of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies; and he had also assailed the venerated Head of the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world, and to whom millions of Her Majesty's subjects owed spiritual allegiance. He had now suddenly awakened to a sense of the cruelty and tyranny inflicted upon the Christian subjects of the Porte; but had there been no other Christians who during the last few years had suffered outrage, horror, and cruelty? The right hon. Gentleman was a Member of the Government in 1863, during the height of the Russian persecutions of Poland; but beyond a despatch or two from Lord Russell protesting against the treatment of Poland, that Government had taken no action whatever, nor had the right hon. Gentleman ever since opened his mouth in condemnation of that persecution. Poland after the insurrection was guaranteed its status as if no insurrection had ever occurred. But Russia broke through every engagement made to Poland. Her autonomy was destroyed, and all the functionaries had been supplanted by Russians. Attacks the most systematic and determined were made, not only against the religion of the Polish Roman Catholics, but also upon their laws and property. No Popish subject had the power of selling his landed property. It could only be sold to Russian subjects, so that the land was so depreciated that it became utterly valueless to the Polish people. During the last 13 years the Russian Government had constantly attacked the religious liberties of the people. The Archbishop of Warsaw and one of the Bishops had been cast into prison. Another Bishop 905 had been sent to Siberia. The Roman Catholic convents had been suppressed, and all these cruelties had been committed simply because these Prelates had endeavoured to carry on the ministrations of their religion. Hon. Members who knew the history of Poland also knew how well she deserved that her autonomy should be recognized by Europe, and that she should be rescued from Russian oppression. Was there any justice or consistency in the right hon. Gentleman raising his voice in behalf of the Christians of Turkey and ignoring the persecution of the Christians of Poland? The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) justified his intention to vote for the Resolutions, and stated that the severities practised in Poland during and after the insurrection of 1863 had been provoked by the fact that Russian officers had been poisoned by the Polish insurgents. He was astonished that any hon. Member of that House should have offered so gross an insult to a noble people. There was no foundation whatever for the charge. The hon. Member, however, had shown his animus by stating that the Poles were persecuted because they were Roman Catholics, and as such could not be good subjects, and the spirit he had displayed in that manner enabled them to estimate at its true value his advocacy of the Christians of Turkey. He (Mr. O'Clery) could not allow the debate to close without protesting against the outrages and oppression of the Turkish Government. For himself, he hated the Moslems with a hatred far more earnest and sincere than that of the right hon. Gentleman, and he would gladly do anything to bring about the destruction of Turkish rule; for he considered the Mohamedan religion as the greatest revolt that had ever been made against Christianity, and believed that the overthrow of Moslem rule in Constantinople would lead to the downfall of the Moslem faith. But, although opposed to the Moslem faith and the Moslem rule, he could not agree with the right hon. Gentleman, because he knew full well that the English Liberals had never backed up any honest cause in Europe except by mere words. They talked for years of the freedom of Italy, but did nothing in the way of forwarding it as France had done. They goaded on the gallant 906 Hungarians in their struggle against Austria in 1849, but gave them no assistance. For half-a-century, he might say, they had been endeavouring to undermine the Governments of other countries, and when their tools had done their work, or were obliged to fly to England, they received them with open arms. When the vulgar freebooter, Garibaldi, who had notoriously disturbed the peace of Europe, visited this country he was received by the English Liberals with enthusiasm, and the right hon. Member for Greenwich was among the first to meet that man and take his hand. That instance alone would be sufficient to guide him in estimating the value which ought to be attached to the right hon. Gentleman's advocacy of any cause. How could he, as an Irish Catholic Member, hating revolution, and Conservative in his instincts—for although he desired the restoration of the ancient Constitution of his country, he desired it in a thoroughly Conservative sense—support the Resolutions of a right hon. Gentleman who had pursued the course he had described, and who had clone that which was unworthy of him in taking the hand of a vulgar freebooter? At the same time he must say that he viewed with indignation the indifference with which the Bulgarian atrocities had been treated by the Conservative Party. He was not, however, surprised to hear many of them speaking of these outrages as being after all a military necessity. They could not as men of honour blame the Turks for what they had themselves done in India and in Jamaica. He believed that in the event of an insurrectionary movement in Ireland, the majority of the Conservative Members would stamp it out as mercilessly as the Turks had stamped out the insurrection in Bulgaria. In 1864, when there was some talk of a Fenian insurrection, The Pall Mall Gazette—a journal professed to be written by gentlemen for gentlemen—said that if any attempt at insurrection were made in Ireland, England would make of that Island such an example that Europe would shudder at the spectacle. Did any paper in Constantinople give expression to a sentiment more savage or atrocious than that? Knowing the feeling of the Conservative Party on that subject, he, therefore, could not vote with them on the present 907 occasion, although, for the reasons he had stated, he could not support the Resolutions. There was one important lesson to be derived from the present events—namely, that sooner or later nationalities like Poland, however cruelly oppressed, would ultimately come to the front. If Austria were forced into this war, she could strike a serious blow at Russia by allowing bands of Poles in Galicia to cross the frontier into Russian Poland to aid their brethren against their oppressors. England could not take Part in an European war without considering her position as to that nationality, and also as to Ireland; for what could be said if this country were dragged into war? Russia could turn round and tell us that we had a Poland here at home in the shape of Ireland; and Turkey could say with truth that we were not without our own Bulgaria, Bosnia, and Herzegovina. He believed that no Party in this country desired to go to war; but, at the same time, he desired that this country should maintain her position of neutrality with dignity and strength, and it seemed to him that there was only one way in which that could be done, and that was by openly avowing her determination to ally herself with France. There was at present an alliance between Germany and Russia, which meant that Germany would endeavour to take Holland and Belgium at the first opportunity, and if she succeeded there would be a force hostile to England established within a few hours of her coast. They must decide, therefore, before it was too late, whether they would allow Germany to overrun France, or enter into a central alliance with the latter country, by which alone they could maintain the position of neutrality they desired to take up. For the reasons he had given he could not vote for either Party.
§ MR. BENETT - STANFORD
craved the indulgence of the House for a short time, while he made a few remarks on this all-important question. He must express his regret that the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich were about to be pressed to a division, and he thought the time the right hon. Gentleman had selected for bringing them forward very ill-chosen. While there could be little difference of opinion as to the conduct of Turkey, he thought this was not a 908 time when they should be called upon to go into different Lobbies and thus show a divided front to foreign nations. The subject was one which ought to be regarded on all sides as of national importance, and he could not but express his regret that it had degenerated from a national question into one of Party strife. There was one good point which resulted from this debate, and that was the excellent and clear speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, and he thought the whole House—except perhaps the hon. Members for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) and Caithness (Sir Tollemache Sinclair)—and he might say the nation at large, agreed that if Russia occupied Constantinople, or attempted to interfere with the Suez Canal, that then we should go to war. An opinion had been expressed in some quarters that our possessions in India would be threatened if Russia occupied Asia Minor or the Euphrates Valley—he did not agree with that view—he believed that even if Russia had possession of the Euphrates Valley, and occupied Bagdad and the Persian Gulf, that she would not be one iota practically nearer India than she was at present; and for this reason, that she would have to cross Persia, Cabool, and Afghanistan, before she could reach the nearest point of our Indian Empire, and how could she convoy her armies across 1,000 miles of desert and vast tracts of almost uninhabitable regions? Then it might be said, the Persian Gulf would give her the command to India by the sea, but any one who had been there would know that the entrance of the Persian Gulf was so narrow that it could always be blockaded by one, or at the most two ships of war. He did not agree with the hon. Baronet the Member for Caithness and the hon. Member for Glasgow, when they said that England ought not to draw the sword, even if Russia occupied Constantinople. He maintained that if Russia should hold Constantinople, she would practically turn the Black Sea into a Russian lake, and the Bosphorus into a huge Russian arsenal. If Russia had possession of the Dardanelles she would fortify the entrance so strongly that while her own ships of war could sally out to harass our ships and perhaps threaten the passage to the Suez Canal; yet, if pursued by an English fleet, if they attempted to pass the forts 909 of the Dardanelles, they would be blown out of the water—he maintained that Constantinople was the key of the Suez Canal as much as it was the key of Asia Minor, therefore he thought the Home Secretary was perfectly right when he said that Constantinople and the Suez Canal were the two points of English interests that this country would never allow Russia to threaten. The House should not pass over the great interest which the Mahomedan subjects of the Queen took in this great question in India. He would venture to remind hon. Members that Her Majesty ruled over 10,000,000 more of Mahomedans than she did of Christians of all denominations in the entire United Kingdom. There were in India 42,000,000 of Mahomedans, of whom 40,000,000 at least looked up to the Sultan as the head of their religion. Prayers were offered up daily for the safety of the Sultan in all the principal mosques of India, and money was being largely collected and remitted to the Stafford House Fund from all parts of India, and that notwithstanding the famine and that the Government of India were endeavouring to throw cold water upon these charitable efforts. The hon. Gentleman opposite the Member for the Kirckaldy Boroughs (Sir George Campbell) and others had held that the Mahomedans of India were not tied in any way, religious or otherwise, to the Sultan of Constantinople, but with the permission of the House he would quote the opinion of one of our best Indian scholars and historians, Sir Edward Creasy, who had spent a lifetime in high offices in India, and whose works on India were always considered reliable and standard works. In Vol. I., page 241, of Creasy's History of the Ottoman Turks, he stated as follows:—Another important dignity which the Sultan Selim and his successors obtained from the conquest of Egypt was the succession to the Caliphate and to the spiritual power and pre-eminence of the immediate vicars of Mahomet himself. When Selim conquered Egypt, he found there the twelfth Caliph of the family of Abbas, and he induced him solemnly to transfer the Caliphate to the Ottoman Sultan and his successors—at the same time Selim took possession of the visible insignia of that high office, the sacred standard, the sword, and the mantle of the Prophet. The Turkish Sultan at once became the spiritual and the temporal Chief of his Mahomedan subjects—in fact he became both Pope and Emperor.910 He would here draw the attention of the House to the following passage as most important:—It will readily be imagined how much the Sultan's authority must have been augmented by his acquiring the sacred position of Caliph, Vicar of the Prophet of God, Commander of the Faithful, and Supreme Head of Islam. It gives the Turkish Sultan dignity, authority, and practical influence, not only over his Mahomedan subjects, but over all who profess the creed of Islam whatever be their race and whatever be their country, except the Persians and others who hold the Shiite tenets. But the great majority of Mahomedans are Sunnites, and in the eyes of all Sunnites the sacred rights of the primitive Caliphs are vested in the House of Othman, and Sultan Abdul Mejdid is the supreme chief of the Mahomedan world.He would remind the House that out of the 100,000 Native troops in our Service in India, nearly 50,000 of them were Mahomedans, and although he did not wish to make much out of that fact, still he thought any statesman should think twice before he stirred up their religious feeling. There was another reason why he should vote against the Resolutions, and that was because he had always been taught that it was a cowardly and unmanly thing to hit a man when he was down. We were asked by these Resolutions to strike a nation which had been an old ally of ours, and with whom we had fought side by side. He was not prepared to defend the Government of Turkey, nor her treatment of her Christian subjects; but that was not the time for England to stand up and hold a threat over Turkey when she was surrounded by her enemies on all sides. Such a proceeding would be as unjust as it would be ungenerous, and as ungenerous as it would be un-English.
§ MR. E. JENKINS
thought the position of Turkey was rather that of a criminal whom it was necessary to bring to justice than the position which had been described by the hon. Member who had just sat down (Mr. Benett-Stanford). About a week ago the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich brought forward his Resolutions in that House in a speech which, perhaps, would be a remarkable memory to this generation. It was remarkable not only for its rhetoric and oratory, but for its skill, its feeling, its sentiment, its exalted tone and thought, and was, perhaps, one of the most thrilling speeches which had been delivered during the existence of the present House of Commons. But 911 there was something more, for in it was presented a masterly argument, which was broad and deep and far-reaching in its statesmanship, and it was a noble protest against the ambiguity and vacillation of the Government. Moreover, it contained a recognition of duties and responsibilities on the part of this country which it was not only dangerous, but fatal that we should overlook, and lastly, it was a vindication of those high principles of righteousness, of justice, and of civilization, which were not only consonant with the best interests—the most real interests of this country, but were also most consistent with the general welfare of the human race. He had sat in the House and had listened to the speeches of many other hon. Gentlemen which had been made on both sides of the House, and with the exception of those delivered by the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) and the hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Walter) he confessed he had heard nothing but a vacillation of opinion between the meanest sentiments of jealousy on the one hand, and on the other a tradesmanlike policy of self-interest. As far as he could see no attempt had been made to answer the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich. They had certainly had variety in the debate. They had descended to the level of feminine vindictiveness in the speeches of the hon. Member for Mid-Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin), and of the senior hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck). They had also heard a speech from the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, which had been received by the House as a statement of the sound policy of the Government, and speeches from other Members of the Front bench, and it had been said rightly by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Oxford (Sir William Harcourt), that the Resolutions, the speech, and the action of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had been amply justified by these speeches. He contended that the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) were in no way whatever inconsistent with the stand which was at the present moment taken by the Government. The history of the past action of the Government was a question into which, perhaps, it was just as well they 912 should not enter. It was not a creditable review. It was a story of attempts on the part of the Government to settle the affairs of Europe, and it had resulted in a manner such as had never before been known in the history of England, and such as he hoped they would never hear of again. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary had abjured the defence of Turkey; but he had not patronized Russia; and he had put forth suggestions which were most doubtful as to the future. It had been announced that there was a change of policy on the part of Her Majesty's Government to strict neutrality. But how could we trust them? Last year he (Mr. Jenkins) formed one of a deputation to the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, who then stated that their policy was one of strict neutrality; but had it been a policy of strict neutrality, as between the Porte and its revolted subjects? He maintained that, so far as moral influence was concerned, it had not, for it was one which favoured Turkey rather than Russia. No doubt if the Government would declare positively that the policy of the Home Secretary was their policy, and that they were prepared to carry it out, it would contribute very much to reassure the people of this country. The Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich were justified not merely by the declaration which had been drawn from the Treasury Bench, but also by the circumstances of this country and of Europe. As to the policy of the Government, the Home Secretary had said that they had always proceeded on a straight line. Well, the definition of a straight line was the shortest way between two given points; but the course of the Government from the point of departure towards the point in view had been one of gyrations, variations, and zig-zags, and to describe that as a straight line was very suggestive of a man chalking out a straight line for himself on the floor, and for reasons which need not be mentioned, finding himself unable to walk along it. With regard to the relations of the Press to Her Majesty's Government, which had been alluded to, he did not think that ever in the history of England had those relations been so peculiar and abnormal as they were at the present time, at all events, between Her Majesty's Government and the London Press. The other day the 913 noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had referred with approval to the information from its Correspondent at Constantinople, which had appeared in one of the newspapers—The Daily Telegraph—as information of a particularly trustworthy character. Now, in the Mosaic columns of that journal were to be found most outrageous statements, revolting to the feelings of the country, presenting as they did a complete defence of the atrocities in Turkey—a completely Turkish side of the question. Then there was another journal which was said to have relations to Her Majesty's Government—The Pall Mall Gazette—which, published in the latitude of London, expressed opinions that were more fitted for the latitude of Dahomey or Stamboul, and which day after day was engaged in supporting a policy that was a disgrace to a Christian nation, and on which he looked not only with contempt, but abhorrence. On the other hand, we had the grave and sober, and, tolerably, fair articles of The Standard and Globe, whose policy was perhaps, on the whole, the one which the country approved, a policy of absolute neutrality as between the Turks and the Russians. Still, it could not be concealed that among those journals which supported Her Majesty's Government there were strong sympathies which ran counter to the general feelings of the people of England. But there was a still more remarkable and dangerous thing, and that was, that the solidarity of Europe had been entirely destroyed; and, after a careful study of the Blue Books and a careful reading of the information which came from the various European capitals, he maintained that this was duo in no small degree to the action of Her Majesty's Government. He referred more especially to the conduct of the Government with regard to the Andrassy Note, the Berlin Memorandum, the Protocol, the Declaration which Lord Derby had appended to the Protocol, and his recent Despatch in answer to the Circular of Prince Gortschakoff. They had separated themselves from Europe, and England now occupied a solitary position of vicious and mistrustful isolation. Danger existed all around us from the divided state of Europe. There had been two voices and two policies amongst the Members of Her Majesty's Government; 914 one in favour of the concert of Europe, and the other of the Turkish interests of England—on one side, affection for Turkey; on the other, a demand for external guarantees for carrying out the demands made upon Turkey. The demand for external guarantees had been made by Lord Derby in his Instructions to Lord Salisbury. If the Government, as they had said, never contemplated interference with the independence and integrity of the Turkish Empire, he wanted to know what they meant by demanding that there should be external guarantees. In the same spirit Her Majesty's Government had assented to breaches of Treaties, while they continued to express faith and belief in their maintenance. The Treaty of 1856 had in its second Article laid it down that any infraction of its provisions was to be considered by the signatory Powers as a casus belli, on the occurence of which they would determine amongst themselves as to the employment of their fleets and armies. It was true that Turkey could not call upon us to carry out the Treaty, because there had been no Convention of the Three Powers; but was there nothing in the Treaty making it incumbent on England at the very moment that Russia had ignored that Treaty, to communicate with Turkey, and consult as to the measures which had become necessary? But Her Majesty's Government at one time insisted on the faith of Treaties, and at another entirely ignored them. The hon. and learned Member for Oxford had not spoken one whit too strongly on that point. With reference to the reply of Lord Derby to the Russian Circular, he had read it with a sense of shame; because, whatever we might say, we could afford to be polite. The insolence of that despatch was a gratuitous insult to Russia, and, to his thinking, it was an inconsistent and inept piece of diplomacy. Lord Derby stated in that despatch that the Russian action was a contravention of the stipulations of the Treaty of 1856, by which Russia and the other signatory Powers had engaged to respect the independence and the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. If it was in contravention of the stipulations, why had not Her Majesty's Government put that Treaty into force? And if not prepared to put it in force, why write an insulting despatch to the Emperor of Russia, saying that he had 915 contravened the Treaty of Paris? It was most unfortunate Her Majesty's Government had not taken the dignified course pursued by the rest of Europe, of recognizing the fact that the Treaty of Faris had become a dead letter. Referring to a dead letter as if it were still in existence, and throwing it in the face of Russia was undignified and futile. The Government during the Recess had undertaken the responsibility of checkmating Europe; but they had undertaken more than they had been able to perform, and the result had been that they had played into the hands of Russia, and had positively given her the game. They had broken the concert of Europe with reference to the Berlin Memorandum, in taking upon themselves the responsibility of holding back and preventing the Three Powers from putting into operation measures that would have been efficacious for the purposes which had been admitted to have become necessary, and by that means Her Majesty's Government had made themselves responsible for a pacific solution not having been arrived at. It had been said that our policy was one of "neutrality limited by the interests of England," but what were the interests of England, and where would the right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) when he came to make his speech draw the line? The answer to that would be watched with solicitude by the people of England, because the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary had referred in rather a vague way to certain points at which he had said the interests of England would be touched. That had correctly been described as a torpedo policy, sinking a number of torpedoes in a channel used by Russia, one of which might at any moment be exploded at an unexpected point. He thought, therefore, that they had a right to demand of Her Majesty's Government that they should define more exactly what they considered to be the interests of England. Taking a higher moral position, he contended that in a great and free country like our own there was nothing like a candid policy. We ought to declare in the face of the world what we considered the limits of English interests. It was necessary, because of preposterous ideas ventilated in Government quarters. He wished to draw attention to the monstrous, arrogant, ex- 916 travagant and dangerous claims put forth by authorities, recognized as weighty on the other side of the House, with regard to British interests. The Pall Mall Gazette said—Our Eastern policy is founded neither on the likings nor the dislikings of races. It is a consequence of that irrepressible struggle for empire that is continually going on, which embraces the East and the West, and in which we cannot avoid taking part.It would be some satisfaction if they might hear some less vague definition, and he would like to know whether Her Majesty's Government upheld that view? Another definition had been given by the noble Lord at the head of the Government (Lord Beaconsfield) who had said in that House in his (Mr. Jenkins's) hearing, that the Mediterranean was to be considered as one of the great highways of our Indian Empire, and that that and the waters communicating with it were to be free and secure, our Mediterranean Fleet being a symbol that we should protect our own interests by not permitting any great territorial aggrandizement to take place in that part of the world without our consent. Now, he was prepared to take issue on both these proclamations of what were considered to be British interests. By the last they might find themselves committed to maintain the Mediterranean and the seas connected with it as British waters. The consequences should be considered. This meant the assertion of supremacy in the Mediterranean in the teeth of all Europe. It would require, in order to maintain their assumed rights in the Bosphorus, the blood and treasure of generation after generation of Englishmen. That was a doctrine equally contrary to the rights of nations and to public morality. As to Asia Minor, he would protest against the assertions with regard to the territories there. Was it possible that a nation governed by Christian principles, professing to lead the whole of Europe, and to act only on principles of justice and right, would be prepared for one moment to maintain and permit that the whole of the country between the Ægean Sea and the Persian Gulf should remain a wilderness, and subjected to bad government, merely for the protection of British interests? Were they to prevent Russia from coming forward to annex and civilize it? Or were they ready to go into 917 Asia Minor and annex it to the British Empire? Would they take the Valley of the Euphrates and the whole of Persia in order to keep open the highway to India? The more they examined them, the more they perceived how utterly immoral were these arrogant pretensions. He hoped they should hear no more of Imperial rights in the Mediterranean Sea, and the necessity of maintaining open a grand devastated highway between the Ægean Sea and the Persian Gulf. He was a supporter of the four Resolutions. The two things Her Majesty's Government said they had endeavoured to obtain were peace and good government in Turkey, but they were two things utterly incompatible the one with the other; and Lord Derby had said so in almost as many words. It was utterly impossible that a tyranny like Turkey could be renovated by ideas—it must be removed by force. It was impossible to reform such a thing by the application of modern principles of government; the only way to reform it was to sweep it from the earth. In that opinion Russia, Austria, and Germany were agreed; but the British Government had still believed in promises which they knew would never be fulfilled by a nation that repudiated modern ideas and abhorred civilization. The Home Secretary said that the Christians in Turkey would be more injured than benefited by a war on their behalf. Well, blessings for men were scarcely ever won without sacrifice and blood. If there had been wise statesmen at the head of Her Majesty's Government they would have recognized the fact that although the Bulgarians, Bosnians, and Herzegovinians might be immediately the sufferers, yet by the war which might be necessary for obtaining their freedom, their children and succeeding generations would be blessed. He had addressed the House in these terms because he believed Her Majesty's Government had made a great mistake in not endeavouring to bring about a concert of Europe for the purpose of relieving those Provinces from the yoke of the Turk. In his opinion their policy was narrow and bigoted, the effect of it being that at this moment the progress of civilization and Christendom was checked by the events which were occurring in the East. If Her Majesty's Government had had a bolder heartland a stronger hand they would have united 918 with the other Governments of Europe in endeavouring to enforce on the barbarous Government of Turkey the rights of civilization, humanity, and justice. They had failed in their efforts and they were pursuing at this moment a policy of neutrality. For the moment, he and those who shared his opinions approved that policy; but they insisted, with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, that the policy of the future should be one which would unite all the great nations of Europe in an endeavour to enforce on Turkey the demands of justice and of right.
§ MR. FAWCETT
said, that while he felt it was due to the House that he should compress anything he might have to say upon the subject, yet, greatly to his regret, it was incumbent upon him to make one or two comments on the position in which that debate had been placed. He did this with great regret because no one could be more anxious, either in that House or in the country, than he was to offer grateful homage to his right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich for the inestimable services he bad rendered to the country in reference to the Eastern Question. At first, when the announcement of the right hon. Gentleman was made to abandon the two Resolutions, he (Mr. Fawcett) felt deeply disappointed. His first idea was to bear that disappointment in silence, and he would have done so, had not the course which the right hon. Gentleman pursued received the cordial approval of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Goschen), and of various other hon. Members who had taken part in this debate. If, therefore, hon. Members who objected strongly to the course adopted had remained silent, their silence might be misinterpreted and misunderstood. He said this with no feeling of bitterness. They did not object to the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition and those who sat near him bolding different opinions from their own with regard to the third and fourth Resolutions; but he felt he should be wanting in candour if he did not publicly state he felt it was hard—and thousands in the country reciprocated the feeling—that the influence of the noble Lord and of those who acted with him should have been used to prevent a considerable section of his Party from 919 expressing their opinions on Resolutions to which they attributed the greatest possible practical importance, and which embodied cardinal principles of the country's policy. From the first he had been unable to understand, and no reasonable explanation had been offered, why, if the noble Lord agreed with them in voting for the first and second Resolutions, he should have prevented a considerable section of his Party — more than 100—from voting for the third and fourth Resolutions. During the Autumn and up to the present time the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had contended that England had undertaken a responsibility from which she could not escape, to do something for those unhappy people in Eastern Europe. After all the resolutions which had been passed by meetings all the country over in favour of the policy of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, what position did they at that moment find themselves in? Instead of voting for the four Resolutions, they were asked to vote for one or two Resolutions, which involved simply the principle of strict neutrality; and that with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London, who declared in a speech delivered by him last year that the essence of his policy was to wash his hands of Turkey, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, who had stated that that England could not do, as long as Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Bulgaria had occasion to cry to England for aid. But it was said—"Although you have not the last two Resolutions, you have had the magnificent speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich." But, though the reasoning of the right hon. Gentleman was unanswerable, he (Mr. Fawcett) could not but regret that the right hon. Gentleman did not give him an opportunity of carrying his unanswerable argument to its legitimate conclusion. Well, a great deal had been said as to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department; and, no doubt, in many respects, it was satisfactory; but, still, it could not be dissociated from other circumstances to which the attention of the House ought to be directed; and it might be asked, whether it truly indicated the policy of the Government? There was always, he found, this difficulty in making out their 920 policy on the Eastern Question—that though they went one step forward they then took two steps backwards. The very day on which that speech was made, containing a strong and vigorous declaration in favour of strict neutrality, the despatch of Lord Derby to Prince Gortchakoff was published; and if that despatch meant strict neutrality, all he could say was that he did not understand the plain meaning of the English language. The speech of the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs amounted to a severe censure on that despatch of the hon. Gentleman's own chief, Lord Derby; for if the contention of the hon. Gentleman was correct the despatch in question ought never to have been written, as the Sultan had not the power of bringing to justice Shefket Pasha and other perpetrators of the horrors that had so stirred the country. He could not also but contrast the respectful but cold reception given the other night to the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary when he rose to address the House with the passionate enthusiasm which was excited by the inflammatory harangue of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel); nor could he forget how a section of the Conservative Party had condescended so low as to cheer the coarse tirade of the hon. Member for Stoke (Dr. Kenealy). He (Mr. Fawcett) was not there to stand up as an apologist for Russia, for no one had spoken more strongly against the conduct of that Power towards Poland than he had; but he must say that it was a strange fact that when, some years ago, sympathy with Poland would have done her good, that when Gentlemen like his hon. Friend the Member for Leicester (Mr. P. A. Taylor) called attention to the condition of that unhappy country, there did not appear to be a vestige of that sympathy; nor did it appear until the cause of Poland could be used to prop up something infinitely worse than anything that had ever occurred in Poland. He would be the last man to palliate the conduct of Russia towards that country; but there was one infamy Poland had been spared — the honour of her women had been regarded and respected. But if Russia had done wrong in Poland she had done some memorable and magnificent things. Why, it was only about three years 921 ago, when the great bulk of the Conservative Party was represented in Guildhall at the reception of the Czar, the sentiment was there expressed, amid enthusiastic cheers, that they wished to welcome the enlightened Ruler of a great Empire, and gratefully to acknowledge the services which he had rendered to his vast population in the emancipation of the Serfs. Could any good result from this petty, carping, irritating suspicion of Russia, which had been manifested in the course of these discussions? If these irritating attacks were made upon her, he feared their effect might be seriously to imperil the prospect of settling the difficulties in Eastern Europe by moderate counsel. There was, unfortunately, more to be dealt with than the irresponsible cheers of the Tory Party and the articles appearing in the Tory Press. They had the despatch of Lord Derby, to which he had referred, to consider. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Pontefract (Mr. Childers) spoke of that despatch not too strongly when he characterized it as one of the most violent and provoking that had ever been issued by an English Government, and the hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Sir William Harcourt) had styled it insolent and insulting. He wished to put a question to those two occupants of the front Opposition Bench. It was why, if they thought that Lord Derby's despatch was ill-timed, violent, provoking, insolent, insulting, and dangerous, they did not bring these strong expressions of opinion to some practical test, and give the Party which they led an opportunity of voting upon the question. If they referred back to what took place at the Conference they would arrive at the conclusion that a more unjust and ungenerous despatch than that of Lord Derby was never written. On the 4th of January his Lordship told Musurus Pasha and Edhem Effendi, that if Turkey did not accept the proposals of the Conference there was no course open to Russia but to declare war; and he instructed the Marquess of Salisbury to tell the Sultan that if, owing to apathy or obstinacy, he refused to accept the demands of the Conference, the fault would not be with Russia, but solely with the Sultan and his Advisers. Having used this threat of impending war to induce the Turks to yield, was it not most ungenerous to turn round in 922 May, and tell Russia in that despatch that she had declared war contrary to International Law and deserved our censure and disapproval? But it might be said that between January and May there was the Protocol. Yes, there was; and so far as the reputation of the Government went the less said about it the better. What was the attitude assumed by Lord Derby and the Government in January? They said—"The thing we most care about is that something should be done to obtain better government in the oppressed Provinces of Turkey," and further that this must be done in the interests of the peace of Europe. But what was the attitude of Lord Derby with respect to the Protocol? He shrank into a peace-at-any-price policy, and said no more about the Provinces. The House should always remember that Russia signed the Protocol under certain conditions, clearly expressed and distinctly avowed. She said that if peace with Montenegro was not secured the Protocol would not be binding. It had been said that Russia could have obtained that peace with Montenegro if she liked; but it was impossible for Russia, or for combined Europe, to compel those nations to agree to ignominious terms of peace. Their past history forbad it. Besides, in making that assertion very scant justice was done to the power of Montenegro. It was further said that Russia on entering into war had disregarded the Treaties of 1856 and 1871. He denied that there had been any breach of international Treaties, and he contended that Lord Derby was precluded from using that argument by the fact that he instructed Lord Salisbury to inform the Sultan that the responsibility of a war would rest upon him and his advisers. The change of attitude on the part of the Government was an instructive comment on the policy of reticence which had, unfortunately, been pursued by the Opposition; and it showed that English public opinion could not safely slumber for a single moment, and there never was a time when it was more requisite to be active than now. The Home Secretary had made strong professions of strict neutrality, but those professions were always connected with British interests. That was a most elastic phrase, and an hon. Gentleman opposite said that in spite of the Home Secretary, it was only an 923 euphemistic way of saying we must maintain the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. The noble Lord opposite (Lord Elcho) predicted that by July the Russians would be at Adrianople, and by the first week in August at Constantinople. What was meant by these confident predictions of the certain and early defeat of Turkey? It meant the protection of British interests. Before the Russians reached Constantinople the noble Lord would come down to the House and say that it would be better to stop them on the way than to have to dislodge them when they got there. [Cheers.] Yes, hon. Gentlemen opposite might cheer—they had a majority, but the minority had a considerable power of resistance, and he would warn the Government that he, for one, was prepared to remain at his post until Christmas, using every Form of the House for the purpose, rather than a shilling should be voted or a single British soldier should be sent to Turkish soil before the English people had declared it to be their will that men and treasure should be employed in propping up the worst Government the world knew under a pretence of protecting so-called British interests. He cordially agreed with the acknowledgment of the Prime Minister that in the policy which he was pursuing he was not backed by the country, and he hoped the country would in a very marked manner check the career of a Ministry whose policy might land England in one of the most disastrous wars that could possibly be undertaken. He protested against the supporters of Her Majesty's Government asserting that they were the only exponents of true patriotism and the only persons anxious for the maintenance of our Indian Empire; but he contended, on behalf of those who supported the Resolutions of the right hon. Member for Greenwich, for the simple principle that the interests neither of this country nor of India could be promoted by depriving other countries of that liberty and that good government and freedom from oppression which we regarded as our most precious birthright.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
Mr. Speaker, I think that the hon. Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) has some reason to complain of the course which this debate has taken, because until the speech of my hon. and learned Friend the Member 924 for Oxford (Sir William Harcourt) this evening, scarcely one hon. Member who has taken part in this debate has addressed himself to the question which is immediately before the House, which is that raised by the Amendment of the hon. Member. It is, in my opinion, worth while for the House to devote its attention for one or two minutes to the consideration of the issue which that Amendment raises. Whatever may be our opinions upon the Resolutions of my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich, I, for one, cannot assent to the Amendment which has been moved by the hon. Member for Christchurch. I think that that Amendment is inaccurate in its statement and inadequate as a declaration of the policy it is intended to express. The Amendment states that the House is unwilling to embarrass Her Majesty's Government in the maintenance of peace and in the protection of British interests, and I contend that if the two Resolutions which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to submit to the judgment of the House are moved, they are not calculated to embarrass Her Majesty's Government in the maintenance of peace or in the protection of British interests. And I further contend, as my hon. and learned Friend has pointed out, that if this Amendment is to be considered a summary of the policy of the Government it is inadequate as a statement of what that policy should be. "The maintenance of peace" is an inaccurate expression, because peace has not been maintained. If the expression refers to Europe, the words that should have been used were "the restoration of peace," and if it refers to England alone the words should have been "the maintenance of neutrality." But, however this may be, I say that the Amendment is an inadequate description of the policy which Her Majesty's Government ought to pursue, because it omits altogether any reference to that which has been throughout maintained to be the leading and cardinal point in the policy of the Government—namely, that some adequate reform should be effected in the Government of Turkey and that some adequate protection should be afforded to the subject-populations of the Turkish Empire. I maintain that the two Resolutions of my right hon. Friend which are immediately under the consideration of the House, point to the 925 true policy which ought to be that pursued by Her Majesty's Government. What do these Resolutions assert? They assert that the policy of which the celebrated despatch of the 21st of September was the most striking illustration, and which was supported by Lord Salisbury at the Conference, is a reality, and not a sham. Her Majesty's Government have asserted—and I have no doubt that they asserted it with perfect truth—that that policy was not adopted in deference to the demands of popular clamour, but was the result of their deliberate judgment under the changed circumstances of the times. If that be so—and I am willing to believe that it is—that is not a policy which Her Majesty's Government can think of taking up at one time and abandoning at another. I do not do Lord Derby or Her Majesty's Government the injustice of supposing that their policy was taken up merely in deference to popular clamour, or even to that of humanitarian and sentimental agitation. I believe that if that policy was adopted by Her Majesty's Government it was because Her Majesty's Government believed that it was a policy not only in accordance with right and justice, but was also a policy demanded by the true and real interests of England. But although most of us approved the tendency of that policy, some of us thought that it might have been worked out in a more active manner, and that it might have found its expression in action rather than in words only. But whatever may be the opinion of Her Majesty's Government upon that point, this, at least, they must concede—that, if the policy which they have sincerely and frankly adopted be the true one, then, in the words of my right hon. Friend in the second Resolution, "the Porte has lost all claim to receive either the material or the moral support of the British Crown." And further, Her Majesty's Government must also concede that these are principles which are to be acted upon, which are not adopted merely in deference to popular agitation, but which are to become the guide of their conduct for the future. The noble Lord the Vice President of the Council (Viscount Sandon), in commenting upon the speech of my right hon. Friend, asked why, after the strictures which he thought it right to make upon the conduct of Her Majesty's 926 Government, he had not followed them up by moving a Vote of Censure upon them? Well, I have had an opportunity before now of stating what is my opinion of the rights and the duties of the Opposition. I think that among the few and scanty rights which belong to an Opposition is undoubtedly that of managing their own affairs in the best way they can. That is a right which, as far as I know, has been claimed by every Opposition, and I believe that numberless instances might be quoted to prove, if necessary, that it is not the invariable duty of the Opposition, even when they condemn the conduct of a Government, to formulate a Vote of Censure upon them. I will only refer to one instance in point, which I conceive bears not remotely upon the present case. Few things could have been more severely censured in the past by any Opposition than the conduct of the late Government in connection with the Black Sea Treaty. Even during the progress of the negotiations connected with that Treaty, and during the sitting of the Conference in London, Lord Cairns in the House of Lords, and Lord Beaconsfield in this House, thought it their duty very severely to call in question the conduct of the then Government, and never after the conclusion of that Treaty was an opportunity lost of sneering at, and severely censuring, the proceedings of the Government with regard to that Treaty. I do not, however, recollect that the Opposition of that day thought it to be their duty to move a formal Vote of Censure upon the Government. And the liberty which the Opposition of that day claimed for themselves is the liberty which we claim now; and, indeed, I consider that our case is a great deal stronger than was the case of the Opposition then. What was the chief charge which the right hon. Gentleman brought against the policy of the Government? It was not that they were absolutely wrong in direction, but that their policy had been ambiguous; at one time appearing to point in one direction, and at another time appearing to point in another direction. Would it, Sir, in these circumstances, have been prudent or wise on the part of the Opposition to have forced the House of Commons to come to a vote, the probable result of which would have been to strengthen the hands of those who were opposed to 927 us and to weaken the hands of those who were most disposed to agree with us. I suppose I must not say that there was any difference in the Cabinet, for that has been denied; but if, as we conceive, there were any difference of opinion in the minds of those who support the Government — if there were some who were anxious to commit the Government and the country to the active support of Turkey; and if, on the other hand, there was a Party which was desirous of setting the Government loose from all connection with Turkey, would it have been prudent, or patriotic in our view of the case, for us to force the House of Commons to come to a decision, the inevitable effect of which, both in this country and throughout Europe, would have been to strengthen those from whom we differed, and have weakened those with whom we agreed? But I trust we shall not hear very much more of the desire of the Government to meet a direct Vote of Censure. The Resolutions of my right hon. Friend, taken as a whole, as they were originally placed upon the Paper, although they did not constitute a Vote of Censure, were undoubtedly a Vote of Want of Confidence. What Government could accept a policy imposed upon them by the Opposition? These Resolutions constituted a Vote of Want of Confidence, and how did Her Majesty's Government propose to meet them? Not by a direct negative, not by an Amendment expressing confidence in Her Majesty's Government, but by assenting to the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock). These who sat near me who thought it was inexpedient that these Resolutions as a whole should be brought forward, took shelter under the Motion of my hon. Friend, and Her Majesty's Government declined to meet a Motion which they had just admitted was a Vote of 'Want of Confidence by a direct negative. I hope, Sir, after these tactics we shall not hear much more of the chivalrous pugnacity of the Government, and their desire to meet a strong issue. If it had been deemed expedient to move a Vote of Censure, I do not think there would have been any want of ground for censuring Her Majesty's Government. I will not go back upon those protracted negotiations; but I must say that these Papers which have lately been issued 928 seem to me to comprise everything which it was my duty to bring forward a month ago as to the negotiations respecting the Protocol. There is much in these Papers—I will not quote from them this evening —to confirm the view which I took then, that it was the ill-advised persistence of the Government in raising the question of demobilization which destroyed the last chance of peace in Europe. There is a great deal in these Papers to show that Russia was sincerely anxious to act in concert if it were possible. There is also a great deal to show that Russia was sincerely anxious to draw back if it were possible; there is a great deal to show that Russia would have drawn back upon certain conditions, which were frankly and plainly stated; there is much to show that she could not draw back in the face of the positive refusal of those conditions with which she was met. There is nothing to show that the Government were inveigled into a signature of the Protocol under false pretences. It has been asserted that the Protocol assented to by Her Majesty's Government in the interests of peace was subsequently used by Russia as an excuse for aggression. There is nothing in these Papers to support that allegation. The conditions which Russia required, involving some substantial commencement of reform, were frankly stated by Russia and were known from the beginning of these negotiations by Her Majesty's Government. They knew under what conditions—and under what conditions alone—was Russia prepared to disarm, and with that knowledge they signed the Protocol. If the Protocol was a document which the Government were able in honesty in and good faith to sign, I want to know why was it that they insisted upon raising that question of demobilization, why it was that they provoked the Russian Declaration—which has proved to be the immediate cause of the declaration of war? I maintain, Sir, that from the very outset the Government knew what were the conditions of peace. They had known that whatever they might be willing to do Russia was not willing to accept the mere promise of Turkey. The Government themselves assented to the justice of that position in the Conference. Nothing could have been stronger than the assertions of Lord Salisbury or Lord Derby himself that the promises of Turkey 929 were not a sufficient guarantee to be relied upon. You knew that Russia was not prepared to accept promises alone; you knew also that Russia stood armed upon the frontier of Turkey, and, further than that, you traded upon it. What was the utmost degree of pressure you could induce yourselves to bring to bear upon Turkey? Why, that you would not support her. Not support her, against whom? Why, against Russia. It was war with Russia which, throughout the negotiations previous to and at the Conference, was always held out as a threat against Turkey. Yet, now that that has come to pass which you knew would inevitably come to pass in the event of Turkey refusing to meet the demands of Russia—that which you told Turkey would come to pass, that which you threatened Turkey would come to pass, that which you said you would not attempt to prevent coming to pass, do you think it wise or honest, or just or dignified, to turn upon Russia and reproach her for doing that which you have always known she would do, and which you told Turkey you would not prevent? Such has been some part of the policy of Her Majesty's Government. It was described in figurative language by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department. The right hon. Gentleman said that the policy of the Government had been clearly and distinctly marked by two landmarks. What are those two distinct landmarks? The House will have observed that when Her Majesty's Government make a very positive declaration, it usually consists of a negative. One of these landmarks was, that they would not sanction a foreign Army in Turkey, and the other was that they would not sanction misgovernment in Turkey, and that if the Porte were obstinate in the matter, the responsibility would rest upon herself. Those are the landmarks of the Government, and they may have been very good for the past; but I want to know what guide they have for the present. Her Majesty's Government cannot consent to the introduction of a foreign army into Turkey. But a foreign Army is in Turkey. Her Majesty's Government would not sanction misgovernment in Turkey, but the misgovernment in Turkey continues. I want to know not so much what are the landmarks which have guided Her Majesty's Government, 930 but what are the landmarks which are guiding Her Majesty's Government now. I think the landmarks up to this time are entirely submerged. An ardent defender of Her Majesty's Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel), has also indulged in figurative language. At the conclusion of his animated speech he said Her Majesty's Government had placed the country upon a pedestal of pride and glory which had not been reached for a good many years. Well, Sir, we all know that a pedestal is not a very convenient basis of operations. But if we take the figurative language of my right hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth, and of the Home Secretary, and combine the two, we shall have a not very inadequate idea of the position in which Her Majesty's Government has placed itself. Britain seated on a pedestal, hopelessly and helplessly gazing upon the submerged landmarks of my right hon. Friend, constitutes a not very inadequate picture of the position of the country under the guidance of the present Government. I will refer now to the Resolutions of my right hon. Friend. A great deal has been said—and, in my opinion, a great deal has been very unjustly said—about the course my right hon. Friend has taken in this matter. He, I believe, would have been always perfectly satisfied if the first two Relutions, or any Motion equivalent to them, had been submitted to the House, either by myself, or by any of my hon. or right hon. Friends who sit around me. For reasons, some of which I have already stated, we most of us were not of opinion that it was desirable to compel the House to give a vote which would, in our opinion, have the effect, both in this country and in Europe, of strengthening the hands of the opponents of these principles. My right hon. Friend did not agree in that view; and when he felt himself bound to act alone in the matter, he naturally—and rightly, I think—developed in the Resolutions which he placed upon the Table the whole of the policy which he submitted in opposition to that of the Government. I will frankly state that in the whole of the policy which he so submitted I, and many of those who sit near me, were not able entirely to concur. With the policy developed in the third and fourth Resolutions we could not, at this time, 931 altogether agree. I believe that we agreed in all the objects which my right hon. Friend had set before himself, but we were doubtful as to some of the means by which he proposed to accomplish those objects; and the course which we took in regard to his third and fourth Resolutions was the least antagonistic which we could have taken, and that was to support the Motion of the Previous Question. But when my right hon. Friend found that there was no difference between us on the first and second Resolutions, he took the course not of withdrawing all his Resolutions, but of separating the policy indicated in the first and second from the policy contained in the third and fourth, and of inviting, as he now does, the judgment of the House upon his proposition in that shape. Well, Sir, there is the whole difference of opinion between my right hon. Friend and those who sit near him. With the whole of his objects we can cordially agree and heartily sympathize. There was some difference of opinion between my right hon. Friend and myself as to the expediency of challenging the direct vote of the House upon them at this time; but that was a difference of opinion of which neither of us has any cause to be ashamed. What were the objects of my right hon. Friend? As far as I' understand, they were these three—In the first place, his object was to secure this country from the guilt and shame of being placed before Europe in the position of defender of the dominion of the Turks; in the second place, that this country should become, if it were possible, the active agent in giving freedom to the Provinces of Turkey and peace to Europe; and, in the third place, to guard British interests in the only way in which, in his opinion, they could be adequately guarded—namely, by making those interests identical with the interests of Europe, with the interests of peace, and with the interests of freedom, by detaching them from a state of things which, in his opinion, is not only corrupt, but rotten and immoral. What are the means which he sets before himself for the accomplishment of these objects? If the two Resolutions now before the House are passed, we shall at least be free from the danger of fighting again for the dominion of the Turks in Europe. I dare say I shall be told that there is no such danger. The old 932 formula which used to be repeated, not on one side only, but on both sides of the House—the old formula that was in all our mouths not long ago—of the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire, no doubt, has not been much heard in this debate. But it has been replaced by a new one—by the formula about the protection of British interests. ["Hear, hear!"] Yes, I knew that the mention of British interests was likely to excite a cheer. I, like the hon. Gentleman who cheers, am quite ready to fight for British interests when it is necessary. But what I want to be clearly understood—and what I think it is the object of these Resolutions to bring distinctly before the House and the country—is, that British interests are not identical with the maintenance of the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire. There have been indications in this debate that in the opinion of some hon. Members, at least, British interests and the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire mean very much the same thing. I have heard references made to our traditional policy. Well, Sir, what is our traditional policy? Why, maintaining the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire. Therefore, when hon. Members talk about British interests and our traditional policy in the same breath, is it not reasonable to suppose that those hon. Members do desire still to adhere to the traditional policy of maintaining the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire? Then, Sir, the staple of many speeches which we have heard in this debate has been violent denunciation of Russia. Well, I want to know what that means. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck), the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Christchurch, and a great many others, have made the great staple of their speeches the maintenance of British interests and denunciation of Russia. What is the meaning of that denunciation of Russia, and what has it to do with this question? I heard the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield say about British interests—
§ MR. ROEBUCK
I beg your pardon. I did not say any such thing. I did not say a word about British interests.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
I thought the hon. and learned Member 933 said so. I can only say, if he did not, it is the only speech I ever heard from the hon. and learned Member into which British interests did not figure. But, Sir, it will not, I think, be denied that the great staple of many speeches from the other side have consisted largely of denunciations of Russia. Well, I want to know what we have to do with the conduct of Russia. I am told it is only in the spirit of fair play, if you hold up the misdeeds of Turkey to reprobation, that the misdeeds of Russia, who happens to be at war with Turkey, should also be held up to equal reprobation. But that is not an answer. What have we to do with the misgovernment of Russia? Are the internal affairs of Russia under the consideration of Europe? Are we prepared at present to interfere with the internal condition of Russia for the purpose of restoring the peace of Europe? Have we undertaken to redress the misgovernment of Russia? Have we undertaken to grant civil and religious liberty to Russia, and establish a system of constitutional government for Russia? Does the state of things in Russia constitute an European danger? ["Hear, hear!"] Some hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to think it does. But not oven from the benches opposite have we heard that this country or that Europe should take into its consideration the internal affairs of Russia. Are you going to hold a Conference in St. Petersburg to decide what are the reforms that are necessary for Russia? Sir, I say we have no more to do with the internal affairs of Russia than we have to do with the internal condition of Central Africa; but, on the other hand, we have to do with the internal condition of Turkey. The internal condition of Turkey constitutes a danger to the peace of Europe. If it does not, what is the meaning of your Notes, your Memorandums, your Conferences, and your Protocols. If we have nothing to do with the misgovernment of Turkey, the whole course of your negotiations for the last 12 months or more amounts to nothing but an impertinent interference with the affairs of an independent and friendly State, with which you have no right to deal. Therefore, the answer that it is only fair to talk about the misdeeds of Russia when you talk of the misdeeds of Turkey is an answer that will not hold water for a moment. Then 934 if this reason cannot be alleged for bringing forward denunciations of Russia, what is the reason? It is not an unfair inference to draw when one hears speeches in support of Her Majesty's Government which extenuate or, at all events, do not refer to the misgovernment of Turkey—speeches in which British interests are loudly talked of, and in which the misdeeds of Russia are loudly denounced—it is not an unfair inference to draw that those who deliver those speeches desire to make identical the interests of Britain with the fate and future of that country the conduct of which they extenuate, and to draw England into opposition, if not war, with the country whose misdeeds they so loudly denounce. I will now refer to the third and fourth Resolutions of my right hon. Friend. They point to the co-operation of Europe in the accomplishment of certain changes. What were those changes? Merely the effective development of local liberty and practical self-government. The noble Lord the Vice President of the Council (Viscount Sandon) treated all ideas of autonomy for the revolted Provinces of Turkey as an idle and impossible dream. Are those ideas of autonomy with the assistance of Russia so idle and impossible? Is Servia an idle dream? Is Roumania an idle dream? Is Greece an impossibility? And have those three nationalities not been established with the assistance and aid of despotic Russia? I believe that before the outbreak of these unfortunate disturbances Servia and Roumania, at all events, were enjoying a large measure of real and constitutional freedom and of real happiness and prosperity. I know it will be said that these nationalities are under the influence of, and are the subservient tools of, Russia. Why, of course, they are under the influence of Russia while the present state of things continues. -With. Turkey on the other hand ruling with an oppressive sway millions of their fellow-countrymen, and with Russia on the other hand which, with all her faults and crimes, does sympathize with and support the Slays in their national and religious aspirations—is it not perfectly natural that those new nationalities should be under the influence of Russia? But extend those nationalities in the words of my right hon. Friend—extend 935 the development of local liberty and practical self-government to other Slav nationalities—and what reason have we to suppose that these enfranchised Slays or Greeks will be any longer under the influence of Russia? If the influence of Russia is hostile to all liberty, whether civil or religious, is it likely that communities which have once tasted the benefits of real and practical self-government, will be drawn by any influence towards the despotic Government of Russia? But, under present circumstances, it would be a miracle if those nationalities were not attracted to Russia. The Resolutions of my right hon. Friend pointed, in my opinion, to the employment, if necessary, of force. Now, there was a time when I believe Europe might have interfered, and interfered with force, and that would have been the true and right policy, and the only one that could have averted war. But there is no argument which has been brought against us more frequently or with more success than that the intention of my right hon. Friend was to declare war against Turkey, except the argument that his intention was not to declare but to threaten it. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oxford has dealt with the question adequately, and, in my opinion, satisfactorily. I concur in every word that he has said; but I must say for myself that I believe there was a time, when the proposition of Russia was made, in September last, before the Moscow Manifesto, before the mobilization of the Russian Army, that Europe might have intervened, and intervened with force, without bringing about a war. At that time it would have been possible to have defined and limited both the objects, the mode, and the means of that intervention; and all that I have since heard and read leads me to believe that it would have been possible at that time so to limit the intervention. I do not believe that the employment of great force would have been necessary, or that any violent measure would have been necessary. I believe that a small display of force would have been necessary, but that would have been backed, and would have been known by the Turkish Government to be backed, by a reserve of force which would have made resistance on her part hopeless, and I do not believe it would have been met with 936 resistance. Well, when I am asked whether the policy we have from time to time recommended, and which my right hon. Friend is disposed to recommend now, means a declaration of war against Turkey, I say that that never was intended. I say there was never a question of England, or of England in combination with Russia alone, declaring war against Turkey. If, on the other hand, I am asked whether it was possible that Turkey in her folly, in her madness, and her recklessness, might have declared war against Europe, I say that it was a possible contingency. But if Turkey had done so, would it have been called war? Could Turkey have made war against Europe, or would a struggle between Turkey and the combined Powers of Europe have been worthy to have been dignified by the name of war? My right hon. Friend still points to action of this character. In my opinion everything is now changed; war has broken out. The outbreak of war has changed the circumstances in every direction. I can conceive no prospect of such a combination amongst the Powers of Europe as was at that time possible. Germany is looking forward to the possibility of a campaign; Austria is engaged with her domestic affairs; France is contemplating the chances of a new invasion; England is looking to the Suez Canal and to India. I may be wrong; but I confess that these positions do not hold out such a prospect of combination as once was possible for the establishment of peace. We have been told that the first two Resolutions do not mean anything; but what is admitted? In my opinion they mean a great deal. The Government have adopted and professed a policy of strict neutrality. I believe that the country will support them in that policy. But, Sir, there never was a case of hostilities between Turkey and Russia in which sooner or later England was not in some way or other called upon to interfere. Sooner or later in the present case you will be called upon to interfere. Whenever that time comes, and in whatever way that intervention may take place, I say these Resolutions will form a guide for your conduct and policy. I maintain they will constitute a third landmark for your policy which will remain distinct and clear long after the Home Secretary's landmarks have been submerged. The Resolutions assert that 937 the Turks have forfeited all claim to moral or material support. Had the hopes of the Treaty of 1856 been realized; had Turkey become really one of the European family and shown the power and the wish to reform and to govern justly, it would have been different. But the progress she has made has been in a wrong direction altogether. Turkey has not advanced, the dominion of Turkey has not improved; and, on the other hand, in spite of all obstacles, the Christian populations subject to Turkey have advanced, and have progressed, and have shown that not they but their Rulers were to blame. Had Turkey shown any disposition to reform, and had Russia, in the pursuit of some selfish scheme of aggrandizement, attacked that youngest member of the European family, then I think it would have been our duty and the duty of Europe, under the Treaty of 1856, as parties to that Treaty, to have interfered in defence of that youngest member. What these Resolutions say, and what they mean is that that is not our duty now. I say that that does form a practical guide for our policy in the future. I do not want to anticipate what may occur; but one of three events must happen. The Turks may be able to maintain their ground against the attack of Russia, and in that case this weary work and these weary struggles will have at some future time to begin again. But I will not believe that the hopes of liberty and of nationality which have been excited in these Slav and Greek populations will be extinguished by one repulse. I think it was Byron who said that—Freedom's battle once begun,Bequeathed from bleeding sire to son,Though baffled oft is ever won.If the Turks maintain their ground against Russia, why then they will only have established their right to remain by the only right they ever possessed—namely, that of the sword, and the work will have some day or the other to be recommenced. But the more probable event is that your mediation will be asked for, and again you and the Powers of Europe may be called upon to intervene to put a stop to the war. In either of these results, I say, the Resolutions of my right hon. Friend will be your guide. Insist that there shall be no territorial aggrandizement of Russia, if you like, and insist on British interests; 938 but by these Resolutions the means which were held to be indispensable for the accomplishment of that object are not held to be the indispensable means now. The maintenance of the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire is not now the sole means by which you can secure those objects which are considered indispensable to British interests. My hon. and right hon. Friends who sit near me have not shrunk from speaking of those interests; and I do not believe there is a Member sitting on these benches who is more indifferent to the maintenance of British interests than hon. Gentlemen who sit opposite. I do not quarrel with the definition of British interests given the other night by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, nor with the eloquent language in which the hon. Member for Mid-Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) identified British interests with the interests of the world. But let the House not forget, rather let it admit, that a vast extension of British interests over the whole world may be a source of weakness rather than strength. Our strength abroad, as at home, consists, I believe, rather in defence than in attack. In India, as elsewhere, I believe our true policy consists in consolidating our dominion, in guarding our frontier, and not in being drawn by every idle rumour and every alarmist-pamphlet from a position of defence which is already strong. If it be necessary for the security of our Indian dominions that we should send forth armies to fight in Central Asia, or in Asia Minor, I believe we shall find the task, I will not say too great for us, yet one that will tax our powers to the uttermost; but if, for the security of our Indian Empire, it should be our fortune to contend against the forces of nature and against the laws of human progress, then I say we shall have undertaken a task that will prove beyond our powers of accomplishment. There is no power, I say, which can restore the sap and vigour to the lifeless trunk, and there is no power which can check the growth of the living although struggling tree. The Turkish domination is the lifeless trunk, the struggling nationalities are the living tree; and this House is asked to-night to assert that with these nationalities, and not with the remnant of a sad and shameful past, are the sympathies of the British nation and its destinies to be associated.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think no one can wonder that at crises like the present, when events such as those which are now passing abroad are attracting the attention of Europe and of the world, those events should form the subject of a debate in the British House of Commons; and no one can say that a debate even of the length of that which is now drawing to a close is at all disproportionate to the magnitude of the interests involved or to the greatness of the questions which have been raised. But, Sir, I must frankly say for myself, as I believe I may say for a great many others, that while we have entirely recognized the justice and propriety of raising a debate upon this question at the present time, and while we admit that most of the speeches which have been made, and the sentiments which have been expressed, and the explanations which have been given in the course of the past week, have been well worthy of attention, we have, nevertheless, felt somewhat at a loss to know precisely what the issue was which had been raised for our decision. And in the course of the statesmanlike and farseeing and very comprehensive speeches that have been addressed to us we have listened with some curiosity, and, I may add, with some disappointment, for a clear indication and description of the nature of the issue that is placed before the House. My hopes were raised when the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition, at the commencement of his observations, drew our attention back from the wider field over which the debate had been travelling to the words of the Resolution which you, Sir, are about to put from the Chair. I thought the noble Lord would throw some light on the difficulties in which we found ourselves. The noble Lord, however, I am bound to say, rather added to, than diminished those difficulties. Undoubtedly, he had a perfect right when he described the policy of the Opposition in this matter to claim that they should be allowed to decide how they should manage their own affairs. We do not for a moment dispute that they have the most complete right to that local liberty and practical self-government which they have throughout the debate been so exceedingly anxious to magnify and enforce; but if we are to take an illustra- 940 tion of the working of that practical self-government from the proceedings of the great Party opposite during the last fortnight, I must say the illustration which they offer to us seems to me to be by no means one of the most satisfactory or encouraging. We are, in the first place, confronted with the great difficulty that we do not even know how many Resolutions are presented to our consideration. It is admitted that there is the widest possible difference between the first two Resolutions taken by themselves and when taken in connection with the two or three which follow. We are told by the noble Lord that, taking the whole series of five together, they amount to a Vote of Want of Confidence. It is stated, on the other hand, that if we take only the first two they are merely an expression of a policy which has already been adopted and already announced by the Government, and that there can be nothing in them in the nature of such a vote. That is a very clear and intelligible description; but we must know what is the alternative which is submitted to us. We were told in the first instance that the three latter Resolutions were withdrawn from our notice, yet that they were not at the same time put an end to, and they indeed formed the staple of the great proportion of the speeches, and certainly of the most animated speeches to which we have been listening. I must say they remind me of the illustration of a great Roman historian who describing the funeral of a lady who was the widow of Cassius and the sister of Brutus, tells us that when the images of her family were brought forth and paraded at the funeral, it was the images of Brutus and Cassius that created the greatest attention, because they were not allowed to be brought forward, but were kept in the background. In the same way my right hon. Friend's third and fourth Resolutions seem to have exercised so strong and potent an effect over the various Speakers in this debate, and even upon the noble Lord himself, that they felt compelled to enter upon a discussion of them. We are at the same time told, however, that we are not to consider them, inasmuch as they are no longer before us—that, as my noble Friend the Vice President of the Council (Viscount Sandon) very happily said the other day—assisted, I think, by my right hon. 941 Friend the Member for Greenwich himself—they are materially dead, although morally alive. The matter has been treated of by one of the parodists of the present day, who has been impressed with Wordsworth's great poem, We are Seven, and who shows that, notwithstanding the decease of three of them, there still remain four or five—The first that died was Number Three, Then followed Four and Five;And naught but their vacuity Has kept the two alive.'How many are there then,' I said, 'If only two survive?'The Statesman merely shook his head, And answered—'there are five.'But which of the two alternatives is the one submitted to us? Because, when we come to examine the question, it is of real importance that we should know whether we are dealing with the whole series or with two of them only. In reference to the manner in which we should meet them, we have been taunted by the noble Lord with meeting a Vote of Censure with "the Previous Question." I utterly deny that we did anything of the sort. The truth is, that it was a very peculiar piece of tactics which was adopted when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich gave Notice of his Resolutions. When one Member of the united Party opposite gave Notice of the Resolutions, he was followed by another Member of that united Party—perhaps, a not redesigned coincidence—with a Notice that he should move "the Previous Question," and, in point of fact, that Notice was kept on the Paper by the hon. Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock), and we were unable in consequence of its being kept there to move any other Resolution. ["Oh, oh!"] The hon. and learned Gentleman says "Oh;" we, of course, could have given Notice of a Motion, but we could not have moved it, because "the Previous Question" of the hon. Member for Maidstone took precedence. [Cries of "It was to be withdrawn."] Ay, you offered to withdraw it, but let us see when you offered to do so. The hon. Member for Maidstone kept the Question on the Paper, so that it was not possible to move any Amendment, until my noble Friend the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) put a Notice on the Paper without communication with anybody, indicating a policy which he was per- 942 fectly at liberty to submit to the House, but which was not one that could be adopted by the Government. Then you thought you had us in a trap, and that by offering to withdraw "the Previous Question," and getting my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) to withdraw his Notice to the same effect, you would force us to choose between your Resolution and the Amendment of my noble Friend the Member for Haddingtonshire. We did not dispute that these were good tactics, but we said we were entitled to meet them in our own way. But to turn from that point, let us see in what manner my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich presented his case to the House. I was a good deal struck by the way in which he put it. He said he had two objects in bringing forward these Resolutions. The first was to make the Government change its policy, and the second was to call upon them to clear up their policy, which he thought was ambiguous. My right hon. Friend has, I admit, been perfectly consistent, from the first moment when he began last Autumn to discuss this question up to the present time, in urging that policy which we have been equally consistent in refusing to adopt. He has always urged coercion. He has always urged in some form or other something more than words and words only from the day when, addressing his constituents at Blackheath, he suggested that British ships should go to prevent recruits coming from Asia to protect their Sovereign in Europe. They were, I think, to be British ships only. [Mr. GLADSTONE: I did not say British ships only, but that ships should be employed.] I think my right hon. Friend said that they were to be British ships and Russian troops. However, I, of course, accept the contradiction, and it does not modify what I was saying—namely, that my right right hon. Friend had always urged the use of force, while we have as consistently objected to the use of force. My right hon. Friend calls upon us to explain our policy, because he says it is ambiguous. Now, it is open to you to say that anything you dislike is ambiguous, and, of course, if hon. Gentlemen opposite say they do not understand what our policy is, they have a right to call upon us for explanations, and to call for them over and over again. But I 943 deny that there is any justice in saying that our policy is ambiguous. I say, on the contrary, that it has been distinct and clear. You may say that it ought to have been of a different character. That is a matter of opinion; but when you say it has been ambiguous, I would refer you back to the definition of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, which gave in better and clearer words what many of us have been saying from time to time in the course of the Session. We have said that we have always pursued a policy of insisting by counsel, by warning, by remonstrance, and by reproof upon the improvement of the Government of Turkey. On the other hand, we have said that we will not—because we do not think it right—have recourse to coercion to compel them. That may be in the eyes of some people a poor, unmeaning, and unsatisfactory policy, and we know we are met by the triumphant and crushing argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe) that it has been unsuccessful. Sir, we do not deny that, speaking in the sense in which the right hon. Gentleman used the term, it might be fairly described as unsuccessful. I will not go into all the causes of that want of success. [Ministerial cheers.] I will not ask how far the conduct of others may have interfered to prevent our obtaining the success which we might possibly have otherwise achieved. I abstain from that line of argument. I am speaking of the policy pursued by other countries with whom we were obliged to act in this matter. I wish to lay all that aside, because I do not wish to open up any line of argument of a provocative character. But I will say this—that whether our policy was successful or not, we appeal to a higher standard than that of success or failure, and we ask whether, judged by the standard of International right or wrong, it was not a policy which it was right for us to pursue? My right hon. Friend is never tired of saying—and very justly —that we are in an especial manner responsible for the proceedings of Turkey —that we are interested in seeing that the Government of Turkey should be improved; and that it is our especial load on our conscience when such terrible things occur in that country because, as he truly says, we have supported Turkey, maintained her Government, 944 and kept her alive for the committing these things. That is perfectly true; but there is another side still in looking at this question—the Government of Turkey might say a word for itself on this matter. Can we not imagine the Government of Turkey saying—"What have you done for us in times past? You have upheld us when we were quite as bad as we are now. You have fought for us. You have maintained us, advanced us money, encouraged us, allowed us to go on in what you call now our shocking and wicked way with little reproof and no interference. Are you now turning round and suddenly throwing us off, not only without a word of warning or counsel, but with words of insult and disdain?" I cannot conceive that any generous mind, looking back upon the connection of Turkey with this country for the last quarter-of-a-century, and even for a longer period, can avoid saying that we ought to abstain in all our dealings with her from all unnecessary use of harsh, violent, and cruel language. On the other hand, we say that it was our duty to the extent that we could push the matter to endeavour to put that unhappy country into a better train of government. That is an object which has always been before Her Majesty's Government. You talk of stirring up the country in consequence of the great excitement caused by the Bulgarian outrages of last May. But even before that period Lord Derby had given warning to the Porte that the time had gone by when Turkey could expect to receive the material support of England. What is the most terrible part of these outrages which have stirred the mind of the country so deeply? It is not the horrors enacted during that particular week or fortnight at any particular place, but it is the illustration they give of the condition of the country and of the deep-seated evils that affect it. We feel most strongly, and we have felt all through, that there was the evil, and until that evil could be removed, and unless it could be removed, there could be no hope for Turkey, and if there was no hope for Turkey, there could be no hope for peace, particularly in that part of Europe. What did we do? Did we neglect that state of things? Not at all. We exerted ourselves as well as we could by the use of that influence which by bloodshed 25 years ago and by a long 945 series of communications in the past we had acquired to improve the condition of Turkey, to put our finger, if we could, on the most crying evils, and to remove the cause of that terrible state of things to which I have referred. We could not but see it was from the peculiar weakness of Turkey more than anything else that those things occurred. You may have a large number of barbarous and brutal people in Turkey as you may have in any imperfectly civilized country; but what you had to look to was the condition of the Government, its weakness, the cause of that weakness, and how it could be removed or modified. We endeavoured to find, and we thought by the inquiries we made we were able to find, remedies which were worth trying. We found by common consent in the evidence of those who could be relied upon that among the causes were the shortness of the tenure of office by Governors, the imperfection of the judicial system, the police system, and the revenue system, and if reforms could be carried out in these matters we might yet hope for the improvement of Turkey. We were not alone in these expectations; but they were shared by other Governments at the time of the Andrassy Note and the proposed Consular Convention, and even up to the Conference at Constantinople and the latest Protocol. I do not say that from time to time there were not proposals made by one Government or another, and especially by Russia, for the use of force and coercion; but up to the last Governments were maintaining that coercion was not the right course, and that reforms might be effected. If you look at the parting speech of General Ignatieff at the last meeting of the Conference, when he explained the meaning and object of Russia, you will see that that meaning and that object was not to enforce, but to advise that these steps should be taken under the eye of Europe. We believe, and we still believe, that was an experiment worth trying; that it was fair to have given Turkey, if she had not obstinately refused it, time to try to effect those improvements in her Constitution which had been pointed out to her under the eye of Europe, and to see if she fairly gave effect to them. Did she refuse? No; she did not refuse; but it is true Turkey failed to comply with the advice so earnestly pressed 946 upon her in so disinterested a spirit by Her Majesty's Government. We do not defend Turkey for that; we admit with sorrow and without reserve that the attempt we made to induce her to assent to these reforms failed, mainly through the deplorable obstinacy of Turkey, and partly —for we ought to speak the truth in this House, without being afraid of the interpretation that may be put on our words —through the deplorable impatience of Russia. I do not wish to apologize for the errors of Turkey in the matter of the Conference, nor do I wish to say a word in the nature of reproach to Russia for what I consider her unfortunate impatience. The position of Russia was a difficult one; the pressure of the Slav element in her population was a pressure it was very difficult for her to resist. The firm and anxious wish of her Government, and especially of the Emperor, who has been so justly and honourably spoken of in this debate, and of whom I, for one, would speak with as much honour as any man who hears me, was, if possible, to avoid recourse to arms; but there were forces that were too strong for them, and they have entered into a conflict which they must carry on as they can. Having gone so far as this, we have arrived at a period when our past policy is a thing of the past, and we are asked what is to be our policy for the future. The noble Lord opposite has made merry over what he calls the submerging of our landmarks. True, the landmarks for the time are submerged because the tidal wave has broken in upon them; but we have other landmarks for the future, and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary stated distinctly what they were. I do not know whether the noble Lord forgot them, or whether it was inconvenient for his argument to name them; but my right hon. Friend laid down these as our landmarks as clearly as any man in this House could desire. We are now face to face with a struggle which has been begun between two great Powers which may have consequences of a most material character, which may be most essential to us and Europe. They have entered upon that struggle against our advice, our earnest warnings and counsel. What is our position? We mean to stand neutral in that struggle—we shall observe a strict neutrality. The hon. and learned Mem- 947 ber for Oxford (Sir William Harcourt) asked what we meant by that. He said he was an advocate for strict neutrality, and illustrated what was meant by saying that he hoped and trusted that the Turkish Empire was about to be broken up. That is not exactly the strict neutrality we desire. When we say we desire to have neutrality we mean neutrality. The hon. and learned Member asked early in the evening if our attention had been called to a ship fitting up in our ports for the Turks, and our answer was that we were aware of it, and steps had been taken to prevent that ship from leaving this country until we have ascertained what our rights and duties as neutrals are. And so of any other matter that may come up, he may be sure that we shall take every precaution to fulfil our duty as a neutral Power properly and effectually. We lay that down as one of the landmarks we are obliged to lay down for ourselves. When we say this is a struggle that very possibly may not be confined .in its progress or consequences to the parties principally concerned—that it may take an extended range which may involve us in consequences which this country, at any rate, cannot afford to disregard, we are told when we speak of British interests we use an ambiguous phrase, and are simply endeavouring to introduce an expression under the cover of which we may, if we please, carry this country into a war in alliance with Turkey. My right hon. Friend went a little further than what the noble Lord called asserting a negative. He endeavoured to sketch out to the House what, in a general way, might be considered specially the interests of England in the Eastern Question. I will say very little more than was said by my right hon. Friend. I will only point out that these are interests which we have in common with most other nations, and there are interests which may be considered more peculiar to ourselves. As regards the interests we have in common with other nations, I see no reason why we should put ourselves forward to fight for these alone, for which other nations may fight if they think it necessary. It is, of course, of interest to all South Eastern and Eastern Europe that the greatest possible freedom of trade and of navigation should prevail in these parts of the world. There are many other matters which are 948 of interest to Europe generally; and think we may feel confident that those nations which have closer interests than ourselves in these matters will take care at the time they think best and most convenient to protect their interests, which are after all the interests of the civilized world. If called upon, we shall not be found wanting in taking our part with those having common objects with us. But there are other interests, which are in a manner peculiar to ourselves. When I say peculiar to ourselves, I do not mean that we are the only nation concerned in them, but we are interested in them so specially that in a sense they may be said to be peculiar to us. I refer more especially to India. Now, our road to India—whatever that road may be—is of great importance to us. It is of great importance that that road should be kept open and safe. It is not a question of the invasion of India by great marches to be made from places at an immense distance, and through a very difficult country, with I do not know how many horses and cannons—these are not the points we have to look at; but you have to look to keeping open the direct line to India itself and see that it is not blocked or stopped. And we do attach very great importance to, and nothing will escape our vigilant attention which bears upon, the protection of the Suez Canal and Egypt itself in a minor, but still in an important degree. It is, in fact, easy to see many ways in which our interests may be affected, and it is equally easy to say that we are unable to foretell what points may possibly be challenged. We must wait and see. Of course, my right hon. Friend did not pretend to give an exhaustive list, but he indicated in a clear and distinct manner that our direct road to India should above all things be preserved. Now, Sir, I hope I have sufficiently indicated what the present policy of the Government is. We desire to maintain a strict neutrality. We desire to watch over the interests of England; and in the maintenance of these objects we desire to be vigilant, and at the same time not to be over-hasty. Care must be taken to keep everything in our eyes—to watch and to see everything, so as not to rush suddenly or prematurely against danger which, after all, may prove to be only imaginary; to act so as not to provoke a contest by unwise or hasty conduct on 949 our part. I rejoice to think, Sir, that whatever may be the result of this debate as regards the Division we are about to enter upon, at all events one effect of the debate will have been very much to clear the mind of the country with regard to the actual position of this matter; for it is, in my opinion, of the highest importance that not only the House of Commons, but the country should be aware of the attitude which the Government recommend the country to take, and which the Government are willing to take, in connection with foreign nations. We are told—"Oh, you are speaking, you are writing, and taking steps of this kind and that kind, while other countries are maintaining a discreet and prudent silence." I do not know whether silence or outspokenness be the best policy in these matters or not, but this I know—in this country there is no choice. When we have come to such a time as the present there is no choice for us but to speak openly and frankly. We desire to have no concealments, no mystifications as regards either this House, the country, or foreign nations. It is said that we are alone. Well, I do not know whether other nations are or are not contemplating any similar action; but, at all events, we have been the first to express our opinion in unmistakeable terms, terms which I cannot acknowledge to have been properly described, as some speakers have described them, as "insulting" or "provocative." It is true we have been the first to express our dissent from the conduct which Russia has, unfortunately we think, thought it her duty to pursue; but when we did so, we only did that which it was our duty as Englishmen to do; and though it may be very convenient for hon. Gentlemen opposite to taunt us by saying that this was "a provocative despatch," and that it was "one of the worst conceived and most improper" that they ever remember, yet I have not made out whether to the mind of the Great Power to which it is addressed, or to the minds of other Great Powers, it will present itself in any such form. I think they will rather say that Her Majesty's Government, having adopted a particular line of policy, and impressed it upon the other Powers, showed that they were prepared to adhere to it. At all events, we have used no expressions against which any remonstrances can properly be made. 950 We have said nothing that is not consistent with our perfect respect for Russia, while we have thought it our duty to protest and say that we cannot approve her conduct, and that she must not be understood as going forth as our Representative. The hon. and learned Member for Oxford, who is exceedingly ingenious in his arguments, has said—"How you condemn yourselves in that argument of yours about this despatch when you say it was necessary to write it in order that you might not be supposed to acquiesce in the policy of Russia! Other countries did not answer, and, therefore, you need not have answered." It has also been said, that by their not answering, therefore they must be supposed to approve of the policy which has been followed. I see, I confess, no significance in that argument. This I will point out—that we were in a special manner bound, and it lay more on us than on any other nation to write in this matter, because Her Majesty's Government was, as it were, the spokesman of Europe in these latter arrangements. It was very much in consequence of the arrangements going on between the British Government and the Russian Government that the Protocol was brought into existence. You condemn that Protocol in language which would lead one to think that the Protocol originated with us. It did not originate with us; the Protocol was the proposal of Russia, and embodied her views of an arrangement which, if it were accepted, would, she said, enable her to demobilize her Forces and to disarm. In that proposal there was not one word about force, and yet we are told that Russia from the first said that force and nothing but force would answer. The noble Lord opposite told us that we knew Russia would not accept promises only; but does he mean to say we were not to believe Russia when she told us that this Protocol would so far satisfy her that she would be willing to withdraw her Forces to give Turkey an opportunity of trying the experiment she was about to try? That was the language deliberately and voluntarily used by Russia, and in accepting the Protocol proposed by Russia we were not ourselves proposing anything in the nature of a sham but were accepting that which, even now, I believe was honestly proposed and intended by Russia as a means of putting 951 off the unfortunate struggle which we so much deplore. I believe I have touched upon nearly all that is necessary to refer to in this part of the debate. One word now as to the very able speech of the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney). No man who has spoken in this debate has put his points so neatly, or brought out his arguments more logically; but, at the same time, no man has produced arguments so little acceptable to what I believe to be the general sense of the House. The hon. Gentleman said—"I do not shrink from the argument which you use that coercion must mean war. I do mean war if necessary. I am prepared not only for war, but for dismemberment." The hon. Gentleman has the courage of his opinions, and he went on to say one or two things which from one point of view I was sorry he should have said, though it is not altogether unsatisfactory to us who hold a different opinion that such observations should come from so able an opponent. He went on to say that he recommended war because it would be "very easy and safe." He told us that there would be no risk, and that combining with the other Powers of Europe we could carry on such a war in safety. And then he proceeded to refer to the jealousies and dangers of quarrels which exist between the different Powers, and to ask, in effect—"Why do not you throw the carcase of Turkey to this great pack of dogs to prevent them fighting with each other?" That is the noble policy advocated by the hon. Member; and there can be no doubt that it was the logical conclusion of his speech. Well, we have been told that we might safely have joined with other Powers in threatening coercion, because, as some say, the application of pressure would have secured its object; and because, as others say, our force would have been so great as to secure the accomplishment of our object. But we already know something as to what it is to act with other Powers. Are there not some hon. Members here who remember what happened in the case of Mexico? We entered into an Expedition with others to that country in order to obtain certain results; but we had not gone very far, when it was found that one of our Allies had other objects in view with which we could not agree, and so the Expedition had to turn 952 back. If in connection with this Eastern Question we had joined with other European Powers in coercion, might we not have found, after we had been fairly entangled, that we were mixed up with those who had other designs in view—that the improvement of the condition of the Bulgarians or the Bosnians was not the only object sought to be accomplished? In that case we should certainly have found ourselves in a difficulty which would have been of a very embarrassing character. I think we were prudent and wise in what we did, and that the country may congratulate itself upon the course we have followed. We have not entered into any alliance in this matter. We have kept ourselves perfectly free; so that in whatever position we may find ourselves—whether it be in connection with any settlement, which I hope we may speedily be called upon to take part in, or whether it be in any other way—England shall be free to act for herself. I believe that the interests of England in this matter, though they may be in a certain sense selfish, are at the same time very unselfish—that is to say, they are interests which are not peculiar to herself, but interests which she has in common with all other countries. The interests of England consist in the maintenance of peace and prosperity throughout the world; and depend upon it, in whatever position we may find ourselves, and whatever may be the complications in which we may be placed, we shall pursue that policy which we believe to be alike good for this country and for the world at large, without fear and without reproach.
Sir, I am not able to concur in the accuracy of the recital given by my right hon. Friend of the circumstances under which we arrived at the present debate. He has laid his version before the House; I will proceed to lay mine; it will be for others to judge between us. It will be admitted that I laid on the Table of the House a series of Resolutions containing matter which challenged the policy of the Government. Immediately there were given two Notices of Motion for the Previous Question; one by my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock), and the other, at an earlier date —even in anticipation of the exact terms of my Resolutions—by the hon. Gen- 953 tleman the Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff). In moving the Previous Question, an issue upon the policy of the Government was distinctly declined; and my right hon. Friend now complains that he was prevented from enabling us, through an Amendment on the merits, to join issue with the Government in consequence of the conduct of the hon. Member for Maidstone, who only offered to withdraw his Notice of the Previous Question, when an Amendment, likely to be inconvenient to Ministers, had been announced by the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho). That is an inaccurate statement. The hon. Member for Maidstone distinctly offered to withdraw his Notice of the Previous Question, in order to make way, either for the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire, or for any other Amendment which would raise a practical issue. [Cheers, and "No, no!"] It is futile to question my statement. The words of my hon. Friend are in the recollection of many besides myself. I can further prove them by reference to what I myself at once said on hearing them. On hearing his words I rose in my place, and, considering the Notice of the hon. Member for Maidstone as virtually withdrawn, I asked my right hon. Friend whether he would use his influence to induce the hon. Member for Christchurch to withdraw his Notice, in order that the ground might thus be cleared. My right hon. Friend distinctly declined so to use his influence. [Cheers, and "No, no!"]
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
The Notice of the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire was on the Paper.
Certainly it was. And what then? It was itself open to any Amendment you might move, if the noble Lord adhered to it; but who can believe that a Member so devoted as the noble Lord to the interests of the Government, would not have given way, as, indeed, he has now given way to the hon. Member for Christchurch? The fact, then, stands that the hon. Member for Maidstone was ready to give way; that the Government declined to ask the Member for Christchurch to give way; and that the statement of my right hon. Friend is not accurate. Finding, then, Sir, that my series of Resolutions was 954 not to be allowed to be debated on the merits, but that I was to be smothered by the Previous Question, I certainly did in my own mind decide not to undergo such risks, without any compensating advantage whatever in prospect, as I might incur if I asked you, Sir, to put each of these Resolutions from the Chair; but to be satisfied with a decision of the House on the first of these Resolutions. It was that announcement which I made immediately before the debate began, extending, however, my intention to the second Resolution. This involved no change of opinion or proceeding whatever on my part as to the later Resolutions, but it relieved my noble Friend near me (the Marquess of Hartington), and others who objected to the later Resolutions, from any difficulty on that score; and as to the limited difference of opinion between us, which prevented my noble Friend from supporting my entire proposal, I need not attempt to describe or dwell upon it, for I can distinctly say that I accept without any qualification the account given by my noble Friend himself in his most able and manly speech.
It will not be possible for me, in the circumstances of this evening, to discharge the duty, which respect for hon. Members would make me anxious to discharge, of noticing the various and numerous references to myself, and to my speech on a former occasion, which have entered so largely into this debate. I am sure, then, that they will not ascribe my silence on any of these matters to disrespect. I must, however, say one word with regard to the speech of the hon. Member for Christchurch. I believe that in my reference to his declared sentiments I quoted him with perfect accuracy; but perhaps we do not agree on that subject. I do not refer to his speech now for the sake of discussing it; but he introduced into the debate certain rumours, which he seemed to have gathered in the streets, without the smallest semblance of authority, in regard to correspondence and conversations of mine. Those rumours were totally unworthy to be brought before this House, and were as pure trash as ever proceeded from the mouth of man. I hope my hon. Friend will in future be a little more particular as to matter which he thinks worthy to obtain the attention of the House, for I do not deem it de- 955 sirable that our time should be occupied by such trivial rumours, and by rather summary and strong denials such as I am obliged to give to them.
§ SIR H. DRUMMOND WOLFF
I rise to Order. I did not mention those statements at all as against the right hon. Gentleman. I said that those reports obtained currency, and I have heard them in every circle where the right hon. Gentleman is talked about. At the same time, I said I should not believe them unless they were confirmed by the right hon. Gentleman. I said, also, that the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman certainly gave a certain confirmation to the rumours.
I do not understand in what sense that speech is a speech to Order. It really appears to me that as the rumours were mere rumours and utterly worthless, it was not convenient that refuse of that kind should enter into our discussions. I think it right also to refer to a point which was raised by a strong adherent of the Government, though he sits on this side of the House—I mean the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Stoke-upon-Trent (Dr. Kenealy). He stated that the course I had taken was one opposed to Parliamentary usage, and that it was not the practice of this House to advert to the proceedings of foreign Governments. My answer is, that on grave occasions it is, and always has been, the practice of the House so to do. Her Majesty, at the commencement, for example, of the Crimean War in March, 1854, was pleased to notice the conduct of the Emperor of Russia in a Message to this House, and in the Address from this House we animadverted severely on the aggressive spirit of the Emperor of Russia, and upon the danger which would attend the indulgence of that aggressive spirit. Her Majesty, on the occasion with which we are now dealing, introduced to us in like manner the conduct of the Turks who committed the Bulgarian massacres, in connection with the Eastern Question, in the Speech at the commencement of the Session. The House was thus regularly seized of the subject by the proper authority, and was perfectly entitled, in conformity with usage, to address Her Majesty upon it, either then or now. At that time we contented ourselves with a formal Address, and I now ask you to 956 present an Address which is one of substance. One word more before I come to the general argument. The noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire touched me upon a point on which I confess I am guilty. He said that acres might be covered by my pamphlets, letters, and speeches on this subject. Sir, I must confess that I feel myself open to the rebuke, and I kiss the rod which the noble Lord presents to me; for I believe all my pamphlets, all my letters, and all my speeches on the subject would almost equal in their length the speeches delivered by the noble Lord himself on the Army Purchase Bill. I do not think it very desirable that these things should happen. I must plead the enormous difficulty of the question, its vast extent, and the necessity under which, in common with many more, I have felt myself to lie, of carrying on a popular action for the avowed purpose, under extraordinary circumstances, of modifying and influencing the action of Her Majesty's Government.
Now, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary has referred to the recent expressions of popular opinion. I think he said that the meetings which have recently been held were meetings to order. Well, if they were meetings to order, I wonder whether, with all the influence of Her Majesty's Government, he could order some similar meetings. The Government does not commonly despise popular manifestations. On the contrary, in this and that Conservative association, and in the large gatherings and combinations of these associations, there is an incessant activity whenever it can be brought to bear. I suspect that if the right hon. Gentleman felt himself in a condition to obtain declarations from meetings in support of his view, he would not have spoken of those meetings as meetings to order. He cannot imitate; therefore he disparages. No doubt as to some of them—those connected with strictly Party organizations—you can call them meetings to order if you like. But many of them also were called in the regular way by the local authorities, and were they meetings to order? [An hon. MEMBER: Yes.] Then why did you not attend them? As you sometimes say that the heart and sentiment of the country is with you, why did not your adherents present themselves and overbear the 957 audacious minority, who have been, as you say, misrepresenting the country? If you complain of the mischief the meetings have done, why do you not, by demonstrations of your own, neutralize that mischief? At many of those meetings opposition was offered; but the sense of the meeting in support of the Resolutions was indicated by most overwhelming majorities. Do you really think that the gentlemen of Trinity College, Cambridge, met to order, for the purpose of petitioning this House? Why, the very Peace Societies of the country did not shrink from supporting, not one or two, but the whole of the Resolutions. I hold in my hand—I will not trouble the House with it now —an account of, I believe, some 300 meetings—a greater number than was held within the same time in the summer or Autumn, for they all were both prepared and convened in the course of about a week; and I have reports of meetings of societies devoted to the maintenance of peace who, notwithstanding, saw or believed they saw, in the policy of the Resolutions the only mode of making peace secure, or rather of restoring it now that it has been broken.
So much, Sir, for the manifestations of opinion. But my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer seems not quite to understand the issue which has been raised on this occasion; and the Home Secretary complained grievously that we had represented the Government as not being an united Government. Such a thing he thinks intolerable. Many things, however, are intolerable which, nevertheless, have to be borne, and in this case justly. Such a thing, he said, ought not to be done, unless evidence of the fact were forthcoming. Well, I have produced evidence; but the right hon. Gentleman took no notice of it whatever. I have already shown at the opening of this debate, in long, and I fear wearisome, detail, the conflict of speech with speech, of despatch with despatch. I have shown the conflict between Sir Henry Elliot and Lord Derby—no, Lord Salisbury—nay, but it is the conflict between Sir Henry Elliot and Lord Derby—there have been so many of those conflicts. The conflict between Sir Henry Elliot and Lord Derby turned upon the declaration of the Ambassador—that 958 British interests were to determine the British estimate of the massacres in Bulgaria. Lord Derby, on the other hand, said that British interests could determine no such thing. He declared in manly terms that there were no interests which could justify the toleration of such enormities. This was very good and very fine. But time passed on. The echo of these words died away. Sir Henry Elliot has now the best of it. For the massacres are tolerated; the Turk refuses to punish them; and you are now refusing to complain of this refusal—refusing to adopt measures to to prevent their repetition, and condemning the only Power which has shown a disposition to adopt such measures. Our estimate of the massacres has gradually receded into the shade, while the maintenance of British interests is again, by the vote of to-night, to be placed in the foreground.
This conflict between the Minister and the Ambassador who served him was the first which I pointed out. I went on to point out many more. I will say that, although several Cabinet Ministers have spoken, not one of them has attempted to show that their several declarations are in harmony. I listened with satisfaction to several parts of the Home Secretary's speech, because it was evidently the speech of a man who spoke with manly sincerity. But the speech was of a spirit entirely at variance with the spirit of the despatch to Prince Gortchakoff, which was issued to us on the same day. The speech of the Home Secretary emphatically cast off the defence of Turkey. But that was not the case with the despatch to which I allude. My right hon. Friend says that the despatch is not regarded as hostile to Russia in the other European Courts; but it is somewhat remarkable that none of the other Courts have written any despatch of the kind to Russia. There can be no doubt, at any rate, of this—that when the Conference was sitting at Constantinople, Lord Salisbury was instructed to warn the Sultan that the consequences of a declaration of war with Russia would be on his own head. He did so warn the Porte. He charged upon it the entire responsibility of the consequences. But of what consequences? Only of those which could reasonably follow. Turkey could not be responsible for any consequences which might flow 959 from either the selfishness or the rashness of other Powers. War was the consequence intended, and intended as the probable and natural result of the refusals of Turkey. War has followed; and now Her Majesty's Government, forgetting all they had said about the responsibility of Turkey, denounce Russia as breaking a Treaty, as acting without any reasonable warrant, and in effect as responsible for the war.
In the reply to Prince Gortchakoff, we are told an entirely different story from the story told by Lord Salisbury at Constantinople. We are told that it was a mistake to suppose that the hope of obtaining reforms in Turkey through Turkish agency was an unreasonable one, and that they would probably be obtained by the exercise of patience and moderation. This is a flat contradiction of the whole basis upon which the proposals for the Conference, and the Conference itself, were arranged and carried through. With this contrariety of proceeding on the part of the Government, it is impossible that there should not be a theory raised to the effect that there were differences among its Members. When the speeches of Lord Beaconsfield are compared with the speeches and letters of Lord Salisbury, it is impossible not to see that they have not been dictated by the same spirit. The speech of the Home Secretary was, in certain respects, very satisfactory, and that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer had some similar features; but who can tell whether their declarations may not be qualified or reversed to-morrow? The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told the House what was thought of the Answer to Prince Gortchakoff in other countries, but he omitted to say what had been its effect in Turkey. In the newspaper which most faithfully and consistently represents in this country Turkish views, apparently pure and fresh from the fountain head, a telegram has recently appeared announcing from Constantinople that the Answer had at once revived the hopes of Turkey. It has brought back into the Turkish mind that most mischievous belief that she might rely upon England in the last resort. A telegram of to-day alleged that that most sage political body called the Turkish Parliament had thought it worth while to refer to this subject, and if that telegram be authentic, it is evident that the 960 Answer of Lord Derby has drawn forth expressions of gratitude from Turkey. I wish to know whether that is an authentic telegram, and I am sorry not to witness any sign that it is otherwise. In these circumstances, Her Majesty's Government cannot be surprised when I say that a kind of dualism appears to me to pervade all their later policy. The earlier policy, until after the close of the last Session, was nearly uniform in badness. Since it was changed, a good and an evil spirit seemed to be in constant struggle for the determination of its character. The result has been a constant shifting of aspects. It has been the policy of the double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. We ought, then, to make endeavours to clear that policy from ambiguity.
And, Sir, I must go a step further. These endeavours can hardly end with the present debate. For we believe we have with us the convictions of the country; and with this belief it is our duty to labour to give effect to those convictions in the action of the Government. Finding, then, Sir, an entire want of consecutiveness and consistency in the proceedings of the last six months, I naturally ascribe to this cause what has actually happened. It is this—that in all their purposes, from beginning to end, Her Majesty's Government have entirely failed. I will give you the shortest possible catalogue of them. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer first opened his lips during the last Session, he evidently spoke on behalf of the Government as a whole, and on this great subject he said, we intend to observe neutrality ourselves, and we expect it to be observed by others. What answer did Russia give to that declaration? She gave an answer by direct and palpable interference in the Servian War. My right hon. Friend's declaration was made on the part of the Government. We have been warned against those who are willing to use strong words, but are not willing to carry those words into effect. My right hon. Friend himself has repeatedly laid down the rule that you should never use strong language unless you are prepared to carry it into action. I can find very little in the history of the last six months on the part of Her Majesty's Government except successive instances of strong language, sometimes in favour 961 of Turkey, sometimes against Turkey, which has never yet, in either case, been carried into effect.
What was the first declaration of Her Majesty's Government from the mouth of the Prime Minister? That they desired and would endeavour to re-establish the status quo in Turkey. Do we hear now of the re-establishment of the status quo in Turkey? They were, next, to maintain the independence and integrity of Turkey. I am afraid that they have sacrificed a great deal of their own duty in order to maintain the independence and integrity of Turkey, and that they have shrunk from the redemption of honourable obligations which this nation has incurred; but have they maintained Turkey's integrity and independence? Turkey herself has something to say upon that subject. She says that in the Conference at Constantinople proposals were made which went directly against her integrity and independence. Nor was this the only blow you struck at her. On the occasion of the recent Protocol, she declared that by that Protocol her independence and integrity wore violated and destroyed, and this she declared truly; for the surveillance, which by that Protocol you declared yourselves ready to establish over the government of her Christian subjects, was beyond all doubt fundamentally at variance with the independence of the Ottoman Government. Well, then, we were to maintain the Treaties of 1856. I want to know what became of the Treaty of Paris when the Protocol of last March had been signed? After that announcement of surveillance, which is interference, by the joint action of the Powers of Europe, what became of the Treaty of 1856, under which the Powers had formally renounced everything in the nature of a Treaty-right to interfere? Well, what were the other objects? Another object was to improve the condition of the Christians. But, Sir, their condition has never been so bad as during the last 12 months. Instead of its being improved, the passions of the dominant caste and the licence of the servants and agents of the Government have been let loose on the Christians without limit or restraint; and the first dawn of mitigation and alleviation in their condition, as to the Province of Bulgaria, has been since Russia set her Armies in motion; and yet we were 962 always told by those who call themselves the friends of Turkey, and by those who boasted of their knowledge of Turkey, that the moment coercive interference was attempted, the most horrible massacres of the Christians would ensue. And, lastly, Sir, the great object of all was to preserve the peace of Europe. What has become of the peace of Europe at this moment I need not describe. Therefore, there has not been a purpose that Her Majesty's Government have contemplated from the beginning to the end of these complicated proceedings, in which they have not entirely failed. They have not had even an accidental success.
What, in this strange state of things, is the apology offered? I am not going to charge this apology on my right hon. Friend, because he gave a different construction to the words he used; but there is no doubt as to the construction put upon them by those who cheered him from behind. He said he would not inquire how far the failures had been owing to the conduct of others; and he was loudly cheered. His supporters evidently alluded to persons and proceedings in this country. Well, I must say we are in a very peculiar position if the sentiment of that cheer is to be accepted by Her Majesty's Government. Ono has known many occasions in this world when men have been able and disposed to insult others, but not many when they have contrived to insult themselves. Now, I must say it would be a case of a Government which was insulting itself were they to put forward such a plea. They would then lay before the country a statement virtually to this effect —"We have been in power; we have wielded your resources; we have enjoyed your authority; we have been supported by large majorities in the Lords and in the Commons; but we have failed of our purpose because, notwithstanding all those appearances, we were not the true governors of the country; others have been able to throw its moral weight into the opposite scale; others have come between us and our aims, and have prevented their attainment; and yet, with all this before us, we are content to remain the ostensible directors of policy, the persons responsible for the conduct of affairs."
I now come to the issue before us. I will not decline the challenge of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the 963 Exchequer. My noble Friend near me has explained the amount of difference between himself and me in regard to a portion of these Resolutions. My noble Friend thinks, and I respectfully presume to differ from him, that the time has passed when the attempt to settle this matter by the authority of Europe could usefully and successfully have been made. I see no evidence which should bring me to that conclusion. I have spoken of the very remarkable expression of feeling in the country during the last few days. There are other indications which may prove more convincing to hon. Gentlemen opposite as they arise, in connection with local elections from time to time; but, for myself, I am bound to say I have been profoundly struck by the courage and promptitude with which the country has shown a disposition to recognize its entire obligations, and to look at the question in all its breadth. We have a minor and a major issue before us on this occasion. The minor issue, which appears to me valuable and necessary in itself, and which is also the first in order of the two, is set out in the first two Resolutions. The major is that which is principally contained in the fourth Resolution, and to which I feel myself unalterably attached. It cannot be too clearly understood that with regard to these Resolutions I withdraw nothing, and I alter nothing. If they are not put from the Chair successively, from first to last, that is a pure matter of form, and a very common method of procedure when the House has given a decisive verdict. Our duty and our honour, as I think, bind us to that which I have called the major issue. The major issue is this contingent coercion by united Europe, or by an adequate combination of European Powers, is the ligitimate weapon by which, and by which alone, we can reasonably expect to arrive at a safe and satisfactory settlement of the Eastern Question. My right hon. Friend committed a venial error in quoting a passage from a speech of mine on this point. I most distinctly stated in that speech, delivered on the 9th of last September, that in my view no settlement could be entirely satisfactory unless it was effected by measures taken on the part of united Europe. The noble Lord the Vice President of the Council (Viscount Sandon) spoke in this debate in a tone of which no one could 964 complain, and with an ability which I am glad to see is hereditary in his family. He made a peremptory demand upon me. "Do you mean war? Do you mean war by England in concert with Russia? Let me have Yes or No—no other answer will suffice; and I demand an answer." He shall have one. My answer is, No. Here let me state at the outset that these Resolutions do not contemplate England's sole alliance with Russia. All the best arguments in favour of a combination with Russia imply that Russia should be placed in union with influences weightier in the aggregate and more powerful than her own. Such action as that I believe would be safe; but I am by no means prepared to say that the influence of England in sole combination with Russia would be of that entirely safe and satisfactory character. I, therefore, suspend any judgment on a question which really has not arisen. But I will meet the challenge of the noble Lord, although I might object to being put to say "Yes" or "No" to any question whatever. I think that was the form in which the people of France were called upon to vote their plebiscites. I might point out that I had been trained in an excellent political school, one of the fundamental maxims of which was that no one should be content with two courses, but should have at least three. I do not deny that coercion involves the possibility of war; but I say that history shows that coercion adequately supported and in a good cause, need not be followed by war. I hope the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Bourke) has, after the speech of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oxford City (Sir William Harcourt), given up all attempts to maintain that Mr. Canning, in the case of the Greek Revolution, did not contemplate the use of force. Although the Treaty of 1827 did not use the word "force," yet in its additional Articles, it as plainly contemplated force as if the word had been actually employed. In the Instructions which were given to the admirals a few days after the signing of the Treaty, the implication was quite as clear; and again, in the further instructions which were subsequently given to the admirals, under the administration of Lord Goderich, and when Lord Dudley was still the Foreign Minister, the word "force" 965 was actually used. The battle of Navarino, although a result of the employment of force, was not war. Moreover, the battle of Navarino was not an engagement ordered by either Government. It was an unforeseen and in this sense accidental event, and was, probably on this account, called, in the King's Speech of 1828, an untoward event. Coercion by menace, justly and wisely used, need not lead to war. The whole of recent history is full of such examples of coercion. In 1832 there was coercion of Holland by the united action of England and France; while France took the citadel of Antwerp, England on that occasion blockaded the Scheldt. Another instance occurred in 1850, when Greece was compelled to submit to the principal claims of England in the case of Don Pacifico, by the undisguised use of coercion. I quote this case, not as believing in the justice of the claim, but it none the less sustains my proposition. Coercion was again, in 1853, applied to Greece to prevent her from taking any part—her action would, of course, have been adverse to Turkey—in the Crimean War. In 1860, too, in the case of Turkey herself coercion was used as a threat by England and the other Powers; and it was that threat of coercion which induced her to agree to the occupation of the Lebanon. Now, in not one of those four instances did there ensue a state of war.
Now, Sir, among the strangest fictions which have been adopted and propagated on the other side is one which has received the countenance of the First Lord of the Admiralty. He says, I think, that he cannot help admiring the "indomitable pluck" of Turkey. It is believed that the Turks of to-day are animated by a daring and head-strong valour, which will listen neither to reason, nor to fear. On what fact of history does this theory rely? Where are the proofs? Indomitable pluck! Most indomitable undoubtedly in destroying women and children in Bulgaria. Most indomitable in campaigns against the scarcely - drilled and scarcely - armed ploughmen and swineherds of Servia. But where, I would ask, is this indomitable pluck when Turkey has to meet the heroic soldiers of Montenegro, and is almost uniformly discomfited by greatly inferior numbers? In the course of years and of revolutions, almost every capital 966 in Europe has been occupied by hostile troops, but Turkey has never waited for the occupation of her capital. Long before her enemy has reached Constantinople, she has taken care to make her peace. Therefore, from our whole experience of Turkey, it is an idle and visionary pretext to suppose that war between Turkey and united Europe, or war oven between Turkey and any great combination of the Powers would have been the result of a threat of coercion. No country in the world is less troubled with the fever of chivalry than the Turkey of today. But, Sir, is there an united Europe? There is not, there never has been an united Europe; but only because you have prevented it. Russia said to Turkey —"You must." Austria was willing, and proposed, in the Autumn, that Europe should undertake coercion by naval operations, which she believed would be effectual. We have no evidence that France would have declined; but in November France had evidently become aware that England would have no coercion, and France then held aloof.
Another entirely arbitrary doctrine has been set up by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He says that no country obtains any benefit from the use of foreign arms.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I said that you cannot improve the Government of any country by the use of foreign arms.
But if a country has a tyrannical Government and you substitute for it a free Government, you make what I think a very great improvement. This is not a matter only of opinion, to be bandied this way and that. I bring it to the test of history. Look abroad over the face of the world, and you will find that few are the nations which have, in recent times at least, established their own liberties without foreign aid. Liberty was established for Spain by England in the Peninsular War. The same was done for Belgium by France and England in 1830. The liberties of Greece and Italy were established by the aid of foreign arms; in the case of Italy by the arms, first of France and then of Germany. The liberties of Portugal were, if not established, yet preserved by Mr. Canning in 1826, and by the use of foreign arms. The liberties of the United States themselves were only established, at the date 967 when their emancipation took effect, by the powerful aid they received from foreign arms. That proposition vanishes entirely into thin air. So much, therefore, for the twin propositions—that coercion by Europe means war with Turkey, and that the liberties of a country cannot be established by the aid of foreign force.
I must, Sir, say another word on a subject, of the very name of which the House must be weary, the subject of the Treaty of Kainardji. I had hoped this matter was disposed of. But the hon. and learned Attorney General gallantly returns to the charge. Let me at once thank him for his goodness in withdrawing the words which he had inadvertently been led to use in reference to me when addressing his constituents. He paid me a compliment which I accept with pleasure, and I can in return assure him that I have sat in this House with satisfaction to hear him on a point of law, at that particular hour, too, of the night when other inducements are apt to draw us from our seats. I must, however, venture to say that in this case the hon. and learned Gentleman sets himself in face of all the authorities. I say there was before the Crimean War by Treaty a title in the hands of Russia, by means of which she was able to exercise a contingent power of interference on behalf of the Christians. I must press the importance of the evidence on the subject. I cannot admit that others than lawyers are unable to understand the plain language, which the hon. and learned Gentleman thrusts aside; while he dismisses the first living jurist on the Continent with the observation that he forgets his name, and substitutes for the original of the Treaty a translation which is not quite accurate. The Porte engages to protect the Christian religion and its churches; and it also gives a right of representation to the Russian Ambassador on behalf of a particular church. These are the two stipulations contained in the seventh article of the Treaty of Kainardji. The hon. and learned Gentleman holds that they are one stipulation. They are connected in the English version by the word "also." The word in the original Italian is ancora: and I can state on the highest authority that this word absolutely separates the two stipulations. It signifies not the application of something which has gone be- 968 fore, but the introduction of something altogether separate and apart.
As to the authorities, nothing can be brought against me except passages wholly insufficient at best for their purpose. Lord Stratford de Redcliffe has been quoted by the Home Secretary; the noble Lord, however, was not giving his own construction, but he was quoting the Article which referred to the subject. I say this not at a venture, but because it appears from the passage cited. It does not appear that he had read the Treaty. He says he is informed that only certainly Articles of it, which he names, refer to the subject. Evidently he proceeded upon information supplied to him by some gentleman of the Embassy. I grant that the Home Secretary cited a passage from a speech of Lord Clarendon, which seemed to deny that Russia had any rights in relation to the Christians at large. Lord Clarendon made that speech for himself, and after the war had broken out. But I have proved that when he expressed the views of the Cabinet in 1853, he admitted the possession of such rights by Russia; and, further, I am in a condition to quote the distinct evidence of Lord Russell, who says distinctly that the claims of Russia to the protection of the Christians were warranted by Treaty. He, too, was, I believe, writing as Foreign Secretary, in the name, and with the sanction of the Cabinet. Thus I am armed with the dicta of jurists, the testimony of historians, and the declarations of the responsible Ministers at the date of the Crimean War. Under these circumstances I must really hold that it was not reserved for the hon. and learned Gentleman to construe, in 1877, a grave historical and international document framed and applied in 1774. Mankind have not waited for the apparition even of such an Attorney General to come to an understanding on the sense of such a document. That most important instrument has received a construction long ago, and that construction it is a great deal too late to shake.
It stands, then, as proved that we destroyed certain powers of intervention which formerly existed on the part of the Christians. I say, then, by all means maintain, in your present position, a strict and honest neutrality; but do not forget the obligation of honour under which you placed yourselves towards the 969 subject-races of the Ottoman Empire when you took upon you to destroy the Treaty of Kainardji. Europe is now in a condition to judge what would be a fair arrangement between the parties. If such a fair arrangement were declined by Russia, we should stand in no worse position, but Russia would stand much worse, because she would have declined an arrangement coming from a competent and authoritative source; and instead of fighting to enforce the conclusions of Europe, would fight only to enforce her own. She would lose the moral weight and force of her position. If, on the other hand, Turkey were to refuse, then the Powers of Europe, by the very simple measure of establishing that naval cordon of which I have formerly spoken, would bring this war to an end in a fortnight. What, on the other hand, is the course we have taken? Hon. Gentlemen opposite cheered more loudly the declaration of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel) than anything else that has been said in the course of the debate. It appears he succeeded in touching a deeper and more sonorous chord than any other hon. Gentleman who has spoken on that side. It was when he denounced in unmeasured terms the aims and acts of Russia. But I think you will lay your account ill with human nature if you suppose that Russia is nothing else but a mass of deceit and corruption. I am not aware that the foreign policy of Russia has been, on the whole, worse and more ungenerous than that of the neighbouring Powers. The Emperor of Russia is a gentleman, a Christian gentleman, and a great benefactor to his people; and I believe the people of Russia to be as capable of noble sentiments as any people in Europe. In the government of Russia, however, in its official, military, and ruling classes, I am not disposed to place much confidence. Indeed, it was well said by the Duke of Wellington that we can hardly admit confidence in foreign Governments as a rule of action. With regard to the deeds of Russia in Poland, the Government of Lord Palmerston, of which I was a Member, pushed diplomatic remonstrances to the farthest point. We failed in those remonstrances; and if we stopped at that point, it must be remembered, that we could only act with others, that our means of action were 970 equivocal; that our own title, and certainly our obligation to act under any Treaty might be questioned. But now the case is reversed. It is obligation arising out of our destruction of former Treaty rights that binds us with respect to Turkey. And now, Sir, I will suppose that we are engaged in a dialogue with Russia; and I wish to know what language we shall hold. Are we to say to Russia—"Because you have done evil formerly, you are not now to do good?" Are we to say—"Your hands are too deeply stained with blood; you are not fit for this holy work?" Surely Russia may and will reply—"Very good; but as the work is holy, as you have declared your own concurrence, your own zeal in regard to it, do it yourselves." And then our answer is, Sir—"No, though we wish it done, though we think it should be done, we will not do it ourselves, and if you undertake to do it, we will cavil, we will snarl at you." Is it possible to conceive a deeper humiliation than the adoption of the policy implied in such a course as this?
But I will now ask leave to suppose that another dialogue is likely to be held. This will be a dialogue between Russia and Turkey. When for a sufficient time they have poured forth each the other's blood, when the stock of Turkey's "indomitable pluck" is running low, some Ignatieff, ever on the watch for the mollia tempora fandi, may seize his opportunity, and invite a colloquy, Russia may ask of her antagonist—"Why should we two thus inflict damage and mischief on each other, when we might perhaps agree on something that may be for the good of both?" And Turkey might answer that really she did not very well know; but then there is the concert of Europe. Russia may rejoin—"I owe nothing to Europe. With great solemnity and show she arrived at her conclusions, declined to do anything to give them effect, and left upon me the care, the burden, and the charge. Nay, from one at least of the Powers, whose judgment I am striving to enforce, I receive only censure and condemnation." With equal justice Turkey might reply — "If you owe nothing to Europe, I owe less than nothing; and less than nothing to England in particular. She, beyond all others, has buoyed me up with false, delusive hopes; she, by her Fleets and 971 her Ambassadors, sometimes in audible language, sometimes in under-tones, when I was on the point of giving in, has led me to persist. She has buoyed me up, and led me on, and then left me to face you in the field alone. The traditions of the Crimean War are forgotten; the moral and even material support of 1875 and 1876 exist no more." "Let us then," both may conclude in chorus, "examine the matter from our own point of view, and determine upon some agreement which may be for own mutual benefit, let Europe, and let England, approve of it or not." It would not be difficult to indicate the particulars of such an arrangement. It is only from motives of prudence that I advisedly refrain; but I wish to press upon the minds of the majority of this House some idea of the dangers into which they may be carrying us. Suffice it to say, peace may be given to the East, and liberty to the Slavonic Provinces, and arrangements may be made about some other Provinces, and about matters other than territorial, as to which Europe may be indifferent, but which might leave England in hopeless and impotent dissatisfaction.
However, Sir, I well know that all this is vain, so far as the vote of to-night is concerned. You will not consent to vote that even the united authority of Europe ought to prescribe to Turkey her duty, and to require its fulfilment; nor that British influence ought to be used in favour of practical self-government for the disturbed Provinces of Turkey, although I have adopted the very phrase which was chosen by Lord Salisbury to express his meaning; nor that moral as well as material support can no longer be claimed by Turkey, although it has been shown how, by equivocal acts and conflicting declarations, we are running the risk of deluding that Power to her own heavy damage, and our not less serious discredit. Not even will you declare your just dissatisfaction with the conduct of the Porte in regard to the Bulgarian massacres, for fear it should embarrass Her Majesty's Government. And yet how can it possibly embarrass them, except by its tendency to make their sounding words into solid realities, and to bind them to do some effective acts in conformity with their professions?
972 However, such will be the way in which you will use your power. And without doubt your majority is powerful; but it is not omnipotent. Believing that we have the people of England with us, we may, we must, respectfully decline to yield to it a final obedience; we must use all legal and constitutional means to hold the Government to the better part of their declarations; to detach them from the worse, to avert calamity and disgrace, to induce a due regard to the national honour. This debate, I think, has done something to assist the prevalence of the healthier influences within the Cabinet. I must offer the Home Secretary a compliment which I know he will not, and he cannot, accept; we look upon ourselves as his allies. But we are engaged in a continuous effort; we roll the stone of Sisyphus against the slope, and the moment the hand shall be withdrawn, down it will begin to run. However, the time is short; the sands of the hour-glass are running out. The longer you delay, the less in all likelihood you will be able to save from the wreck of the integrity and independence of the Turkish Empire. If Russia should fail, her failure would be a disaster to mankind; and the condition of the suffering races, for whom we are supposed to have laboured, will be worse than it was before. If she succeeds, and if her conduct be honourable, nay, even if it be but tolerably prudent, the performance of the work she has in hand will, notwithstanding all your jealousies and all your reproaches, secure for her an undying fame. When that work shall be accomplished, though it be not in the way and by the means I would have chosen, as an Englishman I shall hide my head, but as a man I shall rejoice. Nevertheless, to my latest day I will exclaim: Would God that, in this crisis, the voice of the nation had been suffered to prevail; would God that in this great, this holy deed, England had not been refused her share!
§ MAJOR O'GORMAN
I shall only detain you five minutes. I merely wish to say—to make one observation, and it is with regard to the Bulgarian atrocities, and with respect to those who committed those atrocities. I think, Sir, that it is understood by this House that these atrocities were committed by the Bashi Bazouk troops. I want to ask this House who are the Bashi Bazouks? What are 973 the Bashi Bazouks? Twenty years ago, alas! I did know something of the Bashi-Bazouks, and we were all told at that time that the Bashi Bazouks were the scum of the Levant. The scum of the Levant is the scum of every portion of the Mediterranean; therefore it may be said as perfectly true that the Bashi Bazouks are the crème de la crème of the Levant. Now, I want to know the nationality of the Bashi Bazouks? We were told in those days they were composed of Spaniards, Portuguese, Welshmen—[Laughter]—Eh? [Renewed laughter.] I humbly beg pardon of my Welsh Friends—I meant Frenchmen, Hollanders, Prussians, Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, Italians, Greeks. There were also Maltese, Cretans, Cyprians by the thousand, Rhodians, Samians, and even Trojans. Were there any Russians there from Balaclava, Sebastopol, Simferopol, and Odessa? Yes, Sir, by the thousand. Well, Sir, these troops committed the atrocities which all Europe complained of. Who mustered these troops the next day? Who was the colonel of the regiment that paraded them? Was there no complaint from this country about them? Yes; but it was impossible to punish them, for not one answered to the roll-call of their names. We have never yet discovered who they are. I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that if these men were paraded in Wellington Barracks, there would be 75 per cent of them turn out to be Russian troops. I am perfectly certain of it. And those Russian troops were sent there by Alexander of Russia for the purpose of committing these atrocities. I can prove it as well as you can prove that they are Turks. Is it not true that for years the Russian myrmidons were sent into Bulgaria for the purpose of doing those things? Is it not true that the Russian troops were employed to fight against the Turkish troops without any declaration of war? I am perfectly certain that the vast majority of those troops who committed these massacres were Turkish troops; I mean Russian troops, paid with Russian money, and probably commanded by Russian officers.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided::—Ayes 223; Noes 354: Majority 131.978
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Earp, T.|
|Allen, W. S.||Edwards, H.|
|Anderson, G.||Egerton, Adm. hon. F.|
|Anstruther, Sir R.||Errington, G.|
|Ashley, hon. E. M.||Evans, T. W.|
|Backhouse, E.||Eyton, P. E.|
|Balfour, Sir G.||Fawcett, H.|
|Barclay, A. C.||Ferguson, R.|
|Barclay, J. W.||Fitzmaurice, Lord E.|
|Barran, J.||Fletcher, I.|
|Bass, A.||Foljambe, F. J. S.|
|Baxter, rt. hon. W. E.||Forster, Sir C.|
|Bazley, Sir T.||Forster, rt. hon. W. E.|
|Beaumont, Major F.||Gladstone,rt. hn. W. E.|
|Beaumont, W. B.||Gladstone, W. H.|
|Bell, I. L.||Goldsmid, J.|
|Biddulph, M.||Gordon, Lord D.|
|Blake, T.||Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.|
|Blennerhassett, R. P.||Gourley, E. T.|
|Bolckow, H. W. F.||Gower, hon. E. F. L.|
|Brassey, H. A.||Grey, Earl de|
|Briggs, W. E.||Grieve, J. J.|
|Bright, J.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Bright, rt. hon. J.||Harcourt, Sir W. V.|
|Bristowe, S. B.||Harrison, C.|
|Brocklehurst, W. C.||Harrison, J. F.|
|Brogden, A.||Hartington, Marq. of|
|Brown, A. H.||Havelock, Sir H.|
|Brown, J. C.||Hayter, A. D.|
|Burt, T.||Henry, M.|
|Cameron, C.||Herschell, F.|
|Campbell, Sir G.||Hibbert, J. T.|
|Campbell-Bannerman, H.||Hill, T. R.|
|Carington, hon. Col. W.||Holms, J.|
|Cartwright, W. C.||Holms, W.|
|Cave, T.||Hopwood, C. H.|
|Cavendish, Lord F. C.||Howard, hon. C.|
|Cavendish, Lord G.||Howard, E. S.|
|Chadwick, D.||Hughes, W. B.|
|Chamberlain, J.||Hutchinson, J. D.|
|Chambers Sir T.||Ingram, W. J.|
|Childers, rt. hon. H.||Jackson, Sir H. M.|
|Cholmeley, Sir H.||James, Sir H.|
|Clarke, J. C.||James, W. H.|
|Clifford, C. C.||Jenkins, D. J.|
|Cogan, rt. hn. W. H. F||Jenkins, E.|
|Cole, H. T.||Johnstone, Sir H.|
|Collins, E.||Kingscote, Colonel|
|Colman, J. J.||Kinnaird, hon. A. F.|
|Conyngham, Lord F.||Knatchbull-Hugessen, rt. hon. E|
|Cotes, C. C.||Laing, S.|
|Courtney, L. H.||Laverton, A.|
|Cowan, J.||Law, rt. hon. H.|
|Cowen, J.||Lawrence, Sir J. C.|
|Cowper, hon. H. F.||Lawson, Sir W.|
|Crawford, J. S.||Leatham, E. A.|
|Cross, J. K.||Leeman, G.|
|Davie, Sir H. R. F.||Lefevre, G. J. S.|
|Davies, R.||Leith, J. F.|
|Delahunty, J.||Lloyd, M.|
|Dickson, T. A.||Locke, J.|
|Dilke, Sir C. W.||Lowe, rt. hon. R.|
|Dillwyn, L. L.||Lubbock, Sir J.|
|Dodds, J.||Lush, Dr.|
|Dodson, rt. hon. J. G.||Lusk, Sir A.|
|Downing, M'C.||Macdonald, A.|
|Duff, M. E. G.||Macduff, Viscount|
|Duff, R. W.||Macgregor, D.|
|Dundas, J. C.||Mackintosh, C. F.|
|M'Arthur, A.||St. Aubyn, Sir J.|
|M'Arthur, W.||Samuda, J. D'A.|
|M'Lagan, P.||Samuelson, B.|
|M'Laren, D.||Samuelson, H.|
|Maitland, J.||Seely, C.|
|Maitland, W. F.||Sheil, E.|
|Marjoribanks, Sir D. C.||Sheridan, H. B.|
|Marling, S. S.||Sherriff, A. C.|
|Martin, P. W.||Simon, Mr. Serjeant|
|Massey, rt. hon. W. N.||Sinclair, Sir J. G. T.|
|Middleton, Sir A. E.||Smith, E.|
|Milbank, F. A.||Smyth, R.|
|Monk, C. J.||Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.|
|Morgan, G. O.||Stanton, A. J.|
|Morley, S.||Stevenson, J. C.|
|Mundella, A. J.||Stuart, Colonel|
|Muntz, P. H.||Swanston, A.|
|Mure, Colonel||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Newdegate, C. N.||Tavistock, Marquess of|
|Noel, E.||Taylor, D.|
|Norwood, C. M.||Taylor, P. A.|
|O'Conor, D. M.||Temple, rt. hon. W. Cowper-|
|O'Conor Don, The|
|O'Donoghue, The||Torrens, W. T. M'C.|
|O'Shaughnessy, R.||Trevelyan, G. O.|
|Palmer, C. M.||Vivian, A. P.|
|Pease, J. W.||Vivian, H. H.|
|Peel, A. W.||Waddy, S. D.|
|Pennington, F.||Walter, J.|
|Perkins, Sir F.||Waterlow, Sir S.|
|Philips, R. N.||Watkin, Sir E. W.|
|Playfair, rt. hon. L.||Whalley, G. H.|
|Portman, hon. W. H. B.||Whitbread, S.|
|Potter, T. B.||Whitwell, J.|
|Price, W. E.||Whitworth, B.|
|Ralli, P.||Williams, W.|
|Ramsay, J.||Wilson, C.|
|Rashleigh, Sir C.||Wilson, Sir M.|
|Rathbone, W.||Yeaman, J.|
|Reed, E. J.||Young, A. W.|
|Russell, Lord A.||Adam, rt. hon. W. P.|
|Rylands, P.||Kensington, Lord|
|Adderley, rt. hn. Sir C.||Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.|
|Agnew, R. V.||Bentinck, G. W. P.|
|Alexander, Colonel||Beresford, Lord C.|
|Allen, Major||Beresford, G. dela Poer|
|Allsopp, C.||Beresford, Colonel M.|
|Allsopp, H.||Birley, H.|
|Anstruther, Sir W.||Blackburne, Col. J. I.|
|Archdale, W. H.||Boord, T. W.|
|Arkwright, A. P.||Bourke, hon. R.|
|Arkwright, F.||Bourne, Colonel|
|Ashbury, J. L.||Bousfield, Colonel|
|Assheton, R.||Bowen, J. B.|
|Astley, Sir J. D.||Bowyer, Sir G.|
|Bagge, Sir W.||Brady, J.|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Bright, R.|
|Balfour, A. J.||Brise, Colonel R.|
|Barne, F. St. J. N.||Broadley, W. H. H.|
|Barrington, Viscount||Brooks, W. C.|
|Barttelot, Sir W. B.||Browne, G. E.|
|Bates, E.||Bruce, hon. T.|
|Bateson, Sir T.||Bruen, H.|
|Bathurst, A. A.||Brymer, W. E.|
|Beach, rt. hn. Sir M. H.||Bulwer, J. R.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Burrell, Sir W. W.|
|Bective, Earl of||Buxton, Sir R. J.|
|Benett-Stanford, V. F.||Callan, P.|
|Cameron, D.||Gibson, rt. hon. E.|
|Campbell, C.||Giffard, Sir H. S.|
|Cartwright, F.||Goddard, A. L.|
|Cave, rt. hon. S.||Goldney, G.|
|Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.||Gooch, Sir D.|
|Chaine, J.||Gordon, Sir A.|
|Chaplin, Colonel E.||Gordon, W.|
|Chaplin, H.||Gorst, J. E.|
|Charley, W. T.||Goulding, W.|
|Christie, W. L.||Grantham, W.|
|Churchill, Lord R.||Greenall, Sir G.|
|Clifton, T. H.||Greene, E.|
|Clive, Col. hon. G. W.||Gregory, G. B.|
|Close, M. C.||Gurney, rt. hon. R.|
|Clowes, S. W.||Hall, A. W.|
|Cobbold, T. C.||Halsey, T. F.|
|Cochrane, A. D.W.R. B.||Hamilton, Lord C. J .|
|Cole, Col. hon. H. A.||Hamilton, I. T.|
|Coope, O. E.||Hamilton, Lord G.|
|Cordes, T.||Hamilton, Marquess of|
|Corry, hon. H. W. L.||Hamilton, hon. R. B.|
|Corry, J. P.||Hamond, C. F.|
|Cotton, W. J. R.||Hanbury, R. W.|
|Crichton, Viscount||Hardcastle, E.|
|Cross, rt. hon. R. A.||Hardy, rt. hon. G.|
|Cubitt, G.||Hardy, J. S.|
|Cuninghame, Sir W.||Harvey, Sir R. B.|
|Cust, H. C.||Hay, right hon. Sir J. C.D.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Dalrymple, C.||Heath, R.|
|Davenport, W. B.||Helmsley, Viscount|
|Deedes, W.||Herbert, H. A.|
|Denison, C. B.||Herbert, hon. S.|
|Denison, W. B.||Hermon, E.|
|Denison, W. E.||Hervey, Lord F.|
|Dick, F.||Heygate, W. U.|
|Dickson, Major A. G.||Hick, J.|
|Digby, hon. Capt. E.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Douglas, Sir G.||Hill, A. S.|
|Drax, J. S. W. S. E.||Hinchingbrook, Visct.|
|Duff, J.||Holford, J. P. G.|
|Dunbar, J.||Holker, Sir J.|
|Dyott, Colonel R.||Holland, Sir H. T.|
|Eaton, H. W.||Holmesdale, Viscount|
|Edmonstone, Admiral Sir W.||Holt, J. M.|
|Egerton, hon. A. F.||Hood, hon. Captain A. W. A. N.|
|Egerton, Sir P. G|
|Egerton, hon. W.||Hope, A. J. B. B.|
|Elcho, Lord||Hubbard, E.|
|Elliot, Sir G.||Hunt, rt. hon. G. W.|
|Elliot, G. W.||Isaac, S.|
|Elphinstone, SirJ.D.H.||Jenkinson, Sir G. S.|
|Emlyn, Viscoun t||Jervis, Colonel|
|Eslington, Lord||Johnson, J. G.|
|Ewing, A. O.||Johnston, W.|
|Fellowes, E.||Johnstone, Sir F.|
|Finch, G. H.||Jolliffe, hon. S.|
|Floyer, J.||Jones, J.|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Kenealy, Dr.|
|Forester, C. T. W.||Kennard, Colonel|
|Forsyth, W.||Kennaway, Sir J. H.|
|Foster, W. H.||King-Harman, E. R.|
|Fraser, Sir W. A.||Knight, F. W.|
|Fremantle, hon. T. F.||Knightley, Sir R.|
|French, hon. C.||Knowles, T.|
|Freshfield, C. K.||Lacon, Sir E. H. K.|
|Gallwey, Sir W. P.||Lambert, N. G.|
|Galway, Viscount||Lawrence, Sir T.|
|Gardner, J. T. Agg-||Learmonth, A.|
|Gardner, R. Richardson||Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.|
|Lee, Major V.|
|Garnier, J. C.||Legard, Sir C.|
|Legh, W. J.||Praed, H. B.|
|Leighton, S.||Price, Captain|
|Lennox, Lord H. G.||Puleston, J. H.|
|Leslie, Sir J.||Raikes, H. C.|
|Lewis, C. E.||Read, C. S.|
|Lewis, O.||Rendlesham, Lord|
|Lindsay, Col. R. L.||Repton, G. W.|
|Lindsay, Lord||Ridley, M. W.|
|Lloyd, S.||Ripley, H. W.|
|Lloyd, T. E.||Ritchie, C. T.|
|Lopes, Sir M.||Rodwell, B. B. H.|
|Lorne, Marquess of||Roebuck, J. A.|
|Lowther, hon. W.|
|Lowther, J.||Rothschild, Sir N. M. de|
|Macartney, J. W. E.||Round, J.|
|Mac Iver, D.||Russell, Sir C.|
|M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J.||Ryder, G. R.|
|M'Kenna, Sir J. N.||Sackville, S. G. S.|
|Majendie, L. A.||Salt, T.|
|Makins, Colonel||Sanderson, T. K.|
|Malcolm, J. W.||Sandford, G. M. W.|
|Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.||Sandon, Viscount|
|March, Earl of||Sclater-Booth, rt.hn. G.|
|Marten, A. G.||Scott, Lord H.|
|Maxwell, Sir W. S.||Scott, M. D.|
|Mellor, T. W.||Selwin - Ibbetson, Sir H. J.|
|Merewether, C. G.||Severne, J. E.|
|Mills, A.||Shaw, W.|
|Mills, Sir C. H.||Shirley, S. E.|
|Monckton, F.||Shute, General|
|Montagu, rt hn. Lord R.||Sidebottom, T. H.|
|Montgomerie, R.||Simonds, W. B.|
|Montgomery, Sir G. G.||Smith, A.|
|Moore, S.||Smith, F. C.|
|Morgan, hon. F.||Smith, S. G.|
|Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.||Smith, W. H.|
|Mulholland, J.||Smollett, P. B.|
|Muncaster, Lord||Somerset, Lord H. R. C.|
|Naghten, Lt.-Col.||Sotheron-Estcourt, G.|
|Newport, Viscount||Spinks, Mr. Serjeant|
|Noel, rt. hon. G. J.||Stanhope, hon. E.|
|Nolan, Captain||Stanhope, W. T. W. S.|
|North, Colonel||Stanley, hon. F.|
|Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H.||Starkey, L. R.|
|Starkie, J. P. C.|
|O'Beirne, Captain||Steere, L.|
|O'Byrne, W. R.||Stewart, M. J.|
|O'Gorman, P.||Storer, G.|
|O'Leary, W.||Sykes, C.|
|O'Loghlen, rt. hon. Sir C. M.||Talbot, J. G.|
|O'Neill, hon. E.||Taylor, rt. hon. Col.|
|Onslow, D.||Tennant, R.|
|Paget, R. H.||Thornhill, T.|
|Palk, Sir L.||Thwaites, D.|
|Parker, Lt.-Col. W.||Thynne, Lord H. F.|
|Pateshall, E.||Tollemache, hon. W. F.|
|Peek, Sir H.||Torr, J.|
|Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.||Tremayne, J.|
|Pell, A.||Trevor, Lord A.E. Hill-|
|Pelly, Sir H. C.||Turnor, E.|
|Pemberton, E. L.||Twells, P.|
|Pennant, hon. G.||Verner, E. W.|
|Peploe, Major||Walker, O. O.|
|Percy, Earl||Walker, T. E.|
|Phipps, P.||Wallace, Sir R.|
|Pim, Captain B.||Walpole, rt. hon. S.|
|Plunket, hon. D. R.||Walsh, hon. A.|
|Plunkett, hon. R.||Warburton, P. E.|
|Polhill-Turner, Capt.||Ward, M. F.|
|Powell, W.||Waterhouse, S.|
|Power, R.||Watson, W.|
|Praed, C. T.||Welby-Gregory, Sir W.|
|Wellesley, Colonel||Woodd, B. T.|
|Wells, E.||Wroughton, P.|
|Wethered, T. O.||Wyndham, hon. P.|
|Wheelhouse, W. S. J.||Wynn, C. W. W.|
|Whitelaw, A.||Yarmouth, Earl of|
|Williams, Sir F. M.||Yorke, hon. E.|
|Wilmot, Sir H.||Yorke, J. R.|
|Wilmot, Sir J. E.||TELLERS.|
|Wilson, W.||Dyke, Sir W. H.|
|Wolff, Sir H. D.||Winn, R.|
§ Words added.
Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
Resolved, 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.
said, he gave Notice to move the second Resolution in order that it might be amended, and the sense of the House taken upon it; but at that time a Notice of the Previous Question was standing. Since that time the position had materially changed, and the House had adopted by a large majority words which declared its intention and disposition not to entertain any Resolution of the nature of those which he had proposed. Under those circumstances he was inclined to think, although he was in the hands of the House, that it would be more respectful to the majority of the House that he should not move his Resolution.