HL Deb 14 May 1855 vol 138 cc466-556

My Lords, it is now more than a year that we have been at war—a period somewhat longer, I believe, than the war itself was expected to last by the Ministry which entered into it—and during that period we have brought forward the whole military force of the country, such as it is, and also the whole of its naval force. We have had no reason to be dissatisfied with the conduct either of our soldiers or our seamen; on the contrary, they have rivalled the great actions of those who have preceded them in former wars, and have been led on all occasions by English gentlemen with their accustomed spirit and self-devotion. We have been allied with the greatest military Power in Europe—a Power, too, almost our equal in naval strength. There has existed the most cordial union between the forces of the two Powers; and yet, my Lords, obtaining, as we have obtained, so much, glory, by the side of that glory we have seen unusual suffering, and, notwithstanding all our strength, united to that of France, notwithstanding all the devotion of our troops, we have not as yet obtained any decisive success, nor can any man say that at the present moment, there is any expectation of obtaining it. This alone, my Lords, would justify me in calling your Lordships' attention to the subject, and in asking you to consider what may be the causes from which this failure has originated, and what are the remedies which it may be expedient to apply. Very recently too, another event has taken place which gives even a graver character to the war. The negotiations at Vienna have failed, and they have failed in such a manner—that is, by the presentation on the part of Russia of proposals which were perfectly inadmissible—as to afford the apprehension of a protracted war as well as of a great contest. My Lords, under these circumstances I feel that if any apology be necessary for now calling your Lordships' attention to the subject, it is an apology for not having brought forward this question at an earlier period. But, my Lords, since the accession of Lord Palmerston to office there has been a sort of torpor in Parliament; there has been nothing to induce any man to bring forward a great public question. If it had rested with that noble Lord, the torpor which has existed in Parliament would have been extended to the public mind; for the very first measure which he attempted to carry was a measure for the purpose of stifling the Committee of Inquiry into the State of the Army before Sevastopol, a Committee voted by a great majority of the House of Commons, and supported almost unanimously by the people. Strange and singular was the course adopted by the noble Lord for the purpose of inducing the House of Commons to rescind the Resolution it had passed. He desired to be permitted to appear in the world's masquerade in the historical character of Richard II., a prince who fell, as history informs us, because he exercised undue private partiality, instead of a desire for the public good, in the appointments of persons to office, and because he utterly disregarded the opinions of the public. But, my Lords, it was represented that Lord Palmerston was above all men the fittest to conduct the affairs of the country in time of war on account of his military experience. Now, certainly, that noble Lord has during his political life, now extended over a considerable portion of a century, for some time held the office of Secretary at War. But that office is not by any means connected with the direction of war, it has only to deal with the financial affairs of the army, nevertheless, he has been represented, because he so long held that office, as possessing great military experience. We have recently found that Mr. Sidney Herbert, who lately occupied the position of Secretary at War, very properly, as I think, in the discharge not only of offices of friendship, but of duties of a public nature, assisted the noble Duke who was then at the head of the War Department; but that was by no means done by him in the character of Secretary at War, nor had the Secretary at War, as such, anything to do with the direction of the war. If Lord Palmerston, holding that office, acquired great military experience and established a great military reputation, that circumstance must have been known to the late Duke of Wellington, and would have certainly tended to raise his opinion of his abilities and make him desire to retain him in the Administration of which he was the head. I do not mean to say that the Duke of Wellington did not entertain a high opinion of Lord Palmerston's military capacity, but I recollect one circumstance which leads me to infer that such was not the opinion of the Duke. I recollect sitting by the side of the Duke of Wellington in this House during the unfortunate difficulty between himself and Mr. Huskisson, which led to the resignation of a portion of the gentlemen who then formed the Coalition Government. The Duke of Wellington was called out of the House on the occasion to which I refer, and on his return he said to me, "That was Palmerston who wanted to see me, in order to tell me that if Huskisson went out he must go too. I said nothing. It was not for me to fire great guns at small birds." Such, at that time, was the opinion of the Duke of Wellington. Now, I will not pretend to say that the small bird may not in subsequent times have attained to the dimensions, and, perhaps, the character of the eagle; still, at the period referred to, such as I have stated appeared to be the opinion of the Duke of Wellington. But a short time ago the public instructors of the country informed the people that the man of all others whom it was necessary to place in the position of Minister was Lord Palmerston. He was, to use the phrase in vogue, "the man of the situation." Nations will sometimes indulge in that unfortunate weakness which occasionally afflicts individuals; they will gratify a fancy. This weakness was indulged in by the people on this occasion, and that happened to the people which occasionally happens to individuals who indulge in like weaknesses—namely, repentance soon followed on the indulgence. I believe that there is hardly any people so ready as the people of this country to give themselves up to the admiration of an individual for a short period. For a short period—but for a very short period—nothing can exceed the warmth of affection and admiration which they exhibit towards him. But a change soon comes over them, and that warmth of affection is soon followed by a frigid indifference, more than equal to the intensity of the admiration before entertained. I fear that at the present moment the feeling of the people is in hat cold state, and that they have become gradually disappointed at the results of the elevation of the man whom they shortly ago desired to see at the head of the Government.

But while Parliament has been in this state of torpor the public has been thinking, and the public has come to certain conclusions, which appear to be just, as to the conduct of the war, and as to the means to be adopted in future for the purpose of avoiding similar disappointments to those they have experienced. The people have arrived at this conclusion—that it is necessary, in the selection of individuals for public employments, to regard their fitness, and not to be guided by favour. I am not a convert to that opinion; for it has been at all times the principle upon which I have acted whenever for a short time I have been in possession of power; and I can speak from experience of its advantages and its dangers. Its advantages are all for the public, and its dangers are for the individual who adopts that as his principle of Government. I have myself seen disaster converted into victory, and discouragement into enthusiasm. I have seen public confidence re-established; I have seen public prosperity carried to an unexampled extent, beyond the point which at any previous period it had been known to attain; and I have been able, in a very great measure, to trace all these improvements in the condition of the State to the adoption of the principle of regarding solely the fitness of individuals in their selection for public employments. But I am enabled, at the same time, to inform your Lordships that there is this danger to the individual who acts on that principle, that he is surrounded by disappointed jobbers, and by little-minded men, depending for their promotion on patronage and favour, who, urged by the most unscrupulous animosity, join together for the purpose of overwhelming his Government. And if, in consequence of the present feeling of the people, any Government should be established in this country determined to act uniformly on the principle I have mentioned, I feel assured that it would be in danger from the same hostility, unless it received the constant, uniform, and vigilant support of the people, on whom it could alone depend.

I have, my Lords, been not unobservant of the events which have taken place in this country during a very considerable period of my life; and I have conversed with many who have equally regarded those events with vigilant observation; and it is certainly in accordance with my observation, and with that of others, that a very great, and, as I think, very dangerous change has come over the practice of the constitution. The time was when speeches in Parliament directed public opinion—when, whatever might have been the feeling during the recess, whatever might have been the success of agitators during the period while Parliament was not sitting, the meeting of Parliament, and the announcement of the opinions of those who were in the habit of leading parties in Parliament, at once gave a direction to public opinion and brought it into a right and safe course. I fear there has been growing up a very material change in this respect. Public opinion now is, I fear, more generally formed out of doors, and, being there formed, it acts on the conduct of Parliament. I look with great apprehension to a state of things in which persons, however able, yet wholly irresponsible, possess power greater, perhaps, than that of those who lead parties in Parliament. I look with apprehension to a state of things in which those whom I may call "the gentlemen of the platform" have more influence by their speeches than "the Gentlemen of the House of Commons." That state of things has been growing up in this country. It fills me with considerable alarm. I know the importance of watching public opinion—I know the importance of endeavouring to direct it. It appears to me that public opinion, if I may so express myself, in a manner resembles a great river between two dykes. The waters rise gradually, slowly, imperceptibly, and without danger, apparently, in the eyes of those unaccustomed to their progress; but at last they increase to such a height that they overtop and destroy the dyke, and, pouring down on the plain, desolate everything before them. The same waters, however, if distributed by prudent and judicious management into streamlets running through the fields, would fertilize and beautify the land. It is with the conviction, then, that it is essential to the good working of the constitution that Parliament should direct, as far as possible, public opinion, that I make this Motion. I make it for the purpose of enabling your Lordships to place this House in the front of the people. I make it for the purpose of inducing you to go to the foot of the Throne as the faithful interpreters of public opinion, to state respectfully to Her Majesty the extent of public dissatisfaction and the extent of public complaint; to state your determination and that of the people to assist Her Majesty with all the resources of the country in the prosecution of a just and necessary war; but at the same time to state your opinion that the Government must be conducted on the true public principle of selecting men for employment without considering anything but their means of serving the State.

My Lords, before I enter upon the conduct of the war, to which it will be necessary for me to direct your Lordships' attention, allow me to draw distinctly the line which appears to me to separate the functions of the Government from the functions of the general. It is the duty of the Government to form a plan for the campaign, and it is the duty of the Government to place in the hands of the general to whom they confide the conduct of the campaign the most perfect instrument they can prepare for the purpose of obtaining success—a perfectly well-equipped army. It is for the general to carry into execution the plans of the Government. We, as a Parliament, it appears to me, have only to deal with the conduct of the Government. Your Lordships may possibly recollect that at the very commencement of this war I, in the most earnest manner, cautioned the House and the public against looking too closely into the conduct of the officers in the command of the fleets and armies. I reminded your Lordships of the extreme sensitiveness of military men, and of the necessity of leaving their minds on all occasions perfectly free to exert all their energies for the public service. I assured your Lordships that the hope of public approbation and the apprehension of public displeasure would always be sufficient to animate those officers to the utmost extent in their exertions for the public service. I propose to adhere now to the reserve I recommended to others; I wish it to be understood that in all I say I deal only with the Government by whom this war has been conducted. My Lords, for the purpose of conducting the war I apprehend it will be admitted that it is necessary that a State should have at its disposal a sufficient number of men aided by animals. Unfortunately, the war has not been conducted in that manner; and very little exertion appears to have been made for the purpose of providing either armies of sufficient strength, or the means of movement for such army as we had. According to my recollection, it was not in the first instance that the standard of height was reduced, nor was it at an early period that the bounty was increased, yet it was by lowering the standard and by increasing the bounty that the army was to be augmented. On a recent occasion the noble Lord the Minister of War very properly issued a circular respecting the militia, which relieved from service those men who had not entered that force with the understanding that they were to be embodied, and who did not choose again to volunteer in consideration of the bounty offered to them; but he accompanied that measure by the offer of a bounty so extremely small as not only to endanger the success of the measure, but almost to secure its failure; and I believe that we have lost the services of from 16,000 to 20,000 men for the purpose of saving some 50,000l. or 60,000l. There has been no real economy—there has hardly been even an attempt at it—except in those branches of the service in which parsimony was most to be avoided, and in which liberality was most to be adopted—namely, in the obtaining of men for the army and navy, and in providing the army with the means of movement in the field. My Lords, I ventured at a very early period to represent to this House the absolute necessity of taking the most extensive measures for the purpose of providing the army with the means of movement; but it is only within the last three months that any effectual measures have been taken for that purpose, and at this moment the army cannot move, and it never has been able to move. This immovability, in consequence of the want of animals, has been the cause of many of the failures which have pervaded the campaign. My Lords, early in the last year it was decided, I think most properly, to separate the Colonial Department from the Department of War; but when that division took place, no measures were adopted—as should have been the case at the same moment—for the purpose of strengthening the hands of the Minister of War. I entirely object to the plan of pulling to pieces great departments in the midst of a war. I am sure that such a measure was totally unnecessary. The only thing absolutely necessary was to give the Minister of War full power over all the subordinate departments, to make his orders run through them, and to give him the power of compelling the execution of any measures he might direct. Had that power been distinctly given to my noble Friend (the Duke of Newcastle)—had he surrounded himself, as I think he should have done, with a military staff, instead of depending upon civil clerks—had it been thoroughly understood in the Government that the noble Duke's orders were at once to be executed in all departments, I firmly believe that many of the disasters which have occurred would have been prevented. But I fear the noble Duke has had to fight a battle here as well as in the Crimea—I fear that he has had to wrest the Commissariat from Sir Charles Trevelyan—that he has had to wrest the Land Transport Corps from the Commissariat—that there have been difficulties here as well as in the Crimea—and that those difficulties have to a very great extent led to the failures we have experienced.

My Lords, at the commencement of the war the manner in which our forces should act was a matter for the most careful and anxious consideration on the part of Her Majesty's Government—whether our army should act as a separate body, or unite with the army of France—whether the British troops should conduct separate operations from those undertaken by the troops of France. The objection to the union of the armies was obvious—the existence of divided command, an inconvenience which no extent of cordiality and good sense on the part of the generals could by possibility altogether obviate. It is almost impossible for any two men, however able they may be, to conduct difficult military operations with success under the principle of a divided command. Napoleon said, with perfect truth, when it was proposed by the Directory to send two commanders to Italy, that it was better to appoint one general of ordinary abilities to the command of an army than two men of superior abilities having a divided command; and depend upon it, unity of command is that which most contributes to success. We had the opportunity of employing our troops to a certain extent, perhaps, in the Black Sea, on a separate expedition; but we had before us the Baltic, the true sphere of our operations. However, it was decided otherwise. I can quite understand that Her Majesty's Government might have been desirous that the armies and navies of the two countries should be combined so that they might appear together where ever operations were carried on; and I do not deny that there was considerable advantage in that unity of operations; but it was an advantage dearly purchased by the absence of unity of command. It was decided that the war should be carried on in the Baltic, and also in the Black Sea. Now, my Lords, any one who takes the trouble of looking carefully through the charts of the Baltic will have seen that, while the Russians had taken every precaution, by the erection of defences, to prevent ships of large draught of water from entering their ports and from coming near their dockyards, the same precautions had not been taken against the attacks of vessels of a smaller class, that there were no fortifications on the land side, and that both at Sweaborg and at Cronstadt there were opportunities of turning the dockyards, and of burning them, by employing a class of vessels of small draught but heavily armed. It was obvious that, in the case of such an operation, it would be most advisable to have at hand a body of troops to cooperate in the attack, because if the marines were landed from the ships for employment on shore, the strength of the fleet would of course be materially diminished, and its efficiency for action would be considerably impaired. Neither of these considerations appear, however, to have occurred to Her Majesty's Government. They sent a fleet to the Baltic without gunboats and without troops. They rendered it impossible to obtain success with the means which they placed in the hands of the Admiral. The Admiral did as much as he could do with the means which were intrusted to him. I deeply regret that the public expectations were so highly raised at the commencement of the war; that the people were led to suppose that some extraordinary service would at once be performed by that fleet. For those exaggerated expectations two Members of Her Majesty's Government were particularly responsible. It is, my Lords, a serious thing to disappoint public expectation in a matter of this magnitude, and it is a cruel thing towards the officer in command. I will venture to say this—that while I do not question the right of a First Lord of the Admiralty—whether he thinks fit to state the grounds of the proceeding or not—to direct an officer to haul down his flag, I do think it is proper that the feelings of an officer so directed to give up his command should be to the last extent carefully considered and consulted; and I do deeply regret that Sir C. Napier is not the only officer employed in the fleet who has had reason to complain of the manner in which he has been treated at the Admiralty. I consider it to be a public duty, my Lords, to consult the feelings of every officer who is employed under the Crown. Well, so much for the Baltic. But it was determined to send an army to the Mediterranean—and accordingly the troops were despatched first to Malta, then to Gallipoli, and then to Constantinople. I do not object either to the advance of the army to Malta, or from Malta to Gallipoli, or from Gallipoli to Constantinople. I think the last two movements were correct under the then circumstances of the war. I think the formation of the intrenchments at Gallipoli was requisite under the circumstances then existing; but when these troops arrived at Constantinople it was the duty of Her Majesty's Government to take a general view of the war which was then being carried on by Turkey against Russia. The war existed upon the shores of the Black Sea, in Asia, as well as upon the banks of the Danube. Up to the present moment the war in Asia, which is almost as important as that upon the banks of the Danube, has been altogether neglected. I say "as important," because I can recollect the apprehensions which were entertained in 1829 of the advance of Prince Paskiewitch from Erzeroum to Constantinople. The dangers of Constantinople are almost as great on the Asiatic as on the European shore. More than that—the whole vital strength of Turkey is not so much in Europe as in Asia, and any blow struck against Turkey in Asia paralyzes the Turkish empire. Moreover, the whole commerce between Turkey and Persia is carried on by Trebizond, Erzeroum, and Bayazid, and the occupation of those places by Russia puts an end to that trade, insulates Persia, and most materially affects her policy. But, further, we had not to carry on the war in Asia as we must in Europe, only with army against army. We have in Asia nations at our disposal. We have nations conquered, but yet disposed to throw off the yoke. We had still more—a gallant nation which has been for years in arms, successfully defending its independence. It is with their arms that we should make war, as well as by the troops we may detach for their assistance. But this mode of action has been altogether neglected, and, as far as I can recollect, the appointment of Colonel Williams, who was sent out as a Commissioner, appeared about the same time that news was received of the defeat of the Turks in front of Kars, which appeared to threaten Erzeroum—a most serious blow had it fallen, for Erzeroum, once entered by the Russians, would never be surrendered by them. The Turks were only saved by the advance of Schamyl—but for that advance the Russians would have been in Erzeroum. I say then, it being the duty of the Government to look, not to isolated points, but to take a general view of the whole war, it is a most material and serious defect in the conduct of the war, that nothing should have been done for the purpose of acting in Asia. But it was determined to act only in Europe, and to send the troops to Varna. I entirely approved that movement, and I thank my noble Friend the noble Earl, late at the head of Her Majesty's Government (the Earl of Aberdeen), for having pressed that course upon his colleagues. I think that he did rightly, and for the reasons which he assigned. Not only was it an excellent military position—the best which could be selected at the time—but it "gave the hand" to Austria. That was the expression of the noble Earl, and the view which he entertained was perfectly just and correct. That army, placed at Varna, while it supported the Turks at Shumla, threatened Odessa, threatened Sebastopol, threatened Anapa, threatened every Russian station upon the Black Sea, and it gave support to the army acting in its front. It was an excellent position in itself; but no sooner was the army placed there, and about to give the hand to Austria—no sooner was Austria about to rest upon that hand—than we withdrew it, and sent the army to the Crimea. My Lords, I think that to withdraw the hand we had so offered, and send the expedition to the Crimea after Austria had invited our co-operation in the Principalities, was as great an error in diplomacy as it was in war. I ventured to caution the Government at the time as to the effect which it must have upon the policy of Austria. We have never to this day been in the same position with respect to Austria in which we were when that offer of co-operation was made. What did Austria say when she was informed of the intention of sending the expedition to the Crimea? She said—"That alters my position. I cannot venture to fight Russia by myself; and you have withdrawn the force which might have assisted me." And, my Lords, what is it that we have done very recently? Almost at the moment when we were entering upon negotiations, and it was of the utmost importance that we should have the cordial assistance of Austria, you withdrew the Turkish army from the Principalities and sent it to Eupatoria. The only extraneous assistance which the Austrian army could have in a military operation you withdrew at the very moment when it was most necessary that it should have something to rely upon. You denuded her altogether of any extraneous assistance, and you left the Austrian army with its line extended from the Pruth to the north of Galicia—exposed along her whole line to the attack of the Russian army, with Germany uncertain behind her. How, then, can you complain of the conduct of Austria? If you say that Austria has acted with undue timidity, impute it rather to your own mistakes—the mistake of the expedition to Sebastopol, and the mistake of the expedition to Eupatoria. Those two mistakes have compromised the military position of Austria, and until your army is in a position to give assistance to the Austrian army, you may depend upon it that Austria never can venture to give you the alliance and co-operation which she might otherwise cordially give. The treaty between Austria and Turkey is dated the 14th of June. That treaty was the real cause of the raising of the siege of Silistria. Had your army at Varna had the means of movement, can it be doubted that you would have attempted, before the raising of the siege of Silistria, to march to the assistance of the Turks? Was it consistent with your interest or your honour—was it not, on the contrary, adverse to every consideration both of interest and honour—to allow a place, which was the great defence of the Danube, to be taken under your very eyes? But you could not prevent it—the negligence of the Government had left your army motionless, and, for the purposes of active hostility, helpless. You could not advance to the relief of Silistria or the assistance of Austria; and when the Russians, compelled by the advance of Austria, retired from the Principalities—when any general in command of an army that could move would have pressed upon their rear, have forced them, if possible, to an action at disadvantage, and have prevented them taking away the plunder of the Principalities, and retiring by easy marches into Bessabaria—your army was unable to move. Why was it unable to move? Because the Government had not provided it with the means—it had not provided it with means of moving its artillery and stores—it had not even provided it with an adequate force of cavalry. It was no fault of the General; it was the fault of the Government. Nothing sufficient was done for the purpose of making those troops really an army; for troops are not an army unless they can move into the field. Consider only for a moment what would have been our position had the proper means been taken to make that army moveable, and had it advanced. You would have had united more than 120,000 men of allies and Turks, in conjunction with, and supported by, an Austrian army. What would have been the effect of such a movement? You would have had Bessarabia, and would have commenced this campaign from the Dniester; and the first victory would have placed Odessa, Nicoliev, and the Crimea itself at your feet.

It was determined, however, to send the expedition to Sebastopol. That expedition involved two conditions, both fatal to the efficiency of an army. The first was that there could not be a sufficient force of cavalry,—the second, that there could not be a sufficient number of animals to move the army. It could, therefore, never gain a decisive victory, or move in the field so as to destroy the enemy. Had we had cavalry enough, the success obtained by our matchless infantry at the battle of the Alma would have led to the ruin of the Russian army; had we had the means of movement when Prince Menchik off drew off to Backshi-serai he never would have been allowed to return to Sebastopol. As it is, that army is immovable between Sebastopol and the sea. It is now beleagured, and it cannot move in any direction. It has the sea open to it, but it cannot advance. It is placed in a position in which it cannot obtain decisive success; and it is placed there by the act of the Government. It is the Government, therefore, that I accuse of the position in which that army is placed. I say nothing of the discretion of sending a great army across the sea at the time of the equinox, in 400 vessels, without having sufficiently reconnoitred the place, or having ascertained by information from any quarter what the amount of the defences might be, or what force the enemy might be able to bring into the town. If any general had ventured to do, of his own authority, in the field, that which you compelled our general to do—that is, had he ventured to attack a place, and had he failed in the attack in consequence of his not having sufficient force, of not having had information, and not having reconnoitred the place, so as to know something of its situation and strength, he would have been taken before a court-martial and would have been dismissed from his post. You, the Government, are answerable for having attempted the operation without reasonable grounds for anticipating success. I will not say much as to the military impolicy of it. If you had taken the place and come away, it gave you no security for peace, and in a few years it would have been just as strong as ever; if you had determined during the remainder of the war to occupy it, you were throwing away a great army in the most inconvenient position in which it could have been stationed with a view to effecting the great objects of the contest in which we find ourselves involved. A blockade is sufficient for the purpose of neutralising it; an inland fortified place might be valuable, with a view to carry on operations in advance of it, but this place is in a district accessible only by sea. I say, therefore, that the Government have not conducted the war well, and that they have placed the army in a position in which it cannot obtain a decisive success.

And now, my Lords, as regards a third point, the exposure of the troops to sufferings which forethought might have avoided. Is there, I ask, one man in this House or in the country who does not believe that the want of forethought on the part of Government was the great cause of the direful calamities we have witnessed? Hear Dr. Andrew Smith, the gentleman who very properly advised the Government at a very early period of the war. He tells you that the lives of hundreds and the miseries of thousands have been the consequence of not doing that which might have been done by forethought for the purpose of preventing the disasters which have occurred. Ask your Admiral, and he will tell you that he received no instructions for the preparation of transports fit to convey the sick and wounded. That is a new mode of carrying on a great expedition. I recollect I was for a short time engaged with the Duke of Wellington and Sir George Cockburn in preparing a small expedition against China. We did not on that occasion forget the sick and wounded. A large ship, a seventy-four, was fitted out from this country for the purpose of receiving them on board, though we were in that case making war at a distance of 24,000 miles, instead of, as in the present instance, 3,000. My Lords, I will not go into the melancholy details of all the inextricable confusion that prevailed with regard to the conveyance and distribution of supplies and ammunition, the mismanagement as to Ordnance stores, the tardiness in despatching them as they were wanted from this country, so that they did not arrive almost until the occasions for them had passed away—three months being the usual period that elapsed between the requisition for stores and their arrival. Nor will I attempt to harrow your Lordships' minds by describing the transport of the sick and wounded from the camp to Balaklava on mules lent by the humanity of our allies, or their state of extreme destitution on the shore, or the horrors of the middle passage, or the abominations of Scutari. All these things will be chronicled by the truthful pen of history; they are fresh in the minds of every one, and it is unnecessary for me to occupy your Lordships' time further by dwelling upon them. We all of us have read the statements made with respect to the calamities by which the army has been overtaken, and I think the opinion of all men is this, that however defective may have been the system, it is not the system alone that is to be impugned, but the conduct of the men by whom that system has been carried on. My Lords, to attribute everything to the defect of system is the subterfuge of convicted mediocrity. Mediocrity succumbs to system; ability dominates system, and forces men to its purposes. Public zeal combined with public ability will drive almost any system into a right course. But that combination has not existed here, and one of the most distressing circumstances in the contemplation of all that has been elicited before the Committee of Inquiry is not so much the fault of the system, which may be remedied, as the extent of mediocrity which pervades the service. It is this feeling, I apprehend, which has led very generally the people of this country to the conviction that it is absolutely necessary for the future to adopt a new principle in the selection of officers for public employment. My Lords, I entirely accede to that view. It is my belief that the best of all Governments is the Government which affords the greatest facilities for obtaining the assistance of the ablest men for the public service. It was upon that principle that I opposed the Reform Bill. I said it was not calculated to produce in the House of Commons the ablest men. Was I right? Is the House of Commons now more distinguished by ability than it was in former times? Have we not been compelled to use up all the old men in the House of Commons, because the regenerated House of Commons has not been capable of producing young men of equal ability? My Lords, I say I am in favour of administrative reform precisely on the same principle. I desire to see the ablest men in the public service. I can recollect well, many years ago, being much struck by the observation of a great philosophical historian who, treating of the success and grandeur of the Roman Republic, compared the whole circumstances of that republic with the circumstances of other States which appeared to have had greater chances of progress: "The cause of the success of the Roman Republic has been this—the great virtue and the great ability of a few great men." It is, therefore, for the object of bringing able men into the public service, that I altogether adopt the principle generally received at the present time, of administrative reform. I recollect having heard that Mr. Pitt once said, that in the whole course of his life he had hardly been able to give more than three or four situations to the persons whom he would have preferred to fill them. Yet he was a most powerful Minister, a man of a very bold, a man of a very proud mind. I do not condemn his pride. There is no better security for the proper discharge of public duties than to place supreme power in the hands of a man of a proud mind; yet so encompassed was Mr. Pitt by the trammels of Parliamentary Government that, with all his strength, such was the result of his experience. And what was the result of his policy? Failure in war. Not withstanding all his ability—not withstanding all the sacrifices of the country and all the courage of the troops, the general character of the military operations of Mr. Pitt was failure, and that failure very greatly to be attributed to the action of that necessity which did not permit him to look abroad for the ablest men. How different were the character and conduct of his great father? He disdained those trammels; he acted independently of them: he selected the fittest man wherever he was to be found; he restored confidence to the people; he restored victory to our arms; and are we who eulogise his character, who admire his genius, who glory in his success—are we to shrink from applying to our own times his principle of Government, as involving too great a sacrifice to be endured by the weakness of modern virtue? How much more powerful would he the position of a Minister able to select the men best fitted for the public service? How much more dignified the possession of office if he had the boldness so to act? He would then feel, whatever might happen, whatever might be the success of his Government, he had at least discharged the moral obligations he had incurred. But, my Lords, how can we, sitting here by the hereditary right, conferred, for the most part, upon our ancestors for their services to the State, for their fitness for public employment—how can we refuse to adopt that principle? It is the principle of our own origin. Why am I here? Because my father was a great lawyer. He was selected on account of fitness for a great office—that of Chief Justice of England. He had no family, no wealth, or connections to aid him; he rose altogether by his fitness. It was not favour; it was fitness that made Mr. Yorke Lord Chancellor and an Earl. It was not favour, it was fitness, that made Sir James Harris, the great diplomatist, Earl of Malmesbury. It was not favour which raised the father of the noble Lord opposite (Viscount Canning) to that office the reward for which was the peerage which the noble Viscount now holds. It was not favour which raised the brothers Cecil to be the Ministers of Elizabeth and James, and the founders of two great families. We are here by the services of our ancestors. Is it for us, then, who sit here by that right, and enjoy dignity and honour by reason of their services and their fitness for public employment—is it for us to turn round and say, "It is true our ancestors rose by fitness, but our relatives shall rise by favour." No! I trust your Lordships will adopt a different view of the interest and honour of this House. I trust you will, on this occasion, place yourselves in the front of the people and go to the foot of the Throne to state their complaints and their dissatisfaction. I trust you are fully impressed with the greatness of the crisis in which we stand, and that you feel all the dangers of the contest in which we are engaged. I feel myself that during this contest, protracted as it will be, we shall often have need of the support of the people. I desire to secure that support by identifying this House with public opinion. I desire to place the country on our side. I desire that we should present to the enemy we have to encounter the aspect of a united people, and that we should obtain a secure and honourable peace by acting together—Parliament supported by the general affection and co-operation of the country.

The noble Earl then Moved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty. To assure Her Majesty of our continued Support in the Prosecution of the just and necessary War in which Her Majesty is engaged: To declare the sincere Gratification with which we have regarded the perfect Community of Counsels between Her Majesty and the Emperor of the French, and have seen Friendliness established and increasing between the French People and our own; Events full of Hope for the future to other Nations as well as to ourselves: To express our Admiration of the many Deeds of Valour by which the allied Forces in the East have illustrated their Brotherhood in Arms, and our Satisfaction that the brave Army of Piedmont is now called to participate in their Actions and in their Fame: To declare our Persuasion that, amidst all their Disappointments, the People of this Country still retain the generous Feelings which led them at the Commencement of the War willingly to place all the Means required from them at Her Majesty's Disposal—that they will still protect the weak against the Aggression of the strong—and that they are not prepared to consent that Russia shall, by her increasing Preponderance, so control the Turkish Government as practically to hold Constantinople within her Grasp: To acquaint Her Majesty that, while we admit and lament the Privations to which War necessarily subjects all Classes of the People, we yet venture to assure Her Majesty that they would in so just a Cause bear those Privations without Complaint, if they could feel that the War had been well conducted—that the Troops had not been exposed to any Hardships which could have been avoided by Forethought—and that everything had been done to enable them to achieve decisive Success: Humbly to represent to Her Majesty that Her People, suffering Privations on account of this War, have as yet had no such Consolation; that, on the contrary, we cannot withhold from Her Majesty the Avowal of our Conviction that the Conduct of the War has occasioned general Dissatisfaction, and given rise to just Complaints; and that we most humbly lay before Her Majesty our deliberate Opinion that it is only through the Selection of Men for Public Employment, without regard to anything but the Public Service, that the Country can hope to prosecute the War successfully, and to obtain its only legitimate Object, a secure and honourable Peace.


My Lords, after the very grandiloquent notice given to the Address to which your Lordships' concurrence is now asked, I certainly did expect that we should have heard it commended to your Lordships' acceptance by a speech of somewhat more substance and force than that which has just been delivered by the noble Earl. I have studied this address, and I must confess that it has rarely fallen to my lot to read such a concoction of assurances as those which are proposed for your Lordships' adoption. They commence with truisms which no man can contradict; they continue with congratulations in which every man must unite; and they proceed to accusations as to the misconduct of the war in which the parties accused are most indistinctly portrayed; and, my Lords, they conclude with a representation—which I think the noble Earl, according to his own admission, has gathered from public meetings lately held in the City—that until the proper men are placed in the proper offices, the hopes of the country for an honourable peace will never be effectually realised. For, my Lords, to use the quaint expression of my friend Mr. Drummond, until the square men shall be put into the square holes, and the round men into the round holes, or, as may still further be gathered from the tenor and the tone of this Address, until that party with which the noble Earl has now permanently associated himself shall turn out this Government and occupy their places, nothing will go right in the conduct of the war, and no honourable or lasting peace can be had. Looking to this Resolution, I perceive that, without exposing myself to the misrepresentation which I am certain will follow, I cannot propose to your Lordships to meet it with a direct negative. To a great part of it I give my cordial approval; and the noble Earl must know that though with a great portion of it Her Majesty's Government must be satisfied, yet that from the whole design and object of that Address the Government must dissent, because they cannot but recognise in it also a censure to which they cannot submit. It will therefore be my duty, my lords, to move that this Question be not put. I do not ask you to give to the Motion of the noble Earl a direct negative, but I move that you receive it in that shape which will prove that your Lordships appreciate the character it is intended to bear, and give to it your disapprobation. I shall now call your Lordships' attention to the character of this Address. Who would venture for a moment to deny the justice of the phrases used by the noble Earl with reference to those gallant heroes, both of the naval and military services, who have distinguished themselves in their country's cause during the present war? Who would venture to undervalue the patience with which our army have undergone the sufferings and hardships to which they have been exposed? Who will venture to underrate the gallantry with which both officers and men have performed every duty to which they have been called? There is no one, my Lords, who regrets more deeply than I do the sufferings which have attended the army in the East; but I do not admit that all this suffering has arisen from the misconduct of the Government at home. I do not admit that all those sufferings have pressed upon the army because the Government at home have neglected to adopt means to assist them. We must recollect that when the army took the field, England had been at peace for upwards of forty years. We must remember that during these forty years, Government after Government have vied with each other, not in extending the military education of the army of England, but in economising the finances that were voted for that purpose. We must remember that it was only the other day the Commander in Chief of the army stated in evidence before a Committee of the House of Commons that during the Government of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) the artillery had been reduced by that false economy. [The Earl of HARDWICKE and other noble Lords: No, no!] If the noble Earl will be pleased to listen, probably he will find that what I am saying rather demands from him "yes, yes," than "no, no." I was not going to fix a charge upon the noble Earl's Government. I was about to say what was stated by the noble Viscount (Viscount Hardinge) that during the noble Earl's Government, from the false economy previously practised, the artillery had been reduced to an inefficient state, from which the Commander in Chief, then Master General of the Ordnance during the noble Earl's Government, raised it to the condition in which it was found immediately upon the opening of the war. And so it was with all our military establishments. What little we had was regimentally perfect in every way, but was not calculated to undertake great operations; and I am sure the people of this country will be ready to make the allowances that are necessary for an army that was sent into the field under the circumstances in which that army was placed. The noble Earl has attached great blame to the Government because that army was sent into the field incapable of movement. It is quite true that there was no land transport service attached at that time to the army. The old waggon train had been abandoned, and nothing had been set up in its place by any Government, and when the army was called upon to take the field it was natural to suppose that its means of transport would not be sufficient; but I am bound to say that every means was taken to make that transport service as complete as possible, and I do not believe that it was from the want of means of moving forward from Varna that the army did not advance, as the noble Earl stated, to the relief of Silistria.

I must say that in these resolutions I recognize, not, as the noble Earl would have us to suppose by his speech, a mere desire that the Government should be carried on by the selection of the best men of the country, without reference to their condition or party connexion, but I recognize in it a general censure on the Government for their conduct of the war. I recognize the resolution of the noble Earl as putting upon Her Majesty's Government the full and entire responsibility for the whole sufferings which the army have endured, for the position in which it is placed, and for the state in which, according to the noble Earl, it is placed at the present moment. Now, my Lords, there has been much said as to the state and condition of the army, and I have already said that it is quite true that that army during the winter season suffered extremely in its position before Sebastopol. I have also stated, my Lords, that from circumstances over which the Government of that day had little or no control, there was a deficiency of housing and of supplies of clothing and food, which, during the last four months, have been entirely remedied, and at this moment I am entitled to say that that army is in as good a condition as it was when it left this country, and as prepared to take the field, and to carry on any operations which may be confided to it, as it has ever been since the commencement of the war. I see the noble Earl has doubts upon that subject—he knows perfectly well the strength of his own position, and the weakness of mine; he knows he may make safely, and without refutation, assertions respecting the strength and power of the army, because he knows that I am unable by document to give them that detailed contradiction, which I say upon my character as a Minister and a gentleman, I am quite prepared to give to them. But, my Lords, with reference to that army—from the beginning of the month of February, owing in a great measure to the means which had been previously taken by my noble Friend-who preceded me (the Duke of Newcastle), and owing to the steps that had been taken by the Government who were in office previous to the present, that army began gradually to resume its condition, and to gain increased efficiency—from the early part of February the army began to shake itself clear of the effects of sickness, and its provisions and supplies began to arrive with more correctness as to the time of their delivery and the quantity that was delivered. And, my Lords, it will be hardly believed, when the noble Earl talks as he has done of the state and condition of the army, that not only has it been increased in point of efficiency, but that regularly since the beginning of March, that army has received reinforcements from this country and from the Mediterranean, which have put it in the position I have stated, namely, that it is at this moment as fit for external operations as it was at the beginning of the war.

But, my Lords, the noble Earl delivered us a speech mainly upon the question of the selection for proper places of the fittest men that are to be found; but during the whole of the speech, or at the conclusion of it, I have not gathered that the noble Earl put his hand on a single instance in which we have put an unfit man in an unfit place. The noble Earl has not convicted the Government of making any such selection, at least he has not thought it worth his while to mention it. Whether the noble Earl originally intended to charge the Government with having selected unfit men for the places in the military direction of the war, but has since changed his opinion, I am unable to say; but I do most heartily congratulate the noble Earl, and I do most heartily congratulate your Lordships' House that you are not called upon to look at the question in this light, for I know that no more unpatriotic course could be taken—no course more dangerous to the favourable prosecution of the war, than that your Lordships should, by any vote or act of yours, lead the commanders of our armies—nay, even the lowest grades of the army—to suppose that Parliament would be disposed to do them an injustice, and to reflect upon their actions whilst they were devoting their best energies to the service of the country. Well, my Lords, does the noble Earl say that it is in any civil employment that improper men have been selected? I think, when the noble Earl advanced such a charge, it was his duty at least to have pointed out some instances in support of it, in order that we might know the direction to which the noble Earl's complaint points. But the noble Earl has laid his hand upon no particular instance. It is sufficient for him to disparage all public men by a vague and universal assertion, leaving everybody to select for himself the instances which the noble Earl might have pointed out, but which, in his speech to-night, he has utterly failed to do. The noble Earl did proceed to advance some opinions in connection with a subject to which I, at least, cannot give my assent. He said he opposed the Reform Bill because he supposed it would have the effect of limiting the choice of the best men for the public service. [The Earl of ELLENBOROUGH: No, no.] He said that according to the old constitution of Parliament we had men in Parliament who were fit to carry on the business of the State; but that since the Reformed Parliament had been established it had not drawn out men equal to those who had preceded them—that the public expectation had been disappointed, and that that reform, which was a matter obnoxious to him when it was originated, had been a failure in producing men fit for the public service. Now, my Lords, I cannot say that the Reform Bill has proved any such failure. I think that there have been many men returned to Parliament since the passing of the Reform Bill who have taken a part in the administration of the country which has done them great credit. I believe that the Reformed Parliament is still capable of furnishing the country with men well qualified for undertaking the administration of public affairs, and so far as that part of his argument goes, I am afraid the noble Earl would find little sympathy amongst those with whom he wishes to associate himself on this occasion. But if I mistake not, the noble Earl went further, and talked of the contrast which now exists between public men in Parliament and public men on the platforms in this country. The noble Earl seemed to think that Parliament formerly led public opinion in this country, and that now public opinion too much leads Parliament. My Lords, I am one of those who think that public opinion is right in leading both Parliaments and Governments. To a certain extent, no doubt, Governments and Parliaments ought so far to understand public opinion as in some cases to forerun it; but, in my opinion, according to the constitution of the country, public opinion, wholesomely formed, ought to lead both Government and Parliament; but I should be sorry to see that public opinion taking its cue from the suggestions of the Government of the day, or even from the dictation of Parliament itself.

My Lords, I now come to the part of the Resolutions that seems intended to pass a censure upon Her Majesty's Government. The effect of that censure upon the Government, if carried into effect by a vote of your Lordships' House, cannot but be too apparent. Now, my Lords, I think this is worthy of the most serious consideration. Three months have scarcely elapsed since we had a political crisis of, perhaps, the most extraordinary description that ever occurred in this country. During that crisis, the opportunity of forming a Government was offered to no less, I think, than four distinct persons; and amongst others to the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) of whose party the noble Earl who moved the Address then formed one for the first time—at least by public annunciation. Three months ago, affairs, so far as the Motion of the noble Earl touches them, were exactly in the same state as they are now. The policy of the preceding Government with regard to the whole management and conduct of the war—the neglect to follow up the views of the noble Earl in the Baltic—the expedition to Gallipoli, to Constantinople, to Varna, and subsequently to Sebastopol itself, stood exactly in the same position as it does at this moment. The neglect to carry the war into Asia was exactly the same as it is now. And yet, at that time, when the Government was offered to the noble Earl opposite, and when the noble Earl who moved this Resolution was to have filled a post that would have enabled him to correct those errors, or at all events to try to remedy them, the task of forming an Administration was, nevertheless, deliberately declined by the noble Earl's leader. And I hardly think it is fair now that the noble Earl should pour his censure upon the present Ministry in consequence of a position of affairs which he had himself an opportunity of grappling with and remedying, by being called upon to assist the noble Earl who had received authority from the Crown to form a Government. But, my Lords, is it, I ask, for the good of the country—is it for the advantage of the conduct of the war—is it safe, even in a constitutional point of view, to be recurring again, within the space of three short months, to fresh changes in the Government, and to agitate the country for that purpose from one end of it to the other? My Lords, this is a serious question, and you would do well to deliberate upon it before you agree to the Address of the noble Earl. I must say that, so far as this is a matter of personal consideration to myself or to my colleagues, we would put that entirely out of the question. The public must by this time know that it is no bed of roses to undertake the administration of the affairs of this country at any time, but more especially during the present most responsible and eventful crisis. So far, therefore, as personal considerations are concerned in our retention of office, they are of a secondary nature altogether; but I must take leave to warn your Lordships against these frequent changes in the Administration of public affairs. I must warn your Lordships that it is not upon any slight or any mere party grounds those changes ought at such a time to take place. It is not because one party would put out another that these changes ought to occur, because, if they be made on such grounds as that the public will soon cry out, "a plague upon all your parties," and put an end to constitutional Government altogether. I warn your Lordships seriously against consequences of this kind. I think it is a sufficient argument against the Motion to point to the recent changes that have taken place, and to the dangers that may be incurred by further changes of the same nature. I would therefore ask your Lordships to pause before you commit yourselves to the adoption of this Address; and that you will rather seek, by preventing its adoption, to calm down the minds of the people on the subject of change, and enable the Executive Government to carry out the plans which it has in view in reference to the war, and thus enabling the commanders of your armies to rest with confidence on the instructions they receive from a Government that has had time to mature its plans. Above all, I ask of you, on no trivial grounds, in such a juncture as this, to give effect to a vote the result of which can only be to settle nothing. The noble Earl proposes no settlement of anything, but seeks to disturb the existing state of things, to unsettle public affairs, and to jeopardise the result of the great war in which we are now engaged. The noble Lord concluded by' moving, "the previous question."


said, that, in rising at that early stage of the debate, he felt his own incompetence to deal with the question before their Lordships in a manner befitting its gravity and importance; but, at the same time, having from the beginning been impressed with strong opinions, which he had never concealed, as to the manner in which the war had been conducted, he was desirous of availing himself of that opportunity of laying before the House his views somewhat more in succession and detail than he had yet been able to do. Omitting from the Resolutions now under discussion that portion which touched upon out-door agitation, or any topic of that description, he was disposed distinctly to agree with the noble Earl who had just sat down, that the latter part of the Motion expressed disapproval of the conduct of the war. With that expression of disapproval he entirely concurred. Everything, he thought, had not been done to enable the country to achieve success in the war in which it was now engaged. These opinions might be disagreeable to the Government and to noble Lords opposite, but he would address a few observations to their Lordships in support of them. In the first place, as he had stated on former occasions, he felt convinced that the war never need have been necessitated if a different line of policy in regard to the Danubian Provinces had been adopted before the Russians crossed the Pruth. If the Government had announced to the Emperor of Russia that a cordial understanding existed between France and this country, and that we were determined to form an alliance offensive and defensive with France for the purpose of preventing the overthrow of the Ottoman Empire; and if our fleets had then entered the sea which the Emperor of Russia considered his own, the war might altogether have been avoided. If, too, after the war had begun, a more vigorous line of action had been taken, and if, instead of indulging in bravado and braggadocio, and unduly exciting public expectation if, instead of raising up a party spirit in the breasts of the military profession by declaring, as had been declared by a great Minister of the Crown—that he rejoiced that the war was in the hands of the reformers of the country—the Government had shown greater judgment in the fitting out of our fleets, much of the disappointment now existing out of doors would have been avoided. If the Government had conducted the war upon the principles upon which they professed to enter into it—for the defence of the integrity of the Turkish Empire—if, remembering that We were a great maritime and not a great Military Power, they had determined to exhibit the might of England in that manner in which it could be exhibited with the greatest effect—if they had despatched a combined force of 10,000 British and 20,000 French soldiers to assist the Turkish army on the Danube; and if, above all, they had completely blockaded the Baltic and Black Seas, equipping our fleets in such a way as would enable them to carry on a flotilla warfare on the coasts, the Congress of Vienna would have had a better chance of arriving at a suscessful termination, and our army would not have been placed in the position in which it now was; our fleets would have been really more useful, and there would have been a better prospect of bringing the war to a successful conclusion than could possibly be the case from running our heads, as we had done, against one of the strongest fortresses in the world. To institute a blockade of the enemy's ports was one of the most successful modes of waging warfare which a maritime country like this could adopt; and yet, with great naval resources at their command, the Government had failed to do this in a complete and efficient manner. In the case of the White Sea, the Government certainly had a very good answer in the manner in which the trade was carried on between this country and that part of the Russian dominions, because it appeared that remittances were sent out from this country one year, and the cargoes sent thence in return in the following year, and there was every reason, therefore, why no blockade should be instituted until those cargoes had been despatched for which the money had been paid. In the Baltic a thorough blockade had certainly been established, though the result of it had been to throw the whole commerce of Russia in that quarter into the hands of Prussia—just as the management of our armies in the seat of war had resulted in throwing two of the finest provinces of the Turkish Empire into the hands of Austria; so that the general consequence attained had been to hold out to these two German Powers every inducement to keep themselves neutral, and to give them every inducement to maintain a state of things so advantageous to them. When he came, however, to look at what had been done in the Black Sea, where it was of the greatest importance that our maritime power should be put forth to its greatest extent in destroying the commerce of the enemy, he found nothing but what was calculated to create dissatisfaction with the conduct of the war. The Government, indeed, never seemed to have made up their minds what they should do in reference to the blockade in that quarter; for, on the 13th of June, 1854, the First Lord of the Admiralty stated in the other House, in answer to Mr. Horsfall, that orders had been given to the Admirals, both in the Baltic and the Black Sea, to institute and enforce strick blockades, and that there was every reason to believe that those blockades had been instituted. Well, he would leave it to their Lordships to determine what must have been the influence of such a statement as that upon the mercantile transactions of the country, the trade with those parts of the globe was entirely put an end to, and yet nearly a year after in that House his noble Friend opposite (Earl Granville), in answer to a question from the Earl of Airlie, gave their Lordships to understand that a blockade had not been enforced in the Black Sea, but that the attention of the Admiral had been directed to the subject, and there was every reason to believe that his measures for that purpose would be successful. Such conflicting statements as these were calculated to mislead the mercantile community, to induce them to take steps which the actual circumstances of the case did not warrant, and finally to throw them into a state of doubt and uncertainty which entirely put an end to all commercial operations. The consequence was, that the trade of the foreigner had been conducted with facility, while it was impossible for our own countrymen to carry on their mercantile transactions. Now, the trade of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azoff, together, was of very considerable magnitude, consisting, as it did, of articles which peculiarly belonged to the trade of this country—of wool, linseed, and corn. In 1854 there arrived at Constantinople, from Russian ports in the Black Sea, 453 vessels with linseed, containing 770,000 quarters, exclusive of ships containing other cargoes. It was a singular fact, that this trade was continually increasing; for, in 1852, only 445,000 quarters arrived at Constantinople, and in 1853 640,000, while in 1854, as he had stated, there arrived 770,000. Out of the 453 vessels which conveyed these cargoes, no less than 333 passed the Straits of Kertch, coming from the Sea of Azoff. Now, he was sure that if the navy of England in the Black Sea had not been made subservient to the use of the army, it would have been enabled to perform the great and important duty not only of carrying out an effective blockade, but of conducting upon the shores of the Euxine and of the Sea of Azoff a system of guerilla warfare which would have tended to harass the enemy and to create an important diversion, and, at the same time, to have improved the position of this country in the settlement of the question of peace. Having remarked upon the unsatisfactory character of the blockade, he would now venture to say something as to the manner in which the war had been conducted. Our system of blockade had failed from reasons which he had yet to learn, and which appeared to him, in some degree, mysterious; and he would next proceed to consider what, in his opinion, ought to have been, but had not been, the mode of conducting our maritime warfare. His noble Friend who first addressed the House had remarked upon the manner in which the English fleets were equipped, in the first instance, for service in the Baltic, and had stated, most truly, that, although from the nature of the Russian fortresses in the Baltic it became impossible for the allied navies to attack them successfully, yet that there were points which were tangible, and places where the maritime power of this country might be brought to bear with the desired effect. Any one who had been at the Russian capital would remember that between the island of Cronstadt and St. Petersburg on the one hand, and the island of Cronstadt and Peterhoff Palace on the other, there was an area of water in which a vessel drawing five or six feet might navigate with perfect freedom. At the commencement of the war, those persons who were aequainted with these waters knew that there was no impediment to an attack upon St. Petersburgh by vessels of such a class, and he believed that at that period the Russian capital was as much at the feet of any Power possessing the maritime force of England, as Brighton or other unfortified towns upon our coast would be at the mercy of an attacking fleet. That opportunity, however, had now passed away; but he had always thought, having been in those seas himself, that a, severe blow might have been struck at the heart of Russia, by directing our sword to her capital, and if the attention of our Government had been directed to fitting out the proper description of vessels for that service, which would have proved much more valuable than those great fleets which they had fitted out at such great cost, and which had done so little service. In the Black Sea the field for such a class of vessels was even wider, yet not a single vessel of the class that was necessary had been sent out, and the same thing was attempted in the Euxine with our large ships that had failed in the Baltic. Up to this moment we had never sent a single vessel into the Sea of Azoff. He agreed that if this country had been prepared for such an invasion, if its army had been thorougly equipped, and if the army and the fleet could have co-operated with one another, the expedition to the Crimea was a bold, and might have been a successful measure. Owing, however, to the manner in which the war had been conducted, our naval forces had to be made entirely subservient to the army before Sebastopol, without performing a single operation by which that army could have been assisted—namely, by calling off the forces of the enemy; and they had also failed to prevent the constant receipt of supplies by the Russians. Their Lordships would probably be aware that there was a road that extended along a narrow strip of land between the Putrid Sea and the Sea of Azoff; this was one of the second class roads of Russia, but on which guns, troops, and cavalry might be conveyed. That road, at certain points, might be approached by vessels of light draught within gunshot, and if we had had there a sufficient force and sufficient activity, we should have taken care that that road should not have supplied troops and ammunition as it had done to the Russian army. Again, he considered that Odessa, at the early part of the war, instead of being attacked upon the excuse that the garrison had fired upon a flag of truce, ought to have been attacked because it was the great emporium of that portion of the Russian empire, and was of the utmost value in a military point of view. From a statement which appeared in The Times of February 19th, it appeared that immense supplies were forwarded from the interior to Odessa, and thence by Perekop to the Crimea. It appeared from Lord Raglan's despatches, that large convoys of waggons were frequently entering Sebastopol, and there could be no doubt that some of those convoys came from Odessa, and others by the Sea of Azoff. For these reasons he thought that the war had not been conducted in an efficient manner on the part of the maritime force of the country, and the fault did not rest with the officers of the navy, but with her Majesty's Government. Their Lordships had done honour to those officers by according them a Vote of Thanks, and it would be inconsistent, by another vote, to abrogate the thanks which, in his opinion, they justly deserved. It was the fault of the Government that an effective blockade of the Sea of Azoff had not been maintained. Admiral Dundas was asked, when he gave evidence before the Sebastopol Committee, if he had received any orders to establish a blockade in the Euxine; and he replied that he had received such orders, but he did not say one word about the Sea of Azof; and, upon being asked if any complaints had been made as to the way in which that blockade had been maintained, he replied in the negative. In answer to another question as to the blockade, the gallant Admiral replied, "If you come to that I must speak of the French, and then you blockade me." He could not understand what that expression could mean. It could not mean that the French had interfered with the blockade. Surely, they could not have prevented this country from employing her maritime forces to further the success of the common enterprise. The French could not have had anything to do with it, and he thought there must have been some understanding between the Government and their Admiral, which led to this mysterious declaration, and he called upon the Government to give an early explanation of the mystery. With respect to the Sea of Azoff, a despatch had been read to the Sebastopol Committee which stated that important assistance might have been rendered by Admiral Dundas if he could have obtained vessels of a light draught of water, to prevent the passage of Russian troops through the Sea of Azoff; but Admiral Dundas was never provided with vessels of that description, although the Government were sensible of the necessity for them. Was he, then, to be told, that the war had been well conducted, when such blots as those which he had pointed out were to be found? The noble Lord opposite (Lord Panmure) seemed to think that by voting in favour of the Resolutions before their Lordships, they would be attaching blame to the commanders of the forces. He disagreed from that view of the case, he supported the Resolutions because he thought that the conduct of the war on the part of the Government had been faulty in the extreme. They had attacked one of the strongest fortresses in the world and had rendered their fleet comparatively useless; and if a blockade existed at all, it existed only in the Euxine, and not in the Sea of Azoff. He had on a former occasion moved for returns connected with the important subject before their Lordships, inasmuch as they had reference to the transport of provisions and stores, and he much regretted that those returns had not yet been produced. The public felt more strongly, than any of the expenditure which they were called upon to undergo, that portion of it which went to conduct the transport service, and if those returns had been produced he believed that he would have been able to lay a very strong case before their Lordships; but not having seen those returns, he would not now take up their Lordships' time, but he should feel it his duty to call their attention to the subject on an early day. There was, however, one important point connected with the transport service, to which he hoped be might be permitted to refer. It was found essential, from the progress of science, to conduct operations with steam power, and a large expenditure was incurred in that respect. It was of the utmost importance that the arrangements for coaling ships should be as complete as possible; but at Constantinople, Malta, and Gibraltar, he believed that the arrangements were very defective. He would ask their Lordships to consider how defective arrangements in that respect entailed a heavy expenditure on the country. He would take the case of a ship of 2,500 tons, engaged at a rate of 50s month per ton, that was about 200l. a day. When the ship arrived at Constantinople and required to be coaled, the arrangements were so bad that only thirty tons of coals could be put on board in a day, whereas, in a good coaling yard, the same quantity could be shipped in an hour; and, taking the price of coal at Constantinople at 3l. a ton, the ship would be costing the country 290l. a day, while she was unnecessarily detained doing nothing. It was of the utmost importance, not only that the arrangements for putting coals on board the ships should be as efficient as possible, but that there should always be a sufficient supply of coals, and that that supply should not be dependent upon the direction of the wind. There was at Plymouth and in the Medway a number of hulks, which might very easily be fitted up with steam power and employed in carrying coals from this country, and then there would be no necessity to rely upon sailing vessels for a supply of coals from Malta or Gibraltar. He would also endeavour to facilitate the means of coaling in those districts. He trusted that he should be excused for entering into these details, for they formed part of the subject under consideration; and, if not attended to, the cost of the war would be enhanced to an enormous extent. Vessels were now in a great measure dependent on, for their motive power, a most expensive fuel, which, if rendered scarce in those districts, might rise to 10l. a ton. Though the noble Lord opposite (Lord Panmure) was not responsible for all that had taken place, still some blunders had occurred since he had accepted office. A noble Lord had already pointed out that a vessel which received a body of troops on board was obliged to unship them, owing to some misunderstanding, and he (the Earl of Hardwicke) was informed that some curious blunders had been lately made, showing that these departments were still in a state of "higgledy-piggledy," and required watching with the greatest care, or the country would be put to the greatest expense and the army involved in the greatest difficulty. The other day it was desired to erect, at the seat of war before Sebastopol, some hospital huts for convalescents, and the engineer whose duty it was to erect them, found that the Government had sent over the huts in three ships, of which only one had arrived in the harbour at Balaklava. That ship, however, had only brought the roofs and floors; the ship that was next coming had the walls on board, and the ship behind carried the windows and doors. Under these circumstances the engineer was completely paralyzed, for he could not put up the huts until the second and third ships arrived. He would repeat another anecdote he had heard. A quantity of harness was sent to the Crimea, and, when the cases were opened, it was found that they contained no back traces, so that the harness was of no use at all. A noble Lord had described the army as an army with a head and body, but no legs, so that it could not move. However, to facilitate that operation, a number of American lumber waggons were sent to the Crimea. Those waggons were fitted with poles, but not shafts; and, though there was harness ready, it appeared that it was made for shafts, and not poles; and there was no harness for leaders. These blunders, when all put together, were fatal to the progress of the war and to the success of our arms; and, as he intended to give his vote for the Resolutions, he only performed his duty in showing that everything had not been done to enable our forces to achieve success.


It is with reluctance that I find by rising that I interpose between the House and the noble Earl below me (Earl Granville), but having been for many years absent from this country in the foreign service of the Crown, and therefore necessarily a stranger to all the proceedings which have taken place in and out of Parliament in connexion with the war in which this country is engaged, I fear the vote I am about to give might be liable to misconstruction if left altogether unexplained. As I think it essential to the completeness of the explanation which I am desirous of making, I trust I may be permitted to state that not very long ago, under circumstances to which I do not think I ought more particularly to allude, I felt it my duty to state to the noble Viscount at the head of the Government, that while I was resolved to maintain an independent position in Parliament, it was, nevertheless, my desire and intention, subject to that qualification and reserve, to support the Government over which the noble Viscount presides. I formed the Resolution, which I communicated in these terms to the noble Viscount, not only because I had reason to believe that on questions of public policy my sentiments would generally be found to be in accordance with those of the present Government, nor yet only because I felt I owed to the noble Viscount himself and many at least of his colleagues a debt of obligation for the generous support they uniformly gave me at critical periods in the course of my foreign career, but also and principally because it appeared to me that in the critical position in which this country was placed—at a time when we had only recently presented to the astonished eyes of Europe the discreditable spectacle of a great country left for weeks without a Government, and a popular and estimable Monarch left without councillors during a period of great national anxiety and peril, when there was hardly a household in England where the voice of wailing was not to be heard, or an eye which was not heavy with a tear—it appeared to me, I say, under such circumstances, to be the bounden duty of every patriotic man, who had not some very valid or substantial reason to assign for adopting a contrary course, to tender a frank and generous support to the Government of the Queen. Having come to this resolution under what I may say was a very strong sense of public duty, and with the full knowledge, moreover, of the fact, that the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) had only a short time before failed in his endeavour to construct an Administration, and in the absence, too, of all the ancient landmarks of party (for when I returned from abroad I found all those landmarks, which, if not a wholly sufficient guide are yet some sort of direction to wanderers in the political wilderness, removed)—having come to that resolution under those circumstances, I now have to determine whether circumstances are so entirely altered since that period as to render it imperative on me to revoke the pledge thus spontaneously tendered, and to join in what appears to be a vote, according to the statements on both sides of the meaning of these Resolutions, condemnatory of the noble Viscount and his administration. In proceeding to consider this very grave question, which is forced on my attention by the motion of the noble Earl, I am bound in candour to declare at the outset that, though nothing has occurred to make me regret the pledge of support I tendered, not unqualifiedly, to the noble Viscount at the head of the Government, yet neither in the Crimea nor at Vienna has the success attending the exertions of the Government been so complete as to cause the germ of hope I reposed in the administrative ability of the noble Viscount at the head of affairs to ripen into perfect confidence. But, my, Lords, when I am asked to join in a vote condemnatory of Her Majesty's Government, I feel it right to put to myself two questions:—in the first place, is that condemnation just? And in the second place, shall I, by joining in that condemnation, contribute in any degree towards the redress of evils the existence of which all parties in this House and in the country seem equally disposed to admit and to deplore? It does appear to me, with regard to the first of these questions, that there is very great force in the defence which is set up on behalf of Her Majesty's Government. It is, I believe, notorious that the condition of our army in the Crimea has been of late very much improved; and it is also notorious that the Government are prepared with a scheme for the reorganisation of the military departments which promises to carry those improvements much further. I believe, indeed, that this very night we might have been considering the details of that measure if our attention had not not been occupied by the Motion of the noble Earl opposite. Now, my Lords, it does appear to me that to condemn Her Majesty's Government in the face of the presumption in their favour which is raised by the improvements they have already effected, would be a course wholly inconsistent with the principles of justice, as they have been hitherto understood and practised in this country. I think that, in the speech of the noble Earl who brought forward the Motion, there was a studied attempt to keep out of sight as much as possible the changes which have lately taken place in the Government of this country. There was a studied attempt to look upon the whole conduct of the war as one concern, and to charge all the blame which may be supposed to attach to the conduct of the war upon Her Majesty's present advisers. It appears to me that, even if an argument of this description might be used with propriety by persons who have been opposed from the first to the policy of the war, such an argument comes with a very bad grace from the framers or supporters of the Resolutions now under consideration. It seems to me that these Resolutions divide themselves naturally into two parts. The first part has reference to what I may call the general policy of the Government with respect to the war; and that portion of the Resolution is conceived in strains of eulogy and commendation—I may almost say, in strains of exultation. The Resolutions speak of firm alliances, of brotherhood in arms, of a sympathetic and enthusiastic people; but not a word of regret for national friendships of old standing broken—desolation carried into thousands of happy homes—Europe in arms—Asia agitated and febrile—America sullenly expectant. The exuberance of exultation which characterizes the first part of these Resolutions is, indeed, amply met by the exuberance of denunciation which characterises the latter part; but I cannot help being struck I with this fact—that whereas, with respect to the departments which are impugned I by the latter part of the Resolutions, a change took place in the chiefs of those departments at the time the Government was last reconstructed; the departments which are lauded and commended in the former part of the Resolutions remain in the same hands; and it seems to me a most extraordinary and extravagant extension and application of the doctrine of governmental responsibility to charge the blame attaching to these departments at that former period upon the present administration. But even if I could bring myself to believe—which I have failed in doing—that censure might be passed, in the terms of these Resolutions, upon Her Majesty's present Government without injustice, I should still be unwilling to concur in them unless I could find some better security than either the Resolutions themselves afford, or—as I regret to be obliged to add—the antecedents and recorded sentiments of noble Lords opposite afford, that, by bringing about the change of administration which these Resolutions are intended to promote, I should be doing a benefit to the public service. My Lords, I cannot but think that, at a time when it is most important that the Government of this country should have weight and influence abroad, frequent changes of administration are, primâ facie, most objectionable. I happened to be upon the Continent at the time when the last change of Government in this country took place, and I must say it appeared to me that a most painful impression was created in foreign States with respect to the instability of the administrative system of this country by these frequent changes of administration. I do think, indeed, that not the least of the many calamities which this war has brought upon us is the fact that it has had a tendency in many quarters to throw discredit upon that constitutional system of Government of which this country has hitherto been the type and the bright example among the nations. I must say, that I listened with the deepest regret to the opinions which were advanced upon this subject by the noble Earl opposite. After all, what is chiefly valuable to nations as well as to individuals, and the loss of which alone is irreparable, is character; and it appears to me that, viewed in this light, many of the other calamities which we have had to deplore during the course of this war have been already accompanied by a very large and ample measure of compensation. To take, for instance, the military departments—notwithstandiug the complaints we have heard of deficiencies in our military organisation—I believe we can with confidence affirm that the character of the British soldier, both for moral qualities and for powers of physical endurance, has been raised by the instrumentality of this war to an elevation which it never before attained. In spite of the somewhat unfavourable tone which, I regret to say, has been adopted of late by a portion of the press of America, I have myself seen in influential journals in that country commentaries upon the conduct of our soldiers at Alma, at Balaklava, and at Inkerman, which no true-hearted Englishman could read without emotion; and I have heard a tribute not less generous and not less unqualified borne to the qualities of our troops by eminent persons belonging to that great military nation with which we are now so happily allied. To look to another quarter—to contemplate another class of virtues which are not less essential than those to which I have referred to the happiness and glory of nations—I have heard from enthusiastic—even bigoted—votaries of that branch of the Christian Church which sometimes prides itself on having alone retained in its system room for the exercise of the heroic virtues of Christianity—I say I have frequently heard from them the frank admission that the hospitals of Scutari have proved that the fairest and choicest flowers of Christian charity and devotion may come to perfection even in what they are pleased to call "the arid soil of Protestantism." But, my Lords, can we flatter ourselves with the belief that the character of our statesmen, of our public men, and of our Parliamentary institutions, has risen in a like proportion? Is it not, on the contrary notorious that doubts have been created in quarters where such doubts never existed before as to the practical efficiency of our much-vaunted constitution—as to its fitness to carry us unscathed through periods of great difficulty and danger? I believe, my Lords, that there is one process only—but that a sure and certain process—by which these doubts may be removed. It is only necessary that public men, whether connected with the Government or with the Opposition—whether tied in the bonds of party or holding independent positions in Parliament—should evince the same indifference to small and personal motives, the same generous patriotism, the same disinterested devotion to duty, which have characterised the services of our soldiers in the field, and of the women of England at the sick bed. And, my Lords, I cannot help asking, in conclusion, if—which God forbid—it should unhappily be proved that in those whom fortune, or birth, or royal, or popular favour, has placed in the van, those qualities are wanting—who shall dare to blame the press and the people of England if they seek for them elsewhere?


said, that he should support the Resolutions, since he solemnly believed that the war in which we were engaged was uncalled for. He grounded his opposition to the present Government, also, upon the total want of judgment which they had displayed in placing that glorious army, of which they might feel so justly proud, in a situation where, humanly speaking, there was not the slightest prospect of its obtaining any great signal success, and whence in case of a reverse it could not effect a retreat. He did not charge the Government with all the disasters which had occurred, but he traced them to the impolitic course which had been pursued by both Houses of Parliament since the peace in reducing our military and naval establishments at a time when other nations in Europe were strengthening and maintaining them. In that period the Commissariat, the transport, and the Medical Boards, all had been destroyed, and the navy was so reduced that we should have been unable a short time since to have sent out five ships of war properly equipped for service. He ventured to say that never in the history of this country had a fleet left the shores of England in so disgraceful a state as the Baltic fleet of last year. Two-thirds of the men were not sailors, but landsmen, and it was a providential thing for this country that the Russian fleet did not come out to meet them. By the fatal course of reducing our naval and military establishments we had nearly brought England to ruin. He should vote for the Motion of the noble Earl wholly upon public grounds. There were many of the noble Earl's opinions in which he did not concur—indeed, upon some points they were as wide as the poles apart; but he should vote that the present Government, by having placed the army in a position, in which it ought never to have been placed, had shown a total want of judgment, and were unfit, therefore, to be intrusted with the management of the war.


My Lords, it is not often that I trespass at any length upon the time of the House, and my ill health this evening, and the admirable speech which was delivered by my noble Friend on the back bench (the Earl of Elgin) are inducements to me not to infringe upon this occasion on that most wholesome practice. With regard to what has fallen from the noble Earl who spoke last, I am not convinced, by what he has stated, how he can conscientiously vote for the Resolutions after the opinion which he has delivered, when the very first Resolution is to assure Her Majesty of our continued support in the prosecution of the "just and necessary war" in which Her Majesty is engaged. I equally disagree with that noble Earl in the opinion which he gave, that if the Russian fleet in the Baltic had come out last year, we should have suffered dearly for our negligence in sending out such a fleet. On the contrary, if there is one thing more than another which I do regret, it is, that such an opportunity was not afforded to our gallant sailors of proving their zeal and valour. The last sentence of the noble Earl shows, whatever imputations there may be of divided councils on this side of the House, that there is not perfect unanimity among our opponents; and considering that the I noble Earl who spoke third in this debate (the Earl of Hardwicke) gave a, totally different view of what the military operations ought to be from that which was given by the noble Earl who moved the Resolutions, I hope, if those noble Lords succeed in what they propose to themselves to-night, that they will, before the new Government is positively formed, succeed in reconciling those conflicting opinions. In listening to the noble Earl who opened the debate, always having hitherto thought that one of the chief characterstics of his great eloquence was precision and clearness in what he stated, I was surprised to find that the principal characteristic of his speech to-night was a vagueness and an evident shrinking from the real point which he wished to insinuate. At the end of his speech, in the same somewhat vague manner, he spoke in support of the last clause of his Resolutions,—"that it is the deliberate opinion of this House that it is only through the selection of men for public employment, without regard to anything but the public service, that the country can hope to prosecute the war successfully;" and he intimated that these desirable changes could not be effected so long as the present Prime Minister made his appointments from feelings of a personal or private nature. Now, it appears to me that in this vague expression the noble Earl, who this evening has put himself at the head of the Administrative Reform movement of this country, was merely speaking in accordance with the sentiments which we find in the Opposition papers, and occasionally hear upon the platform, that we have gone back a hundred years in our history, and that the heads of the Gower, Howard, and Cavendish families sit in conclave, and dictate to the Prime Minister the colleagues that he shall give himself. Now, my Lords, I am a Gower, and I believe that I am the only one of that family who holds any official appointment whatever. I am also a Cavendish; but I think that the noble Duke at the head of that family has not shown, himself slow to encourage genius wherever he has found it, even among the lower class of society. I find behind me the heir presumptive of that noble Duke (the Earl of Burlington), who did not shrink at the University from competition with the ablest and best men of the day; nor has that noble Lord abstained in his private capacity from aiding the public in many ways; but to this day, I believe, he has never held one single office, and, as far as I remember, his only relation, bearing the name of Cavendish, is one who, under the superintendence of my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, is fattening under the enormous emoluments of a clerkship in the Foreign Office. My Lords, I am sorry to say that I am also related to some of the Howards; not to "all the Howards," because the Howards since the time of Pope have so wonderfully multiplied and increased that I believe Mr. Horace Mann could handicap them very fairly in a race with "all the Smiths." But I have yet to learn that the member of the Howard family who has been selected by the Queen and by Lord Palmerston to represent Her Majesty in Ireland has, either in that country or in the West Riding, or in any part of the kingdom, been considered by the middle or lower classes as in any way inimical to their interests. My Lords, I had better make a clear breast of it at once, and I am obliged to admit that some of those who went before me had such quivers full of daughters who did not die old maids, that I have relations upon this side of the House, relations upon the cross benches, relations upon the opposite side of the House, and I actually had the unparalleled misfortune to have no less than three cousins in the Protectionist Administration of my noble Friend opposite. Notwithstanding all these hereditary infirmities accidental circumstances having thrown me during my very short career—compared with the long and brilliant public life of the noble Earl who has brought forward this Motion—more in the way of the middle classes, and having brought me into a position to appreciate more strongly their great qualities and virtues, I have been enabled to concur in their wishes and feelings and to sympathise with them more than I believe the noble Earl ever had an opportunity of doing. In short, until this day, when the noble Earl has put himself as a sort of link in the chain which is to ally my Friend Mr. Layard with the great Conservative party, I have always understood from his speeches that he felt rather more of contempt than admiration for the peculiar characteristics of the commercial classes of this country; and I must say, notwithstanding the adulation which at the end of his speech the noble Earl offered to the people, the sneer at their judgment in the beginning of that speech seemed to me to come much more freely and frankly from his heart. My Lords, I think there has been some misapprehension in the public mind, both as to the appreciation of political men by men distinguished in private business, and as to the facility of obtaining men of business to fill official employments. It may be in the recollection of your Lordships that the Railway Department of the Board of Trade was abolished by the House of Commons chiefly on the ground that it was too expensive. Before that took place we lost our secretary, an officer of engineers, because a commercial company offered that gentleman double the salary he was receiving from the Government. I know another gentleman, a friend of mine at the head of a department under the Crown—a department which was found fault with on the ground of expense last year—who was offered 2,000l. a year, or double what he receives, by a great commercial company. He, whether wisely or not I cannot say, refused that offer. The offer which flattered me the most of any I ever received was that of being chairman of one of the greatest commercial companies in this country, and I certainly felt some reluctance in refusing it. That office has been filled by two members of the aristocracy, and now one of the descendants of the Plantagenets is conducting the business with great advantage to the company and with infinite credit to himself. I have mentioned these instances, and I could name many others, merely to show that men of business in their private capacity, and acting under the pressure of their own interests, do fill up important places otherwise than by men engaged in business; that they have sought the precincts of "red-tapism" itself for their men, and connected themselves even with those connected with the aristocracy. I believe it is a well-known fact that my Lord Palmerston offered a Privy Councillor's office to Mr. Laing, the Member for the Wick Burghs; and, as Mr. Laing happens to be a gentleman whose friendship I enjoy, I will give your Lordships a short sketch of what his life has been. That gentleman took high honours at Cambridge; he went into the law; he then accepted a clerkship in the Board of Trade; after a short time he left the Board of Trade in order to try his chance in his profession, and that he was not long in making his way is evident from the fact that in that year he received in professional gains exactly ten times the amount he had received under the civil service of the Crown. Mr. Laing was afterwards at the head of a great commercial company, which he saved from almost a state of bankruptcy and restored it to a flourishing condition, and he is now at the head of perhaps the most remarkable enterprise ever known. I quite agree that is exactly the man to assist you in organising offices which want organisation; but, when he was asked, Mr. Laing gave exactly the same answer as was given by one of a firm of most eminent merchants to the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) when engaged in forming his Administration, that he had consulted those with whom he was connected in business, and at present it was impossible to leave his position to accept political office. I have in my head at this moment a list of mercantile men, contractors, civil engineers, and others—men with whom I would as soon transact business as with any one; and I cannot conscientiously say with certainty that any one of them would be foolish enough to give up their professional career and mercantile business for the temporary occupation of political office. I do not mention this circumstance because I think no person may be made available to the public service. I do not agree with the noble Earl as to the paucity of men in the House of Commons of a character to strengthen very much any Government to which they may adhere; but I wish to correct a misapprehension that it is not simply the want of the offer which prevents men—the most eminent and distinguished in private business—from ever being available to the public service. With regard to these Resolutions, I object to them because of the impression they must produce. I remember that in a former speech the noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough) said, with the greatest truth, that secrecy was one of the best means of success in war. Some of the greatest commanders have thought it necessary and advisable to go beyond secrecy, and to exaggerate in every possible way their advantages, while diminishing any appearance of deficiency that might exist. We know that Russia is so completely mistress of this stratagem of war that she dictated the terms of the treaty of Adrianople when she had only 2,500 fighting men in the field. One of the greatest commanders who ever lived—the Emperor of France—wrote to one of his generals, "Tell me the truth, but lie to all the rest of the world." The public-spirited and pure-minded Washington did not shrink from this artifice, but, on the contrary, practised it himself, enjoining his officers to conceal from the world all deficiencies, and to exaggerate the number of the forces at their disposal. The Duke of Wellington followed what I conceive to be the more honest course. He kept secret all that could be concealed, but when he spoke he spoke the truth. But we have gone far beyond this. We, to use the strong metaphor of a foreign writer, have laid ourselves upon the operating table and dissected ourselves alive in the face of day and of the whole world. I do not attach blame to any particular class or person; it may, in a certain degree, be interwoven with our institutions; but every single defect, sometimes true, sometimes exaggerated, sometimes altogether unfounded, has been mentioned in every paper and in every speech made in and out of Parliament, and has rung through Europe, Asia, and America. Now my Lords, I am not sure that this has been altogether a disadvantage. I believe in a great country, relying on her strength and resources, and with war at a great distance, it may be useful to apply such a stimulus to correct those faults of omission and commission which always have happened at the beginning of every war we have had, and which, I venture to say, will occur again. But I do ask this House whether we are to go on in this rut of eternal abuse of ourselves, even when the facts which at all warranted it have been completely changed? The impression which this Resolution leaves upon my mind is, that it announces to the whole world that, from the beginning of the war up to the present moment, England has shown nothing of the qualifications for success in war, but mere personal valour. I think the whole tone of the speeches in its favour has been to point out everything which throws discredit upon ourselves, and entirely to keep out of view those matters for which we are entitled to great credit. Not one word have we heard of the appeal to our mercantile marine, by which we have been enabled, independently of the Royal navy, to convey 100,000 men—English, French, Sardinians, and Turks—to the seat of war. Not one word has been said of the use of that modern invention by which the generals of the Allied armies have been able to inform the Government in less than half a day of their requirements and their deeds. Not one word has been said of that successful appeal to private enterprise in the railway which has been of such signal value to the troops. Not one word have we heard of the successful landing in the Crimea. Hardly a reference has been made to our victories, and not one single word has been said as to the undoubted fact, supplied by private letters, by newspaper correspondents, and, above all, by the public despatches of the French Commander in Chief to his Imperial master, that never was an army engaged in campaign in a more perfectly fit state than the British army at this moment. I really think it is worthy your Lordships' consideration what will be the practical effect of this great assembly passing such a Resolution as this. I will ask you what effect it will have upon Russia? Russia, it is perfectly certain, will play the game of brag to the last. Will it encourage her more readily to receive any conditions of peace you may think it right to offer to her? Suppose she knows you better, and considers your military preparations more formidable than you represent them; suppose she offers terms of peace which we feel bound to agree to—what effect will it have on all those who are jealous of the high position of this country? At the end of the campaign, will they go into a critical inquiry as to the facts, or will they take us at our word, and say we are utterly destitute of all military qualifications? Will this have a very encouraging effect upon Germany? The noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough) by the plans he has suggested has shown more confidence than we ever had in the military movements of Germany. The noble Earl suggested operations in Bulgaria, in Bessarabia, and in Georgia. The noble Earl who followed (the Earl of Hardwicke) took an exactly contrary view, and suggested there should have been no military operations whatever. I leave those two noble Earls to reconcile their differences; but, with regard to all attempt in Bessarabia, the noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough) seemed to depend on the military co-operation of the Austrian nation. We have put the greatest value on the alliance of Austria; but we have thought it more prudent, safe, and becoming to the dignity of this country—while I deny that we did anything which could prevent Austria giving us her co-operation—not to make our military operations depend upon a military co-operation that we could not rely upon. I must say that Resolutions of this sort, proposed by leading members of the Conservative party, must have the worst effect upon Germany. It is not the first time that the noble Earl, by his eloquent speeches, has weakened the sympathies of Germany with this country. If I may judge from the eagerness with which those speeches have been translated and circulated in every quarter of Germany by Russian agents some effect must have been produced by them. But there is a still more serious consideration. What effect, I must ask your Lordships, will the passing of these Resolutions have upon France? There is—and I do not wish to deny it—a great peace party in France. The ranks of that peace party are swollen by the greater part of those who are opposed to the present Government of France. Peace is in itself so great a blessing, and war is abstractedly so detestable, that the advocate of peace must always have considerable arguments in his favour. But the principal and most popular argument used by the Opposition in France is, "We are embarked in a war in which we send three Frenchmen for every Englishman, and yet it is a war in which England has a great interest, while France has absolutely none at all." My Lords, this argument is to me perfectly incomprehensible. I can understand that Austria is more interested in the Turkish question than either England or France. I can understand, although I cannot admit the argument of my noble Friend below me (Earl Grey), when he attempts to show your Lordships that England and France have no interest in the question at all. But that England should have an interest in this question, and that France, with her continental position and her stake in the Mediterranean, should not have an interest in this question, is perfectly incomprehensible. My Lords, the only confirmation of this preposterous opinion is found in other speeches of the noble Earl who began this debate, who, not to-night, but on many former occasions, has stated the most complete fallacy that can be put forward by any one—and I have great authority for saying so—namely, that this Turkish question is of the utmost importance in regard to our Indian Empire. He, having given that argument to the Opposition in France, proceeds to give them another no less cogent. He would enable them to say, "Look to the House of Lords in England, the assembly most grave, dignified, and calm, and the least likely to be influenced by clamour and party feeling, who deliberately declare by Resolutions, supported by speeches, that this co-belligerent of ours, in whose interest we are fighting, is absolutely devoid of every quality but one that can make her useful in war." I know the noble Earl will say that for great evils there must be great remedies, and that it will be an encouragement to France, and no discouragement, if an active and energetic Government deposes one which is utterly without energy. But can the noble Earl guarantee to me that the French Emperor, whom we have found so honest and steadfast in his alliance—that the French Emperor and the French nation will take that noble Earl's word that he is a modern Chatham, and that without a change of system—for he has this evening deprecated any such change—he would be able to infuse that energy and spirit into the public departments which are necessary to insure success? Can he insure me from the opposite danger—from the Emperor of the French feeling "I have embarked in this war with England for an ally. It requires the most confidential communications, and the most intimate relations, and can I in the interest and honour of France, go on in that close alliance with a country which is unstable as water, and which changes its Administration every two or three months?" I think these considerations, which I believe to be well-founded, ought to weigh with your Lordships, even if there were more truth in the Resolutions than I am disposed to admit. No doubt we have historical precedents for such complaints. Your Lordships will recollect that, even after the battle of Blenheim, the misconduct and miscarriage of the war was severely commented on in Parliament; but you will not forget that that did not prevent the glorious victory of Ramilies a year afterwards. You will remember the public despondency at the beginning of Lord Chatham's Aministration. That despondency did not prevent the most brilliant military administration that ever existed in this country. After the battle of Talavera addresses were presented from the City of London arraigning the conduct of the Duke of Wellington, and speeches were made in Parliament stating that he and his army would be driven out of the Peninsula in six months; but that did not prevent the glorious results of which we, as a nation, are so proud. I do not now wish to speak with confidence of success, which is in the hands of Providence alone; but it is not too much to express a hope that, after our army has succeeded in effecting so glorious a landing in the Crimea—after gaining such battles as the Alma, Inkerman, and Balaklava—and after having entirely recovered from the hardships and trials to which I do not deny they were for a time exposed, great successes may still be in store for them, notwithstanding anything that may be said or moved in this House. But this does not diminish the responsibility or the danger of such a course as is now proposed; and I beg your Lordships to consider whether it is true, whether it is just or patriotic to agree to Resolutions such as these, ingeniously contrived as they are to catch votes, but not ingeniously contrived to promote any one great national object.


My Lords, I confess I can entirely sympathize with the noble Lord the Minister of War in the disappointment he has experienced at finding the speech of my noble Friend (the Earl of Ellenborough)—the grandiloquent speech the Minister of War called it, but, as I call it, the able and statesmanlike speech of my noble Friend—so entirely at variance in its character and tendency from that which he had fondly anticipated, and against which he had prepared his remarks. I am well aware that, if not from the noble Earl, at least from his Colleagues and those who act with him in this House, it has been industriously circulated and sedulously propagated throughout this town, and more especially among the Members of this House, that it was the intention of my noble Friend, and of those who acted with him, to make an invidious and unseemly attack upon the conduct of our gallant troops and their no less gallant commanders. And I know how many appeals have been made to private friendship, to military and to professional feelings, and to the sympathies and prejudices of members of your Lordships' House, not to sanction by your assent an attack upon the commander of the forces here and the Commander of the forces in the Crimea, which would weaken and paralyze their efforts and do a gross injustice to men actively and zealously engaged in the service of their country. I know not but that these feelings so sedulously excited might have had their effect if, in the whole course of the speech of my noble Friend, there had been a single word, a single expression, a single gesture which, by the utmost ingenuity of party, could have been distorted into the possibility of such a meaning. I understood and heard with regret the sneering imputation made by the noble Lord the War Minister of this country, when he congratulated my noble Friend on having apparently altered his views, and on having felt it convenient to adapt his Motion to that which he felt to be the feeling of the country. I say the noble Lord had no right to throw out that insinuation; because the facts and antecedents completely disprove the existence of any such intention as that imputed to him. Why, my noble Friend has reminded us—not once, but over and over again—not now, but in the course of the last Session of Parliament, and on almost every occasion when the question of this war was brought under your Lordships' consideration—my noble Friend has earnestly and successfully implored your Lordships to abstain from criticisms of the military conduct of the war, and to abstain from observations as to the mode in which officers of the army were discharging their important duties, and not to embarrass and thwart them by their conduct becoming the subject of invidious criticism In this House. I say, therefore, that, from the first, there has been no ground for these insinuations which have been so freely thrown out as to the intention of my noble Friend to attack and impugn the conduct of the army. There has been great ingenuity on the part of the Government—and I congratulate them on their ingenuity; but not on their success—in endeavouring to confound the conduct of the Government in the management of the war with the conduct of those gallant and distinguished men who have only carried out the orders they have received on the part of the Administration. Now, the Resolutions themselves which have been moved by my noble Friend have been objected to, because for the most part they are truisms. Are the Resolutions a series of truisms? No doubt it is a truism, that this House views with "sincere gratification with which we regard the perfect community of counsels between Her Majesty and the Emperor of the French, and have seen the friendliness established and increasing between the French people and our own—events full of hope for the future to other nations as well as to ourselves." That is a sentiment in which I believe every one of your Lordships will as cordially join as my noble Friend who moves the Resolution; but I do not concur with the noble Earl who spoke last, that an unanimous declaration of the House of Lords to that effect—that the assent of this great assembly to an expression of sincere gratification at the good understanding which prevails, not only between the Governments of the two countries, but between the commanders of the two armies, will be a matter, either in France or in England, of utter insignificance. And when I speak of the cordial sympathy which has subsisted between the two Governments and between the commanders of both armies, I will take this opportunity of saying, without derogating in the slightest degree from the general desire shown on the part of all to co-operate together and maintain the most perfect harmony, that I believe it is only just to the noble Lord the Commander of the British forces in the Crimea to state, that nothing could have contributed more powerfully towards that perfect union of counsel and action than the invariably conciliatory, affable, and amiable manner in which he has conducted all his intercourse with our allies. If there had been—as I believe there has not—any intention, on the part of my noble Friend who made this Motion, to attack the commanders of our forces here and in the Crimea, I hope I need hardly say that I should be the last man to join in such a proceeding. It is scarcely necessary for me to remind your Lordships, that it was upon my recommendation, on the death of the late Duke of Wellington, that Her Majesty was pleased to call my noble tad gallant Friend now on the cross bench (Viscount Hardinge) to succeed that illustrious man in the command of the army; and I would also remind you that the high estimation in which I held the military Qualifications of Lord Raglan induced me humbly to submit his name to Her Majesty, not only for the post of Master General of the Ordnance, but likewise for a seat in the Assembly which I have the honour to address, as the reward of his signal merits and of his devotion to the service of his Sovereign. Under these circumstances I think I may safely appeal to your Lordships and the country whether I am not likely to be the last man to concur in any vote which should stultify my own recommendation of the two highest officers now in command of the army. Without saying whether Lord Raglan's assistance and counsel as a military man might not have been of equal value for the conduct of the war in this country, I have no hesitation in stating my belief that, if war was to be undertaken and military operations were to be carried on, Her Majesty could not have chosen any individual to conduct them whose great qualities were more likely to insure success than that noble and gallant general. But, my Lords, it is no doubt a truism for us "to express our admiration of the many deeds of valour by which the allied forces in the East have illustrated their brotherhood in arms, and our satisfaction that the brave army of Piedmont is now called to participate in their actions and in their fame." It may also be, and no doubt is, a matter on which there is no difference of opinion, that we should declare our persuasion that, "amid all their disappointments the people of this country still retain the generous feelings which led them at the commencement of the war willingly to place all the means required of them at Her Majesty's disposal—that they will Still protect the weak against the aggression of the strong—and that they are not prepared to consent that Russia shall, by her increasing preponderance, so control the Turkish Government as practically to hold Constantinople within her grasp. "My Lords, this is not a fitting opportunity for entering into the discussion of the policy of the war in which we are engaged or of the progress of the negotiations recently brought to a close. The Motion of which the noble Earl opposite (Earl Grey) has given notice will afford us another opportunity for expressing more emphatically our views on those subjects; and in the other House, I believe, the same issue is to be raised by a right hon. Gentleman, who has given a similar notice of Motion. When, therefore, these questions come to be discussed, I shall be disappointed if this and the other House of Parliament do not, by almost unanimous votes, prove to foreign countries and the world that, at least with regard to the justice and policy of this war and the necessity of sparing no effort to carry it through—with regard to our determination to be thwarted by no obstacles, daunted by no difficulties, discouraged by no temporary failure, the people of England entertain but one feeling. Much, therefore, as I differ from the views of the noble Earl, I yet cordially thank him for affording your Lordships an opportunity of expressing your opinions; and I sincerely trust that the noble Earl will thoroughly test the feeling of the House by pressing his Motion to a division. My Lords, I am afraid I have not yet done with these truisms. I am afraid it is a truism, that our troops have been exposed to hardships which might have been avoided by forethought; I am afraid it is equally a truism, that the war has not been in all respects well conducted—that everything has not been done to enable our arms to achieve a decisive success. Now, what has been the answer given to the allegations made in these Resolutions? Has any answer whatever been attempted to the criticisms of my noble Friend at the commencement of his speech on the system and policy by which the war has been carried on? Has any single Minister ventured to affirm that the expedition to the Crimea, which my noble Friend who opened the debate and my noble and gallant Friend who spoke on the same side concurred in censuring, was not an expedition undertaken in ignorance—undertaken without due deliberation, at an, unfit period of the year, without a knowledge of the difficulties about to be encountered, without calculation of the resources of the enemy, and without due measurement of the difficulties that had to be met or of the amount of preparation which ought to be made? My noble and gallant Friend (the Earl of Hardwicke) undoubtedly laid greater stress than did my noble Friend who opened the debate on the operations of the navy, and applied himself—not Unnaturally—more especially to what he thought ought to have been the measures undertaken by the profession of which he is a distinguished ornament both in the Baltic and the Black Sea; but in their condemnation of the expedition to the Crimea, where you have blocked up our army, where at this moment they are the besieged rather than the besieging force, there was no difference of opinion whatever between my noble Friends, as the noble Earl opposite seems to suppose.


I never said that the noble Lord disagreed as to the expedition to the Crimea. I said that while one of them objected to any expedition to any part of the Russian territory, the other, the noble Earl who opened the discussion, suggested three different plans for such expedition.


All of which he thought preferable to the expedition to the Crimea. There can be no doubt that the expedition to the Crimea was not the perfection of human wisdom, prudence, or foresight; and unquestionably the result has not justified the sanguine expectations that were entertained regarding it. The noble Duke, late the Minister for War, when examined before the Committee of the House of Commons, where he gave his evidence with great clearness, candour, and ability, frankly acknowledged that at the time when the expedition to the Crimea was undertaken there was no idea whatever that a siege would be required. The Government relied upon being able to take Sebastopol by a coup de main; but the thought of its being necessary to pass the winter in the Crimea, and therefore of warm clothing, huts, &c., being requisite to be provided for the troops before Sebastopol, the noble Duke candidly confessed, never once crossed the minds of the Government, neither did they think of making any such preparations beforehand. The same thing was stated by a distinguished officer who was at the head of the engineers; he said, indeed, that the first im- pression entertained was, that they were going to walk into Sebastopol without the slightest difficulty; from the moment, however, of the first day's firing he saw that it would be a work of great difficulty, a work of time, and a work for which the existing means at their command were entirely insufficient. From a want, therefore, of foresight on the part of the Government, from a miscalculation on their part of the difficulties of the expedition and of the exigencies of the troops, and from no other single circumstance whatever, the troops have been exposed to unnecessary hardships. It is from the want of proper precautions on the part of the Government that the soldiers have had their sufferings aggravated by deficiencies of clothing, of medical supplies, by overwork, and by exhaustion. And to what are we to attribute this overwork and exhaustion? Why was it that the troops were deprived of the additional comforts they would have enjoyed from the existence of a good road to carry up the supplies from Balaklava to the camp? Simply, because the amount of work to be done was too great for the number of men present with the army; and Sir John Burgoyne told the Committee that if our men had been temporarily withdrawn from the trenches for the purposes of completing the road, the enemy would have made their advances as we retired, and the work which our army would have had to do in the long run would have been doubled. But the noble Earl opposite complains that no notice is taken of the use which was made of the "navvies" and of all the wonderful contrivances of modern times—such as the railroad and the electric telegraph, and of all the facilities and advantages which they have conferred upon us in our military operations before Sebastopol. Now, what does Sir John Burgoyne say to these things? He is asked whether the "navvies" would not have been of use in the month of October to construct the railroad? and he answers that they would have been of infinite use, but "it was not thought of;" and when the noble Earl, therefore, takes credit for the application of modern discoveries to the prosecution of the war, I think I may ask him how it happens that he did not find out how useful they would be a little earlier? The railroad is not a new discovery, at least, it was as well known in October as it is now, and if it was absolutely essential for the conveyance of supplies from Balaklava to the camp, I am at a loss to understand why it could not have been constructed in the month of October just as well as in the month of April. Now, my Lords, I do not find that there have been any serious objections taken to the substantive parts of my noble Friend's Resolution. The facts are not denied. No one has denied that the sufferings of the troops have been aggravated, that there have been misconduct and confusion in the different departments, and that there has been a deficiency in those supplies which the soldiers had a right to expect and ought to have received from a Government which had contemplated beforehand the probability of such an expedition; but the noble Lord the Minister of War professes to be exceedingly disappointed that my noble Friend who proposes a Resolution expressing the necessity of employing in the proper places men properly qualified, and with a regard to nothing but the public service, did not come down prepared with a long list of personal cases, of this man here and that man there, being employed out of their proper place; the noble Lord complains that not a single instance has been given of the fit man not being in the fit place. But I certainly must say that, if the fit men were in their fit places, they did not do their work in a fitting manner; because it will not be denied that in every department—in the Commissariat, the transport service, in the medical board, in the Ordnance, and in every other department of the Government—there appears to have been somehow or other a confusion and a want of knowledge of the duties which they respectively had to perform, which has been most injurious to the public service; and, what has been more mischievous still, they all appear to have been so hampered and trammelled by rules and regulations that no man ventured to take upon himself the responsibility of doing anything which lay a little way out of the ordinary course, even though it was that which was most obviously necessary for the public service. It would not he difficult, however, to mention instances in which the right men have not been put into the right places; but it would be invidious to do so; and I shall not, therefore, attempt to look through the different departments to inquire whether Mr. So here and Mr. So and So there have neglected their duties. It will be sufficient if I take two great departments of the State connected with the conduct of the war, and see whether their duties have been carried on with that order, regularity, and punctuality, which the country has a right to expect. And here I must beg the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Newcastle) to believe that I do not intend to say anything disrespectful to him or to his past services; on the contrary, I will frankly state that I believe, from all I have seen and heard, that there was no one Member of the late Government who applied himself more energetically or more laboriously to the duties of his office than did the noble Duke as War Minister. But, at the same time, I must say that I differ from him as to the expediency of the choice of office which he made. I do not agree with the noble Lord who did so much to break up the late Ministry, and who has done so little to increase the credit or influence of the present, that it was a commendable ambition which led the noble Duke to choose the office of Secretary for War. It was a natural, but not a commendable ambition, which led him to undertake duties which ought to have devolved upon some person of military knowledge and experience. Notwithstanding all the energy, all the zeal, and all the labour and time which the noble Duke bestowed upon his office, I cannot believe that he had that intimate knowledge of the subject which would enable him to keep the subordinate officers under him in due order, and to impress upon them the influence of his governing mind for the common discharge of the duties of the public service. I must think, also, that it is subject of regret that at the time when the Colonial and War Offices were separated one of two things was not done—either that the functions of the office of War Minister should have been clearly and absolutely defined, or that the noble Duke, having taken upon himself the office of War Minister, should have left every department under him untouched for the time, reserving for himself complete control and superintendence over them as he found them. Not that I would maintain that all those departments were in a perfectly satisfactory state, or that alteration might not with advantage have been made; but, to make alterations in your machinery at the very time when you want it to be in a state of the greatest activity, is so serious an evil that, in such an emergency, I would much prefer to go on with machinery which, though inferior, was accustomed to the work which it was called on to do, than all at once to introduce new machinery which, though of a superior quality, was untried. But if the noble Duke, as a civilian, was to take the control of the military departments, I would ask him—and I would appeal to your Lordships and the country—whether it was not necessary that the offices immediately under him, and connected with the War Department, should have been filled by persons practically conversant with military matters? But what was the actual state of things? How were the offices in the Ordnance Department filled? And here, also, I would desire to say, as in the case of the noble Duke, that I do not intend to cast the slightest personal reflection on the Gentlemen to whom I am about to refer. The Ordnance Office is that particular department to which you have to look for the clothing of your troops, for the munitions of war, and for the supply of stores of every description; upon its regular working and on the systematic and active discharge of its duties depends the question of whether the war shall be satisfactorily conducted or not. The Master General of the Ordnance was absent in the Crimea, and it was felt necessary to appoint a Lieutenant General to perform some of his duties, but, as it has since turned out, with only a portion of his authority and power. The office of Surveyor General of the Ordnance was vacant, and, as I understand, no steps have as yet been taken to fill it up. The next most important office is that of Clerk of the Ordnance. He is the representative of the Ordnance Department in the House of Commons, he is the mouthpiece there of the Minister, whose place it is to explain everything connected with the Ordnance service. Some years ago this office was filled by my noble Friend the Commander in Chief; it was afterwards filled by General Peel, General Fox, General Anson, and by Colonel Dunne, for a short time; but, up to the period of the commencement of the present war, that office has never been held by any but a military man thoroughly conversant with military details. But at the beginning of this great war in which we are now engaged, when it was necessary that the Ordnance should be doubly active, and that its duties should be discharged with greater energy than ever, who do you think held this responsible post? A very respectable gentleman, an Irish gentleman, who has recently seen occasion to change his religion, but who, as far as I know, would, at the time he was appointed to be Clerk to the Ordnance, if he had been told to load a pistol, have had very great difficulty in knowing how to set about it, and who was as innocent as a babe unborn of the knowledge of anything connected with military matters. Now, is this the right man in the right place? If the noble Duke, at that time the War Minister, was himself not a military man, was it not necessary that he should have military men as his advisers in the subordinate offices connected with his Ministry? And yet, for the first time in the history of the country, and just at the commencement of a war, he appoints a civilian to represent the Minister in the House of Commons in an office which, during the time of peace, it was always held essential should be filled by a military man! I do not wish to say anything against the hon. Gentleman who was appointed Under Secretary for War after the retirement of the noble Duke, and who now represents the War Minister in the House of Commons, but I know nothing in the antecedents of Mr. Frederick Peel (though, no doubt, he is possessed of considerable talent and abilities) which renders him peculiarly capable of advising upon or of explaining military affairs in the other House, or of being the immediate representative in that House of the War Department. Now, I have selected these cases because we have been challenged to point out instances where the right man has not been put in the right place. I will not go to the departments out of Parliament, but to those in Parliament, to those more immediately connected with the Government, and I will show you that there, where it is a matter of the most importance, you have signally departed from that principle of selecting the best men for the right place; and that you have not made these appointments with a view solely and alone—as, with my noble Friend, I contend you should have done—with a view to the exigencies and the requirements of the country. Oh, but we are told, "Why bring forward this question now? You are re-echoing the voice of a public meeting; you are taking your cue from a public meeting; you are following in the language of Mr. Layard and of the noble Earl;" and this has, in fact, been spoken of as the new combination of Derby, Ellenborough, and Layard. Now, with respect to the latte Gentleman, I am not responsible for any thing Mr. Layard may have thought, said or done. My acquaintance with him is of he slightest possible character, and upon, public matters I never had a word of consultation or of communication with him. I think he has lately constituted himself he representative of a feeling which is very powerful in this country, and which is in the main a just feeling; but I think that he has been led into intemperance of language, that he has been led into hasty and sweeping charges which be was unable to substantiate, and has allowed himself, with the impulsive vehemence which belongs to his character, in the pursuit of that which is in itself right, to be led into imprudence of language, of expression, and of imputation, which are not borne out by the facts and are not under the circumstances justifiable. Therefore, my Lords, with all respect for Mr. Layard's abilities, I do not hold myself, nor do I hold my noble Friend, nor any one of those who concur in these Resolutions, responsible for any thought, word, or deed of Mr. Layard, nor has there been the slightest communication or concert between my noble Friend and Mr. Layard, or any one of those whose opinions that hon. Gentleman may represent. But, if noble Lords, opposite, if the Government mean that the demonstration of public feeling made in every quarter and coming from every direction, and which must have reached the ears of Her Majesty's Ministers, has had no influence upon the minds of other men and of my noble Friend in bringing forward these Resolutions at the present time, I am not ashamed to say that the noble Lords opposite have a very erroneous conception of our meaning and our views. I cannot look with disregard or with neglect upon such indications of deep-seated public feeling as have led men of high mercantile character, engaged in the discharge of their private duties, involved in their own business, and shrinking ordinarily from all participation in public questions and public discussion—I say I cannot look with indifference upon the deep-seated dissatisfaction and discontent which has led such men and in such numbers to abandon for a time their usual vocations and to plunge into discussions upon political subjects. I cannot look with unconcern upon such a feeling prevailing in the country; I cannot think that it is safe for your Lordships—for the House of Commons—above all, my Lords, I cannot think it is safe for those who value the Conservative principle of this country, to disregard or to appear indifferent to such manifestations of public feeling. We have forborne—and, perhaps, we have forborne too long—from expressing our opinions with regard to the conduct of this war. We have been led to do so by an earnest desire not to embarrass Her Majesty's Government, more especially in these negotiations which have been unfortunately brought to a conclusion. We have, perhaps, exposed ourselves, rather than embarrass the Government in this critical state of affairs, to the imputation of being apathetic and indifferent, and we have led a considerable portion of the public to the danger of concluding that in Parliament there is no hope for them, and that their own agitation out of doors must work that impression upon the Government which is more legitimately achieved by the two Houses of Parliament. And it is partly in consequence of this feeling, it is in consequence of the danger which I see to the Constitution of this country, it is in consequence of the danger which I see arising from a want of confidence in any party and in all parties in Parliament—if such want of confidence should prevail—it is, I say, that feeling which has influenced, and which ought to influence those holding the same views as myself, not to encourage by our silence—our misconstrued silence—sentiments and opinions to spread themselves abroad, so dangerous, as we believe, to the best interests of the country. But, my Lords, when I say this, I do not say that I concur in all the sentiments, in all the expressions, in all the views which have been put forth at that great meeting of the City of London, or at other meetings of a similar nature (a laugh). I do not know what I have said to incite a laugh from noble Lords opposite. I say I do not concur in all the sentiments expressed at these meetings. I look at them as an indication of a deep-seated public feeling—a feeling of injustice done to those who took part in the proceedings by the mismanagement of Her Majesty's Government in matters of ordinary business, in matters where, as mercantile men and as practical men, they knew that the work which has been done imperfectly and at a lavish expenditure might have been done much better and at much less expense. I regard these meetings, I repeat, as indicative of a deep-seated dissatisfaction; but I see also that that dissatisfaction has led men, looking at the effects of the mismanagement on the part of the Government, into wrong and exaggerated conclusions as to the causes which, have brought about such results. The ordinary language used has been, that it is not the men but the system which is to blame. Another cry is, that it is the selection of the aristocracy which caused all these misfortunes, and that the aristocracy are not to monopolize all public places and employments. Then another complaint; made is of routine, and it is said that until routine is got rid of there will be no safety and no hope for the country. Now, perhaps, I may be permitted—though it does not bear immediately on this motion—to say a few words upon what I deem to be the real state of the case, the real ground of dissatisfaction, and how far I do not concur with the views of the gentlemen who have raised these cries. In regard to routine, if that word be applied to the duties of the subordinate departments of the State, and to those various officers who, having no Parliamentary influence, and exercising no Parliamentary power, carry on their business most usefully and most importantly for the benefit of the country, and among which the vast majority of those employed labour with an assiduity very ill-repaid by the amount of pecuniary advantage which they derive—which have none of the advantages of publicity, of credit, of popularity, to support themselves under their labours—I say if you charge against these departments of routine as unnecessary and an evil ingredient in their composition, a manufacturer may just as well complain of the routine of his wheel because it always turns precisely in the same plane and always works precisely in the same manner. To all these departments routine is the very essence and soul. Without it the machinery of the country would be in confusion in the course of an hour. I will not say, indeed, that faults have not been committed in those departments, that perhaps too much attention has not been paid to the claims of mere seniority, that in all cases promotion may not have beep given with too little regard to the superior claims of superior excellence, and I am not at all prepared to say, that consequently, there may not be in some of these offices, and especially in the higher departments, men perfectly able to carry on their business at ordinary times, but who, at their advanced period of life and after their long service, hardly possess sufficient energy for the exigencies of the service at a time of pressure like this. Very possibly to this state of things a great portion of the proved inefficiency of some of these departments is in some degree referrible, and no doubt at a time of great exigency there ought to be, on the part of the Government, a fair provision made for those not able to discharge the public service efficiently, and, if there are any incompetent from age or infirmity, they ought not to be allowed to stop the way and interfere with the promotion of younger and abler men. I do not doubt that many of the departments are chargeable with this fault, but to say that, with regard to these departments, routine is to be imputed to them as a fault is quite out of the question. Routine is essential to their existence and well-working. You must have in these offices a routine the most complete, the most perfect; but then you ought to have over all these departments a master and a ruling mind to use this machinery, to apply it as it ought to be applied to its various purposes, to promote the co-operation of its several parts, and not suffer those parts to be mutually obstructive, instead of working steadily and harmoniously together. My noble Friend has expressed his opinion—and it is an opinion which has scarcely been contradicted even by those who have declared their intention of voting against these resolutions—that it is important for the public service that appointments to public positions should be made with the view to the interest of the public service alone, and should be above all considerations of favour or partiality, I frankly admit that I think that in the public mind a great amount of misconception exists with regard to this question. In a despotic country, no doubt, the Minister of the day, whoever he may be, or the despot, has the power of selecting for every particular department the man whom he thinks best qualified to perform the duties of the office, without any consideration as to other departments, or without any view to combination or co-operation with any other department; but to apply such a principle in this country is not only simply impossible, but would be at variance with the most valuable portion of our constitution—the freedom and independence of Parliament itself. In appointments to the higher offices of the State the choice of the Minister of the day is limited within a very narrow compass. The whole of our constitutional system, from first to last, hinges on mutual confidence. The Crown appoints the Minister in whom it has confidence, and in whom it believes that Parliament has also confidence. That Minister must be supported by a body of colleagues, to whom, according to the best of his ability, he assigns their several offices, and those colleagues must, according to the constitution of the country, be Members either of your Lordships' House or of the House of Commons, and, in fact, there are some offices which must be held by a Member of your Lordships' House, while others must be held by a Member of the House of Commons. The choice, therefore, of the Minister is limited to Members of the two Houses of Parliament, and is also limited to those Members of the two Houses of Parliament who concur with him in his general political views, and who are willing to co-operate with him, not each man discharging the duties of his own office exclusively, but all acting together in carrying into effect the measures of the Government. The choice, therefore, is limited not only to Members of your Lordships' House and to Members of the other House of Parliament, but to rather more than half the Members of each House. And is that the only limitation? By no means, for out of the number of those who are eligible to fill these situations, we must exclude those who might perhaps fill them in a most satisfactory manner, but whose other avocations or engagements, or whose private interests, although they may permit them to discharge faithfully the duties of a Member of Parliament, do not permit them to discharge faithfully the all-engrossing duties of a Minister of the Crown. I must say, too, that as regards the House of Commons, without desiring to say anything disrespectful of its present constitution, or without entertaining the slightest doubt that it contains many men who are capable of discharging the duties of office, the result of recent legislation has been still further to limit the choice of the Minister. Since the Reform Bill there has been a difference in the character and composition of that House, which makes it more difficult for a Minister to select his colleagues than was formerly the case; and for this reason. Previously to the Reform Bill there was a large number of boroughs under the immediate control of certain individuals, either men of rank or men of property, which in common parlance were called "rotten boroughs." Those boroughs, whatever were their imperfections, and however repugnant they might be to the spirit of the constitution, formed the ordinary avenue into Parliament for young men not known to the public, who desired to devote themselves from their earliest years to the science and practice of politics, and to adopt a profession, not remunerative, but attractive to men of independent fortune. That avenue to the House of Commons, that nursery of future Statesmen, has been put an end to, and I ask your Lordships to consider the character and position of the men who are now I generally chosen to represent the large towns. They are men, no doubt, of ability; but they are men of mature age, men engaged in professions, either practising as eminent lawyers, or engaged in business as merchants or manufacturers; they are I men, I grant, of sense and ability; but, in many instances, they are men who neither can devote their time to public affairs, nor who have been trained from youth to the practice and business of legislation. It is a mistake to suppose that the practical experience of such men is an equivalent for political training, for the instances are rare in which men who have entered Parliament at a mature age have advanced themselves to a distinguished political position. One of the complaints now made is that public offices are confined to the aristocracy—rather an indefinite term, and with the meaning of which I am only partially acquainted. Now, my Lords, there are, no doubt, still loft a few small boroughs which are under family influence, and the voters in those boroughs are willing to accept as a representative a member of the family with whom they are connected, or a nominee of that family of whom they have some personal knowledge; but they would consider it a violation of their independence if the person exercising the greatest influence in the borough should introduce a perfect stranger, unconnected with the family and unknown to the public. The result is, that the number of men qualifying themselves for office and training themselves for the duties of legislation is less now than it was previously to the passing of the Reform Bill. Now, I say this solely with the view of correcting what appears to me to be exaggerated representations as to the cause of the evils which have occurred; but I am perfectly certain that, if there be in the other House of Parliament any man who shows ability and aptitude for business, who possesses the power of clearly explaining his own views, and of forcing them on Parliament, whatever may be his birth or his origin, or whatever his connection, no Minister of the day, be he who he may—Whig, Tory, or Radical—would hesitate to avail himself of the services of that man, and to enlist him in the service of the Crown, if he himself were willing to undertake the thankless duties that devolve upon a Minister. There is now a strong feeling in the country upon this subject; but I must recall to the recollection of the House that, when, three years ago, in forming an Administration, I did avail myself of the services of various Gentlemen of eminence and ability, but who had not previously had much practical experience in official duty, I was then told that I was marching out a squad of raw recruits; I was charged with going out of the ordinary circle, and of placing men in office who had no experience and no knowledge of business; in fact, I was then blamed for doing that which the popular voice of the day says ought to be done now. My Lords, I say that it is of great advantage to a Minister to have been trained to the subordinate duties of an office. A Minister in choosing his colleagues cannot put his finger on men who possess ability and say to one, "You go to that office," and to another, "You go to that;" but he is compelled to select from those who are his political adherents, who agree with him in his general views; he must select from those who are willing to take office, and who are in a position to enable them to do so. My Lords, I have made these observations as to the restrictions under which a Minister labours, for the purpose of correcting the exaggerated opinions which are now too prevalent; but, at the same time, I say that it is the duty of a Minister, with regard to high officers, with regard to every department, whether in or out of Parliament, to select for them, without partiality, fear, or favour, those persons whom he honestly believes to be best qualified to fill them. That is the principle laid down in the Resolution of my noble Friend, and it is a principle which, I am afraid, has not always been borne in mind by any Government whatever. We are asked again, irrespective of public feeling, as manifested at public meetings, why we bring forward this question now when we have got a change of Government. The noble Earl on the lower bench (the Earl of Aberdeen) must have been gratified by the tone adopted from the Treasury bench in opposition to the Motion of my noble Friend. While the present Government admit all this great suffering, all this neglect, and all these privations, they say, "But this neglect, and this management was not ours, it was that of the last Government." My noble Friend the Minister of War undoubtedly Stands clear of the charge, but, with the exception of him, the Government is only a new firm with the old partners. A noble Lord had said, "Oh, but you do not consider the wonderful things that have been done in the last three months."


Very much in consequence of the measures previously taken by the noble Duke (the Duke of Newcastle).


Oh, settle that among yourselves. I draw no distinction between the late Government and the present; and if the noble Earl joins me in that opinion, then, I am satisfied with the admission, for, then the Government would not only be responsible for the blunders of the last three months, but for the neglects and omissions of the last two years. Therefore the argument falls to the ground that we are not dealing with the late but with the present Government; for the late and the present Governments are one and the same. There have, to be sure, been some few sacrifices of some individual Ministers—some few Jonases thrown overboard—but the Government remains the same, the Members are the same, and the policy remains the same. Well, the noble Lord the Minister of War, on the very day when the noble Earl gave notice of the present Motion and fixed it for tonight, came down to the House and said, "Oh, it is the most unfortunate thing in the world. I am quite sorry for it, for I came down this very day to propose a great measure of administrative reform, and I was going to fix it for the very night selected by the noble Earl for his Motion." That certainly was most unfortunate, and, under the difficulty in which the noble Lord was placed, he thought it most advisable to postpone his great measure of administrative reform until after a, decision should be expressed on the present Motion. But there is another House of Parliament as well as this, and there the pressure began to be a little inconvenient, and the noble Lord at the head of the Government, not having quite so much patience as the Minister of War, could not wait until the great measure of administrative reform should be brought forward in the House of Lords, but, anticipating the noble Lord, makes for himself an opportunity of announcing the nature of this great reform in the House of Commons. And if I may speak with reference to what passes in another place—which we never mention to ears polite—the mode in which this administrative reform was ushered in is one of the most sigular things I recollect. Certainly it was not one that would bear the character of a coup d'etat, but it was very much in the style of a coup de théâtre, and like one of those coups, de théâtre, which we have recently seen peformed elsewhere by some political characters to the amusement of Her Majesty's liege subjects. On Thursday a gentleman (Colonel Reed) got up in another place, and, professing immense attachment to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, could not help adding that, though he thought the present Government better than the last, he was a little disappointed by their conduct during the last three months. He said the noble Viscount must do something to retrieve his character, and he finished his observations with a sublime exhortation to the noble Viscount to— Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen! Well, what was the effect of this on the Prime Minister?— He heard and was abashed, and up he sprung Upon the wing; as when men wont to watch On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread, Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake. Then, on the spur of the moment, and without notice, and op the formal Motion for the adjournment of the House, touched by this magic wand, or rather, in this case, by this magic Reed, the Sleeping Beauty roused herself from the slumber in which she had been kept for seven times seven long years, dreaming and puzzling herself how it was that ancient arrangements should have separated the Board of Ordnance from the Commander in Chief. For forty-nine years that had beep a deep and perpetual puzzle to the noble Viscount, and yet, though he had been for many years in a military office, somehow or other in the course of those seven times seven years, it had never occurred to him to put in practice that which struck him on the inspiration of the moment the other night—namely, if those offices ought not to be separated, why should they not be combined? But, after a slumber of nigh fifty years, up at last he springs, and says he is going to propose a great measure of administrative reform—he is going to abolish the Board of Ordnance, and put the Artillery under the direction of the Commander in Chief, and, therefore, Parliament could not say that the Government was not a reform Government. With respect to the measure itself, I should like to wait to see it before I pronounce an opinion on it; but I cannot give the Government entire credit for a zeal for administrative reform, which required to be quickened by the force of strong public opinion. Though I am grateful for the deference shown to public opinion, and, though I hope to see it carried further than appears to be involved in the suggestion of the noble Lord, yet I very much doubt the wisdom and prudence of making such changes in the Ordnance Department, at the present moment more especially, unless they are well considered. I am happy, however, to see on the part of the Government symptoms of increased activity to satisfy public opinion, and increased deference to the well-expressed feeling of growing dissatisfaction among the people; but, at the same time, I must say that this increased deference to public opinion and this increased activity to satisfy it have not been stimulated and excited by what has passed out of doors, but by the significant hint given by the Motion before the House. The noble Earl opposite called on the House to consider the effect of these Resolutions, if carried, on the present Government, and not upon the present Government only—that was a matter of no consequence at all—but the effect of these constant changes of Government upon Government generally and upon the constitution itself—nothing was more untisfactory than constant changes in Government, and that the struggle to overthrow Government by a party without having any definite policy chalked out for it to pursue, and without any security for permanence in the succeeding Government, was a great evil. I think so too, and I wish the noble Earl had entertained the same view on that subject at the close of the year 1852. However, I do not think that the present state of the country would lead any man lightly to aspire to office; and, though I cannot deny that this Motion does involve a reflection on the manner in which the present Government has carried on some of the operations of this war, yet I say, with the most perfect sincerity on my part, that I should very much regret the consequence of this Motion imposing on us, on this side of the House, the responsibility of office. Nevertheless, I will not admit to the noble, Lord opposite, that the state of affairs now is precisely the same as when from a sense of public duty I felt compelled to decline the honourable responsibility which Her Majesty was pleased to desire me to undertake. In the first place, at that period negotiations were pending of the utmost delicacy, difficulty, and complexity; and interference with those negotiations by any changes of Government might have been productive of the most serious consequences. On public grounds, therefore, at that time a change of Government, always undoubtedly a matter of inconvenience, was one then of exceeding danger. There was another reason at that period for not preventing the present Government from being formed, though the reason is not now so flattering to the noble Viscount at the head of the Government. At that time there was a universal and general prestige throughout the country in the noble Viscount's favour, and a belief that he alone was the one man qualified to conduct the affairs of the country with vigour, decision, firmness, and energy; so that any other Government that might have been formed would have been liable to the charge of keeping the most efficient man out of the Premiership. I hope I may not be supposed to be disrespectful to the noble Viscount if I say that that prestige has very much diminished, and the warmth of affection with which he was before regarded has cooled down to a temperature much less fervid, and, if the country loses the services of the noble Viscount, I do not believe his loss would be deemed so irreparable as to make it supposed that without him it was impossible for the business of the nation to go on. The noble Lord has said that the effect of these Resolutions will be to disparage the resources of England and to weaken the confidence of our allies. Does the noble Lord mean that this country has no means or resources at her command—that she is incapable of being a useful and efficient ally? We are told that by adopting the Resolutions we shall encourage the peace party in France and indispose that great empire to our alliance—that we shall give Russia the greatest encouragement when she sees that we disparage our own means and resources. I do not know what effect the adoption of these Resolutions may be expected to produce upon Prussia and Austria, but I must say that the noble Earl very carefully and wisely abstained from pointing out a single expression, or word, or hint in the Resolutions which could bear the impression or carry with it the view which he has attached to them. Why, with respect to France, the Resolutions recognise, with the greatest gratification and thankfulness, our alliance and our perfect understanding with that country—an event which we hold to be fraught with advantages, not only to England, but to other nations. The Resolutions speak in the highest terms of the valour, the gallantry, and the discipline of the allied troops, and of the unexampled efforts they have made. But the noble Earl seems to have fallen into this mistake:—He says we disparage the resources of England. I say that we disparage the manner in which these resources have been husbanded and applied. The distinction is between England and Her Majesty's Government, and I do not know that, in disparaging the conduct of the Government—more especially if it excites them to fresh energy and activity for the future—we have the least cause to be apprehensive of the result. Even if the adoption of these Resolutions should lead to a change of Government, I do not see that the slightest impediment is likely to be thrown in the way of our maintaining amicable and friendly relations with any of the great Powers. My Lords, it is because I hold that, as the noble Earl has said, the greater portion of these Resolutions are truisms that cannot be controverted or denied, but truisms which I think it is absolutely essential to place upon record as the solemn declaration of the Parliament of this country, embodying our determination to prosecute the war to the utmost, embodying our adherence to the French alliance, embodying our gratification at the accession of the gallant army of Piedmont, embodying the readiness of the people of this country to submit to all sacrifices and to all privations, provided they can have the satisfaction of seeing the war ably, energetically, and successfully conducted, and embodying; their determination that it shall be so conducted—it is because I feel that the assertion of these Resolutions, which cannot be denied or questioned, is a matter of deep importance to the people of this country—that these Resolutions embody the genuine expression of the sentiments of the people—and that your Lordships are in your proper place when you here give expression to your own sentiments in conformity with those of your fellow-countrymen—that I cordially assent to the Resolutions which have been moved by my noble Friend; and whether we succeed in carrying them or not, I shall rejoice that I, and those Conservative friends who, with me, are anxious to maintain the institutions of this country, and not to set at nought public feeling—who desire to co-operate with that public feeling to the fullest extent, though not to implicate ourselves with the exaggerations into which that public feeling may be led—have given our support to the propositions of the noble Earl. Upon these grounds, and for these reasons, I most cordially support these Resolutions.


My Lords, it appears to me that the reasons which have been assigned by the noble Earl who last addressed the House for supporting these Resolutions are so unsound that they will fail in inducing many of your Lordships who usually act with the noble Earl from giving the Resolutions that assent which he is prepared to give them. The noble Earl in the latter part of his speech said that, although he must admit the Resolutions did, in some sense, bear the construction of a vote of censure upon the Government, he would feel deep regret if they should have the effect of displacing the Government from office. Now, I must contend that, if these are the opinions of the noble Earl, he ought not to support the Resolutions. If the two noble Earls opposite believe conscientiously that, by the displacement of the present Government from office, and by themselves assuming—by the grace and favour of the Sovereign—the management of public affaris, they would be able to conduct the war with increased energy, and so to promote the public welfare, I think they would be perfectly justified in bringing forward and supporting these Resolutions; but I must say that if the Motion is brought forward, not with the view of displacing the Government, but of rendering what some noble Lords assert to be a weak Government still weaker, it is not a course worthy of the peers of England at a moment like the present. Unless the object is to displace the Government, I can see no patriotic grounds for supporting the Resolutions. The noble Earl expressed some surprise that the two Members of Her Majesty's Government who have spoken did not enter into any detailed defence of the conduct of the war; but I think it must have been evident to the noble Earl that those noble Lords did not enter into such a defence because no case had been set up on the other side which it was necessary for them to answer. Accustomed as I have been, not merely since I have had a seat in this House, but for many years previously, to listen with the greatest interest to the speeches of the noble Earl who brought forward those Resolutions, I must say that I never heard any speech of his which seemed to me so deficient in strength as that to which I listened this evening. It appeared to me to be entirely defective with regard to all those great attributes which distinguish his speeches. The noble Earl did not bring forward in his usual concise and consecutive order such facts as he is accustomed to place before the House, nor did he state to the House those clear and logical deductions which on former occasions he has adduced from the facts he has brought forward. Having listened attentively to the noble Earl, and to my noble and gallant Friend (the Earl of Hardwicke) who spoke at considerable length, I must say that, with the exception of the anecdotes which my noble Friend narrated, and one of which I may observe was utterly and entirely inaccurate, I am unable to fix upon anything tangible in their speeches. Nor do I think the noble Earl who last spoke has materially improved the case as it was left by his predecessors. The noble Earl has occupied the greater part of his speech in referring to the doctrines of that association which has yet to be formed, and of which he has professed himself in somewhat hesitating terms a disciple, though certainly to a more limited extent than the noble Earl who brought forward the Resolutions; but, beyond this, he seems to me to have confined himself to one single point—the policy of the expedition to the Crimea. I had hoped that I might have been spared the necessity of alluding to any matter personal to myself, but a noble Earl opposite stated, certainly in terms of very great courtesy and kindness, that he could not agree in approving what has been called my "commendable ambition" in taking upon myself the management the War Department. I will not on this occasion go over that painful ground, but I may remind the noble Earl and the House that in the month of February I commented upon those very words, and I stated explicitly to the House—and my statement has never been controverted—the precise circumstances under which I assumed the office. The noble Earl has laid considerable stress upon the point that the management of the war was placed in my hands, I being a civilian,—as if it had not been, I may say, a constitutional doctrine in this country, that the management if the War Department should be in the hands of a civilian. At any rate, that has been the invariable practice. While the Commander in Chief of the army is of course a military man, the Secretary of State has invariably been a civilian. But the noble Earl maintained, this being the case, that I ought to have had the assistance of competent military men. Now, no one has more readily expressed concurrence in that sentiment, both in this House and elsewhere, than myself. It must be remembered, however, that we have to consider not merely who shall occupy military offices in this country, but who shall command your army in the Crimea. I am sure my noble Friend the Commander in Chief will bear me out when I say that for a long time I hesitated to concur in the recommendation that my deeply-lamented Friend Sir George Cathcart should be appointed to a command in the Crimea. And why? Because I felt it of the utmost possible importance to me that I should have the advice and assistance of such a man at home. At the same time, as it was the greatest possible object that Lord Raglan should have his aid in the Crimea in command of a division, I felt it to be my duty, upon a balance of arguments, to place him at Lord Raglan's disposal. The noble Earl went on to say that the Ordnance Department was left in a most inefficient state; the noble Earl is not quite correct, however, in stating that the Lieutenant General of the Ordnance was left without the powers which the Master General possessed. I am certain that he was appointed under the impression that he would have precisely the same powers which Lord Raglan had, and, if any of his powers had proved deficient, they would have been made complete by the assistance which the Government would render him. The noble Earl also commented upon the appointment of Mr. Monsell to the office of Clerk of the Ordnance, and remarked upon the circumstance of his change of religion, as if that had anything whatever to do with his suitableness for the office. I cannot see what it has to do with it, and, for myself, I should just as much consider that it fitted a person for the post as that it disqualified him. I can only say, with reference to Mr. Mousell, that I will quote the opinion of one most competent to form an opinion, and to whom the noble Earl this evening paid a high compliment, in the justice of which I entirely agree—I mean Lord Raglan; and I know that when he left this country he had formed a very high estimate of Mr. Monsell's abilities, and of his fitness to execute the duties of the office which he held. The noble Earl says, that for the first time in out history we have appointed a civilian to the post of Clerk of the Ordnance, and that in time of war. If the noble Earl had taken the trouble to read a few lines out of the Royal Calendar, he would have found that that statement was entirely inaccurate. He proceeded to give a list of gallant officers who had held the office of Clerk of the Ordnance, and, of the four whom he named, two had never held the office at all. In 1807, which was a time of war, the hon. W. W. Pole, a civilian, was Clerk of the Ordnance. He was succeeded by the hon. Ashley Cowper, who was succeeded in 1811 by Mr. Plumer Ward, who remained in office till 1823, when he was succeeded by my noble and gallant Friend at the table (Viscount Hardinge), who is the only military man who has held that office since 1807. At an earlier time the office was held by Mr. Spencer Perceval and other civilians. Now, with reference to myself, I wish to say that neither in this House nor anywhere else will I accept any praise for assiduity and labour in the office which I had the honour to fill. Assiduity and labour are the duty of every man who undertakes an office in the Government; and I did nothing but my duty in bestowing every portion of my time to the execution of my duty; and if the noble Earl can substantiate that in the performance of those duties I stood in the way of others who could have executed them much better, and that, in fact, I was a bad administrator of the office which I held, then I say that no labour or assiduity which I bestowed should be viewed as a makeweight for any deficiency of which I might have been guilty. The noble Earl said that we ought never to have undertaken the expedition to the Crimea, if, having undertaken it, we had not taken the precautions necessary to ensure success. I must say, however, that that opinion of the impolicy of going to the Crimea is one which has arisen out of the circumstances of the case, and is quite the reverse of the notions entertained at the time. I appeal to your Lordships whether, when Parliament met in December, we heard anything of the impolicy of that expedition to the Crimea? What was the ground of the attack which the noble Earl made upon us then? The charge then was, not that the expedition to the Crimea had been undertaken, but that we had not from the commencement of the war formed our plan, and that the Crimea was an after-thought, taken up at Varna when the siege of Silistria was raised. That it was which formed one of the principal points of his accusation against the Government at that time; and it is only now, when it is thought that the expedition may not be attended with success, that the noble Earl and others have become so wise after the fact. It is not fair, then, for the noble Earl, after his organs of the press spoke of impeaching the Government for not undertaking it before, to turn round upon us now, and to state that the expedition was impolitic because it has not been attended with success. If the noble Earl can substantiate that when the expedition was undertaken there was no providence, no means for accomplishing the object in view, he would establish a case against the Government. But is that so? The noble Earl said that in my evidence before the Committee I stated that we expected to take Sebastopol by a coup de main, and that I did not contemplate a siege. The noble Earl is not correct in his version of my evidence. What I said was, that I expected we should be in possession of Sebastopol long before it would be necessary for the army to go into winter quarters. So far from not contemplating a siege, and not making provision for it, two effective and complete battering trains were sent out, and were in Lord Raglan's possession when he undertook the expedition; and from the very first every effort was made to provide the army with the means of carrying on a siege. The noble Earl says that we made no provision for the comforts of the men—that we sent out no huts and no warm clothing. Undoubtedly the huts were not ordered until after it became evident that the place would not be taken except by a long siege; but I must contradict the statement that no warm clothing was provided for the army. Although the wooden huts for housing the men were not ordered until after the 17th of October—the date of the commencement of our fire—yet so early as the month of August a large quantity of woollen clothing of every description, additional warm clothing, both under and upper, extra greatcoats to go over the ordinary greatcoats, and a variety of things of that description to an enormous amount, were sent out—a large portion of them before we heard of the result of the siege. But if the noble Earl means that we did not send out in the middle of the summer that large quantity of sheepskins and furs which we sent out subsequently, undoubtedly to that extent the noble Earl is correct. It is incorrect and most unfair towards me to represent that I have ever allowed to drop from me in conversation, much less in any speech in Parliament, or in any public capacity, one word derogatory to the character of any officer in that army. I have never thrown discredit upon any officer, least of all upon my noble and gallant Friend who holds the chief command in the Crimea. I have never said a word winch would have a tendency to exaggerate the evils with which he has to contend, nor have I ungenerously attempted to get rid of imputations upon me or the Government to which I belonged by throwing them upon that gallant nobleman. I concur with the noble Earl in thinking that the country is indebted to my noble and gallant Friend, for the way in which he has managed communications between the two armies. I believe that few men would have shown the same tact, the same temper, the same discretion, and the same good feeling which have tended, more than any one is aware of, to cement the alliance between the two countries, and certainly between the two armies; and I, therefore, entirely concur in the eulogium passed by the noble Earl upon Lord Raglan. The noble Earl says the Government is to blame for not making the railway sooner, and to support the charge he refers to the answer of Sir John Burgoyne, given before the Sebastopol Committee, to what I must term a silly question—whether it would not have been a great advantage to have had the railway in October? Of course, Sir John Burgoyne said it would. It would have been a great advantage if we had found a railway already there. It would have been a great advantage if we had had a railway all the way, and other things equally impossible would as certainly have been advantageous. Remember to what this railway is applicable—from Balaklava to Sebastopol. And what was the intention when the troops landed at Old Fort? It was agreed by the generals and by the Government that Sebastopol should be attacked on the north side, and it was only after the battle of the Alma that Lord Raglan and General St. Arnaud determined on the flank march which led to Balaklava, and subsequently to our laying siege to the south side of Sebastopol. Is not this a specimen of how accusations are cast upon those who have had the management of the War? And when the noble Earl says that the men and the materials for the railway might as well have been sent in the month of October as in the month of April, I beg he will recollect that I sent for Sir M. Peto at the end of November, and that corps for the railway was sent out in the beginning of December. The noble Earl who brought forward this motion condemned the Government for not being in a position to move the army at once when it landed at Varna. Nothing can be more unreasonable than to expect that a land transport corps and every thing else could be improvised in a moment: there was a great deficiency in the French army as well as in our own of land transport for a very considerable time. The provision for land transport requires a considerable time, and I am convinced if, at the commencement of the war, it had been proposed to the House of Commons to organise that transport corps which I had the honour of providing through the instrumentality of that gallant officer Colonel M'Murdo, it would have been laughed at as extravagant and absurd, though perhaps it would have been the wisest and most judicious step that could have been taken. Supposing that had been done, it could not be contended that all the animals would have been procured so as to have made the army moveable even nearly so soon as, by our ships, it was moveable. But the Government did not neglect to take the necessary steps to make the army moveable, for as soon as the expedition was decided upon, I sent for the most able and experienced officers of the Commissariat Department and Mr. Commissary General Smith, whose services I am glad to have this opportunity of acknowledging—went forward to Turkey to make arrangements for provisions and transport, and Captain Noland was commissioned to buy horses in all the markets of the East. When the army was moved to Varna, on the special requisition of Omer Pasha, at the very earliest possible moment, before all the troops had arrived at Scutari from England, it is an undoubted fact that there were not sufficient animals to enable the army to advance from Varna to Silistria. The noble Earl does not maintain that the army should have remained at Scutari, but approves the order to move from Scutari to Varna. That advance to Varna was made with a double object—to give a moral as well as a material assistance to Omer Pasha, and I have no hesitation in saying that it was one of the main causes of raising the siege of Silistria, although up to that time the army had not become a moveable army. However, from documents sent to me at the time, I have reason to believe that the army was moveable to that extent that it could have advanced to Silistria, and further, if necessary, for it had the means of conveying thirteen days' provisions. My noble Friend went on to say that the expedition was undertaken without any sufficient reconnaissance or any attempt to ascertain the force of the Russian army in the Crimea. So far from that being the fact, there is at this moment in the War Office a most admirable report prepared by that gallant officer Sir George Brown, who was sent along the coast in a ship of war accompanied by French officers, as to the means of landing upon the whole coast between Sebastopol and Eupatoria, and how it could best be effected. As to no pains having been taken to ascertain the force of Russia in the Crimea, I can assure the noble Earl it is entirely wrong, and that from the first moment of the expedition being resolved upon, every effort was used to obtain information through our ministers and consuls in the East, and I placed myself personally in communication with everybody from whom any knowlege of the country that was to be the seat of war could be obtained. From some I obtained information whose accuracy subsequent events have well established, and we were enabled to form an approximation to a correct idea of the force possessed by Russia in the Crimea, and her ability to resist attack in that quarter, which has proved very much more correct than any published by the newspapers, or in any other way. As to what has been said by the two noble Earls about putting the right man in the right place. Government may have neglected to put the right men in the right places, but no Government would recognise for one moment the principle that any but the best men should be appointed, and every one would admit that the Government which had appointed unfit men to high office had grossly neglected its duty. The people would rejoice that any man, whether belonging to the governing classes or not, should be brought into office who can assist the Government at this eventful crisis, or any other. But the British public ought not to be misled on this point; and if the country do not provide such, men in that body from which alone these men can be selected, and they ought not to complain so severely of Ministers if they do not find such men. The noble Earl who opened the debate has laid the blame upon the Reform Act, in having effected a change in the composition of the House of Commons. In regard to the Reform Act I think that complaint is to a certain extent correct, but not in the particular point alluded to. I believe that a system has grown up of late years which has acted, and which will continue to act, most prejudicially in regard to providing men fit for holding office. The greatest part of our mercantile men refuse for two causes to undertake offices of State; the first is that they are unwilling to abandon their private career and deprive their families of the large and honourable gains they acquire; and the second is that they are reluctant to leave duties and avocations that are agreeable to them, seeing the growing tendency there is to heap obloquy upon every man, of every side of the House and of every party, who may undertake the discharge of public duties. But there are numbers of other men, not members of "the governing class," as they are called, who are perfectly qualified to take their place in the House of Commons, and take a part in the conduct of public affairs, and I shall rejoice, whenever a general election shall occur, to see a large increase in the number of such men sent into the House of Commons. But there is a growing evil to which may be attributed a great deal of the evil of which we complain. It is a growing practice among constituencies not to look for their representatives among men whom they know to be of proved qualifications and character, but to look up to clubs and coteries in London, to recommend them candidates, and it is the object of such clubs to have men who are partisans of one body or another, and who sit and give a silent vote for their party instead of doing honour to the constituency which returns them. As long as constituencies pursue this course, and apply, one party to the Carlton Club and another to the Reform Club for representatives, so long shall we have men of mediocrity prepared to assist by silent votes one side or the other, instead of men whose minds are prepared for the performance of great public duties and from whom a Minister might select the officers of his Government. From that body alone the high political officers must be selected. My Lords, I hope that these discussions will not lead men to think that we are a beaten nation; that we are incapable of the great deeds by which our forefathers have distinguished themselves; that our bravery is the same, and the quality of our soldiers is improved, but that in other respects we have deteriorated. My Lords, I believe nothing of the kind, and when I am told that we have suffered great disasters I say that we have, no doubt, had great misfortunes which are to be deeply deplored, but that of military disasters we have had none. We have had no military reverses whatever. It may be said that we began the siege of Sebastopol in September, but, locking at the position of the allied forces and of the enemy, is it so unfavourable to us, and so favourable to him? We have placed a pressure on the internal organisation of Russia that is beginning to tell. Russia is suffering severely from the drain of men, and the feelings of the people towards the Sovereign power are undergoing a change. Is it not true that we have stopped the direct commerce of Russia? that we have swept from the sea every ship that she possessed? that her great vessels of war are either sunk at Sebastopol or locked up and rotting in the harbours of Cronstadt and Helsingfors? We have effected a lodgment on her shores, and, by God's blessing, we may soon be in a position to dictate such a peace as will be alike honourable to this country and will insure the attainment of those great objects for which the war was undertaken.


said, that if these Resolutions had been brought forward at a proper time he would have supported them. He agreed with the first four Resolutions, but they were brought forward at a time singularly inopportune. If they had been brought forward in December or January he would have supported them; but the question of the mismanagement of the war was now undergoing rigorous examination by the other House of Parliament, and it was for the report of the Sebastopol Committee to fix the blame upon the proper parties. The noble Earl opposite had said that the present Government was the same as that which had begun and carried on the war. If he could feel that this was true he would support these resolutions. But he would ask any person of common sense whether they could say that it was the same Government when its Prime Minister, its War Minister in time of war, its Finance Minister, and the head of its naval department had been changed? It was essentially a different Government. The noble Earl had said that the present Government had no different policy from the last; but the noble Earl had himself proposed no change of policy whatever. The question was who could best carry that policy into effect. To suppose that any body of men who only came into power in February could in three months effect greater alterations than the present Ministry had made was preposterous. If by any misfortune these Resolutions were carried that night, the most injurious effect would be produced abroad; and he therefore trusted that their Lordships would reject them by a large majority.


said, he considered that the Resolutions had been brought forward for the sake of testing the state of parties in that House, and he thought there could be no doubt that the noble Earl opposite who supported the Resolutions with the assistance of the great Conservative party, over whom he so ably presided, had the intention, in doing so, of changing the Government of the country. He (the Marquess of Londonderry) wished it to be clearly and distinctly understood that be did not appear there as the advocate or as one of the retainers of the Government of the noble Viscount; but when he heard that the noble Earl was to bring forward this Resolution—when he knew that the other noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) and the whole of the party that acted with him would support this Resolution, he could not but feel that remaining on the cross-benches any longer would be a dereliction of duty on his part. Desiring to uphold the honour and dignity of the Crown—wishing that the country should boldly and manfully maintain its position as a great empire—being averse to the exhibition of distracted councils and struggles for power at this great and momentous crisis, he felt he had no other course to pursue but to support the Government. He should have thought that their Lordships might have heard or read of the proceedings at certain great meetings, which showed that the public mind was in a dangerous and disturbed state, and inimical to everything they should wish to see established. They were asking at those metings for administrative reform; but would those who were so asking for it be content with the views that were advocated by the mover and supporters of those Resolutions? The noble Earl opposite in his speech defended the system of routine; but that, according to the opinion now abroad, was one of the things that was held in complete abhorrence. Could the noble Earl and his party say that if they came into office they were prepared to bring in a measure by which the system of routine would be abolished, or could they say that they would bring to the performance of their duties ability, skill and talent that exceeded the ability, skill, and talent of those who now occupied the ministerial benches? Though the ambition of public men might induce them to put grave questions and serious responsibilities aside, let them not be oblivious of the public voice out of doors, which pronounced its opinions either by the press or at public meetings, and which public opinion, if neglected, might, perhaps, drown the voice of their Lordships' House, and produce changes which he was sure none of their Lordships would wish to see carried out. He would say that the feeling for administrative reform was shared in by many members, not only of the other House but of their Lordships' House, and they would not be backward in stating how they wished this administrative reform to be carried into effect; but he thought that neither the noble Earl opposite, nor the noble Lords who sat behind him, would be able to carry out that administrative reform in a manner that would prove satisfactory.


My Lords, I have risen more than once within the last half hour for the purpose of making a few observations; but most glad was I to give way to the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Londonderry)—my noble Friend, I know, he will give me leave to call him; for although there subsists no political relationship between us, I am, nevertheless, as happy to see him a Member of this House as if we were allied together politically. I also cheerfully gave way to the noble Duke below me, who was so much abler and had a far better title than myself to afford your Lordships explanations on particular circumstances connected with the department over which he for some time presided—acts, however, the responsibility for which I equally and most willingly share with him, I now come, my Lords, to that which chiefly induced me to rise—namely, the sentiments expressed by the noble Earl who moved these Resolutions, and also those of the noble Earl who subsequently spoke on the same side (the Earl of Derby). The second of those noble Earls, while he supported the present Motion, carefully guarded himself against being supposed to be identified with the movement that had arisen out of doors—he thought it expedient, if not for the sake of the present Government, for the sake of all future Governments, to confute that movement, and to contend that it was easy on all occasions to find the amount of talent necessary to carry on the Administration of the country. Throughout the whole speech of the noble Earl, he directed himself to the allegation that it was possible, at the commencement of a war, and with all the difficulties which surrounded operations at the commencement of a war, to insure success by a proper choice of men. But when he heard those sentiments from the noble Earl, which gave encouragement to the sentiments expressed elsewhere, that there were masses of genius and talent at the disposal of a Minister if he chose to seek them; and when he found that neither the noble Earl nor any other noble Lord bad attempted to substantiate any particular fact, what am I to conclude? I certainly was surprised at the manner in which the noble Earl's Resolutions were worded, conveying by implication, though carefully abstaining from asserting a single fact in confirmation, that men are selected in this country for public employment with regard to other considerations than those of the public service. Now, if the noble Earl brings such a charge as that against the Government—and the language of his Resolutions can mean nothing else—no scruples for persons ought to deter a man of less courage and boldness than the noble Earl from distinctly stating who those men are. The noble Earl abstained from all particular mention of men in the course of his Resolutions, but not so in the course of his speech. There was plain to me throughout the whole of his speech—whether the noble Earl intended it or not I cannot say—a running allusion to one man, and at last out that man came, and it was Lord Palmerston. The noble Earl has raked up an old anecdote for the purpose of disparaging Lord Palmerston, to the effect that the Duke of Wellington once told the noble Earl, in speaking of Lord Palmerston, that he was not going "to fire his great guns at small birds." Now, if I chose, I could tell an anecdote about the noble Earl—which, however, in his presence I shall not do; but it is plain to me that that which has lowered Lord Palmerston in the noble Earl's estimation is, that now he is in that high position in which the Duke of Wellington then was, he has not fired his gun at a great bird, and I am inclined to think that if he had fired, perhaps he might have hit it. I am sure that neither I nor my noble Friends around me attach any undue importance to an alteration of responsibility arising out of that which is called a change of Government. I am responsible in my humble capacity for the acts both of the late and the present Government; but if there is any superiority to be claimed for the present over the last Government, it is only that superiority which any Government at the present moment would obtain from time. That is an advantage which the noble Duke below me who lately held the office of War Secretary would have obtained, for he had laid the foundation of many of those very arrangements which have so greatly improved the condition of things, and it is not denied that at the present moment the army in the Crimea was in the enjoyment of supplies, clothing, huts, &c., and is in as good a condition, as to efficiency and order, as any army ever was; and this is because there has been sufficient time. The noble Earl seems to think that it was perfectly possible for the Government, at the commencement of a war, with a reduced military expenditure and reduced establishments, to create an army and infuse such strength and vigour into the weakened departments as would insure success. In expressing such an opinion, he is encouraging a delusion in which the people of this country are too apt to indulge—that they have but to wish for success to obtain it, and that they can take a great part among the military Powers of Europe without making those sacrifices and bearing those privations which must necessarily be borne by every nation which desires to keep a large military force on foot. It is on this account that, without exception, in every war since the time of the Revolution, waged by this country, the first year's operations have always been unsuccessful to a degree infinitely greater than has ever been alleged with regard to the Crimean expedition. In the very first war in which King William was engaged, after his accession to the Throne, he sent an expedition to Ireland under Marshal Schomberg, which failed in the most complete and disgraceful manner. Every one complaint was directed against the Government in that instance which had now been directed against the Government of the present day, for what was called the mismanagement of the Crimean army. Scarcely one single ingredient was wanting, but the historian who recounted this failure summed it up in a fairer spirit than that which seemed to animate the noble Earl, by saying all this arose from the English people not being a people prepared for war from a long period of peace, all men of merit had become old, and there had not been time to form new men. The American war was a failure from beginning to end, and therefore he would not refer to that. In the war which commenced in the year in which King William died, an expedition was sent to Cadiz which failed disgracefully, though it was planned by King William and the Duke of Marlborough, and was carried into execution by the Duke of Marlborough. They were the incapables of that day, and, if the noble Earl had been a Member of your Lordships' House at that time, be no doubt would have directed his indignation against them for presuming to think that they had the capacity of carrying on war. Then, again, the first year in which Lord Chatham, whom the noble Lord so much admires, conducted the military affairs of this country, at the commencement of the Seven Years' War, was distinguished by the equally disgraceful failure of the expedition despatched to Rochefort. But Parliament and the country then took a more generous view than the noble Earl has taken in this instance, and those failures proved the foundation of that glorious war which, as has been justly stated, entitled us to take place in the foremost rank as a military nation. "Yes," said the noble Earl, "but Lord Chatham did this by disregarding Parliamentary interest." The noble Earl's Motion, however, goes to the foundation of all representative Government whatever, because, according to him, neither with a reformed Parliament nor with an unreformed Parliament, could any unfortunate Government in this country hope to carry on the military administration during war, unless, indeed, some man like the noble Earl were intrusted with absolute power, and then the country might stand a better chance of a happy result. So much for that which the House, I believe, feels, and the country ought to feel, as to the difficulties with which the Government are surrounded: I am sure the House will agree that a Government may entertain the best intentions as to putting the best persons in the right places;—but, it is a popular error to suppose that there exists in this country any great reservoir of talent or experience, which may he dipped into at any time, and will always produce exactly what is wanted. On the contrary, there is no system of philosophy which teaches us in what hotbed talent is to be raised and forced by the will of any Administration. Talent rises and shows itself at its own time, and in its own way, and the utmost Government can do is to avail themselves of that talent where it shows itself, and turn it to the best practical purpose. One great reason, therefore, why I oppose these resolutions is, because they give countenance to the opinion that it is easy and practicable to find the right men at the moment you want them; and I shall continue to assert and believe that my noble Friends near me have done their utmost to find the best persons to occupy the situations they have had to fill, and that they have acted honestly and with no unworthy motives in the appointments they have made. I look upon upon these Resolutions as calculated to countenance an opinion in Europe that we have been defeated. Now, I deny altogether that we have been defeated. I deny that circumstances have arisen which would justify the condemnatory words—words expressive of general dissatisfaction—which the noble Earl has introduced into his Resolutions. Have we suffered otherwise than by the usual casualties of war? If, indeed, the noble Earl could have stated that the ports of Russia in every sea had not been converted into prisons; that the Russians swept with their fleets the Channel and the Mediterranean, to the destruction of English commerce; if he could have stated the Russians remained in possession of the territory in which they had attempted to establish themselves—if the noble Earl could have stated these things of Russia—he would have been justified in expressing that general disappointment which he has asserted exists. But although it is natural some disappointment should be felt in comparison with the hopes to which a variety of circumstances gave rise, still I do not think the present result of the war can be regarded with disappointment when we remember that Russia, as a naval Power, has been reduced to a perfect nonentity, and will no doubt so continue as long as this war lasts. Is it not fair, in balancing our success and want of success with other wars, to take into consideration the amount of loss inflicted upon the enemy? In a great war, sufferings and losses must necessarily be inflicted, to a greater or less degree, on each party. Why, the noble Earl himself announced that this would be a great, formidable, and difficult war, and that it would be attended with great sacrifices. If it has been, at least it affords us a melancholy satisfaction that the loss and destruction and misery inflicted on the Russians have been threefold that inflicted on the whole army of the allies. The noble Earl has some idea, perhaps, of the extent to which that loss has gone; that, if our troops have suffered from want of clothing, of habitations, of the means of transport, the Russians have suffered ten times more; but I should astonish your Lordships by stating what the amount of that loss to the enemy has been last year. I have here a statement, as to which I can mention no names, but which is one made on the very highest authority, and from this it appears that a few days before the death of the Emperor Nicholas a return was made up by which it was ascertained that 170,000 Russians had died up to that period, and according to a supplementary return, furnished some days later, 70,000 were added to the list, making a total loss to the Russians up to that date of 240,000 men. When such losses are inflicted on the enemy, the war cannot be considered as utterly unsuccessful, and when we remember how much smaller our losses have been than those of the enemy—that our troops are daily regaining their strength, and the numbers and efficiency of the army increasing—we have, I think, good ground for encouragement. My Lords, the noble Earl condemns in general terms the whole conduct of the war, and the utter want of judgment that has been displayed. These Resolutions, therefore, do not alone apply to Her Majesty's Government; they are also condemnatory of the policy of the Government of France; for I assert that no one step has been taken in this war, and no one expedition planned, which if not suggested by, has not met with the most cordial concurrence of, our invaluable ally. I do not know whether the noble Earl approves the appointment of Lord Raglan, or whether he condemns that appointment; but I imagine that, as he has not condemned it, it must meet with his approval, and, if so, I think that the noble Earl, who has been blaming wholesale the appointments which have been made, ought to have given the poor Government credit for their choice in the highest appointment of all. That noble Lord has, under all the circumstances of adversity with which he has had to contend, been enabled to keep up a most perfect feeling of confidence and cordiality between our troops and those of our ally, and that feeling of cordiality has laid the foundation of a good feeling between the armies of the two countries which, when long after these operations are over, will remain for most useful purposes, and will be attended with most advantageous results. I cannot, my Lords, consent to place on record that there is universal discontent in the public mind with regard to the conduct of a war, conducted by ourselves, acting in concert with the French Government, or to condemn an expedition which was suggested by our allies. I cannot consent to agree to a Resolution which is calculated to produce a false impression as to the misfortunes which we have undergone by contradicting, or at least concealing, the advantages which we have gained.


My Lords, I am not about to exercise the privilege of reply. It is a privilege disagreeable to the person who has the power of exercising it, and also to your Lordships, and I do not remember a single occasion upon which the smallest advantage was gained by its exercise. I wish only to advert to two points—one touched upon by the noble Duke, and the other by the noble Marquess. I cannot allow, without observation, the noble Marquess to characterise these Resolutions and the address which I propose shall be presented to Her Majesty as representing this country as a defeated nation. That the Resolutions do so I deny altogether. I admit the glory which the troops have obtained in the several actions in which they have been engaged, and that the troops of this country never have behaved better. I admit the glory of the victory of the Alma, and the noble repulse of the enemy at Inkerman. I have before now characterised in terms which might almost have been considered hyperbolical the magnificent attack of cavalry at Balaklava. I have never been deficient in expressions of admiration as regarded the conduct of the troops; but I say that, in consequence of the conduct of the war by Her Majesty's Government, in consequence of their defective strategy, the troops have been placed in a position in which those victories were fruitless, and where it was impossible to obtain decisive success. As regards what fell from the noble Duke, I must observe that he has charged noble Lords on this side of the House that they made no objection to the expedition to the Crimea at the time it was proposed, but that now they blamed it because it had proved unfortunate. Now that is not a just charge. The expedition was first known about the 6th of August, a time when most of your Lordships had left town. I myself was out of town, and I admit that I do take blame to myself for not having returned to London, and stated my objections to it in my place in this House. I did not adopt that course, but I wrote a letter to my noble Friend the President of the Council (Earl Granville), in which I pointed out elaborately all the objections which I entertained to the expedition, and my noble Friend has told me that he circulated that letter among the Members of the Cabinet. The Government was, therefore, perfectly aware of my objections to the expedition, and I have stated to-night nothing that I did not state then. I will not further detain your Lordships, but will now leave these Resolutions in your hands.

EARL GRANVILLE rose to confirm what had fallen from the noble Earl. He had received from him a very able and interesting memorandum having reference to the expedition to the Crimea; but he was bound to say that, although the opinion expressed in that memorandum was unfavourable to the expedition, the reasons assigned for that opinion could not now be assigned as a cause for the want of success.

Previous Question put, whether the said Question shall be now put?

Content—present 71
Not Content—present 115
Not Content Proxies 66–181
Majority 110
List of the CONTENT.
DUKES. Exeter
Montrose Salisbury
Cleveland Ely
Downshire Sligo.
Bantry St. Vincent
Beauchamp BISHOPS,
Bradford Winchester
Dartmouth Meath.
Delawarr BARONS.
Derby Abinger
Donoughmore Bateman
Ellenborough Berners
Eglinton Blaney
Howe Bolton
Hardwicke Colville of Culross
Lanesborough Colchester
Lucan Douglas
Macclesfield Dynevor
Malmesbury Forester
Mansfield Feversham
Mornington Grantley
Mayo Gray
Orkney Godolphin
Powis Kilmaine
Pomfret Kenyon
Sandwich Lyndhurst
Strathmore Polwarth
Sheffield Plunket
Stradbroke Rayleigh
Verulam Redesdale
Wilton Ravensworth
Winchilsea. Rodney
VISCOUNTS. Southampton
Bangor Sondes
Doneraile Walsingham
Hawarden Wynford.
List of the NOT CONTENT.
The Lord Chancellor Clarendon
The Archbishop of Devon
Canterbury Ducie
DUKES. De Grey
Argyll Effingham
Buccleuch Elgin
Cambridge Essex
Newcastle. Fortescue
MARQUESSES. Fitzwilliam
Anglesey Granville
Breadalbane Grey
Clanricarde Harrowby
Cholmondeley Harewood
Donegal Hchester
Headfort Kingston
Hertford Minto
Lansdowne Portsmouth
Londonderry Romney
Westminster Spencer
Winchester. Sefton
EARLS. St. Germains
Abingdon Shaftesbury
Albemarle Somers
Aberdeen Stanhope
Besborough Waldegrave
Burlington Wicklow
Bruce Yarborough
Chichester Zetland.
Carnarvon Bolingbroke
Clanwilliam Canning
Cottenham Enfield
Cowper Falkland
Craven Hardinge
Midleton Foley
Sydney Gardner
Torrington. Glenelg
BISHOPS. Hatherton
Chester Kinnaird
Chichester Leigh
Hereford Lilford
Llandaff Lyttelton
Lichfield Lurgan
Manchester Milford
Oxford Monteagle
Ripon Mostyn
St. Asaph Overstone
St. David's Petre
Worcester. Panmure
BARONS. Poltimore
Ashburton Portman
Alvanley Rivers
Auckland Stafford
Byron Saye and Sele
Camoys Stanley of Alderley
Calthorpe Suffield
Cremorne Vaux
Congleton Vivian
Dacre Wenlock
De Tabley Wodehouse
Dufferin Wrottesley.
Archbishop of York Westmoreland.
Devonshire Clifden
Leeds Falmouth
Leinster Massareene.
Sutherland BISHOPS.
Somerset Durham
Wellington. Lincoln
Bristol Norwich
Camden Salisbury.
Conyngham BARONS.
Normanby Arundell
Northampton. Cowley
EARLS. Dunfermline
Amherst Dorchester
Camperdown De Freyne
Cork Denman
Carlisle Dormer
Clare Elphinstone
Denbigh Harris
Ellesmere Howden
Fingall Howard de Walden
Granard Keane
Glasgow Leigh
Galloway Londesborough
Gainsborough Lovat
Gosford Manners
Haddington Methuen
Kintore Monson
Leicester Raglan
Lindsey Ribblesdale
Meath Stourton
Radnor Stuart de Decies
Ripon Truro
Stair Ward
Shrewsbury Wharncliffe.

It was resolved in the negative.

[Proxies were not called for the Contents—see discussion on the morrow.]

House adjourned till To-morrow.