§ LORD LYNDHURST
* My Lords, I presume many of your Lordships have read the important document to which the notice refers. It is a memorandum sent by the Cabinets of Vienna and Berlin to their Envoys at the Diet of Frankfort, with directions to present it to that body. It states the course of policy which has been pursued by the Four Powers with respect to the Eastern question; and the object of the communication was to obtain the approval and sanction of the Diet to that policy.
The paper has not been laid upon your Lordships' table, and being a document between foreign States, it could not perhaps, in point of form, have been laid upon the table, at least not in the usual manner; but it has been published in the official journals of Vienna, Berlin, Frankfort, and Paris, and I believe in most of the journals throughout the Continent. It is a matter, therefore, of general notoriety.
The paper has given rise to much discussion, both on the Continent and in this 307 country, and has created no inconsiderable degree of anxiety and uneasiness. It is upon these grounds that I have felt it my duty to submit it to the attention of your Lordships and of Her Majesty's Government, in order that we may receive some distinct explanation, and come to a clear understanding, as to the policy to which it relates.
It is of so much importance to be accurate upon a subject of this nature, that I must beg leave to read those parts of the document to which I refer. The first passage to which I am about to call your Lordships' attention is in these words—Both Cabinets have agreed with those of Paris and London in the conviction that the conflict between Russia and Turkey could not be prolonged without affecting the general interests of Europe, and those also of their own States. They acknowledged in common that the maintenance of the integrity of the Ottoman empire and the independence of the Sultan's Government are necessary conditions of the political balance, and that the war should, under no circumstances, have for result any change in existing territorial positions.Now, my Lords, I apprehend it to be clear that, according to the true interpretation of this passage, when it is stated that "the war should, under no circumstances, have for result any change in existing territorial positions," it must mean territorial positions as between Turkey on the one side, and Russia on the other. This may not, perhaps, be expressed with so much precision as to be perfectly free from doubt; but any such doubt will be effectually removed by referring to the protocol of the 5th of December to which the paper relates. In that instrument the Four Powers express themselves thus—In fact, the existence of Turkey in the limits assigned to her by treaty is one of the necessary conditions of the balance of power in Europe, and the undersigned Plenipotentiaries record, with satisfaction, that the existing war cannot in any case lead to modifications in the territorial boundaries of the two empires, which would be calculated to alter the state of possession in the East established for a length of time, and which is equally necessary for the tranquillity of all the other Powers.It would appear, therefore, that, according to the agreement between the Four Powers, as stated in these documents, no alteration is to take place, whatever may be the result of the war, in the territorial limits between Turkey on the one side and Russia on the other. In other words, that their principle is this—that in every event the status quo ante bellum, so far as re- 308 lates to territorial position between the two Powers, is to remain unchanged.
But, my Lords, it may be said, and properly said, that the protocol upon which ads passage is founded, was signed before the Western Powers had engaged in the war. Undoubtedly that is so; but after that event, and in this new state of things, the representatives of the Four Powers again met for the purpose of confirming what they had previously done; and, upon that occasion, they stated, in distinct terms, that they adhered to the principles upon which the former protocols had been founded. It seems, therefore, extremely difficult to come to any other conclusion than that which I have before stated, namely, that, whatever may be the result of the war, it must terminate by leaving Russia and Turkey precisely in the same state, as to territorial limits, in which they stood previous to the commencement of hostilities; and this is further confirmed by a passage, which I am about to read, in the memorandum sent to the Diet—The last of the protocols shows that, although France and Great Britain have entered into the war against Russia, the four Cabinets invariably adhere to the principle proclaimed heretofore by them in common, and have united in regard to the basis on which to deliberate as respects the appropriate means for obtaining the object of their endeavours.The result, therefore, seems to be that in every event the principle of maintaining the status quo is to be adhered to. That this is the principle upon which Austria and Prussia are acting, is sufficiently obvious; for if Russia were now to withdraw from the Principalities, and at the same time consent to a guarantee with respect to the independence of the Sultan and the integrity of the Ottoman empire, neither Austria nor Prussia would, as it is affirmed, take any active part in the contest. And if that be so with respect to these two Powers, and who state they are acting in concert and on one common principle with England and France, it seems to follow, and I must so conclude unless I hear something satisfactory to the contrary from my noble Friend opposite, that, whatever be the course and events of the war, the status quo as to the limits of the two empires of Russia and Turkey is to be main-mined. And it is in order to obtain some explanation, and to come to a clear understanding on this material question, that I have thought it my duty to submit it to your attention. 309 But, my Lords, it is not a little singular that Austria herself appears to show a disposition to act in one instance at least inconsistently with this principle; and I feel it difficult to reconcile the part of the paper to which I am about to allude with that to which I have already referred. I beg your Lordships' attention as to what is said as to the Danube. The free navigation of that river is stated by Austria to be of the utmost importance, not to her territory and her subjects alone, but to the whole of Central Germany. This is enlarged upon in the strongest terms, but not in terms by any means stronger than the importance of the subject warrants. The paper runs thus—It seems to be a requirement of the political, position of Germany, an element of her conservative policy, a condition of her national development for her national wealth, that in the countries of the Lower Danube there should exist a well-regulated state of affairs suitable to the interests of Central Europe.And again—The material interests of Germany are susceptible of most powerful elevation through the great water channels to the East; and it is thence generally incumbent on Germany to secure as much as possible the freedom of Danubian commerce, and not to witness the material animation of water communications with the East repulsed by restrictions.Let me, then, request your attention for a moment to the actual state of that river, and to the circumstances under which it is and has been long placed. This review will lead to the conclusion that Austria cannot herself be satisfied with the status quo as to this important territorial position. We all know that by the Treaty of Adrianople—that unfortunate treaty I must call it of Adrianople—Russia secured to herself both banks of the Danube; the one she held in absolute right, the other was placed substantially under her exclusive control. She also obtained the right of establishing a quarantine on one of the islands in the Danube.
Thus possessed of the sole and absolute control of that river, from its mouth to a considerable distance upwards, she has so managed as to impede in the most effectual manner the free course of its navigation; and further, by engrafting strict police regulations on the quarantine establishment, to interfere with the freedom of personal communication in that district. Remonstrance after remonstrance has been addressed to her by Austria, by England, and other European Powers without effect; 310 and it is obvious, judging from the past, that unless Russia is removed from her present position, and her limits at this point undergo a material change, it will be impossible to ensure for the future the free and unimpeded navigation of the Danube.
It is supposed, and seems to be thrown out incidentally, but vaguely and obscurely, in this paper, that this object may be secured by some treaty or convention. My Lords, I have no faith in a treaty upon this subject entered into with Russia. There was a treaty relating to it for several years between Austria and that Power, but which, I believe, has now expired. Russia undertook to keep the course of the Danube free from impediment, and Austria, in consideration of this, engaged to pay a toll upon her ships passing down the river. But what has been the conduct of Russia? She has enforced the payment of the toll, but has not only done nothing to keep the course of the Danube free from impediments, but has connived at, if not encourged, every obstruction to its course, apparently with the view of favouring her rival port of Odessa.
At the time when the Turks were in possession of the river, they, by a very simple process, managed to keep the navigation clear; and when it passed from their possession, the depth of the water at the mouth of the river was upwards of sixteen feet—it is now reduced to about nine. By requiring that a kind of iron barrow or drag should be attached to each vessel going crown the stream, thus loosening the mud for the action of the river, they kept the navigation free. Applications have been repeatedly made to Count Nesselrode and to other authorities to adopt the same mode of proceeding, but they have always refused or evaded under different pretexts to resort to these simple means. It was pretended that an apparatus of a more effectual kind was preparing, for the purpose of accomplishing the object. After a long delay the intended instrument arrived at Odessa; after a still further delay it was set to work, and it turned out, as had been foretold, not only to be ineffectual, but to increase the evil it was intended to remedy. It soon got out of order and was abandoned.
If any noble Lord should wish for further details on this subject, I exhort him most earnestly to read the papers that were laid last year on the table of your Lordships' House with respect to the 311 Sulina mouth of the Danube. They will be found to afford a lively picture of the shuffling, evasive, and, if I might apply such terms to persons in high and exalted stations, I would say tricking and mendacious, diplomacy of the Court of St. Petersburg. Is it not, then, evident from these facts that it has become absolutely necessary that a change should take place in the state of territorial possession at the mouth of the Danube—that such an alteration is required for securing that most important, and I may add necessary, object. on which so much reliance is justly placed by Austria and Germany—namely, the free and uninterrupted navigation of this great river? Those Powers must be convinced that this object can only be obtained and effectually secured by a departure from the principle of the status quo in this district.
Leaving, then, the western side of the Black Sea, I beg your Lordships to pass with me to its eastern shore. We have shut up the Russian fleet in the harbour of Sebastopol. It has the mortification of feeling that it cannot encounter the combined force without the certainty of entire destruction. All the Russian establishments on the Circassian coast, from Anapa to its southern extremity, have in consequence been deserted or destroyed. The chain of forts which during the last fifty years the Government had been employed in constructing at a vast expense, as a defence against the incursions of the brave mountaineers of that district, and with a view to their ultimate subjugation as well as for the further purpose of recruiting their armies and transmitting military stores to her south Caucasian possessions, have been levelled with the ground. Can it be possible, then, that, unless forced by the must disastrous events, we should consent to place Russia again in possession of this coast? We have supplied the brave population with arms, we have encouraged them to take an active part in the war against the common enemy. To abandon them to his vengeance would be not only an act of the grossest cruelty and injustice to this simple and heroic race, but, as your Lordships must feel with me, an act of deep disgrace and infamy.
I will now, my Lords, pass from these particulars to the more general question. From the earliest period, from the time of the Empress Catherine down to the present day, Russia has considered Turkey as her destined prey. Every war between these 312 Powers has ended in the steady advance of Russia towards the accomplishment of her purpose, and we now know, from what has lately come to light, that she considers the victim to be almost within her grasp, and it is evident she will persevere with the constancy habitual to her in endeavours to seize and secure it. But, my Lords, if the situation of Russia is to undergo no change at the termination of the present contest, what will be her actual position with respect to Turkey? I do not wish upon this point that you should rely upon any opinion or statement of mine; but will refer to an authority above all exception, that of Count Nesselrode himself?
Some time after the conclusion of the Treaty of Adrianople, Count Nesselrode wrote to the Grand Duke Constantine, at Warsaw, to give an account of the particulars of that treaty, and of the relative situation of Russia and Turkey in consequence of it. A reference to that despatch will place before you in a striking manner the future position of Turkey if the status quo should be adopted. He expresses himself in these terms—The Turkish monarchy is reduced to such a state as to exist only under the protection of Russia, and must comply in future with her wishes.Then, adverting to the Principalities, he says—The possession of these Principalities is of the less importance to us, as, without maintaining troops there, which would be attended with considerable expense, we shall dispose of them at our pleasure, as well during peace as in time of war. We shall hold the keys of a position from which it will be easy to keep the Turkish Government in check, and the Sultan will feel that any attempt to brave us again must end in his certain ruin.If this description be correct, and who can question its accuracy, Turkey will thus be left at the mercy of Russia, whenever the state of Europe shall be such as to enable that Power to avail herself of the advantage of her position, either for further encroachment or for the attainment of the ultimate object of her ambition—the entire subjugation of the European dominions of the Sultan. In what manner Russia is likely to act under such circumstances, I might, perhaps, safely leave your Lordships to conclude, and certainly will not trouble you with any observations of my own respecting it, but refer you, as I have before done, to approved Russian authority—to that of Prince Lieven, for many years the representative of Russia at this Court. In answer to a letter from 313 Count Nesselrode, who had consulted him by command of the Emperor upon his projected attack upon Turkey, he expresses, himself thus—Our policy must be to maintain a reserved and prudent attitude until the moment arrives for Russia to vindicate her rights, and for the rapid action which she will be obliged to adopt. The war ought to take Europe by surprise. Our movements must be prompt, so that the other Powers should find it impossible to be prepared for the blow that we are about to strike.But Prince Lieven was one only of the persons consulted upon this occasion. The Emperor was desirous of knowing what opposition he was likely to meet with from the other Powers individually, and what chance there was of a combination against him should he persevere in the execution of his design. The most detailed, and at the same time the most able, of the secret despatches, transmitted to St. Petersburg upon the occasion, was from Count Pozzo di Borgo, an adopted Russian, not an over-scrupulous, but a very keen and subtle diplomatist. He was intimately acquainted with this country and its policy, and was at that time the representative of Russia at Paris.
This paper cannot be read at the present time without a feeling of curiosity and deep interest. He adverts to the different Powers in succession, beginning with this country.England," he says, "has recovered from her commercial and financial crisis, and is in a condition to oppose us, and possibly may take that course. She may in that event do us considerable injury, but not of such a nature as to be wholly irremediable. She cannot, however, alone obstruct our designs or oppose the march of our armies.His conclusion, therefore, is, that the single opposition of this country could not stand in the way of the accomplishment of the Emperor's designs.
He then comes to France, and, after some curious and amusing comments upon M. de Villele, the Minister of that country, considers what would be the probable effect of the union of France and England in opposition to the projected enterprise. Whatever, he says, can be done by a superior naval force can be effected by England alone; the addition, therefore, of the maritime means of France will not be material; and as to her military power, she will be prevented from using it with any effect against us by reason of her geographical, moral, and political position. "Where," he observes, "is she to find a 314 field of battle to oppose us; and," he adds, with an expression of triumph, "her armies well know what they have to expect if they come in collision with ours." What is to be the result of that collision at the present day must soon appear, and may, and I trust will, disappoint the confident anticipations of the Russian diplomatist.
Having thus disposed of England and France, he proceeds next to consider whether anything is to be apprehended from Austria. Prince Metternich, that experienced, sagacious, and clear-sighted statesman, had endeavoured, but without success, to awaken attention to the designs of Russia, and to form some sort of union against her. The attempt had excited the strongest feeling of resentment and indignation against that eminent person. Accordingly his policy was decried, his schemes ridiculed, and the power of Austria treated with contempt. One short sentence disposed of the whole:—"To every country," said the Russian diplomatist, "war is a calamity, to Austria it would be certain ruin." Thus far then, according to this statement, there appeared to be no serious impediment to the aggressive designs of Russia.
I hear it whispered near me—You have forgotten Prussia. Far from it! I have reserved her as a pattern of constancy in political connection, and which would be most praiseworthy in connections of a different description. My noble Friend opposite must possess some powerful attractive force to have torn asunder, or dissolved the strong cohesion between these two Powers, Russia and Prussia. Read what Pozzo di Borgo says of Prussia. With what an affectionate sneer he treats that Government. It can scarcely be considered as irony, it is so broad and undisguised—Prussia being less jealous, and consequently more impartial, has constantly shown by her opinions that she has a just idea of the nature and importance of the affairs of the East, and if the Court of Vienna had shared her views and her good intentions, there can be no doubt that the plan of the Imperial Cabinet would have been accomplished.Fortunate it is for Europe and the world that she has not shared her views upon the present occasion, but, on the contrary, has persuaded Prussia to adopt a more wise land generous policy.
At a subsequent period Count Nesselrode, in the despatch to which I have al, ready referred, speaking of what I may 315 call Prussia's subserviency to the Emperor, expresses himself in these terms—The Count Alopeus transmits to us the most positive assurances, which leave no doubt touching the favourable dispositions on which Russia may reckon on the part of Prussia, whatever may be the ultimate course of events.These passages present a striking picture of the cautious policy, and at the same time of the industry, unwearied activity, and energy, of the Russian Government. Acting upon these opinions, the invasion of the Principalities, after a short but necessary interval, was decided upon, and the armies of Russia, without opposition from any European Power, passed the Balkan, and dictated the degrading and disastrous terms of the Treaty of Adrianople.
Place Russia there upon the termination of the present war in the position she then held, and which is so forcibly described by Count Nesselrode in his secret despatch to the Grand Duke, and what can you reasonably expect when a convenient opportunity occurs, but further encroachments on the Sultan, and ultimately, the entire subjugation of the European portion of his empire?
But then this paper refers to some projected guarantee—some treaty, to which the Four Powers and Russia are to be parties, for the maintenance of the independence of the Sultan and the integrity of the Ottoman empire. Now, my Lords, I fully admit, as to the Four Powers, that as long as they continue united in friendship and policy, such a guarantee might afford effectual security against the ambitious designs of Russia; but, if circumstances should occur to disturb this union, and, in the ever-varying events of the world, to create rival or hostile feelings between them, there would at once be an end of this security. And as to the guarantee of Russia, or the obligation of any treaty into which she might enter, who is to be found so weak, so credulous, as to place the least reliance upon it? It would be utterly valueless; not worth the paper upon which it was written.
As to trusting in this Power, whether we look to recent or more remote events, we come to the same conclusion. Sir Hamilton Seymour, our able and observant! Minister at St. Petersburg, had learnt, from various authentic sources, that large bodies of Russian troops were moving towards the Turkish frontiers. In communicating upon this matter with Count Nes- 316 selrode, he was told by that Minister that he must have been misinformed; that these movements were nothing more than a change of quarters, usual at that season of the year. In commenting upon this statement, Sir Hamilton Seymour observes, in his despatch to my noble Friend, that he found it impossible to reconcile the facts which had come to his knowledge with the assurances of the Russian Minister. The result abundantly proved the correctness of the information.
In the course of an interesting conversation that occurred in this House some weeks since, a noble Friend of mine on the cross-bench enlarged, with much eloquence, and in a strain of high feeling, upon the unworthiness of entertaining doubts of the integrity and honour of illustrious persons with whom we were negotiating in matters of public and national interest. I listened with pleasure to the charms of his brilliant declamation, which reminded me forcibly of former days, but remained unconvinced by his reasoning.
In the intercourse of private life, liberal confidence in those with whom we converse and associate is the characteristic of a gentleman; but in the affairs of nations, where the interests and welfare of millions are at stake, where the rise or fall of empires may depend upon the issue, those who are interested with the conduct of such negotiations must be guided by a different and a stricter rule. Their duty in such a position is to exercise caution, vigilance, jealousy. "Oh, for the good old parliamentary word 'jealousy,'" exclaimed Mr. Fox, in one of those bursts of feeling so usual with him, "instead of its modern substitute, 'confidence.'" And if such be the true policy, which I think it is as between Parliament and the Ministers of the Crown, how much more ought it to prevail in the conflicting affairs of nations, where such mighty interests are concerned. If confidence, with its natural tendency, should sink into credulity, to what disastrous results might it not lead?
But, in the case of Russia in particular, and in negotiations with that Government, nothing but the extreme of blindness and credulity could lead to a departure from these principles. The whole series of her history, from the earliest period to the present day, has been one long-continued course of fraud and perfidy, of stealthy encroachment, or open and unblushing vio: lence—a course characteristic of a barbarous race, and, whether at St. Petersburg 317 or Tobolsk, marking its Asiatic origin. To go back to the reign of the Empress Catherine, we find her policy in one striking particular corresponding with that of the present Emperor, and which policy may in truth be traced back to the Czar Peter. She ostentatiously proclaimed herself the Protector of the Greek Church in Poland, fomented religious dissensions among that people, and, under pretence of putting an end to disorders which she bad herself created, sent a large military force into the country, and gradually stripped it of some of its fairest possessions. I need not add a word as to the ultimate and disastrous issue of these intrigues—the impression they created is strong, and will be lasting.
With a like policy in the Crimea, the independence of which country had been settled by treaty, she set up a prince whom she afterwards deposed, and amidst the confusion thus created, entered the country with an army under the command of one of the most brutal and sanguinary of her commanders, and haying slaughtered all who opposed her, annexed this important district permanently to the Russian empire. While these proceedings were going on, she prevented by means of her fleet all communication with Constantinople, being at peace with the Sultan, with whom she was at that time negotiating a treaty of commerce.
I pass over the extensive conspiracy in which Russia was engaged with Persia and other Powers in the East in the years 1834 and 1835 against this country, while she professed to be on terms of the closest friendship with us. These scandalous transactions were strenuously denied by Count Nesselrode to our Minister at St. Petersburg, but were afterwards conclusively established by Sir Alexander Burnes and by our Consul at Candahar. To enter into details upon this complicated subject would lead me too far from my present object.
But I cannot forbear adverting to the designs of Russia upon Khiva, an inconsiderable place in the desert, east of the Caspian. I recollect the expressions of Mr. Pitt, in alluding to Buonaparte, who, after taking possession of Malta, seized a barren rock in the Mediterranean on his passage to Egypt: "Nothing," lie exclaimed," is too vast for the temerity of his ambition, nothing too small for the grasp of his rapaeity"—expressions no less applicable to the restless and insatiable ambi- 318 tion of Russia. Russia sacrificed two armies in endeavouring to reach this remote place. For what purpose? Not with a view to any beneficial trade, but evidently as a convenient centre from which to form combinations and carry on intrigues for the disturbance of our Eastern empire. She has at length, by sending an expedition in a different direction, succeeded in obtaining a footing in that district, the preparations for the enterprise having been made while she was in apparent friendship with our Government.
As to Turkey, it is now known from recent disclosures that, while the Emperor Nicholas was amusing the Sultan with smooth words, and expressing the strongest desire to maintain her independence, he was secretly plotting her destruction and the partition of her empire.
Again, my Lords, assurances were given that Prince Menchikoff's mission related solely to the settlement of the question of the Holy Places; but while thus engaged, he endeavoured by menaces to force the Turkish Government into a secret convention, the effect of which would have been to make the Emperor joint Sovereign with the Sultan. It was afterwards admitted by Count Nesselrode, in contradiction to what he had before stated, that the Emperor regarded this as the most important object of the mission.
After this review of the deceptive policy of Russia, and these instances of her total disregard of national faith, instances which might have been carried to a much greater extent, I ask with confidence what reliance can be placed upon any engagement or guarantee into which she may enter, should it at any moment become her interest, or should she consider it her interest, to disregard it.
But Russia, carrying diplomacy to the extremest point of refinement, has introduced a new and significant term into that mysterious science, namely, the term "material guarantee." If the Emperor will give a guarantee of this description, something solid and substantial, as a pledge of his fidelity—something that he would be unwilling to forfeit—such a guarantee might enable us to hope for a secure and lasting peace; but to rely upon a mere paper guarantee—a mere pledge of his Imperial word —would, your Lordships must feel, be the extreme of folly and weakness.
I may possibly be asked, What are your views, what do you look forward to as the 319 results of this great struggle? My answer is, that I cannot, in my position, presume to offer an opinion upon such a subject. It is obvious that these results must depend upon the events, the contingencies of the war. But I may venture to say negatively that, unless compelled by the most unforeseen and disastrous circumstances, we ought not to make peace until we have destroyed the Russian fleet in the Black Sea, and razed the fortifications by which it is protected, As long as Russia possesses that fleet, and retains that position, it will be idle to talk of the independence of the Sultan—Russia will continue to hold Turkey in subjection, and compel her to yield obedience to her will.
What course Austria will finally pursue, however I may hope, I will not venture to predict. She has far more at stake in this conflict than either England or France. Should Russia succeed in retaining the Principalities, and in increasing her influence on the southern frontier of Austria, the independence of that empire will be at an end. If this overgrown and monstrous Power, extending over so many thousand miles from west to east, pressing as it does on the northern boundary of Austria, should coil itself round her eastern and southern limits, she must yield to its movements or be crushed in its folds.
What Russia may further attempt, if successful in her present efforts, time alone can disclose. That she will not remain stationary we may confidently predict. Ambition, like other passions, grows by what it feeds upon. Prince Lieven, in the despatch to Count Nesselrode, to which I before alluded, says—Europe contemplates with awe this colossus, whose gigantic armies wait only the signal to pour like a torrent upon her kingdoms and states.If this semi-barbarous people, with a Government of the same character, disguised under the thin cover of a showy but spurious refinement—a Government opposed to all beneficial progress and improvement, and which prohibits by law the education of the great body of its subjects—a despotism the most coarse and degrading that ever afflicted mankind—if this Power with such attributes should establish itself ill the heart of Europe (which may Heaven in its mercy avert!) it would be the heaviest and most fatal calamity that could fall on the civilised world.
§ THE EARL OF CLARENDON
My Lords, before replying to the observations of my 320 noble and learned Friend, I hope he will permit me, with all due deference, to remark upon the somewhat irregular, and therefore inconvenient, course which he has taken upon the present occasion. My noble and learned Friend has made a long, able, and most interesting speech, with the view of directing your Lordships' attention to a document which is not before you, of which you can have no cognisance, and which has not been communicated to Her Majesty's Government, for this reason—namely, that Powers do not make known to foreign Governments communications which pass between themselves and their agents relative to their own affairs. Your Lordships may or may not, as my noble and learned Friend supposes, have seen this document, when it was published some months ago; but I contend that you are not in a position to form an opinion, still less to pass a judgment on a paper, the contents of which many of your Lordships have probably heard to-night for the first time. If proceedings of this kind are continued with the sanction and authority of your Lordships—if this Motion should be drawn into a precedent for making the communications between foreign Governments the subject of discussion in this House, I fear we should be exposed to the inconvenience of arriving at decisions upon insufficient and perhaps erroneous data, and expose ourselves to remonstrances from foreign Governments on account of the conclusions at which we may arrive. The document to which my noble and learned Friend has referred, contains merely a recapitulation of transactions in which the Four Powers—England, France, Austria, and Prussia—were concerned, and it sets out, as my noble Friend observed, that the Four Powers were unanimously agreed upon the maintenance of the integrity of Turkey and the independence of the Sultan as essential to the equilibrium of Europe. This document was transmitted by Austria and Prussia to the members of the Germanic Confederation, who had felt aggrieved at having beers excluded from the negotiations relative to these transactions, which materially concerned the interests of Europe. This was a matter with which Her Majesty's Government had nothing to do, and no doubt the Cabinets of Berlin and Vienna had sufficient reasons for not deviating on this occasions from the mode of proceeding with regard to the other German States 321 usually observed in similar cases. These Powers, foreseeing that the aggressive policy of Russia might render neutrality no longer possible, concluded with each other an offensive and defensive treaty; and then arose the necessity of communicating it to the Germanic Confederation, not only for the purpose of securing the union of Germany against a common enemy and a common danger, but also for securing the support of the large armed force which the Confederation in certain circumstances, but solely with reference to German interests, is bound to supply. Under these circumstances, it was not only natural, but indispensable, that in applying to the Germanic Confederation the Declaration made by Austria and Prussia should have reference to German interests alone; and, therefore, it was that the Cabinets of Berlin and Vienna informed the Confederation that the continued military occupation of the Lower Danube by Russia was inconsistent with the material, and even with the political, interests of Germany. It was, therefore, of the utmost importance, that the status quo on the Lower Danube should be realised as originally fixed in the interests of Central Europe. I agree with the noble Lord in the opinion that the phraseology leaves an ambiguous impression; although I had no doubt whatever as to the real meaning, and upon inquiry I found that my opinion was correct, and that the words had reference more to the state of things which had been complained of in the previous paragraph of the Declaration, namely, that armed occupation of the Danube which was destructive to the interests of Germany and Austria. It was certainly not to replace Russia in the power which it had to occupy the mouths of the Danube. That power and possession had always been used to obstruct the freedom of commerce, and to throw every obstacle in the way of the free navigation of the river. But the Declaration goes on further to say, there is a vast field open for our commerce and industry to the East, and that great field must not be possessed by Russia. But this great field has always been obstructed by Russia, and that freedom of navigation prevented which Austria considered necessary. And the note goes on to say, so far as respects Russia, that now is the time to secure that liberty, and to remove those obstacles; and so it goes on to the next sentence, to which the noble Lord has refer- 322 red, with respect to the territorial status quo. The noble Lord will remember that it simply enjoins on the Confederation, that it is its bounden duty to take care that the result of the war shall not be such a territorial change of any of the great States of Europe as shall injuriously affect German interests. That is not an unnatural recommendation from the two great German Powers to the twenty-five minor Powers, at the same time that they are inviting their aid and co-operation, and calling upon them confidently and bravely to prepare for the trials which may be in store for them. I do not think it weakens any engagements which may have been taken between Austria and Prussia with England and France—on the contrary, it rather adds strength to them, as it calls upon the Confederation to unite as one man and prepare for the eventualities of war. Nor does it in any way alter the character of the assurances we have received from Austria. After the Philippic delivered by my noble and learned Friend against "confidence," and the preference which he has shown for "jealousy," I am almost afraid to venture on a declaration of my confidence in Austria. But I think I am justified in saying that we should look at Austria as an independent Power, carrying out her own policy, having some internal dangers to apprehend and many German difficulties to contend with, and that, under these circumstances, full allowance is not made for her difficult position. But, my Lords, as the alliance of Austria is of great importance to us—and, as far as the inland operations of the army of Austria are concerned, I consider them to be essential to us—I think it may not be out of place if I advert to some past proceedings, and state to your Lordships the facts upon which I found my confidence in the assurances which Austria has made to us. Such a course will, I think, be more practically useful than that of following my noble and learned Friend in his history of Russian aggressions, the character of which I need not say is such as I must necessarily condemn, but which, in my position, and speaking under a greater degree of responsibility than my noble and learned Friend, I think it better that I should abstain from commenting upon, and confine myself to matters which may be more practically useful and more interesting to your Lordships. I will, therefore, proceed to state what are the grounds upon which I feel confidence in the assurances 323 of Austria. My Lords, about three months ago I ventured to state in this House my belief that Austria could not remain neutral in this great contest, and that for the very reason stated by the noble and learned Lord—namely, that her interests, more than any other Power, were concerned in the issue of the war, and that the danger which menaced her was greater than that which menaced France or England or any other Power. Nay, I will now go further, and say, that if the German Powers—Austria more especially—had stood alone, they would have been compelled by every consideration of policy and self-interest to protect Turkey against the aggressions of Russia. Because, if Russia remained in possession of the Principalities, and, in spite of resistance on the part of Turkey, advanced to Constantinople itself, if her fleet retained the entire command of the Black Sea, and she closed the mouths of the Danube, the commercial prosperity of Austria and the German Powers, would be totally destroyed, and they would become, not the allies, but the mere vassals of Russia. True it is that there are some German Powers who still look with awe at the imaginary omnipotence of Russia, and who seem to wish to derive a guarantee from her for their future existence. But Austria has not shared in this ignominious feeling—the independence and dignity of the empire would have repelled such ideas. But even had she done so, neutrality would not have been her line. She must have been compelled to take part with Russia, not, I repeat, as an independent ally, but as a vassal to do the bidding of the Emperor. But Austria, and Prussia too, repelled the demand that was made on them by Russia to engage in a convention of neutrality, and from that moment a separation took place between Austria and Russia, which is a matter of no small importance to the world, because it has always been supposed that Russia, having a claim on the gratitude of Austria, would possess that influence over Austria which my noble and learned Friend described. But Austria did not yield to any such influence. Site had gone with us. Site had declared that she agrees with us, and she supported our summons to Russia to evacuate the Principalities. Therefore, I think that there was no reason to apprehend that Austria would remain neutral in this contest. But I know that it has been said that Austria has not moved with that vigour and rapidity which was called for 324 by her own engagements and by the possible necessity of the case. But I would only call upon your Lordships to place yourselves in the position of Austria, and to remember that up to the close of the year 1853 she did not believe in the possibility of a war. She trusted to the assurances and to the friendly feelings of Russia. She believed that her wishes and her interests would not be disregarded by Russia, and that the Emperor of Russia would not turn a deaf ear to her entreaties. She did not think that the Emperor of Russia would abandon his conservative character, and be himself the disturber of the peace of Europe. We must remember, also, the personal feelings which entered into these considerations—that the Emperor of Austria had a strong personal regard and respect for the Emperor of Russia, and that he had to weigh, with reference to the future, the consequences to himself and his people between the conclusion of a treaty of alliance with Russia on the one hand, and a treaty of alliance with the Western Powers on the other. We should also bear in mind that to quit the long-established alliance with Russia for one with the Western Powers was, on the part of Austria, nothing less than a complete revolution—a change of policy so (treat as was not to be effected without some difficulty. But, as I said before, Austria readily concurred in all the changes and in all the onward movements which had been made, and when the Emperor came to deal with the inadmissible propositions of Russia, sent by Count Orloff, and was not able to discover in them any assurance that the object of the Emperor of Russia was peace, he gave orders that an army of 30,000 men should be concentrated between Transylvania and the borders of Wallachia, and he formed a treaty with the Porte that he should send troops into Servia if the Russians entered into the principality. On that, indeed, the Emperor of Austria was disposed to act more vigorously; and he would have concluded a convention between the Four Powers, but obstacles which were insurmountable prevented him from doing so. He, however, did agree to the protocol of the 9th of April, which embodied all the terms that had been agreed upon by the other Powers. About the same time Austria and Prussia agreed to a treaty of alliance offensive and defensive, which had reference solely to German interests, affecting, therefore, the other States of Ger- 325 many, whose support and assistance it was intended to invite. But there was an additional article which accompanied that treaty, and which was of a more extended view. By that additional article the two Powers bound themselves to demand that no onward movement should be made by Russia in sending forces into the Turkish territory.
§ THE EARL OF CLARENDON
I am not aware. I believe it has not, and that the reason is that it was not communicated to the Conference. The treaty alone had been communicated to the several Governments, but it was not thought right by Austria and Prussia that that which had been withheld from the Conference should be communicated to the Governments. The reason the additional article was withheld was, that it had reference to matters beyond what immediately concerned Germany; but at the same time a copy of the additional article was communicated to Her Majesty's Government. This additional article of which I speak gave a more extended view of the parties, and it provided that the two Powers, Austria and Prussia, should require Russia to suspend all warlike operations within the Turkish territory; that a definite answer should be demanded on these two points; and that, if such an answer was not returned as should give complete security and satisfaction to the two Powers, then Prussia pledged herself that she would have her army in readiness to co-operate with Austria, and, if the Principalities were incorporated by the Russians, or the Balkans passed or attacked by the Russians, then Austria and Prussia together were to take the offensive. At the beginning of this month a summons by the Austrian Government, announcing that determination, was sent to St. Petersburg. In anticipation of the answer being unfavourable, the Austrian Government, after communicating with Her Majesty's Government and with the Emperor of the French, proposed a convention with the Porte, by which Austrian troops were to be permitted to enter the Principalities, in order to occupy them as long as was necessary, Austria having stated to the Engliah and French Governments that she was determined, however much her assistance might be required, not to permit an Austrian soldier to enter the Turkish territority without having pre- 326 viously obtained the consent of the Sultan. At the same time Austria placed at the disposal of the Porte any number of troops that might be required for reducing the insurrection in Montenegro, but not to be called into service unless actually required or considered necessary by the Turkish commander on the spot, and to be demanded by him. She also offered that her ships should co-operate with ours in order to suppress the Greek insurrection. And, my Lords, I am informed that at the close of this month, or at the beginning of the next, the Austrian army, organised and fully equipped for active service, will amount to 300,000 men. Now, my Lords, under these circumstances, I think we may feel some confidence in the assurances of Austria, that her object and views are the same as our own, and that in the prosecution of this object we shall always find her with us. Nor can I believe that after the knowledge which Austria has acquired of Russian diplomacy, and after the experience she has had of Russian friendship—after the experience she has had of her utter disregard of Austrian interests—that after the vast expense she has incurred, and the great risks to which she might be exposed—I say, I cannot believe, as the noble and learned Lord would seem almost to infer, that she will be so wanting to her interest and to her dignity as to conclude such a peace as that to which the noble and learned Lord has adverted, which could be nothing but a short hollow truce, and to which England and France could not be parties—a peace which could afford Austria no guarantee for the future, which would be indeed a triumph to Russia, which would leave Austria entirely at the mercy of Russia, and leave Europe for ever afterwards subject to the pernicious influence and oppressive policy of that Power. My noble and learned Friend has asked what were the terms which would be proposed for effecting a peace with Russia. My Lords, I cannot possibly say, nor do I think any one of your Lordships would undertake to say, upon what terms peace can be made. That must depend upon the chances and the contingencies of war. And indeed, my Lords, if I did know upon what terms we alone would be prepared to make peace—if I was prepared to say that we would accept no other terms than those which the noble and learned Lord himself would accede to—I am sure your Lordships would agree with me that it would be the most imprudent course I could possibly 327 take to divulge them. We may all have our opinions as to what may be desirable in that respect, but none of us can tell what may be possible. But this we know, that the policy of Russia and the power she has hitherto possessed of carrying it out have been and are dangerous to the peace and well-being of Europe, and that both are adverse to the cause of progress and of civilisation. And we also know that the object and interest of Europe must be to curtail that power and to check that policy. We know that the means of doing it are now so great and effectual, and that the opportunity is so wonderfully favourable, that if we were now to neglect it we should in vain hope for its return. All Europe is not to be disturbed, great interests are not to be dislocated, the people are not to have fresh burdens imposed upon them, great social and commercial relations are not to be abruptly torn asunder, and the greatest Powers of Europe are not to lie united in arms, for an insignificant result. I think you must agree that repression will only postpone the danger, and that safety can alone be found in curtailing the Power which menaces the peace of Europe and the cause of progress and civilisation.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
My Lords, I believe your Lordships must all have admired, as I have done, the able and eloquent statement made by my noble and learned Friend behind me, who entered into this important question with all his wonted vigour and perspicuity; and I do believe that, whatever irregularity there may have been in the course taken by my noble and learned Friend, an ample justification of that course may be found in the concluding observations of the noble Earl who has just addressed you. I think your Lordships will be of opinion that the terms of the document which has been cited and commented upon by my noble and learned Friend were of a character to cause the most serious apprehensions, that, with regard to two of the great Powers of Europe, that which my noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Clarendon) deprecated as an insignificant result, would be the conclusion at which those Powers would arrive. And I confess that, difficult as it is to argue on the precise terms of a document, which is not merely not technically before us, but which we have not practically before our eyes at the present moment, I think then noble Earl was less fortunate than usual in the attempt he made to explain that which, after his explanation, appeared to me not 328 only an ambiguous expression, but an expression on which it was very difficult to place any other interpretation than that natural interpretation placed upon it by my noble and learned Friend. My noble Friend opposite spoke as if the terms in question were the terms of an agreement between Austria and Prussia, and confirmed and assented to by England and France, for guaranteeing the independence of Turkey. If such were the object of that agreement, my noble and learned Friend could have found no reason to complain, and could see in it no grounds for doubting the intentions of the different Powers; but the case put forward by my noble and learned Friend is, that in a document purporting to be a resumé of the Conference between the different Powers, and submitted by Austria and Prussia to the Diet, these two Powers declare that whatever may be the result of the war—subject to the exception, and certainly, as it seems to me, the inconsistent exception, of the rights to be exercised on the banks of the Danube—those two Powers not only declare that the integrity of Turkey shall be maintained, but that the territorial arrangements between Turkey and Russia shall also be maintained; thereby leading to the natural inference that, if that object could be secured, if the Principalities should for the moment be evacuated, and if the integrity of Turkey should be recognised by Russia, there would be an end of all their efforts against the latter empire; and that, not only would there be an end of those efforts, but that, if France and England were to seek to go further in the prosecution of the war, Austria and Prussia, under the terms of that agreement, would have a right to step in and say, "No; we declare that, whatever might be the result of the war, existing territorial arrangements should be preserved inviolate, and if you proceed to enforce any measures beyond the evacuation of the Principalities, and the restoration of rights on the Danube, you cannot count on our alliance, you cannot count on our assistance, nay, more, we are bound by implication to oppose any proceeding by which existing territorial arrangements would be disturbed." Now, I must say that my noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Clarendon) passed lightly over this, which was the pinching part of the statement of my noble and learned Friend, and the more pinching because it not only throws doubts on the intentions of Austria and Prussia, but because a subsequent protocol, signed by all the Four Powers, recog- 329 nises, as accepted by them, two engagements—one between England and France, and another between Austria and Prussia, which would appear to put limits to the operations of all the Powers in the event of Russia acceding to the terms in question. According to those terms, if Russia should evacuate the Principalities, recognise the integrity and independence of Turkey, give no material gurantees for that purpose, but sign a treaty containing that recognition—according to those terms, as interpreted by my noble and learned Friend, and as I think they would be interpreted by any rational man, Austria and Prussia would stand aloof, under the most favourable view of the case, and might even be expected to take part in defending Russia against the dismemberment of any portion of her territories, however dangerous her retention of it might be to the future tranquillity of Europe. My noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Clarendon) insisted on the sincerity of Austria. But no question was raised by my noble and learned Friend upon that subject. The question was, as to the meaning of the professions made by Austria. That Power was, no doubt, sincere in declaring that it was necessary that the Principalities should be evacuated, and that she would have recourse to hostile measures if any attempt were made by the Russians to pass the Balkan. The question, however, was, not as to the sincerity of Austria in what she professed, but as to what was the meaning of her professions, and what assurance we had of her co-operation in the event of the Emperor Nicholas so far complying with the demands addressed to him as to retire from the Principalities, while he announced his determination to retain all his existing possessions. I have certainly heard with much satisfaction one portion of the speech of my noble Friend opposite. I recollect that my noble Friend on a former occasion declared that, as we were embarked in this war, we were embarked in it for no trifling object—that we had to deal with a great question which had been growing up for years, and almost for centuries—that the solution of that question was now forced upon us—that it must be settled once and for ever, finally and decisively; and I must again say that I rejoice to hear that declaration repeated by my noble Friend, in answer to my noble and learned Friend behind me, because sure I am of this, that the people of this country, however unwilling they might be to cuter into a war 330 at all, however much they might feel the pressure which it must impose on their resources, and much as they might recoil from all the inconveniences, the dangers, and the horrors by which it must be attended—sure I am, that whatever might be their disinclination to enter into a war, their disinclination and their disgust would be infinitely greater at the conclusion of a shameful and dishonourable peace. And a shameful and a dishonourable peace I am confident they would declare that to be which should not effectually bridle the growing ambition of Russia, restrain her not merely within her existing limits, but wrest from her those portions of her conquests, her retention of which is dangerous to the tranquillity and the independence of Europe, and take not moral but material guarantees, by which the renewal of her ambitious projects, and of her disturbance of the peace of Europe, might be effectually and permanently checked. I quite agree with my noble Friend, that it is not for us to say now what should be the precise terms on which alone we would consent to the restoration of peace. But this I will say, that I am convinced that the people of this country, having expended very large sums in making preparations for this war—having made incredible exertions for that purpose, and being prepared to make still greater exertions, and to bear all the inconveniences which must be the result of those efforts—I am convinced that the people of this country will not be satisfied unless you show them that security has been taken for the future independence, not of Turkey alone, but of the neighbouring States, against Russian aggression. And, above all, as my noble and learned Friend said, and said most truly, it is for us an object not only of policy, but of binding honour and duty, not to desert those gallant mountaineers who are now engaged in a struggle into which we have encouraged them to enter, and in which we have already afforded them our assistance. I believe that if we were now to make terms for ourselves only with Russia, and leave her to deal with them while she has no other enemy to encounter, we should be betraying a duty which we owe to mankind, and exposing ourselves to indelible disgrace. I say that for the future it is impossible to admit that the Black Sea shall be a Russian lake, or that the Danube shall be a Russian ditch, closed up by mud and filth against the commerce of the world. I say 331 that we must have material guarantees for the peace of Europe. I rejoice at the language held upon that point by my noble Friend opposite on the part of Her Majesty's Government. That language, I am sure, will give universal satisfaction to the people of this country; that language justifies the interpellation which has been so ably made by my noble and learned Friend near me; that language, I trust, the country will see followed up, on the part of the whole of Her Majesty's Government, by acts vigorous and decisive as the language of the noble Earl.
§ THE EARL OF ABERDEEN
My Lords, my noble Friend (the Earl of Clarendon) has so fully expressed the views and intentions of the Government upon this subject, that little remains for me to say. At the same time I cannot help making a few observations in reference to what has fallen from my noble and learned Friend (Lord Lyndhurst). I think that the speech of my noble and learned Friend would have been somewhat more appropriate and in place three months ago than it is at this moment. At that time it might have been, perhaps, necessary to stimulate the feelings of this country—the indignation and the martial feeling of this country—against a Power with which we were not yet at war; but having engaged in a war with Russia, I think it was not requisite to indulge in that eloquent and protracted Philippic which my noble and learned Friend delivered to the House in a detail of the policy of the Russian Government for many years past. My noble and learned Friend reminds me of old times. I recollect, five and twenty years ago, having had the pleasure of making known to him—then sitting on the woolsack—the French Ambassador of that day—a man of lively imagination and much wit; his observation to me afterwards was, speaking of my noble and learned Friend, "Chancellor, did you call him? Surely he is a colonel of dragoons." Now, it seems to me that my noble and learned Friend's speech to-night partook of the characteristic thus ascribed to him. Most happy am I to find that my noble and learned Friend retains all his vigour and martial energy; and I have only to observe that I think the speech would have been more appropriate if it hail been delivered before we had entered into the war than after we have fully engaged in it, and when we do not require such incentives to stimulate us in its prosecution. Now, this war was, at its commencement, so strictly 332 of a defensive character, that I can fully understand time cause of that apparent ambiguity in expression to which my noble and learned Friend has referred. Your Lordships will recollect that the object was to resist the unjustifiable aggressions of Russia against the Turkish territory. This was the declaration of Her Majesty when publishing to time country the cause of the war. Her Majesty declared that the purpose of the war was to protect an ally against unjust aggression. Throughout, the integrity of the Turkish empire and the independence of the Sultan were put forth as the main objects—I may say the, exclusive objects—of the war; and, therefore, it never occurred to provide against the Turkish conquests on the Russian territory. Our object, and the object of Europe, in all those protocols and engagements, was to preserve entire the territory of Turkey and the independence of the Sultan. Consequently in reciting these objects there might, no doubt, appear ambiguity in confining the objects of the war to those points to which I have adverted, and in not taking into view the possibility of any encroachment on the Russian territory; but that does not follow the least in time world from any engagements to which we are a party. Austria is an independent Power, and most happy have we been that Austria has agreed with us so far as she has done; but if Austria refuses to go further than these engagements, to which all four have been parties, what power have we to compel her to do so? Austria is acting now with a view to consult her own interests and the general interests of Europe. Austria is now listening to the advice of that veteran and able statesman whom my noble and learned Friend has eulogised, and I cannot doubt will be guided by him, both in regard to her own interests and to the interests of Europe. Therefore I attach no weight to the apparent ambiguity to which my noble and learned Friend has referred. As to the conditions with which we would be satisfied as the conclusion of the war, and the objects we should hold in view in pursuing it, it would be both premature and unwise to pretend now to decide. My noble and learned Friend, to be sure, has given the Emperor of Russia due notice to fortify Sebastopol, because he has declared his determination to lay hands on that stronghold, and I dare say His Majesty the Emperor of Russia will follow my noble and learned Friend's advice. 333 But the conditions for the termination of hostilities are, I say, those which can only be described by the expression "a just and honourable peace." Now that must depend in a great measure upon the progress of the war. If it should so happen that you find the Russians at Constantinople, it is perfectly clear that the conditions of the peace may be very different from what they might be if the allies should find themselves at St. Petersburg. Therefore the whole course of the negotiations must depend upon the varying progress of events. All I can say is, that at all times I shall advocate an honourable peace, though bent on obtaining the great objects we have in view—the security, integrity, and independence of the Porte, and, as far as reasonable, what is called the security of Europe, which, however, I cannot say I feel to be very much in danger by the chance of Russian aggression. For let me remind my noble and learned Friend, that when that disastrous Treaty of Adrianople, to which he refers, was concluded, at a time when the Russian troops were within fifty miles of Constantinople—a treaty I admit to be most onerous and disastrous—still no acquisition of Turkish territory was made by Russia. [Intimations of dissent.] Two or three small ports in Asia were taken possession of by Russia, but not an inch of territory in Europe; and the Principalities were evacuated. [A Noble Lord: The Danube.] The Danube? No doubt, I have already expressed my opinion in this House with regard to the Treaty of Adrianople; and no one has ever described the disastrous and onerous nature of its conditions more strongly than myself. But I say, considering the position at that time of the Russian army, which was almost at the gates of Constantinople, that treaty did not show any great desire of territorial aggrandisement. And what happened since that treaty was made, twenty-five years ago? Since that moment has Russia acquired a single inch of Turkish territory? Has Russia had any hostility with Turkey at all? None in the world. The only interference that Russia has had with Turkey has been to save the existence of the Turkish empire by sending a Russian army to Constantinople to protect it against Egyptian invasion. That is all that has happened since the Treaty of Adrianople. There has been no war, there has been no aggression, but only a single service rendered to Turkey by Russia. I think that, if we can secure 334 tranquillity for twenty-five years to come, we shall not do amiss; and that ought to be the object we should have in view. I quite agree with those who, notwithstanding they may have been led away by the excitement of the moment and the commencement of hostilities, still think that we ought never to close our ear against the voice of reason; and I for one, so long as, or as soon as ever I see the prospect of a just and honourable peace in view, shall most certainly endeavour to attain it. Now, this may not suit the spirits of those who are more bent upon hostile measures; but it must not be taken as implying that I am indifferent to the conduct of the war. On the contrary, I venture to say, that those who most desire peace may be most prepared to carry on war with the utmost vigour and determination—not to wreak vengeance on an enemy for whom personally we can feel no hatred, but to obtain with more certainty and security such a peace as we ought to desire. That is the reason and that is the motive which will induce me to carry on the war with the utmost possible vigour; and I do trust that in carrying on war, animated by these feelings, which ought to inspire all Christian nations, we may look for the attainment of the great object, peace, in a shorter time than many noble Lords appear to think probable.
§ LORD BEAUMONT
contended that the apparent meaning of the document referred to was, that the view of the Four Powers were the same, and that this country was evidently bound, under the circumstances, to respect simply and purely the present territorial arrangements. He did not see why in the world this country should have had anything to do with the treaty between Prussia and Austria. It gave us no further advantage in the war; it was a treaty by which we had nothing to gain; it was, in fact, more a question between two German States. But, however clear and positive the Language used by Austria and Prussia appeared to be, and however much confirmed afterwards by the Bamberg Conference, yet he could not but allow that the speech of the noble Foreign Secretary that night went a great way to remove the impression which the documents must undoubtedly have produced; and that advantage, even if it were all that the noble and learned Lord had obtained by bringing this subject before the House, was not to be despised. If the debate had ended with the speech of the noble Foreign 335 Secretary, there would have been every hope that the peace to be obtained would be a peace which would cripple Russia; and a peace, which did not cripple that gigantic Power and tend to strengthen its constant and mortal enemy, Turkey, would not be anything like such a peace as this country ought to be satisfied with in return for all the sacrifices it had made. But his hopes on this head had been some-what cooled by the calmer language of the noble Earl at the head of the Government; and when the noble Earl spoke of the Treaty of Adrianople as not giving any territorial power to Russia, he almost feared whether a peace giving Russia, if not increased territory, increased moral power, would not be considered a necessity of the time. The noble Earl the Foreign Secretary had alluded to the offer of Austria to send troops into Montenegro and the northern parts of Albania to put down the insurrection. Now, if any papers had been communicated to the Government, showing what had passed between the Porte and Austria on that head, he should like to have them laid on the table of the House; because, not long ago, before the war with Russia broke out, Austria did all it could to protect the rebels in Montenegro, but now she was offering to send troops, under the command of an Ottoman general, to put down the very persons whom she had so recently sought to protect. He should like to be assured that it was the fact that, under no circumstances whatever, Austrian troops would enter any Ottoman territory without the positive demand of the Porte; and he repeated his request that all papers referring to the matter be laid on the table.
House adjourned to Thursday next.