§ CONVENTION BETWEEN AUSTRIA AND THE SUBLIME PORTE.
THE MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE
My Lords, I now rise, in pursuance of the notice which I have laid on your Lordships' table, to make some observations upon the progress and state of the war in which this country is unhappily engaged, and also to endeavour to obtain from my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs some further information than has yet been given to Parliament in regard to the alliances or confederacies in which we are directly or indirectly engaged. I am not going to take any retrospect of the operations of the war, or to complain that the expectations which have been entertained by unreasonable or other persons have not been fulfilled by anything done by our fleets or armies. But, before making any observations at all, I wish to notice very shortly the attacks which have been made, partly in and partly out of Parliament, on those who have thought it right from time to time to utter their opinions upon the conduct of the war; be it with respect to the operations that are conducted by our commanders abroad, or be it with respect to the mode in which the Ministry at home have employed the resources of the country for the purposes of the war. I and others have been accused of personal, interested, and ignoble motives and feelings in thus expressing our opinions. Of that, however, I take no account. Every man who takes part in public life, or public strife, must make up his mind to this kind of attack, to which the very best men, from the earliest times to the present day, have been exposed. But what I complain of is, that it should be supposed that persons who make such observations and criticisms as he had expressed in his place in Parliament are less zealous in the cause of their country, and less inclined to act with patriotism, and to assist, as far as they can, in the struggle in which this country is now engaged, than others who, it may be blindly, or it may be zealously, support all the measures either of our commanders abroad or of the Government at home. That, however, is a course neither consistent with reason nor common sense. It has been, and is, not only the privilege but the duty of Members of either House of Parliament to express their opinions either upon the operations of our commanders abroad or upon the measures of the Ministers at home, if they think them deserving of notice. That 1511 principle had been acted upon in the best Parliamentary times. I will not refer to the many cases and authorities under which I, might shelter myself and others who have taken the same part; I will only refer to one case which occurred in the last war in which this country was engaged. No one will imagine that Mr. Pitt was wanting in fervour, earnestness, and sincerity in his support of the Crown and of the cause of his country when engaged in war against the French Republic, when the resources of that great people (now happily in alliance with us) were directed against us by the energy of Napoleon Bonaparte. What was the conduct of Mr. Pitt when the war, of which he approved and the justice of which he vindicated, broke out under the Addington Administration in 1803? He did not hesitate to take exception to the two first measures which the Government introduced into Parliament. The first was the Militia Bill, for providing for the defence of the country; the second was the Income Tax Bill, by which supplies were-raised to meet the exigencies of the public service. With regard to the last, Mr. Pitt even moved a Resolution as an Amendment, and divided the House upon it; and, although he was beaten, his influence was so great that the Bill was somewhat altered. And yet, when during the present Parliament we have had some persons who ventured to criticise or oppose similar measures, or rather particular details of them, they have been charged in Parliament with being inclined to withhold the proper supplies for the war, and out of doors language equally strong, or rather much stronger, has been applied to them. Leaving that subject, however, there are two or three points on which I wish to make a few observations before I come to the principal subject of my Motion. The first is with regard to the new organisation of the Ministry of War. Undoubtedly, up to the present time Parliament has not had laid before it sufficient information—which I hope will be communicated at the earliest period of next Session—to enable us to understand the departmental changes that have been effected. We know that the noble Duke the Secretary of War (the Duke of Newcastle) has been relieved from the charge of the administration of the Colonies. But what are his new functions, what new powers he possesses, what new duties he discharges, what establishment he administers, we know not, save and except that we have 1512 heard it intimated that the Commissariat, Department has been transferred to him. That is an intimation which I have heard with great satisfaction. I think nothing can be more absurd than that the Commissariat Department, on which the Army abroad is dependent for its supply of food, should be placed under the Financial Secretary of the Treasury. Those who know the multifarious duties that are said to devolve upon that Gentleman will feel that it is utterly impossible for him, even if he were otherwise qualified for the duty, to superintend the Commissariat of an army serving abroad. The duties. of the Commissariat are, however, certainly divisible into two heads. There is, first that which may be called more especially the. military duty, of providing provisions and stores for an army during a campaign, or for troops stationed in different parts of the country at home; and there is also the task of providing for the payment of the matters so required, and of supervising the bills which may be drawn upon the Treasury. This is a totally different sort of business, and may be called the banking business of the Commissariat, and, is one that, perhaps, ought to be divided from the military business. There can be no doubt that the transfer of the duties of the Commissariat from the Treasury to the Minister of War is a very good steps and I trust that when Parliament next meets we may have a clear explanation of the new organisation of the War Department, and that it may be; arranged in such a manner as to secure additional facility and economy in the transaction of business, and increased responsibility, which at present is greatly divided, This is, I know, a very difficult and important question; and, unfortunately, it was not considered as soon as it should have been, because, although our operations were more or less begun before we declared war—that is, in February or March last—it was not until May that the public were aware that any change was resolved upon in the organisation of the military department. I wish now to state my regret that the blockades of the Russians which have been established have certainly not proved so effective in injuring the trade and commerce of the enemy as we might have hoped from the great armaments that, we have sent out. I never received any answer to the question why the blockade of Archangel and the ether ports of, the White Sea was not entered upon the 1st 1513 of August. It is certainly notorious that great part of the commerce of Russia came through those ports during the past year. The blockade in the Baltic, though rather late in being established, was, no doubt, not without effect. I believe that, by the operations of our fleets in that sea, we have entirely stopped the revenue which would otherwise have been derived to the Imperial treasury from the customs duties levied in the ports of Russia on that sea, and this is no slight advantage. But I believe that, although the trade of the enemy by that sea has been stopped up, we have, unfortunately, left facilities for its being carried on in other channels; so that, although you have somewhat affected the finances of the Imperial treasury by your blockade, you have not injuriously affected the inhabitants of the country, and your operations have not, therefore, been sensibly felt through the country. That is a fact which no despatches can contradict; for it is proved by the circumstance that the value of Russian produce, either in our markets or in those of other countries, is not sensibly higher than it was in February last. The prices that then prevailed were not, I admit, peace prices; but still, if the price has not risen sensibly Since—for I admit that on some articles it May have risen as much as 5, and on one as much as 8 per cent—it shows that the supply has not been short, and that the measures taken to stop the supply have net been so effectual as might be desired. It is, indeed, within my knowledge that articles of produce from the Black Sea were at lower prices in the London market last week than they were two months ago; and that a contract was entered into not a fortnight ago for a supply of linseed direct from the Sea of Azoff, at a lower rate than that article was sold at two months ago. It is, therefore, clear—whatever despatches may be sent home by admirals or captains—that there is not an effectual blockade in the Black Sea. I have dwelt on this in order to enforce greater watchfulness in this respect in future years, if the war unfortunately continues; and, as far as I can see, there is no possible end to the war until you faring the pressure of that war, and of the losses that it must occasion, to bear upon the mass of the people of Russia. It is a mistake to think that there is no public opinion in that country that is really very much dreaded by the Government. Public opinion, it is true, does not act often or 1514 easily in that country, but when it does, it, acts in such a manner that the Government are obliged to heed it. I must notice another topic on which I think there has been remissness on the part of the Government. I allude to the question much mooted by authorities of great weight on the point—the supply of gunboats to our fleets. It is really no answer to say that an unprofessional man, even backed by professional authorities, can know nothing at all on this point, because there are certain facts so patent to common sense that any person possessed of a fair share of that endowment may judge of them even without professional qualifications. Now, two facts have never been denied—the one, that neither of our fleets is supplied with steam gunboats, by which I mean vessels drawing from four to five feet of water, and carrying heavy armaments; and the other, that if the fleets, and particularly that in the Baltic, were supplied with such vessels, they would be eminently useful. Let me call the attention of your Lordships to what happened the other day in the course of a reconnaissance before Bomarsund—where I hope our forces are now triumphant—by a squadron of Her Majesty's vessels. This circumstance I state on authority which, I venture to assert, is perfectly indisputable: The squadron that reconnoitred Bomarsund consisted of four screw vessels of 60 guns each, and the Amphion and Valorous steamers. At five in the morning the vessels weighed and stood in for Bomarsund to reconnoitre. At a quarter past six o'clock the Valorous signalled that she was aground, and the other ships were ordered to assist her. She, however, remained aground for two or three hours. Now, it was clear that if there had been vessels of small draught to take soundings, this accident would not have happened. Then, again, if there had. been vessels of slight draught, which would yet be sufficient to carry guns of large calibre, such as mortars, it would have been very easy to direct some shell practice against that fort. It is true there are long guns, but those long guns cannot, it is stated by persons having a knowledge of the subject, be pointed above twenty degrees, while on board ship, and will not carry above 2,500 yards; but mortars would have carried shells a distance of above 5,000 yards. It is a matter of common sense, that in a war in which we carry on a great deal of bombardment, the use of 1515 mortars is necessary, and that there should be a sufficiency of heavy guns of long range with which to attack a fort. It was quite possible in such a case to do great damage to the enemy without much endangering ourselves. This system of warfare was tried during the war which preceded the emancipation of Greece, when the forces of Ibrahim Pasha took refuge in the Castle of the Morea, which was shelled by large mortars without losing a single man. Then in a sea abounding with shoal water, having many rivers running into it, with forts fortified, and for many reasons presenting a dangerous passage, vessels with a light draught of water and carrying a heavy armament must be of the greatest possible advantage. "Well, then," it has been said in a taunting manner, "why don't you show us how to build vessels to carry all this armament and draw no water at all?" I know when such a remark is addressed to an unprofessional person of no authority by somebody who has professional knowledge, of course the laugh is turned against the unprofessional person; but when that sort of language is used in the face of notorious facts, it shows, not experience, but ignorance on the part of the person, professional or otherwise, who makes the remark. I say, as a fact that no one can contradict, that there are at this moment, or were a few months ago, not less than five steam-boats running on a river of Upper California, which cannot, from the nature of the river, draw above three or four feet of water, because there is not in dry weather in a part of that river above that depth of water, and yet these boats convey eighty and 100 tons of merchandise, besides persons on deck, and fifty or sixty passengers; they ascend the river at the rate of 10£ miles an hour, and they come down at the rate of about fifteen miles. Why, then, are we told that it is impossible to have boats carrying much less weight, and drawing perhaps a little more water? I am not to be told that those boats are only fit for river navigation—for the Bay of California is 80 miles long and 20 broad, and at certain points there is a tremendously heavy sea; yet these boats navigate that sea in perfect safety. I mention the fact to show that persons who are not professional, when they speak on these matters do not necessarily speak nonsense. The guns sent out in the Vulture the other day weighed only 19 cwt.; and two guns of that description, with all their 1516 carriages and fittings, could not weigh above twelve tons; and, even making a pretty good allowance beyond that weight, the difference would still be considerable; for the boats to which he referred carried from eighty to 100 tons, while the armament, he repeated, would only amount to twelve tons. There was produced in the other House of Parliament a letter from the Admiral in command of the Baltic fleet, and an extract was read from it which would be extremely painful if it were thought those extracts gave a fair sample of the whole tenor of it. But I do not believe, and I know the public will not believe, that Admiral Napier wrote home to his Government that the fortresses of the enemy were impregnable, and that even with the fine fleet under his command he was able to do comparatively nothing. The public would rather believe, and I believe, that in those letters Admiral Napier pointed out the particular points in which his fleet was deficient; that he applied for certain additions to that fleet; and that he only mentioned that he was unable to act as he wished because he had not the appliances which he thought it right he should have. I say nothing of what may be the indiscretion of making public any such communication; but I refer to this matter because it justifies me in noticing this subject before your Lordships.
I will now come to what is more immediately the object of the Motion with which I shall conclude, namely, the confederacies and alliances into which this country has entered. I hope my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs will not think me inclined to be too meddling, when I say that in my opinion, before Parliament rises, we ought to have a copy of the treaty to which I alluded on a former occasion—I mean the treaty between Austria and the Porte, which treaty was undoubtedly, I believe, concluded at Constantinople on the 14th of June, under our auspices. It is a notorious matter that the Turkish Government were extremely reluctant to allow an Austrian army to enter the Principalities. It is a matter of fact that has been officially made known to your Lordships, that the Servian Government protested against the occupation of Servia by Austrian troops. You have the document in which that protest was embodied laid upon your Lordships' table. It is an admirable document, and is well worthy of the attention of Parliament. But it is notorious that there were may 1517 reasons why the Turkish Government would not be anxious to see the entrance of Austrian troops into the Principalities, however pleased they might be—as all rational people must be—in having the assistance of a great military Power in carrying on the war. But the question is, have they, by that occupation, the assistance of Austria in carrying on the war? That is the information. I want to get from my noble Friend. I want to know what are the grounds on which he relies that Austria will co-operate with you, not to advance her own interests, but to secure the objects of the Allied Powers in the war in which they are engaged, when you permit her to take up such an imposing position as will render her the arbiter, so far as the Principalities are concerned, of the fate of Turkey? The treaty was signed on the 14th of June, and up to this hour, I believe, so far as I am informed, no Austrian soldier has come forward to enter the Principalities. I beg clearly to be understood as throwing no blame on Austria whatever. Austria has a perfect right to pursue her own interests. She is a great Power, and has, a great object naturally—I hope they are honest objects—she has a perfect right to pursue her policy in the manner she thinks proper and honest. But the question is, what is to be our policy, and how far we were wise in permitting this treaty, and what is the security on which we rely in this matter. In that treaty Austria engages, in the first place, to endeavour by all means in her power to obtain the evacuation of the Danubian Principalities by the Russian forces, and, if necessary, to employ force herself for the attainment of that purpose. Well, as I have said, this treaty was signed on the 14th of June. All that Austria has yet done is that she has made her application to Russia—and she has been somewhat scurvily treated. Austria engages by the treaty also to restore the Principalities to Turkey as soon as a treaty of peace shall be concluded by which the integrity of the Turkish Empire shall be secured. Austria, in conjunction with Prussia, has made the humblest appeal to the Emperor of Russia to withdraw his troops from the Principalities; and even when the application was made on the 3rd of July they did not venture to ask so much as that he should withdraw them at once, but merely asked that he would fix a period beyond which he would not prolong the occupation of the 1518 Principalities. I should have expected that when such an appeal came from a great and independent Power like Austria, it would be received with respect; but, instead of receiving anything like respect, the Emperor of Russia would not listen for a moment to any accommodation on these terms. You would have thought, of course, that Austria would then move at once; but she did not move. Why did she not move? Why has she hesitated? Why does she not now move? Her conduct is guided, as I have said, by her own interests; and my firm belief is, that Austria will not move until the Russians move before them, and that you will never get Austria to co-operate with the object which you have declared to have in view in the war you are carrying on. He wished their Lordships to observe that this power of entering the Principalities is given to Austria without any declaration of war on her part against Russia, and I firmly believe she will not allow one of her soldiers to fire a shot in hostility to Russia. She will be in the Principalities with an immense force to interpose between the retiring army and their victors; she will be there in a strong position, maintaining an armed neutrality, and if she please—and it is the very thing she probably will please—an armed intervention. I want to know, my Lords, have we any security against that? I think we must consider not only the objects of Austria, but also her engagements. Is it any triumph of our diplomacy that she now enters and occupies those provinces?—though I am quite free to say that her assistance in that matter will be very valuable if sincerely given, and if we can trust that it will be turned to our advantage;—but is it for our objects or for the objects of Turkey, that the Austrians will enter these provinces? It is no such thing. Those Principalities, about which we have had so much discussion, and which, if not the chief, are the proximate cause of the war, and about which so much bloodshed has taken place, are as much an object of interest to Austria as to Turkey. What I mean to say is, that if the Russians retain possession of these Principalities, the injury to Germany and to the Austrian Empire by the Russians holding possession of that bank of the Danube will be greater than to the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire would in such an event merely lose a small portion of tribute; but the strength and power which the acquisition of the Princi- 1519 palities would give to Russia over Germany in a military sense, would place the wealth, trade, and commerce of Austria and of Germany at the feet of the Czar. It is for the interest of Austria that Russia should not become possessed of those Principalities; but at the same time Austria could not view with indifference the entrance into them of an army belonging to the Western Powers. I do not wonder, therefore, to hear of the readiness and eagerness of Austria to sign the treaty she has signed, by which she gets possession of the Principalities without involving herself in hostilities with any Power whatever, and thereby obtains a strong position, where she will be able at any time to assume an armed neutrality or intervention, and perhaps even to threaten the position of those who consider themselves her allies. But her objects arc not known; the only object that Austria has announced has been the evacuation of the Principalities. She undoubtedly acknowledges—and so, I believe, does Prussia—that as regards the first cause of the war, justice was on the side of Turkey, and the injustice and aggression on the other side. Austria denied no more than Prussia that the claims of the Czar were wholly untenable, and would, if acceded to, destroy the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire. But that is a totally different thing from the possession of the Principalities. The Czar of Russia never said he wanted those Principalities at all—but he wanted a great deal more; he wanted to possess power over the whole of the Christian subjects of the Porte, in order that he might at any time he pleased come and extinguish "the sick man," and take possession of his house and property. You said, when you began this war, that the evacuation of the Principalities was not our only object, but that it was also desired to secure the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire in the first instance, and not less to secure the future tranquillity of Europe, and prevent the recurrence of similar claims. That hereafter was not only what the people of England and France expected, but it was avowed and declared by Her Majesty's Ministers as the object of this country. I do not want to fasten any worth on our Ministers as to the objects which they sought to obtain by the war—whether the Crimea was to be taken, and Sebastopol and the Russian fleet destroyed;—but undoubtedly it was avowed by my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs himself 1520 and, I apprehend, by most of the Ministers, that this is a war of civilisation against barbarism—that the war was entered into to secure the future repose of Europe, and that it could not terminate until we had obtained real and material securities that the Emperor of Russia should not be guilty again of the gross offences and outrages which he had endeavoured to commit. But, Austria has never gone this length. She has acknowledged that justice is on the side of Turkey; but all that she has done is to sign a treaty at Constantinople, and to address a note to the Czar in conjunction with Prussia. She has confined her efforts solely to the evacuation of the Principalities; and I want to know what security have we as to what the conduct, of Austria will be when the Principalities shall be evacuated? Austria is a member of the Germanic Confederation, and we have unfortunately reason to know that Prussia and a considerable number of the Princes of Germany are too well inclined towards Russia. The treaty that was concluded on the 20th of April between Austria and Prussia—which undoubtedly looked to the contingency of stopping the progress of Russia, and effecting the evacuation of the Principalities—was communicated the Diet at Frankfort, and a Resolution. was passed, by which the Diet of Frankfort was, pressed their desire for the establishment of a common accord and union between all the Powers of Germany; but that union did not go a bit further than an objection to the prolonged occupation of the Principalities. But suppose, when those Principalities are occupied by Austrian, troops, it should please Austria to say, "We now rest on the basis of the status quo," while you say you will not rest upon any such. basis at all, the consequence must be that you will come to that very conflict with Germany which you at every possible cost so long desired to avoid. Undoubtedly, as we have justice on our side, seeing that we are engaged, as has been well said, in the support of civilisation against barbarism, and in the support of a weak Power against the unjustifiable aggression of a, strong neighbour, we ought not to be afraid to face the German Powers if they should league against England and France; but, my Lords, we shall do so at a great disadvantage, because the Austrians will be in a most advantageous position. I say we have already sacrificed too much, for this alliance with Austria, and we should take care that it does not fail us when we re- 1521 quire it. Recollect what we sacrificed at the beginning of the war. We prevented Omar Pasha from facing the comparatively petty army of Russia, before it was reinforced by the forces under Lüders, Danenberg, and Osten Sacken. It was Omar Pasha's opinion that he should face it, and it was the subject of his remonstrance to you. He said, if he were allowed, he would at once defeat and drive before him that army. You hesitated and delayed your hostilities, and gave to Russia every advantage; and all this we did because we wished to secure the concert and uniformity of action of the German Powers. The Turkish army is described by competent authorities as being as fine an army as any in the world. The men, we are told by all authorities, are equal to any army in Europe for patience, courage, and power of endurance. They are worthy to contend by the side of those with whom they are now allied in, I hope, a career of victory. But all persons tell you that the weak point of that army is the way in which it is. officered. That is well known. There are officers, however, to be had of the right sort, capable in every respect, knowing Welt the usages and temper of the men they would command, and knowing the country in which they would act; but those men were not employed, because, out of respect to the German Powers, so far as regards European service, you would not allow them to employ Hungarians. Of course the Sultan would not consent that you should dictate to him what officers he should employ, and what officers he should not employ; and the consequence was, that he was obliged for a considerable time to decline the services of all European officers who applied to him. I say this was an immense disadvantage that you put the Turkish army under; you did it for the purpose of conciliating and of obtaining the concert of the German Powers, and the German Powers ought to be called upon to do a little more than occupy the ground from which the enemy retires. I cannot, of course, know what answer my noble Friend has received. I know not what ground he may have for expecting the real and cordial co-operation of Austria, not only in obtaining her own objects, but your objects and those of civilised Europe; but I hope he will be able to lay before the House the communications and correspondence, as well as to tell us that he has reason to be perfectly satisfied of the intentions of Austria.
1522 I cannot conclude without adverting to the more cheering prospects that we have at this moment in regard to the progress of the war, compared with what has hitherto been the case. It is said that an expedition is in preparation for the Crimea, and it is to be expected that it will be worthy of the two great countries by whom it is undertaken. During the continuance of the mere blockade I did not think it right to say anything whatever in the way of blame, nor do I mean to say it, about that clever and dashing exploit of time Russian vessel the Vladimir. There is no doubt, I believe, that she did come out, and, eluding the vigilance of the British vessels, destroy some Turkish vessels. I do not wish to impute any blame to Admiral Dundas and those under him, for it is to be supposed that he is to be excused, in consequence of his attention, his energies, and a great part of his force being devoted to the execution of the expedition to the Crimea. To that expedition I look with the greatest hope, because, from the experience of the commanders of the allied armies in Turkey, I am well assured they would not undertake that expedition unless they had every reasonable ground for success. It is an expedition that is worthy of the two great countries, and of the armies that have undertaken it; and if there be risk or delay, or delay in the execution, I for one shall not be inclined to criticise too nicely the cause of that delay, or the loss it may occasion. You cannot attain a great object in a moment, or without heavy risk. I have no doubt that all will be done that can be done by skill, and prudence, and bravery, to ensure success; for we know intimately the commanders, and I am delighted to hear that such an expedition is to be undertaken. When next we meet, I hope we shall have still more cheering information of that expedition, and that we shall also have more information on the point to which I have already referred. In conclusion, the noble Marquess moved—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to direct that there be laid before this House a copy of the Convention concluded on the 14th June between Austria and the Sublime Porte; and also copies of the Communication between Her Majesty's Government and the Turkish Ministry relating thereto.
§ THE EARL OF CLARENDON
My Lords, my noble Friend began his speech with a somewhat elaborate defence of the course which he has taken throughout the 1523 present Session with regard to the state of our foreign relations; and as it has been generally my duty to reply to the speeches that my noble Friend has made, I hope he will permit me to say that I have never made against him any of those charges which he has this evening taken pains to refute. I have never impugned his motives, nor complained of the perfect consistency of his conduct; for I must say that from the first day of the Session—all through the Session—and down to the last day of the Session, my noble Friend has not missed an opportunity—and has created many—of marking his want of confidence in the Government, and in their ability to carry on the war in which we are engaged. I do not think either there was any necessity for the comparison which my noble Friend instituted between himself and Mr. Pitt, in order to justify the manner in which he exercised his "privilege" and performed his "duty;" but if I had any disposition to impugn my noble Friend's conduct, or to question the manner in which he exercised that privilege and performed that duty, it would be this night; for about the first half-hour of his speech was occupied in details and facts which it would be most pernicious for the enemy to know.
§ THE EARL OF CLARENDON
Not facts; but my noble Friend has stated them as facts. The noble Marquess seems to have collected his statements with great care, though he has misstated them as matters of fact; though really I am unable, and the noble Duke near me (the Duke of Newcastle) is unable, to reply to them as we would wish, not having had any notice of them. However, assuming they are facts
THE MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE
I have referred to no statement that has not appeared in the public papers.
§ THE EARL OF CLARENDON
My noble Friend has referred to many subjects—for instance, to the want of mortars and gunboats, and the necessary inefficiency of our fleets in consequence.
§ THE EARL OF CLARENDON
With respect to that part of my noble Friend's statement, to which formerly I particularly referred, and which has reference to the treaty between the Porte and Austria, I 1524 have to express my regret at not having laid, as I intended long ago to have laid, that document before your Lordships. The last time my noble Friend mentioned the subject I told your Lordships that I would lose no time in laying a copy of it before you; but on referring to the copy of it in the Foreign Office, and finding that it was but a corrected draft with marginal notes of amendments, I should not have hesitated to present it to your Lordships, but it turned out that this draft of the treaty was not signed. It was merely an unsigned copy, and not in the complete shape that would enable me to lay it before your Lordships' House. However, there shall be no delay about laying it before your Lordships. Still, my noble Friend is perfectly cognisant of the treaty; it was published in the Constantinople Gazette, and was published also in other papers. I do not think, my Lords, that this treaty altogether merits the strictures which have been passed upon it by my noble Friend; nor is my noble Friend entitled to say that Her Majesty's Ambassador at Constantinople was instructed to support that treaty, or that the treaty was agreed to by the Porte in consequence of the urgent representations of the Allied Powers. Many months ago the Austrian Government made a communication to Her Majesty's Government, as well as to the French Government, and to that of the Porte, that they would on no account enter upon any part of the Ottoman territory without the permission of the Porte. The Austrian Government stated that it would only be to put down an insurrection in favour of Russia in Servia, or to prevent the invasion of Servia by Russian troops, that Austrian troops would enter that province. My noble Friend has alluded with great force to the protest of the Servian Government. I believe he must not rely too much upon that; for if it were not through fear of coercion, an insurrection in favour of Russia would long since have taken place in that province. The Austrian Government also placed its troops at the disposal of the Porte to repress the insurrection in Montenegro. They also told us that in the event of a war with Russia it might be necessary for them to occupy the Principalities, but that they would not do so without a previous solemn agreement with the Porte. The treaty between the Porte and Austria was communicated to us, and after some delay it was signed at Constantinople. We knew 1525 nothing of it before that, and no instructions were consequently sent to Lord Stratford, who merely said that he had recommended the Porte to adopt that treaty; and in a month or three weeks afterwards the Government approved of the advice of Lord Stratford. And if Lord Stratford, who is no bad judge of what is for the interest of the Porte, and whether it was for its interest to reject or adopt it, recommended the adoption of the treaty, he did so because he saw that the preamble, as well as the articles, was closely connected with all the proceedings that had taken place at Vienna, in conjunction with England and France, and which were recorded in a protocol, and because he saw nothing in the treaty to prevent the Sultan from taking any measures he pleased for reestablishing his authority in those Principalities, or from taking any part he pleased in occupying them on the withdrawal of the Russians. But even then, as soon as we saw the substance of this convention, our language to Austria was, that the occupation of any portion of the Ottoman territory was a matter of extreme delicacy, and that great care must be taken that everything should be done in the name and on the behalf of the Sultan, and to uphold his authority, and that every measure, whether for the restoration of the Hospodars or otherwise, must be of a temporary character. Towards the end of June, when the Russians were about to evacuate Wallachia—when they had already left Bucharest and news was received at Vienna that they were about to carry with them not only the provincial treasury and the archives, but the principal inhabitants and the national militia—there was an apprehension that a state of complete anarchy might have ensued, because the Turkish troops were, at the end of June, not in a position to cross the Danube; and the Austrian Government communicated to us and to the French Government that they had sent a staff officer of General Hess to the headquarters of Omar Pasha, and of Lord Raglan and Marshal St, Arnaud, to say that they were about to occupy a portion of Wallachia on behalf of the Sultan, and to restore his authority there, although they could not enter as belligerents, because they wore not at war with Russia, and had not received an answer to the demand which they had addressed to her. And I may here mention, with respect to the demand addressed by Austria to Rus- 1526 sia, that it was not made exactly in the tone, nor was the answer given to it by Russia exactly in the tone, which my noble Friend represented them to be, neither was the date which he stated correct. It was in the beginning of June that the Austrian note was addressed to Russia; it stated the evils that arose to Austria and Germany from the Russian occupation of the Principalities, and it required upon certain conditions, and at an early date, the evacuation of those Principalities. The answer of the Russian Government was not an insolent rejection of these demands, but, on the contrary, it was an offer to adhere to three of the principal points which had been established by the protocol of Vienna. I merely mention this to correct what my noble Friend has misunderstood with regard to these two points. My Lords, the language which we held to Austria when we heard of this announcement of her intention to enter the Principalities was, that if Austrian troops were going to enter Wallachia, which had been evacuated by the Russians, for the purpose of proceeding on to Moldavia in order to drive them out there also, then the convention would be faithfully fulfilled; but that if she were merely going to occupy the province on its evacuation by Russia, then we did not consider that they would be warranted in doing so unless with the consent and by the desire of the Porte. The Austrian answer to this was, that they only intended to enter the Principalities with the view of preventing anarchy, and of establishing order in the name, on the behalf, and at the desire of the Sultan; that they could not enter as belligerents, because they had not yet declared war; but they announced to us that having once entered they would resist by force the return of the Russians. And the Porte replied by appointing an Imperial Commissioner to proceed to the provinces to arrange all these matters on behalf of the Sultan, and to establish a judicial inquiry with respect to the conduct of the Hospodars at the time when the Russian troops entered last year; and it was to depend upon the result of that judicial inquiry whether the Porte would consent to the re-establishment of these Hospodars. The Austrian Government communicated to us their entire satisfaction at such a functionary as this Commissioner having been appointed, We all know that the Principalities were about to be evacuated—at 1527 least, Wallachia—because Prince Gortschakoff appears to have taken an affectionate leave of the boyards, and to have burnt and destroyed everything in that country. Now, this result is certainly due to the presence of the allied forces at Varna, and to the bravery of the Turks; but it is mainly owing to the position which the Austrian army has taken up. It is now some time ago since we received information that the Austrian army was being concentrated in the Bukovina and in the north of Transylvania, and their position became so threatening to the Russians in Moldavia that they were no more able to retain that province than Wallachia; and it was only the day before yesterday that we heard that official orders had been received by Prince Gortschakoff to evacuate both these Principalities. My Lords, I am not about to enter into any elaborate defence of Austria, or pretend to be able to explain the motives or the policy of that country; but I certainly see no reason to retract any opinions that I have given with respect to the grounds which make it conduce to the honour, the dignity, and the interests of Austria to act in the manner that we are entitled to expect from her. I entirely agree with my noble Friend that Austria is an independent Power, and has a right to pursue her own policy in her own way; and we have no right to complain of her doing so, because I say, whatever my noble Friend may think as to any sacrifices that the Allied Powers have made, that I entirely deny that our policy has in any way been dependent upon the policy of Austria, or our course of conduct in any manner influenced by her. True, she may not have been so rapid in her movements as we might desire; her army was not prepared, and to bring it up to its present state of efficiency, with 300,000 men, was certainly a work of time as well as of very great expense. As my noble Friend says, the policy of Austria must of course be guided by her sense of her own interests, just as that of England and France must be guided by their interests; and the interests of Austria, let me remind you, are of a far more complicated and antagonistic character than those of either France or England. Our objects and interests—and I recur to them as my noble Friend has again adverted to them, and I have the less hesitation in alluding to them because they are to a great extent shared by in Austria—our objects are that we think the designs of 1528 Russia upon Turkey, as shown by the misuse of treaties at certain times, and by their misinterpretation at other times, are dangerous to the tranquillity of Europe; we think the constantly increasing armaments of that great despotic Power which have created a prestige in the imagination of foreign nations, and have enabled her to extend her influence in quarters where it ought never to have reached, are alike dangerous to the independence of Europe, and to the progress of civilisation. Why, my Lords, at this moment Russia defies England and France and Turkey in arms, and the public opinion of the whole world; and I say that the State or the Sovereign of a country who can do that either possesses, or believes himself to possess, a power which cannot be exercised with safety to others, and particularly when such a power is exercised in support of unjust pretensions. I say further, that if such a power is a reality, it must be curtailed—if it is a delusion, it must be dispelled; and such, I think, will be the result of the present war, and of the great, and disinterested efforts of England and France. I say disinterested efforts, my Lords, not because England and France have not a deep and abiding interest in upholding the cause of international justice, and in sustaining the cause of the weak against the strong, and also in the progress and prosperity of other countries. for which peace is the first and an indispensable condition; but I say, when two great commercial and maritime Powers; after having exhausted all the resources of negotiation to maintain peace, deliberately renounce its advantages and engage in a contest which may be very long and must be very costly, solemnly protesting at the same time not to obtain advantages for themselves from the contest, that I say is a disinterested policy. It is a guarantee to Europe for the honesty of their intentions; and, my Lords, I rejoice that it is reserved for our time, and above all for two great nations such as England and France, to place upon record such an engagement, and set an example so generous and so well worthy of imitation. In bringing our fleets and armies to bear against the common enemy, we have not had the same financial and, above all, not the same political difficulties to encounter as Austria has. Those difficulties, for which my noble Friend must make allowance, are principally of a German character; and I do not think we ought to blame 1529 Austria for not advancing till her frontiers were secure. I consider that she has managed her affairs skilfully, and overcome all the manœuvres and tricks that have been resorted to to paralyse her action; and. I have great satisfaction in stating to your Lordships that within the last six-and-thirty hours, and consequently since the evacuation of the Principalities by the Russian troops was known at Vienna, notes have been exchanged between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Austria which will show, when they come to be made public, that Austria has as little intention as ourselves to return to the status quo.
My Lords, before I sit down, I will just say a. few words with reference to what my noble Friend stated respecting the measures that we have taken, and the position, in which we now stand. I beg your Lordships to recollect that it was only upon the 29th of last March that war was declared, or little more than four months age; and it was at that time the universal opinion—and when I say that, I do not speak of Her Majesty's Government, but of the most experienced military officers of both England and France—that Russia then meditated a war of further aggressing. Nobody believed, with the great forces that she had concentrated on the north of the Danube, with all the efforts which for months before she had made, and all the vast supplies she had accumulated, that she did not intend—indeed, everybody felt perfectly convinced that she did, intend—to march southwards. And although we did not distrust the known bravery of the Turks, still we could not bring ourselves to believe that they would be able successfully to resist the well disciplined and, numerically, much superior troops of Russia, under the most experienced generals, while the only experienced general of the Turks whom we knew by name was Omar Pasha, who had not then had the opportunity he has since had, and by which he has so nobly profited, of achieving for himself a lasting renown. My Lords, so much were we and the French Government convinced of this that Sir. John Burgoyne and a French officer of engineers were sent to Constantinople in order to devise means for defending that capital and the Dardanelles; and so much importance was attached to their mission, and so entirely was the whole plan of the campaign supposed to be connected with it that the departure of Lord Raglan and 1530 Marshal St. Arnaud was delayed, that they might have a personal communication with the officers who had been sent out on this specific service, The allied armies then proceeded to Gallipoli, where great works were thrown. up. They also went to Constantinople, always keeping in view the necessity of the defence of the Dardanelles. Their arrival there was anxiously expected—they were received with enthusiasm, and their presence imparted new vigour and courage to the Turks. The commanders of the two armies went to Verna, to meet Omar Pasha, and he entreated that a large portion of the allied forces might come to Varna, knowing well how great must be the moral effect of such a movement upon his own troops. The Russians made every exertion to take Silistria before the arrival of the allied forces. The fortress was most heroically defended by the Turks. The arrival of the allied armies was most useful to them; and, as your Lordships are aware, the siege was raised, and the Russian army recrossed the Danube; the Dobrodscha was for the most part evacuated; and all thoughts of a southward movement on the part of the Russians were at an end. Offensive warfare on their part is no longer dreamt of; and the allied armies are now ready to commence, and perhaps they have already commenced, those more important operations to which my noble Friend alluded. Then, again, my Lords, as to the Baltic, we have certainly sent out there the finest and most powerful fleet which ever left the shores of this country; and if great successes are not to be obtained against a Power who obstinately refuses battle, and shuts up his fleet within granite walls, yet his ships are blockaded and useless; and when we consider what the amount of our trade is, and how we depend upon that trade for our revenue, and in fact for our position as a first-rate Power among the nations of Europe, I say it is not an unimportant thing that, in a war with a great maritime Power, our ships traverse every sea unmolested, and as unconscious of danger as in times of profoundest peace, While the Russian fleets are thus block. added, our commerce flourishes, and the trade of Russia, I must say with all, deference to my noble Friend, is nearly extract. I am not as able to quote prices as my noble Friend, or to tell upon what terms certain Russian productions can be brought to this country; but I know, at least, that none of them come from the Russian ports 1531 in the Baltic, though some of them may, perhaps, come from the Black Sea. There may be—although I know nothing of it—some Russian tallow sent from Memel; but when we consider the great expense of carrying Russian products overland—that, for example, tallow brought from Memel has increased in price, thereby, from 10l. to 20l. a ton—it cannot be thought that much business will be carried on at that price. We must consider, too, that the trade with Russia is usually conducted with English capital, that English capital is indispensable for their products and for bringing them to market, and that that has been entirely withdrawn; therefore the trade of Russia may be said to have entirely ceased, and the industry of that. country to have been, to a great extent, paralysed, whilst the want of markets has deprived the Russian proprietors of what they are in the habit of reckoning upon in order to meet the heavy expenses to which they are subject. Now, my Lords, I know that these are not very heroic results; but I am sure they will do that which my noble Friend has pointed out as being so desirable—they will create a severe, pressure upon all classes in Russia, and exercise an influence upon public opinion there, which I quite agree with my noble Friend does exist, and produce a greater impression there than would even be produced if Sebastopol or Cronstadt had fallen, and our national vanity and ambition been thereby more flattered. My Lords, we know that, in order to maintain herself in this war, and uphold her authority over her vast territories, Russia has been compelled, not only to keep up, but to increase her huge armies on the shores of the Baltic, in Livonia, in Finland, in Poland, on the Danube, in Circassia, and in the Crimea; and we know also the immense loss of life that has been occasioned, and the great number of conscripts and recruits who are required to supply the deficiencies caused by those deaths. I know not what those numbers are, but we have seen the Imperial ukases issued from time to time, calling for 2 per cent, 3 per cent, 5 per cent, and, in Poland, even 7 per cent of the male population, the whole being taken from the landed proprietors; and when you remember that the value of every serf to his proprietor is reckoned at not less than 60l., you may have some notion of the direct tax which is thus placed upon the Russian landed interest—and this a tax, too, which falls not upon revenue, but upon capital. All this must pro- 1532 duce a pressure in Russia, not only upon those classes who are favourable to the war, but also upon the people who are not favourable to the war, and who, notwithstanding that their fanaticism has been appealed to, have yet refused to believe that religion is in danger simply because Imperial ukases have been published stating that it was so. Your Lordships also know that, from the perfidy of the Greek Government, an insurrection was excited and spread over important parts of Turkey, and that this insurrection, which was raised at the instigation of Russia, threatened to create a most formidable diversion in favour of that Power. Well, this has been entirely put down by the energy and determination of the English and French Governments. The insurgents have returned to Greece and laid down their arms; peace has been restored; and I believe there are now better prospects of improvement in that misgoverned country than have existed there at any time during the last twenty years. And during all this time the good understanding and the friendly feelings which prevailed between the allied armies and fleets have only served to cement more closely those cordial relations which, I am happy to say, subsist between the two countries. The notions upon which the Emperor of Russia unfortunately relied last year, namely, that the people of this country were enervated by peace, that our alliance with France was only a rope of sand, and that the two nations could never be brought to act together, have been as practically disproved as the prestige of Russia for her overwhelming military power and her unequalled diplomatic skill have been completely dispelled. I say, then, that these are neither trifling nor unpromising results to be attained in the course of four or five short months. My Lords, I have often said that it is useless to state now what ought to be the conditions upon which we may make peace; but we all know, and are all of the same opinion, that the objects for which we make this war are, to obtain a just, an honourable, and—as far as human foresight can procure it—a lasting peace. And we believe that no peace will be just or honourable, or be likely to be lasting, which does not secure the independence and integrity of the Turkish Empire—which does not make the Ottoman Empire a part of the general system of European policy—which does not protect the Ottoman Empire from menace, and secure it from danger. I 1533 say, my Lords, that without this, peace could neither be just nor honourable, nor lasting. In order to accomplish these objects, we desire the co-operation of other Governments, but we are not dependent upon them. France and England. will not relax in their efforts. They rely upon their own great resources, upon the justice of their cause, and upon the support which they receive at home. And, my Lords, although we are ready to negotiate for peace, we are determined never to do so until we have good evidence of bonâ fide intentions and a willingness to accept those conditions which we feel are just, and to which the whole of Europe is as entitled as it is interested in our obtaining.
THE MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE
replied. He contended that he had correctly stated the purport of the Austrian demand upon Russia. That demand did not insist upon the immediate retreat of the Russians from the Danube, or upon anything else excepting the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire. The noble Earl had complained that be had given information that would be serviceable to the enemy. If the noble Earl was so sore on that point, he wondered why he had not applied the same observation to statements that had been made in the other House of Parliament, which afforded information that even astonished the country. He (the Marquess of Clanricarde) had given no further details to the enemy than this, that when our ships were out making a reconnaissance for eleven hours before Bomarsund, for four and a half out of the eleven hours one ship and another was aground, and therefore the operation ceased. But the only information he had given that night that was original was, that there were ships built in America of 180 tons burden, and drawing scarcely from three to four feet of water, and capable of navigating waters like those of the Baltic. And yet when he mentioned matters of this kind, by which he thought efficient service might be rendered to the country, he was met with the taunt that he was affording assistance to the enemy.
On Question, agreed to.
House adjourned till To-morrow.