HL Deb 24 July 1854 vol 135 cc535-50

Order of the Day for the consideration of the QUEEN'S MESSAGE read.

The Message having been read as follows— VICTORIA R. Her Majesty, deeming it expedient to provide for any additional Expense which may arise in consequence of the War in which Her Majesty is now engaged against the Emperor of Russia, relies on the Affection of the House of Lords for their Concurrence in such Measures as may be necessary for making Provision accordingly.


My Lords, in moving an Address of thanks to Her Majesty for Her most gracious Message, and in giving Her the assurance that this House will concur in Her Majesty's desire, expressed in Her gracious Message, I do not anticipate any objection on the part of your Lordships. My Lords, whatever may be the differences of opinion on the subject of the war in which we are engaged and the events which led to it, I shall assume that there is an entire agreement of opinion on the necessity of adopting all such measures as are best calculated to lead to an early and successful termination of it. My Lords, I shall also assume that this result is mainly to be produced by the activity and energy of the efforts of England and France, with the concurrence of the other Powers. My Lords, it is to be presumed that at the present period of the year the close of the existing Session of Parliament cannot be long delayed. It is also highly probable that in the course of the year contingencies may arise of which it may be of the highest importance that we should be able to avail ourselves and to turn to account, in the prosecution of those endeavours that are to lead to the happy result to which I have referred. My Lords, it is intended for these reasons—following the precedent which upon similar occasions has been adopted—to ask Parliament for a Vote of credit to the amount of 3,000,000l. sterling—a large sum undoubtedly, and one which it is possible some noble Lords might prefer to see intrusted to other hands than those who will have the disposal of it. But I am willing to believe that no such wish will interfere in any degree with their desire to promote and assist, as far as possible, the efforts which Her Majesty's Government have made and will make under the circumstances to which I have referred. The House will clearly understand that this money which has been now demanded has already been voted and provided by Parliament. There is no question of any new burdens on the people—no new tax—no loan; it is an authorisation to employ funds already provided, but which have hitherto not been appropriated by Parliament. Under these circumstences, my Lords, I think I do not make an unreasonable proposal in following that course which, under similar circumstances, has been observed by all preceding Governments, and in asking your Lordships to concur with the other House in making provision for any additional expenses that may arise. I move that an humble Address be presented to Her Most Gracious Majesty to return to Her Majesty the thanks of this House for Her most gracious Message, and to assure Her Majesty that this House will cheerfully concur in such measures as are necessary for making due provision for any additional expenses which may arise in consequence of the war in which Her Majesty is now engaged.


My Lords, I think that this is not a convenient opportunity for entering into details connected either with the diplomatic or military transactions of the war. To the Motion that has been made by the noble Earl I certainly can have no objection. We are engaged in a war that is just, necessary, and politic, and I, least of all men, can have any objection to the Motion, as I think that these measures should have been proposed last year at this time, and that, if this had been done, it would have afforded the only possible chance of successfully terminating the negotiations in which we were then engaged, by showing that it was the intention of this country to support by war the representations we made in diplomacy. This only I will venture to say—I think we have a right to expect that, in administering those funds which have been so liberally and with such confidence placed by Parliament at the disposal of the Government, Her Majesty's Ministers, while consulting the efficiency of the military service, will not be forgetful of economy; and that, above all things, they will carry the most searching economy into all those civil departments which have no connection with the war, and in which economy cannot by any possibility impair our efficiency in the field, but may most materially conduce to our financial efficiency, and may enable us, without burdening the people, to conduct this war to a satisfactory conclusion. My Lords, I know that a great war so occupies men's minds that they do not attend so much as they should to economy in the civil departments of the State, and, that while there really exists no reason whatever for an increase of expenditure in the civil departments unconnected with the war, it nevertheless does increase more largely in consequence of want of due consideration and thought being applied to it. It seems to me to be more especially the duty of my noble Friend at the head of the Government himself to look not merely to the great important charges, but into the most minute details of expenditure of every civil department of the State, in order to effect a general strict economy, and to satisfy the people that no money has been misapplied, and that what the people give willingly is applied sagaciously and honestly to the furtherance of the public service. I could not allow this Motion to pass without saying thus much. It is deeply impressed on my mind, this necessity for economy at the commencement of a war of which no man can foresee the termination. I am sure it is necessary to give contentment to the people, and to enable us to carry the people with us through the difficulties now before us.


Certainly, my Lords, there can be no question of greater importance than that we have now before us—that of voting an Address to Her Majesty in answer to the Message requiring our concurrence in voting the sum of money necessary for carrying on the war. The noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) has stated that there may be some noble Lords in this House who may wish to see the charge of this war in other hands, but that he feels assured, from the loyalty we bear to the Throne and the necessities of the Crown, that we should willingly deliver into the hands of the Government the control of the funds necessary for carrying on that war with vigour and efficiency. For my own part I perfectly agree with the noble Earl that the necessities of the Crown warrant that demand upon our confidence, and I myself shall most readily concur in placing in his hands those powers for which he asks. There can be no question, my Lords, that in any ordinary case of this sort we might fairly claim to enter into a discussion on the general question and objects of the war; but in the present instance I am ready to admit there are difficulties in the way. First of all, we are kept entirely in ignorance of the plan upon which the war is to be carried on. We see great exertions in the Baltic and the Black Sea—great efforts ably conducted by the Government—by that I mean we see a large naval force in the Baltic and a similar force in the Black Sea—and we see transported to the shores of the Danube a larger army than this country has seen brought together for many a day. We see great preparations for the war, but of what is intended to be done we know nothing—and, therefore, to comment upon the operations of the war would be most inexpedient, seeing that it would be impossible to do so with justice. I will, therefore, content myself with saying that I hope and trust my noble Friend, by means of those powers which have been so liberally placed by Parliament in the hands of the Government, will be enabled, by God's Providence, to conduct this war to a happy issue. But the Government must at the same time bear in mind that they are in this peculiar position—that by means of the extraordinarily large force they have at their disposal in the various parts of the world where their operations are being conducted they have raised the hopes and expectations of the people of this country to such a pitch, that if the season during which operations are practicable should pass away without any great deed of arms being accomplished, equal to the expectations which the powers and forces employed have raised, a very great responsibility will rest upon the Government. For myself and my noble Friends who act with me, concurring as we do in the necessity of arming the Government with all the powers necessary for carrying on the war with vigour, and bringing it to a happy issue, we shall give a cordial support to the noble Earl's Motion.


My Lords, I feel myself called upon to make a few remarks on what, I confess, appears to me to be the very singular position in which the Parliament of the country is placed by Her Majesty's Ministers. I agree with my noble Friend who has just sat down, and with the noble Earl beyond him (the Earl of Ellenborough), that it is desirable during the progress of the war to have the most searching investigation into the financial position of the country. I must remark, however, that the practice of raising such questions in Parliament, and particularly in this House, has a tendency to encourage what I conceive to be a most mischievous feeling amongst the people of the country, and one which ought not to be encouraged by persons in high station in that or the other House of Parliament; I allude to the delusion that this country is the highest taxed country in the world. So far from this country being the highest taxed country in the world, I believe, if you look around the States of Europe, you will find there is none in which the people who are called upon to pay the taxes are more capable of paying them than the people of this country. Instead, then, of this country being described as being the highest taxed in Europe, it ought to be described as that in which the taxes fall more lightly on the people than in any other section of the European commonwealth. But I do not, on that account, think it the less necessary that economy should be observed in the administration of those funds which the liberality of the other House of Parliament—sanctioned, I trust, by your Lordships—have placed at the disposal of Her Majesty's Government. I think, however, that both this and the other House of Parliament has been placed in a singular position by the speech of the noble Earl at the head of the Government; and my noble Friend must allow me to say that there never was a speech made on such an occasion as this of which it might be more truly said, that it conveyed scarcely a single idea to the Parliament to which it was addressed. But, though it conveyed but little information, there did fall from the noble Earl an ominous expression, to which I am desirous of calling the attention of your Lordships; and if perchance beyond the walls of that House it should be the means of drawing some little attention to it in other quarters, I shall not regret the observation I am about to make. My noble Friend spoke strongly—and he could not speak more strongly than I feel upon the subject—my noble Friend spoke strongly of the restoration of peace, and, in doing so, he used this ominous expression—"with the concurrence of other Powers." My noble Friend must forgive me for saying that, having used this expression, it was the duty of my noble Friend to relieve it from the mystery in which it is involved. I desire now to know—and I think I am not singular in that desire—I desire to know who are the Powers whose concurrence my noble Friend is anxious to obtain?


The noble Earl said, "concurrence in carrying on the war."


"Concurrence in carrying on the war!" I think my noble Friend talked of concurrence in the restoration of peace. ["No, no!"]


It is totally a mistake. I said nothing of the sort, and I made no reference whatever to any other Powers with respect to peace. I spoke entirely with respect to war.


I am sorry that I misunderstood my noble Friend, and I take it that he only spoke of carrying on the war in concurrence with other Powers. Now, for the purpose of carrying on the war, we are in concurrence with Turkey as principal in the war, and France and England appear in the matter as the allies of Turkey. But, my Lords, I do not quite understand the distinction which my noble Friend draws, because, according to his own theory—and to that theory I have no objection—the only object of carrying on war is to secure peace. Why, then, after all, we are in concurrence with other Powers for the attainment of peace. Undoubtedly, if my noble Friend tells us that in any conditions for peace we are not to be engaged with any other Power besides Turkey and France, then I understand the position in which we are placed; but is that the true interpretation which I am to put upon the position in which this country is placed? Am I to understand that France and England, as the allies of Turkey, are not to be engaged with any other Power in endeavours for the restoration of peace? Now, my Lords, the great object which Her Majesty's Ministers ought to have in view is undoubtedly, as my noble Friend at the head of the Government has stated, the restoration of peace; but give me leave to say that the restoration of peace is a task which I expect my noble Friend will find to be one of not very easy attainment. If we are to attain peace, it must be by a serious blow against the Power with whom we are at war. We must not confine our operations to attacking small ports. While upon this matter, allow me to avail myself of the opportunity of expressing the deep regret I feel that any portion of the exertions of the country should have been diverted from what I think must appear, not only to me, but to your Lordships, the great objects which we ought to have in view. I take this opportunity of expressing my regret that any portion of those exertions should have been, in any part of Europe, in any part of Asia, or in any part of the world, diverted from the endeavour to strike those blows upon the enemy which would be most likely to induce him to make peace. It is not by attacks upon small ports in the Baltic, nor is it by an analogous conduct in the Black Sea, that we can hope to strike those blows which will induce the enemy to make peace, or to meet us upon those terms on which it might be fitting to make peace. I confess, my Lords, that I do entertain great apprehensions with respect to the terms on which it is possible or probable that it may be proposed to make peace. I trust they will be such as will secure, as far as any human foresight can secure, the Turkish empire from being at the mercy of the power of Russia. That is the true object which we must have in view; and what I am afraid of is this—that we may be induced by other Powers to consider that certain minor objects would be sufficient to justify us in obtaining what appears to me to be the great object we ought to have in view. I can easily conceive that there are Powers which would be perfectly satisfied with the abandonment of the Danubian Principalities, and the placing of the Danube in a position free to other Powers; but most undoubtedly this must not be held to be sufficient for the object we have in view. Austria may free Wallachia and Moldavia from the presence of the Russian armies, the mouths of the Danube may be opened to Austrian commerce, and yet nothing have been done towards maintaining the integrity and independence of the Ottoman empire. And, while speaking of the integrity of the Ottoman empire, I should certainly like to know, though I do not think I shall obtain the information—I should like to know what is the interpretation which Her Majesty's Ministers place upon the expression, "the integrity of the Ottoman empire?" Do they simply mean the maintenance of that boundary to which the Ottoman empire was circumscribed by the Treaty of Adrianople, or do they mean the placing of Turkey in such a position that, with or without the assistance of such allies as she now has, she will be enabled to maintain her independence against the aggressions of Russia? I certainly should be very desirous of hearing from Her Majesty's Ministers, little as I expect it, what is their interpretation of the expression, "the integrity of the Ottoman empire." Your Lordships will give me leave to say, that it must be an integrity not merely explained by the boundaries fixed by the Treaty of Adrianople, but it must be an integrity which would be coincident with its independence and its power to maintain that independence against future aggression. That future aggression will be made, I think your Lordships cannot doubt; and if you conclude the war by the simple restoration of things to the position in which they stood a year and a half ago, you may depend upon it that no very long time will elapse before you will be obliged to engage in another contest, perhaps not under such favourable circumstances as now—that you will, if you continue to think it wise to maintain the independence and integrity of the Ottoman empire, be obliged at no distant time to engage in another war for that purpose. Now, my Lords, it is because I am desirous that we should never again be placed under a similar obligation that I hope that, whatever negotiations we may engage in, the result of those negotiations will be such as will enable us to look with satisfaction upon the endeavours we are now making to maintain the integrity and independence of Turkey. I am not desirous of troubling your Lordships with any further observations, but I could not refrain from calling your Lordships' attention to what appears to me to be the very singular position in which Parliament and the Government of the country are placed—a position in which the former is not informed of what are the intentions of the executive Government.


My Lords, in the present temper of the House, I should certainly not be desirous of detaining your Lordships, but I cannot refrain from adding my expression of surprise to that of the noble Earl who has just sat down at the extraordinary course which has been pursued upon this occasion. I say "extraordinary," because, although I do not pretend to be learned in Parlia- mentary history—and, thank God, since I have sat in Parliament there have been but few occasions like the present—certainly upon no one of those occasions has such a speech been made, in proposing a Vote of Parliament such as the present, as that which has been made to-night by the noble Earl at the head of the Government. It has been the custom on all former occasions—and that custom ought to be adhered to now—to afford some explanation of the condition and prospects of the war, and of the state of the country in relation to its allier. I must say that when a Minister, having already had repeated supplies from Parliament—voted with unexampled liberality—comes to ask for a further Vote, he should at least give some information respecting the progress which has been made and the operations performed since the former supplies were asked for. Why, my Lords, if the noble Earl had nothing else to say, he might, at least, have availed himself of the opportunity to make some remark upon, and pay some tribute, however slight, to the glorious and brilliant exploits of the ally in whose cause we have embarked. If any successes worthy of being spoken of have been achieved, they are due, not to the British Government, and I regret to say, not to the British arms—they are due to the Turkish arms—to the firmness of the Turkish Government in resistance counsel as well as in supplying their commander with proper means—they are due, above all, to the skill of that commander, and to the bravery of the Ottoman troops. These it is which enable us now to vote supplies with much more cheering hopes than we could have entertained a few months ago. And yet not one word has been said by the Government upon the progress or condition of the war—a subject not unworthy of the notice of the Government of a country in addressing Parliament for supplies. My Lords, as a humble individual, I think it right to call attention to these circumstances, and to the cheering prospects now before us. It would only have been fair to our commanders in the Black Sea and in the Baltic to call attention to what has been done. In the Baltic it appears to me that those slight operations which have taken place have undoubtedly had the effect of showing the bravery, skill, and intrepidity of our sailors and commanders so far as they have had an opportunity afforded them of exhibiting it. In the Black Sea, though but little may have been done which can have any serious effect upon the war, certain operations have undoubtedly been performed, and certain successes have been obtained, which, I trust, will have a tendency towards effecting a lasting and beneficial peace. I refer to the destruction of the forts upon the coast of Circassia, and the clearing away of the Russians from that quarter. The noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) has said that, so far as the restoration of peace is concerned, the terms upon which peace would be concluded would depend very much upon whether the allies found themselves at St. Petersburg or the Russians at Constantinople, when we came to treat upon the question; but there are hypotheses intermediate to these, and if we have driven the Russians out of Circassia, that is a fact which must not be overlooked when we come to negotiate for peace. I should like to have heard something from Her Majesty's Ministers upon this point, and I think that the manner in which it has been entirely passed over by the noble Earl is a little ominous. My noble Friend who has just sat down alluded, as well he might, to the confederacies and alliances into which this country has entered. I think that Parliament ought to have very distinct information upon this subject; and if no other noble Lord shall bring the matter forward, I will myself take an early opportunity of fixing a day to move for the production of the recent convention entered into between Turkey and Austria, as well as for other documents which may throw a light upon the position in which we now stand. It is only proper that we should be placed in possession of this information, because, according to the treaty which has been laid before us, Turkey has entered into certain stipulations which prevented her from contracting any treaty, secret or open, with any other Power without our knowledge, and we know that the treaty which has been entered into is Dot a secret treaty. The convention is a most important one, and a question we must look to in voting further supplies is the state of things in reference to that convention, and the conduct of the Powers to whom we are not allied, as well as of those with whom we are allied. I am willing to put the best construction upon the conduct of Austria; I am willing to admit what has been said in this House, that Austria is an independent Power, having her own interests to look to, and that we have no particular right to control her actions. But, admitting all this, assuredly we have a right to know what our own obligations are, and what are the obligations of our confederates, that we may really know how we stand, and what to expect. From general rumour—for Parliament has as yet received no information upon the subject—it appears that, through the pressure and persuasion of the British Government, the Divan and the Turkish Ministers, who were much averse to it, have recently concluded a convention with Austria, by which the Austrian troops were to enter the Danubian provinces and occupy a portion of the Turkish empire. These are facts which ought to have been mentioned to Parliament, and the treaty ought certainly to have been produced. According to the accounts in the papers, the treaty was concluded on the 14th of June, at the time when the siege of Silistria was being raised, when the Russians were in hot retreat, and when it was generally supposed that they were not only in retreat from Silistria, but from the Principalities altogether. It does, then, appear to me most unaccountable, and a point upon which we ought to have some information, that, after the signing of the convention, the Russians being in retreat, and the Austrian army being upon the borders of the Turkish empire, instead of, as might have been supposed after the engagement entered into, marching and attacking the flank and rear of the Russian army, and endeavouring to cut it off, the Austrians should have kept in their place, and have refrained from moving into the Principalities. My Lords, what I want is, that Parliament should know the meaning of the convention between Austria and the Porte—that they should know whether it is a convention for driving the Russians from the Danubian provinces. If it is, how came it that at the hour of danger, and in the moment, of the greatest need, Austria, instead of hurrying into the field, held back and commenced fresh negotiations? I believe, my Lords, that hitherto we have placed too much dependence upon other Powers, and too little reliance upon our own resources. Austria is an independent Power; she has a right to be neutral; she has a right to take part with Russia, or she may take part with Turkey; but this, at least, we ought to know—namely, where we are, with whom we are acting, and against whom we are opposed. My Lords, there are considerations which are delicate to touch upon, and which I know that men in office and responsible Ministers are not willing to touch upon, but they are considerations which do not escape a British public, and which cannot escape the Government, and the Austrian and other Governments ought to be made sensible of this. We must know how other Powers mean to deal with us, so that we may know how to deal with them. We have great resources, moral as well as material, if we choose to use them; and if, in this war, which my noble Friend at the head of the Foreign Office well described on a former occasion as a war of civilisation against the advance of barbarism; if the Governments of Austria and Prussia, if the rulers of Poland, choose to take part against civilisation in favour of barbarism, they must be made aware that there is an appeal to be made to the peoples themselves, to know if they are of the same mind as their rulers. I might carry this further, I might allude to other countries, and the news which has come this day from the south would afford me an opportunity for doing so; but even for an individual these are delicate topics to touch, and a man in office, speaking under the responsibilities of office, cannot be expected to approach them. It is right that Austria and that Prussia should know that if a doubtful, suspicious, or injurious course is adopted by them towards this country or towards France, we must put into use all the arms and all the powers we possess, and out of the conflict thus engendered, I do not think those Governments would come unscathed. I think, too, we ought to be informed if there are any conferences going on in which we have a part—because in the papers we see that an invitation has been held out to renew the conferences at Vienna. I think one of the greatest mistakes made last year, when we had a much longer recourse to negotiations than was advisable, and when for the sake of those negotiations we stopped our warlike preparations, and were consequently compelled to take the field, when war began, at a disadvantage, was, that we had negotiations going on in different parts at once. At that time there were negotiations going on at no less than five different Courts. If there is to be another Conference at Vienna, we have a right to know what it is that this Conference is to consult about. I hope, however, that nothing of the sort is to be entered into. I, for one, think that the time for that sort of thing is gone by. By these conferences and negotiations we have got into a war of which the objects are so ill defined and uncertain, that no one can point out its probable issue or termination. It is high time now that we should have straightforward allies or declared enemies for peace or war. We must not, by hoping and lingering for other Powers to join and assist us, let the precious and irrevocable moments for energetic action slip by, but must trust to our own right and our own arms; and if we do that, serious as I own the conflict to be in which we are engaged, I have not the least doubt that we must ultimately be successful.


As my noble Friend has given notice of his intention at some early day to call the attention of this House to the state both of the negotiations and of the military operations of the war—[The Marquess of CLANRICARDE: I said I would move for copies of the treaty.] Well, as my noble Friend is to move for the treaty entered into between Austria and the Porte, I would not have intruded upon your Lordships' notice if it were not to rectify some errors into which he has fallen, and more particularly with reference to the treaty to which he has alluded, and in which I think it is necessary he should be set right. My noble Friend said this treaty was concluded on the 14th of June, after the siege of Silistria had been raised, and the Russians were in full retreat. Now, the fact is, that the siege was never carried on with so much activity (so it was thought), or with such great hopes of success on the part of the Russians, as was the case at that time; and it was not till the 23rd of June that, owing to the valour of the Turks, to which my noble Friend paid nothing but a just tribute, the siege was raised, and the Russians were in full retreat. But, my Lords, at that time the treaty, I believe, had not been ratified, and it is only in consequence of our not having received a ratified copy of the treaty that it has not been laid upon your Lordships' table; because I admit that it is a treaty of great importance, and of great interest to this country, and one of which your Lordships and the public have a right to possess as early a knowledge as practicable. But your Lordships are aware that until we have received from the Governments between whom a treaty is made the ratification of such treaty, it is not usual to lay such a document before Parliament. My Lords, I repeat again what my noble Friend has to-night also truly said, that Austria is an independent Power, and mistress to pursue her own policy in the manner she thinks best; but Austria is also under solemn engagements to other countries—she has vital interests of her own to protect; and unless we can suppose that she would bring disgrace upon herself by being unfaithful to her engagements, or that she will be blind to her own most urgent and, I might say, vital interests, I think, my Lords, we are right in believing that Austria will act as we have every desire that she should do and every right to expect from her. My Lords, Austria has already declared the conduct adopted by England and France in summoning Russia to evacuate the Danubian Principalities, and their subsequent efforts to carry out that summons to its legitimate consequences, to be both just and reasonable. She has herself declared the evacuation of those Principalities, and the free navigation of the Danube, to be matters which not only affect the interests of Austria, but those also of the whole of Germany; and she has declared, with England and France, that it is necessary to devise the means for connecting Turkey with the general system and equilibrium of Europe—which means that Turkey is to be relased, not only from her onerous engagements with Russia, but from the wrongful interpretation of her treaties with that Power. She has herself summoned Russia to evacuate the Principalities; and last, though not least, at great expense—an expense which she is very ill able to bear—Austria has organised and equipped one of the largest and finest armies which I believe has been seen in Europe in modern times. Now, my Lords, as it is impossible to suppose that Russia will voluntarily comply with the demands which not England and France alone, but Austria also, have addressed to her, and as it must equally be supposed that Austria has made what she conceives to be just demands, and demands from which, if she were ignominiously to withdraw, she must sink in the scale of nations by acknowledging the superiority of Russia and submitting to her dictation, I think the time cannot be far distant when Austria will be found co-operating with us; and I believe that co-operation would have taken place long before now had it not been for the difficulties that beset Austria, which have, perhaps, not been understood or appreciated in this country. Your Lordships may remember that in the course of last autumn the Austrian army was reduced by 100,000 men; and anybody conversant with such a matter knows that such a measure, and the raising of the army again to 300,000, must necessarily be a work of time. Your Lordships may be also aware that, in the month of March, Austria was ready to complete a quadruple treaty with the other Powers; and that the protocol of the 9th of April was but a compromise to which she was compelled to submit. Your Lordships will also be acquainted, from the recent information brought before you, and mentioned by my noble Friend on the cross-bench (Earl Fitzwilliam), with respect to the late combination against Austria and in the interest of Russia, which is called by the name of the Bamberg Conference, and which up to this day has prevented the Austrian and Prussian treaty from being submitted to the Diet. With these difficulties, and others to which I do not think it right to allude—and that for the very reason stated by my noble Friend (the Marquess of Clanricarde), namely, that here, and particularly under present circumstances, Her Majesty's Ministers must speak under a sense of their responsibility—I say that these considerations and these difficulties must be taken into account when we ask what has hitherto been, and what will hereafter be, the policy adopted by Austria? My Lords, I will answer for nothing; I merely state what has occurred in the past, and my grounds for believing that we may count upon the co-operation of Austria. Now, let me tell my noble Friend that he is mistaken in thinking that on the 3rd of July any fresh negotiations were entered into by this country with Austria or with Russia. Your Lordships know that Austria has addressed a demand, and sent a summons to Russia, for the evacuation, in a short time, of the Principalities. Early in the present month the answer of Russia reached Vienna; but, my Lords, we were no parties to the communication made by Austria to Russia, and we shall be no parties to the answer which has been received. Her Majesty's Government will at all times be ready to enter into negotiations for attaining the object of the war, which is a just and an honourable peace; but until such terms are set before us, and until we have some reason to believe that they are of a bonâ fide character, no negotiations will be entered into by this country. My Lords, I have on former occasions adverted to the almost impossibility of stating, at the commencement of a war, what would be the terms of peace. I have no wish now to detain your Lordships by going over the same ground again; but I do hope that, during the time that it has been my duty to administer the affairs of the Foreign Office, I have not given your Lordships any reason to doubt that I am insensible to the honour or dignity of the country. I ask your Lordships to believe me when I say, not only in my own name, but in that of my Colleagues, that there is no intention of returning to the status quo ante—that there is no intention of listening to a patched-up peace, which can only be a hollow truce, and render a return to war inevitable, and that, perhaps, under adverse circumstances. But if we continue, my Lords, to enjoy the support of Parliament and of the people of England, I can assure your Lordships that we shall not enter into any negotiations which have not for their object a just, durable, and honourable peace—worthy of the righteous cause in which we are engaged, worthy of the allies with whom we have undertaken this cause—and, I hope, not unworthy of the great and disinterested sacrifices which the people of this country have so cheerfully made.

On Question, agreed to, Nemine Dissentiente; and the said Address to be presented to Her Majesty by the Lords with White Staves.

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