§ EARL GRANVILLE
rose, pursuant to notice, to move the adjournment of the House until Monday, the 16th of April.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
interposed, and said he hoped the adjournment of the House would only be moved until Monday next, as he proposed on that day and on Tuesday to dispose of some appeal cases, in conjunction with his noble and learned friends. He would take care that on Tuesday the adjournment should take place until Monday, the 16th of April.
§ The noble EARL then moved—That the House be adjourned to Monday next.
§ THE EARL OF ELLENBOROUGH
Then the House is to understand that the real adjournment of the House for purposes of public business is until Monday, the 16th of next month. [Earl GRANVILLE indicated his assent.] I think the Government have proposed an adjournment of somewhat unusual length, after a sitting during which a very small amount of public business has been transacted; and I confess I very much regret that we shall, in consequence, probably be detained a week longer in town at the end of the Session, attempting to transact public business at a time when, as we know, it is remarkably ill transacted. But, at any rate, this adjournment constitutes a break in the Session, and I think it will not be inconvenient that we should take this opportunity of looking back a little, of looking also at our present position, and at the same time looking forward; though the latter operation is one, I am afraid, which is very rarely peformed. It so happens that we are now exactly at the termination of the first year of the war, and it may, there- 1380 fore, be convenient that we should consider how we stood at the beginning of the war, and what we have as yet done. Now, at the beginning of this war, a year ago, we had a very strong Government—we had a very fine army. We have since lost half that army—we have also lost half that Government. I am not quite sure whether some persons may not think that the Government, having been deprived of half its numbers, has not increased its strength. I will not pronounce any opinion upon that subject. But at all events it is certain that whatever may have been the increase of strength to the Cabinet, their strength in Parliament has materially diminished; and instead of having a very strong Government to prosecute the war, we have now a very weak one. But further, we had a year ago a confiding Parliament and an enthusiastic people—we have now an inquiring House of Commons and a disappointed people. And, my Lords, are not the people justly disappointed? Were not hopes held out to them by none more than by some of the Ministers, many of which were no doubt exaggerated, but many of which might no doubt have been realised? What has been done in the war? Where are we now? We occupy, by means of our allies the Turks, Eupatoria; in conjunction with our allies the French we have occupied for the last six months twenty-five square miles of desert, in front of Sebastopol. From that position we can neither advance, nor retreat. Our officers and our soldiers have maintained their accustomed reputation—I say they have maintained it, because I will not, in derogation of the great soldiers who have preceded them, say that they have surpassed the achievements of former armies. It would be extremely difficult for them to do so. But, notwithstanding the reputation which has been undoubtedly obtained individually by both soldiers and officers, it is impossible for us to conceal from ourselves the fact that the reputation of this country as a military Power has been very seriously impaired. The last men in the country who believed in this reality of the war were, unfortunately, Her Majesty's Ministers, and, in consequence, due preparation was not made to meet it. Their eyes were at last opened, and with the best possible intentions, but knowing little or nothing of that which they were called upon to perform, they did everything too late and nothing well. My Lords, I apprehend that every one will admit that, in order to perform great services to the State, 1381 an army should be numerically equal to the work imposed on it—that it should be well organised—that it should be well officered, well equipped, and well commanded. But there is another thing even yet more essential to the success of military operations—and that is, that that army should be well placed. No matter how strong, no matter how well equipped, no matter how well commanded it may be, if an army be thrown into a false position, it is impossible it can obtain adequate success for the country. Now, the condition—the insuperable condition—of our expedition sent to Sebastopol was, that it should be sent without an adequate force of cavalry and without any means of moving. From the inadequacy of the cavalry the victory of Alma could not be followed up; and from the total absence of the means of movement, when the force of Prince Menchikoff was divided by the march of Lord Raglan on Balaklava, in was impossible to take advantage of that separation, and the Russian armies were again united. But a still more fatal consequence has been entailed by that want of carriage—that is that it has had a most destructive influence on the health of the army; and thus that army of ours—victorious as it has been wherever it was engaged with the enemy—within seven miles of the sea—and, therefore, I may say within seven miles of all the resources of England—yet that army has been exposed to an amount of distress unknown since the retreat of the French from Russia, and this distress has been almost equally destructive of our force. Now, I cannot be surprised that those difficulties should have been encountered; for what has been the attempt made by Her Majesty's Government? They have attempted, from a desire to do everything economically and to do everything as delicately and considerately as possible—they have attempted to carry on the war, as regards the militia, without a ballot or any substitute of a coercive character—they have attempted to carry on the war, as regards the navy, without bounty and without impressment—they have endeavoured to carry on the war without a reserve at home, and to carry on a campaign without animals. The Duke of Wellington, with just pride, declared, at the end of the Peninsular war, that with the army which he then possessed he could go anywhere and do anything. The army we have now can go nowhere and can do nothing—it can do nothing but 1382 defend its life in the position in which it is placed. But what is the effect of your system in the navy—and this was so properly brought under the consideration of your Lordships last night by my noble and gallant Friend near me (the Earl of Hardwicke)? What is the effect on the navy of the determination to carry on the war with no other resources in view than such as can be obtained by those ordinary means which are now resorted to, without either impressment or bounty? My Lords, I rejoice, with the noble Earl, to observe that the number of seamen and marines voted last year is now complete; and I think that in the course of the present year, by the ordinary method of engaging seamen, in conformity with the calculations which I formed eight or nine years ago when I was for a short time connected with the navy,—and which the experience of the past year bears out—I think that in the course of the present year the number of men now voted will be obtained, and that in all probability in successive years a force of about 6,000 or 7,000 men will, without any difficulty, and without departing from the ordinary mode of proceeding, be gradually added to our naval strength. But that amount of force which we shall have at the conclusion of the present year does not exceed one half of the force which we obtained during the last war; and I must say, whatever may be the expectations of those who are now sending out a magnificent fleet to the Baltic—I must say (and I think it right to say it, because I feel convinced upon the subject) that that fleet is not of sufficient strength. I understand that twenty sail of the line, all screw-ships, are to be employed in that service, with a proportionate number of smaller vessels. Now, if we had any just reason to expect that that force would be increased, as our force in the Baltic was increased last year, by six or seven sail of the line belonging to our ally the Emperor of the French, I should think that that force would be sufficient, provided we could rely upon that assistance at an early period of the campaign, and provided it could be continued to us throughout the operations. But it must be recollected that even last year two or three months elapsed before the French ships joined us, and that they left the Baltic six weeks or two months before our vessels; and looking to the great demands at the present moment for transport in the French navy and the French service generally, I certainly do not anticipate 1383 that more than one vessel of the line of his Imperial Majesty will join the British fleet in the Baltic during the present season. Of this, at least, I am quite certain, that to us it is of such vital importance to maintain a supremacy in the Baltic, that we ought not to run the smallest risk in that quarter, and that we ought to have a force of our own on which we could entirely depend under all circumstances. Now, a force of twenty sail of the line, with accompanying small vessels, is no doubt a very powerful force, and might do very great things against the enemy. But your Lordships must recollect that the force of the enemy consists of thirty sail of the line, and that we have every reason to suppose that many screw-vessels have been added to it during the last autumn and winter. And however I may rely on the strength of British ships, or the gallantry of the seamen by whom those ships will be manned, and the ability of the officers by whom they are commanded, I do not think that we should be justified in fighting any doubtful battle, or any battle in which we might not reasonably expect a decisive victory. I do not think it would be safe to trust the great interests we have at stake to a fleet of the extent only of that which we are sending to the Baltic. In my opinion—and I know it is the opinion of many naval officers capable of forming a correct judgment—our fleet should consist, not of twenty, but of twenty-five sail of the line; and I must say, that, in addition to that, I think it is absolutely necessary that there should be a reserve of at least five sail of the line at Portsmouth, and five more at Plymouth. I am unwilling to allude more particularly to circumstances which are now in my mind; but you may depend upon it, that if you desire to carry on this war undisturbed by any diversion, or any description whatever of apprehension or anxiety, you should be strong everywhere, and make it clear that it is not safe to incur your hostility. The reason why I now specially press this matter on the attention of Her Majesty's Government and of the House is that we have no reserve at home. At the very end of the last war we had 60,000 regulars and 60,000 militiamen in this country. What is our force now? We have nothing be. hind that fleet in the Baltic. If by the accidents of war, or the yet greater accidents of the weather—and let it be remembered that during our last service in the Baltic the fleet was for a very considerable 1384 period in a fog in the most imminent danger—in a danger which might have been fatal to one-half of the vessels—if by any of those accidents our fleets should sustain any serious loss, we have, I am sorry to say, at present nothing in England which could give sufficient protection to our shores. But observe the effect of our military institutions on the actual strength of our army. Can any one who looks at its present strength—who looks at our militia, at the progress of enlistment, at the progress of all our military institutions—can any one reasonably expect that in the course of this year, or of several following years, it will be in the power of this country to maintain in the field an army of a larger effective force than 30,000 men? But if we can do no more than that—and I do not believe that we can with our present military institutions—we shall be able to do just twice as much as the little State of Sardinia. I think these are matters for very serious reflection on the part of Parliament and of Her Majesty's Ministers; and the more so because it is impossible for me to disconnect the consideration of our actual military and naval position from the consideration of those negotiations which are now in progress at Vienna, and of which we shall soon learn the result. Consider, my Lords, what was the cause of this war. The cause of it was the occupation of the Principalities by the armies of Russia. That led Turkey to declare war; and we very properly came forward to protect Turkey against the consequences of the irruption of the Russians, who were so much superior in force. But the Principalities were evacuated; they were evacuated in consequence of the treaty between Austria and Turkey. There can be no doubt that at the present moment we should be able to obtain all the securities which could be obtained by treaty against the reoccupation of the Principalities, the occupation of which was the cause of the war. There appeared to be little doubt that we should be able to obtain at the present moment all the securities which could be obtained by treaty for the free navigation of the Danube. We could, in like manner, obtain all the securities which a treaty could give for the protection of the Greek subjects of the Porte without any offensive intervention of Russia as their sole protectress. Not only, I apprehend, could we obtain these things now, but we might have obtained them at a much earlier pe- 1385 riod. But what did we do? We sent an army to Varna, to "give the hand to Austria"—these were the expressions of my noble Friend at the head of the late Government. But as soon as Austria was preparing to rest on that hand we withdrew it, and we sent our troops, for views of our own, to Sebastopol. Could any reasonable man have doubted what the consequence of that measure would be—namely, that Austria, alarmed for her position, would act with extreme caution, and even with timidity? She was in a position of positive danger on the Pruth, where she was left alone when the army on whose presence she depended had gone from Varna to Sebastopol. But, besides that, by sending that army to Sebastopol, you added a new element of difficulty to all the future negotiations for peace. You introduced the question of military honour, which is infinitely more difficult to deal with than any question of policy; and, if I mistake not, the main practical difficulty which now presents itself, is one of military honour. We went further; we said, "We must have some security against the preponderance of Russia in the Black Sea." That is altogether a new demand; it is not a demand arising out of the first circumstances of the war. And in what manner do we propose to carry it into effect? The Government sent an expedition to Sebastopol as ancillary to the attainment of that object, and for the purpose, as I apprehend, of gaining some vantage ground from which you could insist upon Russia consenting to stipulations on this point. I trust that Her Majesty's Government have not demanded from Russia any concessions which might be represented by the Emperor to his people or to his army as inconsistent with their honour. My Lords, it is a most dangerous experiment to touch the honour of a military Power; and I do not think we are in a military position in front of Sebastopol which could justify us in asking the Russians to make any concessions. We are the besiegers, it is true; but we are also besieged; indeed, in some of the more recent operations, those who were originally besieged, appear rather to have the advantage. But if you could by any possibility obtain—what you now demand—any concessions or stipulations on the part of Russia, apparently tending to diminish her preponderance in the Black Sea, allow me to ask how the performance of such concessions and stipulations is to be enforced? 1386 Have the former stipulations for the freedom of the navigation of the Danube been fulfilled? Notoriously they have not. How can you then possibly in any manner compel Russia, without entering upon a new war, to perform any stipulations into which she might enter for the practical purpose of diminishing her preponderance in the Black Sea? I think, my Lords, that any attempt to do this must be perfectly vain and futile; and I must say, that whatever our opinions may be with respect to the war, I should deeply lament that any reasonable expectation of making peace should be taken from us by the proposal on our part of terms which, even if agreed to, must practically prove abortive, and could be productive of no real benefit to us or to the rest of Europe. But since the whole attention of Her Majesty's Government, and of a large portion of Europe, appears to be directed to this single question of Sebastopol, do let us endeavour, if we can, to look at the reality of the thing, and see what its real value amounts to. Now, in a time of war, such as the war in which we are at present engaged, we know its value exactly. We have a superior naval force in the Black Sea; we are blockading Sebastopol; we are thus depriving Russia altogether of that naval preponderance which she would otherwise derive from her possession of Sebastopol. No doubt, under peculiar circumstances of weather, the whole or a portion of the fleet at Sebastopol might sally forth, as it did at Sinope, and strike against its enemies a serious blow; but it could do nothing whatever which would exercise any material effect on the results of the war. It could strike, at an enormous risk to itself, a blow, which might be productive of some embarrassment; but, practically, the fleet in Sebastopol and Sebastopol itself are nullified by our naval preponderance in the Black Sea during the present war. Let us suppose that we took Sebastopol, destroyed it, and then left it. In a very few years it would become again exactly the same as it is now. We could not by any possibility impose on a great Power like Russia the terms which the Romans imposed on the Carthaginians, and prevent their return to it. She would never consent to submit to such humiliation; and if she did, such terms would never be fulfilled. Therefore, to take and destroy Sebastopol would only give us during the war an advantage of a temporary character, of which we can exactly measure the value, 1387 because it is the value of the ships which we now employ in blockading that port. Suppose, however, that you not merely take it, but tried to keep it. That would certainly be a very different object. But observe how far that would carry us. Remember that you cannot retain Sebastopol alone—you must go a good deal further. It would be impossible for you always to maintain 100,000 men in the Crimea for the purpose of preventing the Russians from re-occupying Sebastopol to the detriment of the Turks. You must go further—you must endeavour to raise the nations in the neighbourhood of the Crimea to form a barrier against Russia. It may seem an absurdity, but, in point of fact, you must attempt to reconstruct the kingdom of Mithridates. Such a scheme is manifestly impracticable, and must be treated accordingly. Well, then, what is the real danger from Sebastopol under these circumstances? I will assume that such a treaty could be formed, under the guarantee of all the Great Powers of Europe, as might effectually protect the Danubian Principalities from being reoccupied by Russia; but there would still remain a danger to Turkey from Sebastopol—a danger which no diminution of the Russian fleet by five or ten vessels, in compliance with the stipulations of a treaty, even if those stipulations were maintained, could prevent—the danger that Russia, embarking some 40,000 or 50,000 men, not in men of war only, but in the mercantile navy collected at Odessa and the other ports of the Black Sea, which, under the convoy of her ships of war, might move down upon Bourgaz or the mouth of the Bosphorus, and emperil, even at the commencement of a war, the very existence of Turkey. At the commencement of a war the danger would no doubt be then very great, and the terror of Turkey, even in time of peace, would be very considerable, knowing, as she must do, that she might at any hour become the object of an attack that might be fatal to her. It is against that danger that you are to guard; and though you may diminish the Russian fleet, yet while you leave Odessa and her commercial fleet unmolested you do not guard against such a contingency. Depend upon it, there is but one mode of guarding against it. You cannot nullify to Russia the value of her position; but you can profit by the position of your own ally in the Bosphorus and at Constantinople; and your only security is in creating another Sebastopol in 1388 the Bosphorus, and in giving to Turkey an army with which she might, behind strong fortifications, fight her own battles, and defend herself until Europe could come to the rescue. My Lords, I have thought it right—deeply impressed as I am with the truth of what I have been stating—I have thought it right to take this, the last opportunity before the recess, of making this statement, and of expressing my most earnest hope that no demand may have been made on Russia inconsistent with the honour of the Russian army and of her people—that no demand may have been made of her which, even if agreed to, it would be difficult or impossible to enforce, and which, even if enforced, would, under the actual circumstances of the case, truly considered and weighed, not yield us the security that is required.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
My Lords, I do not mean to reply at any length to the remarks of the noble Earl. I will observe, in the first place, that the noble Earl, in making the remarks which he has thought it necessary to offer upon the policy of the war, has said that the adjournment for a fortnight, which is now proposed, is too long. Now, I can only say that the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby), under whom a very short time ago the noble Earl was ready to act, has expressed to me his entire approval of the period selected for the present adjournment. Moreover, making every allowance for the ability and eloquence always displayed by the noble Earl in addressing your Lordships, and giving credit to the noble Earl for having frequently made useful suggestions to the Government and this House, yet, balancing the advantages and disadvantages arising to the public service from the speeches he has delivered in the course of this year, I cannot believe that that service would suffer much, though the noble Earl should not have the opportunity of addressing the House for another month instead of another fortnight, though your Lordships would no doubt, in that case, be longer deprived of many a great intellectual pleasure. The noble Earl alluded at some length to the state of our foreign relations. Now, my Lords, if there could be one fortnight during which more than any other it would be most objectionable to drag the Government into a debate on foreign affairs, it would be the fortnight now ensuing; and I cannot help thinking that those of your Lordships who have listened to the noble Earl's address must have felt that any Member of 1389 the Government would display an egregious want of a due sense of public duty if he were to follow him into the discussions he has raised at this particular juncture. To two points, however, in the noble Earl's speech, I must refer. In the first place, the noble Earl says that we sent an army to Sebastopol to promote our own particular objects. Now, my Lords, I am unable to explain the meaning of that phrase, but I do most confidently deny that in any one single step which we have taken during this war we have been actuated by any desire to serve any object in which this country may be supposed to have any undivided interest. The noble Earl also referred to the deficiency in our naval preparations with regard to the Baltic, and he gave an account very much differing from that which we have received from the French Government as to the assistance which they would be able to give us in that quarter. I do not wish to make any prophecy in opposition to the prophecy in which the noble Earl has indulged as to the number of ships which will be despatched by our Allies; but when the noble Earl declares that our own force is insufficient, I must say, with great deference to the noble Earl's superior information, that I do believe that such is not the case. The advanced squadron, formed entirely of steamers to the number of ten, has already sailed; and looking to the force which is now ready to sail under Admiral Dundas—seven ships of the line, eight frigates, eight gunboats, all either paddle steamers or screws—and looking, moreover, to the number of vessels of various descriptions which can be added in a very short time indeed—I believe that not less than 104 pendants would be ready for prosecuting the Baltic expedition at a moment's warning—I do maintain that, be the armament of Russia what it may—be it thirty ships of the line, even with the addition of some screws—it would be entirely undervaluing our own forces to say that they are insufficient for the campaign. I am unable to go into details with regard to the army; but I entirely deny that we have lost our military prestige in Europe to that degree which the noble Earl has attempted to make out. It is a gross exaggeration to say that our disasters in the Crimea are exactly parallel to those with which the army of Napoleon was visited in the expedition to Moscow. No doubt there have been disasters, there have been great losses and great sufferings; but when the noble 1390 Earl himself acknowledges that our officers and our men have shown themselves equal, if not superior, to those who have in past times upheld the glory and the honour of England upon the battle field—and when the losses, great as they are, will be very shortly made up, if they are not made up at the present moment—when we remember, moreover, that after having effected the most extraordinary landing which has ever taken place, and fought three battles, each one of which has shown the almost invincibility of our troops, we hold at this moment an impregnable position in the enemy's country—I do say it is conveying an unjust and unfair notion of our strength to the people of this country, and to our friends and allies abroad, to use such language as that which has just fallen from the noble Earl. It is notorious to us all that our army is increasing every day in health and in numbers, and, what is quite as important, that it is in the highest possible spirits; and I do believe, notwithstanding what has fallen from the noble Earl, that it is now equal to any service which it may immediately be called on to perform. The noble Earl alluded to the weakness of the Government, and he expressed his regret that the country, instead of having a strong, was unfortunate enough to possess a weak Government. No one can regret more than I do that we have lost some of those eminent men whose co-operation the colleagues of the noble Earl not long since—when they were endeavouring to form a Government—were so anxious to obtain; but, although those distinguished individuals have seceded from the Government, we have not lost all courage on that account, and we feel convinced, relying on the honesty of our intentions, that we shall be supported by the country in the measures we may feel called upon to take. What has lately occurred in the House of Commons—the divisions which have lately taken place there —clearly demonstrate that that House is not disinclined to give to Her Majesty's Ministers a fair support. Looking, too, at the elections which have lately been held—looking to the fact, that in every instance where a Member of the Government has had to appeal to his constituents, he has either been returned without opposition or by an overwhelming majority—and, looking to the change which has recently taken place in the feelings of the inhabitants of one of the chief commercial towns of the kingdom—I mean Liverpool—these, cou- 1391 pled with the facts to which I have just referred, are, I think, sufficient to prove that the people at large are desirous that the House of Commons should continue to give their support to Her Majesty's Ministers in their endeavours to bring the present contest to a safe and honourable conclusion. If we continue to obtain that Report, I think, without going into details, that I can assure the House on the part of my colleagues that, while on the one hand they will show no want of moderation, they will upon the other do everything which lies in their power to maintain the interests, the honour, and the military reputation of this country.
§ THE EARL OF MALMESBURY
My Lords, had it not been for some very strong observations which have fallen from the noble Earl who has just sat down in reference to the speech of the noble Earl who commenced this discussion, I should certainly not have intruded myself upon your Lordships' attention on this occasion. The President of the Council evidently wished by his observations strongly to impress upon your Lordships that the noble Earl near me (the Earl of Ellenborough) great as is his eloquence, and great as is his experience in military matters, has taken an undue and unseasonable opportunity of laying his views before your Lordships, and that, agreeable as it may have been to your Lordships to listen to his speech, yet, on the whole, he has taken a course likely to be detrimental to the public service. I entirely disagree with the noble Earl in that opinion, and I think your Lordships must think with me, when you remember the different occasions on which the noble Earl has given his advice to this House and to the Government with reference to the conduct of the war in which we are involved—advice which, unhappily, was not attended to by Her Majesty's Ministers, and which, if it had been acted upon, would, I have no doubt, have been productive of the most beneficial results. Two prominent cases occur to me at this moment, though, no doubt, were I to ransack my memory, I could cite many more. The first instance was, when the late Government and half the present advisers of Her Majesty appeared to be convinced that war was impossible. Acting on that real or assumed impression, the Government, with a wanton liberality which has never been explained, proceeded to reduce the taxation of the country, commencing with the soap duty which brought 1392 into the Exchequer 1,200,000l. The noble Earl above on that occasion warned the Government most solemnly of the inexpediency of what they were about, and entreated them to pause in the course they were pursuing. The Government, however, appeared to think they were wiser than the noble Earl; characterised his sentiments as detrimental to the public service, reduced the tax in question—and, I must certainly say, that I cannot congratulate them upon the result. The second occasion on which the noble Earl gave his advice to Her Majesty's Ministers was, when the noble Earl warned them that they had not calculated sufficiently upon the necessity of having an enormous number of animals for the land transport service in carrying on a foreign campaign. The Government neglected that advice also, and almost all the misfortunes of the army may be traced to the defects of that land transport service and the total disregard of the Government of the points in relation to it to which the noble Earl had called their attention. So much for the observations which fell from the noble Earl the President of the Council—observations which I regret to have heard the more because they imply that the Government still continue to undervalue the advice of the noble Earl, the disregard of which upon a former occasion has in no small degree contributed to those disasters which have caused us all so much pain. The Lord President complains that he cannot understand the noble Earl's meaning when he said that we had gone to the Crimea, for our own objects; but to me it appears to be perfectly clear. What I understood the noble Earl to mean was this—that England and France and Austria were not of the same mind upon that subject; in fact, that, as was stated in one of the despatches which have appeared in the public press upon the question, Austria had declared that she washed her hands entirely of that invasion, that she disapproved it altogether, and that, therefore, when we went to the Crimea it was our own policy which took us there, and not the policy of Austria. The Lord President objects to the comparison which was made by my noble Friend between the disasters which have occurred to our army and those which were endured by the French troops in their retreat from Moscow in the year 1812. Now, I can hardly conceive the existence between any two positions of an analogy more complete. 1393 Both armies invaded the same country with all its formidable powers of passive resistance and its climate, which upon foreigners acts so injuriously. The French army appeared before Moscow, ours is stationed in front of Sebastopol. The Russians are resisting its attacks with the same courage and determination, with the same national pride, as they resisted the onward march of the French army in the year 1812; and who came to their assistance? not their own army—not a foreign ally. In that year their climate came to the assistance of the Russian forces, and now again we have lost a large number of our soldiers through its agency. I do not mean to say that the climate has been the main cause of the disasters which we have so much to deplore; it has only been the immediate cause. Behind lie the mismanagement and the want of foresight of Her Majesty's Government in not providing against the calamities which unhappily have occurred. The analogy between the present campaign and that of 1812 still remains in full force. You have attacked the same power that Napoleon then attacked, with inadequate resources, and the result has been that half your army has been sacrificed. The analogy between the two events is, in my opinion, complete. The noble Earl appears to think that the present is a most inopportune moment for any Peer to rise in this House to give expression to his sentiments with reference to the occurrences which have taken place, or which may take place, in connection with the momentous subject of the war. But, my Lords, if we are to be tongue-tied upon that great question, as well as with regard to the negotiations now in progress at Vienna, I should wish to know what can be the use of our attending in this deliberative Assembly? The Government have declared that this is not the time, nor this the Session, during the present difficult war, for proceeding with domestic legislation; which, indeed, appears to be completely in abeyance. We have, therefore, every subject of Parliamentary discussion withdrawn from us by the fiat of the Government, because they tell us that on domestic policy we must be silent and quiet, and that on foreign policy it is indecent for us to utter an opinion. Hence, for an independent Peer of Parliament there is no topic on which he can venture to give a free expression to his opinions. That, however, is a position which I think noble Lords upon this side of the House 1394 will scarcely be contented to occupy. I, for one, cannot suppose that it would be detrimental to the public service that we should offer our advice to the Government, and should draw their attention to the various important topics which in the course of a contest like that in which we are involved must arise—such as have been submitted this evening to your Lordships' consideration. Indeed, so far from making any apology for my noble Friend for drawing the attention of the House to this subject, seeing how anxious we all are at this moment for the honour of the country, and how completely the eyes of the nation are set on what is passing at Vienna and in the Crimea, I think we should be dolts, and unworthy of our position in this House, if, without at the same time any desire to embarrass the Government, we did not express our sentiments on these great subjects. I intreat the Government to believe that in what I may speak with regard to the conduct of the war, or with respect to pending negotiations, I am not influenced by an atom of party feeling; for no man is more anxious than myself—and every word I utter in this House will support my statement—to see, whoever may be Minister, the honour of the country maintained, and our commercial and naval power in the Mediterranean effectually secured for a great number of years to come. I regard the present as the most important period that has occurred in the history of this country since the year 1815, when the great Congress at Vienna met to resettle the territorial arrangements of Europe, and I hope the Government will pardon me if I ask them to be a little more circumspect now—and I use the word in its literal sense—than were our statesmen in those days, great as they were. Far be it from me to speak with the slightest disrespect of those eminent men who have departed from the scene leaving immortal names behind them; but I cannot but think they committed glaring faults—faults which were, in their case, the natural result of the position in which they were placed, but which the generation that has succeeded them, beholding them by the light of experience, cannot fail to condemn. At that time, it is evident that the great statesmen of Europe did not look around them. Their backs were turned to the East, and their faces to the West. They had one point of view only, and that was France; and they conceived that no 1395 other danger existed so long as they were secure against the invasions of that Power. The consequence was, that the security of Turkey and the preponderance of Russia in the Black Sea were not attended to, and the difficulties we now experience result from that neglect. From 1815 to this time Russia, step by step, has encroached on Turkey, as is evidenced by the treaties of Akerman and Adrianople, and others equally fatal. At the time to which I have referred, so great was the dread of France—which alone appeared to be considered a dangerous Power—that the most extraordinary treaties were made to prevent any attempt at aggrandisement by that State. It is scarcely credible to the present generation that at that time we actually bound ourselves to prevent by force the French people from ever again being ruled over by the dynasty a member of which at present exercises the chief power in France. It is also almost incredible that a treaty was actually made, and remained in force up to 1852, excluding the Bonaparte family from the throne of France, and that we were bound by force of arms to maintain their exclusion. This shows the short-sightedness of all the eminent politicians of that day, and how necessary it is—not to take moral guarantees against a repetition of wars and invasions—but, as the noble Earl near me says, to obtain material guarantees which may prevent the recurrence of such events. Seeing the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary now in his place, I take the opportunity of stating that I have great confidence in his carrying on the negotiations in the spirit of the declaration he made in this House on the 19th of June last, when he said that it could not be permitted that one great Power should be constantly disturbing the peace of Europe; that the preponderance of Russia ought to be curtailed; and that the present moment was most favourable for attaining those results necessary for the perpetuation of peace, and for the security of that part of Europe, the independence of which had been so often attacked. I trust that the noble Earl will carry out the spirit of those words in the negotiations now going on, and I have not the slightest wish to embarrass him by any question whatever; but I must reassert the privilege which the noble Lord President seemed rather to deny, and which every individual Member has a right to exercise during the present or any other war, of giving his opinion and 1396 advice. [Earl GRANVILLE was here understood to explain that his remark in reference to this point ought not to be taken as general in its application.] I certainly think, then, that if advice and observations proceeding from the noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough), who possesses so much eloquence and so much knowledge of the subject, were to be considered objectionable, the inference must be that scarcely any other noble Lord can be trusted to express his sentiments on the same matters during the war or the negotiations. But I think the noble Lord President would not be supported in such a notion by his colleagues. There can be no inconvenience or danger in the remarks of the noble Earl who began this debate, and I trust that I have equally avoided saying anything that could produce inconvenience. I can only repeat my earnest hope that the noble Foreign Secretary will, throughout these negotiations, if they continue, and, if they fail, then throughout the war, carry out the spirit of the declaration which he made amid the cheers of your Lordships assembled in this House.
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL
said, that the noble Earl who had just sat sat down appeared to have changed his opinion in reference to the speeches of the noble Earl; for he (the Duke of Argyll) recollected that during last Session, the noble Earl (the Earl of Malmesbury) made some observations which were excessively snubbed by the noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough), and the noble Earl who last spoke then observed that no man was less entitled to give a rebuke, as no man made so many impertinent speeches as the noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough).
§ THE EARL OF MALMESBURY
said, he did not make use of the word "impertinent," and he did not think the noble Duke's observations in good taste at the present moment. At all events, if they were in good taste, they were not correct. What he did say on the occasion alluded to was, that he thought the noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough) had hardly treated him fairly in calling him to order for asking a question on a subject relating to the war, inasmuch as the noble Earl himself had made frequent speeches on the same subject. He never said that the noble Earl's speeches were impertinent or useless to the country.
THE EARL OF ELLENBOROUH
assured their Lordships that what had passed on the occasion alluded to had entirely left 1397 his recollection, but he did not think that a matter of that kind occurring accidentally in debate, having no bearing on any matter of public importance, should afterwards be reintroduced into their discussions.
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL
said, he had made the remark which had fallen from him merely in a spirit of good-humoured reply to some observations of the noble Earl (the Earl of Malmesbury), and without the intention of giving any offence; but the noble Earl mistook the ground of the objection urged to the observations of the noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough). It was not because they referred to current events, but it was on account of the peculiar character of those observations. He (the Duke of Argyll) was ignorant of the specific object for which those observations were made. It was true that one specific suggestion had been made, and that was that the Turks should fortify the Bosphorus; but the first observation was a complaint that a Government that had been strong was now weak. Now, the noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough) at the beginning of the Session said, that nothing could be worse than the Government as it then existed for the prosecution of the war, and he described it only as being something above the level of mediocrity. Perhaps the noble Earl would prefer a Government below mediocrity, with only one or two of its heads above that level. The noble Earl had referred to the position of our army, and said that it ought always to be placed in a position in which it would be able to do its work. That observation involved the whole question of the policy of our invading the Crimea. Now, he submitted to their Lordships that it was impossible to discuss the policy of that measure in a few pithy oratorical sentences. But the noble Earl went on to say—and he confessed he saw no use in the observation, even if it were true, though he did not believe that it was true—that our army at Sebastopol was in such a position that it could go nowhere and could do nothing. He could see no practical benefit in such observations, which, coming from an authority on military matters like the noble Earl, would go forth to Europe and have a certain amount of influence that could only be prejudicial to the interests which the noble Earl professed to serve. The noble Earl must be perfectly aware that, although it was undoubtedly and unfortunately true that that army had suffered from the want of the 1398 means of transport, under circumstances which were more or less susceptible of explanation, yet a plan had been sketched out by his noble Friend, the Minister of War, for providing that army with ample means of transport in future. Those means would be speedily adopted, and there was every reason to believe that there would soon be an army in the Crimea that would be able to go somewhere and be capable of doing something. He confessed he agreed with his noble Friend (Earl Granville) in attaching much more serious importance to those observations which fell from the noble Earl, as regarded the policy of the expedition to the Crimea, when the noble Earl described that policy as having been dictated by selfish interests on the part of England.
§ THE EARL OF ELLENBOROUGH
What I said was, that our object in sending out that expedition was one in common with that of France, but that it, was not in common with Austria. While making that remark, I more especially had in mind what fell from the Foreign Minister when he made an explanation on the subject on a former occasion.
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL
denied most emphatically that the expedition to the Crimea was a matter of no consequence to Austria. His belief was that in the negotiations now pending the interests of all the allied Powers were inseparably bound together; and that it was impossible to maintain the integrity of the Turkish empire, to secure the free navigation of the Danube, and release the two Danubian provinces, which was essential to the independence and integrity of Turkey, without insisting upon the third point, namely, the putting an end to the preponderance of Russia in the Black Sea. That, no doubt, was a matter open to argument; but it could not be laid down by the noble Earl, even upon his high authority, as a dictum, that upon that point England and France had a separate policy from the policy of the rest of Europe, and more especially of Austria and Prussia. He confessed he was not able to understand the general drift of the speech of the noble Earl to-night, when he compared it with other speeches made by the noble Earl on the same subject. He remembered the noble Earl saying last year—and he was not sure the noble Earl had not repeated it this year—that this was emphatically "a statesman's war." He (the Duke of Argyll) did not quite understand what the 1399 noble Earl meant by that expression. If the noble Earl meant that it was a war which was not sympathised in by the enthusiastic feelings of the people, then he certainly was wrong. But if the noble Earl meant that it was a war waged for great objects, which only great statesmen were able to appreciate, then he should like to know what those great objects were? The noble Earl had condemned the expedition to Sebastopol, and seemed much inclined to believe that, when the immediate and primary cause of the war was removed by the evacuation of the Principalities, the Western Powers ought to have been satisfied. If that was the noble Earl's definition of a "statesman's war," he could only say that he could not concur with him. How could the great objects of the war be accomplished if Russia was to remain in undisturbed possession of the Black Sea? If the noble Earl thought that any result short of that ought to satisfy the view of a statesman, he (the Duke of Argyll) could not agree with him. And how could the noble Earl now advocate the abandonment of the Crimea, when he had heard the noble Earl on previous occasions argue that this war was one in which our Indian empire was threatened, and for the defence of that empire he in part sketched a plan for the invasion of Central Asia, of Georgia, and of Persia, having for its object great territorial changes, altogether with a view to the especial interests of this kingdom and the preservation of its power in India. He must confess, therefore, when he bore in mind these various speeches of the noble Earl he could not quite reconcile their general drift with the drift of the speech which he had made that night. It really appeared to him that the present speech of the noble Earl, as well as former speeches which he had delivered on the same subject, had been made for the sake of making a speech without any very specific object, and certainly without presenting to the Government or the House any very new or statesmanlike suggestion, either as to the mode of carrying on the war or as to the objects for which that war ought to be carried on.
§ LORD COLCHESTER
said, that the noble Duke had not correctly represented what had fallen from the noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough) on a former occasion. It was not for the purpose of protecting our Indian empire, but to harass Russia that the noble Earl advocated our 1400 seeking the aid of Persia and other Asiatic States. What the noble Earl did say was, that if we did intend to carry on the war successfully we must not revolutionise States, but must enlist in our behalf the sympathies of existing States, such as Persia and other Asiatic nations. With regard to the objection that had been raised to discussing time negotiations while they were yet pending, of what use could it be to comment upon them after they were closed, when it would be too late to make alterations?
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL
explained that what he said was, that the noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough) expressed himself the other night in favour of enlarging the circle of the war towards the East, whereas, to-night, he complained of the late Government enlarging the circle of the war towards the East by the expedition to the Crimea.
§ LORD ABINGER
said, that if there was any want of confidence on the part of the public, it was owing to the want of publicity as to the reasons on which the measures had been taken. The Government had never yet made a statement of the military reasons upon which the expedition to the Crimea had been undertaken. He believed the noble Duke (the Duke of Newcastle) during the time he held the office of Minister of War was greatly in want of military counsel, and he could assure their Lordships it was the general feeling of the public that the Government proceeded without due military advice in the prosecution of military projects. It merely happened that the noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough) had expreased better than any one else what every one felt, when he intimated doubts of the importance of Sebastopol to the main object of the war, the defence of the Sultan—and there were many persons in England who concurred with him in thinking that, even if we possessed the Crimea, it would not give a stronger military position than fortified lines on the Bosphorous. He very much feared military advice was not sought by the Government. They were about to send a large force of cavalry to the Crimea, consisting of raw troops and young horses; whereas, if the Government condescended to consult military authorities, they would find such troops would not aid in the prosecution of the war, and that no general could rely upon them. The difficulty in which they were placed had been brought on by not having a proper basis of operations. The only basis was the harbour of 1401 Balaklava, and, consequently, they had failed to support the troops. They might succeed in the endeavour to take Sebastopol, but they could only succeed by sending large reinforcements, and by making efforts almost superhuman, equalling the efforts which were being made by the Russians.
§ THE EARL OF ELLENBOROUGH
I do not like to trouble your Lordships on a matter so entirely personal as the supposed discrepancy between one speech and another; but, as the noble Duke seems to attach so much importance to it, I must call the attention of the noble Earl the President of the Council to the fact that I always objected to the expedition to Sebastopol. I always felt so strongly on that subject that when I heard it talked of, being in the country after the cessation of Parliamentary duties, I wrote two papers containing my opinion, elaborately worked out, against that expedition to Sebastopol, and forwarded them to the Government. But that expedition having been undertaken, I said, in a speech to which the noble Duke has referred, some weeks ago, that the course which the Government was pursuing was not the course which would lead to success; that the expedition could not succeed if it was allowed to proceed against the whole military strength of Russia at that one point to which Russia could bring her troops by land with every means of movement, to be met by troops which could only be sent by sea, with deficient means of transport and deficient means of conveying cavalry. What I said was, that to make the expedition successful, the operations should be pressed against Russia on both flanks, both on the Pruth and in Asia. There is no discrepancy in that. I always objected to the expedition to Sebastopol; but since it had been undertaken, I took the liberty of suggesting, in the manner here stated—the only manner in which I thought it probable it would obtain success.
House adjourned accordingly to Monday next.