"That a sum, not exceeding £60,366, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will tome in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1890, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs."
§ Resolution read a second time.
§ * MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
I rise to move the reduction of this Vote by £100 part of the salary of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. I do so for the purpose of taking the judgment of the House upon the line of conduct the Government has thought fit to pursue towards the French Government and the French people on the occasion of the opening of the great Paris Exhibition. The consideration of this Vote has stood over for a considerable time, but I for one am not disposed to regret the delay, because, for one thing, it has enabled us to realize the immense importance and signification of this enterprise dedicated, as it is, to the exhibition of the results of peaceful industry throughout the civilized world, and also to realize how completely the interest and sympathy of the country have gone out towards France in this great undertaking. Indeed, there has been but one discordant 1278 note, and that has been struck by Her Majesty's Government, and on this I wish to speak, and to this I desire to direct the attention of the House for a few minutes. This subject has been before the House on two previous occasions, when I have felt it my duty to protest against the action of the Government in this matter, or their refusal to appoint a Commissioner in the usual way to take part in the promotion of the Exhibition. The conduct of the Government in so refusing may be said to have been whitewashed by the Vote that was taken, for, of course, the Government obtained a majority, so that in so far as they abstained from officially appointing a Commissioner to take part in the promotion of the Exhibition I shall consider the question foreclosed, and I do not intend to reopen it. I only allude to it for the purpose of saying that the foreclosing applies as well to the plea put forward by the Government on that question. They sheltered themselves under the wings of Lord Rosebery, and claimed that in abstaining from an official part in the proceedings for the promotion of the undertaking they were only following out the policy of their predecessors. I have not attempted to justify it before, and I say again the action of the Liberal Government three years ago was not entirely to be commended. When a most courteous and kindly invitation was sent by the Government of France to this country, Lord Rosebery, instead of accepting it as he ought to have done, without hesitation or demur, directed our Ambassador at Paris to inquire if there was any political meaning in the celebration. It was a most ungracious and unfortunate policy—ungracious considering the character of the invitation to which it was a response, and doubly unfortunate because it has given too much colour to the plea made by the Government now and on a former occasion that they have only been carrying out the policy of their predecessors. But I will consider all that ancient history. We had all that over two years ago, and a year ago, and just as I do not propose to go into the question of the original abstention so I hold the Government are precluded from going baek upon their ancient plea. What we complain of now is that this year the Government 1279 ordered their Ambassador to leave Paris on the opening of the Exhibition at the same time when similar orders were given by the monarchical Governments of Europe to their Ambassadors. To this I call attention, and to this the former contention of the Government has no relation whatever. I can state the facts in a few words. To begin with, the French Government on this occasion made a marked and special official distinction between the centennial celebration which was of a political character, and the mere opening of the Exhibition itself, which was of an entirely civil and non political character. They fixed the centennial political celebration for Sunday the 3rd of May, and the opening of the Exhibition for the 6th of May, separating the two ceremonies widely and distinctly. Now, we can understand that Her Majesty's Government felt bound by their former decision to abstain from taking part in the first of these celebrations, but there is no such decision alleged for abstaining from the second, the official opening of the French Exhibition itself. But what did the Government do? On the Saturday before the 6th of May, the day appointed for the opening of the Industrial Exhibition, Lord Lytton, Her Majesty's Ambassador at Paris, left for this country, as I venture to allege, under orders from his Government at home. If that was not so then a denial must come from the right hon. Gentleman who represents the Foreign Office in this House. At the same moment the Ambassador for Germany left Paris and went home, the Italian Ambassador went home to his country, and so on through the whole list of Continental Monarchies, including even the miserable little Monarchy of Belgium. I believe they all retired at the same moment. Now what I allege is that this means an understanding and cooperation between all these Governments to take their Ambassadors out of Paris so that they might be absent when the Exhibition opened. I know that the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary has declared that there was no concert between the British Government and the other Governments in the matter. I do not know whether he is going to repeat that assertion in the House to-day, but I ask the House not to take diplomatic denials like that, 1280 but to judge from the facts as I have stated them. I will ask the House to apply to the Government exactly the same measuree of justice the Government insists on applying to Members of this House. I ask the House to imagine for a moment an International tribunal, something like that set up in Ireland, and I would ask if there was brought before such a tribunal a charge that the British Government had conspired with other Governments to boycott the Frenh Exhibition, and supposing it was adduced in evidence that at the same moment the Ambassadors of the different Governments left Paris when the Exhibition was about to open, would not such a tribunal accept that as proof of conspiracy? Is it not a common sense view of the matter, that the withdrawal of all the Ambassadors at the same time was not a mere coincidence, but that it was an intention to put a slight on the people of France, if not on the Government of France, on the occasion of the opening of the Exhibition? I admit that the French Government is not in a position to make any official complaint, but I do allege that French feeling was deeply wounded on the occasion. ["No, no! "] If the Government deny that, I appeal to the columns of the Standard—their principal organ in the press—whose Paris correspondent repeatedly appealed to the Government to allow these Ambassadors to attend. The facts prove a cowardly shrinking on the part of Her Majesty's Government from association even with Republican institutions, and an absurd attempt to boycott the French Revolution. I say it with deliberation, an absurd attempt to boycott the French Revolution, and they wholly misinterpreted the feelings of the English people on the occasion. I have a further question to put. I think it is established conclusively in evidence that should satisfy all reasonable demand for proof, that there was a conspiracy and that Her Majesty's Government were parties to it. How far did this boycotting go? How far have the Government used the resources in their power to inflict what I call this slight upon the French Government and people? It has not been confined to this matter, there was a trifling occasion last week when the same spirit manifested itself. The Minister of the United States celebrated the occasion by a ban- 1281 quet, but no British representative was present, and the Ambassadors of the other Powers were absent also, only the representatives of Republican Governments were present on the occasion. The Austrian Ambassador excused himself on the ground that he could not forget Marie Antoinette, what ground the Ambassador of England had to urge I do not know, but I merely mention that as showing corroboration on a trifling occasion and forming part of the evidence against the Government. And now I am going to allege something more serious and showing a feeling on the part of the Government that I should have declared incredible unless I knew it to be supported by considerable evidence. I am sorry I do not see the Under Secretary for India in his place, for this is a matter which concerns his Department. What I am going to give to the House is an instance of how the Government used their power in India to carry out this same policy of slighting the feelings and casting indignity on a friendly people on the other side of the Channel. The most interesting Department of the French Exhibition, I believe, or one of the most interesting at all events, is the Anthropological section, and a very large and important contribution to that Section was made under the auspices of the Government of Bengal. This is a valuable collection of a series of life-size models of types of the various races to be found in Bengal. It was prepared by Mr. Risley, whom also the Bengal Government appointed as their Commissioner at the Paris Exhibition, allowing him also £500 for his official expenses in that connection. But what happened? I am speaking from information derived from India and from high authority. Lord Cross, the Minister for India, sent a despatch to the Government of Bengal, in which he ordered them to cancel both these appointments, to disallow the official position of Mr. Risley and disallow his expenses, adding, "I need not mention the reasons for which I write this despatch." I think that is hardly credible. It is hardly to be supposed that the miserable spirit which showed itself originally in the boycotting of the Exhibition and the churlish refusal to take part in the opening ceremonial should have been carried so many thousand miles away to a distant 1282 dominion of the Queen, and that the exceptional powers of the Government in India should be used in furtherance of the same party and mean spirited policy. These are the facts I have on reliable authority. I ask the Government to deny or explain them. I believe the defence of the Government on a former occasion was that they could not take part in anything of a political character; they thought it their duty to remain neutral, and that it would be embarrassing to side with one party in the celebration; but I venture to say that, in doing what they have done, on ordering their Ambassabor out of Paris they have taken a side more emphatically than they would have done if they had fulfilled the ordinary courtesies of the situation and had accepted the courteous invitation extended to them. Again I refer to another supporter of the Government—the Times, which is nothing if not a supporter of the Government. The Times said that there were no people in France except the French Convervatives who did not further and support the Exhibition, and that these people carried their opposition so far as to insult, with a total want of good taste and good sense, the President of the Republic, for whose formal removal they openly combined. By their line of action the Government have committed themselves to a partnership, not with the Government of that country, but with rebels and pretenders with whom that Government is fighting. There is one matter that makes this line of conduct peculiarly unfortunate. I venture to allude to it with all reserve. I mean the presence in this country at the moment Her Majesty's Government were so acting of the leader of fanatical and unprincipled opposition to the French Government. That person, seeking in this country the shelter which Parliamentary Institutions alone enable us to give him, is doing his best under that shelter to overthrow Parliamentary Institution in France. Having among us avowed enemies of the Parliamentary régime in France, Her Majesty's Government ought to have been extremely careful not to wound the susceptibilities of the French people. But, I believe the real motives of Her Majesty's Government are not avowable in this House. The most unfortunate aspect of their conduct is that it has 1283 engendered suspicions of this country which I regret to see arise. They are Accused of subserviency to a great foreign Minister, but I am not going to repeat the accusation because I have no facts to support it. It is unfortunate, however, that colour should have been given to such a suspicion, because we lave had recent instances how far the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary and that Minister are prepared to go together in dubious undertakings, or what will be dubious undertakings for this country. It is unfortunate that the conduct of the Government should give colour to suspicions of subserviency which are simply not mentionable in this House. I for one am not going to break through any constitutional rule by accusing the Government of being guided by the dictation of the Court. That may or may not be, it is a matter of absolute indifference to us, but it is extremely unfortunate that the Government should have given colour to the suspicion out of doors that this has been the fact. Now, I venture to ask the whole of the Liberal Party to join in condemning the conduct of Her Majesty's Government, who have tried to behave as if they are Ministers, not of Parliamentary Government, but of a mere Monarchy, which I deny that they are. I say, setting here as representatives and servants of this House, they have no right to act out of doors as if they are anything else, or as if in either their foreign or domestic policy they owed allegiance to any other quarter than the majority in this House. If they get the majority of the House to acquit them, well and good, then they have satisfied their masters; but I think those masters are easily satisfied if they are willing to whitewash the Government for action dictated by influences that ought not to guide their action at all. The whole action of the Government amounts to this, they have wantonly insulted the national feelings of a friendly people, and in so doing have been guilty of a gross blunder against international comity. Their whole behaviour from first to last has been an infamous perversion of their trust as Ministers of a democratic country, and a gross falsification and misrepresentation of the feelings of the people of this country whose Ministers they are. 1284 Amendment proposed, to leave out "£60,366" in order to insert "£60,266."—(Mr. Edmund Robertson.)
§ * THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir JAMES FERGUSSON, Manchester, N. E.)
The hon. and learned Gentleman has propounded, and I might almost say laboured, a somewhat heavy indictment against Her Majesty's Government; but though he said he had proved—and I suppose he did prove to his own satisfaction—a conspiracy into which Her Majesty's Government entered to insult the French people and so forth, I venture to think that the House must have rather missed the grounds and body of his proof. I confess I have heard from him nothing I can answer in the way of proof of conspiracy, nothing but assertions of his own and certain insinuations which he said he would not formulate. I think it is well not to insinuate that which you dare not formulate. Certainly it is conduct the reverse of courageous to attempt to insinuate that as to what you bring no proof.
* SIR JAMES FERGUSON
I am in the recollection of the House. The hon. Gentleman did not accuse the Government of acting under certain dictation, home or foreign, but he founded in his peroration some strong epithets, and some rather laboured denunciations on these allegations, as if they were distinctly stated and proved. Certainly I am not here to shelter the Government under the acts of their predecessors. The action of the Government stands on its own foundation, perfectly intelligible and defensible. It is true, as has been stated on former occasions, that it has been continuous with the action of their predecessors. But Lord Rosebery and the Government of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian are not responsible for the act of Her Majesty's present advisers; and I do not for a moment seek to say that it was on account of the very natural and proper inquiries made by Lord Rosebery in 1886 that Her Majesty's Government abstained from taking part in the promotion of the Exhibition. The main feature of the hon. and learned Member's accusation was the absence of Her Majesty's 1285 Ambassador from Paris on the occasion of the opening of the Exhibition. The hon. and learned Member assumes—that is another of his assumptions—that Lord Lytton's absence occurred in consequence of a concert between Her Majesty's Government and the Governments of other countries. I told the hon. Member on a former occasion that Lord Lytton was not ordered to withdraw in concert with other Ambassadors, or that our action had been taken in concert with other Governments. But I will state to the House how and why it was Lord Lytton was absent. On the 2nd of May, Lord Lytton informed the Secretary of State, by a private letter, that he must ask for leave of absence in order to consult his medical advisers in England on account of a serious malady with which he was afflicted. On the 4th of May leave of absence was given him. He has since that time, as is well known, been invalided from an ailment of some gravity, which may confine him to the house for a further period. Thus the leave was applied for and granted at a certain date on the unfortunately too genuine ground of medical treatment. But I should also mention that previous to his applying for leave of absence on a specified day, the Secretary of State had privately communicated to him that if—as appeared probable—most of the Ambassadors would be absent from the opening of the Exhibition, it would be difficult for the English Ambassador to take part in a matter of internal political controversy, and therefore that it would be desirable that he should not be present. The fact of the Exhibition having a peculiar significance was not the idea of Her Majesty's Government, and was not communicated to them by any other Government. It was distinctly stated, in answer to the inquiries made in Paris in 1886, that this Exhibition had been fixed, not at the customary decennial period, but at a somewhat later date, in order that it might synchronize with the centenary of the French Revolution, which was called in the statement of the French Minister the Hegira of the French nation. I do not think that anybody now doubts that the Exhibition has a political significance. I ask the House whether this country ought to have any opinion with reference to the French 1286 Revolution which was commenced in 1789. It is a subject upon which parties in France up to this day are bitterly divided. [Opposition cries of "Oh!"] Do hon. Members say that there is no considerable section of the French people who do not rejoice in the French Revolution; as there were parties at the time to which it was a bitter shock? If that be not so, I cannot understand how there can be parties in France which are opposed to the present régime. We do not concern ourselves in the affairs of foreign countries. Let me point out to the House that when a nation is unanimous in rejoicing at the centenary or bicentenary of an event with regard to which there exists no difference whatever in that country, there can be no impropriety in Her Majesty's Government joining in the universal satisfaction and taking part in the celebration. It was in this spirit that in 1874 the Government of Lord Beaconsfield authorized Her Majesty's Representative to take part in the Centenary Exhibition at Philadelphia to commemorate the Independence of the United States. That step was taken by a Conservative Government. In that case there is now no party in the United States which entertains different opinions. But I would say that for Her Majesty's Government to take an official part on an occasion which was declared to be a celebration of an event with regard to which all parties in the foreign country are not united would be analogous to the Ambassadors of foreign countries taking part in a celebration here, say, for or against the Union of England and Ireland. But the hon. and learned gentleman has ventured to say that Her Majesty's Government are acting in imitation of rebels and pretenders against the Government of a friendly State in withholding their official participation in a political celebration. That is an assertion which hardly requires a reply, it is so monstrous, so scandalous. We are doing nothing against the established Government of France in withholding ourselves from direct participation in this Exhibition. I would remind the House that these assertions of unfriendliness between the two Governments have not been made by the French Government or the French people. They are the sole and 1287 pure invention of the hon. and learned Gentleman and some others who take a similar view. In the invitations given by the French Government to Her Majesty's Government, as shown in the papers laid before the House, they distinctly anticipated the declinature of Her Majesty's Government. But a hope is expressed that in the event of our declining Her Majesty's Government would give facilities for the passage of English goods and so forth. This was readily and cordially accorded, and neither in the correspondence nor at any time since has there been any weakening of the cordial relations between the two countries on account of the conduct of Her Majesty's Government. The hon. and learned Member actually finds some ground for his accusation in the refusal of the Secretary of State for India to sanction a certain expenditure on the part of the Government of India for the contribution of certain objects to the Exhibition and the expenses of an officer to accompany them. I should have thought it followed that if Her Majesty's Government did not take part in the Exhibition neither would the Government of India do so. The hon. and learned Member calls this a miserable evasion, and says that it is a selfish spirit which refuses so trifling a sum. That the Government of India should not take an official part follows from Her Majesty's Government not taking an official part, in spite of the enormous epithets employed by the hon. and learned Member. The course of the Government has been perfectly consistent and perfectly friendly. There has been no coolness whatever in the relations between the two countries. Our officers and French officers in every part of the world conduct themselves to each other with friendship and a careful avoidance of offence. On the East Coast of Africa, where lately there have been delicate relations and events which might have led to trouble, there has been no collision or inconvenience whatever, because of the good understanding maintained and the mutual consideration displayed. It remains for gentlemen in this House to attempt to raise a suspicion and an idea of offence having been given to the French Government by Her Majesty's Government. That allegation is entirely without foundation, and will recoil upon those who make it.
§ MR. GLADSTONE (Edinburgh, Mid Lothian)
I do not know whether this debate is to be a Party debate, but for my own part I feel that I stand in a very disadvantageous position with regard to the Motion of my hon. and learned Friend, who commenced his speech by a general indictment against the conduct of a Liberal Government. For that conduct I am responsible. My first duty, therefore, is to defend myself in the most explicit manner against my hon. Friend. I entirely differ from him. I hold that if we had taken the course which he recommends we should have departed from all the traditions of business and from all the rules of common sense. The state of the case is this. The substance has already been stated by my hon. Friend behind me, who was Under Secretary of State at the time. On the 12th of February, 1886, a verbal inquiry was addressed by the French Ambassador to Lord Rosebery, who was then Secretary of State, as to what course Her Majesty's Government would pursue with reference to the coming Exhibition. The inquiry was, as far as I know, simply lodged with my noble Friend, who thought it his duty to make some inquiry with respect to the exact object of the Exhibition, whereas my hon. and learned Friend thinks he ought at once to have said, without consulting his Colleagues, that the Government would take part in the Exhibition. I must say I think, with respect to the case of the French Revolution, that it is extremely difficult to speak of that great event, which commenced in 1789 and was supposed to have terminated in 1793, as if it were an integral and homogeneous transaction of which you must pronounce the same opinion with reference to its opening and its close. Considering that it closed in a war between France and this country, it would have been indecent on the part of this country to take part in the celebration of the events which immediately brought about that war. Lord Rosebery did no more than the rules and traditions of business and the rules of common sense required in putting, not in an antagonistic or hostile manner, and not directly putting a question to the Ambassador, but asking Lord Lyons to ascertain and inform him what it was exactly which it was proposed to celebrate. Lord 1289 Rosebery was proceeding on the principle which appears to me to have been the right principle—namely, that if we are to look at the close of the French Revolution and the terrible events of its later stages, whatever we may think of the close of those events, and the persons really responsible for them, we must regard these later events with different feelings from those with which we regard the earlier stages of that great movement. Therefore I think Lord Rosebery did no more than his duty in making that inquiry, and that he would have done less than his duty if he had done otherwise. I will not say any more on that subject—though I rather think it has not been sufficiently observed, that as far as Lord Rosebery was concerned the matter remained entirely in an initial stage. Before Lord Rosebery obtained an answer from Lord Lyons—which answer was given by the method of transmitting documents which conveyed full information on the points Lord Rosebery had mooted—the French Ambassador again called on Lord Rosebery and informed him that the French Government did not wish at that time to press for an answer. That is the point so far as the late Government is concerned. Nothing can be more fair than the statement of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, in regard to the relations between the proceedings of the late Government and the proceedings of the present Government. No doubt the proceedings are continuous, as they all have reference to one single transaction. They did not one depend upon another, and I shall freely give my opinion as to the course which has been taken by Her Majesty's Government in respect to the absence of Lord Lytton from the ceremonial of the opening of the Exhibition. I am not quite certain whether I accurately understood the answer given by Lord Salisbury in 1887, when he replied to the formal and official inquiry of the French Government by stating that it was "not the intention of Her Majesty's Government to take an official part in the International Exhibition which is to be held at Paris in 1889." I apprehend that those words contained no opinion at all, and no intention at all upon the question of the attendance of Lord Lytton at the opening of the Exhibition. What they meant,if I understand them rightly, 1290 was that her Majesty's Government did not intend to take a part in the sense of appointing Commissioners to take charge of the British section, and also of applying to the House of Commons for a Vote of money in order to meet the expenses. That I take to be the meaning of Lord Salisbury. Whether that was a wise and proper attitude to take up I do not undertake to say, but I am aware of no reason in the world to make that answer a subject of censure, and I beg to be understood as not at all concurring in that censure. It is a question perfectly open for each Government to decide whether they will or will not in such a manner take an official part in an exhibition to be held in a foreign country. I own, however, that I look with considerable regret to the course taken in respect to the attendance of Lord Lytton at the opening ceremonial of the Exhibition. I have been differently informed to my hon. Friend as to what actually occurred on that day. I understood him to say that on that day the representatives of the Republics attended—meaning, I presume, the representatives of the American Republic, and probably of the Swiss Republic—but that the representatives of Monarchies did not attend, even down to the "miserable Monarchy" of Belgium. I must say that I did not expect any Member of this House, and least of all a Liberal Member of the House, to describe Belgium as a miserable Monarchy. There is not in all Europe a Monarchy of more untainted honour, there is not a Government of more beneficial operation, there is not a spot on the map where constitutional principles have been more faithfully and more beneficially observed, from the time when that remarkable man Prince Leopold was chosen the first King of Belgium, down to the present moment, when the present King of Belgium has for so long been engaged in treading in the very steps marked out for him by his father, to the immense benefit of his country. If that be a miserable Monarchy, God help humankind where to look for your political operations and political institutions. I believe I am speaking the sentiment of the whole House when I say that that Monarchy has our sympathy and admiration, and should the necessity arise it would, I believe, on 1291 all proper occasions have our support. So much with regard to the epithet which unfortunately slipped into the speech of my hon. and learned Friend. As regards the attendance, from what I have been informed—and my information comes on what may be considered good authority—the statement of the hon. and learned Gentleman is not correct. It is not the fact, I believe, that the representatives of the secondary Monarchies in Europe—secondary not in point of character, but in point of extent and material force—did not attend. I believe that a portion did attend and a portion did not. I treat this as a mere question of sound or unsound judgment, and not of undue subserviency on the part of Her Majesty's Government, and still less of anything like concert or conspiracy. I entirely accept the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman. It was not an assurance necessary for me, for I take it for granted that the decision was made in good faith, and by no means with reference to any undue dependence on what might be done by others. I understand that the decision which was taken was this. The Government decided that in case the majority of the Ambassadors of the other Powers determined not to attend, our Ambassador should be prevented from attending at the opening ceremony.
§ * SIR J. FERGUSSON
What I said was that it was not thought desirable that he should be present in Paris at the time.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
I quite agree that if our Ambassador was not to be present at the opening the matter would be made worse rather than better by his being in Paris, and I accept that as a consequence Of his absence from the ceremony. But it does not appear to me, debating this as a question of sound or unsound judgment, that this was a case in which we ought to have looked to the example set by other Powers. I may not be able to understand in all cases the motives by which those Powers were actuated in keeping their Ambassadors away from the Exhibition, but I can sympathize with the Governments of Berlin and Vienna. There may have been for them some sort of difficulty in attending the celebration, as there would have been for us if the Exhibition had been intended to commemorate the 1292 execution of Louis XVI., because the Governments of Berlin and Vienna, most unfortunately for themselves, for France and for mankind, set themselves against the Revolution from the beginning and began to intrigue against it, and finally formed a military combination before the date of the horrors had arrived. They formed a military combination to put down the expression of the free sense and judgment of the French people, which combination, I believe, was one-of the main causes of the great excesses and atrocities by which some stages of the French Revolution were so deplorably marked. But, however unfortunate that combination might have been, and however guilty it is found when political history comes to be written, I quite sea that it would have entangled and embarrassed those Governments of the present day had they been expected by an ostensible and a patent act to break with the traditions of their predecessors of a former date. So much for those Governments. With regard to the Italian Government, I have in my hand the report of the debate in the Italian Chamber on the 5th of May, in which Signor Crispi gave his account of the absence of the Italian Minister from the celebration. His words were express. He stated that he did not advise it, and was not responsible for it, but it was entirely the result of a prior application by the Italian Ambassador for leave of absence. I do not think that these examples were very applicable to the case of Her Government. Even if they had been, it was their duty under the circumstances to have exercised an independent judgment. To me it is as clear as day that. that judgment has been exercised entirely in the wrong direction. This Exhibition was an International Exhibition, and should have had from us, I do-not say official intervention—I leave that entirely to the discretion of the, Government—but all respect and all sympathy. The right hon. Gentleman said it was an event referring to matters of internal controversy in France. I must say I heard that statement with surprise. The right hon. Gentleman said that the French were not all of one mind about the French Revolution, and that on that account it was, no part of our business to pronounce an opinion upon it, and that it would have been wrong in us to join in the compli- 1293 mentary act of attending the President on the day of the opening. In the first place, I maintain that in 1789 we did express opinions upon it, and that the opinion of England was favourable to it. As to Mr. Fox, what said he on the taking of the Bastile? He wrote to his friend Fitzpatrick:—"How much the greatest event it is that ever happened in the world, and how much the best!" It may be said that Fox did not speak the opinion of England. Not always; but on that occasion he did. It would have been very wrong for Mr. Pitt, the Minister of the day, to use that expression, but Mr. Pitt in 1789 spoke in the most friendly terms of what had gone on in France. It was on the 9th of February, 1790, I think, as it is recorded in the Parliamentary History, that he referred to the partial difficulties and differences which there were in France, and said that when these had passed away and the constitution of France should become restored, "it would be freedom rightly understood—freedom resulting from good order and good government." Now, Sir, I want to test this proposition of the right hon. Gentleman in a way which appears to me perfectly clear and distinct. He says that in 1874 the Government of Lord Beaconsfield ordered our participation in the centenary of the American Revolution, and that nobody could possibly object to it. Did nobody object to the American Revolution? The right hon. Gentleman's argument in this ease is that there were certain Royalists in France or certain privileged persons or classes to whom the Revolution was, as he says, a great blow. Well, now, Sir, I would say this with respect to these Royalists and the noblesse of France, that they ran away from France in the hour of her difficulties. I would say that there were in America loyalists to the British Crown far more numerous and ten times more respectable than the privileged classes in France—men who had a very considerable amount of legal and constitutional argument to advance in favour of the course they wished to see taken. Why then, if we are so tender of the feelings of those gentlemen who objected to the French Revolution, to whom, even in its first stages, it was quite, I admit, a serious blow, we ought, I say, to have been ten times 1294 more tender to our brethren, of the same blood and language, who were loyalists in- America and were entitled to a far greater share of our sympathy. Lord Beaconsfield, I agree with the right hon. Gentleman, acted with great wisdom and propriety, and was entirely right, in sanctioning our intervention in that centenary celebration. But if he was right in that, how much more requisite was it that we should not withhold the usual and ordinary and very moderate compliment to the Government of France to attend the President on the opening of this great Exhibition. Let me try it in this way. The right hon. Gentleman says it was a matter of internal controversy in France, and it is not our business to pronounce on those matters which are controverted among parties in other countries. I think, perhaps, the fairest way of trying the question is to suppose a converse case. Suppose it happened, as it might have happened, that in the year 1888 we might have had a great exhibition, and we might have been governed to a certain extent in the selection of that year by the fact that it would also be a commemoration of the Revolution of 1688. Suppose that we had such a exhibition, or that we had such a prospect, and that we had made a communication to the French Government and that it had said to us in reply, "We cannot allow our Ambassador to attend the great Exhibition in celebration of the Revolution of 1688, as that Revolution is a matter of controversy." Well, now, Sir, is that true? We are now united in thought, but I have known a gentleman holding high office in the Tory party in my time who detested the Revolution of 1688. I pass that by. At any rate there was a large portion of the country who at the time disproved of the Revolution. The dominant Church disapproved of it. They did resist James II. in his attempts to break the law, but they disapproved of the Revolution. We know how strong the party, the Jacobites, afterwards were for the King. We know what took place in the following period, when it became necessary on the part of Parliament to extend its own existence from three years to seven because they believed that if Parliament dissolved at that time a majority would 1295 be returned in favour of James. I think there are three things to be considered. First of all, if the French did take such an objection, it would give just offence in this country. But the French would have been a great deal too rational and too historical to take such an objection. But I venture to say they would have had more ground for taking the objection, because the French had declared against our Revolution at the time, had given shelter to the fugitive and his family, not merely as a fugitive, but as a rival pretender, and they had given the support of their arms to his rival pretensions. I do not think there is any man in this House who, for a moment, believes that if in the case I have supposed, we had invited the French Government to take a share in the inauguration of a great exhibition in 1888, which had undoubtedly among its purposes the glorifying of the Revolution of 1688, the French Government would have dreamed of so fanciful, so puerile, so childish a step as to declare that the Revolution was a question of internal controversy in England, and that it was not for a foreign country to pronounce upon it. Now, Sir, with respect to the offence taken in France. I must say that I think this most unfortunate and unhappy act carries with it the antidote to its own bane. The proceeding was little better than ridiculous. It excited contempt, and that was why the French passed it by without resentment. I have no doubt many looked upon it with displeasure in France, but passed it by as a matter of insignificance. But there is another reason why the French made little or rather nothing of it, and that is the strong and solid sentiment of friendship with England which happily pervades the French people. Friendship of that kind is not to be broken down by an act of folly—an act of folly without intention and free from the taint of malice, but undoubtedly an error of judgment of a very gross kind. I feel confident no similar case will occur hereafter, that no such plea will be set up, and that no such act will take place. Lord Lytton is a man with whom I have had the misfortune to differ years ago upon matters of the most serious kind, but I will do him the justice of believing—I feel perfectly confident—that he never ad- 1296 vised this step. I think his knowledge of the world and the atmosphere in, which he lived were quite sufficient to save him from any error of that kind. I have given my opinion very frankly. I have admitted to the Government that we are ourselves, my hon. Friends behind me, placed into the dock along with them. I do not consider that we are entitled to take any benefit in a Party sense from this discussion. We acquit the Government of evil intention, and certainly of anything like conspiracy or concert. There has been committed, an error of judgment which it is extremely desirable to bring to the bar of the opinion of this House, and, therefore, notwithstanding the little rubs he has given us in passing, I am thankful to the hon. Member behind me for having brought the matter into the light of free open discussion in our assembly of the House of Commons.
§ * THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. G. J. GOSCHEN, St. George's, Hanover Square)
Sir, I am glad to, see from the concluding sentences of the. speech of the right hon. Gentleman that he had not forgotten the commencement of his remarks. During the latter part of his speech, where he, spoke of the contempt with which the French people looked upon our conduct in this matter, I wondered to what extent he had forgotten that in the earlier portion of his speech he had indicated that his own Government might have taken a line which would probably have deserved the same contempt. ["No," from Mr. Gladstone.] Well, I think. the right hon. Gentleman will admit that after the questions of Lord Rosebery, there might have been a fear that the French people would have felt that contempt for the late Government which the right hon. Gentleman fears may now be felt.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
It is not possible with the views we entertain. The whole object of Lord Rosebery's inquiry was to know what it was that was to be celebrated. If it were to celebrate the acts of January, 1793, no doubt we should have refused.
§ * MR. GOSCHEN
It was, then, a limited liability kind of calendar which was to be drawn up. The French Government were to be asked, "Up to what date is this celebration to go? 1297 If you are content to start with the Bastile, well and good; we are with you; but if it goes up beyond a certain date it will be necessary to come to an understanding. We regret that in consequence of the extension of date the circumstances are such that we cannot accede—
§ MR. GLADSTONE
I may state in the clearest manner that we made no communication to the French Government at the time. We desired Lord Lyons to inform us, which he did by means of a public document.
§ * MR. GOSCHEN
I was only trying to follow out what appeared to be the train of thought of the right hon. Gentleman. The train of thought was this: "Let us get information as to what is going to be celebrated. If you are going to celebrate the initial step only, then we can attend; there will be nothing against our joining in the Exhibition. But if, on the other hand, you go further, and we are to be drawn into celebrating a stage of the revolution which does not find much sympathy in English opinion, then we will withdraw one participation." I want to know whether that abstention which would have subsequently taken place would not have looked very much like the abstention which has taken place under our auspices. It strikes me that abstention like that might very likely have been looked upon not with anger but with contempt by the French people. But I do not believe that the French people have looked on our abstention with contempt for a moment. I think they believe that it was a perfectly rational step—namely, non-interference in matters which to this day are the subject of political controversy. Let me point out how the right hon. Gentleman distorted the argument of the Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs. My right hon. Friend was answering an attack which had been made upon the Government, but in which the right hon. gentleman opposite certainly took no part whatever. We had been attacked as if it were from a Monarchical point of view we had refused. The right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary made this reply—that this was not a celebration on which all classes in the country where the Exhibition was to take place were united, and that if it had been, then it 1298 would have been no question as between Monarchy and Republic, but we might have joined in the Exhibition without scruple. But the right hon. gentle. man suggested that our objection was taken from a monarchical point of view, and that it was on that ground that we had refused to take part in the Exhibition. That was what ran through the whole argument of the right hon. Gentleman, and when he spoke of the Revolution of 1688 he seemed to think that because there were differences of opinion at one time as to that Revolution it would be a parallel case to the present if, on the celebration of that event, the French Government were to refuse to send their Ambassador here. But the point of the whole case—a point which my right hon. Friend the Under Secretary did not labour, because it is not desirable to labour these questions connected with the affairs of foreign countries—is this, that to the present day there are differences, and vast differences, of opinion in France itself in regard to those great events. Therefore abstention in this case is not as the hon. Member for Dundee suggested—taking part against one section or great party of the French people. It is doing that which, I think, the great body of the people of this country would wish us to do—namely, to abstain from expressing any opinion upon a subject upon which there are differences of opinion among the French people themselves. I submit that that constitutes the whole point of the case. It was not a question as between the Monarchy and the Republic, as suggested by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee, who, I think, will hesitate before he again makes a rash incursion into the domain of diplomacy after the remarks of his chief. The hon. Gentleman, indeed, suggested every kind of reason why we had refused to join in the commemoration; but the right hon. Gentleman opposite was more just to us in explaining the situation more fully, and I desire on the part of the Government to acknowledge the great frankness and impartiality with which he touched upon this part of the case. He expressed his conviction that it was not from any arrangement with foreign Powers, or from any indirect or sinister motive, that the Government had acted, but 1299 that if we have committed an error, which I do not for a moment admit, it was an error of judgment, and that we had acted independently in the matter. I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that accurate statement of the facts of the case. As to the motives of which the hon. Member for Dundee spoke, they are simply the creatures of his own imagination. And now let me point out to the House, how the right hon. Gentleman on another point has confirmed or at any rate come near confirming, our action. He says he is not disposed to condemn us for not having taken an official part in the arrangements of the Industrial Exhibition, but he condemns us for not having had our Ambassador present at the opening ceremony. It appears to me that that would have placed us in afar more compromising position than if we had taken part in the arrangements of the industrial department of the Exhibition. We should have stultified ourselves, if, having refused to take an official part in the Exhibition generally, our Ambassador had been present on an occasion upon which every French statesman would be fully entitled to use whatever language he chose with regard to events in the past history of his country. I think the right hon. Gentleman agrees that it would be better that we should not be in Paris at all than that being in Paris we should refuse the invitation to the opening ceremony. It is absolutely unnecessary on the part of the Government to give any assurances as to the absence of any intention to put a slight on the French people. Her Majesty's Government have been on cordial terms with the French Government ever since they came into office, and are on cordial terms with them now; and there is not a single man on this side of the House, who has not every whit as much sympathy with the French people, as well as the French Government, as any hon. Gentlemen opposite. It was scarcely worthy of the hon. Member for Dundee to attempt to make a case against Her Majesty's Government by looking for an insult where no insult was meant, or by endeavouring to conjure up all sorts of petty incidents intended to prove that which cannot be proved—namely, that in the action Her 1300 Majesty's Government had taken, they had been false to that friendship and sympathy with the French people, which it is their privilege to feel, and their anxiety to maintain.
§ MR. J. MORLEY (Newcastle-on-Tyne)
I do not rise for the purpose of offering many remarks, but there are one or two observations which have fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer which call for reply. In his remarks upon my right hon. Friend's reference to the Revolution of 1688 he made a statement which will be received with surprise by anybody who has been Chief Secretary for Ireland on a 12th of July. If he thinks that those differences of opinion which existed in 1688 are not still an active force in English politics, he is very much mistaken, and the reference of my hon. Friend was absolutely in point. Then the right hon. Gentleman says that apparently the object of Lord Rosebery and his colleagues in making inquiries of the French Ambassador was to find some opportune date at which the French Revolution entered into a groove to which we could give our approval. But I am amazed to find that the right hon. Gentleman did not to seem to be aware that the Government of that day—the then Tory Government—thought so little of what had happened in France, that, as my right hon. Friend has stated, the British Ambassador was actually not withdrawn from Paris by Mr. Pitt until the autumn of 1792. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite are so discontented with the moderate Toryism of George III. and Mr. Pitt that they insist on refusing to take any part in the commemoration of the events which took place three years before the time when Pitt thought it necessary to withdraw our Ambassador. Those points are not worth dwelling upon, but when we are told that Her Majesty's Ministers object to compromise themselves or Her Majesty's Government by taking any part in the commemoration of the French Revolution because of the events of 1793–94, they might as well quarrel with the Reformation because of the 30 Years' War which followed it. My own contention is exactly that of my right hon. Friend, that all the noyades, fusillades, guillotinings, and carnage which took place were as a mere drop in 1301 the ocean compared with the bloodshed and carnage of the 30 Years' War. But which of us here would say a word against the Reformation on that account? My Own information is exactly that of my right hon. Friend, that all the carnage which followed after 1792 was entirely due to the coalition of despots. It was their conspiracy and invasion of France and their semi-avowed intention of partitioning France which produced all those horrors upon which right hon. gentlemen are relying as a justification for their present action. I only want to point to one consideration raised by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, which makes us feel it our duty to go into the Lobby with my hon. and learned Friend behind me as a protest against the position the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken up. The Chancellor of the Exchequer says the events of 1789 are a matter of bitter controversy in France to this day. I am not at all sure that that is so as a matter of fact. In our day the events of 1789 are probably accepted by all parties in France. I do not suppose that even the Legitimists themselve resent any of the events of 1789. The Comte de Chambord himself, when he had a chance of going back to his country and his throne in, I think it was, 1873, did not do so, because he insisted on sticking to the old Bourbon flag, and he was obliged to abandon his design because to throw over the tricolour and adopt the white flag would have been fatal to this project. The right hon. Gentleman implies that this is so much a matter of internal controversy in France that in fact the French Government is not the Government of the nation, but of a faction. ["No, no."] If the right hon. Gentleman's position does not amount to that, what does it amount to?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I asserted that France was not united on the point; that there is a large body of Frenchmen to whom the French Revolution—I did not say 1789—does not convey that same sense of satisfaction which it does convey to the majority of the French people. I said there are still political controversies with regard to that event.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
Political controversies raised about the events of the French Revolution! But the question 1302 is, what is the Government of France? You are concerned with the Government of France, not with minor controversies nor particular factions in France. The great body of the French people have declared their adherence to the present form of Government. It has been the principle of all British Governments—and their consistent principle—not to pronounce any judgment upon even the transactions of to-day in France, much less to pronounce judgment on the transactions of 100 years ago. We have uniformly recognized whatever form of Government the French people chose to adopt. We have recognized the legitimate and constitutional Monarchy, we have recognized the Republic, then we have recognized the Empire, and now we recognize the Republic again. We have uniformly said we have no concern with these controversies or these factions. It has been felt that we have no concern with these controversies or with these factions. Yes, but you now, by the position taken up by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, have taken a side. [Mr. GOSCHEN dissented.] Why, is it not to take a side to refuse to pay an ordinary ceremonial compliment to the head of the French Government? Is it not to take a side to refuse an invitation so cordially sent, and one which might so properly have been complied with? On that account, because the right hon. Gentleman opposite commits the Government of this country to an attitude which has never been taken by the British Government before, we shall vote with my hon. and learned Friend, and I for one, not in a Party sense and not for Party purposes, —there would be no great harm if it were in a Party sense—but it is not in a Party sense that I, for one, deplore that this opportunity has been lost of showing to the French nation that we wish well to their institutions, and that we recognize their full right to rejoice at the anniversary of the era of their emancipation and their admission to the rank of free countries.
§ SIR R. LETHBRIDGE (Kensington, North)
The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gladstone) commenced his speech by expressing a doubt as to whether this question was one which ought to be treated on Party lines, but 1303 he was followed by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Morley) who has just sat down and who has attempted to deal with it on Party lines by endeavouring to fix on the Party on this side of the House a most odious imputation, that any section of the Conservative Party is in any way inclined to regard in an unfriendly spirit our neighbours across the Channel, and the great French Republic, Sir, I heard with very great pleasure the explanation offered by the right hon. Gentleman, the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs (Sir J. Fergusson), and also by the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) as to the action taken by Her Majesty's Government in regard to this matter, and I must say that as a member of the Conservative Party I repudiate in the strongest terms. I can use the imputation made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee (Mr. Robertson), and that has been more than insinuated by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Morley) that the Conservative Party is in any degree open to this reproach. Nor, I venture to say, would that imputation be for a moment believed by the Leaders of French public opinion. In saying this I speak from some personal knowledge; for I am myself connected by ties of near family relationship with subjects of that great Republic—themselves Republicans—and I assert in the most unqualified manner that among the enlightened masses of the French people it is absolutely absurd to suppose there is any resentment felt on account of the action taken by the Government of this country. I may also state that I am a member of several sections of the Committee of the Paris Exhibition. I am a member of the English Section, the Indian Section, and the Ceylon Section. I am acquainted with a considerable number of Frenchmen both in Paris and in the provinces, and I am in a position to say absolutely that there is not a scintilla of resentment harboured against this country in consequence of the action of Her Majesty's Government in reference to the Paris Exhibition. They have felt as every sensible man must feel, 1304 that the Government should avoid in every possible way, any approach to interference in contentious matters affecting our neighbours. The hon. Member for Dundee referred to a matter of which I can speak with personal knowledge, and that is the question of the proposed employment of my Friend, Mr. Risley, of the Bengal Civil Service, as a member of the Anthropological Section of the Paris Exhibition on behalf of the Indian Government. I say it would have been absurd for the, Government of India to send one of its officers to take an official part in an Exhibition in which the parent Government here does not take an official part. It was proposed, I know, to allocate £500 out of the revenue derived from taxation out there to pay Mr. Risley's expenses at the Paris Exhibition on this errand. I have not seen Mr. Risley on the subject, but I think I can speak for him. I am very certain he accepts with perfect loyalty the decision of the Government that the proposed expenditure from Indian funds should not be sanctioned, and that he is quite ready to do just what I have done, namely, go to Paris at my own expense, to take part in the ceremonies, and thereby show the great regard and respect I have for France and the love I have for the French people. In conclusion I wish to ask hon. Gentlemen opposite to say who really am the friends of the French people, those who respect the susceptibilities of the French people, those who vote as I intend to vote, that is to say that our Government have no desire to inflict an insult upon the Government of France or the people of France, but are acting in perfect good faith, or, on the other hand hon. Gentlemen opposite who wish to fix upon us an attempt to insult the French people which we have never offered, and which we entirely repudiate? I think the French people will not thank the hon. Gentleman for the part he has taken in this discussion.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
I should like with the indulgence of the House to make a personal explanation. My right hon. Leader commented on a phrase in my speech with regard to Belgium. The word "miserable" did slip into my remarks; at the same time I utterly and 1305 entirely disavow the meaning which the word assumed in the hands of my right hon. Leader. I beg to withdraw the word, and to say that I did not mean it in the sense imputed to me by my right hon. Leader.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
The right hon. Gentleman has ably defended Lord Rosebery, but it is not a question now as to the attitude of Lord Rosebery; the question at the present moment is whether the Government were right in withdrawing our Ambassador from Paris. The Under Secretary commenced by telling the House that Lord Lytton left Paris because he was sick, and the right hon. Baronet looked quite indignant when we rather hesitated about it. We know perfectly well all about sick Ambassadors. There was the famous case of Lord Whitworth, who was ordered to tell the First Napoleon after an interview in which some strong expressions were used that he was ill at the next reception. These political illnesses are purely political. But what would have happened under these circumstances? If it had simply been that Lord Lytton had obtained leave because he was ill, the Chargé d'Affaires would have gone to the Exhibition instead of Lord Lytton. The Under Secretary perceived that himself, and gave up the doctrine of illness. What did he tell us? He told us that a private letter was sent by Lord Salisbury to Lord Lytton, asking him to find out whether it was probable that most of the Ambassadors would be absent, and, if so, on his part to leave Paris.
§ * SIR J. FERGUSSON
I did not say "to find out," but that "as most of the Ambassadors would probably be absent."
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
In that case somebody told Lord Salisbury, so that there must have been concert in the matter. Complaint has been made of the subserviency of the Government; and the right hon. Gentleman himself has admitted the subserviency, because for Lord Salisbury to order the Ambassador to leave because others were 1306 leaving—what was subserviency if not that? We are told that the Exhibition is a matter of political significance—that it is the centenary year. What centenary? The right hon. Gentleman, has attempted to show us that it is the centenary of the French Revolution. No, it is the centenary of the assembling, of the States General, an important part of the constitution of France, who were called together by the Monarch. If the right hon. Gentleman knew anything of French history—which it certainly appears that he does not—he would know that. It is admitted by every Frenchman that the French Revolution, did not begin with the calling together of the States General, but with the taking of the Bastile. The right hon. Gentleman tells the House that there were many in France who were opposed to the calling together of the States General. Were the Orleanists? The head of the Orleans family voted for the death of Louis XVI. Were the, Bonapartists opposed to it? I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to say that anyone has ever got up in the French. Chambers and stated that he was opposed to it. It is universally admitted, except by a few despicable people who still linger in the Faubourg St. Germain, that the French Revolution, notwithstanding its great and many crimes, has been beneficial to the French nation. This was to be a national Exhibition, and really the date amounts to nothing. I presume that the real reason for holding it was to consolidate and strengthen the Republic in France, and, not because it happened to be the centenary of calling the States General. I am perfectly ready to admit that there were persons in France who are opposed to the French Republic, but not to the calling together of the States General. What I deprecate is that Her Majesty's Government should have consented to play into the hands of the enemies of France. This was a national Exhibition; the head of the French Government opened it, and it was really monstrous for the right hon. Gentleman or rather for Lord Salisbury to confederate with those Governments who are not in alliance with France to withdraw our Ambassador. It is said there 1307 is to be a silver wedding over here. I would say let no member of the Royal Family go to it. Let no Member on the other side go and dine with General Boulanger. Gentlemen in their love of every pretender will go and cringe and dine and celebrate silver or golden weddings of any member of a Royal Family; but when President Carnot invited the English Government to take part in an Exhibition which was certainly for the benefit of France and for the peace of the world, they refused.
§ * BARON F. DE ROTHSCHILD (Bucks, Aylesbury)
My only object in rising is to point out that hon. Members who have spoken in favour of the reduction of the Vote have somewhat misrepresented the case, because it has always been considered that the meeting of the States General was not the centenary of the French Revolution, and is not the great event which the French Republic are celebrating. To a certain extent it may be true that the States General were opened by the King and that the whole French nation celebrated the meeting with enthusiasm, but I have no hesitation in saying that the French at this moment are celebrating that event, not as a Royal episode, but as the beginning of a long chain of episodes which culminated in the French Revolution. There is a solidarity between the meeting of the States General and the subsequent sanguinary events of the Revolution to which we cannot shut our eyes, and by giving a kind of prestige to the opening of the French Exhibition, we acknowledge the events of the French Revolution subsequent to the meeting of the States General. It has been said that England did not withdraw her Ambassador in 1792; but the French King was not disposed until August 1792, and the country, though engaged in a revolution, was not turned into a Republic until after that date. It was entirely inconsistent, therefore, to regard the opening of the States General and the celebration of that date as the beginning of the French Revolution.
§ MR. PICTON (Leicester)
There are one or two words which I should like to 1308 say before this discussion closes. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down hit the right nail on the head when he indicated that the real matter of interest with the French people in regard to the Revolution was the substitution of a Republic for a Monarchy. I believe it is that which they have most of all in mind. When they speak of the Revolution they do not refer to the massacres of September, or to the dreadful events which followed, but to the change from a Monarchical to a Republican form of Government. To 90 out of 100 French people this great Exhibition is an identification of the French nation with the Republic. It is a celebration of the industry and progress which have followed the establishment of a Republic in France. We can well afford to sympathise with them in their patriotism, and wish them prosperity and peace. Frenchmen themselves say that the Republic is that which divides them least. Perhaps hon. Gentlemen opposite will take advantage of that wise saying. to remark that therefore there are divisions in the French Republic. But there are divisions among us, and if there are anti-Republicans in France, there are also anti-Monarchists in this country, and the French people have just as much right to say that we are enemies to the Monarchy, as we have to say that they are enemies to the Republic. In my opinion a deplorable act of discourtesy has been committed towards the French nation, and I trust that such a number of Members will be found to vote for the Amendment in order to show their dissatisfaction at the course which has been taken, as will prove to the French people that there are a large number of persons in this country who are assured of the future, and are not always maudlin over the past, who heartily sympathise with the French people in celebrating one of the most glorious events of their history, and who wish them prosperity and peace in the future.
The House divided:—Ayes 283; Noes 190.—(Div. List No. 129.)