HC Deb 08 February 1878 vol 237 cc1332-420

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."


said, that the withdrawal of the Amendment and the division of last night took many hon. Members by surprise. He had never been under the impression that the Government of the Czar was influenced by humanitarian motives, and he had never believed that the Czar was a member of the Society of Friends. His opinion was that the Russian movement was for the purpose of aggrandizing the Russian Empire and extending Russian influence, and he also believed that the British Empire was intended to be the main victim of the success of that policy. Under those circumstances, he hoped it was needless for him to say that it would be his most earnest desire to co-operate in every manner with a Government representing the united opinions of the nations of Great Britain and Ireland, and that it would be his course to facilitate in every way the placing of sufficient means at the disposal of the Government so representing the people of Ireland as well as of Great Britain. He did not at present know the exact intentions of the Government; but whatever they might be, he felt that the prosecution of a vigorous and decided foreign policy ought to be accompanied by more than military preparations. He held that a vigorous foreign policy could only be prosecuted by Her Majesty's Government when military preparations had been coincident, strengthened, and made useful by accompanying measures being taken to make sure that domestic reform should go hand in hand with foreign defences. He was then confronted with this difficulty—he was compelled to ask himself if the position of the Government was the position of a Government representing the people of Ireland as well as Great Britain? Had the Government done all that lay in its power, and which was incumbent upon it, to provide that in any foreign contingency the declarations of the Government should be supported by the support of the loyal, because contented, Irish nation? He had been unable to satisfy himself that Her Majesty's Government had done all that lay in their power, and was indeed within their duty, to provide that the Irish nation should be under obligations to support them in foreign affairs in return for good government at home. He thought it a most risky step on the part of the Government, and one which deserved very careful consideration, when they found them plunging into foreign measures capable of having the gravest consequences, when, at the same time, that Government which directly called upon the Irish nation for its money—which might call upon the Irish nation for its blood—had done nothing during its term of office to inspire the Irish nation with feelings which would induce her to give her blood and money readily and willingly. He would ask the Government if that most grave contingency did realize itself, in what terms and by what invocation could the Government call upon the Irish people for their enthusiastic and devoted support? If the Government sent out its recruiting sergeants among the Irish population, was it in these terms that they would call upon the manhood of Ireland to enlist under the banners of the Empire?—"Come, enlist and shed your blood for the Government which has refused, and still refuses even to take into consideration, your demand for the restoration of your legislative independence; come and fight for that Government which refuses to your brothers and you the common right of securing that that which you sow you should also reap; come and fight for that Government which, on the very eve of the declaration of this foreign policy, crushes, by a majority of 200, the strong request of your Representatives to have the right of the poor man in Ireland guaranteed to some extent; come and fight for that Government which has denied, and continues to deny, to the Irish people the rights of free education! "In a word, were they to invite the Irish people to come and defend that Government which, from the first hour of coming into office until now, had set itself resolutely and unfalteringly to refuse every reform, and even to refuse these reforms in tones of contumely and insult? He could not but think that an appeal to the Irish nation in these terms—and he maintained that the Government would find it very difficult to employ any other terms that would bear the test of examination—was not calculated to arouse the Irish nation to that sense of the glories and benefits of partnership in the Anglo-Irish nation which he should desire to see. He therefore thought it necessary to take steps to prevent the importation of burdens upon the Irish people, or the making of calls upon the Irish people, when the Government had done little or nothing to deserve that these mandates should be obeyed with enthusiasm, that those calls should be answered with readiness; or, in a word, that the Irish people should behave in this matter like the loyal constituents of the Tory Members of that House. It would be his most sincere desire to go heartily with the Government, if only the Government even sought to give equal, fair, and just government to Ireland. Whatever might be the circumstances before the country, and though it were as grave as that which impended upon the Austro-Hungarian Empire a century ago, he had no doubt that the answer of Ireland to the Queen of Ireland would be as enthusiastic as that of the inhabitants of Hungary to the Queen Maria Theresa. He had no doubt that if the Government appealed to the people of Ireland in the name of the Queen of Ireland, Ireland would make as loyal and hearty a response as the people of Hungary did to the Queen of Hungary. He need say no more.

Motion agreed to.

SUPPLY—considered, in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Question again proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £6,000,000, be granted to Her Majesty, beyond the ordinary Grants of Parliament, towards defraying the Expenses -which may he incurred, during the year ending on the 31st of March 1878, in increasing the Efficiency of the Naval and Military Services at the present crisis of the War between Russia and Turkey.


said, he should not feel surprised if hon. Gentlemen opposite should feel some impatience at the resumption of the discussion which had already taken up so much time; but the question was one of supreme importance, and he therefore trusted the Committee would extend their forbearance to him, as he was the more anxious to give expression to his views, because they did not coincide with those of many hon. Members on his own side of the House with respect to the general conduct of the Government on this question. He had never been able to join in that strong and unqualified condemnation pronounced in many quarters on the Eastern policy of Her Majesty's Ministers. No doubt, some mistakes had been committed, and it would be strange indeed if, in conducting negotiations extending over two years and a-half, and dealing with matters of extreme difficulty and delicacy, they had not fallen into occasional error. There was even one flagrant mistake, which he (Mr. Richard) had always deeply regretted—sending so pronounced a partizan as Mr. Layard to represent them at Constantinople at so critical a period. In saying what he had, he did not wish to say one word impugning the character of that gentleman; he believed him to be quite incapable of sending false and misleading information to this country. But those who remembered the discussions which took place before and after the Crimean War would know that Mr. Layard was most strongly anti Eussian and pro-Turkish, and he (Mr. Richard) must say that since he had taken possession of his post at Constantinople, he had not attempted to disguise the intensity of that partizanship, and it did appear under such circumstances that it was an act of perverseness, amounting to infatuation, to send such a man at such a time to such a place. At the same time he was bound to say that, on the other hand, throughout all the negotiations Lord Derby, loyally and with judgment and skill, had endeavoured to keep England out of that desolating war in the South-east of Europe. The noble Lord was also entitled to the credit of maintaining a calm and measured tone of language, even when most of his Colleagues appeared to have lost their heads. Until lately he had been backed up by some, at least, of those Colleagues; for nothing could havebeen more re-assuring than the speeches delivered during the Recess by Lord Salisbury and Lord Carnarvon—who had raised himself immeasurably in the esteem of the people of this country—as well as the speeches of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Home Secretary. He regretted that the same tone had not been followed in that House. There was a feeling abroad, however, that a disturbing element was at work which greatly counteracted the declaration of those Members of the Cabinet, and it would be the merest affectation to pretend not to know that that disturbing element was supposed to be the influence of Lord Beaconsfield. He (Mr. Richard) would not accuse the noble Lord of any wish to plunge the country into war; but he was afraid he could not acquit him of a propensity to use great swelling words calculated to excite the feelings of his countrymen and to breed resentment in the hearts of other countries. Still he could not put his finger on any act of the Government prior to the meeting of Parliament that seemed to imply a departure from their policy of neutrality; and if anyone at the opening of the Session had proposed a Motion of Want of Confidence in them, he, for one, would not have voted for it. The Government had stated that they did not desire war; but their statements on that point would have been much more satisfactory if subsequent speeches of Ministers had been less warlike andless calculated to nourish a warlike temper out-of-doors by means of exciting suspicion and jealousy of Russia. If the Government were not for war, as he trusted they were not, was it not rather an odd thing that they should come down to the House and say—"Express your confidence in us as a peace Ministry by granting us £6,000,000 for war purposes?" He judged the Ministry, however, rather by two of their recent acts than by their statements. Those acts were sending the Fleet to the Dardanelles, and then asking for that Vote of £6,000,000. There had never been any consistent intelligible explanation of sending the Fleet to the Dardanelles. The Home Secretary, in his speech, had passed over that point by saying that the Fleet had been sent on account of panic and probable massacre at Constantinople; but if that were the whole significance of the act, was it likely that Lord Derby and Lord Carnarvon would have resigned? Indeed, the Prime Minister had been careful to declare, with special emphasis, that the British Fleet had been sent to the Dardanelles not merely for the protection of the lives and property of British subjects, but for the protection of British interests. A question which had been often asked by hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House, but which had not yet been satisfactorily answered—indeed, the Home Secretary, than whom no one could make out a better case for the Government, seemed seriously embarrassed when he had to deal with it—was, what British interests had been threatened so as to require the sending of the Fleet to the Dardanelles? They had been told at the opening of the Session by the Government that neither belligerent had infringed the conditions of neutrality which we had laid down, and that the Government had moreover a pledge from the Russian Government not to direct military operations against Gallipoli, unless a Turkish force assembled there. Yet, in the teeth of all that, and behind the back of the House of Commons, the Government had despatched the Fleet to the Dardanelles. In his opinion, the country had escaped a great danger by the firmness and courage of Lord Derby and Lord Carnarvon. With regard to the Vote, the Government had been asked in vain for any clear and intelligible justification of the demand. They were met only by the vaguest generalities, and were merely told that the Vote was necessary in order to back up the Government in going into the Conference. Now, it was well known that he had for a long time endeavoured in a humble way to promote the settlement of international disputes by arbitration, and he looked forward to the time when there might be something like an International Court of Appeal; but he should have less hope of the success of arbitration if the adjudicators each went into Court with a loaded pistol in his hand. What good could that money do in the Conference? Could it be thought for a moment that any of the Great Powers would swerve from their purposes by the knowledge that our Chancellor of the Exchequer had this money in his hands? He was not at all sure that the effect might not be quite different to what was assumed, and that the other Powers of Europe might not hesitate to make concessions to our Government lest they should be thought to yield to menace. They had been told that there was no war Party in the Cabinet, or in the country. If that were so, what was the meaning of the vociferous—he had almost said, the ferocious—cheers with which every allusion to the necessity of opposing the alleged designs of Russia were received? The hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Balfour) had spoken of a "cowardly horror of war." Now, though he (Mr. Richard) did not think he was likely to come within its range any more than the hon. Member for Hertford, he confessed to an inexpressible horror of war. Lord Salisbury, in a speech during the Recess, disputed the application of the words "brave and generous" to a Government which, without necessity, would plunge a country into war. These were words becoming a Christian statesman. He could honour and admire a man who sacrificed his own life and fortune for what he deemed a righteous cause; but he had no respect for men who tried, by exciting appeals to their countrymen, to arouse their passions and hurry them into the horrors and sufferings of war, while they themselves were removed far from danger and did not taste a drop of the cup of agony which they were so ready to offer to the lips of others. There was somehow a superstition in this country that if war was going on in any part of the world England was dishonoured if she did not take part in it. That was the case in the Italian War, the American War, the Franco-German War. He condemned a policy of menace; because, if human nature was not different in other people from what it was in ourselves, the only result would be to make them persist the more obstinately in the course upon which they had entered. That policy he declared to have failed by reference to what had occurred in regard to our representations to Russia with respect to the Polish insurrection, to Germany in the war against Denmark, and in the Civil War in America. Thousands of men in this country were not employed; thousands more could not earn a scanty subsistence for themselves and their families; thousands, as in the case of South Wales, would have actually starved but for the generosity of the British public. Was that a time to ask for £6,000,000 of the people's money to be expended in armaments? He believed that no necessity had been made out for the demand, and that, far from helping the Government in the Conference, its tendency would be to exasperate the feelings between this and other countries, and to endanger the interests of peace. For these reasons, he regretted to find himself compelled to vote against the Motion.


Mr. Chairman, I intended to have addressed the Committee immediately upon your taking the Chair; but I was, unfortunately, absent for a few minutes from my place when the Question was put. It is for that reason that I now address the Committee, though I shall not stand long between the hon. Member who has just addressed you (Mr. Richard) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. J. G. Hubbard). [The right hon. Gentleman had risen at the same time as the noble Lord, but had given way.] I have no intention of commenting—at all events in a hostile spirit—upon the important statement which has just been made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I think, Sir, that, accompanied as it is by the precautions which have been described to the Committee, the step which has been taken by Her Majesty's Government of sending a portion of the Fleet to Constantinople cannot be regarded in any degree as a menace to any Power, and may be productive of both immediate and future advantage. It is perfectly possible that, as seems to be apprehended by the Government, occurrences may take place in Constantinople that may render the presence of the Fleet necessary for the protection of life and of British interests; and in addition to that, I cannot help recognizing the fact that, whether it be an ill-founded or a well-founded suspicion, there does exist in the minds of the people of this country a very strong jealousy and prejudice upon the subject of Russia and Constantinople, and I cannot but think it will tend rather to calm than irritate public opinion in this country to know that the power of Great Britain, as represented by her Fleet, was at hand, and that her interests, whether it be the intention of anyone to assail those interests or not, are under the protection of the Fleet in that part of the world. Sir, I desire only to say a few words upon the Vote which is now before us, and, in doing so, I cannot conceal from myself—I do not think it will be contended that the Vote we are now asked for is in any degree connected with the step which has been taken with regard to the Fleet. Sir, I think it is to be regretted that after the withdrawal of my right hon. Friend's (Mr. W. E. Forster's) Amendment last night, the Government did not think proper to give a short interval of a few hours for calm reflection and for consideration of the changes that have taken place in the position of affairs. Those changes, Sir, I take it to have been embodied in the intelligence which was received and which was partly confirmed yesterday, leading to the withdrawal of my right hon. Friend's Amendment. Now, Sir, my right hon. Friend brought forward that Amend- ment with my entire concurrence, and supported it by reasons in which I also entirely concurred. It is not necessary that I should go again over ground which was so often and so ably trodden in the course of the long debate that ensued on my right hon. Friend's Amendment. But the main ground that was taken by my right hon. Friend was the ground that was put forward in the Resolution itself—namely, that we had been informed by Her Majesty that the conditions of her neutrality had not been infringed, and that we had received no information which would justify a temporary departure from the policy of neutrality. I am thankful to be able to say, Sir, that that statement still remains an accurate statement. But, Sir, I must at the same time admit that the intelligence which was received yesterday was such as to modify to some extent the position of this country, and especially the position of the Government, not in regard of that neutrality itself, but in regard of one of the points in which this country is and has been most deeply interested. Sir, Her Majesty's Government have always stated in clear terms that a permanent occupation of Constantinople by the Russians would be an event which they would think it their duty to resist. They have treated, as was pointed out by the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the possibility of a temporary occupation in a different manner. They have not stated that a temporary occupation of Constantinople was one of the contingencies which they would feel bound to resist; but they have, I think, fairly pointed out to the Russian Government that it would be an event which, in their opinion, might lead to serious consequences, and which might render it necessary for them to take measures of precaution. Well, Sir, the intelligence which was received yesterday certainly in no degree led to the supposition that the pledge which had been given by the Emperor of Russia on more than one occasion as to a permanent occupation of Constantinople would not be maintained. But that intelligence, I am free to admit, led to the apprehension that the Government might be placed in a situation of some difficulty in regard to that other contingency which they had pointed out to the Russian Government to be one which they could not view with indifference. The information which was received early in the evening, which appeared to be believed by the Government—information which, I am bound to say, has not even now been altogether contradicted—no doubt led to the conclusion that it was possible that an occupation—a temporary occupation, of Constantinople, or, at all events, what would amount to a temporary military occupation of Constantinople, might be contemplated, and under these circumstances it was impossible to deny that, looking at the statement which the Government had made, looking to the assurances which they had given to the Russian Government, they might find themselves in a position of some difficulty and some embarrassment. To that difficulty and that embarrassment those Members of the Opposition with whom I have had an opportunity of consulting, do not think it would be their duty to add if they can avoid it in any manner. And, thinking as we did, that persevering in the Amendment moved by my right hon. Friend might in some degree tend to increase the difficulty and embarrassment of the position in which Her Majesty's Government were placed, we thought we should consult our duty by withdrawing that Amendment. I have no doubt, Sir, there are some—there may be many—who will dispute the propriety of the course we have pursued, and who will condemn it. I can only say we acted under those circumstances to the best of our judgment. But I think that everyone will admit that, having taken the course which they did, and having arrived now at comparative unanimity upon this question, it will be for the advantage of the country, for the advantage of the Government, and desirable from every point of view, that advantage should be taken of that comparative unanimity which now prevails, and that the good feeling and temper which has been manifested by the Opposition should be turned to the best account. Sir, I cannot help thinking that for such a purpose as this an interval of a few hours for reflection upon the new position of affairs in which we find ourselves would have been by no means a mistake, and in no way undesirable. Now, Sir, I have no desire to draw from Her Majesty's Government any premature statement as to their policy or intentions with regard to this Vote. But what I want to point out is that by the course they have pursued they have invited us to make such a demand, and that such a demand has not been in any degree responded to by them. They have stated frankly and openly that they invite the confidence of this House; but I maintain that they have not yet made any, such statement as to their views, their intentions, and their policy with regard! to the Vote before us, as would justify the House in giving them that confidence.; "We have received as yet from the Government no guide or clue to the policy which this Vote is intended to support, and I think that is a course hardly fair to the House of Commons, to themselves, or to the country. The Government will, no doubt, obtain this Vote of Credit—they will no doubt obtain what they choose to consider a Vote of Confidence in their policy. But I ask of what value is a Vote of Confidence, given blindly, and in ignorance of the policy they are pursuing, and which cannot possibly have, under those circumstances, the undoubted value which it would possess if it were given with a full knowledge and understanding of their policy? It may be said that they have told us what is their policy. I admit that there are certain statements which they have made. They have told us their wishes, their aspirations, and their hopes. They have told us that their policy is to maintain peace; that it is to bring about a permanent peace in Europe; that it is to protect the interests of Great Britan and to strengthen the influence of England in the Councils of Europe. But what I contend is that these are all vague generalities, which any Government—no matter whatever might be its real policy, whatever might be the course of conduct it was pursuing—would be equally able to employ. I say that these generalities—for they are nothing more—do not constitute a policy; and I further say that to ask from the House of Commons and to obtain from it a credit of £6,000,000 does not constitute a policy. Why, surely Her Majesty's Government knows—and I hope all the world knows—that England can afford to place at the disposal of the Government a sum of £6,000,000, or a very much larger sum, in support of a policy which the House of Commons understands and of which it approves? But it was not necessary, in order to support their policy, to tell Europe and the world that a sum of £6,000,000 was at the disposal of the Government. What really would have strengthened the hands of the Government in the events which may be about to take place, or in the negotiations which are about to be carried on, would have been a Vote of Confidence from the House of Commons, founded on a real knowledge of the policy they mean to adopt. I have listened to the long debate which has occurred on the Amendment of my right hon. Friend (Mr. W. E. Forster). I have heard the speeches of many Members of Her Majesty's Government; but I must honestly and frankly acknowledge that up to this moment I have not gathered from any one of those speeches what is the intention of the Government in regard to the use and disposal of this money, and what is the policy which this Vote is designed to support. I have been able to come to no other conclusion than that Her Majesty's Government have persuaded themselves that this Vote of Credit will produce some miraculous effect, and that, being in their possession, or, rather, at their disposal, without having any definite purpose to spend it in any definite way, the mere fact of this Vote having been granted will in some way or other inspire them with a resolution which they have not themselves yet formed; that it will restore peace in some way to Europe; that it will warn the insolent invader off our interests; and that it will strengthen them in the Councils of the approaching Conference. I cannot help thinking that some such vague notions as these must have formed themselves in the mind of the Government. But I believe I am speaking within the recollection of the House when I say that not one single indication has yet dropped from the lips of Her Majesty's Ministers as to the use or the purpose to which this money is to be put. We have been often told from both sides of the House that we are in a grave crisis of the destinies of the nation. If that be so, as it undoubtedly is, what it seems to me is most important is, that Her Majesty's Government should be guided by a clear and consistent purpose, and that the actions and counsels, as well as the words, of the Government should manifest what that purpose really is. Whether their policy is a policy of peace or a policy of armed preparation, I believe that a firm attitude on the part of Her Majesty's Government might produce a very great effect on the proceedings both of Russia and of other countries. However wrong we might think it that Her Majesty's Government should go into the Conference armed, and with the intention of restoring a state of things which I believe is now incapable of restoration, still I have no doubt that, if the Government of Russia clearly understood what was the policy which Her Majesty's Government were going to pursue in the forthcoming negotiations, there would be less risk and less danger than now exists of some unfortunate misunderstanding—less chance that, without the deliberate intention of either party, but perhaps from sheer misapprehension of each other's objects and intentions, we may be led into perilous proximity to a warlike policy. I cannot help thinking that, since Parliament was called together, there has been no such indication of a clear and consistent policy on the part of Her Majesty's Government. Her Majesty's Gracious Speech indicated an intention of appealing to Parliament for additional Supplies, but the ground of the contemplated demand was not there stated to be the contingency of negotiations for peace. The contingency pointed out in the Queen's Speech was, that, in the event of a prolongation of the war, the conditions of Her Majesty's neutrality might be menaced, and for that contingency it was intimated precautionary measures might have to be taken. But evidently at that time negotiations for peace were expected by Her Majesty's Government, and negotiations were not indicated in Her Majesty's Speech as the object or the reason for which the additional Supplies would be required. The Vote was moved for under similar conditions. Well, Her Majesty's Government were afterwards disappointed in the expectations they had formed that the terms of the Armistice would be promptly made known. The Russian troops were still advancing, and the conditions of our neutrality might be imperilled. Still, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, aware that the ground might at any time be cut from under his feet, started entirely new reasons for asking for the Vote of Credit. For the first time he brought forward in his speech—no doubt to the astonishment of those who sit on the other side of the House as well as of those who sit on this—the new ground that the additional Supply would be required in order to enable the Government to go into the approaching Conference with the voice of a united people. Well, I say, if that were the real ground on which Her Majesty's Government were asking for this Vote, it is one which ought to have been stated, and would have been stated if it had occurred to them, in the Queen's Speech, or in the speeches made during the debate on the Address. It appears to me that, in the patting forward of these varying and insufficient grounds for that appeal to the liberality of Parliament, there is no indication of that clear and consistent purpose, that firm resolution, which I think we have a right to demand from the Government at a crisis so grave as this has been properly described to be. I have not been able to attach so little importance to the want of Constitutional precedent for the course the Government are taking as has been shown by some hon. Members who have addressed the House on this side. I should have thought that the Conservative Party and a Conservative Government would have hesitated before they recommended to Parliament a course which, in the financial or in the political history of the country, is without any precedent. But, Sir, it is not on mere grounds of Constitutional or Parliamentary practice that I attach such importance to the fact that the Government have not been able to produce any Constitutional precedent for the course they are adopting. I think there is a great and important principle at the root of the precedents which have hitherto prevailed, and which have not been followed on this occasion. That principle, which is now absent, appears to me to be this—that, whenever in former times, a Government has appealed to Parliament for a Vote of Credit, or for Supplies beyond the ordinary Estimates of the year, it has been in order to support some policy which has been formed and declared. If the Government had told us what they wanted the Vote for, if they had told us that they contemplated sending out an expeditionary force, or that they contemplated increasing the number of men, or the efficiency of our transport service, or for providing further stores—if, in fact, they had wanted it for immediate use, then, although the policy of their intention might he a matter for debate, yet the Constitutional character of the step they were taking would not be open to question. But when we are told that this money is wanted, perhaps, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated, not to be spent in any way, but if spent at all to be spent in some way or other which we are not told of, in supporting some policy of Her Majesty's Government which is not yet formed, or if formed cannot be avowed, the case appears to me to be completely altered. We are told that this question is one of Confidence in the policy of Her Majesty's Government. Confidence, I ask, in what policy? They have told us themselves that larger issues are opening out than any which were contemplated at the time that what has been called the charter of their policy, contained in the Despatch of the 6th of May last year, was drawn up. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told us that the key-stone of Southeastern Europe is being removed, and he spoke of the sweeping conditions which were the bases of the preliminaries of peace; and the Home Secretary pointed out to the House that no settlement of the Eastern Question would be worth having if it were not permanent. The Secretary for the Colonies also admitted that everything had been changed since the Conference separated last year. Well, issues such as these having been raised and changes of this kind having happened since last year, it is useless to tell us that the charter of the policy of Her Majesty's Government is still that contained in the Despatch of the 6th of May, and that they are going into the Conference with no other question than that of preserving a watchful attitude over the interests of this country in Egypt, the Suez Canal, the Straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, and at Constantinople. What we have got to do—what Her Majesty's Government will have to do—at the Conference is to assist at the revision from top to bottom of the settlement made in 1856. That was partly done even before the outbreak of war, when the Great Powers of Europe declined to interfere, although fully entitled under their Treaty rights to do so, had they thought fit to take that course, between Russia and Turkey. And it has been more completely done by the events of the war. What Her Majesty's Government, therefore, have to consider is, not whether the Ottoman Empire is to be replaced in the position in which it was before the outbreak of the war—that is an impossibility—but how they may best assist in the ordering and settlement of those nationalities which, more or less, have already taken the place of what was the Ottoman Empire. Her Majesty's Government are, as I have already said, not unaware of the magnitude of the issues before them; but what I maintain that they have not done yet—and I do not complain so much that they have not done it—is to give us a single indication of the spirit in which they are going to approach the great task before them. What I do complain of is, that they should ask us to give them a Vote of Confidence in their policy—a policy which they have not told us, and which, in the absence of any declaration on their part, it is impossible that we should know, and therefore utterly impossible that we should be able to approve. I think, therefore, that Her Majesty's Government have been wrong in the way in which they have approached Parliament, and that, to use a very homely expression, it seems to me that they have put the cart before the horse. A Vote of Money might have been very useful as showing that the House was prepared to support a clearly-defined policy, announced to be that which was to guide the Government in the approaching deliberations of the Powers of Europe; but such a Vote cannot of itself make a policy, and that Her Majesty's Government have one in reference to this question is open to doubt. But although it seems to me that Her Majesty's Government have approached Parliament in a wrong way and at a wrong time, and although I think they would have done better had they waited before proposing this Vote until they had formed some definite resolution with regard to some definite course of conduct, I am not in existing circumstances disposed to refuse them the Vote which they ask at our hands. After the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave Notice of this Vote, I stated some of the reasons that would induce me to oppose it. I then thought that a Vote of this kind, proposed before the conclusion of the war, would inevitably raise expectations in the minds of the Turkish Government and people which could not be realized, and which it would be unfair to excite. I objected to it as long as there could be any hope in the minds of the Turkish Government of assistance from England which we were precluded from giving them. I also objected to the Vote so long as there was any doubt on the point of peace or war in the minds of any of Her Majesty's Ministers, and on this point I may say that strong language has been used on this subject; but that it is within the knowledge of every hon. Member in this House that, rightly or wrongly, at one time or another, it was supposed that some Members of the Ministry, and among the rest Lord Beaconsfield, were less averse than others of the Ministry to a policy which must inevitably end in war. In reference to this matter, the Secretary for War the other day, in extremely strong language, repudiated such an intention on the part of Lord Beacons-field, and said the insinuation or charge that the Prime Minister desired to plunge the country into war was to impute to him a criminal state of mind. I have not questioned that statement of the right hon. Gentleman. Doubtless, an intention to lead the country into war recklessly and to no purpose, would be a criminal one. But whoever attributed that to the Prime Minister, or supposed that he desired recklessly and without any reason to plunge the country into war? Whatever may have been imputed to the Prime Minister, what was assumed was that the Ministers to whom I have referred believed that the changes which were going on in South-eastern Europe were so likely to be prejudicial to the honour and to the interests of this country, that they might think it right and necessary to take such steps as might lead us into war. What we apprehended was that the Prime Minister and other Members of the Cabinet did take that view, and were not unwilling that rather than leave the struggle to be fought out between Russia and Turkey, this country should take part in it. That, in my opinion, would have been an utterly mistaken policy; but I say that it is not accurate that we imputed to certain Gentlemen such a desire, or that in attributing such a policy to the Prime Minister we were imputing to him a criminal intention. The imputation that Her Majesty's Government, and most of all the Prime Minister, have been actuated by an intention to involve this country in war has been repudiated with such vehemence—perhaps with such unnecessary vehemence of language—that we are bound to accept the explanation; and I cannot help thinking that we may now agree to this Vote without increasing the hopes of those Members of the Cabinet who were regarded as being less inclined than others to a warlike policy. Sir, my right hon. Friend near me has already expressed a hope that the result of this Vote may have the effect of strengthening the hands of Her Majesty's Government in endeavouring to do their best to secure, rather than restrict, as he feared it might do, the liberties of the people of the different nationalities formerly under Turkish dominion; and I hope that before this discussion closes, we shall have some stronger assurance from Her Majesty's Government on this point than we have yet had. Of all the speeches which have been delivered in the course of this debate on the other side of the House, that which gave me the greatest satisfaction to listen to was the speech of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Colonel Stanley). He certainly did not speak with the authority of a Cabinet Minister; but I cannot help remarking that the hon. and gallant Gentleman is closely connected with one who, of all the Members of the Government, will be the most responsible, perhaps, for the course that may be taken by Her Majesty's Government at the approaching Conference. If the sentiments which were expressed by the hon. and gallant Gentleman are those of the Cabinet, they show that there is at least some sympathy felt by the Government for the future condition and for the hopes and aspirations of these Christian nationalities. I regret that similar statements have not as yet been more clearly expressed by other Members of the Cabinet; but if those sentiments do really express the real views of Her Majesty's Government, then some of the gravest fears which were entertained by my right hon. Friend in opposing this Vote will be at all events much diminished. These reasons induce me to modify the objections which I entertained to the Vote which you now ask. I have admitted that the circumstances in which Her Majesty's Government find themselves at present are probably difficult and embarrassing. I believe it may be represented, I know it is represented, that by resistance to this Vote, a Vote which is asked for on the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government, which they say they require; although we do not know for what purpose or with what object—I know that it has been represented that by opposing this Vote we are adding to the difficulty and embarrassment of Her Majesty's Government; and, therefore, although I much regret the fact that the Vote has been proposed, as far as I am concerned I have no intention to take part in opposing it. I hope Her Majesty's Government will not regard this announcement on our part as warranting them in proceeding with haste or precipitancy. On the contrary, I think the guarded statement which was made earlier in the evening, as to their intended action, shows that they have no wish to act in a hurried manner. I trust they will not forget that England and Russia are not the only countries interested in this great question, and that they will continue to act, if it may be, in concert with the other Powers of Europe. This Vote, if it be granted, will, without doubt, increase the responsibilities of Her Majesty's Government, and I cannot admit that it will diminish—on the contrary, it will increase—the responsibility of Parliament. It will not be less, but it will be all the more the duty of the House to watch the conduct of the Government; to judge not of its professions, but its acts; to give it with all its might an approval, if it is able to approve, of its policy; and to oppose equally with all its might, and by all means in its power, any course of conduct that tends to involve this country needlessly and unnecessarily in a policy of war.


Sir, I need not assure the noble Lord that it has been with very great satisfaction that I have listened to his views and to the two announcements which he has felt himself able to make. It has been with great satisfaction that I have listened to his statement that he is, on the whole, satisfied with the action which Her Majesty's Government have thought it right to take at the present moment. I also listened with satisfaction to his announcement that it is not his intention to oppose any further the Vote which we have submitted to the House. The conduct of the noble Lord has been in these respects such as we might have anticipated from him. He has taken a view which I think any noble Lord or right hon. Gentleman holding the very responsible position which he holds in this House would, under the circumstances, have felt himself bound to take, unless there had been some very strong reason indeed for his dissenting from the course which the Government propose. I thank the noble Lord for those two assurances; but I thank him not the less for the general tone and spirit of the remarks in which he has expressed his opinion as to the general conduct of Her Majesty's Government, and in which he has also expressed his wish for some further information with regard to our policy. And I feel sure that though it may not be in my power to give to the noble Lord as complete and full an answer to all the points he has raised as I should do if it was consistent with my position, although it may not be in my power to answer categorically every Question which he and some others have asked; yet I believe we shall be judged in the same frank and kindly spirit as that which has induced the noble Lord to arrive at the conclusion that he has arrived at. And, for my own part, I will promise to speak as frankly as I can in answer to points which the noble Lord has raised. I think I understand the position of the noble Lord to be this—that he asks us two Questions which may be considered to be the governing Questions of his speech. He asks us, in the first place, what is the policy which this Vote involves; and, in the second, what is the use which we propose to make of the money we are asking for should it be granted? Well, no more reasonable Questions could be asked, and I shall be most ready to answer them as far as it is in my power. With regard to the policy which the Government desire to support, we have already indicated it much more clearly than the noble Lord seems disposed to give us credit for; but I will endeavour to repeat it in a few words. We recognize, of course, the very great change which has occurred in the European system in consequence of the war which has now, we trust, terminated. We also recognize the fact that questions have now to be settled of the largest character, the decision of which will amount to a re-construction of the whole system of South-eastern Europe. We consider, further, that in the discussion of those changes, and in the settlement and re-construction which must follow, it will be the duty of England to take her part for two reasons and on two different principles. In the first place, England is entitled, and is bound by her duty to herself, to have a care that in the arrangement made those interests which she is bound to guard are not injuriously affected; and, in the second, she has a right to claim, and feels it her duty to claim, her place in the Council of Nations, in order to give effect to those views which she thinks it right to support in respect of the general reconstruction of South-eastern Europe. Now, what are the views with which Her Majesty's Government will enter into the Conference? I will not enter too much into detail; but there are at least three points to which we think we ought to pay considerable attention. In the first place, it is a matter of serious importance to us that the navigation of the Straits and the access to the Black Sea should be so regulated as that there may be perfect freedom of commerce in that sea. In this respect we are not seeking restrictions, but freedom. What may be the best regulations to be adopted with regard to the passage of vessels of war is a question which is fairly one for the consideration of the Conference. I think that we should be doing wrong if we were to attempt to lay down in our own Parliament beforehand what should be the particular arrangement which we should be prepared to stand by, and insist upon. I think we should be in a false position if, at the outset, we went into the Conference with matters of that kind, so to speak, "cut and dried," and proclaiming a policy which, after all, might prove not to be the one most easily accommodated to the general feelings, wishes, and interests of those with whom we shall have to confer, and whose position we shall have to consult. But this we may lay down with absolute certainty—that whatever is the arrangement which ought to be made, it should be one that will render it impossible for any single Power to close up the entrance to the Black Sea. We have heard something said about the advantages which Russia may have in the admission of her own vessels into a sea which is of such importance to her as the Black Sea undeniably is. I have heard language used out-of-doors, and even in this House, which has given an impression that there is not now commercial freedom in the Black Sea. Now that is not the case. Under the present arrangement there is perfect freedom. But it is possible that those who speak rather hastily on that subject may have even now a sort of recollection, or may have heard of a time, when access to the Black Sea was anything but free; when access to the Black Sea was perfectly prohibited by the Turks, because they had the key of the Straits, and no vessels of commerce belonging to foreign nations were to be admitted at all. At that time, the Black Sea was to all intents and purposes a Turkish lake, into which no vessels belonging to foreign Powers could sail. From time to time one restriction after another was taken off, until at length we arrived at the present system of free access to that important sea. One of the great influences, one of the great levers which has broken up that commercial restricted-ness has been the power of Russia; but supposing that now, after the change has taken place, either Russia herself should become possessed of the complete command of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, or should become virtually the mistress of them through some other Power—the Porte, or anybody else—supposing that Russia obtained the complete command of the access to these important waters, and supposing that Russia should, for any reason, claim to adopt a protective policy, undoubtedly she might cripple in a most mischievous and prejudicial manner the whole commercial world, including, of course, the commerce of this country, which we should feel to be a serious injury to ourselves. Therefore, I say, that among the arrangements we have to make, it will be a matter of serious importance and serious consequence to the English Representatives, that they should endeavour to prevent any arrangement being made which would close the Black Sea against commerce. Then, again, there is another point. I stated the other day that in looking at the great strength of the British Empire we must consider what are its points of weakness. I stated—and I think the observation has been accepted by others, and must not be forgotten—that perhaps her principal point of weakness consisted in the length of the communications between the different parts of the Empire; and I pointed out then, and would point out again, that it is of great consequence to England that in any arrangements that are made there should be as little as possible of a threat held out on the flank of our communication with India and the East through Egypt. I do not like to go very minutely into a question of that sort, and I think I have said enough to satisfy the noble Lord when I say that that will also be a serious point for the consideration of the Representative of England in the settlement of these questions. Well, there is another matter before us, and it is one not of so simple a character as the two I have mentioned, or as some people appear to have imagined. It is of great importance to us, as it is, I believe, to all the civilized world, that a fair and probably durable settlement should be made of the condition of the countries which are about to be re-organized. Well, now, that may be made in a great number of ways, and I think it would be altogether wrong to enter now into a controversy in which others must take a part, on a subject involving the interests of others as well as our own, or to consider it here minutely, or in anything like detail. But I wish to repudiate with all the energy I can command the suggestion which has been thrown out several times in this debate, and to which the noble Lord has referred, that there is any desire on our part to cripple or fetter the extension of free and good government to the Bulgarian and the other Christian populations of Turkey. I listened with astonishment to the imputations which have been made, not only upon the Government generally, but upon myself personally, as if I had said something that indicated a jealousy on my part of the extension of good government to the Bulgarians or other Christian populations of Turkey. Not only is that contrary to my own natural feelings, but it is contrary to the language I have repeatedly used on that subject. I do not like to refer to speeches of my own, but I may remind the House that in the first speech I made upon the question at Edinburgh, a year and a half ago, I distinctly put forward my strong feeling that it was the guiding principle of England to endeavour to promote the good government of the population of that part of the world, and I said— How can such a thing be conceived as that England, whose rule in India rests upon the Divine right of good government, should be herself insensible to the good government of other nations? And in the debates on the question in which I have sometimes ventured to address the House during the past two years, I have always given as my reason against the introduction of force for the purpose of improving the condition of the populations of Turkey this reason—that I believed it was impossible to bring about a better government of the country by external force. And my reason for objecting to the introduction and use of force was, that I did not think that that was the way to bring about an improvement of the government of the Provinces of Turkey. But I am told there was something I said the other day on the subject of the terms of peace, in reference to the extension to be given to the new autonomous Bulgaria, which seemed to grudge the extension of good government to that Province. Well, if I may do so with all due respect, I venture to say that that is a most absurd misrepresentation of my words. What I was endeavouring to point out was that those conditions of peace, whether good or bad, were not of a slight or trifling character, but that they cut deep into the heart of the Turkish Empire, and that they therefore necessarily involved very careful consideration, and that I venture to repeat. Hon. Gentlemen speak as if there were just two races in Turkey, and two only—the Turks and the Christians—as if the Turks were the dominant parties and oppressed the Christians, and that the Christians, the subject-race, were oppressed by the Turks; that, as everything was wrong in the Turks, so everything must be right in the Christians; and all we had to do was to put an end to the Turkish rule, leave the Christians to their own autonomy, and all would be well. There is a sort of breadth in that statement which may captivate popular audiences; but when you come to look into the matter, you must consider a great many other points; and, however taking such an arrangement may seem, it would not be found so simple when you came to carry it out. The Christians are not all one uniform body. There are not only questions of religion but also questions of race to be considered, and the settlement to be arrived at must be not only as between the Mahomedan and the Christian, but as between the Slav and the Greek, and perhaps between the Slav and the Turk. Even the Turk should have some justice dealt out to him as well as the Christian populations among whom he lives; and if anyone will take the trouble to examine an ethnographical map in order to ascertain how the different races are distributed throughout the region in question, he will see that it is a difficult matter to deal with, and that serious and delicate manipulation will be required in order to make sure that the wrong persons are not put under the wrong administration. For instance, when we talk so glibly about this large Bulgaria, we should inquire to what extent a Greek population is to be found in different parts of the Province. In some of the large towns there is a very large Greek population. I am told that in Philip-popolis alone there are 50,000 Greeks. All these populations are included in one large division, as if the whole were homogeneous in character. I do not wish to express any opinion on details, and I have never wished to do so. I think it would be very wrong to do that; but this I do say—that these are matters which involve careful consideration, and require careful discussion, with reference not only to other Powers, but to the condition of the populations affected by these changes. But I wish to reserve complete liberty of thought to Her Majesty's Government as to the details of the arrangements which may be made, only indicating, as the noble Lord wished me to do, the general spirit in which we ought to go into the Conference, seeing that we are desirous above all things of obtaining such a settlement as will afford reasonable promise of a durable peace. No one can help feeling that the enormous sufferings which have been inflicted on these parts of the world during the last two or three years have been such as to require a period of repose. All must be agreed that we ought to be as careful as possible to make arrangements of such a character as would leave as few points as possible of contact and difficulty, and leave open as little room as possible for intrigues and future struggles. These are the principles we desire to support in the Conference, and we feel that it will be necessary for us to go into the Conference not only with our own principles in our mind, but in a way which will enable us to speak effectively in reference to them to those Powers we are to meet there. I am not one of those who desire to speak arrogantly in the name of England. I do not wish that our Representative should go into a Conference which interests so many other Powers and say—"I am going to settle this matter all in my own way." We have no right to do anything like that. But, on the other hand, I do not wish that England should go into the Conference on the understanding that she is the humble servant of any other Power—of any one, or more than one of those she is to meet. Or that when she goes into the Conference she is to be afraid to speak her own mind. I think that England is both strong enough and intelligent enough to be able to form and to give her own opinion, and I believe that it is her duty to do so, because England is the foremost Representative of the spirit of freedom, and of—well, I do not wish to say anything which might seem to be boastful, and therefore I will not finish the sentence. But I say that there are traditions of freedom which England has to bear in mind which makes it her duty to speak in away worthy of those traditions, and that we ought to go into the Conference with a firm confidence in our own strength and intentions, and with a desire to obtain nothing that is unfair or unjust. We desire to obtain nothing but that which the interests of England imperatively demand, and which we ought to insist upon. We desire to take our part in the settlement of the great questions that will have to be considered, and we say that we shall go into the Conference in a better position if we go armed with the power of speaking our minds without any fear or any difficulty. Then as to another point, with regard to the Vote and its connection with the Conference. I do not at all discover the motives of which the right hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright) and the hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Richard) spoke. We are going into a peaceful Conference, not bringing in our pistols or insisting on being heard by virtue of our strength; still less do we desire to do that which the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe) spoke of—namely, to shake our purses in the faces of those who are to assemble at the Conference. These are not at all the ideas of Her Majesty's Government. We shall go in with the strength, and all the strength, of England. What is the strength of England? We are told by some people that we ought to regard nothing but our moral strength; but I am afraid that if we had nothing but moral strength to trust to we might find, unfortunately, that some of our Colleagues in the Conference thought more of material than of moral strength. We might find ourselves thrust aside when we desired to advance the most reasonable claims and to put forward the best possible arguments—thrust aside by others stronger than ourselves. Well, that would be a bad thing enough, if we had not the strength; but it would be even worse if, having the strength, we were not in a position to use it. I was astonished to hear such an argument used even by my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich, as that we might point out to other nations that we were spending a great deal more on military and naval armaments than they were, and that therefore we were strong. That would be, indeed, to shake our purses in the face of the Representatives of other nations. I should be very sorry that that kind of argument should be put forward in any way. It might be asked of us, not what you have spent, but what have you to show for it? Well, we have something to show for it. I say we have a great deal to show for it, if you will only give us the necessary means to use what we have. We have a magnificent Fleet, and a very good, though comparatively small, Army—an Army excedingly well appointed, and which is capable of easy and rapid increase, quite as much as would be required under any circumstances that could be imagined likely to happen. But we have this difficulty—we are at a distance from the scene of action, and it may be necessary to make preparations for transport, for supplies, for clothing, for boots and shoes, and for Heaven knows what number of articles which would be necessary to enable us to make use of our force, if by any accident you should require to do so. Therefore, what I say is, we ought to have the means placed in our hands for making use of that force, if necessary. I hope that occasion will not arise, and that is the reason why I say that I hope a great deal of this Vote will not be spent. But some of it will be spent—hon. Members must be prepared for that—for the purpose of making preparations to put a force in marching order. Why do I say that? Not because I think it will be at all necessary that any force should be called on to march; but because, if a man thinks he may want a pair of shoes a certain time hence, he must order them beforehand. That is the spirit in which we ask for this Vote, and we trust that we shall not be pressed to go into details as to how we are to spend every shilling of it. But it was said we are departing from the manner in which former Votes of Credit were taken. I do not know whether we are departing or not, because I am not able to compare the precise circumstances of those Votes of Credit with the precise circumstances of the present one. I think it really is time thrown away to compare cases which are not on all fours with each other. But what we are asking Parliament is to give us this money for purposes which I think I have sufficiently indicated—to make plain what we are about, and for the support of a policy which I have endeavoured in these general lines to shadow forth to the House. I trust that the Committee will feel that we are keeping back nothing which we could with propriety speak of, and that, in point of fact, it would be wrong in us to go into more details, which might be held to imply something which is very far indeed from our minds. I ask the House to give us this money, to be employed, if we should find it necessary, for the purpose of rendering our small force available, and supporting the policy which I have indicated that we shall adopt in its general lines, and which we shall endeavour to maintain in the Conference.


Sir, there is a great deal in the speech of my right hon. Friend to which I have listened with sincere satisfaction. At the same time, I must own that I think that the point in which he entirely fails is the connecting the substantial portion of the speech with the proposition now before the House. Let me say, before I endeavour to make good that statement, one word upon the state of things as it was yesterday and as it is to-day. I found it necessary, although highly inconvenient, to leave the House at an early hour yesterday on account of indisposition, and therefore I had not an opportunity of deciding whether I should be prepared to vote against the Speaker leaving the Chair. It was also very difficult to arrive at a conclusion upon that point in the confusion and uncertain state of things which the information of yesterday presented to us. That state of things has now, through the kindness of the Government and lapse of time, greatly cleared. We have learnt two things of great importance. We have learned the conditions of the Armistice, and we have learned that a portion of the British Fleet has gone to the Bosphorus. Nothing could be more satisfactory than the definition of the purposes for which the Feet has gone to the Bosphorus. I do not hesitate to say that it appears to me that neither Russia nor any other independent Power can have any title or disposition to complain of that measure. I hope that Her Majesty's Government are certain of the assent of Turkey. I must observe that they have not had any report from the British Ambassador of the danger to British life and property in Constantinople; and though I say that I cannot see that the measure can give just cause of complaint to Russia, yet I think that if Turkey is found to withhold her consent to Her Majesty's Government in ordering the Fleet there without that report from the Ambassador, we have incurred considerable responsibility. However, on the whole, if Turkey makes no objection, I am disposed to hope that the results of that measure may be satisfactory with reference to the condition of Constantinople. Now, with regard to the Armistice and the telegrams of yesterday. I spoke yesterday of credulity which I thought was sometimes indicated in the telegrams coming from Constantinople. I have great pleasure in saying that I do not at present see any ground for such a charge respecting the telegrams now before us. The language of that telegram was certainly calculated, I think, to mislead; but then I think that the nature of that language grew out of Mr. Layard's ignorance of the conditions of the Armistice. I demur a little to the breadth of statement of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because the telegram certainly implies the compulsory occupation of the lines. The telegram implied that the Porte had protested, and that the Porte had been compelled to give up that point.


My right hon. Friend will pardon me for interrupting him that I may remind him that in the statement which I made yesterday I pointed out upon the information which came from Mr. Layard that it might mean that the proceedings were taken within the terms of the Armistice.


I am not finding fault with the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer; I am only speaking of the words of the telegram itself and the misapprehension which they caused. But, at the same time, I wish to say that it appears to me to have been quite innocent on the part of the Ambassador; because, hearing of movements of the Russian Army, and not being acquainted with the terms of the Armistice, he naturally put that construction upon them. I am bound to say that I do not see with regard to Constantinople that the facts as they are now before us give us a title to complain of the conduct of Russia. I adhere to what I stated on a former occasion as to the Memorandum dated the 11th of November. I understand it to be in perfect conformity with what was said on a former occasion by the Emperor of Russia, and which precluded any occupation of Constantinople except from a bonâ fide military necessity. That military necessity has passed by with the Armistice. I hope we shall not cavil with Russia if, by a purely friendly arrangement, and without any military occupation whatever, Constantinople were to be made use of as a mere vehicle of easy embarkation and easy passage home for the Russian troops. ["No, no!"] Well, hon. Gentlemen opposite can state their views if they wish. That is my opinion. I have stated strongly what I think the real engagements of the Russians are, and so long as those engagements are observed, I, for one, shall certainly not be the man myself to cavil, or encourage cavil in others, at arrangements which, especially in the present state of the Balkans and the season, might be perfectly reasonable and 'natural. Of course, I assume that they are done with the entire consent of Turkey, and done in good faith for the purpose of passage, and not of occupation. I now come to the declarations of my right hon. Friend to-night—and important declarations I take them to be. He says that we must enter into the Conference for two reasons—in the first place, to maintain British interests; and, in the second place, to give effect to the views which this country may entertain upon the great re-construction which is about to be effected in the East. Nothing can be more fair than that. The maintenance of British interests is at all times the most immediate, and the most direct of all the duties of a Government. I will not say that in every possible circumstance it is the paramount duty, but it is the most immediate duty at all times of a Government; and as far as the first head, as far as the maintenance of British interests is concerned, I am most happy to think that there is nothing that has been said by my right hon. Friend—there is nothing that has been suggested—that in the slightest degree tends to connect itself with the necessity for an increase of force. My right hon. Friend has not himself dealt with the details of the question. With respect to the second head, which relates to the views that England may entertain on the subject of a general re-construction in the East, I am bound to say his use even of that expression was satisfactory to me; for it showed that he, and his Colleagues I hope with him, have not attempted to close their minds against admitting into them full perception of the great magnitude of the events that have been proceeding, and that they will endeavour to cast off all the narrow diplomatic traditions which might prevent them from giving full scope to the consequences of these events. Under the second head my right hon. Friend enumerated three points. He spoke first of the navigation of the Straits, with respect to the freedom of com- merce, and with respect to the passage of vessels of war. I cannot admit into my mind the supposition that the absolute freedom of commerce in the Straits has even the smallest danger from any imaginable person. But, at the same time, if such a danger were to arise, it is inevitably the interest of the civilized world to maintain the perfect freedom of those Straits. It is quite impossible to suppose, in my view, that Russia should attempt to apply any restraint upon them; for, undoubtedly, whatever disposition there may be to disown admitting any obligation to Russia under any circumstances, it is to Russia, acting doubtless in her own interest, and not upon principles of wide philanthropy, that de facto we owe the free navigation of these Straits for the purposes of commerce. Nothing could be more equitable and fair than the language of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the point as to the navigation of the Straits by vessels of war. He laid down no rigid dogma; he evoked no phantoms; he proposed to himself no impossibility; he carefully avoided separating the interests of this country in regard to the passage of the Straits by vessels of war from the general interests; he referred the matter fairly to the Conference; and the only objection he was disposed to take was to an exclusive arrangement in favour of any one Power. On this point, fully admitting that we cannot expect the Government to enter into details or anticipate the form questions may assume when they are under consideration, I am satisfied with what fell from my right hon. Friend—and not only satisfied, but gratified—because I think it will tend to discourage the circulation of many absurd and idle notions which have received too much currency and too much favour with certain portions of the public. When he spoke of our communications with the East, I suppose he referred particularly to the Suez Canal. I am persuaded that there can be no subject of quarrel between us there; but, what is yet more important, there can be no difference in the views of the Powers. The interest of the Powers in the Suez Canal is the interest of the whole world. It is true it is the interest of England, at the head of all the world, as the first and the greatest of commercial Powers. If I may ven- ture to say so, the interest of the Mediterranean Powers in the Suez Canal is still greater from one point of view than the interest of England. It is not, perhaps, observed by all; but the relative benefits of the Suez Canal are far greater to the Mediterranean Powers than to England; because, by the old route to the Cape of Good Hope, the Mediterranean Powers stood at a disadvantage with us. By the new route through the Suez Canal the Mediterranean Powers reap the whole benefit, and are so far advanced on their way to India, whereas we have to start from behind. It is, therefore, altogether visionary to treat the question of the Suez Canal as one out of which difficulties can arise, even, I should think, difficulties of argument; and I do not understand my right hon. Friend to speak of it with anything approaching to apprehension. We now come to that which is undoubtedly the heart of this question—namely, that which the right hon. Gentleman has introduced as a fair, probable, and endurable settlement of the countries now to be re-organized. No doubt the condition of 12,000,000 or 15,000,000 of people in Europe or Turkey is the heart and root of this matter. He is astonished there should have been any doubt or misgiving as to the intentions of the Government under this head. I think I can point out to him the reasons that made this misgiving very natural and very reasonable. Was not the first recommendation made to the Porte to put down sharply and summarily the insurrection in the Provinces? Was not the first object of the policy of the Government to restore, if possible, the status quo of the Turkish Empire? Was not objection taken on principle, at the time of the Conference, to the interference of Russia between the Porte and the subjects of the Porte? I do not want to dwell on these matters, which were matters of difference at the time; but I am sure if my right hon. Friend will measure the distance from the state of facts which then existed to the state of facts which now exists, he will find it is not at all to be wondered at that we should be somewhat exacting on this head—we who have all along felt that these countries, after all, existed in the main, not for the sake of Russia, not for the sake of Austria, not for the sake of the Turkish power established in them as a governing military Power; but for the sake of the populations occupying them, and among whom social happiness and civilization had prevailed until they were subverted by the Turkish conquest. My right hon. Friend says he has no desire to fetter the extension of free and good government; but when he read out the original terms of the bases of peace, he said that they cut deep into the heart or framework of the Turkish Empire. But my right hon. Friend must feel that—I do not say what he said, because it appeared more from what he did not say—when he went over the terms of the bases of peace the reception of them, in the language of his own speech, was not that of a man who is greatly pleased with their substance, and the reception of them on the benches behind him was, I must say, nothing less than a silence that was profound and almost lugubrious. I dare say that was because of an apprehension of the abuses to which it was supposed that these terms might lend themselves. What has my right hon. Friend given us now on the subject of this extension of free government? He has given us some good words on this subject also. He says he has no desire to fetter the extension of free and good government. That is well. He said that this country is at the head of the cause of freedom, and has traditions of freedom to which she ought to be faithful. That is better still. I would not wish anything better than what I think the genuine development of such a principle as that. My right hon. Fend pointed out that there is justice in some sense to be done to Turkey. On the same principle as in England, when we abolish useless and mischievous establishments, we always grant terms of surprising and almost romantic generosity to those we put down, and in the same way it may be right to ease this great transition to the Representatives of the Ottoman Porte who are men like ourselves, and who, if they have been led into difficulty and crime, no doubt owe this unhappy circumstance to the overpowering strength of the temptation and the presumed necessity of the situation. I do not object to doing that which can be done on behalf of the Ottoman Power without infringing the new liberties belonging to the new state of things. My right hon. Friend has said you must take care—and there undoubtedly you have fair reason for watching even the most beneficial operations of the Russian power with jealousy—that justice is done between the Slavs and the Hellenes. Unquestionably, Russia is the protector of the Slavs; she has earned by great sacrifices the title to protect them; to all appearances she has offered them a service as splendid and durable as ever was conferred by a great State on an oppressed and unhappy people. The Hellenes have no such claim on Russia. I have been forward to point out how appropriate an opportunity was open to Her Majesty's Government to charge themselves, within reasonable limits, with the interests of the Hellenic race and the Hellenic Provinces. I am not going to fasten on my right hon. Friend any pledge, for he did not give any; but I am not at all sorry to find the tone of his speech is such as does not exclude the hope that that graceful duty may be assumed and discharged by the Representative of Her Majesty's Government in these negotiations. Nevertheless, there is apprehension, which has been to some extent expressed already by the hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Sir William Harcourt), which has relation to one of the Powers that will take part in the Conference—I refer to Austria. It is absolutely necessary that the vigilant eye of this country should be directed to the proceedings of Austria. For 60 years past it has been the unfortunate lot of Austria, in every, or nearly every, European combination in which there were two sides to be taken, to be on the wrong side. She has unhappily adopted, I know not from what amount of interior pressure—but it has been her custom to adopt—the principle of insisting that the relations and conditions of the people of the Provinces outside her borders should be governed by conditions affecting her domestic convenience. I will quote a case which is among the most recent. I own I cherish a hope that better motives may now influence Austrian policy. I make no charge against the present distinguished head of the Austrian Government; and I recollect, with pleasure, that the present Ambassador to England, when he was at the head of the Austrian Government, recommended the plan of provincial tributary autonomies for the Christian States as a solution of the great Eastern problem. But Austria has to contend with internal difficulties, the tendency of which is to tempt her to insist on the regulation of the affairs of the adjoining Provinces in a manner to suit her internal convenience. The case I wish to cite—not the worst, but the nearest to her own borders—is that of the Danubian Principalities at the period of the Crimean War. The great question arose after that war whether they were to be united or not. Upon that subject I, for one, had a very strong view. I believe it was the only question of foreign politics down to last year upon which I felt it my duty to offer a Motion to this House. I moved the House in support of the union of the Danubian Principalities. The Austrian Government were opposed to that union, because it would give strength and solidity to the Roumanian State, and Austrian policy, unfortunately, was to keep all these Provinces and races disunited. In my opinion the uniting of the Danubian Principalities was the best and wisest measure Europe ever adopted in dealing with the Turkish Empire. Roumania was a real barrier, in proportion to her strength, even under the exciting circumstances of the last three years. For 18 months or more, while rebellion was raging elsewhere, and when Servia and Montenegro were at war with Turkey, Roumania never stirred, but fulfilled the duty of a neutral. When Roumania afforded a highway to the Russian troops it was under coercion; but if Roumania had been divided instead of being united—if she had had no freedom, no national existence of her own to defend—the probability was she would have been involved in troubles far sooner than she was. I do not hesitate to say that if there be ambition in Russia—I suppose there is, as there is in this country and in every country—I look upon the free and independent national existence of united Roumania as one of the best and soundest barriers that can be erected against that ambition. It may come to be a Belgium in the East of Europe—it may come to be a home of freedom, an obstacle to dynastic greatness and territorial aggrandizement. It is a most admirable provision that has been made for the introduction of a new living Power—a free State; but that principle was opposed pertinaciously, and vitally opposed, by the whole strength of Aus- tria. The fear I cannot exclude from my mind is this—that again it may be the unfortunate temptation of Austria, upon consideration of her own internal circumstances, and her relation to races within her own border, to limit the great boon that is about to be conferred on the subject-races of Turkey. The principle I lay down is this—which I shall develop at far greater length if I find it necessary to do so—that if it should be so, I see no reason why the influence of England ought to be associated with Austria for any such purpose. I hope that Austria, having changed in Constitution, may have unlearnt those ideas; but I must say this—if it be not so, in this House many a voice will be raised to prevent a mischief which might not be due to any obliquity of view in the Government, but which they might be induced to tolerate. On that subject we have a fair right to ask that the Government shall exercise a careful jealousy. What we have a fair right to ask from the Government I will endeavour to state in very plain and simple words. Certain terms have been arrived at between Russia and Turkey. Russia has demanded, and Turkey has granted, certain concessions in behalf of the subject-races. What I ask of Her Majesty's Government is that their influence shall not be used to diminish the total amount of these concessions upon which Russia and Turkey have agreed. That, I think, is a fair proposal. ["No!"] Then, Sir, it appears there are some Gentlemen in this House who think that England may lawfully and justifiably go into the Conference to join hands with some other Power for the sake of cutting down and emasculating the boons which Russia and Turkey have agreed should be conferred upon the subject-races. I will not enter into questions between one subject-race and another; but my proposition is this—We are not to join with Austria or any other Power in curtailing and diminishing the boon which Russia and Turkey, jointly at the close of this great war, propose to confer on the subject-races. I hope that this proposition, in the main, commends itself to the view of the Government; but, at the same time, I must say it is one which I am prepared to contest, and for which I shall contend to the utmost of my poor power. There was another point on which my right hon. Friend did not speak, but I have great confidence that if he had mentioned it his statement would have been received with general concurrence and unanimity. He did not mention the navigation of the River Danube; but I have not the least doubt all the efforts of the Government will be directed beyond all question to the absolute liberty of the navigation of the River Danube. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER assented.] I do not understand that navigation to be in the slightest degree threatened by any arrangement of the conditions of the Armistice. I apprehend that the Russians have had the police of that river in their hands from the first, and the condition in the Armistice is another form of saying that it is intended to set it a-going at the earliest possible moment. But my right hon. Friend proceeded to connect these declarations of policy with the Vote before the House. I have not spoken of these declarations of policy in an inequitable spirit or with any other desire than that of substantial agreement. I have heard them with much satisfaction. That which I continue to be anxious about is this—that the Government are not by any single agency of their own, and are not by any concurrence and combination with any other Power, to set about the odious work of diminishing the boons which Russia and Turkey have agreed to grant to the subject-populations. Then, my right hon. Friend says he wants to go into Conference, where these matters are to be discussed, armed with the power of speaking his mind. He says a sudden emergency may arise, and he may want transports and other means to meet the emergency. If a sudden emergency did arise, the Government must know their duty too well to wait for a Vote of this House. No Government worthy of its place but would, upon a sudden emergency, give the orders which the circumstances of the time might demand, and then come down, at the earliest moment in their power, to ask the concurrence of the House in what they had done. Undoubtedly that is the principle on which all Governments have acted in this country, a principle which has never been challenged. But my right hon. Friend says he wants to go into Conference armed with the power of speaking his mind. Has he not got the power of speaking his mind? What cause has he to be afraid? There is but one sub- ject of difficulty before the Conference, and that is the adjustment of this question with the new nationalities of the liberated Provinces. The proceedings of the Government ought to be viewed in the spirit of equity and indulgence; but why vote £6,000,000 to enable him to speak his mind? Of whom is he afraid? Of Russia? If he were going to enlarge what Russia proposes, he might be afraid; but no one asks him to enlarge what Russia proposes. It would be gross inconsistency, indeed, for Russia to challenge one who adopts and supports her own proposition. In the prosecution of this end he will have Russia as an Ally. He wishes to have this money in order to pursue the purposes he has indicated. Now, which of those purposes has the slightest likelihood of involving him with Russia? He says he is to secure what has never been interrupted—the free passage of commercial vessels in the Straits. Is there any apprehension of violent resistance to that? He is going to submit an equitable proposal to the Congress with reference to the passage of war vessels through the Straits. Who will oppose his taking that measure? Russia is bound by most solemn and reiterated pledges, and every other Power in Europe is known to be precisely on the same side. He is going to deal with the navigation of the Danube. He does not himself anticipate the slightest difficulty. He is going to deal with the immunities of the subject Provinces; and, though he would need both more Army and Navy if he wanted to cut down those immunities, he can want no such assistance in giving effect to what has been agreed upon by Russia and Turkey. I want, then, to know whether the arguments which have been advanced in this House have in the slightest degree been met in this debate? I make no complaint against the demand of Her Majesty's Government, if they think fit to ask for a Constitutional expression of support in reference to the coming negotiations. I adhere in full to what I offered for myself on a former night, although the appropriate reward I then received was given by the Secretary of State for War. [Cheers and counter cheers.] I learn from these cheers that a number of Gentlemen on the other side of the House think it was an appropriate reward. If they are right, it only adds force and significance to what I now say—that, notwithstanding that reception, I do not in the slightest recede from the offer I made. I am perfectly willing, on intelligible bases, to be a party to give every Constitutional support to the Government during these negotiations. But why is more to be asked for? Why are we to be told that we are going to stop the Supplies? I think that is an abuse of language—it is a daring abuse of language—and it is a phrase that no Minister ought to use, except upon the occurrence of a real occasion for it. It is perfectly well known in our history that the withholding Supplies is an extreme remedy in the hands of Parliament for the purpose of preserving the liberties of the country. The principle of our Constitution is to vote the sums necessary for the service of the State, and not the sums which are not necessary for the service of the State. The principle of our Constitution is also that the Government is to ask the House of Commons for those sums, and those only, which it believes, on the best information, to be necessary for the public service. But where is the connection, I would ask, between that and asking for a sum which is not necessary? Well, then, is this money to be spent for the public service or not? Any of our Constitutional authorities would laugh at the man who would say that any Supply was necessary for the public service except when it was intended that it should be expended in that service. Are those £6,000,000 required for that purpose? Certainly not. What has my right hon. Friend told us to-night? He has told us that some of it will be spent. He qualified that a little with that we heard from the Secretary to the Treasury (Colonel Stanley), in a speech to which I am very anxious to render a tribute, for I beard it with unfeigned delight. And here I would say that 40 years ago the father of the hon. and gallant Gentleman exercised a command over the feelings of this House perhaps greater than any other man who then sat within its walls. At his pleasure he could rouse the House, not only to approval, but to ecstasy; and I, who remember vividly the scenes of that day, rejoice to see the highest and most valuable qualities of that eloquence reproduced in the hon. and gallant Gentleman who now sits opposite to me. The hon. and gallant Gentleman told us that scarcely any, or perhaps none, of this money would be wanted. That statement has, however, since been qualified by his official superior, who has given us the authentic assurance that some portion of the £6,000,000 will be required. But it is the duty of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ask only for as much as he thinks will be required, and there is no precedent for departing from that rule of proceeding. And then I am told that it shows an old womanish regard for dusty antiquity to look for precedents. But I hold that on this question of taxation and public charge precedent is the very life of our proceedings. The precedents upon which we throw burdens upon the people are not the chance events of this or that Government when emergencies of any particular state of Party combination arise; but they are the mature and ultimate results of many centuries of Constitutional practice, and which have been brought home to the minds of many generations, under which the Representatives of the people can, on the one hand, make a liberal supply for the wants of the State, and can, on the other hand, in making that supply, preserve a jealous control over the liberties of the people. Out of hundreds of precedents there is only one instance of a singular and peculiar kind that has been mentioned, and excepting that there has not been the slightest attempt to establish a precedent. But this Vote, I venture to say, is an unreal Vote, because the money cannot possibly, consistently with the rules of the Service, be spent between this and the 31st of March. I am astonished, I confess, at the way in which reference has been made to the first expenditure in connection with the Crimean War. It might be supposed from what had been said on that subject that no preparations had been made to defend the country at the outset of that war. But the first six months were six months during which Lord Hardinge was Commander-in Chief, and Mr. Sidney Herbert, one of the best administrators of his generation, was Secretary for War. I should think my right hon. Friend the present Secretary for War will remember that during that time the old Board of Ordnance was in operation, and that Board of Ordnance was the special creation of the Duke of Wellington, and upon which he looked with the partiality of a parent, so admirably did he think it was adapted for the defence of the country; and whatever may be the other defects of our public Departments, I never heard that any one of them had failed in the faculty of spending money. So much, then, for what has been said upon this point by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the War Department. As to precedent, he has told us that the Vote of 1870 furnished a precedent for the proposal now under discussion, and that, I would observe, is the only one to which reference has been made. There are, however, several points of difference between the two proposals; but I will not dwell on more than one. The Vote of 1870 was asked for to be spent, while this, which is three times the amount, is asked for by some Members of the Government saying that they hope none of it will be spent, and others at last telling us that they are quite certain some of it will be spent, but they cannot state how much. I am jealous—perhaps it may be the weakness of old age—but still I am jealous of this Constitutional innovation. I know no question involving more of Parliamentary solicitude than to hand over to a Government, as a mark of confidence, a very large sum of money, the greater part of which, we are given to understand, there is no likelihood they will want. It is no part of the business of the House of Commons to do so. Our business is promptly and freely to meet the public demands for expenditure as they are developed; but there is no instance with which I am acquainted in which, on the eve of a peaceful Conference at the close of a war, for the purpose of winding up and of settling or re-settling the questions opened in connection with the war, that one of the Powers before going into the Conference should arm itself with the strength, or the supposed strength, of a sum for increased military and naval armaments. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War answered that argument the other night by pointing to the mobilization of the Russian Army in 1876. But the plan of the Conference then held was not a Russian, it was an English plan. Russia had adopted a separate mode of action. She did not mobilize her Army with a view to the operation of that step on the proceedings of the Conference, hut because, she said—"We are determined to force justice upon Turkey if she will not do it under the influence of persuasion; and it had no reference whatever to forcing it on the Conference. But that is not all. My point was that there was no precedent. But what did the right hon. Gentleman say of his precedent? He said it was most mischievous in its operation. Now, I am most anxious to be in agreement with the Government on this occasion; but they must supply us with something in the nature of a little reason before we can give our assent to a proposal for charging our constituents with a sum of £6,000,000. I have seen a great many resolutions which have been passed in support of the Government at excited meetings. ["No, no!"] Well, I think I am not far wrong, in describing as exciting, meetings at which persons are burnt in effigy. I have seen, I repeat, a great many resolutions passed at such meetings; but not one, as far as I am aware, in favour of this specific proposal. I had, I may add, a very short time ago, some anonymous verses given me, consisting of a parody of the verses of Tennyson's well-known ode on the Battle of Balaclava. The verses are headed Tennyson to the Rescue. The poet is arguing in favour of the present proposition. He says— Ring out your battle-cry, Vote this War Supply, This must we have or die—Vote the Six Millions! Yours not to reason why, Ours not to make reply, Ours but say ' You lie,' Vote the Six Millions! That, I think, gives a very fair and a very spirited summary of what has been said in support of the Vote. There have been other pleas. The Knight of the Shire for Mid Lincolnshire—[Opposition cheers]—oh, I am not going to trouble the House with any of his references to myself. When I have an opportunity in fair debate of following the hon. Member, I shall not be perhaps unwilling to answer him; but I do not intend to strain the rules of debate by going back to any of the harangues of which he made me the subject. But the hon. Gentleman said— We are agreed as to the end in view, and when we are so agreed, you, who are in a minority, ought to agree with the majority as to the choice of means. That, no doubt, is a plausible principle, but there are limits to it. The end in view, as to which we are all agreed, is that everything should be done for the best, and that the honour and interests of the country should be upheld; but we are by no means yet in full possession—although we are gradually, I hope, making our way to such possession—of the views of the Government as to the means by which that honour and those interests should be upheld. Suppose, for example, that it was proposed to establish in this country that which, I believe, prevails in Germany for the military security of that Empire—a chest containing 20,000,000 of gold locked up. We should all be agreed as to the end in view—namely, our military security; but it would be rather a strong measure to say that a minority of this House should be bound to lock up £20,000,000 in a chest. There are limits in a matter of that kind; and much more, then, are limits to be set to some other propositions which I have heard laid down. I heard my hon. Friend the Member for New-castle-on-Tyne (Mr. J. Cowen) deliver a speech last night which was loudly cheered from the other side of the House; and the principle which I understood my hon. Friend to lay down was, that it is all very well for us to have our differences on questions of domestic policy, but that when it is a question of policy abroad we ought to cast aside all our differences and adopt what the Government proposes; and anything else, the hon. Member said, was preferring your Party to your country, which he would be the last man to do. Far be it from me to ask him or to ask any other hon. Member to prefer his Party to his country. To do so would be a great and a grave mistake, but not a greater nor a graver mistake than was made by my hon. Friend himself when he said that in a question of foreign policy we were to surrender the liberty of our opinion and judgment, and simply to support that which might be proposed by Ministers. To what does it amount? It amounts to this—that in questions of foreign policy we are to have no regard to right and wrong; that we are all to be Englishmen; and that, whatever pro- posal is made, or is proposed to be made, in the name of England, we are to make no inquiry as to how far it is right or wrong—that, sinking that inquiry and repudiating it, we are to do our best to support the Government in its proposal. In my opinion, such a proposition as that is most shallow in philosophy and most unwise in policy. What would be the effect of it in other countries? If it is good for us, it is good, also, for them. If every Englishman is to rally to the policy of the English Government—of course there are cases in which there is an obedience due to them, and I do not speak of these—if every Englishman is to have a foregone conclusion and to be bound by the policy proposed by Her Majesty's Ministers, whatever it may be, every Russian is to be bound to what the existing Government of Russia may propose, and there can be no discussion as to the right or wrong of that policy. And so it would be in every country of the world. I hold, on the contrary, that we are as much bound to apply the laws of right and wrong according to our best judgment and conviction to all great and broad issues that arise in questions of policy abroad, as we are bound to apply them in questions of policy at home. My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright) reminds me that it is more necessary—and more necessary indeed it is—because when we discuss matters at home the crossing of interests is such as to balance pretty fairly opposite opinions. On the contrary, in questions of controversy with foreign countries there is an amount of prejudice and predisposition in favour of our own view, whatever it may be, which places in the utmost hazard the highest interests of all—the interests of justice and truth. I have no disposition at all to create or to magnify causes of difference with the Government as to their policy. Again, I thank my right hon. Friend opposite for what he has given us, and I hope he will yet give us a little more; but I cannot be satisfied until I know that, as to the general scope of our Ministers or Representatives in the Conference, it is not to be to limit the concessions which Russia and Turkey are jointly ready to make. Upon that proposition I take my stand as upon a principle—not to be applied with unmeaning, mathematical rigour, but to be applied in its sense, spirit, and substance. With any Constitutional and established methods of supporting the Government in their efforts to give effect to that principle and to the other principles which my right hon. Friend has so well announced to-night, I am most ready to concur. I am most ready to concur in any measure for giving support to the Government for purposes such as those; but I am really not able to give my support to a Vote which my right hon. Friend has utterly failed to connect with the objects he has in view, which is contrary to the wise and established rule on which the most vital of all the functions of this House has for generations been uniformly performed, and which even in worse times than these, and in worse hands than those, might prove to have established a precedent dangerous to the Constitution of the country.

After a pause,


again rose, and said: I am told that I used an expression towards the end of my speech which may be regarded as ambiguous. What I meant to say was, that I could not support the proposed Grant, and that I intended to vote against it.


said, all hon. Members would agree in supporting British interests if they were taken to mean the honour of our flag, the freedom of our commerce, the peace and security of our Colonial dependencies, or the right and liberties of British residents in foreign countries. But in some quarters the maintenance of the independence and territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire had been included in the category of British interests. Where should we find that definition acknowledged now? Certainly not on the Opposition side, and not by many on the Ministerial side of the House. Her Majesty's Ministers, too, had at one time or another disembarrassed themselves of that fiction. Still, it was one which, if we might judge from the documents laid before the House, had existed till quite recently in the minds of the Turkish Ambassador in London and of the English Ambassador at Constantinople. Until this House and the country received a distinct assurance from Her Majesty's Government that the maintenance of the integrity and independence of Turkey was no longer an article of British interests, they would never be able to come to a conclusion as to the course they ought to adopt as a united people. Referring to the public excitement of the past day or two, the right hon. Gentleman characterized the reception of the deputation of medical students which took place on Thursday evening as a deplorable exhibition. No one could fail to admire the devotion with which medical men had given their aid in this war to the sick and wounded of both Armies; and these young men were probably animated with the same enthusiastic devotion to the exercise of their noble profession; but they should not, he thought, have permitted their pro-fessional zeal to make them forget that, as Christian men, they were disciples of the Prince of Peace. The Government had asked for this Vote as a Vote of Confidence, thereby placing their supporters in a very difficult and painful position. When confidence was challenged by the Opposition the Government had a right to require their supporters to maintain them in their place; but in this case the challenge was voluntarily thrown out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to his own side. If they had at the outset asked for money to put the Army and Navy in a fit position for active service, there would probably have been no objection raised to the proposal; but the money had been asked for to be used in certain exigencies. In the International Congress which was about to meet the Plenipotentiaries would derive their influence from the greatness of the Power they represented, and not from the amount of money which had been voted by the Parliaments of those Powers. He could not see, therefore, that the Representatives of England would derive any influence from this Vote. He disliked the character of the proposal very much, and he could not vote for it with anything like satisfaction. Still, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said it was essential to the Government, he had to consider whether he should be doing right or wrong in voting for it. He believed the Vote to be comparatively harmless, and he should therefore give his vote in its favour. The country was now looking forward to the solution of this Eastern Question with exciting interest; and there could be no doubt of a general desire to see an end put to the terrible calamities which now afflicted the East of Europe. Nothing would more tend to unanimity of opinion and action in the House, in reference to a general support of Her Majesty's Government, than an explicit declaration from them of the policy they would pursue in the Conference.


said, that he listened, in common with the whole House, with great interest to the important speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but he failed to connect it with this Vote. He was desirous of making some inquiries as to its special items, and he apprehended the present was the fitting opportunity for doing so. There were included in this Vote the following services:—Field allowances, staff pay and allowances, land transport and horses, medicines, and surgical instruments. He contended that it was a war Vote that was asked for by the Government; and he thought it odd that while we were going into the Conference no preparations were being made by other Powers. It ought to be remembered that we voted large sums of money for military expenditure, and yet when any panic arose we were called upon to furnish additional resources. They were asked to accept a Vote of Credit which would give the Government the power of spending £6,000,000 in six weeks or two months, or at the rate of £36,000,000 in a single year. Such an expenditure could not be justified even if this country were engaged in hostilities. He would not grudge the £6,000,000 if it were to be spent on the Navy, and the sending of the Fleet to the Dardanelles was a measure of which they all approved. But to spend the money in equipping and sending out an expeditionary land force to a place where England had no interests to defend would be a most reckless proceeding. The wording of the Resolution proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer was objectionable, because it spoke of the Vote being expended in increasing the efficiency of the Naval and Military Services at the present crisis of the war between Russia and Turkey. Why, the crisis was past—he had almost said the war was at an end. Had not the Grand Duke Nicholas telegraphed to the commanders in Europe and Asia along the whole line to desist from further operations? The Government, then, were taking power to put in the field a small force, which might act as a menace, and possibly an encouragement to Turkey, but would have no effective influence over the military situation. We surely did not require £6,000,000 to prepare, not to send out, a small expeditionary force? If so, our naval and military preparations, notwithstanding our vast expenditure, must be sadly in arrear. Our Crimean expenditure, extended over two years and a-half, was measured by Sir George Lewis at £77,000,000, or at the rate approximately of £31,000,000 a-year. This Vote must be intended either to carry on war or to secure peace. If to carry on war it was too small for its object; if to secure peace, it was surely unwise to enter into Conference with a veiled menace to Russia in one hand, and an ambiguous 'promise to Turkey in the other. For the reasons he had given he should vote against the Motion.


said, that a great number of complaints had been made against the Government, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), in his wonderfully fertile and imaginative mind, had framed a long bill of indictment against them for what they might do at the Conference. There was, however, one complaint which could not be made against them—namely, that they had been backward in furnishing information, because the House had obtained information up to this afternoon. He wanted to ask—To what did that information amount? To this—that the whole of European Turkey, including the City of Constantinople, was absolutely at the mercy of Russia. He did not wish to be an alarmist, or to offend the susceptibilities of foreign nations; but this was a state of things which neither England nor any other Power could afford to regard with indifference or without some mixture of apprehension. His hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) had said that if the question was whether Constantinople was to be occupied by Russia or Turkey he would rather it was occupied by Russia. If his hon. Friend had not looked more serious than usual when saying so, he should have thought he was indulging in one of his best jokes; but if his hon. Friend really entertained that opinion, he stood alone in England at this moment. The interests of England and of Europe alike forbade any such occupation. A great deal had been said about war in this debate, and Members on the Ministerial side had been taxed with either directly or indirectly advocating it. But it should be remembered that there was one thing quite as bad as war, and that was a dangerous peace, because such a peace contained within it the seeds and germs of many wars. A dangerous peace was prolific of innumerable sources of discontent and disturbance; and it was that the Government might go into the Conference armed with authority sufficient to prevent a dangerous peace being agreed to that the House was asked to pass this Vote. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, on a former occasion and again to-night, and also the hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Richard), used some arguments as to the danger of going into the Conference armed with a war Vote, and that had been designated "a policy of menace." Menace to whom? He could not see that a State going into a Conference to discuss with other States a most difficult issue—or rather, many difficult issues—could be justly described as assuming an attitude of menace because it was prepared for any contingency. He wanted the House and the Government to remember whom they had to meet at this Conference. They were going to meet all the great military Powers of Europe, every one of them armed to the teeth, and able to send large armies into the field at a few days' notice. He was not altogether satisfied that Bulgaria was fit for self-government. The experiment, however, was about to be tried, and it was as well to see what were the difficulties which would have to be encountered in carrying it out. A large portion of the population of the Province consisted of Mahomedans, and the remainder was divided into various Christian sects; and the religious differences now existing between them would be perpetuated and embittered by the miserable memories of this unhappy war. There would thus be vast difficulty in giving Constitutions to these autonomous States. There was also the question, who was to have the Protectorate over them? He had no hesitation in saying that if they were to become the mere vassal States of Russia, the last state of the South-Eastern portion of Europe would be even worse than the first; while the danger to the peace of Europe and to English interests would be even greater than that caused by the misgovernment of the Porte. The supporters of Her Majesty's Government had been taunted with entertaining a feeling of mistrust of Russia. He did not deny that such a feeling existed in this country; but it was not confined to hon. Members sitting on that side of the House, it being exhibited quite as much by hon. Members opposite. He deplored its existence, and he should wish to see it brought to an end; for as long as it existed, it was impossible that we could enter into satisfactory negotiations or could form a cordial alliance with Russia. It was not our fault, however, that it existed, but that of Russia herself. If Russia would conduct her diplomacy in a straight and not in a tortuous line; if she would make it clear and not mysterious; if she would say what she really meant and prove to us that what she said she meant, then the distrust of her which existed—widespread and deeply-rooted as it was—would disappear, and the world would soon see England and Russia carrying out together the great work of civilization in which both countries professed to be engaged. The noble Lord opposite (the Marquess of Hartington) had asked how this money was to be used; but that question had been fully answered by the speech of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Colonel Stanley). The noble Lord had further complained that he could not ascertain what the policy of the Government at the Conference would be; but he had heard a very elaborate exposition of that policy from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Of course, it was impossible to enter into all the details of that policy, which might have to be varied in order to suit the different combinations of circumstances that might arise. He could have wished that the tone and manner of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had been more moderate and more reserved. The right hon. Gentleman, in referring to Austria, had assumed that she intended to use her influence at the Conference to restrict the liberties of the different nationalities; but that was a gratuitous assumption on his part, there being no proof whatever that such was her intention. He hoped that a cordial alliance would be formed between Austria and this country; and that they would go hand-in-hand in doing their duty in the Conference by resisting a dangerous peace, and in securing for these different communities freedom and good government. The right hon. Gentleman had referred to Roumania as having formed a check to the advance of Russia to the South. That was a most unhappy reference; because the fact was that Roumania had been the point d'appui of Russia in her progress to Constantinople. He very much doubted, therefore, whether great reliance could be placed in the formation of a number of quasi-independent States as a barrier to Russian ambition. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had remarked upon the speech of the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Cowen); but he himself had listened with admiration to the manly and patriotic course which the hon. Member had taken, and he had confined his remarks to the present position of affairs in the East, so that the larger construction put upon them by the right hon. Gentleman was not justified. The Vote itself had been granted already by a large majority, and he hoped it would be so granted again; because he firmly believed the majority represented very fairly and fully the opinion of the people of England upon the question. Further, he trusted the Vote would be granted, because it was one to which the old aphorism, Bis dat qui cito dat, eminently applied.


said, he was very glad that the important question before the Committee was not settled yesterday, when the House was in an excited state, not to say a state of panic. Yesterday they were unable to discuss this question in a calm atmosphere. The atmosphere was very calm now. He thought it would have been very disgraceful to them if it could have been said that the Pashas in Constantinople had forced our hand. Though it was Mr. Layard who sent the alarming telegrams, it was strange that he could believe the officials of the Porte, who had declared they did not know the terms of their own armistice, and such assertions should not have sufficed to throw us off our balance. He was an old official, and knew well the degree to which it was necessary to trust those who had the ad- ministration of affairs in times of difficulty and danger. If Her Majesty's Government had asked for a moderate sum, and, what was more important, had asked for it in a moderate tone, he should not have been prepared to resist the demands made upon the Government's responsibility. But the demand was not moderate in amount, and it was made in what was not a moderate tone. As regarded the amount, seeing it was to be spent in the next six weeks, it had been clearly shown that the amount was really excessive. It was not suggested that an emergency existed that rendered it necessary that that sum should be spent at once. But they had been told very clearly by the Secretary to the Treasury, and to some extent by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that we should be prepared with the means for a warlike expedition. If such an emergency really arose, and the Government came to Parliament, he believed it would be willing to supply what was wanted. Meantime, if the Government had said there were certain things that required to be got for putting the troops on a more efficient footing, and had asked for, say, £2,000,000, he would not have objected. But it seemed to him that this was a war Vote, and therefore a Vote he would not encourage. As he had said, he had still more objection to the tone in which the demand had been made. If the speeches of those Members of the Cabinet who had hitherto been considered the safest—the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Home Secretary—had been in the same tone as their speeches of last year, he would, for his part, have been ready to place confidence in them. But the tone of these Gentlemen was very different from what it was formerly. It could not be denied that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary was a long indictment against Russia, and a long suggestion of duplicity on the part of Russia—an accusation that she was exhibiting bad faith. It was very objectionable that they should have such insinuations made in presenting a Vote of this kind unless they could be proved. It was an evil that once done could scarcely be remedied. The effects of these suggestions, in inciting hatred amongst peoples, lasted for generations. He had seen it stated in the Russian Press that Russia did not desire war with England; but if there should be such a war, it would be an exceedingly popular one in Russia. Looking to the conduct of our Ambassador at Constantinople, he thought our neutrality had been of a very one-sided character. Things had been said by responsible men which were calculated to engender in this country a hatred of Russia. These were things that made him unwilling to give the Government larger Supplies than were necessary for peaceful precaution. As regarded this question of the duplicity of Russia, it seemed to him that Russia had given very definite pledges in the most categorical terms, and that nothing could be more satisfactory than these assurances. It came, indeed, to this—that we must either believe these very definite pledges of Russia, or we must suppose that the Government of Russia, from the Emperor downwards, were engaged in some grand conspiracy to throw their pledges to the wind and take advantage of this country. If Her Majesty's Government was in possession of information that enabled them to prove to the House that the Government of Russia were engaged in a great conspiracy, it was right that they should state it to the House, and not merely insinuate such things. Last year a pamphlet was published in Constantinople by an obscure Greek at the instigation of a Turkish Pasha, and it had since been translated into English, and was recently circulated amongst Members of Parliament. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was asked if it was authentic. He did not repudiate that pamphlet; he said he believed some of the documents to be authentic; and the tone in which he said it insinuated against Russia things which amounted to a great conspiracy. What was the nature of that pamphlet? It professed to be a revelation of documents passing between the Prince Imperial of Russia and great diplomatists and other people, which meant nothing unless it meant there was a grand conspiracy—not a holy crusade on the part of the Slav cause, but a conspiracy couched in the tone of Jack Sheppard or the Artful Dodger. If the Government was possessed of information that would lead the House to believe that there was truth in that, he should be quite ready to withdraw his opposition to this Vote. But till that was done he could not support it. Our highest interests were not attacked, and we were totally incapable of putting an army into the field that could cope with the great armies of the Continent. He did not believe it was the interest or wish of Russia to open the Straits to war vessels, seeing other fleets were stronger than her own. He contended that in the action which the Government would have to take in connection with these complicated affairs they should cultivate with the Russians a give-and-take policy; because he saw that by meeting them halfway we would stave off vast difficulties which otherwise might result in a serious outbreak of hostilities. Russia gave it as her great reason for going to war that she desired to relieve the Christian population of Turkey. He would remind the House that there was a large number of Christians in Armenia and in that portion of Armenia occupied by the Russians. Russia might very plausibly seek to free these people from the Turkish yoke, and she might thus make advances there which would alarm us. Therefore, he again asserted that we should meet Russia in a friendly spirit, otherwise much harm might be done. The only way to stave off Russia's demands in Asia, he believed, was to maintain a give-and-take policy. And what would be the result supposing this country was involved in a war regarding this Asian question? Why, they would require not only £6,000,000, or even £60,000,000, but £600,000,000. Then there was the question of our Indian Empire, and all the help that could be derived from that country would be required with our own in the event of a war, while possibly even then we could not beat Russia in the field so far from our own bases. If, therefore, it would seem so difficult to meet Russia by force, he was justified in urging the Government to enforce a friendly and not an unfriendly policy. It was advisable to take the best bargain they could, for he would have the House remember that upon this question the country stood isolated and alone, because there were no other Powers directly interested in this question. The only thing left open for us to do was to obtain the support of Austria on the stipulation that we should support her interests in Europe. But that course, he was aware, had been repudiated in the House. What would be the circumstances, he asked, in the event of this country going to war with Russia? It would be something like the man and the fish—they would not be able to get near to one another. England might blockade the Black Sea and the Baltic; but if that would not be cutting off the nose to spite the face he did not know how to describe it. Our own trade throughout the country would be seriously injured. In his own constituency (Kirkcaldy) they were very much opposed to the Vote, and in the event of a war they well knew that they would be among the first to suffer for want of Russian flax and Russian custom Their trade, in fact, would stand idle. In this sense, therefore, the war would do a vast deal of harm. Then there was the question of India. He was not one who feared for anything that Russia could at present do with regard to India; but the question was one which excited much feeling in this country. The Afghan was always ready to play off Russia against England and England against Russia; and a war with Russia would create excitement and much expense in India, and ruin the Indian finances. He would venture to suggest that responsible Ministers of the Crown should change their tone with regard to Russia. He was glad to hear the words of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the Government did not desire war, and so long as they exerted themselves to preserve an honourable peace he had no fear of the result. As regards the objects of the Conference, no doubt most momentous questions would have to be considered. It was now, he thought, an accepted fact that Turkey in Europe had come to an end. That fact must be accepted, though, he feared, grudgingly; and that being so, they should exert themselves to secure for Turkey a good solid power in Asia. He believed the Pashas might make a solid reliable Power in Asia, as they had shown themselves a brave people in Europe. He advocated this course, and believed that it would be the means of combining the present struggling Mahomedan peoples. He trusted the Greeks would achieve freedom, but they must not put forward false and exaggerated claims. The whole population of Philippopolis was only 50,000, and only one-seventh were Greeks; while in the district the Bishop claimed only 12,000 adherents of the Greek Church. The Greeks injured their cause by overstating their case. With respect to Bulgaria, he was surprised at the statements of the Chancellor of the Exchequer with respect to the location of that people, as Lord Salisbury had specially delineated the two Bulgarias. The Bulgarians were a steady, plodding people, and it would be hard to make them pay a tribute because they had not rebelled and fought more. Their position in the midst of Mahomedans was different from that of the Montenegrins, who had always been independent. He believed they would be found extremely capable of governing themselves. Much had been said about good government by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and very little about freedom, and he hoped that freedom would not be sacrificed for the establishment of what might mean good government in a foreign point of view. If the Servians were pig drivers, they were the pioneers of freedom and self-government among the Slavs, and were, therefore, not likely to be treated too well by Russia. She might desire to maintain vassal States, and it would be our duty in the Conference to advocate freedom as opposed to vassalage for the liberated States.


with regard to a statement by an hon. Member on the other side of the House (Sir George Campbell) that he would have supported a Vote of £2,000,000, said, there did not seem to him to be any principle in such a proposal, for the case was not one which could be made a mere question of amount. It was denied that anything had occurred which could justify the Vote. In Her Majesty's Speech it was stated that no money would be asked for unless some unexpected occurrences took place. Was not the delay in signing the armistice an unexpected occurrence? and was not the delay in communicating the terms of peace to Her Majesty's Government another unexpected occurrence? No one could be in favour of new taxes; but when the Government placed all the Papers before them, and stated that they required this Vote, the Committee ought to support them. What did the bankers of London do when there was a crisis? Why, they husbanded their resources and prepared for an emergency. The Government wished to do that now. The Vote being necessary, the state of trade had nothing to do with the matter. It was no pleasure to the Government to propose the Vote, but only the discharge of an imperative duty. At the same time, he would beseech of the Government to use every endeavour to avoid the dire necessity of resorting to war. He was glad the House seemed to have calmed down again, for he believed feeling ran high in some parts of the country, and that a very little fuel added to the flame would excite a feeling which might almost drive Ministers to do that which their better judgment would not impel them to do. The speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was imbued with freedom from beginning to end; but while we were just to others we must be just to ourselves. At the same time, one of our greatest interests was that there should be secured the glorious liberty of responsible free government for the peoples who had so long groaned under oppression and misrule. If he thought that the Vote asked for by the Government was likely to force the country into war, he would, if he stood alone in that House, resist its being granted, and use all the forms of Parliament to prevent the money being granted; but he looked at it as a peace Vote, calculated to strengthen the hands of the Government at the forthcoming Conference, and therefore he came prepared to give it all the support he could.


said, the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer that evening had been in every respect the most satisfactory one which had been delivered by any Member on the Government Bench during the discussion on this Vote, and was in striking contrast to those of the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for War. If it had been delivered on the previous evening many hon. Gentlemen would have gone into the Lobby in better spirits and with more expectation that peace would be maintained. That speech had been eminently pacific, and, considering the state of opinion out-of-doors, eminently calculated to do good. He hoped the explanation the right hon. Gentleman had given in regard to sending the Fleet to Constantinople would prevent any further misconception. It was worthy of observation that the position thus assumed would be almost identical with that offered to this country by Russia before the Conference, when she proposed to occupy Bulgaria herself, and that England should send its Fleet to Constantinople. In proportion as the speech of the right hon. Gentleman was satisfactory and pacific, and just in proportion as his explanation of the attitude of this country was satisfactory, did the Vote itself become unintelligible and most unnecessary. For what purpose were they to be called upon to vote £6,000,000 if the intentions of the Government were thoroughly pacific, and if they were going into the Conference not in a spirit of antagonism to Russia, but to carry out the policy which had been announced? He was not one of those who thought that the best means of securing peace was to prepare for war. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War had described Europe as full of inflammatory material to which a spark might set fire in a moment. Was the risk of conflagration not increased by our adding fresh barrels of gunpowder to these inflammatory materials? The result of our policy already had been that Russia had called out 45 fresh battalions, thus adding not less than 120,000 to her Army. It was in that way that preparations for war in one country led to corresponding preparations in another. The proposal to taking this Vote, therefore, was not wise at the present time. There had been one blank in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for he had not touched on the legal and constitutional points involved in this Vote. The only answer he had made to the precedents which had been quoted was that they were cases under different circumstances; but he had not explained what those different circumstances were, nor had he brought forward a single precedent for the course which the Government now proposed in asking the House to give a Vote which would place a discretionary power of going to war in the hands of the Government without the necessity of consulting the House on the subject. The speech of his right hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract (Mr. Childers), who had shown that there had never been a Vote of Credit given by the House at the commencement of negotiations, had not been answered. It was true that the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Secretary of the Treasury (Colonel Stanley) had characterized the precedents cited by his right hon. Friend "pre-historic." But that term could not fairly be applied to the precedents of 1718, 1791, and 1841. Surely the Constitution of this country was not so recent that precedents acted upon so late as 40 years ago could be called pre-historic. The important point was that if this course were adopted it would be possible on future occasions for the Government of the day to come down to the House at any time and ask for a Vote of Credit without explaining their objects or policy and then engage the country in war without again coming to the House of Commons in a Constitutional manner. To prove that that was not mere hypothesis on his part he would refer to the speech of the hon. Member for Christ-church (Sir H. Drummond Wolff), who had given that very ground as his reason for supporting the Vote. [Sir H. DRUMMOND WOLET dissented.] That was his impression of what the hon. Member had said; and it was so reported in The Times. He considered the proposition before the House a great innovation of the Constitution of the country, and that was fully admitted by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate). He contended that they were laying down a very bad precedent for a future occasion in this matter—one which was extremely dangerous, although at present it might not be followed by danger, inasmuch as the interval between the end of the present financial year and the commencement of the next was short; and he did not expect that in that interval the Conference would meet, or that any difficulty would arise out of the Conference. Then there remained one other important matter, and that was the attitude of this country at the coming Conference. He understood from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer in introducing this Vote to the House that it was the policy of the Government to go into the Conference with the object of minimizing the terms of peace in the interests of Turkey and of mending the condition of the Christian Provinces. The English people understood the word freedom, but they did not understand mending. They ought to go into the Conference, not with the intention of minimizing the terms of peace, but of co-operating with Russia for the purpose of securing autonomy not only to Bulgaria, but also to Bosnia and the Greek Provinces of Turkey. With reference to the terms of peace, he regretted that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not been able to say something on this subject. Nothing had been said with respect to the Hellenic Provinces, and he thought that something ought to be done to secure to them that autonomy which it was proposed to give to Bulgaria. This was not the first time that terms of peace had been dictated at Adrianople, and made the subject of Conference, in which Russia had been able to impose terms detrimental to the Turkish Empire. The Duke of Wellington, although he was not behind any statesman in his belief that the integrity and independence of Turkey were important to the balance of power in Europe, did not send a Fleet to Constantinople, or come to the House to propose a Vote of Credit in 1829, when Russia was able to dictate peace at Adrianople and to propose terms detrimental to the Turkish Empire. Prom a letter which the Duke of Wellington wrote to the Earl of Aberdeen about the time of the Treaty of Adrianople, it was evident that although he believed in the importance of maintaining the integrity of Turkey, yet when the Russians were at Adrianople, and could have entered Constantinople if they had thought fit, he believed it would be better that they should enter Constantinople and put an end to the Turkish Empire. At present, the position of affairs was almost identical with that at the time of the Treaty of Adrianople. Mr. Layard had told us that the terms of peace practically involved a destruction of the Turkish Empire in Europe. He (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) thought the Government ought to endeavour to re-arrange the subject Provinces of Turkey in Europe, and to obtain autonomy, and, as far as possible, free government for them. What was Turkey in Europe? It was the rule of a Mussulman minority over a Christian majority, and the destruction of that Empire meant the destruction of the rule of the Mussulmans over the Christians of those Provinces. He ventured to hope that the Government in the Conference would use the influence of England to secure an extension of the principle of autonomy as far as possible. There was one other point to which he wished to refer. The Treaty of Adrianople was followed by the Conference of London, and the Correspondence of the Duke of Wellington and the Earl of Aberdeen showed that this country went into that Conference with the object of minimizing the terms of peace as far as possible, and the object which our Government had in view was the protection of British interests in respect of the Ionian Islands. It was thought by the Duke of Wellington that any extension of Greece would be dangerous to English interests in the Ionian Islands, and he did what he could to limit the territory of Greece. Unfortunately, the Government succeeded in effecting that limitation; and Lord Palmerston, Earl Russell, and many other statesmen had expressed their regret that the territory of Greece had been so limited. It appeared to him that on this occasion the Government should consider the strong claims of Greece to an extension of territory. He expressed a hope that the claims of Greece would not be disregarded in the coming Conference, and that care would be taken that what was done for the Slav Provinces should also be done for the Hellenic Provinces of Turkey. If the Government adopted that course, they would speak the voice of united England, and there would then be no necessity for that Vote of Credit, which would form a precedent of a dangerous character. The Earl of Derby had said that the highest interest of England was peace. The sentiment was a noble one; and did credit to the noble Earl; but peace in Eastern Europe, in order to be lasting, must be founded on just principles and free institutions. He hoped Her Majesty's Government would go into the approaching Conference determined to make the best of the present opportunity in its widest sense—not to take up a position of antagonism towards Russia, but rather, while exercising watchfulness over her, to co-operate in obtaining the widest measure of freedom for those races which had for centuries been subject to a galling despotism.


Sir, there are two subjects which we are discussing to-night with reference to the course that should be adopted with regard to them at the coming Conference—namely, the re-settlement of the nationalities, and to what extent, and at what point, are we to limit the successful advance of Russia. Upon the former of these, I limit myself to saying that I most sincerely trust that any Government under which they may be placed, that any power that may be set over them to rule them, may have no inspiration from, and may in no way take for its examplar the corrupt despotism of Russia. It is the second of these subjects, however, to which I wish especially to direct attention. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) has asked in what way can anyone suppose that Russia would interfere with the freedom of the Straits? But do we not know well the views of Russia with regard to commerce? Do we not know that with Russia in command of the Bosphorus not one ton of traffic will be allowed within the Black Sea, except under duties practically prohibitory. If, indeed, the right hon. Gentleman were Chancellor of the Exchequer for Russia, we might have no such fears; and perhaps I may here mention, as a subject for consideration by him, that when I was in Russia, in the last autumn—it was during the failures before Plevna, and when they were in very low spirits on the subject of the war—more than one Russian said to me—"I wish your Mr. Gladstone would leave foreign politics alone, and come and put our finances into the same good condition that yours are in; we could afford him a million roubles if he would undertake the work." It was in the autumn of 1876, after the beginning of the troubles, but before the Conference on the war, that in conversation with a friend of mine, who had lived in Russia some 40 years, and who, of all men whom I know, is about the most thoroughly acquainted with Russian subjects and Russian views, I said—"Does Russia intend to take Constantinople?" "No," said he; "of course she would like it, but the voice of Europe is against her, and she won't go in the face of that." What they want is a port on the Ægean or the Mediterranean—Smyrna or some port further south in the Bay of Iskenderoon; and then what would be her position? Whether, Sir, the story of the will of Peter the Great is true or not is comparatively immaterial; like many other legends, it sufficiently well formulates a fact, and the fact thus ex- pressed is the one continuous and unabated determination of Russia to occupy a position in South Eastern Europe or in Western Asia. Suppose her, then, with a port such as I have mentioned—she has Batoum on the Black sea—and run a line of some 450 miles from Batoum to the Bay of Iskenderoon, a little longer, perhaps, but an even easier line to Smyrna, and she has a port nearer far to her great arsenal at Nicolaieff than Malta is to Woolwich, and from it she can completely threaten Alexandria and the North-Western approaches to the Suez Canal. Let her, then, move on the great chess-board some heavy pieces to a point on the Persian Gulf—say Bushir, or some still more convenient port in the Strait of Ormaz—and she equally commands the south-eastern approaches to our waterway to India, while, by the same means, she effectually blocks any possible land route along the Euphrates Valley. Well, Sir, I am not going to speak of a power in Russia to attack with material forces, at present at any rate, our North-Western Provinces in India; but everyone who knows the history of Russia for the last half-century knows well her unrivalled ability in stirring up trouble and dissensions among half-civilizedtribes; and, if she sought to use that power among the tribes on the frontiers of our Northwestern Provinces in India, it might be a source of serious danger. "Well, but," say the Russians, "we are a young country, why should we not have our ambition? You in England are the last people who ought to blame us for ambition." And this, Sir, brings me to these two questions—Has England the right—and, if she has the right, has she the power—to curb the ambition of Russia? I will take the latter question first. I am not going to draw a comparison of the material powers of England and of Russia; that would take too long a time, and might be unsuitable to the present occasion, and, therefore, I will rather put the question in these words—"Can England command the attention of Russia?" Before the war broke out, and when the Emperor had still not made up his mind for war, what, think you, led him to believe General Ignatieff when he promised him an easy success? What led him to trust one whom no other of his countrymen would believe; what made him act upon the statement that the Turks would accept the rider to the Protocol? It was that he believed that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich and those who were acting with him were speaking the voice of the people of England, and that England was willing to aid Russia against Turkey, and he gave orders for the war. Well then, Sir, I say that we can command the attention of Russia. But have we a right to curb her ambition? What has led so many of the Liberals, in common with those on this side of the House, to join in, I will not say the hatred, but the distrust of Russia? It is that we detest her despotism—that despotism which enables one man on the advice and to gratify the ambition of a circle of corrupt and hungry aspirants to power around the Throne, to deluge countries with blood, and to squander the lives and treasure of his subjects without the consent of those who so severely suffer. What a contrast does this present to the case of this free and constitutionally governed country, where, when it is only a question of £6,000,000, the Government cannot move a step without taking the whole country, by their Representatives, into their counsels. The right hon. Gentleman doubted whether the largely-attended meetings that we have heard of had spoken distinctly their views. I have it in command, in the absence of the two hon. Members for Wolverhampton, whom I do not see here now, to inform the House that at two meetings there, of 8,000 and 10,000 each, the strongest feeling of confidence was expressed, almost unanimously, that the Government had done wisely in asking for this Vote. Sir, I have every wish for the happiness—aye, and for the greatness—of the people of Russia; and if my words could reach the Sovereign of that Empire, I would say, addressing him in no hostile tone, but by that title which his subjects love the best—Gossudar of Muscovy, Master of Millions, if a voice may reach you from the British House of Commons, let it tell you this—England has no jealousy of you or of your Empire. Gladly would she welcome you as her competitor in arts, in trade, in commerce, in manufactures, aye, and even as her rival in all that may raise humanity or enlighten life; but of your despotism she will have none, and so long as such a rule continues she will still regard the progress of Russia as the advance of barbarism over civilization."


said, he considered the remarks made by the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Cowen), with reference to the motives which had actuated the conduct of the Opposition, were both unjust and ungenerous, and whatever might be the taunts which were levelled against them, in such a crisis as this he would rather that they were treated with silence. The question they had now to discuss was one that need not involve personalities; it was one of principle, and it was distinct, clear, and concise. The Government, no doubt sincerely, thought that the granting of the Vote would strengthen their position at the Conference, and that being so, it was their duty not to spare any effort to pass the Vote. But, on the other hand, it was believed none the less sincerely by the Opposition that the Vote was calculated not to promote but to endanger British interests. The Opposition at the present moment occupied a very difficult position. At a great crisis in our country's history it was a well-known Constitutional maxim that the Opposition had to play a part scarcely second in importance to that of the Government, and the welfare of the country might be materially affected by whether that part was well or ill played. Nothing would grieve him more than to utter a single word of unnecessary objection to a course which the noble Lord—of whom, since he had become his Leader, he had expressed himself in no terms of stinted praise—might deem it his duty to pursue; but he was bound to say that he would be wanting in candour if he did not say that it seemed to him that the noble Lord, and those who acted with him, had been abrogating their functions in a great crisis like the present. On the previous night the noble Lord and those who sat on the Opposition front bench did not vote one way or the other, but withdrew from the House, just as if they had not an opinion on the subject. The question was a simple one, and might be decided independently of Party; it was either right or it was wrong. If it was right, then they were all bound to support it; if it was wrong, then they were all bound to oppose it. He thought that nothing more unfortunate could happen than that strong words and strong expressions of opinion should not be followed by corresponding actions. He did not know what course was going to be pursued that night by the right hon. Gentlemen on the front Opposition bench, but he knew the course they pursued on the previous night. He could not understand that course, considering the speeches they had made in that debate. Circumstances had not changed. When the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) first gave Notice of his Resolution he did not know the terms of the armistice, and when the right hon. Gentleman walked out of the House on the previous evening he did not know what were the terms of the armistice; so that circumstances had not altered. Why, then, was the Resolution abandoned? It was abandoned in a scare—after a four nights' debate on an unconfirmed rumour, when they came down to the House they abandoned the Amendment, and left their followers without guides. What was it that caused such deep excitement in the House on the previous night? It was not the rumour that Russia had occupied a particular position in Turkish territory, or that they had taken this or that particular post; but it was the rumour that three days after the armistice had been reported to be signed they had abrogated the solemn promise made in that armistice. He was not going to express an opinion on the terms of the armistice. That was a question between Russia and Turkey; but the most serious aspect of the rumours in circulation had been entirely dissipated, and now there was not the slightest shadow of evidence that Russia had disregarded her plighted word. Many of the speeches made on the front Opposition benches had made a deep impression on the followers of the noble Lord, and it was in consequence of those strong words that hon. Members on that side were going to vote. If they were to be told, as they were told on that night week by the right hon. Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe), that he should not give a vote which implied confidence in the Government on this question, and when he went on to say that there were some things which the Government might do, but what the Government now proposed to do was beyond the limits of human endurance, he (Mr. Fawcett) thought he had a right to ask the right hon. Gentleman what had induced him so entirely to change his mind that he now regarded the question as one of such insignificant importance that he did not vote at all? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), in bringing forward his Motion, said that the Vote was entirely unnecessary, it was unprecedented, and would establish a bad and dangerous precedent. If the Vote was unnecessary yesterday week, he asked how was it that it was now necessary and so little dangerous that the right hon. Gentleman did not think it worth his while to go into one Lobby or the other about it? It seemed to him that if he had changed his mind, they who had been influenced by his strong expressions had a right to know what had brought about the change in his opinion. With regard to the question before the Committee, most of the observations he had to make had been anticipated by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich. He had listened to that speech with delight, and he believed in reference to that speech the country would say to-morrow morning that a more eloquent, and, what was far more valuable, a more useful and timely speech was never delivered in the House; and he believed what he had said about the duty of England to use her influence to secure good terms for the Christian populations of Turkey, and especially the Bulgarians, would be fruitful of good. Little had been said about the financial aspects of the question. The other day he read a statement which was made by a supporter of the Government, and which if not repudiated would be fraught with the gravest possible perils. At the great meeting held in Exeter Hall to express confidence in the Government, the speaker whose utterances were the most loudly cheered was his right hon. Friend the Member for Tam-worth (Sir Robert Peel). The resolution passed at that meeting in support of the Government was obtained by an appeal which, if made by a working man, would have been described as the worst and most sinister influence. The right hon. Member for Tamworth said, according to the report in The Times—"You, the working classes, have been told that this proposed Vote will burden you with taxation." ["Hear, hear!"] Yes; but the right hon. Baronet went on to say—"If any burden is imposed on the people, I can assure you it will be in the form of taxation which will not touch a single working man." They could estimate at its true value any Vote of Confidence obtained for the Government upon such a miserable and discreditable appeal as that.


said, he was sorry to interrupt his hon. Friend, but he had never made that statement at all. What he said was, that he felt quite certain that if it were necessary to impose a burden on the country the working class, as well as all other classes, would willingly bear their share of the burden, in order to support the honour and the interests of the country.


admitted that his right hon. Friend made the remark he had just repeated, but prefaced it by immediately telling them beforehand that if any taxation were proposed it would not touch a single working man. Greatly to their credit a portion of the audience discarded the appeal made to them, and received it with derisive cheering. With an enfranchised democracy no imaginable policy could be fraught with such great peril to the well-being of the country as the advocating of a war policy and supporting it by taxation which did not fall on the majority, but only on the minority. When they got either into Committee of Ways and Means, or passed a Resolution for raising the money by Exchequer Bills, they would have a right to demand from the Government a clear and explicit declaration that if this Vote should involve additional taxation, that taxation should not be in a form which would fall only upon the minority. It had been said that this debate had not been creditable to the House of Commons or useful to the country. If, however, they contrasted the speech which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer made last night with that which he delivered this evening, they would admit that the seven nights' debate had rendered great service to the country. The right hon. Gentleman's speech was most judicious and temperate, and contained not a single word which the most fastidious or sensitive foreign Power could possibly have objected to. Excluding personalities, the substance of the debate was this—the Government had asserted that their policy was one of neutrality and peace; no single responsible person in that House had advised, nor had the Government said, that anything ought to be done to save Turkey from the consequences she had brought upon herself; there was a settled determination, emphasised to a most important extent by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer this evening, that the influence of England should be used on behalf of the subject-races of the Porte; and, lastly, there was a common agreement to support British interests, including the free passage of the Dardanelles to all the ships of Europe. Now, if they considered the position of affairs six months ago, it seemed that the debate had been useful when it had produced such conclusions as these. The reason why he could not give up his opposition to the Vote was that whatever the policy of the Government might be, however excellent it might be, he believed that that policy would not be promoted, but would be, on the contrary, retarded, and the chances of success hindered and suspicion among foreign Powers aroused, by the passing of the Vote. This debate would enable Europe to know that in one respect England was united; that, whether we were Tories, or Liberals, or Radicals, we were all alike fervent in the desire to maintain the honour and interests of the country. There was one other thing we were also anxious to maintain. We would give to Europe no opportunity of saying that we had lost an opportunity of promoting freedom, or that we were no longer anxious to extend a helping hand to all who were striving to throw off the yoke of the oppressor.


said, he felt that a few words were due from him to the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) and to the Committee generally. He wished first, however, to make one remark upon a question which was not yet before the Committee, but which he thought of importance, and on which he believed there would be a general agreement, although it would not excite any feeling on either side of the House. Some remarks had been made as to what the Government should press for at the Conference; but there was one other matter, and that was that the influence of the Government ought to be used, as far as it could be used in reason, in favour of liberty of conscience for all the inhabitants of the Turkish Empire, and especially of the inhabitants of the Danubian Provinces, whether they were tributary or under administrative autonomy. He did not make that remark without some reason. He had looked into this question during his recent visit to Constantinople, and he thought it admitted of proof that there was a temptation to persecution on the part of the Greek Church and also of the Bulgarian Church; and, indeed, reliable information lately obtained proved that there had been persecution of Bulgarian Protestants. He believed there could be no greater boon to those rising nationalities than that the influence of England should be used, as far as possible, not only on behalf of all persecuted people, whether Jews or Protestants, but to save the majority from the harm and misery they would bring upon themselves if they encouraged a persecuting spirit. The hon. Member for Hackney had asked him how he could justify his course yesterday, and, also, the course his hon. Friend supposed he would take this evening. He would be perfectly frank with the Committee as to the withdrawal of his Amendment. He withdrew that Amendment, not because he liked to do so—for no one liked to do such a thing—but because on consultation not only with his noble Friend (the Marquess of Hartington), but with his right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), and his right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright), and others with whom he was in the habit of acting, they all came to the conclusion that in the interest of the objects they had at heart the Amendment ought to be withdrawn. Let it not be supposed that it was because they knew they were going to be in a minority. He was not frightened at being in a minority; he had been in a minority many times in the country and the House, and he expected that before the conclusion of his political existence he would often be in that predicament again. But it was impossible to slight the seriousness of the information which came yesterday. His hon. Friend supposed that they acted upon the exaggerated reports in the newspapers and on the Stock Exchange. No; they waited for the state- ment of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and if that statement had not given such importance to the information, he would not have taken the course he had followed. There was no denying that the information as it was produced then, and even as it was explained to-day, did show that the Russian Government, without doing anything which they had not a right to do as a conquering Power, yet were remarkably silent on the matter, and, perhaps for purposes sufficient for themselves, had given little information either to the Porte or, so far as he knew, to our Government or to other European Powers. But the chief motive which influenced his right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham and himself was this—they were exceedingly anxious not to be betrayed into war upon this matter. He did not himself believe there was any ground why England should fight. He did not consider our interests in danger, our honour insulted, or that there was any attempt to make us unfaithful to our duty. But he did feel that every hour he kept the Amendment before the House and the country after the news of yesterday had been proclaimed he was increasing the strength of the war party throughout England. That, indeed, was his chief motive for withdrawing the Amendment, and in withdrawing it it was necessary for him to state that he would offer no further opposition to the Speaker's leaving the Chair. And now he would state the reasons why he should to-night take the course which he believed would be also taken by his noble Friend the Member for the Radnor Burghs—a course always requiring explanation—that of not voting at all. He had three or four special motives for objecting to the Vote when it was proposed. One was that Turkey and Russia were then at war, and he very much feared that the Vote as moved and as pressed would endanger the neutrality of the Government. That fear had been removed by the cessation of hostilities. But he had other reasons. First in order, though not in importance, was the unprecedented and unconstitutional form and manner in which the Vote was proposed. Nothing which had passed in the debate had removed his objections on that score; and they had been still further confirmed by the exhaustive speech of his right hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract (Mr. Childers), and the eloquent speech of the highest financial authority, his right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone). But a still stronger objection was that he feared—to speak quite plainly—that the Government would make a bad use at the Conference of the influence, be it small or be it great, which they would obtain by this Vote. He had believed, taking the interpretation which had been fairly put upon the speech in which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer first moved the Vote, but which interpretation the right hon. Gentleman had this evening disavowed, that whatever influence was obtained by this Vote would be used at the Conference by the Government, honestly, no doubt, to minimize the terms that might be obtained for the Christian subjects of the Porte. He joined with his right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and the hon. Member for Hackney in their expressions of satisfaction at the explanations the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had given on the points referred to; and he would only say that if the speech which the right hon. Gentleman had made this evening had been made when he brought forward the Motion, the feeling on the subject would have been very different. There still remained the very strong ground of opposition—the unprecedented and unconstitutional nature of the Vote. But now he had to take into consideration the other side. He did not go with his hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Cowen) that they ought to agree with the Government in whatever plans they produced on the ground that they were dealing with a foreign question. It was their duty to look most seriously into the foreign policy of the Government, and to oppose it if they thought necessary. At the same time, he admitted that they ought to have a very strong reason for opposing it. He did not believe the Government would gain weight by this Vote; but they might lose weight by strong opposition to it. Having made his protest against the unprecedented nature of the Vote, he might have entered again into an active opposition to it on that ground; or, as he knew the Vote must pass, he might refrain from further active opposition, in order not to weaken the Government in the Councils of Europe. He had decided, on the whole, that the second was the better course, and therefore he should take the same course as his noble Friend (the Marquess of Hartington); and while he regretted to say he could not support the Government in this matter, yet, remembering how difficult was their position, he was not one of those who were going to add to their weakness by swelling the numbers of the Opposition. They would have a difficult task, not only with regard to British interests, but the interests of other people, especially the interests of the Hellenic race, and he was not going, by his vote, to give the appearance of disunion in their efforts.


said, the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had given very good arguments in support of the course which the Government asked the Committee to adopt. The position of the Government was one of great responsibility, great anxiety, and one which involved a task of no ordinary difficulty and labour. The right hon. Gentleman had said that, so far as he was concerned, he felt it to be his duty not to weaken the Government in the Councils of Europe by adding to the number of those who apparently in that House differed from their policy. He wished the right hon. Gentleman had gone a little further, and, this not being a Party question, given his support to the Government in an honest endeavour to give expression to that policy. He (Mr. W. H. Smith) was sure that no effort that could be used would be spared to secure good government for the people who were about to pass under a different government from that which they had previously enjoyed. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) said he desired to strengthen the Government in the Conference in which they expected shortly to take part. He was willing to give the great support of his name in favour of the expression of their views in the Congress; but he thought it right to say that he refused, on the ground of precedent and financial policy, to give the £6,000,000. What was the difference between the two propositions? The right hon. Gentleman was willing to support the Government so that they might speak with the voice of Great Britain in the Councils of Europe, and incur a responsibility which was not to be measured by £6,000,000; and yet he would not give them this Vote. Thus it appeared that the right hon. Gentleman refused to give the Government a cheque for £6,000,000, but he would give them a blank cheque, without money expressed, to be filled up by themselves at the right time. Now, if the Government were not to be trusted with the responsibility of spending so much as they thought necessary in making preparations for guarding the safety of their interests, in strengthening themselves where they thought strength was needed, then he said they ought not to be trusted in going into the Conference to speak for England, and to commit her to the decisions which would be arrived at. He had taken part in financial questions during the past few years, and he knew no higher duties than to require the most exact accounts for the administration of public money; but he must say he thought there were times when high financial doctrinaires incurred enormous risks if they pushed their theories too far; and he thought it would be a safer thing to give the money which the Government required, and of which they would have to give an account, than to run the risk of having to face the possibility to which the right hon. Gentleman referred the other night, when he said that in times of war all financial authority was gone, and that the expenditure could not be checked. It was the most earnest desire and hope of Her Majesty's Government that the issue of war might be avoided; and no one except those who had occupied positions as Ministers of the Crown could conceive the amount of responsibility which rested upon a Minister when he expressed an opinion on such a question. They believed that the course they were asking the House of Commons to adopt was one which would tend in the most complete and secure manner to save England from the horrors of war. They believed that if they had the means entrusted to them of making such preparations as they might deem to be necessary, those preparations would be a security against war. They did not intend to spend a single farthing more than was absolutely necessary of the money which might be voted. Events were occurring from day to day; and, during the last 10 days in particular, circumstances had happened which the Government foresaw to some extent, but of which they had no perfect knowledge—events which showed that the opinion of the country and the House was tending in the direction pointed out by Her Majesty's Government a fortnight ago. Events, as he said, had justified the course which the Government asked the House to take some time back, and which they again suggested as the wisest and most politic one to follow. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich said the other day that, if it were necessary that expenditure should be incurred, it was the duty of the Government to make proper preparation, and then come down and ask the House to meet that expenditure. He (Mr. W. H. Smith) ventured to think that such a course involved far more unsound financial doctrines than that the Government had proposed to the House. His right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated that the sum named would be sufficient for a limited period; but the right hon. Gentleman opposite said—"Donot come and ask for any particular sum beforehand, but act on your own responsibility; make your preparations, engage your transports, take all the steps you think necessary for the defence of the nation."


said, he had not recommended that preparations should be completed before money was asked, but that they should simply be commenced, and the probable cost of completing them ascertained, before a Vote was taken.


said, the right hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well what that would involve. The commencement of preparations was the committal of the country. A letter written, an order given, implied liabilities which must be met in some shape or way Virtually, what the right hon. Gentleman said could only be understood to mean—Give no warning to the House of Commons, commence your preparations, and then at the earliest opportunity afterwards ask for the funds; but he (Mr. W. H. Smith) would rather come down first to the House of Commons and say—"On our judgment, as Ministers of the Crown, we undertake serious responsibilities; but we believe the circumstances are grave and imperative, and we ask for funds to meet the demands which may possibly be made on us." A few days ago he read some remarks made in 1870 by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich when he came to the House and asked for a Vote of Credit. The right hon. Gentleman said— We have maturely weighed what the country requires, and we now submit to Parliament the result of our deliberations, in the belief that what we ask is calculated to fit us for the discharge of our duty, to enable us to maintain such a dignified and friendly position as will carry with it no suspicion, and will not, under the idea of securing safety, introduce new elements of danger and disturbance; to give us the best hope we can possess of accomplishing that which is the object nearest our hearts—namely, to maintain intact the character and fame of England while this unhappy war shall continue, and possibly at some blessed moment to be, either alone or along with others, the chosen bearers of a message of peace."—[3 Mansard, cciii. 1313.] These words were not exactly applicable to the circumstances of the present time, but they represented the state of mind in which the Government now ventured to ask for the support they hoped to receive at the hands of the House. The events now passing were even more grave than those of 1870. They were now witnessing the fall of an Empire which had been an object of solicitude, if not of fear, to statesmen during the last half century; and the belief of the Government was that, backed by the support of the people, they could steer the country safely through the dangers which now so thickly beset the course they had to pursue, and secure good government, happiness, and peace for that part of the world which was afflicted with the horrors of war.


Upon the occasion of a former debate on the Eastern Question last year, I ventured to say to the House of Commons that, without impugning the judgment of any section of the House, if any men here were in a position to hold the balance impartially between Turkey and Russia those men were the Irish Members amongst whom I sit. An hon. Member spoke last night, one who seldom interferes in debate; but whose words, when he does so, carry with them the influence of sagacity and impartiality—the hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Walter). That hon. Member described this discussion as "a war debate tempered by telegrams." Now, I will express the feelings of myself and those around me by saying that we are the friends of freedom for the Christians in the East, tempered with something more than distrust of the Power which destroyed the gallant Polish nation. I wish, before the debate closes, to claim the attention of the Committee for a few words, not as the authorized exponent of any Party, though I am able to speak for many Irish Members, as to their attitude, so that this House, England, and Europe may not misunderstand the feelings and emotions of the Irish people upon this question. Seeing, then, that their attitude should not be misunderstood, I feel I cannot pass unnoticed a speech made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) the other day at Oxford. I am afraid the House has been wearied by the too many references to the right hon. Gentleman, and to the alleged orreal utterances of Lord Beacons-field, and I had not the remotest idea of adding a contribution to that feature in the debate by accusations against the First Minister of the Crown or against him who held that position a few years ago. But in vindication of my Friends in this House against words used at Oxford, I claim a little of your attention. In the course of his speech the right hon. Gentleman said— There is another thing on the side of my fears that the Vote may be carried, and that is the condition of Irish representation. Now, as I am a man without any personal hopes or fears in politics, I am the man to speak out on a question of this kind, and I say the condition of the Irish representation is, in my view, deplorable—


That report has not my authority. In listening to the words quoted, I think there is unquestionably an error in them. I was commenting freely, and perhaps not favourably, on the tendencies of Irish Representatives. I cannot recall the expression I used, but I do not think I referred to the condition of Irish representation as deplorable.


In a great sense I feel I am repaid for having interfered in the debate, as I have called forth such a correction from the right hon. Gentleman. One of the most important events which has happened during the last generation in Irish public life was the visit to Ireland made a few months ago by the right hon. Gentleman. Although it may be said there is a strong anti-English feeling in that country, they are always happy to welcome an English friend. I was absent from Ireland when the visit took place; but I felt the deepest anxiety that my countrymen should receive the right hon. Gentleman in a manner befitting his position and their own dignity and self-respect. Great was the regret I felt upon finding the attitude of Irish Members so painfully misconceived in the words used by the right hon. Gentleman. Passing on to the speech, he said— We were wont to fight shoulder to shoulder with the popular Representatives of Ireland, and to fight together the battle of freedom. Against what oppressors? Why, when Constitutional liberty was about to be taken from Ireland some few years since, who was it that fastened on the fetters? What was the meaning of the statement of the right hon. Gentleman?— I hope, for the honour of Ireland and the future prospects of Ireland, that those who struggled to he free themselves will show respect and sympathy for the freedom of others; but if they are determined to refuse freedom to others, we will fight without them. What is the meaning of this? The Irish Members intend to abstain from the division upon this Vote. But the course they resolved to follow, and which is there referred to as a disgrace, is the course now adopted by the front Opposition Bench. Just change the words of the speech, leaving out the word Ireland. I would say—"I hope for the honour of the front Opposition Bench, and I hope for the future prosperity of the Liberal Party, that those who struggled to be free themselves will show respect and sympathy for others." I cannot but think that it would be said—if they walked out of the House as they did last night—if they follow the course which upon higher and nobler grounds the Irish Party adopted, it would be said they had effected a retrograde movement in the face of the enemy. I have no doubt but that in that miraculous council of the Liberal Party, to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford has alluded, everything has been considered; but for my part I will say that, although the Irish Party have the deepest sympathy with the Christian populations of the East, they cannot give their gratitude to a Power which, in its own dominions, is an enslaver. We are not willing to express our confidence in the generalship of the front Opposition Bench; and we have serious misgivings as to the wisdom of marching into battle behind Leaders who may desert us at the critical moment of action. But whether the judgment of the right hon. Gentleman is clear or doubtful, there is no mistake whatever that he has conscientious feelings upon the question, and that is one feature in the right hon. Gentleman's character for which even so young a Member of that House as myself may fairly commend him, and it is the one that has won for him the esteem of the people of Ireland. We have seen last year change after change on the front Opposition Bench, until Irish Members feel they cannot trust that Bench to lead them on the Eastern Question in any critical difficulty. We are asked, on the other hand, to give a Vote of Confidence to the Government, to send them into the Councils of Europe endowed with authority to hold the proxy of the united nation. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle, I am not able to utter a sweeping condemnation of the action of the Government. The balance of my judgment is, at all events, such that I cannot offer them my confidence to go into the Councils of Europe to urge I know not what views, but to decide issues which I know to be tremendous. We cannot endow the Government with the proxy of Ireland. I do not want to import the Irish question into the debate, but it is necessary, in order to make our position understood. Aiming as we do at autonomy for ourselves, as a restoration of an inalienable right, we will not give a Vote to England to prevent in the East that autonomy of which they deny the restoration at home. We have some difficulty, also, in understanding what Government really means, or what its policy is. No doubt, the Government may be proud of the intensity of feeling and the loyalty which are manifested not only in the House, but by vast numbers in the country; but I will express my inability to understand where the Government stands upon this question. My own belief is, that the Government is earnest and sincere in its desire to avoid war; but I have often seen on the wide Atlantic a noble and magnificent ship heading in one direction but moving in another, and it is my opinion that although the ship of State, under the guidance of the Government, is heading in the direction of peace, there are eddies and tides bearing it dangerously near to the shoals and quick-sands of war. For the last 14 months Her Majesty's Government have been in the crucial difficulty of endeavouring to satisfy the country which demands peace, and of endeavouring to prevent a mutiny in their following by trying to satisfy the section of their followers who are desirous of war. Without recapitulating all that has been done, I submit that we have been agitated by a series of acts presented to us as warlike one day, qualified the next day by a speech from a Minister of the Crown, declaring that the position of the Government is eminently pacific. How could we be expected to entrust the Government with our unrestricted confidence? We know very well that in this country there is a traditional feeling of friendship and alliance with Turkey. The feeling has been manifest throughout the whole of this debate. I state the fact; and, for my own part, I think the Sultan has some right to complain of the manner in which he has been abandoned during the continuance of his alliance with this country. The Sultan of Turkey visited this country in 1867, went to the Royal Italian Opera, sat in the Royal box with some of the Members of the Royal Family, and after the National Anthem of Great Britain had been sounded in his ears, he heard the anthem of "God preserve the Sultan" sung, as the newspapers told us, by the full strength of the company. It ran as follows:— God preserve thee, Sultan, long, Ever keep thee from all woes; May thy State and thee he strong, To dismay and resist thy foes. God of all glory, Power and renown! Grant he before Thee May still wear a crown; Then may he near Thee Praise and adore, Joyfully hear Thee, His God for evermore. I have no doubt in the world that the various circumstances which I have endeavoured to indicate have contributed to the feeling which we know exists around us; but two wrongs do not make a right. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may talk of the perfidy of Servia, of the aggression of Russia, and of the foul methods by which the authority of the Porte has been overthrown. They may say that there has been no general up-rising of the people, that Russian gold has been used to get up agitation throughout the Principalities, and that Russia subsidized secret societies for annexation purposes to Servia or otherwise, and seduced the subjects of the Porte from their allegiance; but, surely, if that is so, it did not all begin there? Look at Italy. Was a policy of annexation not pursued and approved of in that country? And why should such a policy be forbidden to Prince Milan, if it were allowed to Victor Emmanuel? I recall these points because evil principles come home to roost; and Europe has been paying, in bloodshed and suffering, the penalty of allowing Treaty faith and public justice to be thus violated. But a few years ago you allowed the strong hand to prevail in other parts of Europe; and to-day the Czar steps down with his strong hand, and might again prevails. For my part, whether it be in Poland or in Bulgaria, my sympathies must always be for the oppressed. We heard tonight from the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer a speech which would have been excellent but for a few things which the right hon. Gentleman did not say, and a few phrases which he did not use. I noticed that the First Lord of the Admiralty, like the Chancellor of the Exchequer, spoke of good government, happiness, and peace for the Eastern peoples; but nothing was said by either speaker inconsistent with relegating those peoples back to Turkish rule. It may be that what Ministers consider good government is government under the Porte. I trust it is not so; and I earnestly share the hope which has been expressed in the course of our discussions that there shall be no expenditure of our blood or money in order to set up again, if possible, that which it is to be hoped has been destroyed for ever. The moment is one of peril and disquietude; but the events which we have witnessed constitute a great historic retribution for our having failed to assist the Christian possessors of Constantinople when they endeavoured to hold that city against the Mahomedan invaders. Europe in that hour, too selfish or too mean, hearkened not to the cry of the Christian possessors of Constantinople. Wrapping itself in its selfishness, that day it admitted the Turkish Power within those gates, and this day we behold Constantine XII. avenged. Thus it will be still, I may say, in the future. If we allow great and noble principles to be struck down, if we allow great crimes to be consummated, no matter in what corner of Europe it may be that the wrong was done, though buried in the earth in blood, though seemingly destroyed by sword and flame, the murdered right will rise again hereafter to perplex and dismay those who wrought and those who permitted the crime.


observed that had it not been that they had to give a vote, he should not have said a word on the subject. He did not intend to go into the details of this Eastern Question, especially after so much had been said about it; but as he was bound to give his vote, and felt himself in a very painful position, he wished to make a little explanation, and to point out to the Government that, so far as he was concerned, it was they who were to be blamed for getting the House into this mess. He had been there the whole time during every night of this debate, and in his view the £6,000,000 now asked for were 6,000,000 of policy, not 6,000,000 of money. Everybody knew perfectly well that England was worth very much more than £6,000,000, and if it was to go forth that the House of Commons was divided about such a sum, surely it could not be worth much in the way of policy? If the Government wanted the money they would get it; but, so far as policy was concerned, this was hardly a proper way of laying one down. There must be a division, though his advice was that there should be none; but, of course, that was quite impossible now, and he was not going to run away without giving his vote. He had not been in the House very long, but he had never run away without giving his vote on one side or the other, and he had at all times given that vote to the best of his judgment. He was sorry to say that he could not give his vote on this occasion with the Government, and that being so he must give it to the Opposition. The minority, no doubt, would be a small one, but it would be composed of Members representing the largest and most intelligent constituencies. Before he sat down he wished to point out to the Government how it was that they were in the wrong. He was present on the first night of the Session, when the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave the House his word that he would not ask for this money until something had happened. So far as he (Mr. Davies) was himself concerned, he put it down in his own mind at the time that the "something" on which the application for the Vote was to depend was to be some dispute with some foreign Government, and that until such a dispute arose the money was not to be asked for. But it was asked for after all, and was met by the Amendment of the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), which was afterwards withdrawn. So far as the Amendment was concerned, he (Mr. Davies) admitted that he never approved of it; but he thought he would throw in his lot with his Leaders, believing that they had well considered the subject, and that they could see something more than he could. The Members of the Opposition had been told the other night from the other side of the House that they were like a fish, and that it was the tail which guided the head. He supposed that was the case with regard to the fish, but it certainly was not the case with regard to the Opposition; for the tail had not guided the head, but the head had guided the tail—which showed that they were not a fish. He knew that this was a very serious matter, and he had no wish to treat it lightly; but he wished to make this appeal to the Leaders of the Opposition—that whenever they drew their followers into a scrape like this, they should stand to their guns. He would be the last man in the world to desert his Party, but on this occasion the Opposition Leaders had certainly deserted their followers, and left them in a mess. He charged his Leaders with withdrawing their guns before they were beaten. They had proved to-night by their arguments that they were in the right, and he agreed with them entirely; but why had they not stood to their guns? No doubt the Government, in bringing forward this Vote, hoped to carry it by the the united voice of the House; but that was not to be, and he did not believe that the Vote could be of any good, when it showed a divided Parliament. He had no desire to detain the House any further, except to repeat that he should be obliged to give his vote against the Government, and he was very sorry for it. If the Government had only told the House what they wanted the money for they certainly should have had his vote, whether the amount had been £1,000,000, £2,000,000, or £6,000,000.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 328; Noes 124; Majority 204.

Adderley, rt. hn. Sir C. Buxton, Sir R. J.
Agnew, R. V. Cameron, D.
Alexander, Colonel Campbell, C.
Allen, Major Cartwright, F.
Allsopp, C. Cave, rt. hon. S.
Anstruther, Sir W. Cavendish, Lord G.
Archdale, W. H. Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.
Arkwright, A. P. Chaine, J.
Arkwright, F. Chaplin, Colonel E.
Ashbury, J. L. Chaplin, H.
Assheton, R. Charley, W. T.
Astley, Sir J. D. Christie, W. L.
Bagge, Sir W. Clive, Col. hon. G. W.
Bailey, Sir J. R. Close, M. C.
Balfour, A. J. Cobbold, T. C.
Baring, T. C. Cochrane.A. D. W. R. B.
Barne, F. St. J. N. Cole, Col. hon. H. A.
Barrington, Viscount Coope, O. E.
Barttelot, Sir W. B. Cordes, T.
Bates, E. Corry, hon. H. W. L.
Bateson, Sir T. Corry, J. P.
Bathurst, A. A. Cowen, J.
Beach, rt. hon. Sir M. H. Crichton, Viscount
Beach, W. W. B. Cross, rt. hon. R. A.
Beaumont, W. B. Cubitt, G.
Bective, Earl of Cuninghame, Sir W.
Benett-Stanford, V. F. Cust, H. C.
Bentinck, rt. hon. G. C. Dalrymple, C.
Bentinck, G. W. P. Davenport, W. B.
Beresford, Lord C. Deedes, W.
Beresford, G. De la P. Denison, C. B.
Beresford, Colonel M. Denison, W. B.
Birley, H. Denison, W. E.
Blackburne, Col. J. I. Dickson, Major A. G.
Boord, T. W. Digby, Col. hon. E.
Bourke, hon. R. Douglas, Sir G.
Bourne, Colonel Duff, J.
Bousfield, Colonel Dunbar, J.
Bowyer, Sir G. Eaton, H. W.
Bright, R. Edmonstone, Admiral Sir W.
Brise, Colonel R.
Broadley, W. H. H. Egerton, hon. A. F.
Brooks, W. C. Egerton, Sir P. G.
Bruce, hon. T. Egerton, hon. W.
Bruen, H. Elcho, Lord
Brymer, W. E. Elliot, G. W.
Bulwer, J. R. Elphinstone, Sir J. D. H.
Burghley, Lord Emlyn, Viscount
Burrell, Sir W. W. Eslington, Lord
Butler-Johnstone, H. A. Estcourt, G. S.
Fellowes, E. Kennaway, Sir J. H.
Fielden, J. King-Harman, E. R.
Finch, G. H. Knight, F. W.
Foljambe, F. J. S. Knightley, Sir R.
Forester, C. T. W. Knowles, T.
Forsyth, W. Lawrence, Sir T.
Fraser, Sir W. A. Learmonth, A.
Fremantle, hon. T. F. Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.
Freshfield, C. K. Lee, Major V.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Legard, Sir C.
Galway, Viscount Legh, W. J.
Gardner, J. T. Agg- Leighton, Sir B.
Gardner, R. Richard-son- Leighton, S.
Lennox, Lord H. G.
Garnier, J. C. Leslie, Sir J.
Gibson, rt. hon. E. Lewis, C. E.
Giffard, Sir H. S. Lewis, O.
Gilpin, Sir R. T. Lindsay, Colonel R. L.
Goddard, A. L. Lindsay, Lord
Goldney, G. Lloyd, S.
Gooch, Sir D. Lloyd, T. E.
Gordon, Sir A. Lopes, Sir M.
Gordon, W. Lorne, Marquess of
Gorst, J. E. Lowther, hon. W.
Goulding, W. Lowther, J.
Grantham, W. Macartney, J. W. E.
Greenall, Sir G. M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J.
Greene, E. Maitland, W. F.
Gregory, G. B. Majendie, L. A.
Hall, A. W. Makins, Colonel
Halsey, T. F. Malcolm, J. W.
Hamilton, Lord C. J. Mandeville, Viscount
Hamilton, I. T. Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.
Hamilton, Lord G. March Earl of
Hamilton, Marquess of Marten, A. G.
Hamilton, hon. R. B. Merewether, C. G.
Hanbury, R. W. Mills, A.
Hankey, T. Mills, Sir C. H.
Harcourt, E. W. Monckton, F.
Hardcastle, E. Montgomerie, R.
Hardy, rt. hon. G. Montgomery, Sir G. G.
Hardy, S. Moore, S.
Harvey, Sir R. B. Moray, H. E. S. H. D.
Hay, rt. hn. Sir J. C. D. Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.
Heath, R. Mulholland, J.
Helmsley, Viscount Muncaster, Lord
Herbert, hon. S. Mure, Colonel
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
Hill, A. S. Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H.
Hinchingbrook, Visc.
Holford, J. P. G. O'Neill, hon. E.
Holland, Sir H. T. Onslow, D.
Holmesdale, Viscount Paget, R. H.
Holt, J. M. Palk, Sir L.
Home, Captain Parker, Lt.-Col. W.
Hood, Captain hon. A. W. A. N. Pateshall, E.
Peek, Sir H.
Hope, A. J. B. B. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Hubbard, E. Pell, A.
Hubbard, rt. hon. J. Pemberton, E. L.
Isaac, S. Pennant, hon. G.
Jervis, Colonel Peploe, Major
Johnson, J. G. Percy, Earl
Johnston, W. Phipps, P.
Johnstone, Sir F. Pim, Captain B.
Jolliffe, hon. S. Plunket, hon. D. R.
Jones, J. Plunkett, hon. R.
Kavanagh, A. MacM. Polhill-Turner, Capt.
Kennard, Colonel Powell, W.
Praed, C. T. Storer, G.
Praed, H. B. Sykes, C.
Price, Captain Talbot, J. G.
Puleston, J. H. Taylor, rt. hon. Col.
Read, C. S. Tennant, R.
Rendlesham, Lord Thornhill, T.
Repton, G. W. Thynne, Lord H. F.
Ridley, 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-
Round, J. Turnor, E.
Russell, Sir C. Twells, P.
Ryder, G. R. Verner, E. W.
Sackville, S. G. S. Wait, W. K.
Salt, T. Walker, O. O.
Samuda, J. D'A. Walker, T. E.
Sanderson, T. K. Wallace, Sir R.
Sandford, G. M. W. Walpole, rt. hon. S.
Sandon, Viscount Walsh, hon. A.
Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G. Walter, J.
Scott, Lord H. Warburton, P. E.
Scott, M. D. Ward, M. F.
Selwin - Ibbetson, Sir H. J. Waterhouse, S.
Watney, J.
Severne, J. E. Watson, W.
Shirley, S. E. Welby-Gregory, Sir W.
Shute, General Wellesley, Colonel
Sidebottom, T. H. Wethered, T. O.
Simonds, W. B. Wheelhouse, W. S. J.
Smith, A. Whitelaw, A.
Smith, E. Wilmot, Sir H.
Smith, F. C. Wolff, Sir H. D.
Smith, S. G. Woodd, B. T.
Smith, rt. hn. W. H. Wroughton, P.
Smollett, P. B. Wyndham, hon. P.
Somerset, Lord H. R.C. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Spinks, Mr. Serjeant Wynn, C. W. W.
Stafford, Marquess of Yarmouth, Earl of
Stanhope, hon. E. Yeaman, J.
Stanhope. W. T. W. S. Yorke, J. R.
Stanley, hon. F.
Starkey, L. R. TELLERS.
Starkie, J. P. C. Dyke, Sir W. H.
Steere, L. Winn, R.
Stewart, M. J.
Anderson, G. Cave, T.
Anstruther, Sir R. Chadwick. D.
Backhouse, E. Chamberlain, J.
Balfour, Sir G. Clarke, J. C.
Barclay, J. W. Clifford, C. C.
Barran, J. Cole, H. T.
Bass, A. Colman, J. J.
Baxter, rt. hon. W. E. Conyngham, Lord F.
Beaumont, Colonel B. Cowan, J.
Bell, I. L. Cross, J. K.
Biggar, J. G. Davies, D.
Blake, T. Davies, R.
Briggs, W. E. Delahunty, J.
Bright, rt. hon. J. Dillwyn, L. L.
Bristowe, S. B. Dodds, J.
Brocklehurst, W. C. Dodson, rt. hon. J. G.
Brogden, A. Earp, T.
Brown, A. H. Eyton, P. E.
Brown, J. C. Fawcett, H.
Burt, T. Ferguson, R.
Cameron, C. Fletcher, I.
Campbell, Sir G. Forster, Sir C.
Campbell - Bannerman, H. Gladstone, rt. hn.W. E.
Gladstone, W. H.
Gourley, E. T. O'Shaughnessy, R.
Gower, hon. E. F. L. O'Sullivan, W. H.
Grant, A. Parker, C. S.
Gray, E. D Parnell, C. S.
Harrison, C. Pease, J. W.
Harrison, J. B. Pennington, F.
Havelock, Sir H. Perkins, Sir F.
Hayter, A. D. Philips, R. N.
Henry, M. Plimsoll, S.
Hibbert, J. T. Potter, T. B.
Hill, T. R. Power, J. O'C.
Holland, S. Ramsay, J.
Holms, J. Rathbone, W.
Holms, W. Redmond, W. A.
Hopwood, C. H. Robertson, H.
Howard, hon. C. Rylands, P.
Hutchinson, J. D. Samuelson, B.
Ingram, W. J. Samuelson, H.
James, W. H. Sheridan, H. B.
Jenkins, D. J. Simon, Mr. Serjeant
Jenkins, E. Sinclair, Sir J. G. T.
Lawson, Sir W. Smyth, P. J.
Leatham, E. A. Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.
Leeman, G. Stevenson, J. C.
Lefevre, G. J. S. Stewart, J.
Leith, J. B. Sullivan, A. M.
Lloyd, M. Tavistock, Marquess of
Lush, Dr. Taylor, P. A.
Macdonald, A. Trevelyan, G. O.
Mackintosh, C. F. Vivian, H. H.
M'Arthur, A. Waddy, S. D.
M'Arthur, W. Waterlow, Sir S. H.
M'Laren, D. Whitwell, J.
Maitland, J. Whitworth, B.
Marling, S. S. Wilson, C.
Monk, C. J. Young, A. W.
Morgan, G. O.
Mundella, A. J. TELLERS.
Muntz, P. H. Courtney, L. H.
Noel, E. Richard, H.
O'Donnell, F. H.

Resolution to be reported upon Monday next;

Committee to sit again upon Monday next.

House adjourned at a quarter before One o'clock till Monday next.