HC Deb 02 August 1878 vol 242 cc998-1126

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [29th July], That, whilst this House has learned with satisfaction that the troubles which have arisen in the East of Europe have been terminated by the Treaty of Berlin without a further recourse to arms, and rejoices in the extension of the liberty and self-government of some of the populations of European Turkey, this House regrets:— That it has not been found practicable to deal in a satisfactory manner with the claims of the Kingdom of Greece, and of the Greek subjects of the Porte: That by the assumption under the Anglo-Turkish Convention of a sole guarantee of the integrity of the remaining territories of Turkey in Asia, the Military liabilities of this Country have been unnecessarily extended. That the undefined engagements entered into by Her Majesty's Government in respect of the better administration of those Provinces have imposed heavy responsibilities on the State, whilst no sufficient means have been indicated for securing their fulfilment: And that such engagements have been entered into, and responsibilities incurred, without the previous knowledge of Parliament."—(The Marquess of Hartington.) And which Amendment was, To leave out from the first word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to insert the words " an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, thanking Her Majesty for communicating to this House the Treaty of Berlin, the Protocols of the Congress of Berlin, and the Convention between Great Britain and Turkey; assuring Her Majesty that this House has learned with deep satisfaction the termination of the late unhappy War, and the conclusion of a Treaty between the Great Powers of Europe; and expressing an earnest hope that the arrangements made and sanctioned by Her Majesty's Government may, under the blessing of Providence, avail to preserve Peace, to ameliorate the condition of large populations in the East, and to maintain the interest of this Empire,"—(Mr. Plunket,) —instead thereof.

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

Debate resumed.


Few Members of this House have felt more strongly upon the Eastern Question than I have done; but I have kept silence in the midst of all the discussions we have had on the subject, in the belief that while negotiations, at once delicate and intricate, were going on, "silence was, above all things, golden;" and having faith, latterly, at all events, in the course pursued by Her Majesty's Government, I felt that the best support I could give them was to avoid lengthening unnecessarily the debates. Now, my noble Friend the Leader of the Opposition (the Marquess of Hartington), on Monday night, when there was a question of adjournment, suggested to us that we should confine our remarks to one or two points. He has not given us a programme of the points to which he wished us to confine ourselves; but I venture to think it is impossible to deal properly with the Motion which the noble Lord has submitted to us, without entering, to a certain extent, into a review of the main transactions of this great tragedy, of these great events that have taken place. Now, the first thing that strikes us is the change of policy which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have undergone on the Eastern Question. Their conversion has been as complete and sudden as that of St. Paul, but differs from it in this—that it was one of the characteristics of St. Paul's conversion that at the time he was in the plenitude of honour and in the enjoyment of office. That conversion from the traditions of their Party, from the policy of Lord Palmerston and the policy of Lord Clarendon was, I think, not calculated to lead to a satis- factory solution of the great problem which had to be solved. I will say no more upon this point, and only remark that, looking to the endless Motions we have had in this House, not intended or calculated to help the Government, it is not surprising that some Resolution should have been proposed on the present occasion; the only wonder is that the Motion before the House is not of a more criminating character. In considering this Motion and the acts of the Government, it will be necessary to pass under review the origin of the late war, the objects of the war, and the real scope of the Treaty of San Stefano. For my part, I have from the first held but one opinion with regard to the war, and think it is the opinion now generally held by the mass of our fellow-countrymen —namely, that the origin of that war was the result of the action of a great chronic Slav conspiracy, and that the object of the war was to give effect to the traditional policy of the Russian Empire. What is that policy? It is simply the struggling of a Northern race towards the sun and in search of empire in the South. We see the analogy of this in everything in Nature. We see it in plants, which throw out their leaves and branches towards the light and sun; we see it in the masses of men from the wintry North, who in winter seek the bright and genial shores of the Mediterranean. I do not, therefore, object to the traditional policy of the Russian Government. It is obeying a natural instinct. But what I do object to is that that policy should have been pursued under the guise of humanity and religion. It is a policy which has landed us in one of the most terrible wars which the world has ever witnessed. The flight of the Turkish people towards Constantinople, the women slaying their children that they might not fall into the hands of the enemy, or suffer still worse evils by the road, and the other horrors of those scenes, find almost their only parallel in the siege of Jerusalem and the pages of Josephus. In fact, the horrors and sufferings caused by this war must have satisfied the most bloodthirsty humanitarian Christian amongst us, be he layman, or be he priest. I would, in the strongest language of which I am capable, enter my protest against this new doctrine—that our foreign policy is to be guided by our religious feelings and views, and that the Christian faith is to be propagated by the sword. To those who advocate that doctrine, I would point out this matter, which is not unworthy of consideration—that, unhappily, the Christian faith is not, as regards numbers, the predominant faith of the earth; and if ever a time should come when the followers of Buddha should be thoroughly civilized—and by civilized I mean organized militarily on the Prussian system, armed with Krupp guns and Henry-Martini breech-loaders, China alone would have an army of 20,000,000 men on the German model, and we might, as Christians, run the risk, in a religious war with the Buddhists, of being swept, as some fanatics among us wish the Mussulmans to be, from the face of the earth. But the question to which I will address myself is this—might not this war, with all its horrors, have been prevented? [ Cheers from the Opposition.] I know what those cheers from hon. Gentlemen opposite mean. They mean that by joining with Russia against Turkey, and, by following the strategy of the right hon. Member for Greenwich, and cutting off her supply of men from the other side of the Bosphorus, you could have coerced Turkey, and there would have been no war. That possibly might have been the case, but it was not at all certain; for it is by no means clear that even under these circumstances Turkey would not have resisted; but you tried last year to get that modified policy adopted in the form of the diluted Resolutions of the right hon. Member, and you were signally defeated by a majority of 130, thereby showing that the country would not sanction that way of stopping the war. Now, we have recently heard from the Prime Minister that, in his opinion, from what he learnt at Berlin, as the Crimean War might have been stopped, so also the late war might have been; and I myself have always held the same opinion. But how stopped? Not by the policy of hon. Gentlemen opposite, but by a totally different one. By England putting her foot down firmly, and declaring that, even if the other Parties to the Tripartite Treaty were not willing to do their duty, and to honour the bond to which they had attached their signatures, she had undertaken to defend Turkey, and was prepared to do so if a single Russian soldier crossed the Pruth. If that had been done, I feel confident there would have been no war. But it is said that this could not have been done—that the feeling of the country would not have permitted it. That feeling, however, was never tested. The Government seemed to believe in the agitation got up in the country by partizan wire pullers, and sacerdotal cliques, by Party irregulars, and a section of the Press. They believed in St. James's Hall, where, at the evening meeting, when the wildest men spoke, Lord Shaftesbury, the First Commissioner of Lunacy, was wisely put into the chair. [Laughter and "Oh!"] I simply state a fact, and hon. Members can draw their own conclusions. The Government believed in the power of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich upon this question out-of-doors. I do not speak of this House, where the influence of his eloquence is so greatly felt. But notwithstanding the great eloquence he brought to bear upon this question, which I would be the last to dispute, my own firm conviction is that if the Government had then laid down a clear and definite policy, and if the country had then had anything like Lord Salisbury's despatch to rally round, the right hon. Member for Greenwich would have found himself as powerless out-of-doors as he has since proved himself to be, when, instead of holding public meetings and pleading in public, he has been reduced for the last three months to argue in chambers before judges of his own selection, and when the last manifestations, the extra-mural manifestations, of the orator, come to us wafted across the Thames from the tripod of a Southwark Drill Hall. Upon this point I do not speak without book, for, in September, 1876, the hon. Member for East Gloucestershire (Mr. J. R. Yorke) and myself spoke at an agricultural meeting in the great county of Gloucestershire, not assembled by ticket, but free and open to all; and there was not a dissentient voice from the views we then advocated, defending Turkey and denouncing Russian aggression. There is another reason given why the Government could not have taken that decided course, and I will admit that there is much in that reason. It is said that at the time to which I refer they were not united among themselves, that there was rottenness in the bones of the Government, there was caries in the Cabinet. What the extent of that rottenness was we now know; there have been a series of successive disclosures given to the public as to what passed within the Cabinet, and I do not know that those serial revelations have yet all come to an end. Even now hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite are anxiously waiting for the August number. But even here I cannot altogether acquit the Government; for I venture to think that if the navigating lieutenant of a ship were not to steer the course laid down by the captain—if he was disposed to steer to a Russian, instead of a Turkish port—the duty of the captain in such a case—and I appeal to my hon. and learned Friend opposite (Sir William Harcourt), who has sat with me this Session in the Committee on the Mutiny Act, whether he does not agree with me in this—that the duty of the captain, in such a case, would be to put the lieutenant who had so disobeyed orders under arrest, and have him cashiered. These are the reasons given —and I do not think they are sufficient—for the course which the Government, up to a certain time, pursued. But the result of all this was the Treaty of San Stefano. No line was drawn between the Danube and the Balkans, no line between the Balkans and San Stefano. We found ourselves suddenly with the San Stefano Treaty to face, the Russians having, by force of arms, and by what I will only call very able diplomacy, got within the Tchekmedje lines, which strategically defend Constantinople. Now, the Treaty of San Stefano opened the eyes of many people to the real objects of the war. That Treaty not only brought Russian power to the shores of the Bosphorus; but, by means of the New Bulgaria that she constituted, which must have become virtually a Russian Province, to the shores of the Ægean; and, therefore, it mattered comparatively little whether the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles were, or were not, held by Turkey, for her flank was turned by Russia having access to the Ægean. This Treaty of San Stefano, I say, opened the eyes of the people of this country, and showed them that humanity had been made a plea for plunder, and Christianity the apology for a filibustering crusade. I have ventured, I hope not in any hostile spirit, thus to criticize the conduct of the Government down to the conclusion of the Treaty of San Stefano. With regard, however, to their action since that time, I am here to express my heartfelt thanks for that action, and my approval, in the main, of the course they have adopted. I shall not enter into the consideration of that grand document—for grand it was—the despatch of Lord Salisbury. I shall not trouble the House with details as to the other measures which were taken—the voting of the £6,000,000 —a matter which I had myself last year urged upon them; the calling out of the Reserves; and the bringing upon the European stage of a contingent, and, if need be, the mass of our Indian troops. That last step seems to have driven some hon. Members out of their propriety, and tempted them to appear almost as the advocates of a breach of the Constitution and of mutiny in India. I have heard similar sentiments before from the same quarter, while the question of the title of Empress of India was being discussed. Recently, too, an unpatriotic attempt has been made to excite against England the enmity of France and Italy; whereas we have recently heard that there is no hostile feeling towards us in those countries. But, be this as it may, the result of the measures of the Government to which I have referred was—that Russia was forced to lay the Treaty of San Stefano before the Congress. I know it is said that this was the result of a secret Agreement with Russia, and hon. Members find great fault with it. Well, I must confess that I was rather taken aback when I first heard of it. A friend of mine met me at the time in St. James's Square, and asked me what I thought of that Agreement; and my answer was, that it entirely depended on whether the other Powers knew of it or not. I said that if the Government, having placed themselves before Europe as the maintainers of Treaties, had privately, so to speak, sold the mangle, I had no words to express my contempt for them; but I had not yet learned that they had done so, and the whole thing turned on the knowledge of the other Powers. Within 24 hours afterwards, I met a foreigner who is well versed in these affairs, and he told me that there would have been no Congress at all, if there had not been a previous understanding between Russia and England; and that, if they had not shown each other their hands, Germany would not have issued the invitations to the Congress, and the whole project would have been given up. That satisfied me, and I think it ought to satisfy all reasonable and rational men. ["Oh, oh!"] Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen may sneer, but I wonder what they themselves would have done? I think that, in like circumstances, they would probably have done a like thing; but I know very well what they would have done if the Government had acted differently, and the Congress had, in consequence, never met. There would then have been a continued state of that great tension prevailing on account of the feeling, half-peaceful, half-warlike, on the Continent, which was so injurious to our commerce; and if that position of affairs had continued by the Government frustrating the Congress, I do not know what the language of hon. Gentlemen opposite would have been. They would have found no terms sufficiently strong to denounce the action of the Government; and, what is more, many of the warm supporters of the Government would have given them their countenance in so doing. I therefore maintain that we were justified in this Salisbury-Schouvaloff Agreement, if it was necessary to bring about the Congress; and in bringing about the Congress, it brought peace. And after all, there is nothing given up in the Agreement for which any sane man would be prepared to fight. We should not have fought for Bessarabia, and most certainly not for Batoum. We have lately heard much respecting the value of this latter place, and within the last hour I have had an opportunity of seeing Hobart Pasha in the Lobby, and of asking him what he thinks of it. He told me that his views on Batoum had not been completely expressed in the letter which was read lately in "another place," and he has complied with my request to put down on paper his opinion of that port. This is what he has written— As to the value of Batoum, 12 or 13 ships could be lodged in its harbour safely from bad weather, lashed together by many chains; but it would take six hours to remove them from the port; and they can always be bombarded by a Power commanding the sea; while the ships in harbour, from their position, cannot return the fire. Thus Russia could not use Batoum for warlike purposes without an enormous expenditure in altering the character of the port. What I wish, however, to urge is, that this country would never have been prepared to fight for Batoum or Bessarabia. As for Bessarabia, if the Roumanians have lost it, it serves them right for their rebellion. Having rebelled, why should they not suffer like other people? Such is the view I take of the agreement which certainly brought us into Congress. With regard to the results of the war, we may disapprove many of the things done, and many of the concessions made; but, looking broadly at the action of Her Majesty's Government in the Congress as a whole, and comparing the Treaty of Berlin with the Treaty of San Stefano, which was the key to all the transactions of the Congress, I am only thankful that the result is a Treaty which places Turkey, Europe, and England in their present positions. As regards British interests in the East, they have been secured by the Anglo -Turkish Convention. We hear a great deal of the losses sustained by Turkey—about her having lost this, and her having lost that, and about her position being damaged; but I well recollect hearing military men discuss the prospects of the late campaign, the way in which it should be conducted, and how Turkey could best defend her country. Some held that her best way to tight was as she did fight; and in so fighting she nearly won, as but for the timely help of the Roumanians, the result might have been very different for Russia. Turkey, looking to the feeling of her people, could not have given up Bulgaria to Russia without a fight. The tactics laid down by others were these — that it would be wise for Turkey to confine her defence to the line of the Balkans, Adrianople, Tchekmedje, and Boulair, and thus to concentrate her armies. By so doing, she would, moreover, have more men available for defence in Asia. That is precisely the position in which the Berlin Treaty places her—she has the strategical line of the Balkans, the seaboard being under her own control, with England as her Ally, and with a good seaboard and a good Ally, her position ought to be impregnable, if only, as I hope and believe, she will fortify the strong places and use her forces properly. Chiefly, as the Home Secretary stated, it was necessary to secure a good strategic line for the safety of Constantinople from menace, and that has been done by the Treaty. Possibly, it might have been better to have left Turkey more control over Eastern Roumelia, and to have taken something from the other side and ceded it to Greece. Let me now turn for a moment to Asia, with regard to which we have obtained what some time ago right hon. Gentlemen opposite used to contend we ought to obtain—a chance of better government for the people who live in those Eastern districts; but somehow or other, since the Government has obtained this, "Gallio cares for none of these things." It is a matter of perfect indifference to them whether there is good government or not, because the British Government in power have taken steps to bring about that state of things which the Opposition professed was required for the downtrodden races for whom on public platforms they so eloquently pleaded. But looking to the strategical line left to Turkey in Asia, I remember saying in the House last year that our main object was to keep Russia away from the harbour of Iscanderoon, and from descending the Euphrates Valley; because the plan of campaign supposed to have been drawn up for her by Count Moltke assumed a march down the Euphrates Valley to Bagdad. Well, the present strategic line, as settled by the Congress, does protect and control the line of the Euphrates Valley; and even more than that; but I go further, and say that I care not whether this line is a strong line or not. We hear a great deal of impossible strategy in this House, and I wish to remark that anything I may say is not my own view, but that of the best military authorities in this country. They say that it does not follow that if Russia were to step across the boundary she must necessarily be fought there. When we declared war against Russia, in 1854, we did not go to St. Petersburg, but to the Crimea, one of her weakest points, and there are now 50 weak points where she could be attacked without reference to the Turkish strategical line. I say I do not care what that line of frontier is in Asia. It would be sufficient for me that it should be a sandy plain, because the line which is not to be passed by Russia has been drawn by England's sword, and that I believe to be sufficient. A great deal has also been said of the increase of our responsibilities, and we have had speeches from the hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock), and my hon. Friend the Member for Orkney (Mr. Laing), who, I observe, is always put up as an Indian bogey to conjure up Indian calamities as the necessary result of the Government policy. The hon. Member cited Lord Napier of Magdala and Lord Lawrence as holding certain opinions opposed to the Government in reference to these frontier lines; but I would point out to the hon. Gentleman that they have not spoken upon the subject and given no opinion in respect of them. I have, however, heard another noble Lord (Lord Napier and Ettrick) make two speeches— I will not say where—on the subject, and they were statesmanlike and to the point. But perhaps it will be as well, before giving his opinion, to inquire who is Lord Napier and Ettrick? He has been Ambassador at St. Petersburg and Constantinople, and Governor of Madras; and his view is this—that the only way of meeting the covert, systematic, traditional approaches of Russia is by drawing a permanent line and then putting down your foot. Not only that, but the noble Lord approved the line which the Government had laid down, and which he believed was a guarantee for the effective defence of India. He would also go further and draw a similar line to the North of our Indian Empire. ["Oh,oh!"] That, it appears, is not the opinion of the hon. Member for Burnley, who says "Oh;" but it is the opinion of a statesman whose opinion is based upon experience both local and Imperial. I would point out further to hon. Gentlemen opposite that the present Government have only done, with a bold hand, what the late Government never had the courage to do. The late Government did not go forward in the matter, because they say they were not supported by public opinion; but, Sir, it is those who go boldly forward and put down their foot who make public opinion. Is the Government then to be frightened by these hobgoblins of responsibilities, or is the country to be bribed out of the Convention? It is said that we are to have the income tax, the malt tax—I am not sure that we are not to have the match tax—put on. Such is the opinion of the hon. Member for Orkney. He takes the terrorizing line. The hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone, on the other hand, tried the bribing line. "Only let us not have the Convention, and see what you will be saved in the way of taxation. We shall be able to take off the tea duty, to diminish the malt tax, and I do not know what all." [An hon. MEMBER: The income tax?] Well, Sir, I should have thought that this dodge of bribing the British people from a policy which they believe to be right by promising them remission of taxation was not one which would have found favour at the other side of the House. Four years ago, the biggest bribe which was ever offered to a nation was offered by the late Prime Minister, who said— "Return a majority to support me, and you will have no more income tax." And what was the reply of the country? Why, they returned a majority adverse to the right hon. Gentleman, and which, I am happy to say, has enabled the Government to so satisfactorily settle the Eastern Question, and draw the line which has so completely upset hon. Gentlemen opposite. Then, Sir, as to Cyprus. Part of the arrangement objected to is the occupation of Cyprus, the policy of acquiring which has been much criticized, and I have heard Crete mentioned as the Island which England ought to have occupied. Well, I wish one could speak in this House as counsel speak in a Committee-room up-stairs, with one side of it hung with huge maps. Let any hon. Member take a map and study the position of Cyprus, and I believe he can only come to one conclusion—namely, that of all the spots in the Mediterranean, it is the one most commanding and best situated for the protection of Asiatic Turkey and British interests in the East; and for this reason, that Cyprus commands Iscanderoon, the best harbour on the opposite coast, and also the outlet of the Suez Canal. I say, then, it is sound and wise policy that we should occupy this Island, and not for warlike purposes only, but for the promotion of commerce, the development of latent resources, and the promotion of good government, not only in Cyprus, but also in Asia Minor. But, Sir, every possible question has been asked about Cyprus; the depth of its harbours, the nature of its climate, and the supplies; but if the Eucalyptus Globulus were planted, Cyprus could be made as healthy as Hyde Park. Indeed, I am rather surprised that it has not been asked whether it is true that Cyprus wines are healing to the blood and hurtful to the liver, more especially as I think it is Shakespeare who says so? [Laughter.] That, at all events, is as serious a question as many that have been put. But I pass from Cyprus to another branch of the question. Throughout these transactions we have heard much of Bulgarian atrocities, respecting which hon. Gentlemen opposite have shown an immense amount of indignation, and have even tried to bring those atrocities home to the British Government; but, Sir, although their catechism of the present Session includes questions as to the climate of Cyprus, the height of its mountains, and the depth of the sea, no questions have been asked in reference to the ghastly desciption of horrors in Turkey which have appeared in recent issues of the newspapers—atrocities of which Mussulmans are the victims. I will not read them to the House, they are so horrid, and, to use the words of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, they are so full of lust and cruelty. But it strikes me with astonishment when I remember that not one hon. Gentleman opposite has raised his voice to ask a single question about them—to utter a single word of indignation concerning horrors in which it is even said in the Reports received from Consuls that Russian officers took an active part. I can only draw one of two conclusions from this fact—either that the humanity of hon. Members opposite in 1876 and 1877 was assumed for Party and partizan purposes; that it was not a genuine humanity, but a weapon which they thought would serve their purpose against the Government; or else it was but skin deep in its character, and that now when the horrors are even greater, it has evaporated under the heat of a summer sun. Then, Sir, as to Greece. I have heard a great deal of sympathy expressed for her. Well, we all admire her literature, her culture, and her art; and in old days, Englishmen who did not properly appreciate the teachings of the literature of Greece found their way to the block; I mean, of course, in the days of their boyhood. Our simpathy with Greece is natural. But, Sir, there are Philistines abroad. Even in the present day, in reference to Greece, I hear these Philistines say that they do not think it a sound principle that whenever a war takes place between the Great Powers, the little Powers should assert their right to snatch a morsel of the prey. They say that is bad precedent and policy. They have also been heard to say that until a stranger going to Athens can visit the Acropolis without a guard, and until Corfu, which was, unwisely, as I think, given over to Greece in perfect repair, is prevented from crumbling into the sea, as it has rapidly done since it was handed over to Greece, perhaps it would be better that these things should be mended, and that until Greece learns to govern what she has, it would be unwise to give her more. Her Majesty's Government, however, have not taken this Philistine view. Notwithstanding the statements referred to by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, which he, doubtless, derived from The Chelsea Informer, or some such paper whose currency is confined to Chelsea, it appears from the Protocols that the Government have done all that was possible on behalf of Greece. One word more, Sir, and I have finished my review of the situation. The last paragraph in this series of Resolutions of the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition, touches upon the question of so-called secret diplomacy. Now, I trace in that paragraph the hand of "Jenkins" —[Laughter, and "Oh, oh!"]—I do not use the word in an un-Parliamentary sense, because I do not use it in the singular number; I use it as a noun of number; I use it collectively; for it must be within the knowledge of hon. Members of this House, that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee never speaks in his own name, but uses the word "we," and says—"Those who act with me object to this system of the Crown ratifying Treaties; " "We object to these things being confined to the Cabinet." "We think they ought to be submitted to the decision of the House of Commons before they are ratified by the Government." The new Constitution we are to have from the hon. Member when his "we" becomes sufficiently numerous will cer- tainly be a now one as far as the system of diplomacy is concerned; but until that time comes, I cannot but think that the Government will do well to walk in the old paths of the Constitution and to act upon the precedents, of which there are any number in the Statute Book, which they have followed in the present instance. Against the authority of the hon. Member for Dundee I will quote another, which shows the difficulty of the situation and the divergence of opinion which exists concerning it. The authority to whom I refer said— It is a choice of inconveniences and difficulties. You must, on the one hand, trust the Executive Government in these matters very largely; or you must, on the other hand, run into a greater mischief still—namely, that of committing the transaction of foreign affairs and the conduct of difficult foreign negotiations to bodies—the Houses of Parliament—which are essentially, from their own composition, unfit for the discharge of such tasks." — [3 Hansard, ccxl. 1410.] The authority I quote is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greewich, and the ink is hardly dry in which it is recorded; for the speech from which I quote was delivered in the present Session of Parliament. Therefore, I maintain that in what they have done the Government have acted according to their right and their duty. In conclusion, I wish, as an independent Member of the House, to offer to the Government my heartfelt thanks for the ability and courage with which they have maintained the sanctity of Treaty rights by forcing Russia to lay the Treaty of San Stefano upon the table of the Congress at Berlin. They have not only maintained Treaty rights, but they have secured peace, and they have united in loyalty and in military sympathy the vast scattered portions of our Empire. Two nights ago I met an American gentleman, who said—"You are a great country, but you are a scattered Empire. I do not know what will come of Lord Beacons-field's policy; but he has certainly done this—he has given you an Imperial character that you never had before." The conduct of the Government has not only evoked a loyal feeling among the people of Canada, Australia, India, and our scattered Dependencies, but it has evoked a feeling of sympathy among a great portion of the Anglo-Saxon population of the United States. I give all credit to the late Government for creating the feeling which exists towards us in the United States, and I have good reason for believing that if there had been war between England and Russia you would have found Americans making their way by the "underground railway" from the United States to the recruiting offices in Canada, and enlisting in great numbers in defence of England—for they believe that "blood is thicker than water." Not only does this kindly feeling exist among the English-speaking and Indian Dependencies of the Crown, but it is to be found among the Mahomedan races throughout the world. The inhabitants of Mahomedan countries meet annually at Mecca with Mussulman subjects of the Queen from India, and from them they learn that, under English rule, they enjoy complete religious toleration, and also perfect security as far as their properties and lives are concerned. This knowledge is carried back by these pilgrims alike to the sunny shores of the Bosphorus, the fertile valleys of the Euphrates and the Nile, and the arid steppes of Asia; this knowledge, so spread, has caused a kindly feeling to spring up towards us among the Mahomedan peoples who are not subject to our rule. This, too, is not the work of any one, but of many successive Governments, who have, each in turn, thus wisely administered our Indian Empire; but it is the present Government which has now evoked this feeling, and I thank them for the policy which has led to these good results. I know that policy is opposed by hon. Gentlemen opposite; but in running counter to it they are also running counter to the national sentiment of this country, for the policy of the Government is one which has struck a chord in the heart of the nation. It appeals to the proud traditions of an Imperial race, and it speaks to the instincts of the people which so often, and certainly in this case, are more statesmanlike than the Party criticisms of statesmen in Opposition.


Sir, I have only one remark to make in the way of criticism of the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho), and that is that I do not think he was justified in making a charge against us that we did not join with him in sympathizing with the sufferings of the Turks in Constantinople, and their sufferings at the hands of the Bulgarians, and more especially in what has been stated as to the doings of Russian officers. I read those accounts with great pain; but I confess that having tried, as far as I could ascertain, to see what truth there was in the reports, I do not think the statements in regard to the Russian officers are proved to be true. There is reason to suppose that the Bulgarians have shown great cruelty and great revenge; but I think when the noble Lord reproaches us with want of attention to these things, he should remember that the strongest rebuke made to the Bulgarians was made by the right hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone). We have not much right to complain of the noble Lord in other respects. He began with a complimentary comparison that we were like St. Paul; only St. Paul had been in office some time, and we are not. But, although complimentary to us, I do not think he is complimentary to Her Majesty's Government. I do not remember the exact words he used to express his contempt for the Government, if they had not informed the other Powers of the secret Treaty.


You are putting it too strong. I said without the knowledge of any other Powers. Communicating is another thing.


I quite understood my noble Friend to say that he would have felt great indignation if the secret Treaty had not been made known to the other Powers. Does he know whether it was kept secret or not? The point is this—not that the other Powers should be told a day or two before the Agreement came out, but whether the other Powers were told of the Agreement before they were persuaded to come into the Congress? They were certainly told that our Government was going to have the Treaty of San Stefano left to the full discretion of the Powers. Did the Government then determine whether the secret Treaty should be communicated or not? Were the other Powers informed of that Treaty? The Government has never told us that they were. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer tells us to-night that they were informed, I will retract every word. If not, I think the noble Lord might have spared his appeal about the sanctity of Treaties. But the noble Lord, after that, appears to have turned round in his views with regard to the Government. Up to that time, he does not appear to have viewed their conduct with anything like favour. In fact, I do not think we have heard a stronger condemnation of their Eastern policy made by any but one man. I do not think his condemnation was equal to that made by the Prime Minister himself. The noble Lord quoted from that speech; I need not give the quotation, but, in a moment of candour, the Prime Minister a few days ago stated that he had come back from Berlin with the conviction that this late terrible and desolating war might have been prevented by Her Majesty's Government if they had acted with decision. The Prime Minister said — "I take my share of the responsibility." He has taken his share of a very great responsibility — so great, that I can scarcely conceive he has realized it to himself. Does the Prime Minister really believe that if the Cabinet had acted as he thinks they ought to have acted, this desolating war might have been prevented—that very likely, if he had had his own way, it might have been prevented? If he had had that conviction he would have said—"Either I must have my own way and prevent this war, or I must cease to be responsible for the government of the country." Well, the noble Lord, I dare say, and the Prime Minister, both thought that the Government ought to have said—"We will undertake that there shall be good government in Turkey, and, therefore, Russia shall not interfere." Well, this is a strong Government, but I think it has overrated its strength in saying that that undertaking could have been fulfilled, and that the Russians could thus have been prevented from crossing the Pruth. I agree with the noble Lord in this respect that I believe the war might have been prevented. But the very morning I read that speech, I read in the same paper— The Standard—a letter from Constantinople. Now, these letters from Constantinople in The Standard are not the mere letters of an unknown Correspondent. The gentleman who writes them is very well known; he is an English gentleman of great experience; and certainly his opinions, though I do not agree with them all, have been arrived at from great experience. Now, if the House will allow me, just let me see how that gentleman ends his letter. He gives his opinion as to how the war might have been prevented. He says— Turkey could not have resisted the united will of Europe, and Europe merely wanted the concurrence of England to be united. Sir, the noble Lord says that we were in favour of a special alliance with Russia. We were not. What we did desire was that European action should be brought to bear upon Turkey, and man after man in every capital in Europe is now coming to believe that that, if specially urged at the Conference, might have prevented war. But I am not going further into the past. This debate has been very long and exhaustive, and any contribution which I can make to it must be short. Dividing the subject into the two great heads that have occurred to every hon. Member who has spoken—namely, a review of the past, and an examination of the future policy of the Government, what little I have to say will be confined entirely to the future. But, before I do that, the Chancellor of the Exchequer must allow me to ask him one question. Yesterday there was a letter in a paper—The Daily News—with regard to another secret Treaty. I do not pretend for a moment to attach any weight or credence to the writer of that letter—to the literary gentleman who was able to spare time from his avocations to copy secret documents at 10d. an-hour. But the statement made in that letter is that there is another secret Treaty. I should have thought very little of that statement; but when my hon. Friend the Member for Poole (Mr. Evelyn Ashley) asked the right hon. Gentleman a Question about it, and especially whether it related to Greece, the right hon. Gentleman did not at once reply—" There is no such secret Treaty." He merely stated —"It is not a Treaty relating to the affairs of Greece."


I did not say it is not a Treaty. I said there was no Treaty relating to Greece.


Well, it is just the same thing. I do not ask the right hon. Gentleman whether there is a Treaty, and still less, if there be, what it is—though I should like to know. But I do ask him to tell us this; whether there is or is not any secret ar- rangement with Turkey or Russia, or any other Power which affects this Convention that we are now considering between England and Turkey, because, if there be any such arrangement, we are debating in the dark, and if we are debating in the dark, then let us know where we are? Well, then, I come to the Anglo-Turkish Convention. The line that has been taken by the supporters of the Government is not to deny the responsibility which we have incurred under that Treaty; but we are asked what less we could have done. They ask us—"What else could you have done, except this Treaty?" My noble Friend the President of the Board of Trade (Viscount Sandon), in his eloquent speech, took that line; so did the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Assheton Cross); and, in fact, it is the line taken by Lord Salisbury in his despatch. The statement is this—With Russia in Kars, Ardahan, and Batoum, what else could you do but have this Treaty? You cannot take Kars and Ardahan and Batoum away. Well, I must demur to that mode of statement. I do not know that we are bound to say what we should have done under the circumstances. Of course, it is open for us to reply in accordance with what more and more persons are thinking every day — that Kara and Ardahan and Batoum never would have been handed over to Russia, if England had not thrown obstacles in the way of an European concert. Therefore, our reply might be, that we did not bring about this state of things, and it is not for you to ask us what we should do when it did come to pass. But we must take the facts as we find them, and I wish very fairly to meet this question. "With Kars, Ardahan, and Batoum in the hands of Russia, with Turkey defeated, demoralized, and decayed, what else would you have done, except make this Anglo-Turkish Convention?" I do not know that the question has been better put in the House than I saw it put out of the House in the columns of that leading journal which is now a great supporter of the Government. It says— You, the Opposition, are bound to show that the overthrow of Turkey in Asia by Russia is not an injury, an essential injury to English interests, or that this Anglo-Turkish Convention is not the best means of avoiding that difficulty. Will the House allow me to try and meet that question. I do not think I am unfair in saying that that is the question which is put to us by the Government. There are two assumptions—first, that Russia wishes to overthrow Turkey in Asia; and, secondly, that she can do so. I am not so sure as many hon. Members are that she wishes to do so. Supposing that she does; supposing that she wishes to do so; can she conquer Turkey in Asia without a sacrifice and cost far beyond any advantage she could hope to obtain? My belief is that she cannot do it. You must recollect that Asia Minor is mainly a Mahomedan country. There are no Bulgarians in it to sympathize with Russia. There are several Armenians on the border; but Russia would mainly have to conquer a people essentially warlike, and having a hatred of her generations old. And you must remember that France and Italy, to say nothing of Austria, are Mediterranean Powers, and you have no right to suppose that France and Italy would throw no difficulty in the way of Russia endeavouring to obtain a paramount influence over Turkey in Asia and Syria. But your reply is, that they did not join you in any such attempt, and that you had to manage things by yourself at the Congress. Well, they might not have been willing to join you in what you were proposing. I do not suppose that if you had asked them to join you in this Convention, they would have done so. They had not the same confidence in Turkish reforms. They did not believe, with my noble Friend the President of the Board of Trade, that Turkish wisdom is increasing day by day. But it does not follow that they would have put no difficulties in the way of the overthrow of Asiatic Turkey. It is my opinion that they would have given Russia no carte blanche to exercise sway over Asia. But granting, for a moment, that Russia might not only wish, but be able, to take part of Asia Minor. As to taking it altogether, that seems to me to be a contingency too improbable to be taken into account. But making this concession for the sake of argument, that Russia wishes to take this country, and that she can do it, and that we could not prevent her, where is the proof that our interests would be greatly endangered? My first query upon that point is this—If the interests of England are to be greatly endangered by Russia obtaining power over Asia Minor, and especially Armenia, what were the Government doing during the war? Why did they not warn Russia that our interests were greatly in danger? In the famous despatch of last May—it was, it is true, written by Lord Derby; but I take it all the Ministers will recognize it—the conditions of neutrality were laid down. Why did not you add a fifth condition of neutrality? There was hardly a man who had studied the question who believed that Turkey would have been able to make the resistance in Asia she did; but we had no allusion to Armenia in the conditions of the despatch of May. There was something about the Persian Gulf; but Lord Salisbury soon afterwards gave us a disquisition on maps, and he told us how far the Russian Forces were from the Persian Gulf, and how far the Persian Gulf was from Armenia. But then we are told that new facts have turned up during the war, and that thus our interests are greatly endangered. First we were told by the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs that Russia wants Asia Minor as a recruiting ground. But whom is she to recruit from? We are told the Armenians have many fine qualities; but fighting is not said to be one of them. Then there are the Kurds. They make good irregular cavalry; but I should have thought that Russia had enough Cossacks. Well, there are the Mahomedans in the middle of Asia Minor. But does anybody suppose that Russia wishes to increase her Mahomedan contingent? I do not think the Government, however, seriously entertains the idea broached by the Under Secretary. Well, then the Prime Minister gave us a reason that the Suez Canal was in danger; that we had incurred the responsibility of protecting it, and that Russia might march her troops through Asia Minor to Syria. But is that anything like a danger for which we should have incurred anything like this great increase of our heavy responsibilities? I suppose if Russia is to go to the Suez Canal it must be by going through Palestine, and making Jerusalem a halting place. If she did this, she would have France to deal with as well as England. France has never concealed the fact that she still keeps her interest in the Holy Places. Well, then there is the route to Persia. We are told this route is in danger; but you have by Treaty got Russia to give up the places she held on the route to Persia. But the other argument of Lord Salisbury is the prestige that we shall lose if the influence of Russia becomes strong in Turkey, and if the influence of the Porte in Asia become less strong than it is now. Well, we have had a great deal of controversy about prestige. I am one of those who say—"Let facts be right, and opinion will take care of itself." I do not agree with those who say— "Get a good opinion by any sort of persuasion, and the facts will follow the opinion." Remember this is not a direct prestige; it is an indirect prestige, a sort of second edition of it as it were. It is not the prestige of England; it is the prestige of Turkey over its own subjects; and our own prestige over India is to be injured because the prestige of Turkey over her subjects is injured, and perhaps it may be if we tie ourselves to a falling Power. However, I am going to make a great concession to the Government. I will grant for argument's sake that Russia wishes to overthrow Asia Minor; that she can do it; that it is against our interests that she should do it; and that nobody would try to prevent her but ourselves; and then I have to ask you in what possible way will this Treaty help you to avert that danger? What help does this Convention give you against Russia? The Prime Minister said it gave us an alliance with Turkey—a defensive alliance with Turkey to guard her against further attack from Russia. Well, this may be a comfort to Turkey, but what advantage is it to us? Surely we do not want a pledge from Turkey that in the event of her being at war with Russia and wanting our help, she will accept it and become our Ally? We all knew that before. If Turkey means to resist Russia and we want to help Turkey, we surely do not need a promise that she will accept our help? But if she does not wish to resist Russia, we may be quite sure of this, that no Convention that you may make will bind her to resist. And then what the Under Secretary alluded to appears to me to be a very ominous fact— namely, that the ground why Parlia- ment was not informed of this Convention—why this new departure, as the noble Lord the President of the Board of Trade called it, was taken without consulting Parliament—was because there was a fear that the Sultan would not sign it. Certainly that throws considerable doubt upon the Convention, because if Turkey does not mean to resist Russia, no pledge she makes to us will induce her to do so. Well, then I am told that it is absolutely necessary to make this Convention in order to give notice to Russia; to give her a warning, and to tell her, as I believe Lord Napier has said, that we have marked a boundary line which she is not to cross. But why do you want a Convention with Turkey to give her that notice? I hold that you have already given her that notice. At all events, you have got an assurance from Russia that she will make no further attack upon Turkey. That is contained in the Salisbury-Schouvaloff Agreement; and I wish to make just one more remark in reference to that Agreement in connection with what the noble Lord the Postmaster General said. He pooh-poohed that Agreement, and called it merely the record of an amicable conversation. I should like to ask him or any of his Colleagues, could Lord Salisbury have told Count Schouvaloff, either before he went into the Congress, or at any time during the Congress—"Don't pay any attention to this Agreement; it was only an amicable conversation, there was nothing binding in it." Can the Government, for one moment, adopt the Postmaster General's representation? It was not so regarded at Berlin. We know how Prince Bismarck regarded it. What did he say about Batoum to The Times Correspondent, with reference to that Agreement? He said—"England goes in rather in a difficulty with regard to Batoum, because Russia has two bonds in her pocket, one from Turkey and the other from England." He evidently thought it was rather more than an amicable conversation of which there was a record. I have alluded to this, because I do not think you ought to have disparaged that Agreement or the assurance you thereby got from Russia—namely, that the Russian frontier will be no more extended on the side of Turkey in Asia. Well, I daresay there are hon. Members who do not think much of Russian assurances. But how does this Convention help you, if you do not think much of them? It would really seem to me as if the Government, in giving this notice and warning to Russia, not feeling sure that Russia would give any weight to this warning, had felt it necessary to give some sort of adventitious authority to it, by saying that we had given Turkey the right to demand our assistance. It appears to me that that is a course of policy which is as humiliating as it is impolitic. If the Government really thought it necessary, in order to make themselves believed by Russia, to tack on to the assurance of Russia this Convention with Turkey, well, then, I think this Convention is too humiliating to dwell upon. Let me now say one word with regard to the impolicy of the Government. My first objection is that you have put the foreign policy of England out of your own control. You have first given Turkey the right to control it; and, next, you have given Russia the power to control it; and you need not have done the one or the other. Now, first, with regard to Turkey. We have been told over and over again that we have not increased our responsibilities, and the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary said—"Oh, there was the Tripartite Treaty. That was 10 times stronger than this." Well, it is not much comfort to Turkey to be told that, because if that Treaty, which was 10 times stronger, has not been kept, they can hardly expect that this will be kept. Lord Salisbury has not taken the same line. He has called the Tripartite Treaty a misty and shadowy guarantee. I do not adopt either interpretation; but I cannot concur with the noble Lord the Postmaster General, when he says you have not increased your responsibility. The Tripartite Treaty was no guarantee to Turkey by this country, and this Convention is, which makes a very great difference. The Tripartite Treaty was an arrangement between three Powers; that if one wished to resist Russia, she might call upon the others to join her; but what you have now done is, that you have entered into a positive undertaking to Turkey, binding yourselves to defend her, and Turkey will call upon you to fulfil your undertaking should she be attacked. You have been promised consideration for what you have undertaken. You have—first, the promised reforms; and, in the second place, there is the Island of Cyprus. The promises of reform by Turkey are rather cheap, but the Island of Cyprus is a material guarantee. Under these circumstances, I think the Postmaster General can no longer persist in his statement, that the Government have not increased their responsibility. The noble Lord who preceded me (Lord Elcho) sneered at what was said by the hon. Member for Orkney (Mr. Laing); but there has been no answer given during this debate, or attempted to be given, to the fact that you have enormously increased your military difficulties by this Guarantee, if it is ever to be fulfilled. Instead of waiting for Russia coming to you at the Himalayas, you go to her in the Caucasus. The Home Secretary says I have used strong language in saying this act of the Government was reckless and unwise. I certainly did use those words, and as I do not wish to use stronger words out-of-doors than I do in the House, I will tell you why I used those words. On the occasion to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, I asked why it is that France and Germany are obliged to keep up such large standing Armies? and I said that the reason was because when the frontier of Germany was France, and when the frontier of France was Germany, they were, therefore, obliged to watch each other. Up to the present time, England has had her frontier at the sea; whereas now, by the action of the Government, it has been advanced to the Russian frontier on Asia Minor. That was why I said the conduct of the Government was unwise and reckless. It has been pointed out over and over again, and there has been no answer, that Russia may come upon us at any moment, and it will be open, henceforth, to her to choose her own point of attack, and select her own time; and whenever we are involved in difficulties, Russia may seize the opportunity of compelling us to go to war with her. But we are told that it is our duty to reform Turkey. Well, I do not think we have any special duty to reform Asia Minor. I do not wish that we should in any way shrink from the performance of our duties; but I do not see that this particular duty is in any way cast on us. There never was a country with such large duties to perform as England, and we cannot perform those duties properly unless we realize their extent, and. not take upon ourselves new obligations without sufficient ground. We have duties to perform to 250,000,000 of people in India, who are enormously increasing, and whom we have to reform, protect from famine, and otherwise look after. Then, see what we are doing at the Cape, and in the South Sea Islands, where the Native races are dependent upon us for government. Doubtless, our Colonial and Indian responsibilities are very great, and England will suffer, and will probably be greatly punished, if she does not strive to fulfil them. There is a proud future before us in maintaining union and friendship amongst the English-speaking nations, as well as peace and order amongst those barbarous and semi barbarous nations that are not English; but I hope I shall not be thought unpatriotic, when I say that there is even a limit to the power of England. The noble Lord asks why we, who cared so much about the Bulgarians, do not care for the people in Asia Minor? Well, I will tell him. I have travelled in Asia Minor, and I have felt sorry for the people. They appeared to me to be very badly treated, and both Mahomedans and Christians looked upon their Government as their natural enemy. But there is a difference between them and Bulgaria. The condition of Bulgaria weighed heavily upon us, because we were keeping up the country which misgoverned her. That is the reason why we felt so much was due from us to Bulgaria. I entirely admit, if you intend to guarantee the rule of Turkey over her subjects in Asia Minor, the duty will fall upon you of seeing that those subjects are properly governed; but this only shows how you have increased our responsibilities, because, besides having entered into an engagement with the Turkish Government to defend them against Russia, you are now bound to see that she governs her subjects properly. The Home Secretary told me I had no right to make use of the argument that the misgovernment of Turkey was checked by the fear that her rebels would be assisted by Russia; and he asked me why I assumed that Russia would be a better reformer of the Provinces of Asia Minor than we ourselves should be? I do not think that Russia is likely to prove herself a better reformer than we should be of those Provinces; but I do think that, in freeing Turkey from the fear that her rebels would be assisted by Russia, we have relieved her from the chief restraint that existed upon her misgovernment in Asia Minor. Well, if I felt sure you were going to take steps to abolish misgovernment in Asia Minor, however great the responsibility, and however weighted we are now, I might be tempted to let you try the experiment. But what reasons have we to suppose you are setting about the work in a way at all likely to be successful? The Prime Minister says you must treat the Sultan as an independent Sovereign. If you do so, I say, you have not the remotest chance of acquitting yourselves of your responsibility; and if you attempt to govern Turkey through the Pashas at Constantinople, your efforts to introduce reform into that Government must utterly fail. I had, to-day, a note from Constantinople, and as the Prime Minister evidently thinks good advice will be accepted by the Sultan, I hope the House will allow me to read an extract. The letter is from a merchant of great experience, who has been in Turkey many years, and he knows the condition of Asia Minor, his commercial operations having taken him into the heart of that country— All right-thinking Turks, whether great or small, hope England will not leave their Government to carry out the needed reforms. They know, only too well, that, in such case, no reforms worthy of the name will he effected. England must treat Turkey in Asia exactly as she treats the Indian Protected States, if she is to produce reform and progress, and this means occupation in force. Anything short of this means, he says, meddling and muddling; and he therefore looks upon this Convention with Turkey as something which will bring upon us immense charges and costly responsibilities. The hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Balfour) last night made a most able speech, and it struck me as being the best defence of this Convention that has yet been made— namely, that it was a temptation to the Porte to reform; but I doubt very much whether anybody outside the Government—any man of experience and impartial views in Turkey itself—has the slightest belief that this Protectorate will bring good Government unless there be annexation, and annexation, we are told, you do not intend. The Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs says—"Do not alarm yourselves. This is a conditional Guarantee. We merely call upon Turkey to introduce the reforms, and if they are not carried out, our responsibilities come to an end." Then what becomes of the policy that Lord Salisbury says it was necessary to pledge the country to? I suspect the Under Secretary is much more likely to be right than Lord Salisbury in this matter, though I do not expect either will be exactly right. What I do expect is this—that there will be a sort of attempt, more or less energetic on the part of the Government, to get the Porte to introduce the reforms; that there will be any amount of promises to do so; but that it will be stated there are great difficulties in getting them carried out, and that the hopes of the Christians that they will be carried out will be bitterly disappointed. In fact, the expectation that anything will ever come out of this attempt at reform will never be fulfilled; but the Government will be left with two excuses— first, an excuse to desert Turkey in the time of need, and, secondly, an excuse to keep the Island of Cyprus. This appears to me to be the most favourable interpretation that can be put on this transaction. One word now as regards the closing clause of the Resolution—that is, the concealment of the Treaty from Parliament. The noble Lord the Postmaster General made some very hard remarks about my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe). He charged him with revolutionary agitation and talk. I must say I saw nothing revolutionary about his remarks, or in the very serious warning which my right hon. Friend gave to the Government. But I would ask hon. Members, whether they do not consider revolutionary action is a more serious thing than revolutionary talk? And what I maintain is that the action of the Government is practically revolutionary. I shall be told that it is nothing new to sign and ratify Treaties before they are laid before Parliament. We do not deny that this is the custom; but our assertion is that there has been a departure from the usual practice, because a new policy has been introduced both in the East and West without any opportunity having been given to Parliament to consider the propriety of that new departure, as the noble Lord the President of the Board of Trade (Viscount Sandon) rightly called it. That is what I call revolutionary action. It is pitiable — it is almost absurd—to talk about this Great Council of the Realm, if a perfectly new policy is to be undertaken, and. perfectly new responsibilities are to be incurred, without our ever being consulted.. A step is taken by the Government which, if it is not a sham or a mere flash to persuade their friends to forget the surrender of Batoum, is practically an annexation of the whole of Asia Minor; and as that has been done without giving Parliament any previous hint, I say that is revolutionary conduct. The noble Lord who spoke yesterday told us we ought to have known all about it, because there had been a good deal of it in the newspapers; but the Government take a curious line about newspapers. When we ask a Question founded on what appears in a newspaper, they tell us not to pay the slightest attention to the newspapers; but now we are told we ought to have taken the information the Government refused to give us from the newspapers of the day. But it is not a question so much of the Treaty-making power, it is a question of the power or impotence of Parliament. The real point is, whether Parliament is to have any control over the foreign policy of the country—that policy upon which the future interests, and so much of the taxation of the country depend? It may be said, why dwell upon this?—there is an enormous majority in favour of what has been done. Well, in taking that line, I venture to say hon. Gentlemen opposite are forgetting their own dignity. Surely it is as much their business, approving of this Act, as it is ours disapproving of it, to preserve the rights and privileges of Parliament; and I hope they will consider that even a minority has some rights. Is it a good thing for the country, does it tend to the preservation of Parliamentary freedom, or to the security of English interests, that when there is to be a new policy, it should be undertaken before the minority have been heard regarding it? It is not enough to say that this act is sure to be approved, therefore we need not have consulted you. That argument would go far to justify dispensing with Parliament altogether. The Emperor Napoleon said—"I need not consult Parliament—I need not have a Parliament to consult. I prefer putting a question to the people, 'Yes,' or 'No.'" But in this case you do not give Parliament the possibility of saying no. I really appeal to hon. Members opposite, whether, in their calmer thoughts, they will not feel it is their duty to preserve the power and privileges of this House of which they are Members, and to secure that the people, represented through Parliament, should have some voice in the settlement of these matters? The Earl of Beaconsfield tells us that he learnt in Berlin that the late war might have been prevented by more firmness on the part of the Government; and he said, after what had happened in his own Cabinet, it was extremely important that this country should take a step beforehand which would intimate what the policy of England would be, and not have your Ministers meeting in the Council Chamber, hesitating, doubting, and considering the contingencies, and then acting at last, probably too late. But I ask hon. Members opposite what right has the Government or the Prime Minister to pledge the country to this policy beforehand, because the country may not be in favour of the policy hereafter? For my part, I entirely disapprove of this policy, especially -when resorted to in order to support a Government as weak as it is wicked—I mean the Government of Turkey—a Government to uphold which, I believe, it would be necessary to have recourse to conscription. I am well aware that there are sometimes great necessities in which the Parliament of a country may have to enter into engagements for the future; but there have been no arguments attempted to be brought forward to prove that this is one of such cases. All we have been told is that the Prime Minister thinks it is a fit and wise thing to pledge the country beforehand — that is the ground upon which he and the Foreign Secretary have justified themselves; but whatever may be the majority in this House, and for a time out of it, I am quite content to rest my political conduct on a protest against thus fettering and burdening the future policy of the country.


said, he regretted very much, that the noble Marquess who moved the Resolution (the Marquess of Hartington) should have referred as he had done to the remarks of the Prime Minister with regard to the right hon. Member for Greenwich. Did not the noble Marquess remember that the words which had called forth the well-merited and severe castigation of the Prime Minister had been uttered by one who also had been a high Servant of the Crown, who was now a Privy Councillor, and who, if he had had anything to say, ought to have said it in his place in Parliament? Again, the noble Marquess twitted the Prime Minister for using the words—"Thus far shalt thou go, and no further"—and said— He was not surprised at the Prime Minister, assuming to be omnipotent, should also assume to be omniscient. But if the noble Marquess had looked a little further in the same Book, he would have found the following significant sentence:— The sons of the strangers from the Isles afar off shall build up thy walls, and their Kings shall minister unto thee, thy gates shall be open continually, so that men shall bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and thou shalt be made through them an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations; and, therefore, there was nothing either omnipotent or omniscient on the part of Lord Beaconsfield—only a little more research than the noble Marquess had made—and which fully justified him using the expression. The right hon. Gentleman said at Bermondsey— That no Government, not the most despotic in Europe, had dared to enter into any such engagement, binding hand and foot the people, and doing it in the dark and behind their backs. One only epithet can I apply to it, which I do calmly, that it is an insane covenant, an act of duplicity of which I am ashamed. Other statesmen would never have put their names to such an arrangement as that which has now been made, and I rejoice to think that these most unwise, extravagant, unwarrantable, unconstitutional, dangerous proceedings have not been the work of the Liberal Party. He would remind the right hon. Gentleman that it was only on the 31st of March last year that the Representatives of the Great Powers, including Russia, drew up a Protocol by which they agreed among themselves to settle the affairs of the Turkish Empire. But scarcely had the ink of that Protocol been dry, when Russia, the most despotic and treacherous Power in Europe, en- tered into a secret engagement with Roumania on certain conditions to invade a country with which, a few days before, she had signed a Treaty of Peace. This was on the 4th of April, and in this very Convention, bad as it was against Turkey, Russia guaranteed Roumania the independence and integrity of her possessions, and bound herself, if necessary, to defend the same by force of arms; and yet within two months after—on the 8th of June—Count Schouvaloff, unknown to the Roumanian Government, proposed to England to rob Roumania of Bessarabia—that very Roumania whose possessions Russia, only in the April last, had solemnly bound herself to defend. Had the proposal not been concealed by Lord Derby, and communicated to Roumania, as it ought to have been, no Gravitza would have been taken, no Plevna captured, and the whole campaign altered. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, therefore, should have been a great deal more cautious when he alluded to such things. It was with great pain that he had heard the right hon. Gentleman say that England had stepped in between France and her historical associations in the hour of her weakness, and that that would be remembered by her in the days of her prosperity. Those were ungenerous words. But he would call the right hon. Member's attention to the 62nd Article of the Treaty of Berlin; and if he had read it, he would not have been so ungenerous in his remarks, for that Article expressly reserved the ancient and historical rights of France by all the Great Powers. He regretted that France, owing to peculiar circumstances, had not taken that prominent part in the settlement of the Eastern Question which she ought to have done. But it was greatly to be deplored that hints should have been thrown out, the tendency of which was to sow dissension between the two great Western Powers. We owed much to the Representatives of France, for peace had been obtained by the generous emulation of French and English Plenipotentiaries working in harmony. Again, the right hon. Gentleman says— The Treaty power of this country is a great anomaly. It has been endured because it has been used with regard to precedents, to the rights of Parliament, and to the sense and convictions of the people; but when not so used, becomes intolerable. The Royal Prerogative, instead of being, as it has been, the admiration of the world, will become its derision, if it be I used for the disregard of its legal rights. Those were strange, ambiguous words, and might mean much or little. Could it be that they shadowed forth, with the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman at Bermondsey, the programme of the future policy of the Radical Leaders? The right hon. Gentleman said that the County Franchise was to be won; that a great change ought to be made in the Land Laws; that there was to be a Disestablishment—whether of the English or Scotch Church it did not seem to matter—and he had now indicated a necessity for limiting the Treaty-making Prerogative of the Crown. He (Mr. Hamond) could only say that if that was to be the future programme of the Liberal or Radical Party of this country, he, for one, was ready to meet the Leaders of the Party on that platform; and he felt certain the country would not accept it, and would decide, most un-mistakeably, that it would be most unwise, unconstitutional, and undeserved, to attack the Prerogatives of one of the most Constitutional Monarchs that ever sat upon the Throne. He would next allude to the immediate subject before the House—namely, the Treaty of Berlin and the Anglo-Turkish Convention, respecting which it was only fair that before passing judgment upon either, they should remember in what circumstances both had been made. The Treaty of Berlin was the work of the Great Powers who were signatories to the Treaty of 1856. The Convention was an instrument in which Turkey and England only were engaged, and, therefore, it stood on a different footing. With regard to the Treaty of Berlin, the Emperor of Russia declared from the first that the only and sole object of the war was to ameliorate the condition of the Christian subjects of the Porte; and day by day, in the despatches from Lord. Augustus Loftus, was this country assured that not one inch of territory did Russia covet. In a despatch dated the 3rd of November, Prince Gortchakoff wrote Count Schouvaloff, reminding him that— Under the Russian form of government the word of the Emperor was not like a vote of Parliament, which could he annulled by a subsequent vote. It seals an unalterable and personal loyalty. If these assurances require to be repeated, repeat them, my dear Count, in the most emphatic manner. It was not till last June, when the propositions of peace were sent through. Count Schouvaloff to Lord Derby, that, for the first time, the cloven foot appeared; and, in the proposals of peace then made, the retrocession of Bessarabia and a rectification of the Asiatic frontier were first mentioned. He was sorry Lord Derby did not deem it his duty then and there to call the attention of the Russian Ambassador to the fact that those proposals were contrary to the Emperor's repeated and solemn pledges. Those proposals were repeated in August, through Colonel Wellesley, and were to continue the same so long as England preserved her neutrality; and it was not until the Turks suffered reverses of fortune, after the battle of Plevna, that the great demand for the spoliation of the Turkish Empire was made, and the Treaty of San Stefano— the result of the unwise withdrawal of the English Fleet from Turkish waters to avert the resignation of Lord Derby —was a proof of that fact—a Treaty which he was not afraid to call an infamous one, because it was signed in the dark and behind the back of others, the persons concerned in it being shut up in a room which they were prevented from leaving until the dark and disgraceful deed was done. Full right had England, feeling herself deceived by the Emperor's broken word, even if she stood alone, to protest, in the most solemn manner, against this Treaty; and he admired the spirit of independence that pervaded Lord Salisbury's despatch, when, with emphatic indignation, he denounced it. And all this while Russia was goaded on by a certain Party in this country who professed to be her friends, and who, repudiating all their own antecedents, were trying to paralyze, in every point of view, the just and legitimate influence of England, touting about the country, debating questions that ought to have been left only to the responsible Executive of the Government. And, in making these demands, Russia believed that she had a powerful Party in England, and she sustained these terms in consequence. Therefore, it was right that England, through Lord Salisbury, should speak out, so that, when entering the Congress, the exact state of affairs should be known. The whole matter was a warning to England, and one of the lessons which the country had learnt was not, for the future, to place any confidence in Russia, by whom she had been deceived; and. the gain of this country was the Anglo - Turkish Convention. He deplored several Articles in the Treaty of Berlin, and considered that England ought to have made a better stand in regard to unfortunate Bessarabia, which he considered was given to England, France, and Italy in exchange for the conquests in the Crimean War, and by them presented to Roumania, under the guarantee of all the Great Powers, in 1856, and the three Western Powers ought not to have assented to the retrocession of Bessarabia; and he deeply regretted the course of events which had taken place, and was of opinion that if those three countries had been firmer, Russia would not have insisted upon her demands. Had he been a Member of the Government, he would not have consented to the abandonment of Batoum to Russia—a port she had not conquered; but had she insisted, then England should have demanded and obtained the cession of Trebizonde instead of Cyprus, thus becoming a Black Sea Power, as an equivalent to Russia having her frontiers advanced to the Danube. But the Congress of Berlin had met, and they had settled, to the best of their powers, the great question of the East; and he was now in hopes that peace had been secured. He had not much faith in Russia, and never had, for he had rested his faith on her actions. Ever since he could remember, he had found Russia one of the most despotic and aggressive Powers in Europe, for ever seeking her own interests; so that he, for one, would never believe in her. Until he saw the last of the Russian soldiers across the Danube, then, and then only, would peace be secured, not only to European Turkey, but to the world. With regard to the Anglo-Turkish Convention, some hon. Gentlemen seemed to think that it would be of a permanent and lasting character. He (Mr. Hamond), however, only looked, upon it as a Convention made with Turkey really to give Russia one more chance in the eyes of the world to prove that her intention was simply the object she at first stated—namely, the amelioration of the Christian populations of the Porte. He believed the Convention was merely to place upon record that if Russia chose to restore the territory she had obtained in Armenia, the Conven- tion would end; because the last paragraph distinctly pointed out that the Convention was to cease when Russia gave up her conquests in Armenia. Therefore, all the twaddle which had taken place with regard to this subject was unnecessary, seeing that at any moment it was in the power of Russia herself to put an end to it by relinquishing her ill-gotten gains which she had so unjustly taken from Turkey, and so prove to the world, according to the despatch of Prince Gortchakoff of November 3, 1876, that the word of the Russian Emperor "seals an unalterable and personal loyalty." With regard to Greece, he had heard a great deal more in that House than anywhere else about the Greek claims. He had been unable to discover what claims Greece had on England or Europe. He had taken some pains to look up the question, and he found that years ago the Emperor Nicholas—who, of course, was the fountain-head in everything—declared to Sir Hamilton Seymour, in April, 1853, that he would never permit Greece to become a powerful Kingdom. Therefore, those who advocated the claims of Greece had better apply to the Russian Emperor, and then, if they got his consent, all the rest would be easy. He remembered some years ago that Lord Palmerston had to deal very severely with Greece with regard to a certain Don Pacifico. Brigandage was very prevalent, and many of the brigands were in the habit of laying traps for unwary travellers, and demanding ransoms before they were given up; and, if the sum demanded was not paid within a certain time, they were cruelly and brutally murdered. A few years ago he remembered the case of the brother of an English Nobleman, who was cruelly and dastardly murdered by those brigands. Was that, he asked, a circumstance which should appeal to Europe on behalf of the alleged claims of Greece? Before Greece made any claims on the sympathy of Europe, let her show herself worthy of it, and prove that she was able to govern her own subjects. He believed it was in 1825 that Greece negotiated a small and contemptible loan of £1,800,000, and had afterwards shown her contempt for her moral obligations and good faith by not paying either a farthing of the capital or interest to this present day. He, therefore, hoped hon. Members in that House who sup- ported the claims of Greece would duly consider the various circumstances he had mentioned in regard to her. Before she applied for any advantages to herself by depriving her neighbour of his lawful property, let her prove in the eyes of the world that she deserved their sympathy and support. They had been asked what, on the whole, would be the result of this Treaty of Berlin, and also of the Anglo-Turkish Convention? When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich presented his famous Resolutions last Session, which were so soon swept into the waste paper basket, he spoke in warm terms of the aid that should be given to the Christian populations of Turkey, of the great and glorious prize and of the crown of immortal fame which this country would obtain by joining Russia in her holy, civilizing mission against the Porte; but he (Mr. Hamond) was thankful that the country had not listened to the voice of the charmer. When he considered the cruel barbarities and horrible atrocities that had been committed in Sorgra, Kezanlik, and other places in Bulgaria and Roumelia, he was indeed thankful that England had not been misled by the wild talk of the right hon. Gentleman; for, in his opinion, England would have gained nothing but a crown of eternal infamy. He hoped that there was still a future for Turkey; and he was quite aware that this was her last chance of redeeming herself. He trusted she might yet retain, and deservedly retain, her position as one of the European Powers; but, if so, she must be let alone, and no longer be subject to the constant intrigues of foreign countries. Under a Constitutional Sovereign, with Ministers responsible to a Parliament, with her security and power increased by the Austrian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina—thus preventing foreign intrigues and internal disorders— Turkey had a fair chance of peace and prosperity in Europe; and, with regard to Asia, commerce, capital, and civilization would, under the fostering care and advice of England, go hand-in-hand to establish once again untold blessings to those regions, where the Gospel of peace and brotherly kindness was first inculcated. And if he were asked what would be England's reward for this—he would say for his own country that her greatest reward would be gratitude and thankfulness that the Great Disposer of all things had chosen her from amongst all the nations of the earth to be the pioneer of peace, civilization, prosperity, and contentment among so many peoples in the five portions of the globe.


said, he should have been very happy on that momentous subject of foreign policy, if he had been able to give his vote in favour of the Resolution of the noble Lord (the Marquess of Hartington), but he could not. There was not a rag of foreign policy on the front Opposition Bench. There was philanthrophy, humanitarianism, and a generous denunciation of atrocities when committed on the friends of Russia, but not a shred of foreign policy. He had been placed in early possession of the facts of the Bulgarian insurrection, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had courteously acknowledged the fact that it was from his (Mr. O'Donnell's) pen that the first description of that insurrection was contributed to any English journal. Three weeks before any question was raised in Parliament on the subject, his article appeared in The Spectator. In that article he wrote of the atrocities that were committed upon the insurgents; but he could not close his eyes to the fact that the insurrection was real; that it was a planned insurrection; that it was planned by agents from outside; and that there was a very large amount of provocation for the horrible and inexcusable excesses of Turkish irregulars. From that day it had been his duty to follow the progress of events in the East, and he had observed on the side of the Opposition remarkable blindness and deafness to all that did not fall in with certain views, and an apparently fixed resolution to see and hear as little as possible that tended to expose the character of Russian machinations, provocations, and conduct in the Christian Provinces of Turkey. Voting, as he intended to vote, against the Resolutions of the Leader of the Opposition, he did not by any means wish to be understood as giving anything like a hearty or general approval to the whole policy of the Government on this question. Far from it. Even with regard to the good points in the present policy of the Government, he could only hope that we should not be found to have wriggled out of them by this time next year. Among other things, he might complain that for too long a time the policy of Her Majesty's Government was too largely influenced by the agitation raised in the country by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich. They might have dared more, and they might have dared earlier; and if they had done so, this country and Europe would not be in the position they now were. At the same time, he was ready to confess, as he believed a great many Conservative Members were also, that there was a good deal of just ground for the denunciation of what occurred in the Turkish Provinces; but what Power was it which ever since, as before the Crimean War, had sedulously devoted itself to setting race against race, and creed against creed in the Turkish Provinces? We were not bound to go about redressing the injuries of everybody, especially when it was at the expense of our own interests, and when the results of our exertion on behalf of universal philanthrophy were very doubtful. Had we nothing to redress nearer home? He had carefully, and for a long time, studied the speeches that had been delivered on the subject; but neither in the eloquent speeches of the right hon. Member for Greenwich, nor in the batch of Platonic regrets the Leader of the Opposition asked the House to support, he was able to discover any trace of what he should call foreign policy, or even sound domestic policy. He referred especially to the last of the proposed Resolutions—the extraordinary regret that the Anglo-Turkish Convention was not, before its ratification, submitted to Parliament, and made the subject of unmeasured discussion by hon. Members possessing every degree of information from considerable to the minimum sometimes displayed in that House. The noble Lord regretted that it was not made the subject of contemporaneous agitation out-of-doors—that, in a word, two or three years were not spent in wrangling over the details before the Convention was finally settled. To express regret that such a measure of foreign policy was not submitted to Parliament before ratification was one of the most extraordinary misapprehensions that could be fallen into, he would not say by any Member of that House, but by the most unpractical and visionary of Parisian working men's clubs that ever professed to establish a Utopia. Reference had been made to the American rule of re- ferring Treaties to the Senate; but, in many respects, the Senate of the United States was better adapted for discussing matters of that kind than the House of Commons. It was a smaller body, with longer experience on the part of its individual Members, and greater facilities for securing the secrecy of its deliberations; but, even so, the discussion of Treaties preceding ratification now imposed by the American Constitution would descend quickly in American estimation if the United States were an Imperial Government, like ours, governing Colonies and Dependencies, and dealing on every side with interests and complications of all descriptions. Supposing the United States ever occupied a similar position, it would soon be found absolutely necessary that the Government should have the power of pledging the national faith without requiring communication to the Senate before ratification. It was perfectly certain that treaty-making would be impossible if every clause and provision of a compact between England and another Power had, before ratification, to be subjected to the ordeal of Parliamentary criticism. He entertained very strong democratic principles; but he ventured to say that, were democratic institutions established in this country, the previous discussion of International Treaties would have soon to be laid aside in the Government in such a State as this. Government must be responsible; but Government must have the power of meeting pressing emergencies by the necessary Conventions and Agreements. With regard to the regret expressed by the noble Lord that Greece had not received more, he could only say that if all the regrets which hon. Members might entertain were to be embodied in a Resolution of this kind, and introduced into a criticism of the Government, the noble Lord might just as well have regretted the condition of Poland, and a hundred wrongs of a similar description, which probably the action of Her Majesty's Government might have been directed towards redressing. One thing was quite evident—that as far as a large portion of the Treaty of Berlin was concerned, it only too fully and faithfully represented the amount of coercive influence exercised upon Her Majesty's Government by the Opposition, and the disastrous contagion of the ideas of philanthropism and trust in Russian generosity which had penetrated the ranks of the Opposition. He did not think there was any necessity for the introduction of Party feeling in this matter; and Conservatives, recalling the past influence of Lords Derby, Carnarvon, and Salisbury, and considering their own narrow escape from treading in the ways which they now condemned, might well abstain from heat in the discussion. Returning to the Anglo-Turkish Convention, he hoped that some of the expressions and explanations which had proceeded from hon. Gentlemen opposite might be susceptible of being explained away. He trusted that the resolution of this Empire to bar Russian aggression in Turkey did not depend upon any question of the good or bad government of Asia Minor. He should be sorry to imagine that, supposing the Turkish Government failed to improve its Administration, we should retire a single step from the position we had assumed; or that we should allow Russia to move a step forward, because the Pashas of Stamboul were still incorrigible. He earnestly hoped that this was a conditional Agreement only for the purpose of giving an answer to opponents in Parliament, and that the resolution was firmly taken at all hazards, whether there was good government or bad government in Asia Minor, not to allow the Russian to step in to improve the state of that or any other territory in which British influence or power could be exercised to prevent the appearance of that emancipator. He should support by his vote not so much the Government, for, in his opinion, they had committed only too many faults; not the Liberal or Conservative Party; but, as an Irishman, he was happy to support the National British Party on this question. As an Irishman who still believed in the union of Ireland and Britain, and who sincerely hoped that before long one would take as much pride as the other in the glory of the common Empire, when it would have as much reason to take that pride, he had much pleasure in contributing as far as he could in supporting the governing policy that had made the Empire what it was, and that must be faithfully maintained and handed down from generation to generation in order to keep the Empire what it was. He had often been compelled to speak, and would have to speak often again, in not too complimentary terms of the British Government; but it had never occurred to him, in any moment of hostility against any Government of the Realm, that any spot of earth could be improved by withdrawing it from the protection, from the authority, or even from the despotism, of the British Government, for the mere purpose of substituting the rule of Russia. The present question was Russia as against Britain in Asia, and on that question the most irreconciled Irishman, and the most captious Englishman, should unite in recognizing that when the option was between Russia and England, it was exclusively England that should obtain their earnest and unfaltering support.


, after complimenting the hon. Gentleman who had last spoken (Mr. O'Donnell) upon his thoroughly patriotic speech, pointed out that the Treaty of Berlin, which had been hailed with general satisfaction by the people of this country, was a settlement in which many interests were involved; and which must, therefore, be of necessity in the nature of an acceptable compromise. It was a matter for regret that better arrangements could not be made with respect to Bessarabia, Batoum, and the Indemnity; but those were not matters upon which the Government would have been justified in entering into hostilities, or could even have been expected to do so, when no other Power was prepared to support them. He believed that if it had not been for England, Greece would not have been heard at the Congress at all, and there was no evidence in the Protocols to support the charge that England did not take as much interest in Greece as France and Italy did. When a resolution was proposed by the First Plenipotentiary of France, no opposition was offered on the part of England. According to the Protocol, the First Plenipotentiary of France said— With regard to Greece, it is not, of course, the object of the Congress to afford satisfaction to the extravagant aspirations of certain organs of Hellenic opinion; hut M. Waddington thinks that it would be an equitable and politic act to annex to her populations what would be for her a source of strength, while they are but one of weakness to Turkey. … The First Plenipotentiary of France believes that he is equally furthering the interests of both countries in asking leave of the Congress to point out, in a general manner and without infringing upon the Sovereignty of the Porte, the limits which he should wish to see assigned to Greece. The authority of the High European Assembly would impart to the two Governments—Ottoman and Greek—the moral strength necessary for the former to consent to opportune concessions and for the latter to abstain from exaggerated pretensions. But to accomplish this object, his Excellency considers it necessary, on the one hand, not to demand from the Porte impossible sacrifices, on the other, to appeal to the moderation of Greece. The First French Plenipotentiary has, therefore, thought it of use to trace, as a basis for negotiations, a general line, indicating, at one and the same time, to Turkey the measure of the intentions of Europe, and to Greece the limits beyond which she cannot be allowed to go. That was the line of the Peneus and Calamas. He had travelled in Epirus, and was in a position to give an opinion about it. He supposed that a good deal more than the ancient Province of Epirus was desired by Greece; but, at any rate, the people in the North did not desire to be joined to Greece. The Albanians were a wild people, not easily controlled, and would be anything but a useful addition to the Kingdom of Greece; and, indeed, they would not live under Greek rule peaceably. More than half the people of Albania were Mussulmans, and a considerable proportion were Latin Christians. The Albanian language was as different from Greek as from Turkish. The Southern part of the Province, no doubt, was to a great extent Greek. On the whole, he agreed with the Prime Minister that it would be best for Greece to be patient, to wait and consolidate her resources; but, at the same time, he hoped that Turkey would not refuse to grant to Greece some such moderate extension of territory as that recommended by the Congress of Berlin. With regard to the Anglo-Turkish Convention, he noticed very considerable contradictions running through the speeches of hon. Members opposite. They said Russia had no intention of invading Asia Minor, and then that we had undertaken very serious responsibilities in preventing her doing so. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the London University (Mr. Lowe) said that Russia had no wish to encroach upon Asia Minor. But suppose she should do so, some hon. Members thought she ought not to be checked. He, however, did not think it desirable that she should be allowed to enter the country. Then the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) had said it was not our duty to reform Turkey. Why, then, was it our duty to reform Bulgaria? He did not quite understand the answer to that question. With regard to Asia Minor, it was not desirable, and would not be for the interests of this country, that that territory should fall into the hands of Russia. He quite admitted that reform in Asia Minor was a secondary consideration, and that to keep back Russia was a primary consideration, and it would be a fatal policy to allow the Turkish Forces to be again shattered in Asia before taking any action to resist aggression on the part of the great Northern Power. But, while the keeping back of Russia was a primary consideration, hon. Members on both sides of the House must desire that peace, tranquillity, and good government should prevail in Asia Minor; and it was partly because he believed that result would come from the policy of the Government, and partly because he believed it was quite necessary that a stand should be made against Russia in that region, that he gave a cordial support to Her Majesty's Government.


thought the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) in his remarks had taken up a rather strange position, for he had confined his criticism to the narrow terms of the Amendment on the Paper instead of discussing the great Eastern Question. He (Sir Patrick O'Brien) was one of those who, upon that question, had for a time separated himself from hon. Members with whom he had been long in political union. He had supported, so far as he could, the exertions of the Government to carry out this matter to an honourable, a safe, and, if possible, a peaceable conclusion; but he asked the House this question—If the grand proposition embodied in the map which was now in the Library had been presented some two months ago to hon. Gentlemen opposite—who, to do them justice, had encouraged all kinds of warlike sympathies in an humble supporter like himself — was there one amongst them who would not have derided anyone who was bold enough to put forward the idea of such a settlement on the part of a Conservative Administration? Hon. Members knew what enthusiasm was excited in this country when a great man said that Russian aggression had been carried to such an extent that in the interest of European peace it was necessary that it should be stopped; but it would have been better to accept the Berlin Memorandum, which would have prevented an effusion of blood and treasure, than to let war break out between Russia and Turkey, considering the settlement which Her Majesty's Government had assented to. And yet that was the settlement which had led to a noble Earl and a noble Marquess being received on their return from Berlin to London with all the triumph of Roman conquerors, and amid the festive plaudits of the nation. Those statesmen gave it to be understood that Russia had been checkmated by their having acquired a little Island in some remote corner of the Mediterranean, our possession of which was to dazzle the British public, from whose gaze the Ministry sheltered themselves by their mad, their most insane Convention. Was it strange that he spoke in this fashion, when, from a feeling of mistaken patriotism, he had supported those with whom he had previously been in no way connected, only to be told, after having done yeoman service and marched with many hon. Gentlemen opposite, who, once warlike as himself, were now as silent as mutes at a funeral, that the Ministry had achieved a great success? Let them not call it a success. Let them say it was the best that could be done to satisfy the British taxpayer. If it was really thought that the aggressions of Russia must be one day resisted, then the course pursued by the Government in entering upon the Anglo-Turkish Convention was not one which could commend itself to the House or to the country. The Convention bound us to we did not know what. If it was important to fight Russia, the Convention would hamper us; if it was not important to fight Russia, the Convention was an idle wind intended to humbug and hoodwink the British public. He relied upon the Government and the hon. Gentlemen opposite to carry out a policy, which by taking now a bold—call it a warlike course if they pleased—would in the future checkmate Russian aggression; and that we should take that course at a time when, were we to credit Government's assurances, we were well, and Russia ill-prepared to dispute with us a fair and honourable European solu- tion; but he found they had departed from the promises and protestations which they had permitted to be made in every hole and corner of the land in their name. It would have been better for the Plenipotentiaries to have accepted and eaten their pudding at Berlin in silence, in which case he would have said nothing; but he could not help protesting when this Berlin Treaty was brought in with a flourish of trumpets, and the noble Earl and the noble Marquess with an effete Treaty in their hands—yet permitted themselves to be made the heroes of a triumph, such as he read of in the case of a Roman conqueror.


said, in answer to the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Patrick O'Brien), that he had paid great attention to all the discussions on this subject, and he contended that no Member of the Conservative Party had advocated, either in the House or out of it, a warlike policy with regard to this Eastern Question; but had, by every possible means, endeavoured to avoid, war that was at one time impending over us. He knew that it had been a favourite topic for platform oratory for Members of that House, sitting on the Opposition Benches, to accuse them of being anxious to go to war, and the greatest criminal in this respect had been, in their eyes, the Prime Minister himself. But he defied any hon. Member to point out a single instance where he or any Conservative Member had ever advocated a needless war on the part of this country. The policy that Her Majesty's Government had pursued during the past two years had now reached its climax, and in his (Mr. Onslow's) belief, the result had been approved of by the nation, and there had not been two more arduous or more anxious years in the history of any Ministry than those which preceded the end of that policy which had secured the Treaty of Berlin. They had had to contend in the midst of serious complications, the result of which it was impossible then to foresee, with an unprecedented agitation, which he might truly say had been the cause of the Russo-Turkish War. Seldom had any Ministry had to encounter more arduous difficulties, for the agitation had been very embarrassing, though its supporters had never carried with them the confidence of the country. He would not at that hour recapitulate the history of that agitation—it was well-known to everyone in this House and to the country. So violent had the agitators been, that Ministers had actually been charged with complicity in the massacres of Bulgaria by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, who had stated in a celebrated pamphlet that the Government had winked at those horrors. He thought such statements, coming from a Gentleman who had once been an Adviser of the Queen, should not have been used, especially when the country was in the direst of difficulties.' That was the beginning of these violent attacks against the Government, and was it to wondered at that when such a consummate orator and such an able writer gave vent to such loose assertions, that those who admired the policy of the right hon. Gentleman were more violent still in their language; until, at last, Russia herself believed that this country approved more of the words of the right hon. Gentleman than of the action of the Ministry in the crisis? But that same right hon. Gentleman, now that the Bulgarian atrocities, which he denounced with such force of language, were over, had not uttered one word of condemnation of those fearful atrocities that had been committed by the Russians on the Mahomedan population of Bulgaria. The country had now before it Papers recently issued, describing the ravages committed by Russians and Bulgarians; but where, he asked, were those who were so loud in their professions of humanity two years ago? Not one who was then so prominent had come forward to denounce Russia and her Allies. To them the conduct of Russia was still God-like and holy. There was no "national conference "now convened, and hon. and right hon. Gentlemen were not now stumping the country to point out to the people the doings of this "holy" nation— they were looking on in breathless silence. The atrocities committed under a so-called Christian Government were infinitely worse than those committed under a Mahomedan Government. Now, he was bound to remind the House that the accusation he had mentioned was not a solitary one, but was one of many that had been made at different times, and, in particular, at the so-called conference that had been held at St. James's Hall, when the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) had emulated the right hon. Gentleman by stating that the Prime Minister would never be forgiven by the country. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich himself might very possibly stand in greater need of forgiveness; and he would venture to say that when the history of these transactions was written by some unbiassed historian, his verdict would be what he believed was now the verdict of this country— namely, that the nation had not to forgive the noble Lord at the head of the Government, but the quondam Prime Minister. By the speeches and writings of the right hon. Gentleman, he had hampered the hands of the Government in every possible way, and had it not been for this unpatriotic Opposition they would never have had the Russo-Turkish War; but the acts of the noble Earl had been such as to reflect the greatest honour on his Government during a period of agitation utterly un-English and unexampled in the history of the present century. The right hon. Gentleman had avowedly done his best to thwart his rival, and had, at all events, sympathized and acted with those who had called the Prime Minister a " political mountebank," a "fearful Mephistopheles;" and who, like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham, had made use of the somewhat vulgar phrase that the Prime Minister had not a drop of English blood in his veins. As an Englishman, he had always learnt that it was the pride of this great country that politics gave scope to the talents of all men who had a seat in that House, no matter what their ancestors were. That had been the proud boast of hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House; and it was indeed somewhat remarkable that one so loudly professing Liberal principles should make use of such illiberal language to vilify one of England's greatest men. The country was, indeed, proud of the Prime Minister, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham ought to have been the last man to have made such a remark. Such strong language as that of the right hon. Member for Birmingham was very unfortunate. It looked as if the Opposition had been directed, not against the whole Ministry, but against a single Minister, and against the one man who had, above all others, earned the gratitude of the country. He (Mr. Onslow) was very much afraid the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had, for the past two or three years, been whistling for the balmy Zephyrs to bring him once more back to Office; but instead of the soft warm breezes answering his call, a rude Boreas had sprung up, dissipated his hopes, and scattered the great Liberal Party to the four winds. The right hon. Gentleman, having once been returned to power with such an unexampled majority, and by this means having been accustomed to make his own views paramount, must, naturally enough, feel somewhat chagrined at the present position of affairs. He, therefore, thought he might apply to the right hon. Gentleman the words of the poet— … Dark Spirit! what must be The madness of thy memory? He had endeavoured, as briefly as possible, to call the attention of the House in the remarks he had made to the great difficulties Her Majesty's Government had had to contend against—difficulties serious from without, but far more serious from within, and he would not dilate any longer on that part of the subject, as he knew there were still many hon. Members who were desirous of addressing the House, and as he believed it was the general wish that this debate should be concluded to-night. He would only remark that it was his sincere conviction that the outcome of all that agitation had strengthened the hands of the Government, both in the House and in the country, and that the vast majority of the English people were perfectly satisfied with the attitude of Her Majesty's Ministry, and fully appreciated their line of policy conducted amid such vehement opposition. Now, as to the Treaty of San Stefano, the country had heartily supported the policy of the Government, especially when it was clear that the Treaty would not hold water for a moment. That Treaty, in almost every clause, affected directly or indirectly the interests of this country; and this was clearly pointed out in that memorable Circular of Lord Salisbury, in which he plainly told the Russian Government that England would never be a party to such a Treaty. It was an arrangement by which Constantinople would be wholly at the mercy of Russia, and not even if a Liberal Government had been in Office would the country have allowed such a Treaty to pass unchallenged. Under that Treaty Bulgaria was to form one large Province touching the waters of the Mediterranean, and practically to be under the Government of Russia; but against such a proposal Lord Beaconsfield and Lord Salisbury had set their faces, and the result was that Bulgaria was divided into two Provinces, the more Southern of which was, under the name of Eastern Roumelia, to be under the direct authority of the Porte. That he looked upon as being a wise precaution to take against the advance of Russia to the Mediterranean. But if we sanctioned what he might call the Russian Bulgaria, it required no words from him to show that at any time, and on the slightest pretext, Constantinople would soon be in the hands of Russia. Was there any Englishman who could silently look on and not view with intense alarm such a contingency. To provide against this, it was the aim of their Plenipotentiaries to throw Russia as far back as possible, in order that her presence might not jeopardize that, to her, much coveted city. In this, thanks mainly to the firmness of Lord Beaconsfield, they had succeeded, and the coasts of the Mediterranean were by this Treaty no longer directly or indirectly to be under the rule of Russia; and were it only for this, he maintained, that the best thanks of the country were due to them. As to Greece, she was not, in his opinion, at the present moment, in a position to undertake the government of any more territory, inasmuch as she was still in her infancy. She had still much to learn before she could rule an extended Empire. With regard to Asiatic Turkey, there were, of course, a great many hon. Members who were anxious that Batoum should not be annexed to Russia; and he was one of those who much regretted that the Conference sanctioned this. At the same time, he did not believe that, in order to preserve Batoum to Turkey, this country would have gone to war. Europe, in this instance, was against them, and though, evidently with great reluctance, their Plenipotentiaries were obliged to give way. Yet he could not see what other course was open to them, notwithstanding anything Russia would say to the contrary. He feared Batoum would soon be a great military and naval arsenal. Those concessions in Asia having been made to Russia, however, it became necessary to see how, so to speak, she could be countermined in that quarter of the globe; and the Government had, in his opinion, adopted a very wise course for the purpose. It was all very well to speak of the question as a purely European one; but it should not be forgotten, as many hon. Gentlemen who had spoken on the subject of the Turkish Convention appeared to have forgotten, that there would always be, to a certain extent, discontent in India, which was a conquered country; and that if Russia were seen by the Mahomedan population to be advancing still in the direction of India, in Asia, even in Turkey in Asia, it would very likely be the means of fomenting discontent and possibly rebellion among the Mahomedans in India. He denied that in annexing Cyprus we had undertaken fresh responsibilities. No one who had studied the subject would express his concurrence in the foolish phrase, "Perish India," and, whatever happened, we must do our utmost to protect our interests in the East. They had already a fearful responsibility in maintaining India and in governing it in a proper manner. They could not in this respect add to their responsibility. What their duty was, in his opinion, was a national duty, not a mere Party obligation, and if they were to maintain India loyal and true to them, they must let her inhabitants know that they would not permit any Power to gain, what he might call an Asiatic advantage, over them. By this Convention, he looked forward to a speedy good government in Cyprus, and in course of time a good government in Asiatic Turkey. Wherever English rule had had its sway, wherever the advice of England had been taken, there nations were more prosperous, and people more content. As a more convenient basis for future operations, if need be, against Russia, Cyprus had been ceded for keeping Russia in check in Asia, and thus diminishing the fear of Russia among their Indian subjects, and for the better government of Asiatic Turkey that Convention had been signed; and he, for one, most firmly believed that the policy was a wise one—wise, because it would, in his opinion, attain both those objects, and because, too, it would have the advantage of enhancing the prestige of this great Empire, both in Europe and in India. That being so, he hoped hon. Members would think twice before they gave a vote to-night against the Treaty of Berlin and Her Majesty's Government. That Treaty had obtained a peaceful solution of the Eastern Question, and he hoped hon. Members would give their cordial support to the Government.


said, there was much in the Treaty of Berlin for which he was disposed to feel grateful, and he regretted that Her Majesty's Government had not been more successful in reducing still more the terms of the Treaty of San Stefano. It was true that the Government had boasted that they had restored to Turkey a territory as large as Ireland; but then it must be borne in mind that in Eastern Roumelia Turkish authority was extremely limited, and that before long, in all probability, that Province would follow the example of others which had become entirely free, and that it would be reunited with Northern Bulgaria. As to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the way in which they had been dealt with afforded, he believed, the only practical solution of the difficulty which existed in their case; and nobody, he supposed, for a moment imagined that they would not ultimately be annexed to Austria. By the Treaty freedom had been given to all the Slav races, and absolute immunity from the Turkish rule. Those were great results; but they brought into still stronger relief the fact that the Greek Provinces of Turkey had been left undealt with, and that, according to his hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke), the French Representatives would have made more liberal proposals on behalf of those Provinces, if they had not met with opposition from Lord Beaconsfield. The hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Balfour) had said that the real difficulty of dealing with the Greek case was that there was no real power for dealing with it— referring, no doubt, to the difficulty of inducing the Turkish Government to give up the Greek Provinces. But how was it that this difficulty could not be overcome in the case of the Greek Provinces in the same way as it was over- come in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina? How was the difficulty overcome in regard to those Provinces? Why, Prince Bismarck in the Congress told the Turkish Representatives that they ought to be very well satisfied to give up the Provinces; that they had a large tract of territory restored to them, and that, if they did not assent to Austrian occupation, they must fall back on the San Stefano Treaty. Might not the same argument have been applied to the case of Greece? While England was negotiating with Turkey for the accession of Cyprus, might she not have told Turkey in the same way that if she did not give up the Greek Provinces, she would have to go back to the Treaty of San Stefano? It appeared to him to be the attitude and interest of England to uphold the cause of Greece in the Congress irrespective of any prior covenant. The promises on the part of our Government consisted of two different kinds. The first was made in July last year, at a time when no outrage had been committed in the Greek Provinces of Turkey. The Greek Government had then gone beyond its international duties, and used its influence with the Greek Provinces of Turkey, on the understanding that the British Government would take care that the claims of the Provinces were properly and fairly considered, and that they would receive the same administrative reforms and advantages given to any other race. Now, did the Treaty of Berlin secure the Greek Provinces the same advantages as it had secured to Eastern Roumelia? If not, the promise of the British Government had not been fulfilled. He did not find that the British Government had lifted their voice during the Congress on behalf of the Greek Provinces in this direction. Another promise was made to them at the beginning of the present year, and a third in April last. In April, although the Greek Government had withdrawn its troops from the Greek Provinces, the insurrection still continued, and a deputation of two Consuls was sent to the insurgents to persuade them to lay down their arms, on the assurance of Lord Salisbury that if they did so their case would be fairly and fully represented in Congress. That was certainly not a pledge that Government would support a cession of territory, but it held out an expectation in that direction. Well, one was very much surprised to hear on the very best authority that the English Plenipotentiaries had been behind the French Representatives in reference to conceding to Greece Thessaly and Epirus, and, he believed, also Crete. They had a right to expect that England would have been the first to urge the claims of the Greeks. What they appeared to have done was to content themselves with asking for the admission of Greece to a hearing, and then, when any real question was before the Congress, they were opposed to the claims of Greece. It was matter of. notoriety upon the Continent that the French Representatives were anxious to propose in Congress that the full claims of Greece to Thessaly and Epirus should be conceded; but that they were deterred from doing so by the opposition of Lord Beaconsfield, not inside the Congress, but outside, and that they were compelled to propose only the reduced and most miserable proposition which was suggested by Lord Beacons-field. Thus Greece was left entirely at the discretion of Turkey in any future negotiations. Well, that being so, had the promises of the British Government been fulfilled? He ventured to say they had not. How had Members of the Government met the statement? The Home Secretary stated that he had sent over to Lord Salisbury, whose private secretary said that he knew nothing about it. But why did he not send over to Lord Beaconsfield, who was then in town? So, again, the hon. Member for Hertford gave a most qualified contradiction. He said, as far as had personal knowledge, no such negotiation took place; but it was not alleged that Lord Salisbury was the medium of these negotiations. They had a right to know whether it was true or not that France was desirous of doing more for Greece, and whether England was the real difficulty in the way of doing justice? When England was negotiating with Turkey for herself, was acquiring Cyprus and giving a guarantee for all time to come for the Asiatic frontier of Turkey, surely that opportunity of doing something for Greece might have been taken? It would have been nobler and grander, and have awakened much sympathy in Europe, if England had insisted upon terms for Greece as part of this bargain. They had a right to know why no effort was made in this direction. But he did not put it merely on the question of promises. He believed that the strength of the case rested on this—that no permanent settlement of this great question could be a lasting one which did not deal as successfully with the Greek question as with the Slav question. It seemed to him that the case of Crete was harder than any other part of the Greek question; for Crete, at least, had earned its independence. The Island was in complete possession of the Christian insurgents, with the exception of three seaports. Surely the Congress could have recognized this fact? If force were needed to secure the permanence of this fact, surely the word of England might have been used? If England were to say no more Turkish troops should be sent to Crete, the Cretan question would be settled at once and for ever. He could scarcely believe his senses when, a few days ago, the Under Secretary of State, in a short debate on Crete, gave as reasons for not urging the union of Crete to Greece that it had always been a cardinal point of British policy that Crete should not be so dealt with, and that the Cretans did not wish it. He (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) had shown them, and he now repeated it, that some of the wisest and. best of British statesmen — Lord Palmerston, Lord Russell, Sir James Mackintosh, Lord Holland, and others, among whom they now might add Lord Derby —had been in favour of the union of Crete to Greece; and, as to the wishes of the Cretans, it could not be denied that the Cretans had represented their case in every possible way to Her Majesty's Government and to Europe as favourable to that union. There could be no doubt that it was the general wish of the Cretans that they should be united to the mother country; and, in short, the only one who appeared to hold a different opinion was Sir Austen Layard, who, from an early period, had taken a view adverse to the cause of the Cretans, and the union of the Island with Greece. Greece had been sacrificed to the Anglo-Turkish Convention, and the plunder of Cyprus had been preferred to the freedom of Crete. Metternich, in 1826, when asked to join other Great Powers in intervention on behalf of Greece, said he disapproved of insurrection, no matter who the people were, or how bad the misgovernment of them. It could only be such a spirit as this which refused to deal with Crete at Berlin. Crete was now as much out of the hands of Turkey as Bulgaria was in the hands of Russia; and it would not be difficult to apply force to Turkey, by saying that she should send no more reinforcements to Crete. He could not believe that Europe would permit Turkey again to subdue Crete. He was firmly persuaded that we should yet see that Island added to the Kingdom of Greece, and he only wished it could be said that we had taken some part in the matter. With respect to the Anglo-Turkish Convention, he had little to say beyond what had been said by his right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich. He would assume that Cyprus possessed good harbours, and that the Island would make a good depot for future operations in Turkey. But even on that assumption, and if it were all we could wish, was it worth the consideration we had to give for it in the loss of our reputation for disinterestedness, and in the guarantee of Turkey for all time to come? If there had been difficulty in persuading us to go to war for Turkey, why were we to bind ourselves now for the future? Lord Salisbury had given as a reason for entering into the Convention, that he thought it desirable our Guarantee to Turkey should be of a more specific character than those into which we had previously entered. He desired to pledge the country absolutely in the future; and, in his (Mr. Shaw Lefevre's) opinion, that was one of the greatest dangers of the Agreement. Turkey, no doubt, had promised to reform her government in accordance with our recommendations; but no one could believe that those promises would be carried out. We had lost our title to be reckoned the defenders of national sentiments; we had incurred the charge of acting with secrecy and duplicity; while, in the Guarantees we had given Turkey, we had laid the foundation of future complications. The history of Turkey, and especially that of the last 20 years, seemed to indicate that Turkey was suffering mainly from the interference of the European Powers, and that her only hope was to be thrown back more and more upon herself for the government of Turkey, to be relieved from the rule of other races, and to be relieved at the same time from external supervision. He was not prepared to shrink from any proper responsibility; but he did not think that this country ought to have been subjected to such a responsibility as she was now labouring under. The Convention was bad, and involved greater dangers than doing nothing. Popular as it was at the present time, he was sure the time would soon come when it would be denounced, even by Conservatives, as vehemently as it was now applauded. Whether it was conditional on reforms in Turkey or not—whether it was a reality or a sham—whether it would end in our annexing Asia Minor or in nothing—it was equally opposed to the true interests of the Empire, and to those principles of honesty, truth, and straightforwardness which, in the past, had been the tradition and boast of British statesmen.


said, he desired to look at the question not in any Party spirit, but simply as it affected our commerce in the Mediterranean, through the Dardanelles and the Suez Canal, and to give a practical opinion on it. Looking at the immense commerce which England had passing through the Straits of Gibraltar to the Dardanelles, the Bosphorus, and the Black Sea, on the one side, and the Suez Canal on the other side, the unrestricted freedom of that commerce vastly concerned the manufacturing interests in this country, and anything which interfered with it must always be resisted by the English people. Putting aside the discussion as to the origin of the war, whether it was Bulgarian atrocities or Russian intrigues, England found that, at the end of the war which Russia forced on Turkey, Russian influence was, by the Treaty of San Stefano, extended to the Ægean Sea. By that Treaty it would have been in her power to have fortified and taken possession of the whole sea line from the Mediterranean to the Sea of Azof. That was the position which our Government had to face. We could realize the importance of that by imagining, as a parallel case, that any Power had obtained equal power in the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. The Government protested against that Treaty in the interests of British commerce, and ordered the Fleet to be on the spot, as an earnest of its sense of the danger to British commerce which the Treaty involved; and we maintained our protest until the Congress met at Berlin to settle the question. The long preliminaries, ending at last in the assembling of the Plenipotentiaries at Berlin, were anxiously watched by every thoughtful man. It was not for him to say what was due to Greece or Roumelia, or any part of European Turkey; but what he looked at was this—According to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, the effect of the Treaty had been greatly to reduce the power of Turkey, withdrawing from her about one-half of her population, while Russia was proportionally strengthened. But during the long negotiations it must have been apparent to the Foreign Office that the Treaties of 1856 and 1871 were likely to be considerably altered, if not annihilated, and the question primarily presented to the mind of the Government must have been what was to become of Constantinople under the new order of things? If it was necessary for the United Powers to give some protection and assistance to Turkey before, it was still more requisite now that she was crippled and Russia aggrandized. What would otherwise become of Constantinople and the great highway from the Mediterranean to India? We could not allow Russia to take Constantinople; but no one could doubt that, unless some protection were given, Russia might march up to the walls of Constantinople against her almost defenceless enemy. That protection had been given by the Convention. True, our responsibilities were thereby increased; but our interests absolutely required it. Single-handed, and in her crippled state, Turkey could offer no adequate resistance to her ancient foe. The secret Treaty thus became necessary, and Cyprus would, undoubtedly, be of the greatest use to the British Government. Ten years ago, when he was at Port Said—and he spoke with some experience of that part of the world— he was struck with the advantage of possessing Cyprus. Irrespective of the advantage of the Island itself, the establishment of the British system of government would have the best influence in the East. He was not insensible to the responsibility of identifying ourselves so far with Turkey; and we should, above all, be most careful to avoid any financial operations with her. But still he looked to the cession of the Island as most important, and he could not help thinking that if a similar policy had been carried out in Egypt it would have added greatly to the value of the property of Englishmen and Frenchmen in that country. For the present, the maintenance of Turkey was essential for the peace of the East; and he believed that the steps taken by the Government would insure the good government of Asia Minor, and open it up to commerce and civilization.


said, he was not indisposed to accept the statement that, for defensive purposes, Turkey was stronger now than before the war broke out; but, if that was so, he wanted to know why the Government could not have seen its way 18 months ago to assent to a policy of coercion upon Turkey, which would have attained the same result without shedding blood or wasting the wealth that had been consumed by the war? The results might be considerable; but what a price had been paid for them. How many hundreds of thousands of men had been sent to a premature grave in order to lead Her Majesty's Ministers to a conclusion they might have seen last year. It was said the policy of coercion would have involved war; but if the words of Lord Beaconsfield were true, war would not have been necessary. He believed it was almost impossible to think that Turkey would have been so insane as to have resisted the will of united Europe. Even had she done so, however, the contest would have been sharp but short, and what had now been secured after a long and sanguinary war might have been obtained with a comparatively small sacrifice. If that was an accurate statement of the case, how could they be expected to express satisfaction with the course pursued by Her Majesty's Government? His right hon. Friend the Member for Sandwich (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) said last night that he was not displeased with the Treaty of Berlin. Neither was he (Mr. Courtney); but he owed no thanks for it to Her Majesty's Government. The Treaty was got, not through them, but in spite of them. If they had been wise in time they might have secured all that was given by the Treaty of Berlin without cost. And how had that Treaty been obtained? It had been obtained, as the right hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) had said, by Her Majesty's Government leaning always against freedom, always in favour of servitude. All through Her Majesty's Government had made this cardinal mistake—they had supposed they could keep Russia back by upholding a feeble Turkey, instead of letting Turkey be replaced by young, powerful, and vigorous free States. That horror of war which seized them last year when for the world they would not have thought of coercing Turkey, did not seize them at all with reference to the Treaty or the action they took in regard to it. Why bring over the Indian troops, call out the Reserves, send the Fleet to the Sea of Marmora? In order to persuade the world that we were ready to go to war. For what purpose? To re-establish the domination of the Porte; the alternative being a large, powerful, and free Bulgaria, a free Servia, and a good large Montenegro. He asked them whether the doctrine and practice of Her Majesty's Government were to be approved? The noble Lord (the Marquess of Hartington), in his Resolution, regretted that nothing more had been done for Greece. He, too, regretted it; but he was not disappointed. Her Majesty's Government, in consistency with the doctrine they professed or the policy they pursued, could not have done anything for Greece. It was much to be regretted that Greece had listened to Her Majesty's Government. Greece had made a great mistake. The Greeks had passed through one of those moments in the history of a nation when the worth and character of a people could be determined, and they had failed. There was a moment when Greece might have done what Servia did, what Montenegro did; but she relied upon the promises of Her Majesty's Government, and abstained from doing it. It was thought that Lord Salisbury was sure to do something for Greece. He was sorry the course of recent events had taught us to estimate anew the character of Lord Salisbury. We had found out Lord Salisbury. At one time he (Mr. Courtney) respected him, and he respected him so highly that he felt a touch of personal regret when he joined the present Ministry. What a pity it was that before he took that step, he had not had some good genius at his elbow to say to him what the Prime Minister had said to the Greeks—"Be patient; you have a future; wait." If Lord Salisbury were now an independent Member of the other House, and had not been drawn on step by step by an astuter intellect, what power and authority might he not have. Lord Salisbury issued a famous Circular on the 1st of April—a very appropriate day. It was said the Circular was written in hot haste between 12 o'clock at night and 3 in the morning, and the indiscretion of the position taken in it made the statement most credible. It was astonishing that any man with the knowledge of affairs Lord Salisbury had could have committed himself to the principles laid down in that Circular. He did not find fault with the arrangement made with Count Schouvaloff; but what a commentary it was upon the Circular! Why, it was necessary to do away with the Circular before we could go into the Congress at all. The effect of the Schouvaloff Memorandum was that certain portions of the Treaty of San Stefano were to be withdrawn from discussion, while the Circular insisted everything should be considered; but yet an agreement was come to, as to which he would like to see what interpretation would have been given to it in a Court of Law by a strong Judge like the Master of the Rolls. The Anglo-Turkish Convention was an agreement with England, who undertook separate duties of protection of Turkey in Asia, and it was directly at variance with the Treaty of 1856, as it was entered into by two of the Powers without the consent, or even asking the opinion of the other Great Powers. The object of the Crimean War was that the Christian subjects of the Porte should not be exclusively under the protection of Russia. The Treaty of Paris destroyed that exclusive protection; but under the Anglo-Turkish Convention, the rights claimed by Russia in Turkey in Europe would be defended by England in Turkey in Asia, and therefore it was directly at variance with the Treaty of 1856 and with the cardinal principle of Lord Salisbury's Circular. Then, again, our taking possession of Cyprus would include control over some parts of Syria, including the Lebanon; and that, also, would be a direct violation of the Circular, and that protection would be exercised without consulting France, who had always possessed considerable influence in that part of the world, He would not enter upon the policy of the Convention, as those who heard the masterly speech of the hon. Member for Orkney last night would come to the conclusion that this country could do everything that was necessary without it. We had bound ourselves to an Ally who could not be trusted, and had engaged to protect him in all circumstances, although we should not be able to enforce on his part that action in his Dominions which justified our taking up his cause. Russia might have a perfectly fair ground of complaint against Turkey, and might attack Turkey; but we should be bound to defend Turkey whether the complaint were good or bad. If our entering into the Convention were at all genuine, we must defend Turkey whether she were reformed or not, as our defence would not be for the sake of the Turks, but for the sake of our own interests. With a magnificent want of logic, Her Majesty's Government had intimated that they did not regard this as an unconditional Guarantee. The last word was not said when this was described as an insane Convention. If we were going to effect the regeneration of Asia—and especially of Asia Minor—if we were going to establish Residents, District Judges, and Commissioners throughout the country, we might indeed be undertaking a work which would prove too great for us; but still it would be a noble and a generous work; and if, in undertaking such a work, this country was destined to perish, there would be some consolation even in such a disaster. But there were clear indications that the Government had no such intention, and the non-fulfilment of what we had undertaken would be a blemish on our honour. Therefore, the Convention was a sham. Three falsities were involved in it. We had received an assurance that Russia would not be more aggressive. Russia must be, and could not help being, more aggressive. We had been assured that Turkey would reform; Turkey would not reform. We had been assured that we were to defend Turkey. We should not defend Turkey. Therefore, much as he should deprecate the assumption of such a responsibility as would be involved if the Convention were real and genuine, he regretted still more that we should have suddenly entered into a Convention to do that which be did not believe even Her Majesty's Government themselves ever thought could be carried out. This Convention had been started on us by surprise, and the noble Lord's Resolution condemned the unconditionality of the proceeding. He recognized on the opposite Benches many hon. Members who were Conservatives in a much higher and better sense than being Members merely of a political Party, and he would beg their earnest attention to the few remarks he was about to make on this part of the subject. On the Opposition side of the House there had been a talk about enlarging the Prerogative of the Crown. "What was meant in these days by the Prerogative of the Crown? There was a time when it meant the self-will of the Sovereign exercised against the people; but that chapter in our political history had long been closed, and he had not the remotest apprehension of a revival of it. The Prerogative of the Crown in those days did not mean the personal will of the Sovereign, but of the Minister of the Crown, who happened to possess a majority in that House, and that House only. The Crown had long since lost the power of keeping in its service any Minister who did not possess the confidence of the House of Commons. He would go further, and say that practically the Crown could not exercise the power of dismissing a Minister who possessed the confidence of that House. In these days an extension of the Prerogative of the Crown meant an extension of the power of the Minister who possessed the confidence of the House of Commons. He need not possess the confidence of the other House. He was one who deeply regretted the way in which the Royal Warrant for the abolition of Purchase was recommended. It was an exercise of arbitrary power on the part of the Minister of the Crown. If, then, the power of a Minister of the Crown were enlarged in order to do what was now being done wantonly and without excuse, might not a Democratic Minister hereafter use the Prerogative in order to work his own will, even although he might find the other House against him? Thus they would diminish the authority of the other House of Parliament, and also public opinion, and all the other forces outside the House; therefore it was most perilous on the part of the Conservative Members to support a precedent which would some day be turned against them, in approving the conduct of Her Majesty's Government in enlarging the Prerogative of the Crown when it was quite unnecessary to do so. And what were the excuses offered for the exercise of the Prerogative of the Crown in the case of the Anglo-Turkish Convention? It was said by the noble Lord the President of the Board of Trade, and others—"Oh, if the House of Commons had been consulted, all sorts of obstacles in the shape of discussions and Motions would have been raised." Well, what did that mean? It meant this—"Let us get rid of Constitutional Government; it is too cumbrous. Parliamentary checks impede the freedom of action of the Imperial Ministers; let us do away with them." If hon. Gentlemen opposite would reflect for a moment upon the course they were pursuing, they could not fail to perceive that they were digging a pit into which they would fall themselves; for should a Democratic Minister happen to come into power, the weapons they were now forging might be turned against themselves. He considered that Parliamentary Government was the best possible; but he was bound to confess there was among some persons of growing importance considerable impatience of it. He had heard outside people say what wonderful strokes these things had been on the part of the Minister, and that it was getting rid of Parliamentary Government for something more simple. Could the Conservatives of England approve of such a prospect? One more word only had he to say, and it was not a light one. It appeared to him that they had not yet heard the last word which ought to be spoken in reference to the Anglo-Turkish Convention. He submitted that it was not intended to be put into motion. It was a bill drawn upon posterity which would never be honoured. The Convention would never be ratified; therefore it was their duty to repudiate it at once, and to say that the country ought not to be bound by its obligations. Whenever the question arose whether or not the obligations sought to be imposed on us should be carried out, he for one, at all events, would discuss it totally irrespective of the Convention. Ho said, again, he repudiated that Convention altogether, and reserved to himself the right to dis- cuss the questions of the future untrammelled by its provisions.


I feel, Sir, the House is tired, almost entirely tired, of this debate, and I feel also that I myself have very little power to add anything like spirit to it. I feel myself weakened and overpowered, and almost unfit to appear before the House; and I must, therefore, beg its indulgence and patience upon the present occasion. It has always been my habit through life to judge of measures and of politics, not by the persons who propound them, but by the politics themselves; to ask whether they conduce to any interests of my country, and whether, if I support them, I shall be doing my duty to my fellow-countrymen? That is the question I have asked myself on the present occasion, and what has happened before, I suppose will happen now—that when I have chanced, in consequence of this my habit, at various times, to oppose both sides of the House, from one or other of them, upon almost every occasion, I have incurred some mark of displeasure, and even, sometimes, Sir, scant courtesy. But I fancy that I am now about, in what I am going to say, to maintain all the great principles which it has been my fate through life to support, and I believe that now, if I do what I intend to do, I may again incur something of displeasure; but still, I hope, when I come to consider what I have done, that I shall feel in my own conscience that I have done my duty, and, having so done my duty, I care not what may be the consequence. I would first of all say I think the country ought to regard this debate, and the manner in which it has been conducted, as one which has very little contributed to the high honour which ought to attach to this House. We have not had broad questions broadly put; but we have had a case such as is entertained, every now and then, by some celebrated advocate speaking from a brief drawn up by an attorney. It appears to me that if we were to get an advocate from Westminster Hall, and to put a brief into his hand, there is no policy whatever that you would not find him capable of carping at in this way. Something would be said against it, much might be implied by way of vituperation, and if you chose to throw into it some little sarcasm, a good deal of heat, and a great deal of, I may say, quibbling, then it appears to me you would have before you pretty much a picture such as has been drawn during the last four days. Now, Sir, the question before us is the policy which has been pursued by the Ministers of the Crown upon this great Eastern Question, and what we have got to inquire into is whether that policy, as it has been conducted, was conducted in a way to be contributory to the interests and welfare of this country for the future—because it is for the future that we have got to consider it, and not for the past—whether the policy pursued by Her Majesty's Ministers will contribute to the safety, the honour, and welfare of this Kingdom? Now, Sir, I am here to say, and I say—knowing all the consequences involved as far as I am concerned—that I think Her Majesty's Ministers, in very difficult circumstances, have pursued a course boldly, bravely, sagaciously, and, I think, successfully. The difficulties in their course have not been simply those which attached to the circumstances themselves, but have been increased by the manner in which their conduct has been criticized by this side of the House. When Gentlemen, and Gentlemen of great authority, great power, great capacity, and also of great reputation, undertake to criticize the policy of any Government, they of necessity bring upon themselves the eyes of the surrounding countries—and do you not believe that every country in Europe is listening to what is said in this House; and that by criticizing, as it has been criticized, and by the spirit in which the Government has been criticized, there is danger to this country in the effect produced abroad? Will you not believe that every party in foreign countries which hates England—and there are many parties that hate England— that hate England for the very good she has done, and for the qualities she has displayed—is listening to the attacks that have been made upon the Government? I say that these parties so listening to the attacks upon the Government, and the spirit in which they have been made, would be very much inclined to believe that the time has now come for them to look for the weakness of England. ["Oh, oh!"] I speak what I believe, and I speak without authority, and in no official sense; but I would say merely what I believe have been the principles that have guided the policy of the Government, what they have sought to obtain, and the means they have taken to obtain it. I believe that the main-spring of the policy of the Government is that they believe, as I believe, that Russia is a dangerous Power in Europe, that she is ambitious, and that there is one thing which she has always before her eyes, and which she will ever attempt to attain—and that one thing is the city of Constantinople. I do not pretend to infallibility; but I believe that, from the time of Peter the Great down to the present hour, the aspirations of Russia have been to seize on that Southern capital, so that the Russian Imperial power may be placed in a far better position than at St. Petersburgh, and that, as she changed that capital from Moscow to St. Petersburgh, she might again change it from St. Petersburgh to Constantinople. Now, the support of my belief is in looking at the conduct of Russia. In the first place, look at her untiring acquisition of territory in the Northern part of Asia. She never ceases to press forward towards India. She does that for two reasons—first, she may hope to possess India some day or other; and next, whilst doing so, she hopes to terrify England. Besides this, on every occasion she is attempting to come down on the South, and to stretch her power over Constantinople. Her ambition, her intrigues, and every aspiration of her policy, have been directed steadily to that end. She takes every opportunity of sowing dissensions among the peoples under the dominion of the Porte, and I believe that those Bulgarian atrocities which so stirred up the minds of the people of this country some two years ago were the result of the intrigues of Russia. Those intrigues were subtly conducted at the time, and, I fear, attained the end for which they were invented. No doubt, they stirred up the people of this country. They resulted in this—that they made the people of this country believe that a certain policy should be pursued, and they at once crippled the hands of the Government. The Government opposite — I speak plainly of them, as I do of everybody else—were frightened by the exclamations that were made with regard to those atrocities. [Laughter.] Yes, they were frightened. At least, they did not do then what they ought to have done, and what I believe they would have done, if they had been left to themselves. They should have interfered, and at once have said to Russia—"We will not stand this any longer." But as the people's eyes became clear, and the scales fell from them, they saw through the policy of Russia, and never did I know in the course of my somewhat prolonged political life so sudden, so marked, and so great a change in public opinion as took place on that occasion. What was the consequence? Why, the consequence was that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich was, I may say, dismissed from power, the majority passed from him to the Government opposite; and though the continuance of that agitation was expected to restore power to the right hon. Gentleman, a few months' experience on the part of the country rendered his return almost impossible. He has done everything in his power to stir up the popular mind in this matter. He has failed. He may recover his position; but there is no mode of distinction in political life except by death. The right hon. Gentleman may recover his political power; but I do not expect to live to see it, and I do not think he will live to see it himself. Then, when the Government saw the intentions of Russia—when they found that the people had changed their opinions, and, by-the-bye, that change of opinion was first marked at a great meeting in the town I have the honour to represent—they began to see they might adopt a policy that would check Russia. They called for soldiers from India. That, I say boldly, struck terror into Russia. It was not the mere 7,000 troops brought over, but that Russia saw there was an enormous field from which we might draw troops to assist us in our battle in the day of trouble. Then, in order still more to show Russia what was the feeling of this country, the Government asked for a Vote of money from this House, and money is always a touchstone of opinion. It was readily granted; and still more the opinion of the country was shown by the Reserves being called out; and still further, to mark our determination to act, we sent a Fleet into the Dardanelles. The immediate consequence of these steps was a check to Russia. If it had not been for the entrance of our Fleet into the Dardanelles, the Russian Army would have been in Constantinople; and if they had got into that great city, I want to know who would have got them out? If we had followed the advice and policy of the right hon. Gentleman who leads on this side of the House, what would have been the consequences? We should have had the Russians in Constantinople, and we should have been in a most ignominious position. And when the country and the Government alike saw that Russia intended what I say she intended, and when the Treaty of San Stefano still further made it clear what their intentions were, there came these great, most difficult, and dangerous negotiations. There was not a thinking man in Europe that did not look with anxiety for the results. The danger to be expected was, first a war between England and Russia, and it is impossible to say where it would have stopped. The whole of Europe would have been in a blaze, and instead of being, as we now are, in a state of peace and security, with commerce and wealth reviving, we should have been in all the terrors of a bloody struggle with a great Power. It is not that I fear a struggle of that sort as regards England; but still, I hold it to be a terrible calamity when England is forced into war. It is a calamity we ought to endeavour to avoid by guarded language, and by care in our conduct. What has been the result? Instead of war, we have peace. Instead of trouble, we have rejoicing. [Cries of "No, no!" from the Opposition.] But I say "Aye, Aye;" you may say "No;" and I daresay there has been very little rejoicing on that Bench. I feel that I speak the opinion of the country. I have met with large bodies of my countrymen in free and open meetings in that great industrial centre of Yorkshire which I represent. I spoke there as plainly as I am speaking now, and I was received with shouts of acclamation and with praise of the Government. I left that meeting under more auspicious circumstances, and with a greater feeling of the power I had wielded over a multitude, than I ever did before. Why was it so? Because the people of this country, who met me on that occasion, felt that the Rulers of the country had appreciated the interests of the country, that they were a bold and sagacious Administration, and that they did not bear down the honour and dignity of England, but brought her before the world in that position which she ought to hold as a great nation. Now, I have heard some most remarkable arguments on this question during the last week. One comment on the conduct of the Government was that England for the first time had made a great possession of territory. Why, I want to know what has been the whole history of modern England? Has she not conquered by arms the whole of India? Did she not conquer the whole of North America? Is she not now conquering by her arms South Africa? Have we not conquered the Aborigines of Australia? If we had been a weak Power, we could not have done that. We have always been avaricious of dominion, and have acquired it by conquest in every quarter of the globe. Yet we are now told we have falsified all that is said of our past history, every consideration that England has before borne in mind, and that we have hitherto been a modest and unacquisitorial Power. It is said that the Government have made us an avaricious people, and that we shared in the plunder of Turkey; but the result of it all is we have merely got possession of a small Island in the Mediterranean. We have got it, and we hope to make use of it in the interest of mankind. It is said that in doing this we are in a very different position from that which we occupy in India— that we have in India no Power that can control us, and no Power that can oppose or disobey us. That is true now, but our power in India was not built up in that way. In the time of Warren Hastings, of Clive, and of Wellesley, there were great Powers opposing us in India, but in spite of them we conquered. We ran risks, but every Imperial people must run risks, and we do it now. I do not hesitate to say that we now run risks by this Guarantee with Turkey; but I hope the Government will not lightly give up that Guarantee. I hope they will maintain Turkey against Russia, even if Turkey be somewhat backward in the matter of reform. I hope Her Majesty's Government will hold Asia Minor, and, if necessary, that they will bring it to the condition of India. If we do that it will be a gain to Asia Minor. Instead of being, as they are now, badly governed, the people will be a happy people, governed by an honest Government. There is now one further observation I wish to make about Turkey. It is constantly said that Turkey is a Power for which we ought to have no regard whatever. I draw a great distinction between the Government and the people of Turkey. Travellers tell us that the Turk is an honest gentleman, that he is a person whom you can trust, and that when you find him mixed up with other nationalities, he is the one you can trust and with whom you can deal. I have a great sympathy and interest in the people of Turkey, and I can understand the saying of a Russian diplomatist at Adrianople the other day, that he had every Turkish Pasha in his pocket. So I believe he had, from the Emperor downwards, for the Government of Turkey is corrupt—almost as corrupt as Russia. Turkey is a fierce, Russia is a fierce and powerful despotism; that is about the only difference between them. The misery of the people of Asia, if they were transferred from the government of Turkey, bad as it is, to that of Russia, would be so great as to be almost unspeakable. Therefore, I cannot understand that sort of humanity which wishes that the despotism of Russia should supersede that of Turkey. This is my view of the policy of the Government, and, in expressing it, I have not attempted to go into the minute, and in many respects contemptible, details of the subject. The policy is one which has been conducted with great sagacity, and—I am going to employ a term which may, perhaps, occasion some laughter—originality of thought. It has shown a knowledge of our resources, and a mind fully capable of understanding and acting up to the wants and necessities of this country. One step in the Congress, which showed in a marked degree the wisdom and courage of our two principal Plenipotentiaries, was that which had reference to Bulgaria. If they had not done as they have, Austria would have fallen away from us. If they had not shown that England would go to war in the event of Russia continuing her demands about Bulgaria, they would have had to leave the Conference baffled, dishonoured, humiliated. Those two Plenipotentiaries showed that they knew the people of England were ready to go to war if the concession they demanded were not made. They showed them- selves bold men, who thoroughly understood the wishes of the people whom they represented. On all these grounds, and believing that I am simply doing my duty, I shall, fearless of any results that may follow upon my action, give my vote in support of the Government.


Sir, it is quite true that on both sides of the House we have often, and particularly on questions of foreign politics, experienced the misfortune of incurring the disapprobation of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck). In fact, although the hon. and learned Gentleman favours us with his company, he seldom gives us his support, especially in foreign affairs. The last great question, which more agitated this country than any other, and more divided political Parties than any other, arose when the Northern States of America were fighting for freedom and the Southern States were fighting for slavery. The great mass of the Liberal Party, as might be expected, were on the side of emancipation; but the hon. and learned Gentleman was consistently on the side of the Southern States. I remember, also, that in the old days of struggling for Italian liberty against the yoke of Austria, and when the Liberal Party supported freedom, the Austrian Government, in its blackest days, found not only an apologist, but a panegyrist, in the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield. Therefore, I do not complain, nor am I surprised, that upon any question which divides the opinion of the Liberal and Conservative Parties, the hon. and learned Gentleman should be found taking sides with the Conservatives. I am sorry that the hon. and learned Gentleman should have to complain of the scant courtesy shown to him; but he must remember that courtesy is a thing which is essentially reciprocal, and I, for one, cannot forget the language he used when the Leader of the Opposition, in replying to him, said that no man, whatever his age or position, had a right to tell any Party or Gentleman in that House that they did not conduct themselves as honest men. That is what I complain of, and not of the fact that he spoke against the Liberal Party. I believe, with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), that so much has been said about the Treaty of Berlin, that I do not think it necessary to carry the discussion upon it further; but one thing I would say, the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield says we do not rejoice at that Treaty. Rejoice is a strong term, and I should prefer to say of the Treaty what was said of a former document of the same kind—the Treaty of Amiens—by your late Foreign Secretary, whom at one time you so greatly praised, and whom you now so unjustly condemn, that it is a Treaty of which every man was glad, but of which no man was proud. The reason why we do not entirely, or to a large extent, disapprove the Treaty of Berlin, is, that it, to a great extent, embodies and carries out a principle of policy which we have always advocated, and to that extent we are satisfied with it. Ever since 1876, we have maintained that the clause in the Treaty of 1856, which guaranteed the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire, could not be maintained. It was not for us to interfere with and use coercion towards Turkey; but the policy of those who sit on this side of the House has been for the last two years, that Her Majesty's Government ought not to interfere to prevent the coercive action of Russia. The Treaty of Berlin has accomplished all the demands of Russia and more, and without it it would never have been brought about at all. Has the result of that Treaty been beneficial or not? I say it has been beneficial, and on your side of the House you may, to use an old phrase, "detest the sinner, but approve the sin," because you, as well as we, approve the settlement arrived at by that Treaty. But none of these results would have been gained without the Russian War. Without that, would Herzegovina and Bosnia have been handed over to Austria, would Servia have been aggrandized, would Montenegro have been freed, would Bulgaria North of the Balkans have been established, and the Quadrilateral destroyed, and Turkey removed from the Danube? These are the results of the war, and you approve of all these things. There are also provisions for Armenia in the 61st Article of the Treaty, and for Greece, and for the protection of all the Christian Provinces generally; and not one of these things would have been accomplished without the Russian War. How, then, can you complain of us? The noble Lord the Member for Had- dingtonshire (Lord Elcho) says war is a very terrible thing; but we judge of all wars by their results, and we say that that the results of this war are beneficial, and so do you, because you concurred in the Treaty of Berlin. Terrible wars have led to all the best settlements of modern Europe; there was a very bloody war before Greece was emancipated, before Belgium was freed, before Italy was freed, and before Germany was consolidated. It is very easy for us to explain why we approve this Treaty. It is not quite so easy for you to say why you admire it. We contend that the integrity and independence of the Turkish Empire should no longer be part of British policy. Has the Treaty of Berlin affirmed that policy? I think not, and I do not know what has become of the integrity and independence of the Turkish Empire. I will not quarrel about words, nor use the term "partition;" but no one can say that breaking up of the Turkish Empire has not been effected by the Treaty of Berlin. One-third of the dominions of Turkey in Europe has been removed from the sway of the Sultan, and I observe this morning that Lord Salisbury has taken credit for the Congress having removed from the power of Russia a country as large as Ireland, which she had annexed by the Treaty of San Stefano. But did Bulgaria South of the Balkans belong to Russia? If it did, I suppose that Bulgaria North of the Balkans is Russian also. What an indiscretion on the part of the Foreign Secretary! That, at least, is his statement; and if that is true, then you have given the Quadrilateral and the Danube to Russia, and that is the step which you approve, according to the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite. Now, if the integrity of the Ottoman Empire is gone, what has become of its independence? It is impeached at every point, and there is not a line in the Treaty of Berlin which is not inscribed with the declaration of the incapacity of the Turks to govern. In the whole of the dominions of Turkey, both in Europe and in Asia, you have impeached the independence of the Ottoman Empire. The Home Secretary said that under the 61st Article of the Treaty, Turkey is to be the judge of the changes to be made in Armenia, and that the Powers are to superintend their application. I contend that there is no doubt that Turkey undertakes to make certain changes according to the local requirements; but does the right hon. Gentleman argue that that Article does not give the Powers the right to see them carried into effect, and to ascertain whether or not they are sufficient? If, as I said, the integrity and independence of the Turkish Empire are impeached by every Article of the Treaty of Berlin, then the principle for which we have contended is ratified in that Treaty. There was one thing in particular which was promised by the Government, and that was a final settlement of the difficulty. Now, is this a final settlement? Does anyone believe that it is a final settlement? I do not blame the Government for not having made such a settlement, which was very probably unattainable in the state of Europe; but I think that if Russia had had magnanimity enough at the time of drawing up the Treaty of San Stefano, she might have made a final settlement. Had she made provision for the demands of the Greek Provinces—had she offered to the Governments of Europe a reasonable arrangement in reference to Constantinople—then there might have been a final settlement on the only basis on which the question could ever be finally settled, and that is by a dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. But Russia made no such proposal, and I dare say it was impossible for the Governments of Europe to agree amongst themselves as to how that best could be done. What is the consequence of not having made a final settlement? We have severed, it is true, one-third of Turkey from the Sultan; but how have we left the rest? Will Eastern Roumelia be satisfied? Will she not always be longing and expecting to be placed in the condition of Bulgaria North of the Balkans? Why, of course she will. Eastern Roumelia will remember that Russia offered her freedom, and that we took it away from her, and will always be endeavouring to recover it. Then as to the Greek Provinces, how have you left them? I have no desire to embitter the Greek controversy at all. I know I speak with great responsibility upon a question of that kind, but still it is necessary, when these matters come before us, that we should consider them, and consider them seriously; and I do ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he comes to speak upon that subject, to give us some definite information upon the point referred to by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sheffield, as to whether it is true, as stated by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke), that Greece would have had better terms if the English Plenipotentiaries had not opposed their claim in the Congress? A very insufficient reply came from the Home Secretary to what my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich said upon that subject. The Home Secretary said he had not inquired into the matter. He said he had asked the Private Secretary of Lord Salisbury; but we want some better information than that. The noble Lord the Postmaster General has spoken since, Lord Salisbury has spoken since, and referred to other matters in this debate; but they have not referred to the question. Now, I did not understand my hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea to speak on the authority of a newspaper alone. I understood him to say —in fact, he has authorized me to say so—that his information comes from persons of the highest credit and authority. ["Name!"] No; I shall not give the names. And what is their statement? The Government have their secret documents and I have mine; and the information given is that, in conversation before the meeting of the Congress, proposals more favourable to Greece than those which were ultimately brought forward in the Congress, were made by France and Italy, and that they failed in consequence of the opposition of Lord Beaconsfield. That is the statement that has been made, and it ought to be answered. But whether that is so or not, it is certain that the condition of the Greek Provinces is not, and cannot be, a final settlement of the question. You have the declaration of Prince Gortchakoff, that he is willing on the part of Russia to give the same autonomy to Greece as has been given to the Slav Provinces which have obtained freedom. How have they obtained freedom? By insurrection, and by the assistance of Russia. Well, how can you complain if the Greek Provinces follow the example of the Slav Provinces, if they follow the example of Italy, which obtained its freedom in the same manner as Belgium? There is no excuse that their continued subjection to Turkey is necessary to defend Constantinople. That might be a very good reason for you, but it is a very bad reason for them, and they are not at all likely to be content or patient. But then the Prime Minister gave Greece the same advice as he said he would give to a young man who had a future—to he patient. Well, the Prime Minister is probably the best judge in the Universe of what ought to be done by a young man who has a future. His future has been greater than that of his early ambition, great as that may have been; but that future was not obtained by being patient, but by a very different method. It was obtained by vigilance, and by—I was almost going to say audacious—restless activity. Therefore, when Lord Beaconsfield offers advice to Greece to imitate the example of a young man with a future, I think Greece is much more likely to follow the example of the Prime Minister than that which he recommends. Then, the Treaty of Berlin has not been a final settlement. You will have a second Treaty of Berlin, and that before long, which will finish what you have begun. But you have established a precedent in the Treaty of Berlin, and you have settled the principles on which you have chosen to deal with Turkey, not once for all, but on future occasions. You have sot up three competitors—I do not complain of that—for the inheritance of the Turkish Empire. Austria has been placed on the road to Constantinople. I have no objection to Austria going to Constantinople; but that is not very satisfactory to the Turks. It is perfectly plain that what the Treaty of Berlin has done is to provide that, when the dissolution of the Turkish Empire arrives, it shall be partitioned to Austria, Russia, and England. You give the Turkish Government one more chance. By all means let it have one more chance; but, if it fails, then, like the parable of the figtree, at the end will come forth the sentence—"Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?" Then I think the Treaty of Berlin is not the best settlement that could have been made. But it is a fair settlement. It is one with which nobody has occasion to quarrel, I think. Russia must be satisfied, because she has accomplished the objects that she had professed before the war. We are satisfied; and I do not see anybody who is likely to be dissatisfied, except, perhaps, Turkey, and Sir Austen Layard, who, in commenting on the terms of the Treaty of Berlin, said it would lead to the overthrow of the Ottoman Empire. But you say "You have, at all events, brought peace from Berlin." That is not a correct expression, for there was no war when you went to Berlin, though there were some people who were very clamorous for war; and, therefore, you are not entitled to say that you have brought peace from Berlin. What was done was, the Plenipotentiaries modified the conditions of the Treaty of San Stefano—a totally different thing from making peace. Passing to what I would term the Asiatic policy of the Government, I would observe that it appears to me to be presented in two forms. In the first place, it is said that the policy of the Government is to civilize Asia; and, in the second place, that it is essentially a policy for the protection of the interests of England. I observe that in the journals of this morning it is reported Lord Salisbury has stated that the Opposition are in favour of a small England, while he is in favour of a great England. I cannot accept that as a correct representation of the view of the Opposition. The civilization of Asia, I freely admit, is a great and noble object, worthy of an Imperial people. We are not adverse to a policy because it is a great policy, but we want to know whether yours is a real policy; whether it is a policy that you have duly considered the manner of carrying out; and whether you are resolved so to carry it out? because we are for a great England, but we are not for a sham England. We are not for a policy for England which professes a thing which it does not intend, and which it makes no preparation to carry out. That is not a great, but a mean and a shabby policy. Therefore, we ask, what is this policy? And when we get an answer to that question, we find that in the Government there are two voices—one, which I may call that of the maximizers, and the other, that of the minimizers of this Convention. My noble Friend the President of the Board of Trade (Viscount Sandon), in his interesting and eloquent speech, spoke with the inspiration derived from the famous lands in which he had travelled. I do not possess that advantage; but I also cherish the same hope of the regeneration and rejuvenescence of the East—of the restoration to life of those countries which have been the nursing mother of nations, and of that cradle of the Hope and Faith of mankind. That great Asiatic country has traditions the most famous which history records. There, stratum upon stratum, lie the historical deposits of 4,000 years, as decipherable as the geological records. ["Question!"] It is the question. Depend upon it you cannot govern Asia unless you know something about its past. You are not going to tumble into an Asiatic policy one fine morning by a secret document. You must see what has happened in Asia before you know how it is to be governed. You will find there one great race following another, and victor succeeding victor, and that as one race decayed another brought vitality with it. It is not a question of religion, but of race in Asia—Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Parthians, succeeding each other. What is the way in which Asia has always been civilized? It has never been civilized at any time, except by conquerors. I defy you to show me, from the earliest times of these successive Monarchies, any instance in which civilization has been brought to Asia, but by conquest. It is the unchangeable character of the East that makes it necessary for you to take account of these things. There is not that mobility and flexibility in Eastern which you find in Western civilization. You have got Cyprus, and I have no doubt that you will civilize it. And why? Because you are going to occupy it, and to displace the Government which previously held it. Then the question is—are you going to do the same thing with Asia Minor? What is it that you contemplate doing in Asia Minor? My noble Friend the President of the Board of Trade said the question he was always asked in Asia was— "When are you coming?" That is the very question we want to have answered by the Government. I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, after the announcement of my noble Friend— "When are you going, how are you going, and what are you going to do when you get there?" The noble Lord's friends in the East saw him only in the guise of a pilgrim; but they expect him back in a very different capacity, with the Red Cross of the crusader, and he has got as far as Cyprus already. In these days of surprises, there would be nothing very astonishing if the Chancellor of the Exchequer were to tell us that he had got in his pocket the patent of the noble Lord's appointment as Viceroy of Cyprus, Asia Minor, and Mesopotamia. Should he go there, I have no doubt we shall have good government under my noble Friend. He will be able to bring to bear the resources of the Board of Trade—the steam plough, the railways, and the canals; and, from his experience in his previous Department, I nave no doubt he will admirably administer the Revised Code in Mesopotamia, and apply the Conscience Clause in Kurdistan. We want to know whether this is what the Government mean? The main object of the debate is to ascertain what it is the Government intend. My noble Friend asks us to gird up our loins for a noble enterprize; but, before girding up our loins, we want to know what the noble enterprize is? The noble Lord was followed by the Home Secretary. I always listen with attention to everything that falls from that right hon. Gentleman, who has a strong commonsense and business-like way of dealing with things which, in the midst of all this Arabian glamour, is positively refreshing. He always knows what he means, and says what he moans. He knows, also, what the Cabinet means— at least, what it means to-day; no one knows what it will mean to-morrow. But the Home Secretary answers the question of "When are you coming?" by saying, "We are not coming at all." He said that we have undertaken to protect Asia Minor from Russian attack, with the express condition that Turkey is to reform herself; we did not intend to reform her. Now, it is quite plain that the Home Secretary has no intention of girding up his loins, or, indeed, of entering upon any novel enterprize whatsoever, for this is not a novel enterprize to let Turkey reform herself; it is a very old one, which has been undertaken for many years past, with results with which we are perfectly well acquainted. The right hon. Gentleman tells us that we are going again to embark upon the same policy; that we are going to advise Turkey; that we are to confer with her as to what is to be done, and that she is to give us some more of those waste-paper promises of a few years ago. Now, I have no doubt that she will sign any amount of such bills and acceptances as we may present to her; but what will become of them when they arrive at maturity we all know. There is a simplicity about the language of the right hon. Gentleman which I certainly did not expect, but which I cannot help admiring, when he asks why Turkey, knowing the great gain she is to get by our assistance, should run the risk of losing that assistance simply by refusing our advice? Why, indeed? Why did she do it at the Conference, when the Russian Armies were on her frontier, when Europe was pressing her with advice, and Lord Salisbury was telling her she would lose the support of England if she refused it? The Home Secretary says it is an incredible thing that she should refuse our advice. But certain things are indicated as requiring to be done in Turkey, but these are the very things which were refused by the Turks on that occasion. The Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs says—"Oh, we must keep the Pashas for a certain time in office." How is that to be done, if Turkey is to be reformed? How are we to be defended from the intrigues of the Seraglio, unless the Seraglio is itself put down? It seems to me, then, that if we are to accept, not the version of my noble Friend the President of the Board of Trade, but that of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, to be the correct one, we shall have the old miserable story over again. As to the civilization of Asia, do not misrepresent us. We do not complain of you, because your conceptions are so grand, but because your methods are so miserably inadequate. But then you say, apart from this, that the civilization of Asia is necessary to British interests, and that the position there constitutes such a danger because of the apprehended advance of Russia that you must defend it. That is the point of the argument of the Government, and what their whole case depends upon. Well, I challenge the Government on the subject, and I venture to say that they do not believe in the danger to guard against which the Convention is said to have been signed. And I will show that the Government do not believe in it. Why, at the time when the war began, when the Government laid down the landmarks, and pointed out the dangers affecting British interests, not a word was said about the advance of Russia in Asia Minor. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite talked about Egypt, the Suez Canal, and Constantinople and the Straits, and there was, I think, in a despatch, something said about the Persian Gulf; but there was not, in the celebrated speech made by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, defining what constituted British interests, a single word about Armenia. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, too, made a speech about our routes to the East; but he was careful to say he did not mean the land, but the sea routes. There is another speech which was made by the late Secretary for India, who must be assumed to be conversant with the subject; and which, I think, furnishes clear evidence of the views which were entertained by the Government in respect to it. The speech to which I allude was made when Russia was advancing into Asia Minor, and when some alarm was felt in England because of that advance. The noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury), on that occasion, said— It is an anxiety which those who are connected with India feel especially, because, rightly or wrongly, on that policy circumstances have riveted the attention of the world on what is supposed to be connected, directly or indirectly, with the destinies of England. I am far myself from seeing many of the apprehensions which I hear around me. I have a Colonial friend who is very much exercised in his mind, and is in an anxious state as to the Cape of Good Hope. Ho points out that Russia is in Armenia, that Armenia is the key to Syria, and that Syria is the key to Egypt, and by that length of keys long drawn out, he shows that the present victories of the Russians seriously menace South Africa. I have done my best to re-assure him; but I feel that his anxious feelings are only characteristic of the apprehensions which I constantly hear expressed around me. It may be our duty to put forward our strength to defend those indirect interests; but when I say this, I would recommend you, when anyone comes to you with a tale of these indirect interests being in danger, to cross-examine them before you believe their statements. It has been generally acknowledged to be madness to go to war for an idea; but, if anything, it is more unsatisfactory to go to war against a nightmare. I will not say we have no enemy. Though it is generally supposed that this has been conducted against English interests, I believe it may be looked at in another light; but assuming that is so, what is the course? To allow your enemy to choose his own ground; to follow him through his deserts and impassable mountain chains, or to wait till he comes within your own range, where your armies will be able to deal with him? That is the deliberate language about Asiatic dangers held by the very man who signs this Convention. What can we say of the man who deliberately addresses such language to the nation, and 12 months afterwards signs a Convention founded on the very policy he has thus denounced? Who was the first man to denounce such a policy as that to which the Government are committed as "insane?" It was not the right hon. Member for Greenwich, it was the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury), who said that any Government which entered into it would be mad. But that is not all. In the month of August following that speech, in the very height of the war, it can be shown that the Government had none of these apprehensions about Asia. The Government received from Colonel Wellesley the account of his interview with the Emperor of Russia, in which the latter said that in entering into the war, he had no idea of annexation. [Cheers from the Ministerial side of the House.] Hon. Members opposite should wait until I have finished my sentence before they cheer. The Emperor of Russia said he had no idea of annexation, beyond acquiring the territory of which Russia had been deprived in 1856, and certain territory in Asia Minor. Well, all that Russia then demanded has been conceded to her by the Treaty of Berlin. And what was the answer which Her Majesty's Government gave to Colonel Wellesley? They said— We have considered the communication brought from the Emperor of Russia with all the attention its importance deserves. We have received with satisfaction the statement made by His Majesty as to the objects of the war in which he is engaged, and his disavowal of any extensive ideas of annexation. Thus the Government had full knowledge that the Czar intended to annex a portion of Asia Minor, and their action corresponded to their language; because, although they sent the Fleet to prevent the Russian Armies from entering Constantinople, they took no steps to pre- vent Ardahan, Kars, and Erzeroum from being captured, and not a single word was said in their despatches respecting the Russian advance in Asia Minor. This means that if they really entertained the view that the advance of Russia in Asia Minor endangered the position of England, their conduct was insane. Why, in preference to allowing Russia to take Kars, and Ardahan, and Batoum, did we not fight ourselves, instead of leaving it to posterity? The fact is, in my opinion, this zeal for the protection of Asia Minor is nothing but an afterthought, that has been introduced into the Convention merely to cover the acquisition of Cyprus by ourselves, and that has been proved by the language and conduct of the Government. I do not complain of their acquiring Cyprus; but it would have been far better if Her Majesty's Government had boldly declared their intention to annex that Island, instead of pretending that they are going to administer it on behalf of the Sultan, considering the difficulties they will experience in doing so. It is part of the same system that induces Austria to take Bosnia and Herzegovina; but does any man believe that she intends to return those Provinces to Turkey? They intend to do that no more than we intend to give back Cyprus. If we really intended to govern Asia Minor in accordance with the terms of the Anglo-Turkish Convention, we should, indeed, be undertaking a tremendous task. But I do not believe that Her Majesty's Government have any such intention. One of these days there will be an outbreak in Armenia. I saw the Bishop of Armenia the other day, when he was in England, and he told me the following:—"We don't like Russia, but we would do anything to get rid of the Turk. The brutality and cruelty of his government, of which you have heard so much in Bulgaria, are nothing to what he has committed in Armenia." When that outbreak occurs, the dismissal of the Pasha in command will be demanded, and the Porte will pay as much attention to the request as she did on the last occasion. What will you do then? You will re-consider your position. Do not you think you had better re-consider it now? You will throw over the Convention of 1878, just as you threw over the Treaty of 1856, which you constructed. ["Oh!"] You do not disapprove of that Treaty? Then, why quarrel with what I say? It was constructed by an English Government, and when the time came for its use, it was disregarded. So it will be with your Convention. The Home Secretary said the Tripartite Treaty was ten times more important than the Convention. What has become of the Tripartite Treaty? There was no difficulty in calling on France and Austria to help you in defending the integrity of Turkey. Why did you not do it? I will tell you. You know France and Austria would not join you, and you knew the English people would not allow you to act in the matter. Then why should the Convention of 1878 meet with a better fate? You say it was our agitation which tied your hands. That excuse does not lie in your mouths, because you determined the matter before the Bulgarian atrocities. You laid on the Table, on the 25th of May, before they occurred, a despatch, saying that England had changed her mind since the Crimean War, and Turkey must not expect anything but moral support from England. Do not tell us, then, that the Bulgarian atrocities' agitation had anything to do with it. The fate which came to the Treaty of 1856 will come to the Convention of 1878. It must be so. No guarantees can bind posterity to go to war, and risk the loss of the Empire; you cannot compel any generation to stake its reputation. What, then, does this Convention come to? If England wants to go to war, she can do so without the Convention; and although that is not exactly the same as the Treaty of 1856, it must eventually be set aside in exactly the same manner. My belief about it is, that after your failure to induce Russia to give up many of the things she had claimed and obtained, you found it necessary to bring back something, and that something was Cyprus. It would never have done to have bought Cyprus without Cyprus being wrapped up, and you wrapped Cyprus up in this Convention. We are told not to be afraid of this Convention. It is said—"After all, it is not half so onerous a thing as you suppose it to be. It is a conditional Agreement—an Agreement never to come into operation. It is dependent on two conditions; one is that Russia gives up the fortresses, and the other is that Turkey is well governed. Russia will not give up the fortresses, Turkey will not be well governed." From this point, it seems to me that if this Convention were a serious thing, the burden would be intolerable. I am not so much afraid of that. I do not complain so much of the burdens, as that this Convention is utterly delusive. It puts forward conditions which are not intended to be fulfilled; and, therefore, I regard it as a transaction unworthy of English statesmanship and beneath the dignity of English statesmen.


At this period of the debate I do not intend to take up the time of the House by entering at length into the general question; but I am unwilling to give a silent vote, and if the House will bear with me, I am ready to state the reasons which induce me to vote against the Resolution of the noble Marquess. I must say that if I were disposed to enter on a debate, I cannot but think that the speech of my hon. and learned Friend who has just sat down offers me some tempting opportunities. I scarcely think the allusion to the supposed separation of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield from the Liberal Party on the question of the American War was a happy one, when we recollect the expressions used in favour of the Southern States by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone); and I believe that it would not require a great deal of argument to show that there is a very great difference between accepting the conditions of the Treaty of Berlin as the best that could be obtained under the circumstances without going to war, and entirely approving of those conditions. But I proceed at once to the question, whether, assuming the Treaty of Berlin to have received the approval and acquiescence of all parties, as stated by my hon. and learned Friend, the Ministers have done right in concluding the Turkish Convention? I think we may admit that the Berlin Treaty was wisely assented to, for I believe it could not have been resisted without war. Therefore, accepting the Treaty of Berlin as an accomplished fact, with the large accessions to Russia, of territory in Asia Minor, and with the Euxine converted into a Russian lake, I ask, was England to have retired without preventing further encroachment on the part of Russia? What would have been the effect of the retirement of England without any practical protest, but that Russia would have had the command of Constantinople at any time, while the Sultan would have been nothing more than the Emperor's vassal? It is said—and I believe truly said—that the Agreement with England anticipated but by a few days the offer to Turkey of a Convention on the part of Russia. Had, therefore, Turkey been abandoned and left unprotected, Russia would certainly have been mistress of her capital. I value this Convention for two reasons; first, because it expresses a determination on the part of England that Russian aggression shall cease; secondly—and I value it the more on this account—because it goes farther, and expresses, also, the determination that this country shall again, take its place in the Councils of Europe. I know there are hon. Gentlemen who say what is it to us whether Russia gets Constantinople or not? But I think those who speak thus of Russia's getting possession of that city ignore the fact that this is not merely a question bearing on our road to India. Far higher things are involved. Napoleon had no road to India to care for when he and Alexander met at Tilsit and entered into a public Convention, and when a secret Convention was also discussed according to the terms of which they were to divide the world between them. Napoleon has given us his record of this conversation, and of the offer made to him by Alexander, which he described as giving up to him the sovereignty of the world on condition of his allowing Russia to hav6 Constantinople. Napoleon's words were— I was taken by the desire to drive the Turks out of Europe, but I knew what the possession of Constantinople was. I gave up half the Empire of the world rather than give Russia that narrow Strait; and, saying this at St. Helena, he expressed no regret for what he had done. Was Napoleon no judge of the effect of allowing Russia to have command of Constantinople? But let the House bear with me, while I read from a high authority a description of Russia's aggression. I read from Lord Brougham's Political PhilosophyWith Ivan began that course of conquest which Russia has ever since been pursuing in every quarter, extending her vast frontiers on all points at the expense of all her neighbours; and although it must be admitted that what she at first took from Poland and Lithuania was, for the most part, a recovery of possessions which in remote times had been taken by those States, yet she very soon began to carry her arms where no such pretext existed for the aggression on the European side of the Empire, while on the Asiatic frontier the pretext never existed at all. The march of Russian conquest has been uniformly the same. War was made on some frivolous pretext, generally for the protection of some weaker Power against a stronger neighbour; often for the protection of some Province against the Government to which it belonged. Conquests were made; a peace concluded, and part of the conquests were given up as the price of retaining the rest; and if this was prevented either by the defeat of the Russian arms in another quarter, or by the interposition of neighbouring States, little or no territory was gained for the present; but a foundation being laid for future intrigues, a new war was soon waged, and the acquisition of dominion followed. Does not this exactly apply to the Crimean War and the recent war with Turkey? He continues— Even where successful operations made this delay unnecessary, the whole of the Provinces overrun were not at first retained. A few years of peace only elapsed before hostilities recommenced, and then the extension of Empire was fully effected. Sometimes it happened that, having taken too much at first, the despoiled neighbour began the war in order to recover what he had lost, and the result of the hostilities was generally to confirm the whole conquest formerly made. Thus, it generally cost her in one way or another two if not more wars to establish her power in each of her conquests, and they who regard the interests of humanity and peace, which are one and the same, can derive but little consolation from the reflection that the same events which have so deeply injured the cause of national independence have also been fatal to the tranquility and improvement of the world. Now, let us see what was the extension of Russian territory from the end of the 17th century to the time this was written. Lord Brougham, in his description of this, says— The progress made in all directions by Russia since the end of the 17th century—that is, since the accession of Peter the First—may be represented to the mind by considering the space over which she has spread herself, and the number of subjects she has gained. Her conquests from Sweden are more extensive than what remains of that extensive Kingdom; they stretch through 15° of latitude; her conquests from Turkey extend through 20° of longitude; her conquests from Persia extend through 8° of longitude; and her conquests from Tartary through more than 35°; while of Poland she has acquired, by successive partitions, territory of between 10,000 and 11,000 square miles, with a population of between 7,000,000 and 8,000,000, besides all she had formerly obtained in Courland and the Ukraine. Her frontier has been advanced towards the West—that is, into Europe—700 miles; on the South towards Constantinople, 500 miles; and towards India, 1,000 miles. That is the Power with which we have to deal. What has happened since this was written? Georgia has become a Province of Russia; the Circassian mountaineers have been trampled down? and Russia is approaching Persia. Is this system, which has been pursued since the days of Ivan, to stop at Mount Ararat? Does Russia intend to stop? Why should she stop more now than at any previous period of conquest? Do you think she does not intend to go on? And was England to retire from the Congress after the abandonment of the Tripartite Treaty, admitting her conquests in Asia Minor, and raise no protest against that system of conquest being extended? I believe that had England done that, she would have parted with all her influence in the East; she would have lost all her influence in Europe, and Russia would have acquired that sanction for her future aggression which was denied by the Treaty of 1856. Have the Ministry done right? I may not approve of all they have done; but this is not a question of small details. The Resolution moved by the noble Marquess is really a congeries of small objections— I had almost said cavils—raising no one distinct issue upon which an opinion can be formed. Therefore, I feel the Anglo-Turkish Convention to be a protest against further aggression on the part of Russia. Is it in the interests of peace that Russia should think that England would retire? I am told that we may have to go to war again; but this very declaration of England will, at all events, give us peace for some years to come. It is asked, Why was this Convention entered into without its being communicated to Parliament? That is a great question. It touches the Prerogative of the Crown. But secret Treaties made by Ministers of the Crown are not unknown in English history. Perhaps the most remarkable of these is the secret Treaty made during the sitting of the Congress at Vienna, where Russia and other Powers met to apportion the territories surrendered by France. On that occasion, Russia thought herself en- titled to so much that a secret Treaty was entered into between France, England, and Austria, to resist her excessive demands. It is to the biographer of Mr. Canning that we are indebted for the curious story that this Treaty was signed in the bedroom of Lord Castlereagh. It was kept so secret, that the three Ambassadors were reluctant to meet where their meeting might be the subject of observation. They met at a ball in the mansion of Lord Castlereagh, retired separately and unobserved from the ball-room, signed the Treaty in the bedroom of the British Minister, and returned again to the ball-room. For weeks they met each day in Congress Representatives of Russia with that secret Treaty unrevealed. It was never disclosed to Parliament, for the return of Napoleon put an end to the necessity of communicating it. Is it possible to raise a graver question, or one more affecting the very foundations of our Monarchy and Constitution, than by asking us to express an opinion as to how far the Sovereign ought to take the advice of Parliament in the conclusion of a Treaty? But how is it put in this Resolution? As a matter entirely subordinate to the mere question of Epirus and Thessaly. We have no opportunity of laying down any doctrine that will bind future Parliaments, or be a guide to the Sovereign in his relations with them. We are simply asked to express regret that this Treaty was not communicated to Parliament. If it were necessary to raise the question of the relations between the Queen and Parliament, no question ought to be put more solemnly and precisely; but by the terms of the Resolution, it would appear that the interests of the British Constitution were even smaller than those of Thessaly and Epirus; therefore, I decline to vote for that Resolution. I give my vote upon the great question—Have our Ministers done right in concluding this Anglo-Turkish Convention? and I believe, in my conscience, that they have done right. Is there nothing in vindicating the position of England in the Councils of Europe? Is there nothing in the Ministry having vindicated the rights and independence of the Western Nations? I think England was losing her place in the estimation of foreign Powers; and I believe that was owing to our Ministers being under the influence of the principle of "peace at any price," which, if carried into practice, will generally end in war at any cost. I cannot help remembering what was said in this House in the year 1815 by a great Irishman, Henry Grattan. When Napoleon returned from Elba, engagements were entered into by the Representatives at the Congress as to what should be done. A Message was sent by the Regent to Parliament, to the effect that some Treaties had been concluded at the Congress, which he laid before them, and that some engagements had been entered into which he did not communicate. An Amendment to the Address was moved by Lord George Cavendish, expressing the anxious desire of the House of Commons to support any Treaties into which His Royal Highness had entered; but humbly submitting that they would not be justified in declaring their approval of stipulations of which they were not informed. It would be seen that the complaint was that they were asked to approve of the extent of liability undertaken, not that the Treaties had not been communicated to Parliament. But returning to Henry Grattan. I say he gave to Great Britain a significant warning of the effects of departing from her true place in the Councils of Europe. His speech was upon the subject of the expense of a war with Buonaparte, and ended with these words— Recollect that your Empire cannot be saved by a calculation: besides, your wealth is only part of your situation—the name you have established, the deeds you have achieved, and the part you have sustained, preclude you from a second place among nations; and when you cease to be the first, you are nothing."—[I Hansard, xxxi. 430.] It is strange that this is almost an expansion of the words used in Parliament by his great rival in the Irish House of Commons, Henry Flood, and who was a Member of the British Parliament when the Revolutionary War began. His words were— You have dared to take the first place, and the nation that once has done so, ceases to exist as a nation when it descends to the second. I am quoting the words of one great Irishman, uttered before the war began, and repeated by another at its close. It is idle, I say, to talk now of responsibilities. England has responsibilities already, created by her name, by what she has achieved, by the extent of the Empire she has founded, and by the Colonies and commerce which she has established in every part of the globe. She cannot descend from her high position and let it be believed that she has ceased to be a living and moving Power, while Russia works her wicked will upon the nations of the earth. This is no" Party question. I will not give my vote in the sense of my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Plunket) who moved his Amendment as a Vote of General Confidence in the Government. I think it better for the Government and the country that this wise act which they have done should be approved by men who, like myself, are unwilling to be classed among their adherents. This is a matter which may affect future generations. I am not going to speculate upon what might happen at the dissolution of the Turkish Empire; but if it be true, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oxford (Sir William Harcourt) has said, that the day is coming when an attempt will be made to apportion it between Greece, Austria, and Russia, I say it is most important that England should assert her place and be promptly on the spot. I, therefore, express my humble hope that to-night this House of Parliament, representing the United Kingdom, will give a marked and emphatic support to the action of the Government. I might have supposed that the Liberal policy would have been against Russia; that the Liberal policy would have been against the most intolerant, the most bigoted, and the meanest despotism in the world. I do not understand the liberality that supports the despotism of Russia. Who is supporting the despotism of Turkey? No one; although I believe the despotism of Turkey is nothing like so bad as it has been described. Let me ask, when has Turkey flogged nuns in their convents as Russia has done? Or has Turkey a Siberia, to which, like Russia, she sends her best men? I say we are dealing with the most intolerant, the most bigoted, and, at the same time, the meanest despotism that ever trampled on the rights of man. It is against this we raise our voices. I do not believe that Russia will seek the Euphrates Valley. She will make her advances through Central Asia. But England has now stepped forward and said she will resist all further aggression by Russia on the Asiatic territories of Turkey; and but for that action of Her Majesty's Government, Russia might have seized upon Constantinople, with all the influence and power attaching to its situation, which Napoleon so justly estimated when, rather than it should fall into her hands, he resigned the Sovereignty of half the world.


said, he would only detain the House for a few moments before the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer rose to address it. But he thought someone should endeavour to calm the House after the alarming speech of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt), who had spoken as if this country were about to go to war with Russia. He had been astonished that evening to hear the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho), whom he found was even more in favour of peace than himself. The noble Lord said he looked upon nothing with so much horror as a war on behalf of religion and humanity. Well, if a man would not go to war for the sake of religion and humanity, there was nothing in the world that would induce him to go to war. He hoped the House would listen to him for a few minutes. Of course, he could not expect to meet with the sympathy that had boon accorded to his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Limerick, or to the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck); for speeches delivered from one side of the House in favour of the other were sure to meet with approbation. For his own part, he must say that he rejoiced at the peace which was said to have been made; but which, in his opinion, had only been maintained by the Treaty of Berlin. He did not so much find fault with the Amendment moved by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, for it only expressed satisfaction at peace being restored, and the hope that all that had been done would ameliorate the condition of other nations, and promote the well-being of this Empire. In all these sentiments he most entirely concurred; but it was strange that on an occasion like the present, when the policy of the opposite Party had been challenged by the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition, the Amendment which had been moved on behalf of the Government did not contain a single word respecting confidence in the Government. The main question which the House had to decide was, whether the peace which had been concluded was a peace with honour, and that was the question upon which the House could substantially divide. He was very glad that there would be a division on that question, because it was one which ought to be voted upon by that House before the Dissolution of Parliament took place. They had been told by the hon. Member for Mid-Kent (Sir William Hart Dyke), who had made a sort of official announcement the other day, that no Dissolution of Parliament had yet been decided on by the Government. He was sure that the hon. Gentleman stated what he believed to be the truth; but the very statement coming from the Government that there was to be no Dissolution made him believe that there very likely would be one. Not that the Government would wilfully lead them astray; but because they had got into the habit lately of making statements which hon. Members on his side of the House had been unable to understand. The Prime Minister, for instance, the other day said there was a harbour at Batoum, which would hardly hold six ships; and when it was explained to him that it would really hold 13, he observed that he had only made a picturesque statement. These picturesque statements of the Government were becoming too common. On the first day of the Session they had a picturesque statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to the effect that no money would be asked for until the Russian terms were before the Cabinet; and yet, within a week, the right hon. Gentleman came down to the House and asked for money, while still uninformed as to what those terms were. Then they were told before the Easter Recess that no great steps were in contemplation with regard to the Eastern Question; but 48 hours afterwards, they heard that all the savages and cutthroats of India had been brought to Malta.


rose to Order. He wished to know whether it was right and fitting to describe any portion of Her Majesty's Army as savages and cut-throats?


I am bound to say that the expression is not becoming. But, at the same time, I am not in a position to call upon the hon. Baronet to withdraw it as being un-Parliamentary.


observed, that after that expression of opinion from the Chair, he would certainly withdraw the words he had used; but he thought it right to inform the hon. and gallant Member opposite that they were used only in a Pickwickian sense. The Anglo - Turkish Convention seemed to him to have been concluded from an unworthy fear of Russia; and he thought that that was condemnation of the policy of the Government only two years ago. They all remembered that when the Bill was brought in to make Her Majesty Empress of India, the House was told, in a memorable speech which no one could ever forget, that if they could only make the Queen Empress of India, there would be no fear that the Czar would ever attack the Indian Possessions of the Crown. Another reason why he should vote for the Motion of the noble Marquess was, that he did not think Parliament had been properly treated with reference to the matter. They had been called together three weeks earlier than usual that year, as they were informed, for the purpose of giving advice and assistance to Her Majesty's Government; and, if he were not putting it too strong, he must say that Parliament was called not to be consulted, but to be insulted. Parliament had never been able to get any information on any matter in connection with Eastern events; the Ministry acted without consultation with Parliament, and then Parliament was simply informed that certain things had been done. He must be understood to express his condemnation of the way in which matters were carried on at the Congress, of which they had heard so much. The history of that secret Treaty was one of the most humiliating things that could possibly be conceived. While telegrams were being sent to this country relating what the Plenipotentiaries were doing, the whole matter was concluded by a Treaty which one of the Plenipotentiaries had in his pocket. He could not understand how so many English Gentlemen could stand up and advocate such a proceeding as that. In his opinion, taking the secret Treaty from the Foreign Office—as it was well known a certain gentleman did—was not so very much worse than making that secret Treaty, and using it behind the back of Parliament. He could not help thinking that when the banquet of to-morrow would be given to the Prime Minister at the Mansion House, some other body of men should get up some sort of a dinner to be given to Mr. Charles Marvin. As the case had been brought before a Court of Justice, and dismissed, he might say that, in his opinion, the two transactions stood very much upon the same footing. He knew, of course, that they would be in a minority that night, and that hon. Members opposite would cheer when the numbers were announced; but he also knew that when this matter came before the country, the Opposition would not be in so great a minority as some people thought. Two days ago, he was reading one of the Prime Minister's novels, and he was struck by one expression he found in it. It was said—"Time and thought are great disenchanters.'' When reading that, he said to himself that time and the tax-gatherer would disenchant the people of this country from many illusions. They had been told by the Marquess of Salisbury that they should take up a share of Imperial interests. He believed that in a short time the nation would take up the line of common sense, and that these transactions would then be regarded in a way very different from that in which they were contemplated at present. He should vote for the Resolution with his heart and soul, because he believed that it was intended to be a censure upon the Ministry, who, in his opinion, by their tortious foreign policy, had damaged the fair fame of English statesmanship, and had laid a heavy burden unnecessarily upon a people already heavily taxed. They had blindly entered into a most serious expense, which, although it might not be severely felt at present, would be a grievous burden in times to come.


said, he should not vote upon this question, because he belonged neither to the Liberal or the Conservative Party, and, as a Member of the Home Rule Party, he did not feel himself bound to act with either. No doubt, hon. Members on both sides of the House would remember—and if they did not he would remind them—that there was a time when the English Liberals had only to put a Resolution on the Paper, and all the Irish Members were bound to follow in their wake. But that time had passed, and there was now a third Party, that followed English Liberals no more than English Conservatives. At the same time, he had one charge to bring against the Government. "When the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) spoke of the terrible despotism of Russia, he was cheered to the echo by the Conservatives. He was reminded of the part taken by the Conservatives in reference to Poland at the time of the late war. They said it was necessary that something should be done for Poland. He remembered reading in the chief Jingo journal—The Daily Telegraph —that 200,000 Poles were in the Russian Army. The writer suggested that there should be a rising, and that Poland should re-assert itself, and a Committee was formed in London for the purpose of promoting an insurrection. Now, the English Parliament would say that it was very sorry for Poland, but would give it no help to rise against its enemy. No doubt he should be told that the Government had no official knowledge of the insurrection; but could they deny that they had unofficial cognizance of it? At the Berlin Congress no English Plenipotentiary dared say one word for Poland; for it was known that they would be told that England had her own Poland, and should settle her own affairs before calling on Russia to look to hers. The Home Rule Party had been taunted in that House with having no great interest in Imperial affairs. Why should they have any interest in them, until they found the right position of their country within the Empire accorded her? The Irish Members were brought there, but they had no interest in Imperial affairs until the wrong inflicted on Ireland had been undone, and she was placed in the same position as Hungary had obtained in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was reminded by the debate and the crisis through which they had passed, that this country had other enemies besides Russia. He very much feared that there were many bitter enemies of this country beyond the Atlantic—men who had been driven away from Ireland. Great as might be the merit due to the Earl of Beaconsfield for his services in establishing peace between England and Russia, greater merit would be due to him if he made peace between England and Ireland. It was the duty of the Government to make peace between England and Ireland, for they would thereby disarm Irish Americans, and make Irishmen at home contented. In the question of Prerogative which had been raised in the debate, he took no great interest—except that he knew that after suffering for want of a Parliament for 78 years, by a stretch of the Prerogative, a Parliament could be held in Dublin. Therefore, no Irish Members had any great interest in checking the Prerogative. He felt sure that Her Majesty's Government could conclude no better or truer peace than one with Ireland.

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER and Mr. SULLIVAN rose together, there being loud cries for the latter, who, however, at length gave way.


I am sorry to have to stand between the hon. and learned Member for Louth and the House; but I feel that it would be disrespectful to the House, if I were not to say a few words upon the subject which has engaged our attention for several nights. No one can doubt that the matter which has been brought under the notice of this House by the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition is one which well deserves the mature and careful consideration of the British Parliament, and I may say especially of the House of Commons. No one can doubt that this subject has been worthily brought forward by the noble Lord, and that it has been worthily discussed in the course of the four nights we have spent in debate upon it. If the Resolution of the noble Lord be open to observation, it is open to that made just now by the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt), that it raises so many questions that it is difficult to select those which should be discussed, and that it is difficult to keep the discussion to the points which are raised. That, however, is not the fault of the noble Lord. It was, indeed, his duty to call attention to this subject, and I think he has done well in selecting the form of Motion which he has made in order that he might challenge, as a whole, the policy of Her Majesty's Government, and that he might call upon the Government to make a statement on behalf and in explanation of that policy. No doubt, questions of great importance have been raised. There have been questions not only as to the details of this or that Convention or Treaty; but there have also been questions as to the exercise of the Prerogative, the military condition of the country, and various other matters with which I need not now detain the House. Many of those questions are of such magnitude that they might each have been the subject of a separate debate, though it is right that they should have been considered in the present discussion. I will endeavour, in the few observations with which I shall trouble the House, to follow the lead which the noble Lord gave us in the opening of his speech. He said that it was not, in his opinion, right that we should compare the state of things that has been produced by the Treaty of Berlin with the state of things produced by the Treaty of San Stefano. He said—"You ought to take a wider range, and, instead of comparing the effects of the Treaty of Berlin with the effects of the Treaty of San Stefano, you ought to compare them rather with the effects of the Treaty of Paris in 1856— you ought to see how far that which has now been done modifies the effects of the arrangement which was made in 1856." Well, subject to a qualification, I accept that view of the noble Lord; but the qualification I subject it to is this—that, in comparing the effects of the Treaty of Berlin with the effects of the Treaty of Paris, you must not leave out of sight the intermediate stage — the effect and the meaning of the Treaty of San Stefano. Now, what was the general policy which dictated the arrangements of 1856? What was the key-note of that policy? It was the maintenance of the Turkish Empire as an integral part of the system of Europe. The Treaty was concluded, as we are often told, for the maintenance of the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire. We have heard the observation—"What has now become of the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire?" Undoubtedly, in a certain sense, the arrangements of 1856, which must be regarded as having been more or less experimental, have failed. The history of the period which has elapsed since the Treaty of 1856 proves that the experiment has, to a certain ex- tent, failed, and also throws much light on the causes that have led to its failure. I am not quite sure that we shall all agree as to the meaning of the expression I have quoted; but undoubtedly the general intention of Europe at the time of the Treaty was to maintain a strong Power in South-Eastern Europe, which should be a guardian of the Straits, which should be the possessor of Constantinople, and which should suffice to maintain the balance of the other Powers of Europe, by the rule of the Turkish Emperor. The reasons for that policy were such as commended themselves to all the statesmen of Europe at the time; but the experiment has failed from a combination of three causes. In the first place, there was, undoubtedly, a failure on the part of the Ottoman Porte to govern the whole of that country of which it had the charge in a manner that was satisfactory. Secondly, there was—what we cannot shut our eyes to—so large an amount of intrigue on the part of some other Powers as to render it difficult, if not impossible, for the Porto to carry on its government. Thirdly, there was a certain amount of apathy and negligence on the part of some of the Powers who had been parties to the arrangement of 1856; they failed to do what was in contemplation when the Treaty of 1856 was made—they failed to do what they might have done—to assist the Porte in the better carrying on of its government. When I say that, I make no secret that among the Powers I so accuse, and perhaps at the head of those Powers, was our own nation. I must say that I think all the evidence shows that there was—I do not say it was inexcusable—I do not say that there was no palliation or explanation of our conduct—but there was a most unfortunate apathy on the part of the people of this country, in not keeping a proper watch over what was going on in Turkey, and in not exercising the influence which it was in their power to exercise. I think that things went further —I think we could point out occasions, and many occasions, upon which England may be actually said to have encouraged Turkey to go into large expenditure, to contract debt, and to embarrass herself by adopting Western ideas, and, at the same time, abstained— designedly and avowedly abstained— from interposing in any way to modify the faults of her Government. I will not attempt at this time of night to quote passages on this subject; but I could point to despatches of Lord Clarendon in the earliest days of the Administration of 1869, in which it was laid down in the most distinct manner that England, in consenting to enter into the Conference on the affairs of Greece, must make it a matter of stipulation that the Conference must confine itself to the particular subjects before it, and not go into any of those general questions. That was the case again at a later time, when the Black Sea Treaty was revised.


wished for the date of the despatch to which reference was made.


The date is December 29th, 1868, and if my right hon. Friend wishes, I will read the despatch. It is from Lord Clarendon to Lord Lyons— Now, it appears to Her Majesty's Government that the Powers should, at the outset, carefully guard themselves against taking any active part, beyond the mere suggestion of bases of reconciliation, in the settlement of the dispute between Turkey and Greece. Her Majesty's Government are of opinion that it should he clearly understood amongst the Members of the Conference that their recommendations are in no case to be supported by any intervention, whether requested by or imposed on either or both, on the part of their Naval Forces. I need scarcely say that Her Majesty's Government cannot contemplate the employment of coercive measures to enforce against cither party the recommendations of the Conference. If these recommendations are not accepted by both, the only alternative which Her Majesty's Government can admit is that the Powers will have no other course open to them but to withdraw from further interposition in the dispute. On the day following, there was another despatch on the same subject— It is sufficient for the present purpose that I should authorize your Excellency to make known to M. de Lavalette that, with the distinct understanding that no other question shall be mooted at the Conference save that of a settlement of the differences between Turkey and Greece, and that no proposal shall be brought forward affecting the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, or involving interference in the internal administration of Turkey, or with the rights of the Sultan over his subjects, Her Majesty's Government agree to be represented in the Conference. I am not making any special charge upon this occasion; but I am illustrating from such passages as these the spirit in which the British Government then looked at questions affecting the integrity and the internal affairs of Turkey. I say that that was one of the concurrent causes that led to the failure of the experiment of 1856. Well, Sir, but now what happened? The result of all that was the disturbances in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the failure of the attempts made to pacify Turkey, and the various incidents of the Servian War, the Constantinople Conference, and all the rest with which the House is familiar; and, finally, the war with Russia, ending with the Treaty of San Stefano. And when the failure of the arrangements of 1856 had become most manifest—when the very purpose for which those arrangements had been entered into had broken down, and it was shown that no Power would come forward and assist Turkey in her struggle with Russia—at that moment it was that we took up the thread of affairs, as we had taken part in the proceedings before. You must look at affairs as they were at the time of the Treaty of San Stefano, and consider the course taken by the Government in order to re-establish what they thought deserved to be re-established. What was the key to the purpose of the arrangements of 1856? The maintenance of a Power strong enough and independent enough to be able to act as guardian of the most important positions in Europe. What would have been the effect of the propositions of the Treaty of San Stefeno? Entirely to destroy that arrangement. I will not ask now what the effect might be upon the different races that were subject to Turkey. I will look at the matter from a European point of view—from that point of view which those who made the arrangements of 1856 would have taken— and I say these arrangements were completely broken down when the Treaty of San Stefano was concluded. Now, look at the general effect of the Treaty of Berlin. That Treaty has, to a very considerable extent, undone that part of the work of the Treaty of San Stefano which destroyed the arrangements in principle of 1856, and has, to a considerable extent, replaced it by one more durable. It is perfectly true that we are twitted with the question—"What has become of the cardinal point of the Treaty of 1856? What has become of the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire?" And we are told that because the Ottoman Empire has lost a considerable part of her territory and many of her subjects, we cannot talk of her independence and integrity. The hon. and learned Gentleman who spoke just now (Sir William Harcourt) made very merry over this view of the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire; but while he was speaking it occurred to me that he is a Member of the great Liberal Party, which some years ago was stronger and very much more numerous than it is at present; but I suppose that, though it has lost a large number of Members in this House, although they no longer occupy the position they did four years ago, I suppose that we are not to be told that, therefore, the independence and integrity of the Liberal Party are gone? If they are strong enough for the purposes they have to perform, we need not trouble ourselves about them; and so, if we are satisfied that the Turkish Empire as it stands under the Treaty of Berlin is strong enough to fulfil its functions, we may rest very well satisfied without inquiring how much territory and how many subjects it has lost. No doubt, the arrangements which have been made involve considerable sacrifices on the part of Turkey; but they are sacrifices which I firmly believe do not weaken, but rather strengthen her. You do not weaken her by taking from her Provinces the affairs of which she was unable to administer, and which had become foci of intrigue and difficulty; rather you strengthen her by so concentrating her power as to enable her better to manage the territory which she still possesses, and by giving her a frontier which, though contracted, still leaves her strong enough to be the guardian of those important interests to which I have referred. But, in dealing with this question on grounds of general policy, we are met by two objections. In the first place, we are told that we might have done all this long ago, before the war commenced, and without the necessity of all that terrible loss of life and fearful human suffering which we have witnessed. Well, it is really very difficult to argue the question of what might, or what might not have been done. For my own part, I am entirely unable to say what might have happened under certain circumstances. But I still believe that if we had attempted to put pressure on Turkey at the time when it is said we ought to have pursued that course, and if we had attempted to take mea- sures which would practically have involved us in war with her, I believe Turkey would have resisted it, that she would not have given way, and that her high spirit—her obstinacy, if you will—would have led her not to consent to those sacrifices she has had to make until by the hard necessities of stern warfare it was made manifest to her that she must submit to superior force. There may be those who may think differently; but I believed at the time—and I believe now, and everything which has happened since only strengthens my belief—that if we had gone to war with. Turkey for the purpose of enforcing these arrangements, the suffering would have been greater and the war more terrible, and more prolonged, and more serious, even than it has been, because the object was to localize the contest as far as possible, and to prevent that great upset which, if it had occurred, would have led to something in the nature of a general scramble, and would, perhaps, have ended in a European war. Then, it is said—"After the terms proposed by Russia in June, you might strongly have recommended the Porte to accept them." But the Porte would not have done anything of the sort. The Porte, but a few weeks before, refused much more moderate propositions pressed upon her by Europe, and she certainly would not have accepted those of Russia, because she believed in her powers of resistance; and had we pressed those terms upon her, we should have done no good; but should, on the contrary, have lost the only chance of being able, at the proper time, to mediate with advantage. Well, then, we are told there are a great many defects in the arrangements we have made; and, certainly, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich has taken a very different view of this Resolution from that which the proposer took. The noble Lord, in proposing his Resolution, welcomed, upon the whole, the arrangements of the Treaty of Berlin; but the right hon. Gentleman, though, to a certain extent, admitting that the Treaty had done great things, yet took occasion to find fault with every Article in it. His language, in fact, amounted to this—everything that was good in the Treaty was in spite of the Government, and everything that was bad in it was in consequence of the action of the Government. I will not attempt at this time to detain the House by going into details; but the right hon. Gentleman considered that on every question which arose, about which there was a difference of opinion, the influence of the British Plenipotentiaries was given not on the side of freedom, and he gave instances to prove what he said. Well, Sir; but let us consider what the whole position of the British Government had been in the matter. You never would have had this Conference, you never would have had this Treaty, had it not been for the action of the British Government. Allow me to ask whether the arrangements of the San Stefano Treaty were more in the direction of freedom than those of the Treaty of Berlin? Though upon each particular question that arose you may find that the Plenipotentiaries took this or that line, and you may be disposed to question their action, yet you must remember that they had to enforce what was practical against what appeared most attractive on the surface. It must always be borne in mind what has been done by the British Government in bringing about that settlement, as a whole, outweighing altogether the minor questions of detail. I am not at all disposed to admit—though I am as ready as any man to recognize the great faults in the Administration of Turkey—I am not by any means disposed to admit that everything that was done to add to the strength of Turkey, and to place certain populations and territories under the Ottoman Government, was necessarily an action in a direction opposed to freedom. I deny that. I think it is a libel upon the Government of Turkey, so to describe their action. [Laughter.] I hear a laugh. Let us take one or two points. In the question of commerce and trade, is Turkey not much more liberal than Russia? In the question of the freedom of religion, is not the Government of Turkey honourably distinguished among those Governments which are contrasted with her? Aye, even in questions of political liberty, Turkey will bear comparison. We do not forget the gallant stand that Turkey made when she protected political refugees from a neighbouring country. Therefore, while I admit, most freely, the evils—the cardinal evils—of the Government of Turkey, I deny that you have a right to speak of her as entirely and necessarily antagonistic to freedom. Then we have had this serious charge made against us —and it is an important point—upon the conduct of the Government with regard to Greece; and on this we have been told many things it is hard to bear. We have been told that England neglected the interests of Greece; that we betrayed the interests of Greece; that we misled Greece; that we prevented Greece from taking the line which it would have been for her interest and her desire to have taken at an earlier period—that, in fact, it was England which disappointed the hopes of Greece. I must say the language which has been used on this point has been at times most painful to listen to; but it has been less painful, because we feel there is no justice in it. We feel, however, we may regard the moderate expression in the noble Lord's Resolution of regret, that we have not found it possible to do something more satisfactory for Greece; but all that was practicable was done; and, as far as we are concerned, we can stand up, and, looking Greece in the face, say—"Not only have we not injured you, but we gave you the best advice for you to follow—advice from which you will reap advantage. It was through taking our advice that you were spared the horrors of a war which would have undoubtedly have inflicted on you the greatest possible suffering, which would have extended the area of conflict, and out of which it is exceedingly doubtful whether you would have derived any advantage at all." We are told that others thought differently, that the French Plenipotentiaries came forward with proposals which others at the Congress would have been prepared to accept if England had not put her veto upon them. I entirely deny that there is any justification for such a statement as that. That the English Plenipotentiaries entertained views, with regard to the impossibility and impracticability of giving Thessaly and Epirus to Greece, is perfectly true; that the English Plenipotentiaries, in private conversations with their Colleagues, represented these matters, I believe is equally true. I have no doubt that in private conversations these views were freely expressed; and I am not disposed to doubt, though I am not aware of the precise information upon which the statement rests, that there may have been occasions upon which our Representatives, or, possibly, one of them, may have in conversation expressed strongly his views of the impracticability of proposals which may have suggested themselves to the minds of the French Plenipotentiaries. I do not dispute the fact; but I say, holding the views Her Majesty's Government and Representatives did, it was perfectly right. I say, it would have been deluding Greece to come forward and make proposals which would after have led to nothing, which would certainly have been refused by Turkey, and which would probably have led to the failure, or to a great reduction, of the labours of the Congress. The feelings of Turkey seem to have been set aside in all these matters; and I think one cardinal error we are apt to fall into, when we are dealing with Turkish questions, is to omit to consider Turkey. Sir, it would have been quite impossible to have attempted to have pressed upon Turkey the arrangement for giving Thessaly and Epirus to Greece—against the will of Turkey—it would hardly have been tolerated. If the French Plenipotentiaries, or anyone else, had said—"If this arrangement is not accepted, we are prepared to enforce it," it would have been a different matter; but it was not so; and if the suggestion was ever entertained, it was in a loose and unpractical form; and when it came to be discussed, such strong objections were urged against it that the Plenipotentiaries held this language. M. Waddington said— With regard to Greece, it is not, of course, the object of the Congress to afford satisfaction to the extravagant aspirations of certain organs of Hellenic opinion; but M. Waddington thinks that it would be an equitable and politic act to annex to her populations which would be for her a source of strength, while they are but one of weakness to Tin-key. To accomplish those objects, his Excellency considers it necessary to abstain from exaggerated pretensions. But his Excellency considers it necessary, on the one hand, not to demand from the Porte impossible sacrifices; and, on the other, to appeal to the moderation of Greece. And, therefore, he made the proposal which was accepted by the Congress, and which had its origin in the suggestion of the British Plenipotentiaries; and what was that proposal? Largely to extend the frontier of Greece, to give Greece more territory, I believe, than is given to any one of the other Powers under the settlement—more than to Servia, Montenegro, or Roumania. I understand that was the case. At all events, it was a large and substantial concession; and, looking at the question from first to last, looking at the advice we gave which was good for her, considering the strong influence which Her Majesty's Government brought to bear on the Government of Turkey to prevent them from attacking Greece, which they were very much tempted to do, considering all that was done and all that was prevented, we cannot look on the case as regards Greece with anything like dissatisfaction. I will not go further into the arrangements with regard to the Treaty of Berlin, but I will say a few words with regard to the Anglo-Turkish Convention. With regard to that Convention, it had precisely the same object we had in view in the regulations agreed to in the Treaty of Berlin. The object was to assist in maintaining the Turkish Empire, as it would be left after these arrangements, so as to give some hope for its stability and security. It was important that the Empire should be maintained in some strength — it was important that it should be as well governed as circumstances would admit, and it was clear she would be exposed to influences with which she had had to cope before, and which would become much more serious by Turkey being weakened; therefore, there was little hope of a long or durable peace in these Provinces, which would have enabled Turkey to introduce the reforms that are necessary. It is all very well to say that the Government of Turkey is an abominable Government, and the sooner it is got rid of the better; but two questions arise—how is it to be got rid of, by what process, and at what cost? and, secondly, what are you to put in its place? Until these questions can be properly answered, it is our duty and interest to maintain Turkey in as strong a position as practicable, consistently with the good government which may be introduced into her Dominions. It was with that double object that the Anglo-Turkish Convention was concluded. I am asked whether there are any other engagements? There are none. It is perfectly true there have been very confidential communications between the different European Powers on matters of considerable importance; but all the engagements that have been entered into which would bind this country have been disclosed and made known to this House—I speak, of course, excluding provisional agreements made before the Congress. The House is aware that there were such agreements, made with a view to our great object, to insure confidence and bring the deliberations of the Congress to a practical issue. But all that we are bound by is the Anglo-Turkish Convention, now upon the Table. When speaking of these arrangements, we are told we are undertaking that which is really absurd; that we are proposing to attempt to reform a bad Government; that it is out of the question we should do so, and that we do not mean to try. Well, it is not altogether unnatural that some of our critics should be incredulous on this subject, because they probably look back on their own experience. I can assure the House that, though we enter upon the task with no feeling of boastfulness or self-confidence, we do intend and hope that we may succeed in bringing about material improvements in this country. If we are asked— "What is the object we have in view?" or, as the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) puts it—"Do you think it your duty to go and improve the populations of Asia Minor?" my answer is, we do not go simply for the sake of improving the condition of these people, though it would be a very great source of pride and satisfaction to us if we were able to do so; but we make these arrangements with a view to our own interests, with a view to protect the communications between one part of our Empire and another—our communications with India, and to maintain the position we hold in India. We are told we are adding to our responsibilities. I say, we are not adding to them; we are recognizing them. I say it is necessary for us to do so if we would guard the Empire we have in charge. There are those, I believe who think it would be desirable that we should, as quietly and as quickly as we can, retire from the position we hold in India, and contract our Empire to the limits of our own country, and possibly some of our Colonies. It is all very well to hold out such a policy as that. It would be an intelligible policy, and might be approved by a small minority; but it is not one that would be approved by the majority of this House. And if we are to maintain our Empire, we must consider where the dangers are that threaten it, and what necessities there are to guard it. I say these dangers change from time to time, as circumstances change, and it is no use to tell me that some years ago there was no danger. Undoubtedly, the march of Russia against India would not be directed through Asia Minor. That is not the sort of danger one is afraid of. What we are afraid of is the influence of Russia amongst the Indian populations, which might shake the influence of England amongst those populations. We are told the route of Russia towards India is not through Asia Minor, but through Persia and. Central Asia. It would only be adjourning the difficulties which we should then have to meet, perhaps at a time when we were less able to cope with them. In the course of this debate we have heard several references to historical parallels. Interesting references have been made to the history of Rome; but I think a more apt parallel might be found in another part of ancient history. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe) might have remembered a little more in detail the peculiar circumstances under which the growth of the Macedonian Power commenced. I think there are curious points of parallelism in reference to the early growth of the power of Philip of Macedon. What was the state of Greece at that time? Its greatest military power — Sparta — was for a time paralyzed and weakened. The great maritime Power of Athens was divided by the struggles of parties in her own bosom; she had a small war party, and a large peace party. The latter were men whose views were honourable, no doubt, but of such a character that they shrank from plunging their country into war, and interrupting commercial pursuits, in order to check the growing and advancing ambition of their great Northern neighbour. What happens after that? Philip of Macedon takes one point after another, and then he makes himself champion of the Amphictyonic Council—the great Congress, as it were, of Greece— until at last the Athenians find themselves completely out-generalled and defeated, and they and the liberties of Greece with them are at the mercy of the conqueror. The other day I looked at a great historian of that time, and I cannot help extracting a passage, which I hope the House will forgive me if I read. Mr. Grote says that the people of Athens doubtless had many infirmities, and committed many errors; but the worst error of all—during the years 333–336— was their aversion to the pecuniary efforts required for prosecuting the war against Philip. Then the historian goes on to say— Of the peace party, there were, doubtless, some who acted corruptly; but many others of them, without any taint of personal corruption, espoused the same policy more because they found it easier, for the time being, to administer the city under peace than under war, and because war was burdensome and disagreeable to them, as well as to their fellow-citizens, and because they either did not or would not look forward to the consequences of inaction. I think the history of that time—and there are other parallel points with which I will not now detain the House— ought not to be lost sight of in the present case. But there is one other matter on which I think it necessary to make a few observations. I have endeavoured to explain to the House the general objects of the Treaty of Berlin and the Anglo-Turkish Convention. But we are challenged not only upon the merits of our policy, but upon the mode in which we have proceeded in bringing that policy to a point. We have had some very ugly words applied to us from time to time; but I think it is better we should take as little notice of those hard words as possible, and I console myself sometimes, when I hear language such as has been freely used against us, with the reflection of a clever French writer, who says that his opponent calls him all sorts of names—an assassin, a thief, an infidel, a heretic, Judas, Cain, and all the rest of it, and then quietly adds—"Je ne me soucia pas de tout cela; c'est sa façon de dire qu'il n'est pas de mon avis." When I hear such immoderate language made use of, I am led to make the same reflection. But, Sir, I gladly own that the noble Lord is a man of a different calibre. It is asked by the hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Sir William Harcourt) how a Convention which was never submitted to the Congress, and had never received the approval of Europe, was, in the view of the Government, consistent with the declarations it made to Europe? He also wanted to know whether it was admissible for us to assume such a right of interference as we denied to Russia under the arrangement of 1856; and he proceeded to ask how we reconciled our conduct in the matter with the declara- tion that we made to Europe. There is another point upon which we have been challenged. We have been challenged upon the Agreement which it is well known—and it is no use trying to conceal the fact—was an Agreement made with Russia before we entered into the Congress of Berlin. Upon both of these points I think we stand perfectly clear, and in a position which requires no real justification. With regard to the original Agreement with Russia, my noble Friend the Postmaster General has put the matter in its true light before the House. What was the situation in which we were placed? When my noble Friend the Marquess of Salisbury took the Seals of the Foreign Office, he issued a Circular about which much was said at the time, and concerning which much has been said in this House to-night. In that Circular he pointed out the great objections which England felt to the Treaty of San Stefano; and what happened? In the first place, we had a great amount of approval from those who disapproved of the Treaty of San Stefano, and we also had a great many criticisms from those who objected to the course which Her Majesty's Government had taken. The main criticism upon the Circular was, that it was all very well as a negative piece of criticism, but that its chief fault lay in the fact that it did not point out what we were prepared to accept. That language was used not only by critics in this country, but it was addressed to us by, I think I may say, all the different foreign Governments with whom we were in correspondence. I am not going too far in saying that the Circular of my noble Friend commanded the general approval of all the foreign Governments with whom we were in communication, and every one of those Governments more or less directly said to us—"You have done very well so far; but go a little further, and let us know what it is you mean to do?" I will here, with the permission of the House, quote the opinion of my noble Friend the Earl of Derby on this point. I quote my noble Friend's expression of opinion upon this subject with the greater satisfaction, because it is contained in a speech printed and circulated by "The Eastern Question Association," with a view to show what the course of England ought to have been in the matter, and that the course actually taken was wrong. When that Association meets with a passage in a speech which particularly commends itself to them, they put it into extra large type. This opinion of the Earl of Derby is treated in that manner— Now, my observation is that a Conference or Congress is a very convenient agency for putting on record in the most formal manner international decisions which have already been come to in substance; and in these days, when we can ask a question and get an answer from the furthest end of Europe within 24 hours, it is just as easy to ascertain opinion, and almost as easy to conduct negotiations, outside a Congress as within. If I had to deal with the matter, I should endeavour to keep the Congress alive, saying and doing nothing to prevent its ultimate meeting, but letting it stand over until the way was smoothed by private and separate negotiations between the Powers concerned. And further on he says— I should have placed our views directly before the Russian Government, and discussed them point by point. The opinions of other Governments would not have been difficult to obtain. On many points we have got them already, and I think that many of the results of a Congress might be attained without the rather cumbersome machinery of a Congress itself. That is exactly what we were doing. We addressed ourselves to the various Powers, and not to Russia alone. There were communications going on between Her Majesty's Government and the various Powers as to matters that would have to be discussed in the Congress. Undoubtedly, if we had gone into the Congress without any understanding with any Power, and without knowing what such Power was going to say, in the first place, a great deal of time would have been wasted, and, in the second place, the Congress would certainly have broken up, and the result would have been—I need not say what. Therefore, the course which we took was a perfectly legitimate and fair one, and one which it was important we—as having a great object in view—should take. No complaint has been made with regard to that course, except in this country. There was no complaint that we were dealing in any way unfairly by the Congress. All these questions were fully and freely discussed in the Congress, although it was perfectly well understood that, on certain points, there was an Agreement between England and Russia, and that we should not break up the Congress, and go to war. We did not by that abandon our liberty of discussion. On the contrary, we expressly reserved it. It was perfectly well understood that we reserved our liberty of discussion; and, on more than one point, we succeeded in obtaining modifications. Then we are told there is something extraordinary, something unprecedented, something very mean and shabby, in going into Congress with arrangements and agreements already made between some of the parties. That observation is applied not only to this arrangement with Russia, but also to the Anglo-Turkish Convention. I say there is nothing extraordinary, nothing unprecedented, nothing not entirely justified by the precedents of former times. I could easily give cases, from the days of the Treaty of Vienna, and other times; but I go to a later period. I take the year 1856, and I go to the arrangement of the Congress of Paris; and I ask whether it was not the case that France, Austria, and England went into that Congress with a private arrangement between them already made? And we have executed and ratified a separate Treaty very similar, though, of course, with some small difference, to that of which we are now speaking. They made the Tripartite Treaty and Guarantee while the Congress was still proceeding, and they never communicated it to the Congress, nor to the British Parliament until after it had been ratified. Our course has been directly in accordance with precedent, and I say that we adopted an understood and perfectly legitimate mode of carrying on diplomatic transactions. But I do not like to stand on mere questions of form. I say that, in point of substance, it was perfectly well known to the other Powers that England stood in a different position from those Powers in respect of Asiatic questions. From repeated communications we had with them, it was understood from the first what the feelings of other nations were, and also that they were well aware of ours. It was perfectly well understood that we were not to look for assistance from other countries in bringing about a settlement as to the Asiatic conquests of Russia, and that in that matter we must stand alone. They were willing to consult with us on the questions of Bulgaria and the Dardanelles; but in respect of the Asiatic question, we had no assistance whatever from them. On the part of Russia, also, we found that she was unwilling to listen to proposals for the relinquishment of her conquests in Asia; and, under these circumstances, it was right and proper, and I venture to say it was not only right, but it was to be expected, we should look after our own interests, and should make arrangements by which we should do for Turkey in Asia what the other Powers were doing for Turkey in Europe. It is all very well to say that our only object was to get possession of Cyprus, and, at the same time, to inform us that Cyprus is a burdensome and not a profitable possession. I do not say that it is going to be anything but a burden, in the sense in which you use the term. But the object we had in view was to maintain Turkey in Asia strong enough to guard the passages that were required to be guarded, and it was necessary that we should come to some arrangement with the Porte which would give us a right and a voice in the matter. It is all very well to say we need not have given a guarantee. But we wanted to show the Porte that it might rely upon us, and in that way we got a lever to enable us to induce the Porte to make such reforms as we may agree upon. No doubt, we asked for Cyprus partly with a military object, partly because we found it was important for us, if we should ever have occasion to place troops in the Levant, to find a station better and more convenient than Malta. But the main point we had in view was the safeguarding of the Asiatic Possessions of Turkey, and in order to do so, it was perfectly obvious and necessary that we should do our best towards the improvement of their Administration. How are we to do that? I admit that it is a difficult task; but we have undertaken it, and we have undertaken it soberly and seriously and in earnest, and we do not believe it is impossible. I do not say that in the course of six months or a year you can produce in that country perfect tranquillity, and establish a Constitution and immaculate Government. No, Sir; there are difficulties, and great difficulties, which have to be met, and which it will take time to eradicate. What is one of the great causes of that difficulty? It is the weakness of the Porte, not its malice or evil-mindedness. It is therefore necessary that you should strengthen the Empire of Turkey materially and morally. You must do honour to the Sultan as a Sovereign, while adopting, at one and the same time, the best and firmest measures to enable further reforms to be carried out. About those reforms there is no great mystery. They relate to the revenue system, to the judicial and the police system; and I think there will be no great difficulty in finding men who will assist in making the improvements which we want to introduce. I maintain it would be absurd, wrong, and obviously futile, for me to enter into details on such a subject at the present time. We have not these details cut and dried, although we have clear ideas as to the kind of reforms which we wish to see carried into effect. The revenue system is, perhaps, the first point upon which a Government and people must come into contact; and, therefore, demands the first attention. But there are other matters as important, to which I need not now particularly refer. This, however, I may say—that if we fail in this great task, it will not be for want of entering upon it with a determination to do our part to fulfil it. We feel that it is a task which, in India, has not overstrained the administrative capacity of Englishmen, and we think we may rely upon such men as those who have created that great Empire to do everything in their power to aid us. I earnestly trust that in the work we are about to undertake we shall have, not only the support of the Sultan and the Government of Turkey, but also the moral support and cordial goodwill of other nations who are equally interested with ourselves in maintaining good government and tranquillity in these possessions. We do not occupy this position in rivalry with, or to the exclusion of, any other Power; but for purposes that are of common value to all, and in which we hope to be regarded only as the pioneers of civilization. I hope, Sir, that in this great task we may be sustained and cheered by that which is, after all, the greatest support of British Ministers—I mean the confidence and support of our own countrymen.


Sir, I ask the House to acquit me of any egotism if, at a time and under circumstances so unusual, I interpose. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may, at all events, take into account for me that they have just had the supreme advantage of a speech in their behalf, delivered from these Benches, with his accustomed eloquence and ability, by the Leader of that Irish Party to which it is my honour and pride to belong. That speech creates for me the necessity which I plead as my excuse, when I ask to be allowed in a few brief sentences to vindicate the vote I am about to give, and to vindicate as far as I may that land whose voice has never been given against liberty. This is the first vote I shall have given on any of the many issues raised in this House on the Eastern Question throughout two years. Like my Irish Colleagues, I have shrunk from whatever appeared like mere Party manœuvres, and to-night I speak as no partizan. I may say now, as I said last year, there are no men in this House who can hold the scales of judgment more impartially and independently on this question than Irish Members. For as none here can feel as we do against Russia as one of the destroyers of Poland, so we who have known what it is to suffer can also feel, as few others may, for subject Christian races groaning under a Moslem yoke. From that independent position I judge this issue tonight; and I, for one, shall not support the Vote of Confidence in Government proposed by my eloquent countryman opposite, the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University (Mr. Plunket). I do not say—I do not believe—that the Government have been as often wrong in this matter as their hostile critics of the Liberal Party have from time to time alleged. On many of those points I thought the Government right, and entitled to praise and support; preeminently so in their demand that the Treaty of San Stefano should be laid in its entirety before Europe. And tonight, in so far as they adopt and stand by the Treaty of Berlin, I would give them my vote of approval. In so far as that Treaty has followed the lines of the San Stefano Treaty, as substantially it does, I hail it as a great public good; the effectuation of a blessed work of redemption and liberty. [Cheers.] Ah! I missed that word from the speech of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt). I felt a sort of pride when I heard those rapturous cheers with which the Government Benches hailed his every sentence, as far as those cheers could be thought to be homage to his genius and ability. I wished they were given to him when, with still more glorious eloquence, he pleads the cause of Ireland to a silent and hostile array. But to-night, his voice was all of Britain's greatness and Britain's glory; of Russia's acquisitions and lust of territory. Russia's lust of territory, indeed! Had he no word to say of England's? As I listened to his quotations describing Russia's annexations, I almost fancied it was a page from the history of British rule in India, or a passage from the impeachment of Warren Hastings. I call upon my hon. and learned Friend to say, in the face of the country, if England is the Power to appear as Russia's accuser, or anyone's accuser, as an annexationist? But we are not to be deceived by the pretence that this is a mere question of Russia or Turkey. My hon. and learned Friend put it so, but it will not do. We may hate Russian annexation as much as he, and yet give all our sympathy and aid to the work of salvation and liberation in South-Eastern Europe. Why did my hon. and learned Friend, when arguing as if we must needs have Turkish rule or else Russian rule—why did he not deal with the other and true alternative—namely, that of independent or semi-independent States or Principalities? Would this be to favour Russian aggrandizement? Just contemplate actual facts; judge by what has happened before our eyes. Roumania is free. Is Roumania Russian? Why, Sir, so far from that, if she had not been deserted by England, and repulsed by Europe, Roumania would the other day have measured swords with that same Russia. So with Herzegovina, with Bosnia, with Montenegro, so with the new Bulgaria. Ah, Sir! it is but trying to play on our feelings of antipathy to Russia, this endeavour to make it all a choice only between Turkish rule and Russian rule. I tell my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Limerick, he has not faced the real substance and meaning of the question before us. There is in all this business the gigantic issue of liberty or slavery for millions of the Christian race. For my part, I bless the work that has been so far done. Does he rejoice that we hail in this hour the appearance of a new member of the Euro- pean family? A new State has been born, and terrible has been its baptism of blood and fire. Has he no word of cheer for this child of liberty, young Bulgaria? And if, indeed, he rejoices— if hon. Gentlemen do really rejoice, and do not secretly grieve, at this much of what the Berlin Treaty has confirmed, whom have we to thank for such a glorious work? By the price of whose blood and treasure has this work of liberty been accomplished? Not by yours. Would that it had been. It might have been so; but you would not. Whose sword, then, must my hon. and learned Friend and myself thank for this? Why, the sword of that Russia which he rises here to assail; not the sword of that England of whose glories he is so tender. I can tell him that often ere now even despotic Powers have been the agencies of liberty. It was so when, joining this same Russia, England and France 50 years ago broke the fetters of Greece— yea, Turkish fetters; and I invite my hon. and learned Friend to name, if he can, a European war that England entered on, for 80 years, in which the heart of Ireland went with her save and except those two occasions on which, in Greece and in Syria, at the call of chivalrous Christian France, England struck the Turkish Power. And now, by the secret Convention of June, you have, on the one hand, sold yourselves to be the prop and mainstay of this Power; and, on the other hand, set the evil example of annexation. ["No, no!" "yes, yes!"] You guarantee Turkey in Asia on Turkish promises of reform. We have had all this before, and what came of your Guarantees of Turkish authority on condition of reform? Why, that the reform went to sleep, and your Guarantee merely upheld the old régime of corruption, tyranny, and fraud. And this is what must go on from age to age, forsooth, because we dislike Russia. Yes, I, too, abhor some deeds of Russia; but who else has been the friend of the Christian races in the East? My hon. and learned Friend appealed to our religious emotions, as if Catholics must necessarily side with Turkish rule. I would remind him that it was the voice and the influence of a Catholic Pope that gave to European history the victory of Lepanto. Whatever historic associations we, as Irishmen and Catholics, possess in Eastern affairs, are all—thank God!—on the side of the Cross, not the Crescent. The last man of my name, one in whom perished the chieftainship of an Irish clan, fell sword in hand on the ramparts of Belgrade. The memory of the gallant Pole, John Sobieski, has not faded from the world. Yes, Sir, all our associations, as Irishmen and as Catholics alike, are with the cause in which those men fell. The blood they poured on that Eastern soil is avenged to-day. May we not say it bears rich fruit in the resurrection of the Christian flag which waves over free Bulgaria?


Sir, I know the House, after four nights' debate, is anxious for a division; and at this hour of the morning I should have felt disposed, under ordinary circumstances, to waive the privilege I possess of making a reply upon the whole debate, had it not been for one omission which I unfortunately made in my speech on Monday, and which has so often been referred to. Therefore, I could not altogether pass it by without giving rise to some misinterpretation. It was observed by my hon. Friend (Sir Charles W. Dilke), that I made no reference to the Prerogative, and my hon. Friend immediately attributed that omission to the proper cause; and, although the more ingenious intellect of some hon. and right hon. Gentlemen have discovered other reasons, the explanation of the omission is the one suggested by the hon. Gentleman. The fact is, I intended among the other subjects which, imperfectly, as I am aware, I brought before the House, to mention that question of Prerogative; but, owing to the multiplicity of subjects under my attention, the few sentences I intended to devote to it entirely escaped my recollection. In alluding to it now, I will not detain the House for any length. Sir, I do not for a moment deny—I do not think it possible to deny —the right of the Crown, on the advice of responsible Ministers, to do certain acts, and to conclude Treaties. It is quite unnecessary for hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to argue at great length to show that that has been on all occasions the practice. That I entirely admit. But what appears to me is this—that the successful working of our Constitution depends to a very great degree—I may say mainly—on no one of the powers of the Constitution being over-strained. In my opinion, the Constitutional right of the Crown has been unduly strained by the exercise of it upon this occasion. Well, Sir, it is said that Treaties have been entered into without the knowledge of Parliament, and among the cases which have been put forward, there is none which has been more frequently alluded to than the Tripartite Treaty of 1856. Sir, I maintain the circumstances of all these Treaties to which reference has been made are entirely different to the circumstances under which this Treaty has been made. I will not go into a number of cases; but take the Treaty of 1856. Parliament and the country were perfectly aware with what objects the war with Russia had been entered upon, and they knew the main points which the Plenipotentiaries had to consider at Paris. Parliament and the country knew that the war had been fought for the maintenance of the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire, and they also knew that the Plenipotentiaries in Paris were endeavouring to conclude a Treaty which should give final effect to the object for which the war had been waged. The Tripartite Treaty was a means for obtaining the object for which we went to war—in fact, it was a continuation and execution of a policy perfectly well understood and approved. But what is the case now? We have been told over and over again—we have been told especially by the noble Lord the President of the Board of Trade (Viscount Sandon) —that this is the initiation of a new policy. But I doubt whether—and I have good reason to doubt—it is any policy at all, and that it is really nothing more than a temporary expedient. What is the policy which, up to the present time, Her Majesty's Government have been pursuing, and which has had the assent of Parliament? It has been a policy of neutrality in the war with Turkey; it has been a policy of abandonment of the principle of preserving the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire—in fact, it has been a policy of strict neutrality, with certain reservations as to certain specified points —a policy of leaving Turkey to her fate. But in this Convention, we have the beginning of a policy of a totally different character—we have, in a revived condition, the policy abandoned in Europe. We have, in this, every previous proceeding of the Government reversed. If any observations were necessary to show how unexpected and how unnecessary this policy was, I have only to refer to the astonishment and excitement caused, both in this House and in the country, by the announcement of this Treaty. Sir, I say this Treaty has been concluded under circumstances totally different to those under which any other Treaty has been concluded. Although I do not say it would have been necessary that the Government should have laid that Treaty upon the Table, yet I do say, after a declaration of policy made to the House and the people, before they embarked on a totally different policy, the House might have been and ought to have been consulted. I say there has been a straining of the Prerogative of the Crown in this matter, and I venture to say that in time to come it will be far more difficult than it has hitherto been to maintain that practice of the Prerogative of the Crown. Now, Sir, I feel that there have been one or two remarkable omissions in the course of this debate to which I must call the attention of the House. We have been addressed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Treaty of Berlin generally, and more especially with regard to the Anglo-Turkish Convention. Sir, we have been addressed by the Home Secretary, we have been addressed by the President of the Board of Trade; but we have not been addressed on the subject of the military and naval obligations in which the Anglo-Turkish Convention involves us. It is somewhat remarkable that we have not been addressed either by the Secretary of State for War, or by the First Lord of the Admiralty, nor by the Under Secretary of State for India. Sir, I think it would have been of interest to the House to hear from one of those authorities in what way the acquisition of the Island of Cyprus adds either to our military or naval power? I think it would have been desirable if we had been answered by some of those Gentlemen as to points urged frequently in the course of this debate as to the nature, the extent, and the possibility of our meeting the onerous engagements we have assumed in respect to the protection of Turkey against Russia. But not one word have we heard in explanation of these matters. Then there is another important fact on which no explanation has been made by the Government. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oxford (Sir William Harcourt) called very especial attention to the declaration which was made by Lord Salisbury, the present Foreign Secretary, a little more than a year ago, on the subject of our position in regard to Asia Minor and Armenia. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not touch upon that part of the question at all. He did not explain the reasons which had induced Lord Salisbury to make so total and complete a change in his opinions on that subject in the course of 12 months. I cannot help arriving at the conclusion—and I think the House will be disposed to do the same—that this is not a deliberate policy on the part of the Government, that this is not the policy which occurred to the Government this time last year, but it is a policy which has occurred to them simply in order to carry off the failure of all the professions they have made, and to induce the country to accept a result so different from that which they were led to expect from the Berlin Congress. There has been no other explanation of this extraordinary change given by the Government; and in the absence of that explanation, I cannot come to any other conclusion than that this policy is not the result of conviction, but only a makeshift to avoid what would either appear to be a diplomatic defeat or the waste of a great deal of unnecessary preparation that was made.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 195; Noes 338: Majority 143.

Acland, Sir T. D. Brassey, H. A.
Allen, W. S. Brassey, T.
Anderson, G. Briggs, W. E.
Ashley, hon. E. M. Bright, J. (Manchester)
Backhouse, E. Bristowe, S. B.
Balfour, Sir G. Brocklehurst, W. C.
Barclay, A. C. Brogden, A.
Barclay, J. W. Bruce, Lord C.
Barran, J. Burt, T.
Bass, A. Cameron, C.
Bass, H. Campbell, Sir G.
Baxter, rt. hn. W. E. Campbell-Bannerman, H.
Bazley, Sir T.
Beaumont, Colonel F. Cave, T.
Bell, I. L. Cavendish, Lord F. C.
Blake, T. Chadwick, D.
Blennerhassett, R. P. Chamberlain, J.
Chambers, Sir T. Kingscote, Colonel
Childers, rt. hn. H. C. E. Knatchbull - Hugessen, rt. Hon. E.
Cholmeley, Sir H.
Clarke, J. C. Laing, S.
Clifford, C. C. Law, rt. hon. H.
Cole, H. T. Lawrence, Sir J. C.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Lawson, Sir W.
Collins, E. Leatham, E. A.
Colman, J. J. Leeman, G.
Corbett, J. Lefevre, G. J. S.
Cotes, C. C. Leith, J. F.
Courtney, L. H. Lloyd, M.
Cowan, J. Lowe, rt. hon. R.
Cowper, hon. H. F. Lubbock, Sir J.
Cross, J. K. Lush, Dr.
Davies, D. Lusk, Sir A.
Davies, R. Macdonald, A.
Delahunty, J. Macduff, Viscount
Dilke, Sir C. W. M'Arthur, A.
Dillwyn, L. L. M'Arthur, W.
Dodds, J. M'Laren, D.
Dodson, rt. hon. J. G. Maitland, J.
Duff, M. E. G. Marjoribanks, Sir D. C.
Duff, R. W. Marling, S. S.
Dundas, J. C. Massey, rt. hon. W. N.
Earp, T. Meldon, C. H.
Edwards, H. Middleton, Sir A. E.
Egerton, Admiral hn. F. Milbank, F. A.
Fawcett, H. Monk, C. J.
Ferguson, R. Morgan, G. O.
Fitzwilliam, hon. C. W. W. Morley, S.
Mundella, A. J.
Fletcher, I. Muntz, P. H.
Foljambe, F. J. S. Murphy, N. D.
Forster, Sir C. Noel, E.
Forster, rt. hon. W. E. Nolan, Major
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Norwood, C. M.
Gladstone, W. H. O'Conor, D. M.
Goldsmid, Sir J. Palmer, C. M.
Gordon, Lord D. Palmer, G.
Goschen, rt. hon. G. J. Parker, C. S.
Gourley, E. T. Peel, A. W.
Gower, hon. E. F. L. Pender, J.
Grant, A. Pennington, F.
Grey, Earl de Perkins, Sir F.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Philips, R. N.
Hankey, T. Playfair, rt. hon. L.
Harcourt, Sir W. V. Plimsoll, S.
Harrison, C. Portman, hon. W. H. B.
Harrison, J. F. Potter, T. B.
Hartington, Marq. of Ralli, P.
Havelock, Sir H. Ramsay, J.
Hayter, A. D. Rathbone, W.
Henry, M. Richard, H.
Herschell, F. Roberts, J.
Hibbert, J. T. Robertson, H.
Hill, T. R. Russell, Lord A.
Holms, J. Rylands, P.
Holms, W. St. Aubyn, Sir J.
Hopwood, C. H. Samuelson, B.
Howard, hon. C. Samuelson, H.
Howard, E. S. Sheil, E.
Hughes, W. B. Sheridan, H. B.
Hutchinson, J. D. Simon, Mr. Serjeant
Ingram, W. J. Sinclair, Sir J. G. T.
Jackson, Sir H. M. Smyth, P. J.
James, Sir H. Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.
James, W. H. Stanton, A. J.
Jenkins, D. J. Stewart, J.
Jenkins, E. Stuart, Colonel
Johnstone, Sir H. Sullivan, A. M.
Kay - Shuttleworth, Sir U. Swanston, A.
Tavistock, Marquess of
Taylor, P. A. Whitwell, J.
Temple, right hon. W. Cowper- Whitworth, B.
Williams, B. T.
Tracy, hon. F. S. A. Hanbury- Williams, W.
Wilson, C.
Trevelyan, G. O. Wilson, I.
Villiers, rt. hon. C. P. Wilson, Sir M.
Vivian, A. P. Young, A. W.
Vivian, H. H.
Waddy, S. D. TELLERS.
Waterlow, Sir S. H. Adam, rt. hn. W. P.
Weguelin, T. M. Kensington, Lord
Whitbread, S.
Agnew, R. V. Clowes, S. W.
Alexander, Colonel Cobbold, T. C.
Allcroft, J. D. Cochrane, A. D. W. R. B.
Allen, Major Cole, Col. hon. H. A.
Allsopp, C. Coope, O. E.
Allsopp, H. Cordes, T.
Anstruther, Sir W. Corry, hon. H. W. L.
Arbuthnot, Lt.-Col. G. Corry, J. P.
Archdale, W. H. Cotton, W. J. R.
Arkwright, A. P. Cowen, J.
Arkwright, F. Crichton, Viscount
Ashbury, J. L. Cross, rt. hon. R. A.
Assheton, R. Cubitt, G.
Astley, Sir J. D. Cuninghame, Sir W.
Bagge, Sir W. Cust, H. C.
Balfour, A. J. Dalkeith, Earl of
Barne, F. St. J. N. Dalrymple, C.
Barrington, Viscount Dalway, M. R.
Barttelot, Sir W. B. Davenport, W. B.
Bates, E. Deedes, W.
Bateson, Sir T. Denison, C. B.
Beach, rt. hon. Sir M. H. Denison, W. B.
Beach, W. W. B. Denison, W. E.
Bective, Earl of Dick, F.
Benett-Stanford, V. F. Dickson, Major A. G.
Bentinck, rt. hon. G. C. Digby, Col. hon. E.
Bentinck, G. W. P. Douglas, Sir G.
Beresford, Lord C. Drax, J. S. W. S. E.
Beresford, G. De la P. Duff, J.
Beresford, Colonel M. Dunbar, J.
Birley, H. Dyott, Colonel R.
Blackburne, Col. J. I. Eaton, H. W.
Boord, T. W. Edmonstone, Admiral Sir W.
Bourke, hon. R.
Bourne, Colonel Egerton, hon. A. F.
Bowyer, Sir G. Egerton, Sir P. G.
Brise, Colonel R. Egerton, hon. W.
Broadley, W. H. H. Elcho, Lord
Brooks, M. Elliot, Sir G.
Brooks, W. C. Elliot, G. W.
Bruce, hon. T. Elphinstone, Sir J. D. H.
Bruen, H. Emlyn, Viscount
Brymer, W. E. Errington, G.
Burrell, Sir W. W. Estcourt, G. S.
Butt, I. Ewart, W.
Buxton, Sir R. J. Ewing, A. O.
Cameron, D. Fellowes, E.
Campbell, C. Finch, G. H.
Cartwright, F. Floyer, J.
Castlereagh, Viscount Folkestone, Viscount
Cave, rt. hon. S. Forester, C. T. W.
Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G. Foster, W. H.
Chaplin, Colonel E. Fraser, Sir W. A.
Charley, W. T. Fremantle, hon. T. F.
Christie, W. L. Freshfield, C. K.
Clive, Col. hon. G. W. Galway, Viscount
Close, M. C. Gardner, J. T. Agg-
Gardner, R. Richardson- Leighton, S.
Lennox, Lord H. G.
Garnier, J. C. Leslie, Sir J.
Gathorne-Hardy, hn. A. Lewis, C. E.
Gathorne-Hardy, hn. S. Lewis, O.
Gibson, rt. hon. E. Lewisham, Viscount
Giffard, Sir H. S. Lindsay, Col. R. L.
Giles, A. Lloyd, S.
Gilpin, Sir R. T. Lloyd, T. E.
Goddard, A. L. Lopes, Sir M.
Goldney, G. Lowther, hon. W.
Gooch, Sir D. Lowther, rt. hon. J.
Gordon, W. Macartney, J. W. E.
Gore-Langton, W. S. Mac Iver, D.
Gorst, J. E. M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J.
Goulding, W. Majendie, L. A.
Grantham, W. Makins, Colonel
Greenall, Sir G. Malcolm, J. W.
Greene, E. Mandeville, Viscount
Gregory, G. B. Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.
Guinness, Sir A. March, Earl of
Hall, A. W. Marten, A. G.
Halsey, T. F. Master, T. W. C.
Hamilton, Lord C. J. Merewether, C. G.
Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. Miles, Sir P. J. W.
Mills, A.
Hamilton, Marquess of Mills, Sir C. H.
Hamilton, hon. R. B. Monckton, F.
Hamond, C. F. Montgomerie, R.
Hanbury, R. W. Montgomery, Sir G. G.
Harcourt, E. W. Moore, A.
Hardcastle, E. Moray, Colonel H. D.
Harvey, Sir R. B. Morgan, hon. F.
Hay, rt. hn. Sir J. C. D. Morris, G.
Heath, R. Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.
Helmsley, Viscount Mulholland, J.
Herbert, hon. S. Muncaster, Lord
Hermon, E. Naghten, Lt.-Colonel
Hervey, Lord F. Newdegate, C. N.
Heygate, W. U. Newport, Viscount
Hick, J. Noel, rt. hon. G. J.
Hildyard, T. B. T. North, Colonel
Hinchingbrook, Visc. Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H.
Holford, J. P. G.
Holker, Sir J. O'Beirne, Major
Holmesdale, Viscount O'Byrne, W. R.
Holt, J. M. O'Donnell, F. H.
Home, Captain O'Donoghue, The
Hood, Captain hon. A. W. A. N. O' Gorman, P.
O'Leary, W.
Hope, A. J. B. B. O'Neill, hon. E.
Hubbard, E. Onslow, D.
Hubbard, rt. hon. J. O'Shaughnessy, R.
Isaac, S. Paget, R. H.
Jervis, Colonel Palk, Sir L.
Johnson, J. G. Parker, Lt.-Col. W.
Johnstone, Sir F. Peek, Sir H.
Jolliffe, hon. S. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Jones, J. Pell, A.
Kennard, Colonel Pemberton, E. L.
Kennaway, Sir J. H. Pennant, hon. G.
Knight, F. W. Peploe, Major
Knightley, Sir R. Percy, Earl
Knowles, T. Phipps, P.
Lacon, Sir E. H. K. Pim, Captain B.
Lambert, N. G. Plunket, hon. D. R.
Lawrence, Sir T. Plunkett, hon. R.
Learmonth, A. Polhill-Turner, Capt.
Lechmere, Sir E. A. H. Powell, W.
Lee, Major V. Power, R.
Legard, Sir C. Praed, C. T.
Legh, W. J. Praed, H. B.
Leighton, Sir B. Price, Captain
Puleston, J. H. Taylor, rt. hon. Col.
Raikes, H. C. Tennant, R.
Read, C. S. Thornhill, T.
Repton, G. W. Thwaites, D.
Ridley, E. Thynne, Lord H. F.
Ridley, Sir M. W. Tollemache, hon. W. F.
Ripley, H. W. Torr, J.
Ritchie, C. T. Tremayne, J.
Rodwell, B. B. H. Trevor, Lord A. E. Hill-
Roebuck, J. A. Turnor, E.
Rothschild, Sir N. M. de Verner, E. W.
Round, J. Wait, W. K.
Russell, Sir C. Walker, O. O.
Ryder, G. R. Walker, T. E.
Salt, T. Wallace, Sir R.
Samuda, J. D'A. Walpole, rt. hon. S.
Sanderson, T. K. Walsh, hon. A.
Sandon, Viscount Warburton, P. E.
Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G. Ward, M. F.
Scott, Lord H. Watson, rt. hon. W.
Scott, M. D. Welby-Gregory, Sir W.
Selwin - Ibbetson, Sir H. J. Wellesley, Colonel
Wethered, T. O.
Severne, J. E. Wheelhouse, W. S. J.
Shirley, S. E. Whitelaw, A.
Shute, General Whitworth, W.
Sidebottom, T. H. Williams, Sir F. M.
Simonds, W. B. Wilmot, Sir H.
Smith, A. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Smith, F. C. Wilson, W.
Smith, rt. hn. W. H. Wolff, Sir H. D.
Smollett, P. B. Woodd, B. T.
Somerset, Lord H. R. C. Wroughton, P.
Spinks, Mr. Serjeant Wyndham, hon. P.
Stanhope, hon. E. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Stanhope, W. T. W. S. Wynn, C. W. W.
Stanley, rt. hn. Col. F. Yarmouth, Earl of
Starkey, L. R. Yeaman, J.
Starkie, J. P. C. Yorke, hon. E.
Steere, L. Yorke, J. R.
Stewart, M. J.
Storer, G. TELLERS.
Sykes, C. Dyke, Sir W. H.
Talbot, J. G. Winn, R.

said, that he had an Amendment on the Paper to the effect that no territory in Europe should be restored to Turkey without at least the guarantee of administrative autonomy deemed necessary by the Conference of Constantinople; but as it had been so completely adopted by the present Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, he hoped the Government would accept it. He would take that opportunity of saying that he had voted for the Motion of the noble Lord, and he wished to explain, as he did not have the opportunity of making a speech before the division, that he did so upon a somewhat different basis than that stated by the noble Lord.

Words added.

Main Question, as amended, put.

Resolved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, thanking Her Majesty for com- municating to this House the Treaty of Berlin, the Protocols of the Congress of Berlin, and the Convention between Great Britain and Turkey; assuring Her Majesty that this House has learnt with deep satisfaction the termination of the late unhappy War, and the conclusion of a Treaty between the Great Powers of Europe; and expressing an earnest hope that the arrangements made and sanctioned by Her Majesty's Government may, under the blessing of Providence, avail to preserve Peace, to ameliorate the condition of large populations in the East, and to maintain the interest of this Empire.

To be presented by Privy Councillors.