HL Deb 31 January 1854 vol 130 cc5-108

THE QUEEN'S Speech having been reported by the LORD CHANCELLOR,


rose to move an humble Address to HER MAJESTY, in answer to Her gracious Speech from the Throne. The noble Earl said: My Lords, in discharging this evening the responsible obligation which has been de- volved upon me, I most earnestly solicit your sympathy and indulgence for my unpractised and untried efforts, whilst I venture to call your Lordships' attention to the consideration of the Address which I shall have the honour of proposing in answer to Her Majesty's most gracious Speech. Arduous as such a task must always be for any man to be the first to break the silence in such an assembly as this, it seems to me that present circumstances throw double difficulties upon me, when I recollect the perplexed aspect of foreign affairs, and the vastness of the question upon which England is called to arbitrate. But although in this point of view there is much to excite apprehension, there is also, no doubt, much to gladden us in the retrospect of past years—much to cheer us in the vista which lies open before us, in the prospect of national prosperity and social improvement. It is now nearly forty years that we have enjoyed the fulness of peace, and all the blessings attendant in its train. Gradually during that period our colonial possessions and our Indian empire have been enlarged—in India, Scinde and Burmah have been added to our sway, and even the exclusive cities of China have thrown open to us their gates; whilst the same success which has crowned our efforts abroad has smiled on our efforts at home. But now, after nearly forty years of peace and prosperity, at last it seems that we must gaze on war face to face. But if this be so indeed, we may console ourselves with the manly consolation that he comes to us an unbidden and unwelcome guest—that every effort has been strained to avert the catastrophe; and that we do not draw the sword till diplomacy has exhausted every art, and until forbearance would no longer be a virtue. But if our forbearance has been unprecedented, unprecedented, too, are the resources with which we are prepared to meet the emergency. Our patience, even if it has been abused, has not been thrown away; for we stand acquitted of all precipitancy or eagerness for war, not only before the great tribunal of the nations of the present day, but in the eyes of future generations when they shall review this page of history. Nor need we apprehend that the delays which have intervened can be attributed to any unworthy motive; for I am convinced that it has proceeded from an honourable reluctance to initiate a sanguinary and bloody contest—reluctance which is alone the preroga- tive of a great country conscious of its own strength. And if, eventually, these delays should be crowned with the success they deserve, and a lasting peace be the reward of our endeavours, then the efforts which we have made for the continuance of that peace will be amply rewarded by the gratitude of the world, and we shall exhibit in history a second example in which a Fabian policy has been the restitution of the State. But should it be otherwise decreed, England is prepared to throw her whole heart into the war; and it will then be shown that a long peace has not relaxed our national vigour, any more than it has exhausted our national resources. Whatever the occasion may be, England is still rich enough to produce a second race of heroes equal to the past; and it will be seen that she is not wanting in another Wellington and another Beresford, another Exmouth and another Nelson, to shed lustre on her victorious arms; for wars there must be— —"erunt etiam altera bella, Atque iterum ad Trojam magnus mittetur Achilles. I cannot believe that the energy which made them victorious in the past, lies buried in the tomb of the great captain whose loss we even yet deplore; the army which he trained, the discipline which he organised, the precepts which he gave, yet live among us. Amongst those precepts there is none which deserves fuller consideration at the present moment than his well-known maxim, that "a great State cannot afford to wage a little war"—which teaches us not to waste our strength or to exhaust our resources on petty and insignificant enterprises; and that it is only concentrating our power and resources by energetic action and signal undertakings, that we can hope to secure that lasting peace which is so much to be desired. And let us here remember that in such a contest we do not draw the sword from any ambitious motive of our own, or from any punctilious scruples of honour, nor even to redress the wrongs of an Asiatic empire whose power some suppose to be now tottering to its ruin; but that we are contending for the highest of all objects that we could pursue—for the independence of nations, the maintenance of treaties, and of the stability of that balance of power upon which our own preservation, and indeed civilisation itself, depends. And if there be one cause which can more than another inspire us with confidence in such a moment of doubt and anxiety, it is the union which has been firmly cemented between England and France. The sympathies and interests of two great nations, which have long been alienated by the animosities of centuries, have happily, I fervently hope, now been cordially united and blended together by the widely-extended chain of European civilisation and commerce. Long may this union continue to be inseparable by open violence or by secret intrigue! And if there be found a party whose fallen condition we may pity, but whose conduct we must censure—who seek to conciliate their own differences by a union against the harmonies of England and France, we can rejoice that the good sense of both countries has unequivocally rejected such designs, and has recognised the principle that the petty fusion of families must yield before a greater fusion of confederated nations.

I have trespassed, I fear, too long, my Lords, on your indulgence on this topic, while reviewing the aspect of our foreign affairs; and I hasten to pass on to the sentiments of those domestic topics which are alluded to in Her Majesty's Speech. I am sure your Lordships will be happy to re-echo the sentiments of general congratulation which Her Majesty has expressed with regard to the prosperity of the country during the past year, in spite of many drawbacks—a prosperity greater than the most hopeful could have anticipated. The prospect of war has, indeed, clouded the more hopeful anticipations with which the last year was inaugurated. The failure of the harvest and the rise in the price of provisions have, unquestionably, caused much distress, while the strikes among the operatives in many of our manufacturing towns have been productive of injury and of loss of capital. But, if these strikes have been injurious, we may reflect with pleasure on the conduct of the men in their self-imposed privations—that it has been singularly free from crime and from lawless violence; and we can only wonder that with so much rectitude of purpose such deep error of judgment should be combined. So, again, if the failure of the harvest has been great and depressing, we may admire the energy with which the agricultural classes have prepared to meet the emergency, and by calling in the aid of science have shown themselves to be capable of surmounting those difficulties which not unnaturally beset a period of transition from restricted to an open system of trade. And, thanks also to the energy of that noble Lord whose vigour and talent have been equally conspicuous in the Home Office as they were in the Foreign (Viscount Palmerston), many internal improvements have been effected: a more extensive system of drainage, the removal of intramural burials, and the establishment of sanitary commissions in various towns to promote the public health. The success of these and further measures in contemplation, for the consumption of smoke, and generally for the purification of our towns, promise results no less conducive to the physical than to the moral well-being of the people. Neither can I omit to remind your Lordships of the rapid increase of the last year's revenue, the flourishing condition of our mercantile marine—where the supply of ships has hardly equalled the demand—the greater efficiency of the Army and Navy, the improved distribution of the prize money to our sailors, and the improvement in their prospects—a measure which has been dictated not as a mere expedient for temporary purposes, but which has been adopted from a sense of justice, and from an impartial consideration of their claims. While the amelioration of our laws and of the condition of all classes and interests has been great at home, the prospects of still further improvements from abroad are equally encouraging. In China, which already employs beneficially between thirty and forty millions of our commercial capital, a gigantic empire is crumbling away, to give fuller and freer scope to Anglo-Saxon energy and enterprise. In the West Indies a faint dawn of improvement glimmers above the political horizon of those ill-starred colonies. In India, the vigorous measures which have been adopted for the construction of railways, inspires a hope of internal improvement and a more general diffusion of knowledge among the subject millions entrusted to our rule. In British Canada never was there greater prosperity; while in Australia and New Zealand, the abundant resources of those regions have been so rapidly developed under the system of colonial self-government, that will probably play no unimportant part in the world's history. These are the results of the moral predominance of the Government of England over distant countries—results which may, I am convinced, in no small degree be attributed to the sway which the commercial policy of this country has exer- cised. And, seeing the magnitude of these results, it ought to impress upon us the duty of carrying out still further those principles upon which that commercial system is based; and it is with the view of carrying out the principles that Her Majesty, as She has announced in Her gracious Speech, has directed a Bill to be framed with the view of opening the coasting trade to the ships of all friendly nations. The existing laws with regard to the coasting trade are, as your Lordships will remember, the only remaining part of the old Navigation Laws, which were repealed a few years ago. Since the period of that repeal, the career of our commercial navy—as I have already observed—has been eminently successful. There has been a more than proportionate increase in the tonnage of our shipping, and in the annual imports and exports; whilst the competition of steam navigation, apparently at first sight a hindrance, has been generally considered to have given a fresh impulse and stimulus to this branch of our trade. Under these circumstances, it cannot but seem natural that the spread of our commerce and the desire for greater uniformity in our commercial system, should call for an alteration in these remaining laws, which have not only lost all connexion but are absolutely at variance with the existing code.

My Lords, Her Majesty has directed your attention to the condition of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. University reform is a question of deep importance, for it relates to institutions with which there are few, I would fain believe, in this country who do not sympathise. They are interwoven with our history and constitution—with institutions which are calculated to affect our most vital interests, and they form the noblest monuments which the piety and the learning of bygone ages have transmitted to our care. For my own part I owe so deep a debt of gratitude to one of those Universities, that I can never approach the subject with any other feelings than those of reverence and affection; and it is because I so regard Oxford that I earnestly trust she may ultimately co-operate in the enlightened views which were suggested to her not long ago in the circular addressed to the Chancellor by the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Home Department. New and higher duties are required of us all as individuals in these days, and corporations—especially those whose purposes may be said in some degree to extend beyond the sphere of this world—cannot be exempted from such a righteous demand. At the same time, much as I desire to see them throw open their arms yet wider, and to extend their invaluable privileges to a larger class than at present participate in them, deeply should I regret if, in the effort to widen the range of scientific studies, confessedly valuable as they are, that teaching, which I hold to be equally important, and without which no education, in the widest sense of the term, can be sound, or pure, or useful, should be in any degree overlooked; or if, in imitation of foreign practices, they should lose their peculiar English character, and abandon the religions basis upon which they were founded, and to which they owe their endurance, and the awe and veneration of all who have felt their kindly and protecting influence.

I turn now to another topic of the Speech from the Throne. I allude to the subject of legal reform. Few of your Lordships, I apprehend, will be prepared to deny its necessity or advantages. During the last few years many improvements have been introduced, especially in the Court of Chancery, with the view of simplifying legal proceedings, to divest the law of many useless and cumbrous shackles and technicalities, and to diminish that cost and that delay which are still so much the subject of complaint. And if in such reform be comprehended an alteration in the Ecclesiastical Courts, which are a remnant of an antiquated jurisdiction, such a result will, I doubt not, meet with your Lordships' hearty concurrence and approval.

There is yet one subject of legal reform to which Her Majesty has alluded in a special manner. I refer to the Law of Settlement. This law, which owes its origin to the reign of Charles II., certainly cannot be said to have effected the end for which it was intended. The continual discussions that have arisen from it, and the incessant litigation with which it has been rife, the numerous variety of qualifications and of settlements, including now ten distinct descriptions, together with the appeals upon appeal, and the transference of the case from one tribunal to another, with many other difficulties connected with the system of casual poor relief, show that legislation has not as yet touched the point in question, or devised a remedy to meet the evils of an extended pauperism. A well-considered and digested measure on this subject, will, doubt not, meet with universal acceptation by your Lordships and the country.

But there is one more subject of reform to which Her Majesty has referred, and one of peculiar public importance—I allude to Parliamentary reform. Reform, in the highest and best sense of the word, and abstracted from party significance, is an essential of a State which is possessed of vitality, and, consequently, of progress. But that State is happiest where legislators in their reforms aim at following out the analogy of nature, and strive rather to reproduce and develop than to break up and remodel existing institutions. Fortunately for us, we are called on to legislate on this subject under peculiar and generally favourable circumstances—when there is no external pressure from public opinion to influence our calmer and more dispassionate judgment, and when the evils we complain of, and the remedies of which we are in search, are indirect in their nature, and consequently do not involve any sweeping and violent changes, which are so often attendant upon popular excitement. At the same time I do not deny that the lapse of nearly a quarter of a century since the passing of the Reform Act calls for many material changes, which are not only necessary, but absolutely expedient and just, and will be conducive to the durability and perfection of our constitution. Some towns have fallen into a comparative decrease, while others have sprung up with marvellous rapidity, their populations having extended far beyond their original limits, and including many persons who deserve and would appreciate the possession of the franchise. Welcome under such circumstances would be a wise and moderate measure of reform, which should eliminate the corrupt influences which at present too largely affect our electoral system—that, in extending the franchise to any classes beyond those who at present possess it, should give security, at the same time, for the respectability of the constituency and the independence of the representative—which should provide by ample safeguards and precautions for the independence of the voter, and which should be free from the tendency of the present system to depress the intellectual element of the community, to make mind subservient to matter, to make those who labour the rulers of those who think. At all events, we have every guarantee in the well-known principles of the noble Earl at the head of Her Ma- jesty's Government, that no undue importance will be attached to one class or interest more than another, but that town and country will be treated as brothers, and not as rivals or antagonists. The English constitution, if I understand it aright, consists of mixed elements, and it is upon the variety of classes and properties, and not upon the predominance of one over another, that our representative system should be based. Progression and preservation are natural allies, and should go hand in Land. The noble Earl, after thanking their Lordships for the attention with which they had heard him, concluded by moving, "That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, in answer to Her Gracious Speech from the Throne."

The following is a copy of the Address agreed to:


"We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to convey to Your Majesty our humble Thanks for Your Majesty's most gracious Speech from the Throne.

"We humbly thank Your Majesty for the Assurance of the peculiar Satisfaction with which, on the present Occasion, Your Majesty recurs to the Advice and Assistance of Your Parliament.

"We humbly assure Your Majesty of the Regret with which we learn that the Hopes which Your Majesty expressed at the close of the last Session, that a speedy Settlement would be effected of the Differences existing between Russia and the Ottoman Porte, have not been realised, and that a State of Warfare has ensued.

"We rejoice to learn that Your Majesty has continued to act in cordial Co-operation with the Emperor of the French, and that Your Majesty's Endeavours, in conjunction with Your Majesty's Allies, to preserve and to restore Peace between the contending Parties, although hitherto unsuccessful, have been unremitting.

"We humbly express our Satisfaction at learning that Your Majesty will not fail to persevere in these Endeavours; and we thank Your Majesty for informing us, that as the continuance of the War may deeply affect the Interests of this Country and of Europe, Your Majesty thinks it requisite to make a further Augmentation of Your Naval and Military Forces, with the view of supporting Your Majesty's Representa- tions, and of more effectually contributing to the Restoration of Peace.

"We humbly thank Your Majesty for having directed that the Papers explananatory of the Negotiations which have taken place upon this Subject shall be communicated to us without Delay.

"We beg leave to assure Your Majesty that we unite with Your Majesty in lamenting that in the Year which has just terminated, the Blessing of an abundant Harvest has not been vouchsafed to us.

"We humbly concur in the Opinion expressed by Your Majesty that by this Dispensation of Providence the Price of Provisions has been enhanced, and the Privations of the Poor have been increased; but that their Patience has been exemplary; and that the Care of the Legislature, evinced by the Reduction of Taxes affecting the Necessaries of Life, has greatly tended to preserve a Spirit of Contentment.

"We rejoice at the Announcement that the Commerce of the Country is still prosperous; that Trade, both of Export and import, has been largely on the Increase; and that the Revenue of the past Year has been more than adequate to the Demands of the Public Service.

"We beg leave to assure Your Majesty that our best consideration will be given to the Bill which Your Majesty has informed us that Your Majesty has ordered to be framed for opening the Coasting Trade of the United Kingdom to the Ships of all friendly Nations; and to thank Your Majesty for expressing the Satisfaction with which Your Majesty looks forward to the Removal of the last legislative Restriction upon the Use of Foreign Shipping, for the Benefit of Your Majesty's People.

"We humbly thank Your Majesty for acquainting us that Communications have been addressed by Your Majesty's Command to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, with reference to the Improvements which it may be desirable to effect in their Institutions; and for informing us that these Communications will be laid before us, and that measures will be proposed for our Consideration with the view of giving effect to such improvements.

"We learn with Satisfaction that the Establishments requisite for the Conduct of the Civil Service, and the Arrangements bearing upon its Condition, have recently been under Review; and we humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that Your Majesty will direct a Plan to be laid before us having for its Object the Improvement of the System of Admission, and thereby to increase the Efficiency of the Service.

"We rejoice to learn that the recent Measures of Legal Reform have proved highly beneficial, and that the Success which has attended them has been such as may well encourage us to proceed with further Amendments; and we beg humbly to express our Thanks to Your Majesty for the Information that Bills will be submitted to us for transferring from the Ecclesiastical to the Civil Courts the Cognizance of Testamentary and of Matrimonial Causes, and for giving increased Efficiency to the Superior Courts of Common Law.

"We humbly beg to concur in the Opinion expressed by Your Majesty that the Laws relating to the Poor have of late undergone much salutary Amendment; and we assure Your Majesty that our best Attention shall be directed to the Law of Settlement, in compliance with Your Majesty's Recommendation, and in accordance with Your Majesty's Intimation that this Law impedes the Freedom of Labour, and that if this Restraint can with Safety be relaxed, the Workman may be enabled to increase the Fruits of his Industry, and the Interests of Capital and of Labour will be more firmly united.

"We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that Measures will be submitted to us for the Amendment of the Laws relating to the Representation of the Commons in Parliament.

"We humbly express our Concurrence in the Opinion that recent experience has shown that it is necessary to take more effectual Precautions against the Evils of Bribery and of corrupt Practices at Elections.

"We assure Your Majesty that it will be our Duty to consider whether more complete Effect may not be given to the Principles of the Act of the last Reign, whereby Reforms were made in the Representation of the People in Parliament; and we humbly thank Your Majesty for acquainting us that, in recommending this Subject to our Consideration, Your Majesty's Desire is to remove every Cause of just Complaint, to increase general Confidence in the Legislature, and to give additional Stability to the settled Institutions of the State.

"We beg leave to express our humble Thanks to Your Majesty for submitting these important Subjects to our Consideration; and we assure Your Majesty that we unite with Your Majesty in fervently praying to Almighty God to prosper our Counsels and to guide our Decisions."


My Lords, in rising to recommend to your notice the Address in answer to the Speech from the Throne, I must entreat of your Lordships to extend to me that kind forbearance which is usually granted to those who have the honour of addressing you for the first time. And I feel that after the able, and I may add the brilliant, part that has been taken by my noble Colleague, the duties of the seconder have been rendered more than usually subordinate.

In approaching the topics treated of in Her Majesty's Speech—in considering the magnitude and importance of surrounding events, and the tremendous consequences that they may involve—standing perhaps on the brink of a war which may yet deluge Europe with blood, impede civilisation, and bring disaster to commerce and trade—in approaching such subjects as these, I feel that your Lordships will allow that I have some cause for diffidence, and that I have a double claim on your Lordships' indulgence.

In calling your attention to the first paragraph of Her Majesty's Speech, I feel certain that your Lordships will sympathise with the regret therein expressed at the circumstances which threaten the independence of an old ally, and which cast a shade over our relations with Russia. The unjustifiable demands of that Power, her menacing attitude, and her hostile attempts on the integrity of the Turkish Empire, have induced Her Majesty's Ministers, after the utmost exertions to maintain peace, and the most laudable endeavours to preserve the independence of the Ottoman Porte—without the last and most terrible resort to arms—have induced Her Majesty's Ministers to lend that material aid which the exigencies the case demand. They have therefore despatched Her Majesty's fleet into the Black Sea, in order to prevent any further collision between the contending Powers, and to prevent a repetition of those attacks which have proved so disastrous to our ally. But while Her Majesty's Ministers have made every exertion to maintain that peace with which Europe has been for so long a time blessed, and which has contributed so materially to the progress and prosperity of this country, it will be found that they have not only provided for national defences, but for the exigencies which a declaration of war may produce. And should a war ensue—an event that I trust the Almighty may yet see fit to avert—I feel that the nation may congratulate Her Majesty upon the extent and resources of her Navy.

Who, my Lords, of that vast multitude that in August last assembled to witness a British Sovereign leading out her fleets to sea—who but felt that in those stately columns England as yet owned no divided sovereignty of the seas? But, powerful as that fleet was, it was but a shadow of that which now floats equipped for war; for I find that there are upwards of twenty screw steamships in commission competent to take their places in line of battle, bearing guns of a calibre yet untried in war, and manned by crews amongst whom the spirit of Blake and Nelson yet survives. With such a Navy, this country is in such a state of preparation, that in the event of war, we may feel confident of the success of Her Majesty's flag, the defence of her shores, and the security of her subjects' commerce.

And, my Lords, while congratulating Her Majesty on the efficiency of her Navy, we may turn with feelings of equal pride to her soldiers, men who have borne her arms victorious in all parts of the globe—who on the Sutlej, in Burmah, and in the fastnesses of Southern Africa, have shown that they bear the spirit of their forefathers, and that they are not likely to tarnish their fame if called upon to act upon the shores of the Bosphorus. My Lords, I trust that both Houses of Parliament will render that assistance to Her Majesty which circumstances so urgently demand, and that they will exhibit that unanimity in their councils so necessary to the successful prosecution of a war; and I feel certain that the nation will own, that whatever sacrifices they may be called upon to make, are required no less by justice than by expediency.

My Lords, it is impossible to advert to our relations with France, without feelings of the liveliest satisfaction; and I feel that the cordial co-operation of that Power in our mutual endeavours to promote the welfare of our ally, will give additional weight to those mediations which have peace for their object, and in the event of an appeal to arms, will materially conduce to that end—in pursuit of which alone war is justifiable—the restoration of an honourable peace.

My Lords, the present state of the revenue of this country is also a source of satisfaction, and affords an infallible proof of national prosperity. Although the blessings of an abundant harvest have not been vouchsafed to us—in spite of the great reduction of taxation effected last Session, and in spite of the unhappy differences between employers and employed, which have caused so a great stagnation of capital, and have plunged so many of the working classes into indigence:—in the face of such drawbacks as these, I find that the revenue of the past year shows an increase over that of the preceding to the amount of 1,300,000l. If we turn to our exports we find an increase of still more extraordinary magnitude, and which, although partially to be accounted for by the demand created by emigration, is nevertheless a sufficient proof of the flourishing condition of our commerce. Such facts as these are sufficient proofs of the progressive wealth of this country, and prove that it was never better able to maintain the expenses which warlike preparations and the proposed augmentation of forces must cause, than at the present moment.

In the proposed measure for throwing open the coasting trade to vessels of all friendly nations, Her Majesty's Ministers are completing those measures of free trade which have been so eminently successful, and which, while they have given a stimulus to the trade, the commerce, and the agriculture of this country, have, by the reciprocal advantages which they afford, tended to strengthen our relations with foreign States.

My Lords, as it has not been my honour to be a member of either University. I do not feel qualified to discuss the subject; and in leaving it to my noble Colleague, I feel that I shall be but paying the compliment due to one whose University career has been marked by no small distinction. I feel that your Lordships will concur in the opinion expressed by Her Majesty, that the present state of the law of settlement proves a serious obstacle to those of the working classes who may wish to change their residence in order to carry their labour to a market where a greater demand may exist for it; and I trust, that by the proposed alterations not only paro- chial expenses may be lessened, but that such a spirit of freedom and independence may be engendered among the working classes as cannot fail to elevate them and ameliorate their condition.

In the proposed measure of Parliamentary reform, I feel that the country will hail with delight any change in the law and practice of elections which may deal a blow to that system of bribery and intimidation which is a disgrace to our institutions, and which the disclosures of the late Election Committees prove to have reached to such an extent, that the franchise, instead of being looked upon as a privilege, is as often considered as a marketable commodity, or looked upon with feelings of dread. I feel, my Lords, that the country will appreciate fully any exertions which may be made towards the purification of our electoral system, and I feel confident that the proposed alterations will prove a source of satisfaction to all parties.

And now, my Lords, having reached the last paragraph of Her Majesty's Speech, I add a fervent Amen to that prayer which entreats the Almighty to guide your Lordships' councils; and I pray, that by the strength of His right hand he may lead this nation in safety through these troubled times. I beg to recommend the Address to your Lordships' notice.


My Lords, I think it desirable that on all possible occasions the Address in answer to the Royal Speech should meet with unanimous concurrence, and it is under peculiar circumstances I arise to address to your Lordships the observations which I think the Royal Speech requires. I rejoice to think that upon the present occasion, in the present critical state of Europe and of this country, there is no probability that an Amendment will be moved to the Address which has been so ably moved by the noble Earl who first spoke, and who showed so much tact, judgment, and eloquence, as to give us reason to hope that we shall often have his assistance in our debates. Nor would it be right to omit to say that the noble Earl who seconded the Address worthily imitated the speech of the noble Earl who preceded him. With respect to the portion of the Address which refers to home affairs, I have very little to trouble your Lordships with, but I desire to say that I entirely concur in the whole scope of that portion of the Speech and the Address. I rejoice especially that legal reform will be extended, and that we have a promise of the abatement of what has been a long-felt nuisance in this country—the Ecclesiastical Courts—which have existed only to make redress of wrong and the administration of justice difficult for the rich, and unattainable for the poor. With respect to the other topics, such as the proposed Amendment of the Law of Settlement, and the alteration of the institutions of our Universities, it would be unbecoming to pronounce any opinion until we see the plans which will be submitted to Parliament. All I can say at present is, that, for my own part, I am glad that such plans are to be brought forward. With respect to the reform of Parliament and the Bill for the prevention in future of the malpractices of bribery and corruption at elections, I think there can be no man in this country but must be anxious to see an efficient measure brought in to relieve the country from the disgrace which such practices bring upon it, and at the same time to improve the representation of the country. Of course I, who humbly concurred in bringing forward a measure for the extension of the franchise a few years ago, cannot but be disposed to consider favourably any plan for its extension, and for the amelioration of constituencies, which may now be proposed, although I may have doubts whether at this particular time it is expedient to enter upon the consideration of so very exciting a subject.

With respect to foreign affairs, however, I feel called upon, however painful and discordant to my feelings in many respects it may be, to trouble your Lordships with some expression of my opinion before I can concur in the Address which has been moved. I do not mean to say that I hesitate to give my concurrence to that Address, but that, being called upon, though indirectly, and in a slight manner, by the reference to a contemplated increase in our fleets and armies, and to an existing state of warfare, to express an opinion more or less on the past, I conceive that I should not be acting rightly in giving a silent concurrence to that Address. If I could agree in the expression of the Royal Speech, and of the Address in reply, implying that the endeavours of the Government to preserve peace—which were stated to have been, and which I do not doubt had been, unremitting—had been as well-directed as unremitting, and characterised by that straightforwardness, decision, and vigour, that became the character of this country—if I could admit that, I should not think it necessary to say one word on the subject. But it seems to me, so far as we are in possession of the subject, that these endeavours have been mistaken—have been characterised by vacillation and inconsistency, and have not conveyed a true opinion of what was the determination of the English Government; which even up to this day, up to this moment, if any has been taken, is concealed alike from Parliament and from the world at large. Even in Her Majesty's Speech, which unfortunately I had not seen or heard until I came into the House this evening, there is no indication of what is our present position, or what is to be our future course. After a reference to Russia and Turkey, an allusion is made to a state of warfare, implying that war rages between Russia and Turkey, and that an increase is required in our Army and Navy to add force to our representations and our efforts to restore and preserve peace. But not one word is said as to what is our position either with respect to Russia or to Turkey; not a word is said as to whether we are at at peace or war. Your Lordships know not from Her Majesty's Speech in what position the country stands, or what we are about. Nevertheless, if public rumours are to be relied on—and they cannot be altogether wrong and unfounded—we are at this moment at war. If we are at war, why is the Government afraid to say so? That has been the mistake all through. It is impossible to say that the conduct which we have pursued in siding with one belligerent Power, is not an actual state of hostility; and if we are about to commit ourselves to actual hostilities, do we wish to do so in the dark? Do we wish to shift or shuffle from acknowledging it? These are not, I am sure, the sentiments of Government, but I think it is unfortunate that there has not been a more explicit declaration on the part of the Government of what is our present position, and what course they intend to take. No object is held out by the Government as that for which we are striving, except the preservation of peace; not one word is said about maintaining the honour or character of this country, or of fulfilling its engagements. Peace, no matter how or why, is the only thing directly pointed at as the object of increasing our Army and Navy, although indeed it is said that "the interests of the country"—a wide and general phrase—may require the augmentation o our forces. In making these observations, I feel very much embarrassed by two difficulties. In the first place, I labour under a want of information in detail on what has taken place. In this respect there has been a great difference between the conduct of our own Government and that of every other country concerned in these transactions. In this country it was thought that the people and the Parliament had some voice in public affairs; yet in other countries where the same constitutional doctrines do not prevail as in this, considerable information has been given to the public; while in England not one word has been laid before Parliament, no information whatever has been given to the country upon these subjects, until we find ourselves in this position, which is not clearly explained to us in the Speech, and which appears to be so unsatisfactory to all parties. Therefore this want of information is no fault of mine. However, in the observations which I shall make to your Lordships, I shall not require to go into detail. The facts to which I shall address myself are those great facts which are patent to all, and which cannot be denied nor doubted by any man. Another difficulty under which I labour is, that so humble a Member of your Lordships' House must seem guilty of presumption in attacking the foreign policy of a Cabinet, including many men of great ability and long-tried experience in foreign affairs, and who might be supposed, without disparagement to others, to be as well qualified as any men in this country to conduct them with satisfaction. But I feel myself relieved from that difficulty when I consider that, if you look at the course of these affairs, so far as we can judge of them by the aid of facts which are indisputable, it is almost impossible not to come to the conclusion that no one of the authorities to whom I allude has been allowed to conduct these affairs according to his own judgment—that there has been a difference, and, therefore, a compromise of opinion on many occasions among the Members of the Government themselves; the consequence of which has very likely been a unanimity in the Cabinet, but a unanimity which seems to have been a unanimity of compromise, and not a unanimity of opinion, upon any line to be taken—any straight line, to be followed without deviation and without inconsistency. I say, then, that I do not feel that I offend much against any great authority by venturing to criticise the foreign policy of Her Majesty's Government. This at least I may say—what no authority can deny or overthrow—that there never was such a total want of success as has attended the whole course pursued. All that was told us in the last Session by my noble Friend at the head, and by the organs and friends of the Government since, and all that we are now told, is, that one object was peace, another the integrity of the Turkish empire, and a third, the maintenance of the interests, character, and dignity of this country. I regret to say that I cannot think that any of these objects has been attained. I say it with the deepest regret, but I think those of your Lordships who have visited the Continent, or have attended to the feelings which have shown themselves there during the recess, cannot but have perceived that the people of Europe have conceived a very low opinion of the English character and conduct as exhibited in these affairs. It is impossible for any person to have read the foreign papers, or to have mixed in any class of society on the Continent during the autumn, without knowing that the bitterest sarcasms and sneers were thrown upon the English nation and people. We were held out as afraid, as not to be trusted by friends nor to be feared by foes—as being "willing to wound, but yet afraid to strike." It was very painful to hear this; but I must say that I feel it was deserved. Again, your Lordships were told that it was essential to maintain the integrity and independence of the Turkish empire; yet two of the finest provinces, not only of that empire, but of any empire in Europe, have been ravished from the Sultan, and are in the possession of the Czar. Then we were assured that peace would be preserved. Peace! Why, we are at war. Russia and Turkey are at war, and it is a war which affects all Europe. France and England, Russia and Turkey, are actively engaged in it, and it rages in a great portion of Asia. Not only in Persia, from which it is now said that favourable despatches have been received, but along the whole line of Asia, up to the very border of our Indian territory, will the consequences of our conduct—be that conduct good or bad—be felt with great effect. We have never had a greater war, in its very possible consequences, than that of which we are now upon the brink, and to stop which no likely course has yet been adopted. I ventured to say in the last Session, and I now repeat, that I think the adoption of a firm and direct course on the part of the Government would have insured peace, and prevented those calamities which we have already witnessed, and from which we have in part suffered ourselves. Not only are we at war in the Black Sea, but all through the autumn and winter we have felt a great portion of the calamities of war. Our trade has been checked; our commerce has been greatly injured; all speculation throughout the country has been stagnated; and the financial operations of the Finance Minister of the country have been greatly impeded by the state of things in the East. We have, therefore, already suffered loss from this war, in addition to being now called on to increase our Army and Navy.

I must ask your Lordships to recollect the course of events which has led to this. So long ago as December, 1852, we were aware that there was a concentration of troops in the South of Russia on the Turkish frontier. That has always been the point from which danger was likely to arise to the peace of Europe; and that is exactly the quarter where war has broken out. For many years no European statesman had considered the policy and principles of the Russian Government without coming to the conclusion that, probably for the last century, but certainly from the time of Catherine, the views of Russia have been steadily directed to watching every opportunity, especially when there was peace, of encroaching upon Turkey, either by negotiation or by a slight war, and, bit by bit, obtaining possession of her territory. If, therefore, there was a quarter in all Europe which should have been watched with jealousy and suspicion, and distrust, it was exactly the very quarter in which we were informed that danger might be expected so long ago as last December. During the winter our own newspaper press called attention to this, and early in February there was a notice in the Times newspaper—I dare say it was true—that for the second time there had been a threat from the Emperor of Russia to occupy the Danubian provinces. Not only was the concentration of troops to which I have referred observed by other Governments, but the mission of Prince Menchikoff—not the name of the ambassador, but the fact that such a mission was in preparation, and that some demand of a very extensive and dangerous character was to be made by Russia upon the Sultan—was well known to other Courts of Europe early in the past year, if not at the close of the previous one. I have on a former occasion said that Prince Leiningen's mission was occasioned mainly by its being well known to the Austrian Government that some such mission as Prince Menchikoff's was about to proceed with some very serious demands concurrently with the concentration of forces to which I have referred. Perhaps Austria was determined that if a "scramble" was to begin, she would have her share; at any rate she wanted to be sure that the intrigues which it was well known to every other Government, and therefore I doubt not to ours, were going on at St. Petersburg with Prince Daniel, of Montenegro, should not enable the Emperor of Russia, if he succeeded in gaining the protectorate over the Greeks which he was about to claim, to encircle Austria, and to extend his territory down to the Adriatic. There is no doubt that Austria was well aware that some very important mission was about to proceed to Constantinople from Russia. Moreover, so far back as February, the French Government called the attention of Her Majesty's Government—that is to say, of the noble Lord who was then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Lord John Russell)—to these circumstances, and strongly advised that the British Government should consider the matter well with the view of taking a determined line of policy. If such a communication as that had been made—and I cannot doubt that it was from statements which have since appeared and have never been contradicted—undoubtedly it was very important. At the same time it was not at all unnatural that the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs should view any such communication as that with some suspicion—lest the object of the French Government might be to induce us to embroil ourselves, and to entangle us in what was called the question of the Holy Places, and those matters in dispute between persons of different Christian creeds at Jerusalem. But it would have been perfectly consistent with that suspicion, which certainly ought not to have been left out of the sight of a wise Minister—it would have been perfectly consistent with that suspicion to have looked narrowly into the whole aspect of affairs, to have been prepared with a line of policy, though he need not have been led into pronouncing at once what he considered might be the course of action most advisable to pursue. Could any man doubt, from the character of Prince Menchikoff's mission, when he proceeded to Constantinople, that there was something more involved in the question than a silver star or the key of a church door. No man, I am assured, who had paid any attention to the state of affairs, could doubt that there were behind that ostensible mission much graver causes for the embassy which was sent with so much pomp and circumstance. But even if the country had up to this time been uninformed, even if no such communication had been made to the English Cabinet, I am surprised that our Minister at St. Petersburg should have been the only Minister who did not communicate to his Government what was going on, as I know the Ministers of other countries communicated that information to their respective Courts. But if no such information was received, and if our Government was in ignorance up to that time, was it not enough to enlighten them when Colonel Rose required the presence of the fleet—acting upon an estimate of information and accuracy of foresight which does that diplomatist infinite credit, and for which he is entitled to the grateful thanks of the country—and I regret that his advice was not taken. What was the fact as it was known at the time? Prince Menchikoff having stated his first demands, had also given in the project of a convention, with an assurance that Russia would consider it an act of hostility if the Porte should communicate its contents to any of the great Powers. That in itself showed the whole thing, in vulgar parlance it showed the cloven foot, and at once exposed the character of his mission and the intentions of his Government. But when on a previous occasion I called your Lordships' attention to the subject, and my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (the Earl of Clarendon) expressed his views on the subject, he astonished me by stating that he had full information on the subject of the mission—that the Emperor of Russia had shown no hesitation in declaring what his intentions really were; but that he did not wonder that Colonel Rose, having limited information, had acted as he had done. It is now, however, quite clear that he took the wisest step that could be taken. My Lords, I must repeat what I said at the time—I cannot bring myself to the belief that if a plain straightforward question had been put to the Emperor of Russia, and a straightforward answer had been given, that that answer would not have been the truth. If you had not got a straightforward answer, the whole case would have been perfectly clear. I have had some personal experience on that point; and when I have received an evasive answer, or what is called a general assurance, I, of course, put it down that I could not get a straightforward answer which would be satisfactory. If I were empowered to do so, I should have pressed for one; and I must say that I never got a straightforward answer from the Emperor of Russia that was not the truth. If I did not get a straightforward answer, but only a general assurance, I always attributed it to a desire not to give the information required, and though I might not press at the time for a direct answer, I always reported the answer as in my opinion unsatisfactory to the Home Government. But then you might have made up your mind what you would do in certain contingencies, and if you did not get a straightforward answer from the Emperor of Russia, you might at least have made him a straightforward communication. I must beg your Lordships to observe what has been the conduct of the French Government throughout this question. There was no hesitation on their part. When the information similar to that sent by Colonel Rose was communicated to the French Government, they at once ordered out their fleet, and thereby gave the Russian Government to understand that they would not remain passive and unconcerned spectators of any outrage on the independence and integrity of Turkey. I am glad to be informed that Her Majesty's Government are now in active co-operation with the Government of France. I believe the French Government has acted throughout in the most friendly, straightforward, and cordial manner with our Government, and I trust they will continue to do so to the end. That these two Governments must ultimately succeed against the intrigues and arms of Russia, no man can entertain any doubt whatever; and I must say that the course adopted by the French Government from the commencement has been plain and straightforward, and worthy of the greatest credit. I happened at the time when the Eastern question was attracting much attention to be at Paris, and when the French fleet was sent to the Levant it was at that time currently reported—and I have no reason for believing that report to be incorrect—that Her Majesty's Ministers were not acting with anything like cordiality with the Government of France. It was currently reported, and generally credited, that our Ambassador at that capital was directed to use every effort in his power—to use every art of persuasion, and urge every entreaty, to stop the French fleet from going to the East; and, that it was in consequence of his entreaty, and able, active, and earnest exertions, that fleet did not proceed beyond a certain distance. If the two fleets had at that moment proceeded to Besika Bay, where they clearly had a right to go, and if a clear announcement of the determination of the French Government and of the British, Government to stand hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder for the protection of Turkish territory and Turkish property of all kinds from any wrong or injury, had been made to the Emperor of Russia, I believe that there would at this moment have been perfect peace throughout Europe. But that was not done. No communication whatever was made to Parliament relative to the state of affairs, and we were only too happy to be told, at the close of the last Session of Parliament, that negotiations were going on in a very smooth manner, and that there was every prospect of their being brought to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion. But that statement does not appear to have been justified by facts; and judging by the only despatch given to the world, it seems that there was at that very time anything but an agreeable correspondence going on between this country and Russia; and it is remarkable that in that paper—the reply which my noble Friend made to the communication of Count Nesselrode—although his answer was excellent so far as it went, convicting Count Nesselrode of want of logic, deficiency of argument, and want of truth, my noble Friend carefully avoided saying one word as to what course Her Majesty's Government intended to take. Now I do not wish to say anything the least disrespectful of the noble Earl or of Her Majesty's Government, but I must tell them that the Emperor of Russia cared very little for their opinion, but he did care a good deal as to what they intended to do; and that is exactly the thing about which not one word was said. I do not think that your Lordships or the country were very fairly treated in this particular matter. The despatch to which I refer was written on the 16th of July, and although Parliament did not rise till the 20th of August, no paper whatever relative to the Montenegrin business, or the Holy Places, or those still more serious matters, was presented to Parliament. But in less than three weeks after Parliament rises, this solitary despatch appears in one of the daily newspapers. Now, we have a Gazette, in which in cases relating to war all matters which the Government desire to make known are published—and although that was not a time of war, this was a matter relating to war—and if it was desirable when Parliament was not sitting that this despatch of the Government should be published, its publication in the Gazette in an official form, with the despatch to which that was an answer, would have been the fair and proper mode of proceeding. I will not say there may not be some conveniences in having papers, as they have in other countries, in which the Government may publish documents and such other information as they wish to give to the public; such a course, however, is new in this country, and if it is to be done here it ought to be done as it is there—there ought to be an official and a non-official part of the paper. Whilst these angry communications were in progress Parliament rose, and Her Majesty was advised to say that She had great hopes of the speedy termination of the dispute. Now, this angry despatch was written on the 16th of July, and when the feelings of the Government were so bitter that they published a paper containing nothing except abuse very pointedly and harshly levelled at Russia, I want to know on what were founded the hopes expressed in the Royal Speech. I suppose they were founded on an anticipation of the Conference at Vienna, which took place later in the autumn. I must say a word respecting that Conference, because it seems to me to have been the least calculated to attain the object in view of any proceeding that could have been adopted by the British Government. First of all look at the place selected. In the known relations and alliances which had lately existed between the Austrian monarchy and the Russian empire, it certainly could not be very reassuring to Turkey to have the conference carried on at Vienna. Then who were the men employed? You choose to go to a place where you find the most able, the most astute, the most accomplished of all the Russian diplomatists, ready seated and accredited to attend the conference. When I mention the name of M. de Meyendorff, every one knows him to be not only a most agreeable, highly-informed gentleman in society, but to be looked upon as the rising hope of Russia in regard to diplomacy, and he is probably the ablest diplomatist in Europe at the present time. It was known that his influence at Vienna at that time, and under the then existing circumstances, was unbounded. The result of that Conference was exactly such a note as might have been composed in the Russian Chancellerie, only with this difference, that instead of saying it meant what every other man thought it did mean, the Conference said it meant something quite different. It was thought to be the most one-sided production ever put forth by a set of men appointed to arbitrate. And what was the consequence? Such a note could only be treated in one way. It was accepted immediately at St. Petersburg—it was immediately rejected by the Porte. But will your Lordships believe that whilst a Russian diplomatist was informed of every single thing that was going on, not one word was known by the Divan or the Porte until the Conference was ended and the note despatched. I know not whether our Ambassador there was acquainted with the circumstance or not. But if not one word was said to Turkey, I ask was it fair play to Turkey to allow the Russian diplomatist to assist at the council, and to keep the Sultan in ignorance of the plan proposed for a settlement of the dispute? I ask your Lordships to observe the natural consequence of this proceeding. It afterwards gave the Emperor of Russia the opportunity of asking the English Government, "Why did you alter the terms proposed to me? You proposed terms which I thought fair. I accepted them, and I adhere to them." Russia says this, and with very great show of reason. Well, then, while Parliament was sitting, my noble Friend admitted that Russia had taken possession of two of the provinces of the Turkish empire, which it was one of our objects to preserve entire. Did we do anything to dislodge them? When the Russian army was in very bad health we did what we could to prevent the Sultan allowing his general to act on the offensive, and I believe when he did act with such decision and ability as to gain the glorious victory at Oltenitza, orders had been given that, if they had reached Omar Paella in time, would have made him defer his operations. Such was the care that had been taken that the Russians, who expected great reinforcements, should not be disturbed in their occupation of the Principalities. However, negotiations went on. During the whole time it was natural for the Emperor of Russia to believe—and no man doubts that he acted under that belief—that this country and this Government would not go to war, and would not act with the French Government in a cordial manner, and would not take active measures to preserve the integrity of the Porte, when it came to a question of fighting for the object which you had in view. The consequence was, that the war went on on a very extensive scale. And then we were obliged to send fleets—not into the Bosphorus, to protect the Turkish territory and Turkish property—but we sent our forces to Constantinople, there to remain; and the result of this feeble step was the massacre of Sinope, which is an eternal disgrace to this country. I cannot, in my conscience, help saying that grave responsibility for the blood that was there shed rests upon the Ministers of this country. I want to know what your fleet went to the Dardanelles for? Why are they sent into the Black Sea now? They have gone into the Black Sea for the purpose, I suppose, for which they were originally sent out, as we are told, to protect Turkish property and the Turkish empire. I want to kow what has occurred since the massacre at Sinope to justify your sending your fleet into the Black Sea, if you were not justified in doing so before? I say you have no justification. You may regard, and justly regard, with abhorrence that massacre, as it is called, of that unfortunate town and of those ships, totally contrary to our notions of civilised warfare, and the practice of all civilised nations at war when a superior force meets an inferior one—but so far as the attack on the Turkish ships goes, the Emperor of Russia was perfectly justified. He was in a declared state of war with Turkey; he found the Turkish ships conveying the munitions of war and troops to Asia—I have no doubt they were, or had been employed, in conveying troops and the munitions of war to Batoum—and the Emperor of Russia had as much right to attack them as he would have had to attack Turkish troops. I ask if you sent ships up to Constantinople to protect the Turkish territory and Turkish property, why did you not protect these ships? It is no answer to tell me you advised these ships not to go to sea. If a people go to war, and you, proclaiming yourself their allies, refuse to be their auxiliaries in the hour of danger, it is a disgrace and a discredit to your arms and your policy. It may be said that the French Government was equally to be blamed for that disaster; but it is an old proverb, that "two blacks do not make one white," and I may add, that it is notorious that the vigour and energy with which the French Government wished to act, for a long time was checked and damped by the English Government. That I have not the least hesitation in saying. I dare say we shall be told that they made no official proposition that was ever rejected. Of course no diplomatist would advance a proposition when it was known to be contrary to the feelings of the ally with whom he desired to act. But it is said that there is now unanimity in the feelings of the European Powers upon this question, and I suppose I shall be told that we have Austria and Prussia with us. Now, I doubt that to be the case. I say, if there there can be a case that can justify your entertaining a conviction upon an hypothesis, it is perfectly clear that Austria joined us only when she was forced to join us by the course of events, and that if we could have gone on with a more determined policy she would have joined us long ago. But if I am told that Austria and Prussia have joined us—principally Austria, for that is the Power insisted upon—I ask what is the contingent that Austria has engaged to furnish? I should like to know if it was upon the advice or even with approval of Austria that our ships have gone into the Black Sea? If it be not so, let me not be told that Austria has joined us. It is no proof that Austria is in favour of the course of policy adopted by the French and English Governments that she has expressed a determination to uphold the dignity and integrity of the Turkish empire. Why, Russia says she has great respect for the integrity of the Turkish empire. But that is a general kind of assurance on which it will not do for this country to rely. But if Austria has joined, is that owing to the course and conduct of the British Government? It is well known that language most clear and distinct, language the most courteous, but at the same time of the firmest character, has been held by the French Government to Austria on the question of how much "neutrality" she would be allowed to exercise. From the first moment this conflict appeared inevitable, every one foresaw that Austria must, more or less, join England and France in this matter, or that the empire of Austria would in six months cease to exist. No man can look to the condition of the south of Germany, to Italy, and to Hungary, and suppose it possible that her existence would be worth anything at the end of six months if she joined Russia in such a war. At the same time, no man can doubt that it was by energy, by speaking out boldly, and by showing determination, that the alliance of Austria has been gained by France, not by England, so far as it can be said to have been gained, and not by hesitating language, by talking very big of our determination, and not showing that we are prepared to enforce it, and by making propositions which nobody supposes would be satisfactory. It was by prompt and energetic language, by letting it be known that that language would be followed up, that Austria has been induced to join ns to the extent she has joined us,—but very wisely she is not mentioned in the same manner as France, because I believe we cannot count on her for any great military support. Well, setting Austria out of the question, what is the state of affairs at the present moment? We have sent a proposition to St. Petersburg for the renewal of a Conference. After all that has passed, I believe a favourable reply is not likely to be received; but at the same time I will say that, if the Emperor of Russia does not send a favourable reply, he totally misunderstands his own interest, because by our present proposal we give bins up at once all he professed to aim at. The Emperor said, "I only want to stand upon the old treaties—I anly want the proper recognition of my rights of protectorate;" and according to the terms proposed, he will go into that conference totally unpledged to anything different from what Prince Menchikoff demanded five months ago. But see what an advantage you have given him if he refuses, and you force him into war. God forbid this country should ever go into war without objects so great as to make it, in the opinion of the Government and of Parliament, necessary that we should adopt that fearful alternative! What are our objects if we go to war now? We are, according to your last propositions, to go to war for the renewal and reimposition upon Turkey of those treaties which have led to constant contentions, and have now led to this very war, and which, if renewed as they were before, will be sure to generate another contest in a short time, whenever Russia finds herself in a position to commence one. You proclaim that to be your object. If that be your object, and you are to do that, you had better at once have taken an entirely different course. It was open to this country to have said, "We will have nothing to do with these matters, which do not concern us, and we will not go to war to assist you; and if you, Turkey, get into war, upon your own shoulders let the consequences rest." A number of persons have entertained that opinion. Now, I entertain a contrary opinion. I think that course would have been attended with immediate ease, and would have avoided considerable present difficulties. But I believe that in the course of a short time it would have led to a general European war, into which we should soon have been forced, and into which we should have had to enter, with crippled means and crippled allies, and every other possible disadvantage. I believe that if war had been delayed until after the Emperor had once been permitted to set his grasp upon the Turkish Government, that delay might have led to the loss of our Indian empire. I believe that might have been the result of such a course of proceeding. I think, therefore, that the right policy to adopt, was the policy of interference to be carried on in the spirit of the treaty of 1841. But I say, if Russia is mad enough to force us into this war, of which no man can doubt the result, and of which I am afraid no man can calculate the expense and the consequences—I say if Russia is mad enough to force us into this war, we must not enter into it for the renewal of these treaties; it must be for the abolition of those treaties, and for a final settlement of the whole question. When our Government was so indignant at the supposition that the evacuation of the Principalities was not a sine quâ non, why has Russia been permitted to hold these territories for six months?—why has she been permitted to confiscate the revenues of the Sultan, to press his subjects into her service, to maltreat the boyards, and to exercise every act of oppression, while we, at the same time, call ourselves allies of the Turks? Is not Russia to be called to account for the whole of these proceedings? The sanction of such things is a disgrace to which I trust England never will be subjected. I have an abhorrence of war, but I should be sorry to move an Amendment to this Address; I am as ready as any man in the country to support the Government, and to bring them oat of the scrape into which they have got; but I could not, as an honest man, withhold the expression of my opinion; thinking, as I do, that it was our own want of energy and decision which has deceived the Emperor of Russia—of whose deceit we hear so much—and has, as it were, decoyed him into the war in which there is too much reason to fear we are about to be involved.


My Lords, I think that my noble Friend the noble Marquess who has just sat down might perhaps have acted more fairly towards the Government, though perhaps not as conveniently to himself, if he had waited for the production of those papers which Her Majesty has assured the House there shall be no delay in laying before your Lordships, and which before your Lordships separate this evening, it is my intention to place on your table. I repeat I think my noble Friend would have acted more fairly to us if he had waited for this information; but this is only another proof of that of which I have seen so many in the course of the last few months—I mean the inconvenience which has arisen from our not having had the opportunity of laying more perfect information on this subject before the country. Nobody can more have regretted than myself that such information should not have been produced; nobody can be more aware than myself that many misrepresentations might have been prevented, or certainly corrected, by the production of greater information; but we thought it right not to depart from the established practice of this country. The Government is amenable to Parliament alone for its conduct; to Parliament alone could it give full and complete information; and we therefore thought it right to abstain from following the example which has been held out to us for our imitation—the example of other countries who have no Parliament to account to. We thought it better to abstain from producing from time to time the information in our possession, and which I am now about to lay upon the table, although it might have satisfied the public anxiety, and, to a certain degree, been just to ourselves. It might, however, at the same time, have been disadvantageous to the cause of peace; and, although I fear I may by the confession stand still lower in my noble Friend's estimation than I now appear to do, I am not either afraid or ashamed to say that the maintenance of peace has been the great object to which our labours have been directed. My noble Friend seems to think that we have shown an abject determination to avoid war. My Lords, we have done no such thing, but we have felt it our duty to stop short of no sacrifices except that of national honour, and of not fulfilling our engagements, to maintain peace. We felt it a duty we owed to humanity, we felt it a duty we owed as professors of Christianity, we felt it a duty to those numberless social, political, and commercial interests that have grown up, and have been extended to every part of the world during a peace of unexempled duration; we have felt it as a duty to other countries who, like ourselves, turning to account the blessings of peace, have perhaps more than ourselves to dread from the dangers of war. For, my Lords, it must be remembered that if this peace, which is of unexampled duration, be once broken, it may be followed by a war alike without a parallel, and as unexampled as itself in modern history. Besides the tearing asunder of those bonds of reciprocal interests which now bind the different countries of Europe as one family, it must be remembered that those doctrines and opinions which convulsed Europe in 1848 are still cherished by millions, that they have lost nothing of their intensity by their forcible repression in that year of struggle, and that they are ready now to explode again if the opportunity be given them. A war now, my Lords, would be no ordinary war, and attended by no ordinary consequences. Europe, in such a war, would be the battlefield, not alone of contending armies, but of contendiug opinions, and we, to whom such mighty interests are intrusted, have felt that we should have shown ourselves utterly unmindful of the claims both of humanity and of religion, and of all those mighty interests involved in social order, while, in the event of war, we should have disqualified ourselves from the support of the Parliament and of the people of this country, if we could not have shown that we had both exerted and exhausted every effort to maintain peace—the blessings of which we may perhaps learn to estimate still more highly after the calamity which threatened its maintenance has passed away. If, however, my Lords, we are not destined to be spared this calamity—if it is appointed for us that we are to embark in war, I must say that never was the tranquillity of the world more wantonly disturbed than it will have been by the provocation of that necessity:—never, also, I must say, was there a moment when it was more the duty of England and of France to stand forth firmly to oppose aggression and to support the cause of the weak against the strong. My Lords, my noble Friend has said that we have placed a most undue confidence in the assurances of Russia upon this question. I admit that we did place confidence in those assurances, because they were not only more than we asked, but were moreover all that we could desire. My noble Friend says that whenever he got—though indeed he tells us he seldom got—an answer from Russia, it was always of a direct character, and always one upon which he could rely. Such answers we received from Russia—direct answers—answers on which the noble Lord would have relied. Were we to receive them with suspicion? I would beg to observe, that, in my humble opinion, a policy of suspicion is neither as a system a wise one, nor was it expedient in the present instance. On this occasion, however, there was no ground for suspicion. The Emperor of Russia has certainly, during a long reign, offered abundant proofs that he desired the peace of Europe. I am not inquiring now by what means he obtained it, and for what purposes desired it; but the policy of the Emperor was eminently calculated to maintain the peace of Europe. Over and over again he has affirmed that the Ottoman empire was a European necessity, and that the maintenance of it was a fundamental principle of European policy;—and, certainly, if the Emperor had made up his mind to overthrow the Ottoman empire and to aggrandise Russia at the expense of Turkey, it might have been supposed that he would have availed himself of the opportunities he had in 1848—a period which would have been more suited to his designs, and would have been more likely to see their attainment. The Emperor's past, therefore, offered some guarantee for the future, and gave an additional value to those assurances, which, during the two first months that I had the honour of holding the seals of the Foreign Office, I can assure your Lordships were frequent, solemn, and complete. I say, my Lords, that to have taken any precautionary measures against assurances so given, would have partaken of the character of a premeditated insult, or a measure of wanton provocation to the very conduct which it was sought to prevent. I can assure your Lordships, moreover, that, whatever my noble Friend may think, up to the end of April last we had no reason whatever to believe that there existed any other cause of difference between Russia and the Porte except that connected with the Holy Places—a question which closely concerned France, and in which the Porte, by endeavouring to please both Powers, had given some cause of complaint to both. The matter only indirectly affecting England, Her Majesty's Ambassador at Constantinople was directed to offer his good offices, in order to settle the existing difficulty. Those good offices were accepted; they were successful, and a settlement of the matter was made, apparently to the satisfaction of every Power. It was only after that settlement that we, for the first time, became aware that other and ulterior objects had been insisted on by Prince Menchikoff. It is perfectly true that during the time of his negotiation rumours of various kinds reached us of treaties which, as it was said, had been proposed under menace, that large Russian armaments were preparing—that more than one large army was on the march towards the south, and that Russia was determined to have the appointment of the patriarch. But any persons who are aware of the great secrecy which is observed in Russia with regard to public affairs, and of the still greater exaggerations of the rumours which from time to time obtain currency in Constantinople respecting them, must be aware also of the caution with which all such rumours should be received. The fact, indeed, of the small force that has ever yet been in the Principalities against Omar Pasha, and of the great length of time which has been occupied in bringing up reinforcements, proves how great must have been the exaggeration of those reports, that even in the month of May last these mighty armies were collected on the frontier. But, my Lords, independently of that consideration, whether these rumours were true or untrue, well founded or in founded, the Government did not take upon itself to decide. As soon as they reached us, they were all made known to the Russian Government, and we asked for a categorical answer. We received a plain and distinct one, an answer such as those on which my noble Friend has told your Lordships he was happy to rely. We met with a most unqualified denial of allure rumours and reports. We were again assured that the mission of Prince Menchikoff had reference to nothing but the Holy Places, and that great latitude had been given to him in his instructions for settling that question, amounting in fact to this—that he might settle it in any way he thought most proper—but that it was all he had to settle. I must say that subsequent circumstances proved to a great extent the correctness of that answer; because, although Prince Menchikoff, as the head of the great orthodox Russian party—and I have reason to believe he was so considered in his own country—had gone further in his demands than the requirements of his mission justified, and had endeavoured to extract undue concessions from the fears or the weakness of the Porte, yet most of his earlier demands he abandoned. Thus, he abandoned his proposals for a separate treaty upon the representations of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. He abandoned, after that, the ultimatum he had handed in, and, at last, consented to accept a note, in which his terms were greatly reduced, but which yet could not be accepted by the Porte. When, however, Prince Menchikoff quitted Constantinople, he quitted it under circumstances menacing to the peace of Turkey and the interests of Europe, and it was impossible for us to tell whether some of those armies which we heard were collected on the frontiers of Turkey might not have crossed those frontiers and marched upon Constantinople. We heard of the news of Prince Menchikoff's departure by the telegraph; we waited not for more official details, but immediately ordered the fleet to proceed from Malta to Besika Bay, where it was joined by the French fleet. Your Lordships are aware that Count Nesselrode, after Prince Menchikoff had withdrawn, sent back to Constantinople terms, for the acceptance of which only eight days were allowed, under a threat that otherwise the Principalities should be occupied. As your Lordships are aware, the Sultan refused to comply with the demand, which had thus been rendered more degrading than it was before, and thereupon Count Nesselrode's threat was carried into execution. My noble Friend seems to think that if at that time the fleets had been ordered up to Constantinople when the first Russian soldier crossed the Pruth, all that has followed, or is likely to follow, might have been prevented. My Lords, I shall not endeavour to prove a negative, but I shall simply state the course pursued by Her Majesty's Government. In entering the Principalities, Russia was either sincere or insincere in the pretences upon which she justified that act—she was either sincere in the assurances she gave to the Powers of Europe that the occupation of the Principalities would be only temporary, that they would be held as a material pledge for the satisfaction of the demands made upon Turkey, and that the evacuation of them was the wish and desire of the Emperor himself; or she was insincere and had ulterior objects in view, intending to overthrow the Ottoman empire. Now, I think, in the first case, I have assumed that it was evidently in the interest of peace, and, what is more, in the interest of the Sultan, to allow further opportunity for ascertaining the real issue, and for the discovery of some means of reconciling the difficulty, not distasteful to either party, and sufficient to carry into effect the intentions of both. The Emperor of Russia demanded that the status quo in religious matters should be enforced, and the Sultan declared that the status quo in religious matters was what he intended; so that all that seemed necessary was to devise a form sufficient to carry into effect the desires so expressed. It was found that Austria and Prussia entirely agreed with us as to the act of Russia in occupying the Principalities. They considered that act unnecessary, unjust, fatal as a precedent on the part of a powerful towards a weaker State, and dangerous to themselves as limital Powers, and menacing to the peace of Europe; they were most ready to enter with us into negotiations for settling the question, if possible, by amicable means, and they earnestly deprecated any declaration of war on the part of the Sultan until all peaceful means of settling his difference with Russia had been exhausted. Whatever my noble Friend may think of the matter, I am sure your Lordships generally will be of opinion that it was of the highest importance at that time that the Four Powers should be united in the question; that it was of the highest importance that Austria and Prussia should join with England and France in isolating Russia in her wrong, and in letting her know that she would not be able to count on that support from Austria which, for more than one reason, she had been so ready to count upon. Her Majesty's Government never for a moment doubted that the occupation of the Principalities constituted a casus belli, or that it afforded the Sultan a clear right to declare war, to announce the treaty of 1841 at an end, and to summon the ships of his allies from Besika Bay to his support; but, though viewing it as a casus belli, yet considering also the declaration with which it was accompanied, we did not advise him to act upon this right, on the supposition that Russia might be sincere, and, that, consequently, a peaceful issue of the difference might still be effected. But let us take the other case, that Russia was not sincere, that she did intend to cross the Danube and to march on Constantinople; a declaration of war at that time would have furnished to Russia the very excuse for acting upon those intentions which she desired. It would have absolved him from his promise, and from the responsibility of commencing hostilities, and would have left him in a position to say—"I have occupied the Principalities only as I have occupied them before, declaring to you that it was only for a short time; that I did not desire or seek war, and that I was ready to take any practical course to effect a peaceful result. My assurances have been disbelieved, war has been declared against me, and I now consider it inconsistent with my honour and dignity not to accept the challenge." I don't say that such arguments would have borne the test of inquiry under the circumstances; but I do say that, under the circumstances, it was exceedingly undesirable that they should be put forward as a ground for greater activity of operations on the part of Russia, seeing that at this moment Turkey was wholly unprepared for hostilities. Her fortresses were ungarrisoned, she had no supplies or stores collected, her army was weak and undisciplined, she could not have delayed the Russian troops for a single day on their march upon Constantinople. These seemed to us cogent reasons for not advising the Sultan to declare war, when, by not declaring war, he gained the double advantage of leaving time for a peaceful settlement of the dispute, on the one hand, or, on the other, of preparing for effectual warfare, should peace not be established. Before these opinions of Her Majesty's Government could be conveyed to Constantinople, we have since found that the Ambassadors there—who, being on the spot were far better judges than we were of the state of preparation in Turkey, and of what was best for the interest of the Sultan—had tendered to the Sultan the same advice which we had proffered, which advice His Highness had adopted, with the full purpose to act upon it. It would, my Lords, with such a hope of a peaceful solution, have been most unjustifiable and most impolitic to have urged the Sultan to declare war and to call for our fleets, at a moment when His Highness was, as I have explained, altogether unprepared with the means of prosecuting the war effectually. I trust, then, your Lordships will concur with us in thinking that we did well, under all the circumstances, in not advising the Sultan to declare war at that time, and to take those active measures which my noble Friend seems to consider necessary. I can assure my noble Friend that it was not upon that abject apprehension of war which he attributes to us that we acted, but upon motives which I feel satisfied any Government of this country, having so just and righteous a cause to rely upon, would have adopted, and I do not believe that any Government in such a war would be allowed to want the support of the people of England in carrying it out. England has on former occasions stood almost alone against the world in arms; nor do we conceive that, because since then she has become still richer, still more powerful, still more energetic than ever, she is therefore the less able, were it necessary, to occupy the proud position which she held heretofore. Much less have the Ministers of the British Crown reason to entertain abject apprehension of war now that England is in cordial union with her great neighbour, acting with her in perfect accord of spirit, of intention, and purpose to arrive at the same object by the same counsels and the same means. Your Lordships will not think it out of place or time if I here express my perfect and unequivocal testimony to the straightforward, manly, entirely honourable conduct of the French Government throughout the whole of these transactions. And, let me add, that honest policy of the French Government has been most faithfully represented here by the French Ambassador at our Court. The two Governments have been in daily—I might almost say, in hourly—intercourse; have formed, as it were, one Cabinet; and I can assure your Lordships that there have never been more differences between these two Governments, so united, than are to be found in some Cabinets of our own—differences that must ever exist among men who most respect each other, and which have only the effect of rendering the harmony more complete. I will further add, that the union between the two Governments has not been confined to the Eastern question. The happy accord and good understanding between France and England have been extended beyond Eastern policy to the policy affecting all parts of the world, and I am heartily rejoiced to say that there is no portion of the two hemispheres with regard to which the policy of the two countries, however heretofore antagonistic, is not now in entire harmony. Thus, then, my Lords, at least one great good will have been secured by these transactions—that two great, and hitherto rival nations have learnt to know and to appreciate each other better, to reject the fallacy that they are each other's natural enemy, and to be ready to act heartily together in any just cud righteous cause to which their common sympathies attract them.

There was another point on which the noble Marquess dwelt on which I will say a few words. I will not waste your Lordships' time by entering into details, until the papers are on your table; but I will advert shortly to the Vienna Note, upon which my noble Friend has spoken more particularly. When Prince Menchikoff left Constantinople, the Austrian Government wrote to its Internuncio at the Porte suggesting that a counter-note might perhaps be framed out of the note which Prince Menchikoff had addressed to the Porte, and that which Reshid Pasha had written in answer. The Austrian Government conceived that such a counter-note might be drawn up, acceptable to Russia, and yet saving the honour of Turkey, and intimated that if such a note were prepared it would use its best efforts to give it effect. At the same time the French Government had prepared a note on the same basis, which its Minister submitted to Her Majesty's Government. We did not think that it would be a note likely to be acceptable; but as the French Government had a manifest desire to send it, by way of peace-offering, both to St. Petersburg and Vienna, we offered no opposition to that course, and it was duly forwarded. The Russian Government gave no answer to the note, on the ground that the Austrian mediation already existed. At Vienna the note was adopted with some trifling changes; and, after communication with the Governments of England and France, was, as modified, sent to St. Petersburg and the Porte. At St. Petersburg it was said to be unsatisfactory, but the Emperor nevertheless professed himself ready to accept it, on the condition that no alteration was made in it; but the Porte objected to accept it, unless with some modifications. These modifications, as being considered only tending to render more clear the bonâ fide intentions of the framers of the note, were not objected to by the Conference at Vienna, and were transmitted thence to St. Petersburg, with the recommendation that the note so modified should be accepted. As your Lordships, however, are aware, the note was rejected. We did not, of course, think that the note originally exposed the Porte to the dangers supposed; but the changes made were made on that supposition, and were merely such as more clearly defined the first meaning and intention of the note. I beg to point out that a great misapprehension exists with respect to the part of the Four Powers in this matter. The Four Powers were merely parties voluntarily offering to mediate in the matter between the other two parties. They said—"Here is a difference about two notes; we will endeavour to frame a note that shall suit both parties;" but they were not arbitrators, they had no right to impose their note on the parties; they were ready to receive any objections, or to adopt any modifications from either party; and the best proof of this is, that they did unhesitatingly adopt the modifications pronounced requisite by the Porte; but Her Majesty's Government did not suppose the note to be of the dangerous character supposed by the Porte, until Russia explained the use to which it might be turned; and then Her Majesty's Government said no more on behalf of it, Hostilities, however, commenced between Russia and the Porte, and it then, of course, seemed impossible to hope to settle the matter by notes. Still, the Conference at Vienna, after having signed the Protocol—which I do not myself consider by any means so unimportant as my noble Friend thinks it—by a collective note asked the Porte on what terms it would be prepared to negotiate. When, however, that collective note reached Constantinople, another basis of negotiation had been presented to the Porte by the representatives of the Four Powers, and these representatives, in the exercise of a sound discretion, did not, under those circumstances, present the collective note. The note to which I have referred was wholly approved by the representatives of the Four Powers at Vienna, who were unanimously of opinion that it was such as Russia ought to accept, and in their Protocol these representatives declared that, if Russia should not accept it, Russia alone would be the cause of war, and alone responsible for its consequences. That is the present state of the matter as regards negotiation. No answer has been received from St. Petersburg. I may be disposed to agree with my noble Friend that the note is not very likely to be adopted there; but, as yet, no answer at all has been received.

My Lords, the negotiations I have referred to were still pending when that fearful disaster at Sinope happened, by which the Turkish fleet (not employed, let me say, so far as I know, in the way stated by my noble Friend and in the Russian papers—in carrying troops to Batoun, and stores to the Circassians—but lying peacefully in the harbour, and, for some days previously, expected back at Constantinople) was destroyed in so horrible and barbarous a manner in the harbour of Sinope. Upon that occurrence, my Lords, Her Majesty's Government, in concurrence with the French Government, determined at once to extend that protection which had been three months before granted to the Ottoman territory to the Ottoman flag, and they gave notice of this intention to the Russian Government, and to the Russian admiral at Sebastopol. Such is the present state of our communications on this important question. I shall refrain on the present occasion from going into details, having confined myself to the endeavour to meet some of the charges which have been made against the Government by my noble Friend, leaving it to your Lordships and to the other House of Parliament to say, when the papers are before you, whether in our hands the honour and dignity of the country has been compromised. We may then even possibly be charged with having laboured too long, too far, and too hard in the cause of peace; but such will not, I think, be the opinion of the majority of the House. On the contrary, I think that in the event of war we shall be able, with all the greater force, to appeal to those pacific efforts, when, if we must, we call for the hearty and energetic assistance of the people of this country in aid of a just and righteous cause.


My Lords, your Lordships will easily imagine that I do not rise to oppose the Address which has been so ably and gracefully moved in this House by a new and young Member; but I think it desirable, as well, to notice parts of the Speech which Ministers have advised their Sovereign to make from the Throne, as also to make some observations on events which preceded this Speech, and on some of the statements made by my noble Friend who has just sat down. The first paragraph of the Speech goes at once to a most important and interesting subject, the state in which this country is placed in reference to Russia, and takes away from us any hope—if, indeed, any could have been felt—that this unfortunate affair could end in any peaceful manner. In the next paragraph it appears to me the Ministers who approved it have made two omissions which may be of great consequence. In the first place, I must say that it appears to me most remarkable that in this paragraph no mention should be made of two out of the three countries which are in alliance with us in this most important question. If I understand this paragraph, Austria and Prussia are in no way alluded to, and it can scarcely be considered complimentary to exclude their names, if they are, as we have just been told on the part of the Government, cordially co-operating with us in this matter. Another omission which I notice is the real purpose for which the Parliament are called upon for an increase of our armaments—namely, to support the independence of Turkey; whereas the only object assigned in the Speech is the support of Her Majesty's representations, and the view of more effectually contributing to the restoration of peace. Neither is it enough to speak now of endeavours to preserve and to restore peace, if you wish people to believe you in earnest in your defence and vindication of the rights of Turkey. As Her Majesty's Government lave promised to lay the papers before the House, it would be unfair to anticipate them; but I think that without their assistance I can discover some inaccuracies in the course of events which the noble Lord has described. But I shall not deal with these inaccuracies to-night, because there must be another and a searching debate upon this question within a very short time. But, my Lords, this I will say, that although I will not enter now upon details, because I am not armed with papers to enable me to speak with accuracy, I think I have a right to reproach Her Majesty's Government with their conduct towards this House, and to the Parliament generally, since the commencement of these disputes in the East. The last time I had the honour of addressing your Lordships upon this question was on the 12th of August, a week before the prorogation of Parliament. I had then to address a House of some twelve or fifteen of your Lordships only, and if I now repeat some of the statements—and they shall be few—which I made then, I must ask pardon of those who heard them, my excuse being that there were so few Peers present upon that occasion, while we have So full a House to-night; and that every day which has since elapsed, has given to the matter of those statements additional importance. My Lords, when I first addressed your Lordships upon this question, I moved for a return of all the papers relating to it. What was the answer which was given me on that occasion? The answer which I got from the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, was, that in a very few days, whatever course events might take, he would lay the papers on your Lordships" table. That was the first promise which I got from the noble Lord—if I remember rightly, on the 18th of July. On the 12th of August, as the papers had not been produced, I made another Motion on the subject, but I confined myself on that occasion to asking for a single paper—a paper which I considered exceedingly important, as affecting the views of the Emperor of Russia, and exhibiting the real animus of the British Government—the answer of Her Majesty's Government to Count Nesselrode's second manifesto. The French Government had answered that manifesto ably and firmly, and I thought there would be no impropriety, no imprudence, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, not only in laying their reply before Parliament, but in laying it before Parliament without loss of time, and previously to the other papers relating to the same subject. That reply could not be called a diplomatic paper, in the ordinary sense of the word, and it was not, strictly speaking, a correspondence; it was an answer to a defiance made in the face of Europe by the Minister of the Emperor of Russia—a defiance to England—a defiance which all who could read might read; and I considered it due to the honour and character of Her Majesty's Government that their reply should be equally firm, and that equal publicity should be given to it. But the noble Earl opposite, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, refused to lay that paper on the table upon the plea that its production might endanger the solution of the question; and in deference to the noble Lord's statement, and upon the understanding that it would be dangerous, I yielded to that plea, and withdrew my Motion. Now, what happened? Within a fortnight after this occurrence, the very paper I moved for appeared at full length in the Times newspaper, introduced by the language and preamble which, by all who know that newspaper, were perfectly understood as indicating that it was a sort of official announcement. The paper was stated to be a correct version of the noble Earl's reply to Count Nesselrode's manifesto—an incorrect version having been given in some other journal. My Lords, I say that this was not respectful to Parliament—it was not respectful to the country; and I should almost like to ask—so much. I am astonished that the noble Earl should refuse to produce that paper to the House—I should almost like to ask why it was sent to the Times. I should not have thought such a thing possible; but rumours have been rife that not very long ago, when an important Member of the Cabinet resigned his office, the first intimation that Her Majesty had of it—and if not Her Majesty, certainly some of his Colleagues—was through the columns of the Times newspaper, to which, of course, it most have been communicated by some very important Colleagues of the noble Viscount in the Government. I do not say that these rumours are true, but I do say that if this system is to be acted upon—if newspapers, or a favoured newspaper, is to receive official documents of so important a character that the Foreign Secretary declares it would be dangerous to lay them on your Lordships' table, and is to receive these documents before Parliament, and instead of Parliament, then I can only say that we really have four estates of the realm; and that of those four the Queen is not the first, and your Lordships are not the second. But, my Lords, I think that in another point of view, Her Majesty's Government have erred in keeping the country and the Parliament ignorant of the course which the negotiations were taking. I can perfectly understand that there may be occasions when it may be very inconvenient to be constantly placing papers of this kind before the House and before Parliament; but I believe that upon this occasion the Government would have gained by taking a more open course, and that if they had been more candid in their explanations they would have elicited from Parliament a manifestation of that feeling which the country of its own accord has since displayed, and that the people, with their natural sagacity, seeing what the objects of Russia were in this dispute, would have shown what their feelings were upon the subject, and that such a display would have assisted and armed the Government, and would have prevented the Emperor of Russia from being deceived into the belief that this country, during forty years of peace and prosperity, had degenerated into a state of indifference in regard both to its treaties with its allies, and to its own honour and character, and would be glad to purchase peace at any price. But, my Lords, I must say, following up this subject, that the Czar was deceived, and that if he had not been, he never would have taken the dangerous steps which he has adopted. I think he was deceived from the beginning by certain circumstances which took place before Prince Menchikoff was sent to Constantinople. It will be in the recollection of your Lordships that almost during the whole time that my noble Friend behind me (the Earl of Derby) held office as Prime Minister of this country, the newspapers which represented, or were supposed to represent, not only what he might call the legitimate Opposition—the Whig Opposition—but of that smaller section of politicians who have since formed a coalition with the present Government—the press of both these parties were unremitting in their blame of Her Majesty's then Ministers, in regard to the anxiety which they showed to confirm our alliance, not only with France and with the French people, but with the new dynasty which had been recently established in that country. I was constantly taunted with being ready to sacrifice the interests of my country, for the sake of an alliance with the French Emperor. The accident of a personal acquaintance with him some years previously was deemed sufficient foundation for a charge against me of a personal predilection in his favour, and that I wished to see him, rather than any other man, on the throne of France. I was little moved by these attacks at the time, because I felt that no alliance could be of such vital consequence to this country and to the general peace of Europe as an alliance with France, our nearest neighbour, and with a man, who, I had reason to believe, was determined to maintain peace with all other nations, and to preserve the territorial distribution of Europe as arranged by the treaties of 1814. Our policy has been amply vindicated since that time, for the very newspapers which attacked us now go to the length of saying that no other alliance is of the same importance. But, my Lords, the language of the press to which I have alluded, made a very strong and lasting impression on the Courts of Europe with respect to our alliance with France. The eyes of every Court of Europe were at that time intently fixed upon the new French Emperor, and upon the bearing of this country towards him; and they judged from the language of the mouthpiece—not the real but the apparent mouthpiece—of noble Lords opposite, that if our party should go out of office, and the Opposition should come in, a different line of policy would be pursued. The Opposition did come into office very soon afterwards, and is it possible to believe that the Emperor of Russia would not consider that the same anxiety did not exist in the new Cabinet to form an alliance, not only with France, but with the new dynasty of France, which had existed on the part of the preceding Government? The eyes of Russia, as well as of other Powers, were fixed upon the conduct of the new Government, and what was the first thing that happened? Within a month after the new Government accepted office, two of its Members addressed their constituents in two different boroughs of England, in a manner which both in expression and in spirit was deeply offensive to the French people and the French Emperor. Those speeches were afterwards explained. How they were explained I do not know; but we were told by my noble Friend, when he addressed your Lordships last August, that the Emperor of the French had good sense and good feeling enough to understand the motives of those speeches, and not to be offended at them. I perfectly believe that the Emperor of the French has this advantage over other Sovereigns, that, through a life of vicissitudes, he has mixed with society of all grades and classes, and having lived a long time in this country, he knows us well; he knows our peculiarities—I will not say our eccentricities—and he knows that speeches of this kind are to be interpreted according to the hour of the day at which they are made, and the place where they are delivered. They were, therefore, excused by him, and it is not with respect to him that I mention them; but it is certain, and I know it for a fact, that having been uttered so soon after the accession of a Ministry upon which the eyes of all the European Governments were fixed, they made a strong impression upon those Governments that some of Her Majesty's Ministers at least were in their inmost minds averse, if not hostile, to any alliance with the new dynasty of France. Now, my Lords, I believe the Emperor of Russia was deceived by these two events happening.

However my noble Friend the Secretary for Foreign Affairs may say that he had no suspicion of the views of the Russian Emperor until last April, one at least of Her Majesty's servants, employed at Constantinople, did not stand in the same position. He did suspect those views, and I believe it was more than suspicion that induced Colonel Rose, our Chargé d' Affaires at Constantinople, to send a message to the English fleet to approach the shores of the East, without mentioning any particular spot to which he wished it to repair, but stating it to be of great importance that the fleet should approach the Turkish coast. I happened to be at Paris on the 19th March, and I know that the French Government was most anxious that Colonel Rose's request should be complied with, and were convinced that the safest and best course would be to send the French fleet to the East. My Lords, at this moment the best possible opportunity was presented to us of undeceiving the Emperor of Russia, and of disabusing his mind of any doubt as to the sincerity of our alliance with France. We had the best op- portunity that we could wish for, of convincing him that the two countries were united hand in hand, and upon the Eastern question prepared to act cordially together. But what did Her Majesty's Government do? They showed the Emperor of Russia that there was a difference in their councils. The French Government met the request of Colonel Rose by sending the French fleet further eastward than it was before—the British Government ordered the British fleet to remain immoveable at Malta. Do you think that did not confirm in the mind of the Czar his previous impression that your alliance with France was not hearty? I believe that it did make a great impression, and that all the negotiations afterwards suffered from the impression that there was a difference of opinion between the two Governments. Instead of going arm in arm with the French Government, and showing the closest identity of thought and action, Her Majesty's Government allowed this difference to be continued perceptible as the negotiations proceeded, and our Government still failed to show that there was that perfect identity between it and the French Government which was on all accounts so essential. The first manifesto of Count Nesselrode was equally in defiance—a public defiance—to both countries; but while the French Government answered it ably, firmly, and boldly, the British Government did not answer it at all. Then came the second manifesto, which was also ably answered by M. Drouyn de Lhuys, on the part of the French Government, but by the English Government not at all. I say not at all, because an answer to a defiance of that sort sent privately—a mere whisper from the Foreign Office to a loud defiance from the Throne of Russia—was no answer whatever. It was not the Emperor of Russia that it was important to answer; but it was important that a reply should be given to his document in the face of Europe, which should show the animus and intentions of Her Majesty's Government. I repeat that I shall not enter into details to-night, unarmed as I am, but I perfectly agree with the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Clanricarde) that more vigour and energy in time might have saved us from the impending war. God forbid that I, or any man on this side of the House, should not be ready to praise Her Majesty's Government for doing all in their power to avert war! It is not for endeavouring to avert war that I blame them, but for not taking the best means of averting it, for exhibiting vacillation in their conduct, for not having taken the ball at the bound, for not having seized the proper moment, when they might have made Russia understand that England and France were determined to resist all aggression; that they considered it of vital importance that the integrity of Turkey should be preserved, and the territorial distribution of Europe maintained; and that any aggression upon it, such as the invasion of the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, would be met, not by Turkey alone, but by the two most powerful of the western nations. If that had been put, not insolently, but frankly, calmly, and firmly—if it had been impressed upon the Emperor's mind, and if his mind had been divested of those delusions with which his Ambassador had filled it—then I think he would have thought twice before he would have crossed the Pruth; and, armed as he is with able counsellors, men known to be averse to his ambitious projects, he would at least have waited for another occasion to put them in force, if he had not abandoned them altogether. I say, my Lords, that if Her Majesty's Government had been more open with the country—if, having the means of proving to the Emperor of Russia how powerful and determined they were, they had appealed sooner to Parliament—they would have met with a response which would have materially strengthened their hands. There is not a person in this House who can doubt what the feeling of the country is upon the subject. That it exists, in the strongest manner, in the lower classes, was evinced this very day, at the time that the Turkish Ambassador was on his way to this House to attend the opening of Parliament. And, my Lords, well worthy are these people of all sympathy and respect. Nothing can be more futile than the arguments adduced, to show that the Turkish Empire is in a state of caducity. It is a country still maintaining its independence, its domestic policy, and is surpassed by none in a liberality and toleration of religion. And, my Lords, is there any other country which in a moment of danger would have done more than the subjects of the Sultan have done, or as much? The whole population, from the highest to the lowest, have come forward with such contributions as they could make. They have come forward in this emergency to make sacrifices of their private fortunes, such as have no parallel in any country except in those made by the Russians at Moscow in the year 1820; and with respect to the bravery and courage they have shown in resisting a Power supposed to be irresistible, have they not in six months broken down much of the prestige of the Russian army? Is it possible for any nation to have made a more vigorous or successful resistance than they have done on the banks of the Danube, in a most unfavourable season? and when I mention the barbarous massacre of Sinope, revert to the circumstances connected with it, I feel fully justified in saying that nothing that I have ever read—nothing in ancient history—whether at Thermopylæ or Marathon—nothing in modern history—not even the sacrifices which our own country above all others has made, can surpass the bravery and devotion evinced by that people upon that occasion. In a letter I have lately read from an eyewitness of the action, it is stated that a Turkish frigate fired a broadside at the enemy when the muzzles of her guns were within two inches of the water, from her being in a sinking state. No wonder that such conduct has met with the sympathy which courage and patriotism ever received in England. And I am sure that if Her Majesty's Government had taken the course which I have ventured to point out, they would have armed, instead of weakening themselves—they would have weakened instead of strengthening the Czar, and would have proved to him, that even if he went on, he would have opposed to him, not Turkey alone, but a country the most powerful in the world, and an ally of that country, almost equally powerful. I will not, however, enter further into this subject, for your Lordships will doubtless have an early opportunity of perusing the papers which will be laid before Parliament, and you will then be better prepared than you can be at present to discuss the question.

My Lords, I will now proceed to make one or two observations on some of the paragraphs in the Speech from the Throne. My Lords, Her Majesty's Government have announced in the Speech from the Throne their intention to introduce a Bill for the reform of the representation of the Commons in Parliament during the present Session. I can give no opinion as to the necessity of such a Bill, and, of course, I can give no opinion as to what it is to be; but I cannot help saying that of all the seasons that I ever saw chosen by a Go- vernment for proposing a measure so likely to cause irritation and division among the people, I never, in my life, saw such a time selected as the present. At the very moment when war is at hand, and Her Majesty's Ministers have come down to Parliament, and have asked us to lay aside all party feeling—and sure I am that party feeling will always give way to the natural love which we have for the character of the country and the honour of the Crown—at the very moment that they make this request, when it might have been expected they would have furnished as few motives as possible to opposition—when it is of the greatest moment that the utmost unanimity should exist, not only in Parliament, but among the whole population—they propose to introduce a measure which, be it as perfect as it may, is sure to excite opposition, and jealousy, and division among different classes of people in this country to a very great extent. They propose to introduce such a measure as a rider to a war. I firmly believe that the prudence of such a course will be doubted even by many persons who are most anxious for reform.

My Lords, another important question which the Government promises to bring forward is the relaxation of the law of settlement. I have often trespassed on your Lordships' attention in reference to that subject, and I am bound to own that my opinions with regard to it have been very much modified since I went into it myself. There was a time when I thought that the abolition of the law of settlement would be a great improvement. I am not so certain of that now; and I have been not a little astonished at the facts which have lately come to my knowledge with reference to the population of those parishes upon which that law was supposed to have an injurious effect.

With reference to another subject alluded to in the Speech from the Throne, when Her Majesty's Government talk of opening the coasting trade of the United Kingdom to the ships of all foreign nations, I would ask whether they have had any promise from any other country that they will adopt the same principle? I may observe, my Lords, that there is a treaty of very great consequence pending between the United States and ourselves, and important benefits will be seemed to this country if that treaty should be concluded. One of the main difficulties in its way was the American government insist- ing that the whole of the trade, from the east coast of the United States to California, around Cape Horn, should be treated as a coasting trade. When I was in office I could not move them from that, and a stop was put to further negotiation by a declaration that their constitutional law prevented their treating one State differently from another, and that California being a State of the Union, the trade from New York to California must stand upon the same footing as the trade from New York to Boston. I must say, in passing, that we are only at the beginning of the new order of things. The master of a British ship is now allowed to take any crew he pleases. It may be composed of chimney-sweepers if he thinks proper, and they not only need not be Englishmen, but may belong to any country in the world. I think we ought to be cautious in legislating upon such matters, after the severe lesson we have had in the loss of the Tayleur—a loss attributable to the fact that she was manned by a set of foreigners who could neither understand the captain nor each other, and who did not even understand the ordinary duties of seamanship. A recurrence of such losses will make it necessary for the law to interfere, and to protect the lives of Her Majesty's subjects on the sea, as they do those of travellers by railway, by compelling each British ship to have a certain number of able British seamen among their crews. I will add no more, my Lords, except in the words of Her Majesty's Speech, to "pray that God may prosper your Lordships' counsels and guide your decisions."


I certainly do not intend to enter, even so far as the noble Lord who has just sat down, into a discussion of those important proceedings which have ended in floating this country apparently up to the brink of a war. As my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has very fairly availed himself of his privilege to defer his vindication of the Government upon the highly important points which have been adverted to by the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Clanricarde), until the papers are before the House, I do not think it desirable to attempt now to enter on that discussion. I am anxious, as far as it is possible to do so, even to suspend my opinion upon these transactions until I shall bp in possession of the information which will be afforded by the papers to be furnished to the House; but in the meantime I must say this much— that I think the course of proceeding by Her Majesty's Government stands greatly in need of explanation and vindication. As far as I am yet informed, I am not satisfied, in the first place, that we ought to have interfered at all. I concur, however, with my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the opinion that the flames of a European war once lighted, no man can tell how far the conflagration may extend—no man can foresee the extent of misery which may follow from it. I agree also with my noble Friend as to the infinite dangers to our interests which even a short war would involve; all those measures of improvement which in this country and in others have made such wonderful progress within the last forty years, if not absolutely arrested, will at least be materially retarded, when men's energies and thoughts are occupied in devising their mutual destruction, and when the country will be called upon to make the greatest sacrifices. Looking also to the misery inflicted on so many families by the loss of friends and relations, I view with horror and apprehension the breaking out of war; and I say, regarding war as so dreadful a calamity, knowing also what is the character of the Turkish Government, and knowing to what a condition, after four centuries of Turkish government, the fairest regions of the earth have been reduced—knowing that to this day the Christian subjects of the Porte are labouring under oppression as severe, in some respects more severe, than those of the negro population in our own colonies before slavery was abolished—because your Lordships may remember that during the controversy for the abolition of slavery, one of the points most earnestly pressed on the Legislature of the West India Colonies, was to admit the testimony of slaves against their masters as the only possible means of securing them any protection of life and limb; and, if I am not mistaken, to this hour my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has not been able to obtain from the Porte similar protection for Christian subjects in Turkey; and to this hour a Christian subject of the Porte may see, perhaps, his wife and family killed before his eyes, and yet have his evidence rejected in the Turkish courts of justice when he comes to complain of the wrongs he has suffered—when I know these things, and when I remember what is the calamity of war, it will take much to convince me that it is necessary, or that any interest we may have in supporting Turkey against what I am ready to admit are unjustifiable demands on the part of Russia, can for a moment be compared with the superior interest in the maintenance of European peace. It will also take much to convince me, if we are to support Turkey at all, that we should not have had a better chance of averting war, if we had given that support with more promptitude than we have done. It will take much to convince me on these points. I shall be glad and anxious to be convinced, if grounds can be shown for altering the opinion which, on the first blush, I cannot refuse to entertain. But I will not discuss these questions. I think it far better that for the present they should be postponed. I presume the time will come when we nest thoroughly and seriously consider them.

My present object in rising was to offer a few observations of a different character. If, my Lords, we are indeed on the eve of war—as I fear we have too much grounds for apprehending—I trust that war will be carried on with vigour and with energy. Whether it was right to support Turkey or not—whether our past course has been judicious or not—still, if we have committed the honour of the country, and it is now necessary to make war, let us all join heart and hand in carrying on that war to the utmost of our power. I hope, therefore, if a war is indeed impending, that no considerations of false and ill-timed economy—that no other considerations of any kind—will cause any hesitation on the part of Her Majesty's Government in coming forward, and calling on the country for those efforts which it ought to make, and for those sacrifices which I believe must be imposed upon it. I am convinced those sacrifices will in the end be the least, that the calamity of war will be less likely to extend, if, whilst a state of war exists, it be carried on with the utmost possible energy. I hope there will be no shrinking from striking the heaviest blows we are capable of inflicting on Russia in every quarter where she is found most vulnerable. I hope Her Majesty's Government have already considered and determined on the measures they are to adopt. I hope especially they have already considered and are prepared to deal with those defects which I fear it is almost impossible a long peace should not have introduced into our naval and military services. There is one point which seems to me of paramount impor- tance. I do trust that some regulation will be adopted—it is not for me to say what—but I trust that some regulation may be adopted by which the honour of the British arms, and the interests, and perhaps safety, of the country will be confided to officers in command who are still in the vigour of their age. I have every reason to think this a point of extreme importance. Your Lordships are, no doubt, aware that under the present regulations of the British service, which differs in this respect from every other service in Europe, there are no means whatever of bringing forward officers of the rank of general or flag officers by selection. In the junior ranks of the service the Admiralty and the Commander-in-Chief have the opportunity of bringing forward officers who have distinguished themselves; but when in the Navy the officer so distinguishing himself becomes post captain, or when in the Army he becomes full colonel, from that moment, according to the present practice of our service, there are no means of advancing him to the rank of major-general or flag officer. What is the consequence? The consequence is this, that in a long peace, and with the slow promotion which necessarily follows a long peace, the very youngest general officer in our service—those who are most fortunate in rising rapidly through the inferior grades of the profession—can hardly expect to obtain the rank of general officer under fifty—I doubt if at this moment there is a single general officer so young; and the great majority of our general officers do not attain that rank until a far later period of life. I can take upon myself to say that when I had the honour of holding the office of Secretary of State, I felt most deeply the inconvenience of this state of things. There was a strong professional objection invariably urged against employing officers in command before they had attained the rank of general officer; and the equally strong objections against any departure from the strict rule of seniority, rendered the field of selection so small, that I felt, during the whole time I had the honour of holding the seals of the Colonial Department, it was at times impossible adequately to fill up the command of troops on our distant stations. Of course, on matters of this kind, it would be invidious to cite instances; but I will ask any person conversant with the case to look through the list of officers in command, and then look to the Army List, and see how long they have been out of employment before appointed to command. Some have been out of actual service for periods of ten, twenty, I am not sure I may not say even of thirty years; and looking at that fact, I say there is a case for the remarks which I now make. Allow me to remind your Lordships of the opinion of a great authority on this subject. It is now many years since I read the book, but among the recorded conversations of Napoleon at St. Helena is one in which a very remarkable opinion is given by that great soldier on this question, He was talking about the qualifications of a person to command an army, and after mentioning different intellectual qualifications, he said, "But I think vigour of body is hardly less necessary than vigour of mind." He instanced himself, and pointed out how, in his earlier years, in those campaigns in which he acquired his great fame and his position in France, it was his custom to pass sixteen consecutive hours on horseback, to ride great distances, to undergo great fatigue, and how, in his later campaigns, being physically incapable of going through such exertions, he was obliged to go about in carriages; and he added this remarkable expression, "I was obliged to see with other men's eyes instead of my own, and the difference was very great." The Emperor wound up by saying that few men at the age he had attained at the close of his military career were fit for the practical and arduous duties of war. But Napoleon at the close of his military career was only forty-five years of age. His illustrious victor, who also closed his military career in the immortal battle of Waterloo, was, I believe, precisely the same age. Both these distinguished men had acquired their renown, and finished their career as soldiers in active service, at forty-five—that is to say, when five years younger than the youngest general officer we can have under the present regulations. Is that a fit state of things to exist in war? In peace it will be only a great inconvenience, but in war the very safety of the country is at stake; and I do trust in some way or other professional etiquette and professional jealousy will be overruled, and Her Majesty's Government take care that the command of the armies of England is entrusted to men possessing qualities from which they may reasonably expect that they will adequately maintain the honour of the Crown, and that in some way or other the principle of selection will be introduced. Allow me to remind your Lordships that Lord Chatham did this. He set aside, without any scruple or hesitation, all military etiquette, and all these considerations of seniority. Wolfe was a lieutenant of only seven years' standing when he was made colonel over the heads of several of his seniors, and three months after brigadier-general, and he held only locally the rank of major-general when he fell at the moment of victory at the head of the army which conquered Canada. During the late war the evil was not felt as much as it was now. Doubtless, great advantage had resulted from the regulations introduced by the late Duke of York, which required officers to serve a certain time in different grades before they obtained promotion; but, still, under the old system, however great the abuses connected with it, officers had a chance of rising more rapidly in their profession, and becoming lieutenant-colonels and colonels at an earlier age. If I mistake not, the late Lord William Bentinck had the command of a cavalry regiment when he was only nineteen years of age. The revolutionary war was carried on with reckless profusion, and the consequence was that extensive brevets were made, and twenty or thirty officers were sometimes promoted in order to secure the services of a single good one. In these tittles we have not the same resources, and we cannot, without a departure from the general rule, command the services of such officers as the exigencies of the public service require. I trust this subject has already occupied the attention of Her Majesty's Government. More depends on it than is generally supposed; and I am glad to perceive that Her Majesty's Government have been taking a step in the right direction—that at all events, Colonel Eyre, who distinguished himself in the Kafir war, has been appointed one of Her Majesty's aides-de-camp, and is raised to the rank of full colonel. I trust Her Majesty's Government will go further, and give the rank not only of full colonel, but of general officer, not only to him, but to all such men who, like him, are in the full vigour of age, in the full practice of their profession, and who have shown that they possess military talents of a high order.

There is another thing which, if we are really on the eve of war, I think hardly less deserving of earnest consideration—I mean the present cumbrous organisation of the departments connected with the ad- ministration of the Army. Your Lordships are aware that more than twenty years ago this subject occupied the attention of the Government of that day. My noble Friend, who is not now present, the Duke of Richmond, as a Member of that Administration, was Chairman of a Commission appointed to inquire into the constitution of the military departments. He and those who acted with him left office before that inquiry was brought to a conclusion. It was resumed under Lord Melbourne's Administration, in which I had the honour of holding the office of Secretary of War. And as Secretary of War I was placed in the Chair of that Commission, which was entirely composed of Members of that Administration. That Commission, after a full and patient inquiry, agreed to a Report, pointing out very strongly the evils which arose from the present state of things. That Report, however, has not to this day been acted on. Here, again, professional jealousy and the strong objections of the military profession, together with the greater urgency of other improvements, while there was no prospect of an interruption of peace, had prevented successive Governments from taking the necessary measures for the removal of these acknowleged defects. But I can say, from my own experience, having for many years held the office of Secretary of War and Secretary of State for the War Department, that the urgency of some reform in the constitution of those departments is much greater than is generally supposed. If this were the proper time for it, I could lay before your Lordships cases of mismanagement and of evils which have existed for the last fifty years, directly traceable to this vicious organisation of these departments; and I could adduce facts proving those evils, which, I think, would astonish your Lordships and the country. I hope, therefore, this most important subject has already occupied the attention of Her Majesty's Government, and that they will be prepared either to propose to Parliament or to adopt by the authority of the Crown, and communicate to Parliament—for much may, I believe, be done by the authority of the Crown—that in one way or the other they will lose no time in introducing an amended organisation of these departments. If they do not, I venture to predict from the want of unity in the management of departments closely connected with each other other; and the dilatory and cumbrous arrange- ments for the transaction of business, that before we have been many months engaged in serious war, it will assuredly lead to some calamitous results. Having mentioned two subjects of great importance, which I think require immediate attention, I cannot help adding that I hope and trust that until all that is necessary to provide for the safety of the country, and to make all those arrangements for carrying on war effectually—if war there must be, and on which Parliament must be consulted, I trust until these matters of extreme urgency have been settled and disposed of, Her Majesty's Government will defer bringing forward that measure of Parliamentary reform which they have promised. I ask, would it be convenient that the consideration by Parliament of financial and other arrangements, which will be absolutely necessary immediately if war break out, should be interrupted by long discussions on a Reform Bill? And, on the other hand, would it not be equally inconvenient, nay, perhaps, even more so, that a Reform Bill, which excites so many passions and provokes so much difference of opinion, both within and without the walls of Parliament, that a measure of this description should be laid on the table of the House of Commons, and allowed to remain there without being pushed on, as I think it ought, with all possible despatch? A Reform Bill is a measure which should be proceeded with without any unnecessary delay, and nothing but harm can result from allowing it to lie idly on the table of the House. Will it not be highly inconvenient to have the provisions of such a measure discussed out of doors, and all sorts of objections raised, while Parliament is discussing new taxes, new arrangements with regard to the Army and Navy, and various proposals which war necessarily raises? I cannot help agreeing to some extent with what fell from the noble Earl opposite, that an absence of party violence is exceedingly desirable when you want all parties to join as far as possible in promoting the success of the country in the contest in which she will be enraged. I do think, at such a moment as that, it will be peculiarly inconvenient to launch a question which necessarily gives rise to great difference of opinion, and upon which it is known many persons entertain very strong opinions indeed against any alteration whatever. Undoubtedly there are many faults and scandals connected with the present system which it is desirable to re- that move, but I would, therefore, urge upon Her Majesty's Government not to postpone for the whole Session, but to postpone until all those matters of emergency affecting the present condition of foreign politics have been settled, that great and agitating question of Parliamentary Reform; and I have less hesitation in doing so, because while I quite concur that some improvement in the present system is desirable, still I must say the necessity for reform now is totally different in character from that which existed in 1830. In the year 1830 reform was necessary far less because of the great anomalies in the state of the representation—far less because Old Sarum and Gatton were represented, and Manchester and Birmingham were unrepresented, than because, looking back to the history of the country for the last 100 years, it was impossible to doubt that the state of the representation injuriously affected the character of our legislation and government. I think no impartial man, looking back carefully to the proceedings of the preceding century, can doubt that too often, both in measures of legislation and measures of executive government, the influence of Parliament was biassed and controlled, to the detriment of the general interest, and for the selfish and corrupt advantage of a few persons who exercised predominant influence in the selection of Members of the House of Commons. I think incalculable evils had arisen from the former state of things, and that it is clear that the House of Commons, as it then existed, was not sufficiently under the control of public opinion. But if we look back to the last twenty years, can any man say the same thing? Is it or is it not true that for the last twenty years the whole spirit of legislation in the House of Commons has been completely under the control of public opinion? When I speak of public opinion I mean the real deliberate opinion of the educated and enlightened classes of the community. I say, my Lords, our legislation, and the measures of the Executive Government since the passing of the Reform Act, under the influence of the Reformed House of Commons, have been in complete deference to public opinion—perhaps, I may say, in too great deference, in some cases, to hasty and ill-formed opinions. No one can, say public opinion has been set at nought. It has, perhaps, too much prevailed. In the period to which I revert, no doubt Parliament has come to many erroneous deci- sions; but I say the worst mistakes which Parliament has made have been made by merely reflecting the prevailing opinions of the day. It is upon these grounds I would earnestly urge on Her Majesty's Government to defer bringing forward that project of reform, which I cannot believe is of equal urgency with other matters which should claim our attention. I trust that the opinions I have now expressed will be shared by many both in this and the other House of Parliament, and that Her Majesty's Government will be induced, instead of raising agitation on the question of Parliamentary reform at the present moment, to apply themselves urgently and promptly to the consideration of those measures requisite to place the country in an efficient state of defence.


said, in allusion to the paragraph in Her Majesty's Speech referring to the Law of Settlement, he begged to express his opinion that no greater boon could be conferred on the labouring classes than the abolition of the present law.


Exhausted as your Lordships must be with the length of this important debate, yet at a time when this country is in a more formidable and awful crisis than at any period of my Parliamentary experience that I can remember, and at a moment when it is doubtful whether we are not actually engaged in war, I cannot reconcile it with my duty, when subjects of such importance are being discussed, to remain altogether silent, although, on account of the considerations presented to us by the noble Lord the Secretary of State, I think it desirable to postpone any detailed examination or discussion of foreign affairs until we have had an opportunity of considering those papers which the Government have at length determined on laying before Parliament. Before I proceed to deal, as I shall very slightly, with the more promininent features, there are one or two topics of minor importance in the Queen's Speech—minor, indeed, as compared with those momentous questions to which I would refer; although, as it is the avowed intention of Her Majesty's Government to submit propositions on them, there will be future opportunities of discussion. I shall not, therefore, attempt to call your attention to that most intricate and difficult question which my noble Friend behind me has made the peculiar object of panegyric. I can only express a hope that Her Majesty's Government will find the solution of those difficulties which surround the existing law of settlement more easy than their predecessors have done. I fear it will be found in this as in other cases, that it is more easy to ascertain and expose the evils of an existing state of things, than to substitute for it a different state of things, which shall not be liable to opposite, perhaps, but at the same time to equal, and possibly greater, objections. I will not enter, except for a single moment, on the important point touched on in Her Majesty's Speech; and the situation which I have the honour to hold must be my excuse for the few words with which I shall trouble your Lordships. I think, except the noble Earl the mover of the Address—who adverted to almost all the topics of the Speech with a facility, with a grace, and at the same time with a modesty which promised to make him at no distant time an ornament of this House, and one of whom the University of which he spoke will have reason to be proud—no person has touched at all upon the intended alterations and reforms of the Universities. I cannot, however, entirely concur in the praise which the noble Earl bestowed on all the recommendations of the Government with respect to the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, while I doubt very much whether the advantage anticipated from the extension of studies at the Universities would not materially impair the completeness of those in which the students are now engaged. I think, at the same time, that there is room for considerable improvement in the discipline and management of these Universities, and also of the studies to which, until of late years, they have been too exclusively devoted. But this is not an opinion which I entertain alone. It is supported by the strong opinion of both the Universities. In both one and the other there is a well-considered determination, gradually and systematically to adapt the course of studies and discipline more and more to the requirements of modern times. But what I am anxious to press on Parliament, and on Her Majesty's Government more especially, is, that if you desire those reforms and those alterations to be introduced in the manner most likely to be well considered and ultimately beneficial, those alterations must be made with caution and prudence by the authorities of the Universities and Colleges themselves, and not by the intervention of a Commission, well meant, no doubt, but not likely to be judiciously conducted, either by the House of Commons or by this House. I cannot allow the first occasion of this topic being mentioned to pass without expressing my anxious hope that, as far as possible, the measure to be introduced by Her Majesty's Government will be a measure prohibiting, and, if they will, rendering absolutely illegal, those partly obsolete and partly mischievous oaths and qualifications which bind some of the authorities not only not to ask for, but not to consent to, any alteration of the statutes, let them be as obsolete as they may; and, having set free the hands of the Universities and Colleges, enabling them with such restrictions as they, from time to time, may deem discreet, or Parliament think fit to impose, to make such alterations in the statutes and in the system as they may feel, from time to time, to be desirable; and I am perfectly convinced that public expectation will not be disappointed by the course which the Universities will pursue. I trust that in the Bill which Her Majesty's Government may see fit to introduce, while they are desirous of removing the objectionable provisions regarding the Universities, and of opening the various honours, scholarships, fellowships, and the like, as far as possible, to general competition, and make them the prize and reward of merit, they will at the same time bear in mind that these are institutions with which they are not absolutely free to deal—that they are subject to obligations—that they are in no sense the property of the public—that they are not absolutely the property of the Universities—that they have been accepted by the Universities themselves, subject to conditions which, if there were a carte blanche, it might be desirable to remove; but that having accepted their funds under a particular trust, I am quite sure that your Lordships, and I hope that the other House of Parliament, will be very cautious how far you sanction, for the attainment of an apparent temporary, or even for a permanent advantage, any interference with foundations which are held by the Universities upon certain terms, and which can only be dealt with by the Universities upon certain conditions. Parliament should be cautious, even when intending to effect a certain good, in dealing with trusts to which nothing immoral or illegal attaches.

And now I must express my surprise at an omission in the Speech delivered from the Throne. Important as it may be to improve and extend the system of education in the Universities, yet that is not the only description of education, nor is it the most important subject connected with education, with which Her Majesty's Government have to deal. At the time of the formation of the present Government, it was distinctly announced, amongst their various claims to public confidence, and prominently put forward, that they would introduce and carry measures for extending and improving the general education of the people; and a measure of that kind was brought forward by Lord John Russell in the House of Commons last year. Now, I should have been glad to know from Her Majesty's Government—and the importance of the subject will, perhaps, be a sufficient apology and warrant for asking the question—whether it is their intention to proceed with that measure, or to substitute for it any other similar measure in the course of the present Session, which will have the effect of dealing with that unhappy but most extensive mass of ignorance and its consequent vice, by which it is the lamentable and notorious fact that a great portion of the population, more especially those of our great towns, are more or less at this moment contaminated.

In the course of the Speech, Her Majesty tells your Lordships that She continues to act in cordial co-operation with the Emperor of the French; but as I have mentioned the word "omissions," I may say that, however important are the relations by which we are engaged to Europe, this is the first time that, in the Speech from the Throne, I have noticed the omission of all reference to our relations, our negotiations, or engagements with any foreign Power in the western hemisphere. In the Message delivered to Congress by the President of the United States of America, there were certain questions—and not of minor importance—stated at that time to be pending in negotiation between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States, and I believe that these were measures affecting the rights of Her Majesty's Government in South America, and negotiations, also, affecting the right of Her Majesty's subjects and the subjects of the United States with regard to the fisheries of North America, besides other matters of considerable importance which had been in negotiation for some time, and which I should have thought, if it were only out of courtesy to the United States, Her Majesty's Government would not have passed over in absolute silence. One omission, in particular, strikes me as somewhat singular. When the noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) made his first statement to your Lordships more than a year ago, in answer to a question as to what were the principles on which his Government would be conducted, he said that he considered it his special mission to extend the principles of free trade and enlarge the commerce of the country. Now, in the course of last year I know of one important step that has been taken by the Government for extending, under the most perfectly free system, the advantages of the commerce of this country. That important step has, moreover, been confirmed by a treaty. We have had on former occasions papers laid on the table and commented upon in the Royal Speech, relating to matters so important as a treaty for the suppression of the slave trade with the Republic of Ecuador, and other no less important subjects; but in the course of the present year a treaty has been negotiated which I hope Her Majesty's Government do not undervalue, for I can assure them the commercial interests of the country do not undervalue it—a treaty by which the inner waters of the River Plate have been opened to the commerce of all the world, and by which an immense inlet has been made to an augmenting and continually increasing market for the manufactures of this country; and even our imports from this quarter are not insignificant now, because they include the important articles of hemp and tallow, adequate supplies of which under existing circumstances there may be some difficulty in obtaining from Russia. I can assure your Lordships that this is a matter by no means considered of minor importance by the merchants and commercial interests of this country, for they contend that the whole interior of South America should be open without restriction to this country, and that treaties may be advantageously concluded with the various States which are intersected by the great South American rivers. Again, adverting to the United States, I may just observe that the President thought it necessary to mention this treaty (which had been effected in conjunction with this country) as a matter from which the commerce of the United States would derive great advantage. I only mention this, because this important omission was a point of modesty on the part of the noble Earl—because the merit, be it important or unimportant, is not due to the members of Her Majesty's Government, but to my noble Friend who sits near me (Lord Malmesbury), under whose auspices and authority these negotiations were carried on by Sir Charles Hotham. But although Her Majesty's Government cannot claim the merit of originating or effecting this arrangement, they can at least claim the good fortune of not having been able to put a stop to it, because, by a comparison of the dates, it will be seen that Sir Charles Hotham had completed, in the course of last year, the treaty of Buenos Ayres—the most important of the whole—and sent it back for the ratification of the Government; and most fortunately he sent it back as soon as he did, because the treaty so conducted, and the communication announcing the success of his mission was—if I am not misinformed—crossed on the road by another despatch from the noble Lord opposite, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, recalling Sir Charles Hotham from his attempt to conduct a mission which was stated to be productive of great expense, and to have no chance of being brought to a successful issue. I regret, therefore, that modesty, apart from the importance of the subject, debarred Her Majesty's Government from introducing any mention of this treaty.

My Lords, I now approach—and I approach with a deep sense of the importance and gravity of the occasion—that which has been treated—as necessarily it must be treated—as the main and principal subject of the Speech from the Throne. I mean the most critical state in which we now stand with regard to our relations with Russia and Turkey. And I confess that I regret that, even at the eleventh hour, the language of Her Majesty's Government was not more clear and distinct on the subject. I am left like the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Clanricarde) who alluded to the question, to mere conjecture as to whether, at the moment that I am speaking, we are at peace or at war. For I presume that if I were to him that we are actually at war, not only would such a conclusion be repudiated by the noble Earl at the head of Her Majesty's Government, but he would state that Her Majesty had endeavoured in conjunction with Her Allies "to preserve and restore peace," and that She would persevere in Her efforts to accomplish that object; yet I would suggest a little modification in this, and say that, before peace is preserved, it had better be restored. It is intimated to us, however, that a state of warfare has ensued from the failure of all our negotiations. A state of warfare: with whom are we engaged in that warfare? are we belligerents? are we partisans? are we carrying on war openly and boldly, or are we carrying on that which is tantamount to war, but a war carried on in a pettifogging manner, and, I might almost say, in a manner discreditable to this great country? I know not, but I hope that when the papers which the noble Earl has announced his intention of laying on the table shall have been submitted to our consideration, we shall at least then know what is the precise occupation in which our fleet is engaged at present; that we shall know precisely under what orders it has been sent, and that those orders have been given in the most distinct, and positive, and formal manner by Her Majesty's Government here to the admiral in command of the squadron in the Bosphorus or in the Black Sea. Well, my Lords, I shall rejoice to see what is the exact state of affairs; but at the present moment, I confess it is involved in obscurity. We are not at war—we are cherishing hopes of peace, and labouring to restore it when interrupted; but, at the same time, Her Majesty's Government are sending a message to one of the belligerent parties, that if their vessels leave the port in which it is presumed they are lying, we shall consider it an act of hostility, and insist on confining them to their quarters. But while such is our conduct towards one of the belligerents, are we applying the same condition to the other belligerent? are we confining the Turkish fleet under a compulsory armistice? No, it is a fact, of which your Lordships are without doubt aware, that we are convoying the Turkish fleet, laden with ammunition and with troops, to enable Turkey more effectually to carry on war. I am not saying that, if we are doing all this, we are acting in a manner discreditable to the country, by giving a moral and physical assistance to Turkey; but I say that by giving the convoy of our fleet for the transport of ammunition and of troops, whatever you may call it, we are virtually engaged in war, but at the same time a description of war, which, with all the risks, all the difficulties, and all the dangers, which must ever attend war, is undoubtedly accompanied with greater risks, difficulties, and dangers, than an open declaration of war itself would incur.

I will abstain from entering into details, because all the information we now possess is derived from the ordinary sources of intelligence, and from that amount of information which other Governments have thought fit to give to Parliament and the country, but which the present Government feel it to be their duty to suppress or to withhold altogether, or have only allowed to transpire through the columns of a friendly newspaper. But I do not complain of Her Majesty's Government for having used their best endeavours for preserving peace, and when hope appeared to be extinct, for using even their despairing efforts to avert the calamity of war. There is no man—not even the noble Earl himself—who looks upon the necessity of war with more apprehension and horror—not with apprehension for the safety of the honour and character of the country, but with the apprehension with which every humane man must regard the arrival of that which ever must be accompanied with inevitable calamities to the human race—no man looks upon the evils of war with greater apprehension and abhorrence than I do. And I do not complain of Her Majesty's Government for having left no means untried to avert war. What I do complain of, as far as my knowledge and information goes—and I shall rejoice to find myself contradicted and convinced by the perusal of the papers which we are about to see—is, that the means taken by Her Majesty's Government are not only not the best means to effect that object, but appear to me to be the best calculated inevitably to thwart that object. The noble Earl the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has said, and I agree with him, that it is not desirable that this country, in her foreign relations, should manifest a suspicious policy. I entirely agree with him, and if there were any country towards which more than another it is desirable that this country should not adopt an attitude of unnecessary or of exaggerated suspicion, that very country is Russia; but, on the other hand, there is no country in the world towards which, while we do not hold the language of suspicion, or conduct our policy on unfounded suspicion—there is no country in the world with which it is more essential to deal with a frank, open, and explicit declaration of that which we will allow, and that which we will not allow—of that which we intend to do, and that which we intend shall not be done; and that if she goes beyond that point, to a certainty the ambitious designs of Russia will meet with the vigorous and determined resistance of England. The whole policy of Russia for the last 150 years has been a policy of gradual aggression—not a policy of conquest, but of aggression. It has never proceeded by storm, but by sap and mine. The first process has been invariably that of fomenting discontent and dissatisfaction amongst the subjects of subordinate States—then proffering mediation—then offering assistance to the weaker party—then declaring the independence of that party—then placing that independence under the protection of Russia; and finally, from protection, proceeding to the absorption, one by one, of those States into the gigantic body of the Russia Empire. My Lords, I say nothing of Poland or of Livonia, but I speak of Mingrelia, Imiritia, and the countries of the Caspian, even as far as the boundary of the Araxes; and, again, the Crimea itself. This has been the one course which Russia has invariably pursued; but your Lordships will observe that, although she has pursued this steady course for 150 years, she has from time to time desisted from her schemes where she has found that she would be defeated in her object, and she has never carried any one of those schemes into effect where she has been certain to meet the opposition of this country. I say, therefore, giving all due credit for the prudence and sagacity which the Emperor Nicholas has displayed, and the caution he has shown, and the apparent frankness he has exhibited in the course of the last few years—to the moderation and prudence by which he has confined himself to that which, next to the extension of her empire, has been the chief object of Russia, namely, the maintenance of what she calls order, and the suppression of revolutionary principles; nevertheless, such being the habitual policy of Russia, the mode in which she is to be met by this country is not one of counter intrigues and petty diplomacy here and there, but by a frank, and at the same time firm, temperate, and yet friendly declaration of the point beyond which, if she desires to retain the friendship and good-will of England, it is impossible, consistently with the honour and character of this country, that Russia should be suffered to advance. I speak of England only just now; but certain I am that if, at an early period in these proceedings, the Emperor of Russia had been made sensible that his attempts to set up a protectorate, and next to effect an annexation, but not, perhaps, immediately to incorporate the Turkish Empire, but to weaken its resources, to extend over it his protection, to obtain the right of interference in its domestic concerns, and gradually to invest himself with a controlling power—I venture to say that if at an early period he had been made clearly to understand that in pursuing this course of policy he would meet with the unhesitating and unflinching opposition, morally and physically, of two such nations as England and France combined, the Emperor of Russia would never have taken the step which he has taken. My Lords, I think that the Emperor of Russia has great cause to complain. I think that Her Majesty's Government deceived and deluded him with regard to the course which he might have expected them to pursue. I do not say that this had intentionally been done by Her Majesty's Government. I pass over what was stated by my noble Friend behind me—though there was a great deal of truth in what he stated, as to the effect which must have been produced on the mind of the Emperor in the course of the last year, by the constant and incessant denunciations of that portion of the press which enjoys the peculiar favour of the noble Earl opposite. [The Earl of ABERDEEN: hear, hear!] If the noble Earl cheers he must permit me to go on and show why I say this. I am far from desiring to affix upon any political party, or political moan, all the indiscretions or all the follies which have been committed by newspapers generally supporting the policy of that party; but I must make an exception in the case where I find one single newspaper entrusted by Her Majesty's Government with a letter—with an important paper—which a fortnight before, on the ground of public danger, that Government had refused to communicate to Parliament. I say, my Lords, when I find that same newspaper—on a most extraordinary and remarkable occasion, on which I shall find it necessary to say a word or two by and by—announcing a fact not only unknown to his Colleagues, but unknown to his Sovereign at the moment of his resignation from office, of a most important Member of the Cabinet—when I find not only the announcement of that fact before it came to the knowledge of his colleagues, but before it came to the knowledge of his Sovereign, but that this newspaper was authorised to disclose the Cabinet secrets, and the grounds of difference between that Member of the Government and his Colleagues—when I find that newspaper loading the Minister whose resignation it announced with vituperation in an article which could not but have been prepared before the resignation was absolutely complete; and when that same newspaper, in a few short days afterwards, when no one was found to fill up the vacant place, and the same noble Lord had returned to the post he had quitted, is seen congratulating Her Majesty's Government on the return of that able Minister, upon their riddance from whom it had equally congratulated them a few days before—I say, my Lords, when I find such revelations and such communications, which could only have proceeded from the Cabinet itself—[Murmurs]—I say, my Lords, which could only have proceeded from the Cabinet itself—I refer, first, to the despatch in the possession of the noble Earl the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs—I refer afterwards to that which has never yet been denied, the statement of the grounds of difference between that noble Viscount (Viscount Palmerston) and the other Members of the Cabinet, his colleagues—when I find these statements made at the very earliest moment, before they are known to those most intimately concerned, I cannot hold Her Majesty's Government to be altogether free from responsibility for the language of the newspaper which indisputably enjoys so large a portion of their confidence. But, supposing that Her Majesty's Government were not responsible for the language of this newspaper, will foreign Governments believe that they were not? When foreign Governments see these things, and see official documents transferred to its columns which are refused to Parliament, will they believe that it does not speak the sentiments of the leading Members of the Government? And when you find that paper first of all engaged in perpetual depreciation of that French alliance of which you so much boast, and on which you rest your sole hopes of safety in the unfortunate complications which you have caused—when you find that newspaper absolutely exhausting all its efforts to show that Turkey is an effete empire—one whose recovery and preservation, and the independence and integrity of whose dominions, is a matter for ridicule and not for serious argument, much less for defence—when the noble Earl has made no secret of, but has openly and publicly declared, his determination that hardly any circumstances would compel him to venture the hazard of war—and some of the noble Earl's correspondents have not been so discreet as he himself has with regard to his explanations (but I will be no party to the violation of such confidence)—I say then, that of all men living, the Emperor of Russia had reason to believe, first, that the noble Earl under no provocation would undertake measures of vigorous warfare; next, that the last country that there should be war with would be Russia; and, lastly, that the last country between which and England a cordial co-operation could be effected was France. And, in fact, everything in the whole course of events must have led the Russian Government to feel confirmed in their opinion. My Lords, in the whole conduct of Her Majesty's Government throughout these proceedings I trace an indication of an infirmity and hesitancy of purpose—an occasional threat here, and an expression of a conciliatory nature there, or an act of apparent vigour on the one hand, and a timid, irresolute shrinking back on the other. Indeed, I cannot but look on their whole course of proceeding as the natural fruit of that extraordinary fusion or confusion of political opinions of which Her Majesty's Government is composed. The noble Earl appears to have acted as if he had some unknown clog around his neck—some unacknowledged obligation—some personal spell upon him, by which he was debarred from taking that course which if he had taken, firmly, temperately, but vigorously, I believe we would have escaped from the unfortunate state of things which we now lament. I have said that I will not now, in the absence of the papers, attempt to enter into details; but we shall have an opportunity when they are produced of ascertaining the grounds which, as I understand, up to a comparatively late period, the Emperor of Russia had reason to form the opinion that he was not likely to have to encounter in relation to his aggression upon Turkey the active interference—the armed active interference—of two nations so powerful as England and France. Neither will I say a single word on the present state of affairs, or with regard to the abortive nature of the negotiations which have taken place, or to the delay which was unfortunately allowed to occur before any step was taken by Her Majesty's Government after the Emperor issued his orders that, if his demands were not complied with, his troops should cross the Pruth. But the noble Earl has confessed that the confidence Her Majesty's Government were led to place in the Russian Government was falsified by the result of the mission of Prince Menschikoff; and yet subsequently, when a notification was made by Count Nesselrode that, in the event of that note sans variance not being accepted by Turkey, the Russian troops would certainly be ordered in a few weeks to cross the Pruth and take possession of the Principalities as a material guarantee, by which he would enforce the fulfilment of an engagement which no one pretended had ever been entered into—I say even at that moment, if Her Majesty's Government had acted with vigour and decision, I think means would have been found to reconcile the differences, and Moldavia and Wallachia would not have been invaded, and the integrity of the Turkish empire would not have been infringed. I will not now comment on the extraordinary proceedings connected with the Vienna note—a note which, from whatever place it originated, ought to have been taken in one of two lights—either that the proposition was made to one of the parties without the previous knowledge of the other; or a higher tone should have been taken, and the mediating, or rather (as they would have been in that case) the arbitrating Powers, should have simultaneously imposed it on both parties alike. I do not complain of the noble Earl for having adopted the former of these courses; but this I say, that if there was to be a previous communication made to either party of the contents of that note, most undoubtedly the party to which it should have been made was Turkey—that country which had sustained injury; for when you are seeking to obtain redress, the first question to be asked was to be put to Turkey, to know whether she was willing to accept the measure of redress which was offered. But, my Lords, public documents show the very opposite of that to have been the course which was pursued. A declaration was made on the part of the Emperor that he had received from Vienna a note of that which he believed to be, and which he signified his assent to, as a note prepared by Austria, and a note which, according to his understanding of it, was to be presented—not had been presented—for the acceptance of Turkey as an ultimatum, the non-acceptance of which would deprive Turkey of our material support. There is this declaration of the Emperor of Russia, that before that notification had been made to Turkey, it had been seen and accepted by the Emperor of Russia; and it is not very extraordinary that it should have been accepted by him when communicated to him, because, by the subsequent confession of all parties except the diplomatists engaged in drawing it up, it gave up to Russia, and in the most offensive manner, everything that had been demanded by Prince Menchikoff—and you yourselves were compeled to admit this when the interpretation was objected to by Turkey; and you yourselves could not adhere to that interpretation. And here I must say that those who have hitherto entertained the opinion that the Turkish empire is a mere body without life, or substance, or vigour, and those who desired, but almost despaired of maintaining the independence and integrity of Turkey, must have been as much surprised as they were gratified by the noble part which Turkey took on this subject. Threatened by a nation numerically considered immensely her superior, and supposed to be militarily her superior, depending on allies in some of whose good offices she could hardly depend with any great confidence—at the same time that she had followed their advice, and placed herself in their hands, and made great sacrifices in order to conciliate their good opinion in all matters which did not concern her integrity and her honour, she has exhibited from the highest to the lowest, where that national honour and independence were concerned, a spirit of moderation, a sagacity, and a firmness which is not the indication of an empire in a state of caducity or dissolution. I consider it one of the symptoms of moral decrepitude in a State, if, in matters of this kind, it tolerates that affairs of this importance should be conducted with imbecility, with vacillation, and with pusillanimity. My Lords, I concur with the noble Earl who lately addressed us, that if we are indeed on the verge of war—whatever may have been the causes that have led to it—however it might have been avoided by a more prudent, because a more vigorous, course of conduct on the part of those to whom the national affairs of this country are entrusted—yet if we are embarked in that war by any fault or error of judgment of Her Majesty's Ministers, provided the objects of that war are, as I think they are, laudable and honourable; provided the cause we are engaged in is one worth fighting for, and one in which we are in the right; provided it be—that which, differing from the noble Earl, I think it is—a cause in which our interference, in one shape or another, was become a matter of necessity—if this be the case, then I concur with the noble Earl that we should better employ ourselves—better even than in investigating the original causes of the failure in preserving peace—better employed, without consideration of party or anything but the honour of the country, in strengthening the Government for the vigorous prosecution of a war which ought not to be undertaken at all if it be not undertaken with the entire force of the empire—that force wielded and maintained as it would be by that unanimous public opinion which exists at the present moment. I do not advocate war. I deprecate it as the greatest of calamities. I think it might have been avoided. But when we are once embarked in war we have nothing to do but to consider, our cause being just, what are the best means of carrying it on, and how we can bring the country through the enormities and horrors of that war to a safe and honourable peace.

I have one word further with the noble Earl. If, indeed, we are to embark in a struggle, the intensity and duration of which no man can foresee, I think that no more unfortunate period could have been selected for the introduction of a question which is so certain to divide, to exasperate, and to agitate parties as the question of Parliamentary reform.

My Lords, upon that subject I must be permitted to say a few words, because I do not altogether upon that subject concur with the views taken by the noble Earl, and apparently taken also by others. Before I say a word upon the question of Parliamentary reform, let me draw one broad distinction. I trust that your Lordships will never consent to couple together as parts of one another, or belonging to the same system, two questions which are essentially different from each other, however they may bear on your elective system—I mean the measures for the purpose of preventing corruption and bribery at elections, and the measures for the alteration of constituencies and representation. With regard to one, I believe your Lordships as to the objects to be attained—the means for obtaining it may be a matter of great difficulty—but with regard to the object to be attained, the suppression of bribery and corruption at elections, I do not believe that there will be a single dissentient among your Lordships. I believe there are no persons, certainly no class, who do not feel it to be for the interest and honour of the country to remove from it that scandal and that evil which has been gradually increasing—namely, the extension of bribery and corruption which now prevail among the constituencies to so great an extent. But if there be one class more than another which has a deep interest, for its own sake, in putting down and suppressing that bribery and corruption, that class is those who are, as most of your Lordships are, connected with the landed interest of this country, and exercising, each in your own neighbourhood, a local and a legitimate influence, which, I trust, will never be attempted to be put down, and which, I am certain, never actually can be put down, but which has been most perniciously counterbalanced and neutralised by the corrupting influence of direct bribery, bringing to bear an influence of money against the legitimate influence of neighbourhood and good-will. Therefore, as far as bribery and corruption are concerned, I believe you will have a universal concurrence in the object at which you aim. With regard to the means by which you seek to effect this object, there may, and probably will, be differences of opinion among you. I confess that I should have been better pleased if I had seen inserted one word which I am not without hope Her Majesty's Government may consent to introduce in the Answer to Her Majesty's Speech, coupling with bribery and corruption that which I am afraid is hardly less prevalent, though perhaps fully as difficult to deal with—namely, the intimidation which is so prevalent. I am quite certain that as those with whom I have the honour of acting will be perfectly ready to join in any measure for the suppression of bribery and corruption, so—unjustly as the body to which many of them belong have been charged in the public newspapers and in various publications with exercising an intimidation which I do not believe to exist—Her Majesty's Government will find upon their part an equal readiness to devise effective measures for the suppression of intimidation. I can understand that the question of the franchise may be confined by circumstances to one portion of Her Majesty's dominions only; I can under stand that an alteration of the franchise may be required in England without being required in Scotland or Ireland; but the suppression of bribery, corruption, and intimidation is a matter which surely is applicable at least as much to Scotland and Ireland as it is to England. There is one class of intimidation which has been carried on most extensively in Ireland, which is peculiar to Ireland—a class which taints the whole of your electoral system, and which really neutralises the votes of the electors, and transfers them to a body who have no right to exercise that power, to pervert their spiritual power to the abusive exercise of temporal power—I mean that power which is and has been exercised in Ireland by the Roman Catholic priesthood, to the utter corruption and destruction of anything like liberty of vote or freedom of conscience. I trust Her Majesty's Government will have the courage to look this monstrous evil in the face, and that they will not suffer intimidation to be checked on the part of one portion of the community in one portion of Her Majesty's dominions, and to remain unchecked and uncontrolled in another portion, every constituency being at least equally liable to be acted upon by the influence of those exercising authority. Now, my Lords, upon the subject of the reform of Parliament, it has been urged by some noble Lords that this is a time peculiarly suited for the introduction of the question, because there is no agitation out of doors on the subject. Now, apart even from the question of the momentous struggle in which we may be engaged in regard to foreign matters, I cannot but think that the absence of all feeling out of doors—I do not say of agitation, I say of feeling—upon the subject of an extensive alteration of our electoral system, is very good ground why Her Majesty's Government should not unnecessarily disturb a system which, whatever may be its theoretical anomalies, they at least will not dispute practically furnishes a House of Commons representing the sense of the people, even if it does not, as stated by the noble Earl opposite, on some occasions represent too accurately the temporary popular feeling of the day. If, however, Her Majesty's Government, should it think fitting, in obedience to the command of the Crown, to lay upon the table of the other House of Parliament a measure for the alteration of the franchise, I am certain that no opposition will be made to the submission of that proposition to the deliberation of Parliament. The measure will be considered with the respect due to the source from which it proceeds; and it will be considered temperately and firmly, with reference to the objects proposed to be effected by it, and the application of the means to the attainment of those objects. But this I must distinctly tell the noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) that if the effect of that measure be to increase the inequality of the representation which now prevails in favour of the great towns, and the masses congregated in them, against the representatives of the county districts of England—whereas it can be shown, and it shall be shown if you come to argue that question, whether upon numbers of population or numbers of constituency, that the county constituencies, those which represent the property of the country, bear a very inadequate proportion in the number of their representatives to those who represent the masses congregated in boroughs—I say, my Lords, if you seek still further to increase that inequality, to give a preponderating influence greater than that at present existing to that class of your representatives, then your Lordships must make up your minds that such a measure will be resisted by all those, I hope I may say on both sides of the House, who are determined to maintain, not the interest of a class, but that which the noble Earl who introduced this debate, rightly stated to be the due representation of all classes in the Commons House of Parliament. I beg that your Lordships will not lose sight of this, that from the earliest periods of the Parliamentary history of this country there have been two great divisions of constituencies, and it is upon due weight being given to each of these two that the whole balance of the constitution in the house of Commons depends. They are, on the one hand, those who represent the property—landed if you will, but the fixed and immovable property of the country—represented by the knights of the shire, elected by the freeholders and those holding leases of property; and on the other, the burgesses, elected by their fellow-burgesses not representing property, but representing residence and occupation of premises. That distinction is as old as the earliest period of our history. It is not a new distinction introduced at the time of the Reform Bill; but it is a distinction which, at the time of the Reform Bill in 1831 and 1832, was recognised, and, to a certain extent, was even extended—because one of the main alterations with regard to the franchise, in addition to extending it beyond the corporations which had in some boroughs usurped the place of the inhabitants at large, was that it was given to a great mass of rated householders; and at the same time, in order to draw more clearly the distinction between the two classes of representation, the non-resident freemen were disfranchised in regard to boroughs, while residence was not considered necessary with regard to the county franchise. Property was there made the basis of representation; number and residence were the basis of representation with regard to boroughs. I do not pretend that this theory is carried out in all its integrity and with all its detail. Theory it is not; it is a practical distinction, most important to be borne in mind if you desire that the House of Commons should be not a mere representation of numbers, but a representation of property and numbers combined, one portion of the Members representing more directly the interest of property, the other representing more directly and immediately the interests of residence and numbers. I do trust that the Government, in the measures they are about to introduce, will not attempt to break down this old, well-founded, and most important distinction. If they do so for the purpose of removing any apparent anomaly, and diminishing the inequality of numbers, or of introducing any fanciful regularity, they will entail much more serious consequences in the total alteration and subversion of the principles of the representation of this country, and the alteration of the distribution of powers; and they will derive no advantage from any possible establishment of a system apparently more symmetrical, but not containing the elements of real power and real convenience which are comprised in the present system, and which form one of the main balances of the constitution. Of this measure, if Her Majesty's Government think fit to introduce it, there will be ample time both for the other House of Parliament and for your Lordships to discuss the details. I have thought it right to indicate, in regard to the leading principles of the measure, the views which I hold in common with many of those with whom I have the satisfaction of acting, and whose opposition, if the principles which they support are violated, the noble Earl and his Colleagues may expect.

My Lords, although in the magnitude of the public affairs which have engaged the attention of your Lordships' House, considerations of a merely personal character must necssarily be put into the background, there is one question which, though partaking of a personal character, is also matter of no little public importance, and though of course not alluded to in Her Majesty's Speech from the Throne, is not perhaps unworthy of some explanation on the part of Her Majesty's Government. My Lords, I think Parliament would neglect its duty if it altogether abstained from commenting upon a most extraordinary proceeding which has recently taken place, and to which I incidentally referred in an earlier part of my remarks. For the space of twelve days the country was without a Minister of the Home Department; nor was that the case of an ordinary Minister, nor did it occur at an ordinary time. At a crisis of our foreign affairs—at a time when the attention of the Government was, or ought to have been—probably was—almost exclusively directed to the important and urgent subjects of foreign policy which were pressed upon them—the country was suddenly startled by the announcement—an announcement given in great detail, and with great apparent knowledge of facts—that the Minister who, although I have often differed from him on foreign affairs, yet undoubtedly possessed more knowledge of foreign affairs, and by a great portion of the country was more trusted than almost any other of Her Majesty's Ministers, had ceased to hold the high office of Secretary of State. That announcement was accompanied by a very circumstantial statement, which, as it has never been contradicted, I assume to be true, of the circumstances which had led to that resignation. Upon that resignation I am not going to express any opinion. I have often differed from the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) on political subjects, but I respect the high ability he has always displayed, and the power he has always exercised in the Government, and I believe in the honesty and sincerity of his motives. But, my Lords, after the expiration of twelve days, it became matter of notoriety that various noble Lords and right hon. Gentlemen had been solicited to accept this office, and had declined; the public were astonished to learn at the expiration of that time that it was all a mistake, that the noble Viscount was again in his place, and that the circumstances when explained would be found to be mutually honourable to all parties. I hope they will be so. It is in that hope that I venture to ask the noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) for some explanation of that which, unexplained, certainly exposes the Government collectively, and the Members of the Cabinet individually, to very serious misapprehension. The resignation of the office of Secretary of State is no matter to be lightly tendered or lightly accepted; and least of all is it a step to be lightly taken, or except upon grounds of most imperative necessity, or paramount differences upon principles at a time when the country is confessedly in difficulty, and when the talents and abilities of a particular person may be most essential and useful to the country. But, my Lords, if the question upon which the Government differed, and upon which that noble Lord tendered his resignation, was a matter of minor importance, capable with honour to both parties of being explained away, and the difference reconciled, I ask what justification there could be in the first instance for the noble Lord who tendered his resignation; or, in the next place, for the noble Earl who, on the part of the Crown, accepted that resignation without an attempt to retain the services of his Colleague? If the difficulties could be easily got over, both parties, it appears to me, have much to explain why the country was for a period left, by the resignation of one, accepted by the other, at such a time, without the services of a Secretary of State for the Home Department. If, on the other hand, the difference were such as justified the resignation on the one side, and the acceptance of that resignation on the other—if it were such an irreconcilable difference, in point of principle, as no argument could have got over, no explanation could have conciliated, then I must say that the reunion of these two Ministers, these differences unadjusted, the question still open for submission to Parliament upon which the differences took place, is only explicable upon the supposition that where reconciliation was impossible and the question was of vital importance, there one party or other must have abandoned principles which he deemed it of such importance to maintain, as to tender on the one hand, or accept on the other, a resignation of one of the highest offices of the State. I express no opinion. I know nothing of the merits of the case; but I say that your Lordships would not be doing your duty by the country if you did not ask of Her Majesty's Government an explanation of that singular fact, that the resignation of one of the leading Ministers of the Crown was tendered and accepted; and at the expiration of twelve days, without any alteration of external circumstances, we find the Ministers who had apparently so irreconcilably differed upon matters of principle, sitting in the same Cabinet, and sharing in the same councils. The original formation of Her Majesty's Government—they will forgive me for saying—was not such as to lead the public to entertain any very great confidence in the unity of their opinions; but if, in the course of events, they see their dissensions are such that on a question about to be submitted to Parliament a Minister has resigned, and has again accepted his office, they will then have to inquire which of the Ministers it is who has given way, and who is, in point of fact, at this moment the guiding genius of the Cabinet, the noble Earl or his Colleague, whom he has taken back into his Cabinet after he had accepted his resignation without attempting to retain him. This is a matter which cannot increase the confidence which Parliament must feel in the manner in which public men act together. It cannot increase the confidence in the conduct of the present Administration, it cannot increase the opinion of their sincerity, when the measure, on which it was understood the separation took place, comes to be discussed in either House of Parliament, where these Ministers, entertaining avowedly roost opposite views, are seen in the public discussions supporting the measure on which they—I will not say personally—but politically quarrelled.

I rejoice to think that after this long debate there is no necessity for moving an amendment to the Address. I will submit to the noble Earl's consideration the insertion of the word "intimidation" after "bribery and corruption." I have no other amendment to move, and in a political sense no complaint to make against the Address. In conclusion, my Lords, I am convinced that, whatever may be the difference of our political opinions, with regard to one point there will be no difference, namely, as to our cordial concurrence in seeking the best mode of extricating our country from her position with honour to her arms, and with honour to the character which she bears among the nations.


My Lords, there are some things in the speech of the noble Earl who has just sat down which require immediate attention, and to which I am, therefore, desirous to refer without delay—there are some topics to which he has alluded, which will be more conveniently discussed at some future period. In the first instance I have to complain that, after notice had been given that the papers relating to these long and complicated negotiations should be laid on the table to-night, the noble Earl should not have abstained froth making comments founded on information quite incorrect, and in many instances directly the reverse of true. It would have been but natural that on this occasion he should have abstained; but I suppose the temptation was too strong, and that however the papers may exculpate Her Majesty's Ministers, at all events the present opportunity for blaming them was not to be resisted. My Lords, the noble Earl has thought proper to say that the Emperor of Russia has reason to think that the present Cabinet would not go to war with him; and he has especially directed his observations to me. He has said that my known reluctance to war, and the declarations which I have made upon the subject, were such as to mislead him, and to make him believe that I would never be a party to engaging in hostilities with him. Now, my Lords, I am quite ready to repeat all the declarations I have ever made against this country engaging in war with any State, and particularly with Russia. The people of this country have not unfrequently rashly and hastily engaged in wars, which they have afterwards repented at leisure. I consider it to be my duty, and the duty of Her Majesty's Government, not to say that under all circumstances we will ever engage in a war, but to use every possible effort, every endeavour to check, even when the feeling is laudable and natural—as I admit it to be in the present instance, where it is a popular feeling of indignation against what seems to be an aggression and an injustice—still I say it is the duty of the Government to restrain within the bounds of prudence and of reason even the indulgence of feelings which are perfectly natural and justifiable. My Lords, the accusation of the noble Earl is an odious accusation. I must remind your Lordships that it is the opinion, not only of moralists, but also of all statesmen, that no war can be justifiable unless it partakes of the character of a war of self-defence. My own opinion of war is such as I have already said—that I think it is the greatest proof of the depravity and corruption of human nature that anything so horrible as war should ever be just and lawful. Yet it is the case. We must all agree too, that while war is always the greatest of all calamities, it is also often the greatest folly and the greatest wickedness that a people can commit. Now, my Lords, repeating all which I have ever said on the horror and detestation which I entertain of war, I am ready to admit that there must be exceptions. Now, although we cannot prove that there is danger to this country in the war at present existing between Russia and Turkey, yet, in regard to the preservation of the balance which has been established in Europe, it may be considered in some sense a war in self-defence when we preserve the relative position and power of the various States, with a view to the general security of all. But this, I say, is an odious accusation, and it has been repeated over and over again, in quarters which are supposed to be much connected with the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) and his friends. In truth, your Lordships may have observed for some time back that the whole censure of the public press opposed to Her Majesty's Government has been concentrated on me alone. My noble Friend near me (the Earl of Clarendon), as charged with the conduct of these affairs, might naturally have been the prominent person to be remarked on; but he has been passed completely without observation. When your Lordships see the volume which will be laid upon the table of your House to-night, you will see with what ability, zeal, and perseverance my noble Friend has carried on these negotiations, and how well he deserves to share in the condemnations. It is said at Constantinople that I have received a hogshead of gold from Russia. The press connected with the noble Lords opposite have indulged in plain direct accusations that I am the tool and instrument of Russia. Now, my Lords, it is a singular fact that perhaps few public men in this country have ever written more, or with more acrimony, than I have of the Russian Government. One of my honourable or right honourable calumniators in the public press has accused me of betraying the honour and interests of the country, as I did in the year 1829. Now this is rather an inconsistent accusation. I am quite ready to take the responsibility that any one may impose upon me for what has been done in the course of the present year; but if it be true that I have betrayed the honour and the interests of this country in the present year, I beg to say that I cannot have done so in 1829; for I then occupied the station which my noble Friend (the Earl of Clarendon) now does, and I served under a man who knew something of the honour and interests of this country, and of whose opinions in matters connected with the foreign policy of this country I consider myself as good an exponent as any man now living, for no man ever enjoyed more entirely his confidence, and for many years, both in office and out of office, I was in the habit of almost daily communication with him on subjects connected with these affairs. Therefore noble Lords will forgive me for saying that I am somewhat fortified by the knowledge that I have acted on the principles on which I believe that great man would have acted had he been alive. My Lords, the same party which agrees with the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) asserts that I was the author of the Treaty of Adrianople. That I could not be. When I recollect the part which I took, and the despatches which I wrote about that treaty, I am surprised that it should have been selected as a topic for abuse. I will just explain how that stands, to show that I am not incorrect in saying that the manner of my official communication was almost acrimonious. In the year 1837, during the Administration of Lord Melbourne, upon occasion of some notice of Motion about to be made in the House of Commons, my noble Friend came to me, and asked me if I had any objection to the introduction of a despatch that I wrote upon the subject of the Treaty of Adrianople. I offered no objection. He came to me two or three days afterwards, and said that upon reflection he thought that despatch, though admirable in its tone and argument, would give so much offence to the Russian Government that he thought it would not be very advisable to make it public. This is the author of the Treaty of Adrianople, according to the letter of those authorities, whose dicta I do not doubt are to be deeply respected. But there is the same accusation running through all those organs which noble Lords opposite are understood to countenance. We are now acting in direct concert with Austria, and it is made a subject of direct accusation against me, that I am Austrian as well as Russian—a sort of Austro-Russian. Undoubtedly it is very true that forty years ago I had the honour of being accredited to the Court of Vienna as His Majesty's Ambassador; but except that I have at rare intervals since then had some communication with the venerable statesman who still lives, and who took so active a part in the great affairs of that day—(Prince Metternich)—I have no more relation with the Austrian Cabinet than I have with the Cabinet of Japan. I am not afraid of being overruled when I say that Austria is the natural ally of this country; her alliance is one which I desire always to cultivate, and which I hope the Government of this country, in whatever hands it may be placed, will cultivate; because I think we have no points of collision, no subjects of difference, and might and ought to act cordially together in all the great affairs of Europe. I also do not deny entertaining the greatest possible desire to cultivate friendly relations with Russia, and I regret deeply the present position we occupy in respect to that Power. For, although I do not go so far as Mr. Fox, who said that he thought the strictest alliance with Russia would be by far the most important and beneficial which this country could possibly form, still I admit that it is one of the greatest possible interests of this country; and the present position of our relations, however necessary and inevitable, is viewed by me with the deepest regret. The noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) and others have said that, whatever our desire may have been to escape from war, nevertheless to us is to be attributed the danger which now hangs over us; and they have stated their opinion, that if we had met this conjuncture with a little more vigour, a little more energy, and a little more explicit declaration of our intentions, things never would have come to this pass. Now, in answer to that, I will, in the first place, only beg noble Lords to suspend their opinion until they have the means of seeing what was actually done before they pronounce a censure upon us. But again, if even it should appear that a more vigorous course, as it is called, should have been pursued, I beg to say that that is not a way of proceeding which I should, under the circumstances, have thought wise and proper. In the first place it is a sort of game of brag, which I do not much admire. It may be very well to threaten—the menacing tone may be very successful with feeble States, and on certain occasions; but to hold that language to a great Power you must be prepared not only to succeed, but to fail; and to have made up your mind as to the course you would take in the event of your menace not being successful. Now, I say that at the period alluded to by the noble Earl, it would have been the most imprudent thing in the world to have had recourse to such lan- guage without the certainty of success. Why, in the first place, Turkey was then utterly unprepared for a contest; therefore, if we had told the Emperor, as we must have done, that if he did not comply with our demands he must expect war on our part, what would have been his answer if he had not agreed to our demands? Without doubt he would have marched upon Constantinople, and have marched without any difficulty whatever. It was then the season favourable for operations, and in one campaign he might have marched to Constantinople. This, then, was a tone which it would certainly have been most imprudent in us to hold. Besides, the Porte was not at war—it had not yet declared war against Russia. Russia had occupied the Principalities, and had given the Porte a full right to declare war if it thought proper; but the Porte, taking its own view of its own interests, thought fit not to declare war, and in so acting met with the assent and approbation of Her Majesty's Government and of Her Majesty's Ambassador at Constantinople, who certainly had the interest of the Turkish Government as much at heart as noble Lords opposite can possibly have. Well, my Lords, the consequence of the policy adopted was, that time was given for preparation, and that Turkey has been enabled to assemble and to organise that force which has met with the laudation of the noble Earl and his Friends, and which in many respects, has certainly conducted itself in a manner not expected by those who had formed less favourable opinions of the resources of the Turkish Empire. If we had held this language before the Porte had delared war, and the Porte had agreed to it—if we had led the Porte to declare war—we could not have approached Constantinople without the breach of treaties we were bound to observe, and without giving cause of offence to the Powers with whom we were at that moment acting in concert. And I must say I consider it the greatest advantage that we should thus far have induced the great German Powers to act with us, although they have not taken the vigorous measures which I think the noble Earl will admit that we have done, as well as France; but still acting with us favourably, and lending their assistance for the preservation of peace. The noble Earl seems to think that not only has the Emperor of Russia ground to complain of Her Majesty's Government, but the Emperor of the French has also ground to complain of us. The noble Earl was fond last year of commenting upon speeches made at election dinners; and this year he alludes—not to any speech of mine, indeed, hostile to the Emperor of the French; but to the language of a journal which he supposes expressed my opinions, from which he infers that the Emperor of the French might naturally have imagined that I was hostile to him. Now, my Lords, so far I have had the honour and happiness of being able to assure His Majesty myself what my opinions are upon the subject. Of whatever else I may be accused, certainly indifference to the French alliance cannot be laid to my charge; for, whether with the Government of the Restoration, or with that of King Louis Philippe, or with the present Emperor, my settled opinions, my known conduct and policy, always have been to cherish the French alliance in the most intimate manner, Why, who was the author of that expression which has so long passed current—the entente cordiale? It was introduced at the time when I was at the Foreign Office, and held the seals of that department now more worthily filled by my noble Friend near me (the Earl of Clarendon); and that cordial understanding will exist, so far as depends upon me, whoever is sovereign of that country, or whatever form of government it may possess, provided it be one capable of maintaining amicable relations with this country. Every one, I know, must make up his mind to meet with misconstruction; and it may be some comfort to the noble Earl opposite, who thinks I am so Russian in my tendencies, to know that—although the Russians have no great organs of the press, or political writings, still speeches can circulate among them—I am informed that it is fully believed and loudly declared in Russia, that Count Nesselrode has been a traitor to his country, and is in the pay of the English Government. I believe our purses are about as heavy, the one as the other, for whatever advantage we may have derived respectively from the policy each of us has pursued, I must say, in justice to Count Nesselrode, that I think he is as desirous, to the utmost of his ability and power, to preserve peace and maintain friendly relations with this country, as we, on our sides, are with Russia. As there will be future opportunities of entering into the particulars of those negotiations, I shall not follow them further into detail, except as to one point noticed by the noble Earl, but on which he has entirely mistaken the facts of the case—I refer to the preparation of the Vienna note. He imagined that we had submitted those proposals to the Emperor of Russia, and that after he had accepted them they were then carried to Constantinople for the acceptance of the Porte. Now, that is entirely a misrepresentation. The note, in fact, was not a Vienna note, but a French note—the article was of French manufacture, and therefore may perhaps not be so distasteful to the noble Earl as if it had been prepared by Her Majesty's Government. But, whatever it was, it was sent, I believe, on the very same day to St. Petersburg and to Constantinople; nay more, it was shown both to the Russian and Turkish Ministers at Vienna at the time of its being so transmitted to both capitals. Therefore there was perfect equality and impartiality in this proceeding; and although it may be open to the criticism of the noble Earl on its contents, these, as I have said, though approved by us, were not prepared by us, and we shall have future opportunities of discussing them.

The noble Earl has made a great point of the publication of a despatch of my noble Friend (the Earl of Clarendon) in the newspapers, which he says was refused to Parliament. Why, if Parliament had been sitting at the time, it would probably have been laid before Parliament; but it would certainly not have been communicated to anybody if an incorrect version had not previously appeared in every paper in Europe. It then became necessary for the public interests to rectify errors which might have had serious consequences; and therefore an authentic copy of the despatch was communicated to the newspapers for publication. The noble Earl has also dwelt much upon another instance of confidential communications made to the same journal, in reference to the circumstances attending the resignation of my noble Friend the Secretary for the Home Department. He says that Her Majesty first learned the fact of that resignation from the Times newspaper—


I said that it was announced in the columns of the Times even before the Sovereign or the noble Viscount's own Colleagues had official knowledge of the fact.


Well, be it so. The noble Earl will allow me then to say that he states that which is incor- rect, for I myself informed Her Majesty of the resignation at Osborne, and the article to which he alludes I saw myself on my return from the Isle of Wight next day. That is correct; how it came to be made public, I know not—but this I know, that Her Majesty had been informed by me of my noble Friend's resignation on the day before that article appeared.

This leads me to another matter, of which the noble Earl has also said much. I understand him to have announced his intention and determination of extracting from Her Majesty's Government all the particulars connected with that transaction. I leave the matter entirely to the noble Earl's discretion; but I hope he has not set his heart upon it very strongly, because he will certainly fail in extracting from me more than I think proper to state. He said that Her Majesty's Ministers must be much cleverer fellows than he thinks them if he does not extract all the particulars of the transaction from us. Now, I am the last man to deny the cleverness of the noble Earl; but he must be a cleverer fellow than I think him if he extracts more from me than I choose to tell him. I will not be entirely silent upon this subject, because I think it proper to state in general terms what the circumstances of the case were. Connected with the preparation of the measure of Parliamentary reform misapprehension took place on the part of my noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Viscount Palmerston). Under that misapprehension, and in the belief that the provisions of the measure were finally settled, which were not finally settled, my noble Friend tendered his resignation. Well, explanations took place, and my noble Friend—I was going to say resumed, but he never had, in fact, ceased to perform the duties of Secretary of State, and the public was not left without those duties being regularly and efficiently performed. So far for the general facts. But when the noble Earl says he thinks he has a right to know the full circumstances of this difference, and the means of reconciliation, I deny that he has any right to ask any such questions or receive any such information. Had my noble Friend left office, then indeed he might have been properly called upon to give a full account of his reasons for so doing. The noble Earl opposite may think this, as Sir Lucius said, a very pretty quarrel as it stood; but I apprehend that, whether in a Cabinet or elsewhere, if a misapprehension or misunderstanding takes place which is cleared up or reconciled, and the parties act cordially afterwards together, it may be matter for curiosity or it may be matter for mischief, to pry into the circumstances, but there is no legitimate ground of inquiry. Now that is the only answer I shall give, if he thinks that is the only ground for his demand of information—for as to his curiosity or his speculations I do not value them a rush—he may deal in them as much as he pleases. If he can say that the public interest has in any way or degree suffered from what took place, then in that case, even if he should be silent, I have no doubt others will be found to bring the accusation against my noble Friend, who in that case will justify himself in the course he took. But, as matters stand, I hold myself exempt from the least necessity for going into any further detail of that transaction.

I will say this, however, that when the noble Earl deals so liberally in his accusations and in insinuations of connexion with the press, I must beg to say this comes rather in from him, considering the part taken by that section of the press most devoted to him and his party—a part which I will venture to affirm presents a more disgraceful exhibition than I ever before heard of. I do certainly say it is not for the noble Earl to speak or make any imputations upon others for objectionable matter which appears in the public prints, because I declare that never has it happened to me to see such a line pursued by the organs of public opinion; and I cannot forbear saying that I think it is not only disgraceful to the press, but a disgrace to the people of this country and to the character of our civilisation, that anything so monstrous should have been promulgated day after day, and should have had the success or the vogue which these charges or insinuations have had. I feel, I say, deeply ashamed, that after having had to defend myself from the monstrosities put forth in these papers, I should have to add that imputations have been made in them against personages much higher than myself—imputations as disgraceful in themselves, and characterised by the same utter absence of any shadow of foundation. I must be allowed to make some remarks on this subject, for this odious charge has assumed a sort of character and consistence which renders it necessary for me to meet it more seriously than anything so despicable ought to be met. I will recall to the recollection of your Lordships what has been the course pursued within the last few years, and the persevering manner in which these scandalous attacks and groundless imputations have been cast upon the illustrious Prince to whom I refer. I think your Lordships must know well enough what are the constitutional position and functions of that illustrious Prince. That he is the adviser of the Queen is beyond a doubt in his capacity as her husband and most intimate companion. He is by law a Privy Councillor. Is not the Queen the first Sovereign in this country who for a long time has not had even the advantage of a private secretary? Was there ever any objection to the private secretary of George IV., or to the private secretary of William IV.? Yet these men must of necessity have known, and were able to have given advice, or to have disclosed everything, if they had thought fit, although neither of them was a Privy Councillor. Now the truth is, that the only unconstitutional thing of this nature that has happened in the course of the present reign is perhaps the circumstance of Lord Melbourne having taken it upon himself to officiate as private secretary, he being at the same time First Minister of the Crown. I can conceive something incompatible in the exercise of those functions. But the duty was undertaken in the hope—a hope which happily was speedily realised—that Her Majesty would very soon contract a marriage which would dispense with the performance of any of those duties which Lord Melbourne performed, as private secretary. I need not describe the relative manner in which their relations are maintained between these two most illustrious persons. But that the husband should remain silent, and see his Sovereign and Her Ministers in difficulties and embarrassment, and not open his mouth to give one syllable of advice or assistance, is to propound a very different state of that relation from what I understand by it. My Lords, it has been studiously asserted, that this is a novelty—that it was Sir Robert Peel who introduced it, and that Lord Melbourne did not permit his Royal Highness to exercise those functions which he now exercises so advantageously and so beneficially to the public service of the country. I only can say this—that it is true that his Royal Highness often, very often—generally—is present in the conversations which take place when Her Majesty's Ministers find it necessary to make representations to Her Majesty, which it is their duty to do. I can only say that I extremely regret his absence when it takes place. But I appeal to noble Lords in this House, of whom there are several, who have had the means of knowing, of hearing, of profiting by the wisdom and prudence and judgment of His Royal Highness—I ask them to say whether, in all that they have ever seen or heard, a single syllable has ever been breathed that has not tended to the honour and the interests and the welfare of this country? That a person of the talent and thought and ability of His Royal Highness may entertain views on particular matters from which a Minister may differ, is very possible. But your Lordships will recollect that it is the Minister who is responsible; and if Her Majesty should choose to adopt the opinion of His Royal Highness, which She has the right to do, the Minister has his remedy; he has but one—which is respectfully to resign his position. It is said that Lord Melbourne particularly objected to the "interference," as it is called, of His Royal Highness. I will just read to your Lordships the last letter which Lord Melbourne addressed to Her Majesty on his leaving office. It is dated August the 30th, 1841, after Sir Robert Peel's Government had been formed, and the day before he received the seals of office:— Lord Melbourne cannot satisfy himself without again stating to Your Majesty in writing what he has had the honour of saying to Your Majesty respecting his Royal Highness the Prince. Lord Melbourne has formed the highest opinion of his Royal Highness's judgment, and temper, and discretion, and he cannot but feel a great consolation and security in the reflection that he leaves Your Majesty in a situation in which Your Majesty has the inestimable advantage of such advice and assistance. Lord Melbourne feels certain that Your Majesty cannot do better than to have recourse to him when it is needed, and to rely upon him with confidence. My Lords, in order to finish this odious subject, there is one topic more to which I must allude. What has been more studiously circulated, and I think more actively insinuated, than any other part of these accusations is, the interference of His Royal Highness with the Army and at the Horse Guards. My Lords, I have to state that, so far from there being a shadow of foundation for this accusation, it does so happen that in the year 1850, I think, it was the great desire of the Duke of Wellington to make such arrangements at the Horse Guards as would enable Prince Albert to succeed him as Commander-in-Chief; and he proposed various arrangements which he thought would tend to render it easier for him to accept that situation, and strongly recommended it to the Queen; but His Royal Highness, with that sound judgment which is his usual characteristic, felt that it would interfere with the duties which he owed to his Sovereign and wife, and the situations which he filled, and he therefore, on that ground, and on that ground alone, declined taking the station which the Duke of Wellington was desirous he should occupy. His Royal Highness thought, and in my opinion thought wisely, that such a situation could not but have interfered with those relations and with that kind of assistance which the Queen might have expected, and did receive from him. He felt that his occupation of such a post as that of Commander-in-Chief would militate greatly against those duties which he had discharged so advantageously to the interests of the Queen and of the country. His Royal Highness stated to the Duke at great length, and with admirable clearness, the nature of his objections, and his reasons for declining the proposition that had been made to him, and in the decision come to by His Royal Highness the Duke of Wellington entirely coincided. My Lords, I need scarcely advert to the miserable calumnies that have been promulgated respecting His Royal Highness's interference with promotions. I have to say that His Royal Highness has the right of interference with the business of the Army, because he is a Field-Marshal of the Army, a commander in the Army, a chief in the Army—his son may be at the head of the Army—and he may become Regent of the country—but God forbid that such a thing should happen! But to say that he is not interested in the welfare and condition of the Army is too monstrous a thing to imagine. But beyond the general interest which he ought to take in it in the position which he occupies, I deny utterly that on any occasion, at any time—so far as I have any reason to believe and to know—under the Duke of Wellington, or under my noble Friend who is now at the head of the Army, has there been any interference of any kind on the part of His Royal Highness with the conduct or business of the Army. My Lords, I have thought it right to make these remarks, and I felt it my duty to do so, although it is a subject I am ashamed of introducing. I am sure that the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby), although he did think proper, I think very unjustifiably, to connect what appears in the public press with public men on this side of the House—I am sure that he will repudiate with disgust and indignation the language of those who are most devoted to himself.


My Lords, after the statement of the noble Earl who has just sat down, I beg leave to corroborate every particle of what he has said with regard to the non-interference of His Royal Highness with the Army. I believe, my Lords, that those reports were set in motion about the same time that Major General Sir George Brown resigned his situation of Adjutant General. I never saw any attack on His Royal Highness before that time; but when that occurrence took place, then it was that a portion of the press entered into a conspiracy to attack His Royal Highness for interfering With the Army. I have had the patronage of about twenty-six or twenty-seven colonelcies of regiments to dispose of. The mode in which the business is transacted is this—that where there is any appointment to dispose of, the Commander-in-chief writes a report to the Queen recommending such person as he may think proper to succeed; and I can state, on my own knowledge, that in every instance where I have sent a recommendation it has been returned with the Queen's signature, and in every case the recommendation has been acceded to. Therefore there has been no interference with the patronage of the Army on the part of the Prince. But it has been systematically stated that this interference has been exercised. Now, it was the Adjutant General, and then the Deputy Adjutant General, that had resigned in consequence. Then it was stated the Master General of the Ordnance refused to take office unless he received a stipulation from His Royal Highness that he would no longer interfere in the Army. Such a chare is too absurd to require denial. I found on another occasion a very circumstantial account of a conversation which it was stated the Adjutant General had had with me, in which he stated, with great emphasis, that he had sworn allegiance to the Queen, and did not recognise the authority of His Royal Highness in the transaction of business at the Horse Guards. I immediately wrote to General Brown, and asked him whether in any transaction at the Horse Guards any circumstance of that character, or any conversation of that kind had occurred. In his reply he utterly denied it, and assured me that no such correspondence as that alluded to had taken place. It is hardly necessary to multiply the denial of charges which have been cast upon His Royal Highness. I will merely say that there is not a shadow of foundation for such statements. During the time I have held the appointment I have the honour to fill, I have had various conversations and communications with His Royal Highness, and have derived great advantage from it. I recollect last year that he suggested to me the expediency of having a camp of instruction at Chobham, and I entered into the view because I thought advantage would be derived from it. And I should like to know why I am to be debarred from commumunicating with His Royal Highness on matters respecting which there is no concealment. It appears that because His Royal Highness takes a little interest in the Army as a Field Marshal, that I and any officer in my position is to be debarred from communicating with him when I can communicate with any noble Lord on the same subject. Such a thing appears to me to be utterly absurd. I assert that His Royal Highness never interfered in any manner in the patronage or duties performed at the Horse Guards, but, on the contary, has shown the utmost desire for the efficiency and advantage of the Army; and I shall on every occasion, when I may require his advice, boldly and openly address His Royal Highness. If I am wrong in the exercise of my duty at the Horse Guards, I am responsible. When my noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Derby) nominated me to my present office, he, in the most fair and honourable manner, explained to me that my duties were purely professional, and that I was under no obligation of a party or political nature. During the time the present Government have been in office, I have not been interfered with in the distribution of patronage, or the management of the business at the Horse Guards. I alone am responsible for the manner in which I exercise the office. I have received, as I have stated, from Her Majesty my recommendations regularly signed without any interference on the part of His Royal Highness, and I repudiate as utterly unworthy of belief the atrocious libels which have been circulated respecting him.


My Lords, if the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Aberdeen) thought it consistent with his duty to enter into any explanation or discussion of the painful and delicate topic which he has introduced into the debate. I do not quarrel with his discretion, and only doubt whether I should have exercised the same discretion under similar circumstances. But I have an excuse for trespassing on your attention, inasmuch as, although on the main question I concur in almost every sentence which has fallen from the noble Earl, I do not concur in the manner in which he has thought fit to introduce the subject; and in the presence of the noble. Earl I feel bound to take some notice of the manner in which he has introduced it. In the course of the observations which I made, I traced what I thought an intimate connexion between a certain newspaper, the constant supporter of the Government, and the official intelligence or official knowledge which that newspaper could only derive from official sources; and I stated that if that was the case, and that intimate connexion could be traced, on matters which could not be known out of the Cabinet, between that paper and Her Majesty's Government, they must not be surprised if foreign Governments identified their policy with the views found in that paper. Having stated that much, and the grounds on which I did so, the noble Earl takes upon himself to say that I am the last man to throw out such an imputation, inasmuch as he charges against those newspapers which he says are the ordinary supporters of the same policy as myself the origination and publication of these most absurd, and, if they be believed, these most mischievous slanders against the Prince Consort. Now, I will not submit to the imaginary possibility of the imputation being cast upon me that I have had anything to do with any such insinuations or imputations, except treating them with ridicule and contempt—a ridicule and contempt which, had I been in the noble Earl's place, would have led me to pass them over in utter silence. If the noble Earl means to say, and to repeat the assertions that have been made in his paper, the Times, under a signature which I suppose is not official—under the signature "C.," whoever "C." may be—if he means to say that these insinuations and these slanders had their origin in the Conservative portion of the press, I beg to say—repeating the courteous manner in which the noble Earl contradicted me on a matter of fact—that both the noble Earl who has made that statement, and the correspondent of the Times, who has made that statement, have stated distinctly "the thing which is not." Because the origin of all these statements and insinuations—of these absurd charges, by which the gullibility of the public has been excited, which led crowds to attend at the doors of the Tower to see His Royal Highness go in—and which led individuals to say he was sure to have been sent there if the Queen had not announced her intention to go with him—I say that from the highest and most mischievous of these insinuations and slanders, down to those possessing the greatest absurdity, and which practised the most on the gullibility of the country, had their origin, not in any postion of the Conservative press, but in papers of an extreme Liberal opinion—in papers such as the Morning Advertiser, which is a favourite paper, as I am informed, of the licensed victuallers, and consequently circulates through all the pot houses in the country. That is a paper that I never happen to see; but the Morning Advertiser and the Daily News are the two papers which have been most active in propagating those absurd reports, and I will not presume that either the Morning Advertiser or the Daily News are very cordial in the advocacy of my policy. Therefore, when the Prime Minister of the country attempts to connect either me or my party with the publication of such odious and ridiculous slanders, I cannot remain in the presence of the assembled Peers without telling the noble Earl that his position as Prime Minister, as a Peer of this House, gives him no right, without a shadow of foundation, to introduce such a subject, or to insinuate that countenance has been given to the slanders by the Members of the Conservative party. Now, as to the insinuations and statements themselves, I only wonder at the amount of ignorance on the part of the British public, which appears to have been so successfully practised upon. I entirely concur with the noble Earl in the confidential, the highly confidential, station which His Royal highness fills; first, as the necessary and natural adviser of the Sovereign, placing him in the position no higher than the private secretary of the Sovereign, but also being bound to Her Majesty by the closest and tenderest ties—being bound to this country as the country of his adoption—by his being the Consort of the Sovereign—by his being the father of the future King of this country—though long may it be before such an event occurs!—it is arming an absolute ignorance of all the feelings of human nature, and all probability or possibility to suppose that, being in such a situation, His Royal Highness can either shut his eyes or close his ears to what is taking place—that he should not feel the deepest interest in the foreign and domestic concerns of this country—and that he should not, as a Privy Councillor, give to the Queen the benefit of his advice and opinion whenever She wishes to consult him on public affairs. I must further say that the position, the most confidential that can be filled—so confidential, indeed, that it can be filled by no person less closely connected with the Sovereign than His Royal Highness—has not only never been abused to my knowledge, but the advice and counsel given by His Royal Highness have been always, to the best of my belief, given from an enlightened consideration of what was for the advantage of the Sovereign and the public good; and although it was undoubtedly the fault of any responsible Minister, if differing in opinion from His Royal Highness, he permits himself to be overruled in the advice which he tenders to the Crown as such responsible Minister, it is a great advantage to any Minister having to advise the Sovereign of this country on public affairs—and that Sovereign a female—it is, I say, a matter of great satisfaction and advantage to the Minister that in explaining such affairs to a female Sovereign, with which She may not be in all respects familiar, She should have a person in her intimate confidence whose interests are bound up with Her own, and who on every account must have the strongest feelings of attachment to Her person, and of loyalty to the Throne, and that that person should be one able to consider the reasons given for the advice tendered to Her Majesty, and to suggest topics to Her Majesty which may or may not occur to Her own mind, but which, being suggested, it is satisfactory for any Minister to explain. The people of this country are under a great mistake if they suppose that the Sovereign does not exercise a real, salutary, and decided influence over the councils and Government of the country. The Sovereign is not the mere automaton, or puppet, of the Government of the day; She exercises a beneficial influence and control over the affairs of the State; and it is the duty of the Minister for the time being, in submitting any proposition for the assent of Her Majesty, to give satisfactory reasons that such propositions are called for by public policy, and justified by the public interests. If the Sovereign is not satisfied with the advice tendered to Her—if either from the suggestions of Her own mind, or from objections which may be suggested to Her by others, filling that high confidential situation to which I have referred, Her Majesty is of opinion that She will not accept the advice of the responsible Minister of the Crown, the course of the Crown and of the Minister is equally open. The course of the Crown is to refuse to accept that advice of the Minister, and the inevitable consequence to the Minister would be the tender of his resignation. If His Royal Highness, on any occasion, has done that which I believe in my conscience he has never done, and as far as my experience goes I can say he never has done—if he has unconstitutionally interfered in the affairs of the State, or has improperly interfered in leading the Crown to go counter to the advice tendered to Her Majesty by Her responsible Ministers, it would be not so much the fault of His Royal Highness—though he would incur a grievous responsibility—but it would be the fault of the Minister, whose duty it is, however respectfully he might listen to suggestions proceeding from such a high quarter, not to allow the advice he gives to his Sovereign to be overruled by no subject whatever, or by anything else but the decision of the Sovereign herself. And in that case he has only one course, and that is to withdraw from the attempt to offer advice which is not at all desirable. My Lords, I trust you will forgive me for adverting to this matter. I should have rejoiced to have seen the subject, notwithstanding it has prevailed to a considerable extent among the less instructed classes in the country, treated with that silent contempt which it deserves, and with which it would have been treated had I been in the place of the noble Earl opposite. I am happy, however, to have had an opportunity of agreeing with the noble Earl in the sentiments he has expressed in reference to this matter, though I must say that we on this side of the House have cause to complain of the manner in which it has been introduced to our notice.


said, that having closely studied the constitutional history of this country, he was of opinion that all that had been described by the noble Earl at the head of the Government, and the noble Earl opposite, as taking place between the Sovereign and the Ministers, was altogether unexceptionable and most salutary. It was inevitable, on allowing a female to mount the Throne, that this communication between the Sovereign and Her Consort should take place—they must resort to the Salic law if they wished to prevent it. It was not as a Privy Councillor that His Royal Highness was present, but as an alter ego—as the Consort of the Queen; and it was highly desirable that the Queen regnant should have the advice of Her illustrious Consort. He believed that these accusations were most groundless and most calumnious. It was a proof that, if His Royal Highness did give advice to Her Majesty, most salutary that advice must have been, for he had no difficulty in saying that the Queen now upon the Throne was the most constitutional Sovereign that ever reigned.


regretted that any attempt should have been made to charge him or those near him with any connexion with the press that had circulated those slanders. [Noble LORDS on the Treasury bench were understood to disclaim the charge.] He was glad that it was now abandoned. For his own part, he should have been the basest of men if he had written or abetted the writing of any such report as had appeared in the newspapers. He disclaimed having ever had any connexion with any paper, or writing any article in any periodical whatever.


said, that what he had said was exactly the reverse of that attributed to him by the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby). The noble Earl ought to be the last person to connect anybody with the press on account of any supposed similarity of opinion expressed by that periodical in which the report might have been found. He had not counted the number of days on which the different newspapers had indulged in those abominable and scandalous reports, but he had seen those reports in the newspapers which were received as the organs of the noble Earl's party. He said, therefore, the noble Earl ought to use caution in charging others with any connexion with the press on account of any supposed similarity of sentiment, and that was all he had said, or meant to say.


said, that the noble Earl at the head of the Government had charged the original propagation of these absurd scandals upon the papers connected with the Conservative party. He told the noble Earl again that they had had their origin in, and main propagations through the papers connected with the extreme Liberal opinions which were perhaps now represented by the noble Duke who cheered so loudly (the Duke of Newcastle). He repeated that in these papers they had their origin, and if they had been copied into papers connected with Conservative opinions, all he could say was, that when he saw them in one of those papers he saw them with regret. As to the other paper, he never saw it. How those slanders, however, whether propagated by the extreme Liberal or the Conservative press could be intended to damage the noble Earl or Her Majesty's Government, he was at a loss to understand, inasmuch as between them and the Court he apprehended there was no inseparable connexion.


said, that of course these vile slanders were treated with deserved contempt, so long as they were confined to the lower portion of the Radical press; but they received confirmation to seine extent, and attracted notice, when they were copied by that portion of the press which professed to represent the gentlemen of England. Their Lordships were not to be reasoned out of their own senses. Those reports had been sanctioned by the Conservative press, and they gained belief in consequence of those abominable, scandalous, and incredible slanders receiving the sanction of that press. He must say he wished he had seen through the medium of his noble Friends on the right some disclaimer of those slanders, or some influence exercised to put a stop to them. He did not suspect them of having shared in those things. God forbid that any gentleman should be suspected of any such conduct! But he did complain that some gentlemen connected with that party had not come boldly forward on the first opportunity, and given a check to those slanders. He must say that he did think, considering the position which His Royal Highness Prince Albert occupied in this country, considering that we had had thirteen years' experience of him in which he had been walking among us in public and in private, and taking a share in all our institutions, having in that time earned the reputation not only of a man of virtue and character, but of a man of sense and discretion, that it was in the highest degree discreditable to this country that it could have entertained for a moment suspicions so base and so utterly unfounded. He repeated, that he did not charge his noble Friends personally; but when he saw the Radical press alone blamed, as if the Conservative press had had no share in it, he could not help rising to vindicate the common sense of the country, and to place the blame where it was fairly due.


said, he did not desire to defend one newspaper or another; but he did desire to repudiate the attempt which had been made to throw upon the Conservative party and press the odium of having originated this slander. He disclaimed also the doctrine which had been put forward by the noble Earl (the Earl of Harrowby), that it was the duty of himself, or of his noble Friends, to watch for any absurd or mischievous paragraph which might appear in a newspaper which the noble Earl was pleased to call their organ, and which so far as he was concerned, or could prevent it, he had never allowed any paper whatever to be. Neither directly nor indirectly had he ever influenced in his life, so far as he knew, a single paragraph in a single newspaper, and he was not going now for the first time to take upon himself the duty of contradicting either the calumnies which might appear against him in opposing journals, or the absurd paragraphs in those professing to support him, and thereby making himself, what he never would be, responsible for that which might appear in any newspaper whatever.


could say, that since he had entered that House, he had never heard a speech which had been more offensive to his feelings than that of the noble Earl on the cross benches (the Earl of Harrowby). [Laughter.] It was no laughing matter to tell gentlemen that they were connected with a press which had insulted the Crown. He begged the noble Earl would not interrupt him. He had not interrupted the noble Earl.


rose to explain. He had distinctly stated that he did not charge the noble Earl or his Friends with being connected with that press. If he had not made himself clear on that point, he regretted it.


The noble Earl had stated that it was their duty, and that they ought early to have stopped those articles from appearing. How could they stop them if they were not connected with that press? And if the noble Earl told them that they ought to have stopped these things, was not that telling them that they were connected with that press, and that they could have stop- ped them if they had chosen? He repeated that he had never heard a more offensive speech spoken in that House in his life.

Address agreed to, nemine dissentiente; and a Committee was appointed to prepare the Address. The Committee withdrew; and, after some time, Report was made of an Address drawn by them, which, being read, was agreed to; and Ordered to be presented to Her Majesty by the Lords with White Staves.

House adjourned to Thursday next.