HC Deb 21 May 1880 vol 252 cc221-2

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether ho has any objection to state the name of the Foreign Power or Powers alluded to in the following paragraph of his letter of the 4th of May, addressed to the Austrian Ambassador and laid upon the Table of this House:— At the moment when I accepted from the Queen the duty of forming an Administration, I forthwith resolved that I would not, as a Minister, either repeat, or even defend in argument, polemical language in regard to more than one Foreign Power which I had used individually when in a position of greater freedom and less responsibility. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will also allow me to ask if he addressed to the Ambassadors of those Powers a similar letter to that addressed to the Austrian Ambassador?


I have no difficulty whatever in answering the Question of the hon. Member. The Power to which I alluded was Russia, and if the hon. Gentleman is desirous to have more particular information, I will not read the passage; but I can give him a general reference, which will, perhaps, be sufficient for his purpose. He will find the language to which I referred in an article published in The Nineteenth Century, dated January 19, 1879; and though I do not wish to repeat anything that refers to the past conduct of a foreign Power from which I, and many who think with me, may have differed, I may say that the general purport of that article is to show that in all cases, excepting with reference to the case of Turkey and the subject-races of Turkey, the conduct of Russia has been generally adverse to liberty in Europe, and has, whether on that account or not, at any rate as a matter of fact generally, attracted and received great sympathy from the Tory Party of this country. No remonstrance whatever was made to me from any other quarter than the friendly representation of the Austrian Ambassador; and therefore I have not given any similar letter.