§ Order of the Day for the Consideration of the General Treaty between Great Britain, Austria, France, Prussia, Russia, Sardinia, and Turkey, for the Re-establishment of Peace, read.
§ THE EARL OF ELLESMERE
My Lord, I rise for the purpose of inviting your Lordships' assent to an Address of congratulation to Her Majesty in reply to Her Majesty's notification of the peace which has been concluded between this country and our Allies on the one hand, and the Emperor of Russia on the other. My Lords, before I touch on any of the topics to which I may be tempted briefly to advert, in recommending this Motion to what I hope and trust will prove your Lordships' unanimous acceptance, I would ask permission to address myself for a moment to that considerable majority of your Lordships who, like myself, are not old enough to have a Parliamentary recollection of the similar occasions which have occurred within the present century. Fortunately such occasions do not occur every day, and I hope that as great or a greater period may again intervene before any one of your Lordships may have, like me, to 1948 advert to topics of congratulation, indeed, but which involve the sacrifices, the sufferings, and the exhaustion of antecedent war. Your Lordships would find on inquiry that the duty I now undertake has usually been allotted, as it is now, not to one of your Lordships, who, from connection with office or from their active participation in public business, are in the habit of speaking with authority in these walls, but rather to one who, having nothing but independence of position to recommend him, must look to your Lordships' indulgence for attention rather than to that deference which is earned here and in the other House of Parliament only by exertions to which I am not equal and talents which I do not possess. I owe it, I think, to Her Majesty's Government, which has invited my services, to state a circumstance which may acquit them, if not of defective judgment, at least of departure from prescription; and I owe it to myself to avoid the possible charge of presumption in accepting a duty which, though I undertake it not without satisfaction, but for that excuse of practice and prescription I should have gladly left to abler and worthier hands.
My Lords, my noble Friend the Secretary for Foreign Affairs has closed his labours, and returning "fraught in either hand with palm and olive, victory and peace," has laid his work on your Lordships' table for better criticism than mine. For my own part, whether I look to the terms of the treaty from which the veil of diplomatic secrecy has lately been lifted, to the protocols which throw much, and, so far as they go, doubtless, faithful, light on the manner in which it has been arrived at; or whether I look to both with some reference to former settlements and to the circumstances in which my predecessors in the discharge of my present function have stood, I own that I should have to look very curiously and very fastidiously for any drawback or mitigation of any moment to the satisfaction of which I have spoken, and which I would fain hope to find largely shared by your Lordships. My Lords, I am not here to exaggerate my own feelings, or to misrepresent those of the public in this matter. My own satisfaction I do not intend to describe as that which springs from victories without a check, from successes without sacrifices, or such as might attend one of those great consummations which leave the vanquished enemy at the mercy, 1949 at the pleasure, at the discretion of his victorious antagonist. Satisfaction such as France might have felt with the bulletins of Ulm, or Austerlitz, or Jena, is not what I claim from your Lordships, nor is it what I ever expected to gain, nor, I must own, what I am reluctant to forego. I must, my Lords, however, still contend that our reward for great exertions and great sacrifices, though less dazzling in the mode of its attainment and less astounding in its immediate incidents than was the case in 1814 and 1815—though it involve no subversion of dynasties, no sweeping redistribution, still less acquisition of territory—though it leave on the map of Europe little trace beyond one beneficent and not unimportant change—has come up to the mark which we prescribed to ourselves at the outset; is in the main all to which reasonable men looked forward, and more than even sanguine men expected to gain within the time, or anything like the time, in which the issue has been attained. My Lords, I trust, that in expressing these opinions, I am not provoking any desire to pronounce a different decision on the part of any one of your Lordships, and I will not risk doing so by indulging in any strange eulogium or exaggerated statement. Eyes more practised, if not more impartial, than mine will scan the provisions of this settlement; it is fit they should:—for my own part, looking back to the origin of the struggle—to its past vicissitudes and chances to come—I know of no rational expectation, no fair demand, no purpose at once achievable and considerable, which has not been met by one or other of its provisions. I speak for myself, but I am sanguine, that however modified may be the assent, or even however pronounced the dissent, of some of your Lordships to this general view of the subject, I shall not be considered by those who hear me here as having vitiated the moderate and, as I conceive, scarcely exceptionable terms of the Address by the language of intemperate advocacy. Beyond these walls, I am well aware that with a considerable portion of the public considerations have exercised, and may probably continue to exercise, an influence averse to the conclusions I have stated. There is no doubt that England has warmed to a contest which she did not provoke; that difficulty and sacrifice, instead of depressing, have but roused her energies; and that the consciousness of developed strength and unexhausted resources has made her of all the 1950 parties to the strife the least disposed to shrink from a further trial of arms. I am, however, convinced that the issue at which, by less violent means, by honest concurrence with a faithful ally, by the demonstration without the actual use of preparation for war, by firmness without menace, and conciliation without weakness, we have arrived is one which, on calm consideration, will bear even the jealous scrutiny which men in the frame of mind I have mentioned are naturally disposed to apply to its conditions, and that it will obtain the approval of the future and unbiassed Hallam or Macaulay.
My Lords, if I look back to the circumstances under which my noble Friend left England for Paris, I might advert to some which materially enhanced the inherent difficulties of the trust which he undertook, and which ought to enhance our appreciation of the success with which he has overcome them. In Count Orloff and Baron Brunow he certainly had a singular advantage of meeting with two distinguished men, both of whom knew him, and the latter of whom knew this country well. They were, therefore, incapable of individually doubting the honesty and good faith which he brought to his task, and that circumstance, no doubt, prevented the negotiations from being impeded by any suspicion of insincerity either on the one side or the other. In other quarters, however—I mean as regarded public opinion on the Continent, and especially in Paris—I believe my noble Friend embarked under a cloud of misconception respecting the mind and policy of England, well calculated to add to the difficulties which he has overcome, and the anxieties from which he is now released. It was very generally imagined—at least it was very industriously circulated—that England, in pursuit of some interest, real or fancied, of her own, was willing or resolved to ignore the substantial offers of Russia; that it was part of the instructions of my noble Friend, by all the subtle devices attributed to that bugbear of continental coffee-houses, "perfidious Albion," to make it impossible for other Powers to accept conditions with which they were satisfied, and to close a strife with which they were comparatively wearied. Your Lordships have not to learn from me that these suspicions were utterly unfounded. Still, there was much to account for and excuse them. The recognition by Russia—which I shall always think a frank and manly one—of 1951 a state of circumstances which forbade her to persevere in armed opposition to the remonstrances of her truest friends and the accumulating power of her antagonists had come, not as such recognitions often come, late, and on sheer compulsion, but had anticipated the expectations of Europe at large, and still more of England. It certainly ran before my own. Here and elsewhere, but here especially, men were slow to perceive and to admit that the untarnished honour of her arms had enabled wisdom and moderation to predominate in her councils. It was the duty of Government, while a prospect remained of a recurrence and continuance of the contest, to take no step and to use no language which should relax our material preparations for the worst, or damp the spirit of the country. It was an inevitable consequence that while, on the one hand, some here misconstrued the conduct of Russia, others should draw false conclusions from the somewhat grim and determined attitude of England. It was hard to believe that a country which had accumulated, not in unapproachable nooks and corners, but in the face of day and the blaze of notoriety, materials for war such as the world had never witnessed, could be sincere in its acceptance of the preliminaries of a peaceful solution. I advert to this, because I am well convinced that my noble Friend had uphill work to encounter at the outset, before he could carry conviction to the minds of all concerned that he was as incapable of accepting the task of acting on dishonest instructions as any English Government, let the party in power be what it may, is of giving them to its representative. Your Lordships now know in what manner and with what amount of success my noble Friend encountered and overcame these and all other difficulties of his arduous task. His success has, at least, been such as leads me to entertain much distrust of a theory very prevalent in this country. It is somewhat remarkable that, while by the continental press England is very usually represented as the type of selfishness and perfidy—as always aiming at and often succeeding in overreaching the innocent diplomatists of other countries—all this time she is as constantly represented by writers of her own soil as the ready dupe and victim of the superior diplomatic capacity of continental statesmen. I know, and your Lordships know, that the first of these theories is erroneous. I think the recent conduct of my noble Friend and his 1952 coadjutor (Lord Cowley) throws much doubt on the second. I see no evidence in the documents before me that the innocence of my noble Friend has been practised upon. But, my Lords, I am equally bound to say that I see no proof that the attempt was made. I have no doubt that Count Orloff contended well and manfully for his master's interests; but neither in the documents before us nor from common fame have I gathered reason to believe that he was more capable than my noble Friend of descending to those low and insincere devices which diplomatists are supposed to permit themselves. Those who had personal knowledge of men and things at St. Petersburg, as I have heard, drew favourable auguries from the selection of Count Orloff for his mission. It was, as I believe, justly thought that the choice spoke well for the character and intentions of that young Sovereign for whom, from no fault of his own, the dawn of his reign aroseNot in the sunshine and the smile of heaven, But wrapt in whirlwinds and begirt with woes.I hail in that Sovereign the indications of strong will and sound decision which have contributed essentially to the pacification of Europe, and give fair promise of the continuance of tranquillity. I hope that Russia may henceforth present a spectacle which the rest of Europe may contemplate not only without jealousy or mistrust, but with sympathy and satisfaction—the spectacle of a great empire, under the guidance of a strong and able hand, repairing the ravages of war by the arts of peace. It is perfectly true—it is a truism—that the real sinews of war are wealth, science, and civilisation; but it is as true that the cultivation of all or any of these interests has pacific and corrective tendencies, and if we are to act, either as individuals or as nations, on the moral view that every depository of power is to make the worst possible use of it, the world will be less fit to live in than it now is with all its imperfections. I have argued elsewhere, and I continue to hold the opinion, that a single well-directed line of rails would have made Russia more formidable for defence to her antagonists than all the guns, ships, and stores she had accumulated for years together in the Crimea. It requires no great wisdom to know and to feel this; but I am content to take my chance of any misuse which future Czars may make of those additions to her 1953 power which accrue, not from without—in the shape of acquisitions by force and fraud—but from within—by good government and industry. I have no right and no wish to act otherwise. The time has been when all nations, without exception—England being, I am afraid, no more an exception than the rest—entertained a contrary principle, and acted on it when they could—I mean the principle that the wealth and gains of one nation are the poverty of another, and the power and strength of one, however legitimate, the weakness of another. My Lords, I think these principles as detestable as they are unsound; and I am happy to think that the whole tenour of the recent legislation of England has been such as to enable me to disclaim and repudiate them. I say, I shall look without jealousy or alarm at the legitimate advancement of which I see promise in the present condition of Russia. Least of all am I jealous on the score of India. Of all the causes of jealousy which have been imputed to us, the apprehensions we are supposed to feel on account of our Indian Empire are said to hold the foremost place. But if there is one thing upon which Englishmen have been more misrepresented than another it is with regard to this imaginary fear far our Indian possessions. I have heard it stated in all parts of the world to which I have travelled that this was the foundation and the real origin of the hostile spirit of this country with respect to Russia. My Lords, on this subject it is not necessary for me to speak, after the language which has been held elsewhere, and which, I think, was worthy both of an Englishman and of the Prime Minister of England. No doubt India has its own difficulties and its own dangers. I do not wish to speak in any arrogant or boasting tone, still less with any insolent assumption of military superiority to our late antagonists.Stetimus tela aspera contra Contulimusque manus.India, I repeat, may have its own difficulties and its own dangers. It is our business to rear new Clives, and Wellesleys, and Goughs, and Ellenboroughs, and Dalhousies to meet them, if need be, in council and in field. But among those dangers a Russian invasion—one, at least, worthy of the name—may be treated as holding no place. I am assuming no innate military superiority—we know the qualities both of the Russian officers and the Russian troops; but we know, also, 1954 the vast distance against which any operations against India would have to be conducted. But, supposing such operations possible, and supposing some modern Alexander, emulating his Macedonian namesake, could overcome the difficulties of the journey, I hope and believe he would find on the banks of the Sutlej and in the district of the Five Powers something very different from Porus and his zoological collection. Be this as it may, nothing can, to my knowledge, be more unfounded than the notion that India had anything to do with that strong national feeling which, when the time came, made England ready to draw the sword, and, scorning alike disaster and success, made her unwilling to sheathe it.
My Lords, I have consulted my own feelings in endeavouring to express what I think is justly due to my noble Friend. It is possible that in the course of free discussion he may have to encounter less friendly criticism; but in what I have to say with regard to others I have little apprehension of securing the accordance of your Lordships. In a lapse of time, short, thank God, in comparison with the duration of former wars, but if time could be measured, not by the revolution of the heavenly bodies, but by action and emotion, almost a lifetime, this country has accumulated a debt of gratitude to those who have devoted themselves to its service which I have no words to acknowledge, and the fountain of honour has scarcely rewards to satisfy. I know by report the number of hours which have been elsewhere devoted to the discussion of a single episode of the great struggle from which we are now taking breath. I accept that warning, and your Lordships need not fear from me the infliction of a review, however summary, of the events of the war, nor any attempt at a catalogue of the names which would rise to the recollection of your Lordships. Of those who did their duty, and did it well, in the normal discharge of their profession it is scarcely for me to speak. Of some who did more than their duty—who found or made occasion for the display of their high qualities—such men as Williams and his associates, Nasmyth, the lamented Butler, and Dr. Thompson can derive no lustre from mention or praise of mine. There is, however, one other name among those who have distinguished themselves in the performance of their professional duties which I will take the liberty of mentioning, because it so happened that I 1955 came in contact with that gallant officer and was enabled to judge personally of his merits. I will mention it because the gallant officer who bore it no longer survives, but has died in the execution of his duty, when premature clouds of malignity had darkened his latter days. I do not think the exertions of Admiral Boxer can be overrated. Were he now living I would not have ventured to bring him thus specially under your Lordships' notice. There are other reasons why I should repress, though I do it with difficulty, some expressions of opinion and some statements of what I believe to be fact. There are subjects connected with the vicissitudes of the late struggle of which I know too little, and, pardon my presumption if I add, I also know too much to bring them now under discussion. Among those on which I scarcely trust myself to speak are Lord Raglan's services and Lord Raglan's loss. I am the less disposed to regret any restraint I put on myself in this matter because I know that accident has elsewhere afforded occasion to more than one friend and associate of Lord Raglan to do justice, as far as for the moment is possible, necessarily incomplete, but substantial and solid, to his glorious and lamented memory. Among those witnesses to character—those conservators of that sacred trust, a comrade's fame—was one who, I say it advisedly, next to Lord Raglan, contributed more than any man living in Her Majesty's service to the success of the allied arms and the peace in which we rejoice: I mean Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons. I well know that if he were standing, as I wish he were, in my place here, he would tell your Lordships that through that awful winter of complicated trials, such as no army I ever heard or read of endured and survived, there was one spell which stood between that host and its destruction. That spell was confidence in its leader. From that humble abode—the head-quarters of Lord Raglan—there radiated a moral force, a serene and unquenchable spirit of faith, and trust, and duty, which did resist, and which alone could have resisted, the combined influences of weather, privation, and fatigue, superadded to the constant changes of a defective military position, threatened in front, flank, and rear by a brave, an able, and outnumbering enemy. The spell prevailed; not even discomfiture, far less disgrace—for discomfiture and even destruction under such circumstances might have come without 1956 disgrace—fell on the banners of England. My Lords, the agony of that time has become matter of history. The vegetation of two successive springs has obscured the vestiges of Balaklava and Inkerman. Strong voices now answer to the roll-call, and sturdy forms now muster round the colours. The ranks are full, the hospitals are empty. The Angel of Mercy still lingers to the last on the scene of her labours; but her mission is all but accomplished. Those long arcades of Scutari, in which dying men sat up to catch the sound of her footstep or the flutter of her dress, and fell back on the pillow content to have seen her shadow as it passed, are now comparatively deserted. She may probably be thinking how to escape, as best she may, on her return, the demonstrations of a nation's appreciation of the deeds and motives of Florence Nightingale. I am sure that, while, from Balaklava and Kadikoi to the ravine of the Tchernaya and the heights of Inkerman, England's renovated battalions are shaking the earth with their tramp, and extorting alike from constant Allies and former foes that ungrudging admiration which true soldiers love to feel even for "foemen worthy of their steel"—amid that pomp and circumstance of war's display without its terrors, and the interchange of hospitalities between reconciled antagonists, surget amari aliquid. There will be a bunch of myrrh in the festival goblet when the cup is fullest and the revel is at its height, which will make the draught bitter but wholesome. There will be a thought and a sigh for one who should have been there. They will miss among the crowds of officers of many nations the armless sleeve, the noble form which in the hour of battle they had never far to seek—that countenance which by its winning expression was in itself a passport to the soldier's heart. Yes, there will be a thought and a sigh for him who first planted our banner in the Crimea, and whose undaunted courage, whose military skill sustained untarnished the military honour of England, and but for whom, as I devoutly believe, the graves on Cathcart's Hill would have been now, like the tumuli which record in that country the reign of extinct dynasties and forgotten sovereigns, the sole memorial of the early successes and the disastrous catastrophe of an English army. The noble Earl concluded by moving—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, to return to Her Majesty the sincere 1957 Acknowledgments and Thanks of this House for the important Communication, which Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to make to this House, of the General Treaty concluded at Paris on the 30th of March, between Her Majesty, The Emperor of Austria, The Emperor of the French, The King of Prussia, The Emperor of Russia, The King of Sardinia, and The Sultan, by which Peace has been re-established between Her Majesty, The Emperor of the French, The King of Sardinia, and The Sultan, on the one hand, and The Emperor of Russia on the other:To assure Her Majesty, that while we should have deemed it our Duty cheerfully to afford Her Majesty our firm Support, if it had unfortunately been found necessary to continue the War, we have learnt with Joy and Satisfaction that Her Majesty has been enabled to re-establish Peace on Conditions honourable to Her Majesty's Crown, and which fully accomplish the great Objects for which the War was undertaken:To express to Her Majesty the great Satisfaction which we feel at finding that, while those Alliances which have so mainly contributed to the vigorous and successful Prosecution of the War have been equally effective in the Consolidation of Peace, Powers which have not taken an active Part in the War have combined with the Belligerents to give additional Firmness to the Arrangements by which the Repose of Europe is in future to be protected from Disturbance:To state to Her Majesty, that we rejoice that not with standing the great Exertions which the late War has rendered necessary, the Resources of the Empire remain unimpaired:To express our Hope, that the Peace which has now been concluded may, under the Favour of Divine Providence, long continue to shed its Blessings over Europe, and that Harmony among Governments and friendly Intercourse among Nations may steadily promote the Progress of Civilisation and secure the Welfare and Happiness of Mankind.
§ LORD GLENELG
My Lords, in rising to second the Motion, I feel that I address you at no inconsiderable disadvantage after the eloquent speech, full of pathos and of sound principles of political science, which we have just heard from my noble Friend; but I trust that you will accord to me the indulgence of which I stand in need. I join with my noble Friend in expressing my delight that the period has arrived when we can thank Her Majesty for the communication of this treaty. I was one of those who, two years ago, approved the reluctance with which the Government of that day entered upon this war. Convinced as I was of the justice of the war, I was yet glad that they were slow to enter upon it; and I rejoice now to be among the first to welcome the conclusion of hostilities and the return of peace. When we consider what war is and what peace is, it requires some coolness of judgment to contemplate calmly the absence of war and the revival of peace. It is not, 1958 however, by our feelings alone that we are to be guided on such occasions as this. Great as are the evils of war, there are evils still greater; great as are the blessings of peace, there are blessings for which these ought to be willingly sacrificed.
My Lords, the question before us, as my noble Friend has said, is, whether, speaking generally, the objects of the war have been attained—whether its conditions have been fulfilled by this peace? I need not dwell on the general reasons which justified the war; but I may say that, if we consider the state of Europe as it was two years ago and as it is at the present moment, we shall find sufficient cause to congratulate Her Majesty on this great truth, that all the conditions of the war have been satisfied, fully and honourably, yet without insolent exultation, and without contempt of the rights and feelings of other nations. The real test is, what were the evils we meant to redress, what the evils we meant to avert, and what has been the result? Look at the state of Europe two years ago. Russia was then in possession, either personally, if I may so apply the expression, or virtually, of the greater portion of Germany. Russia with all her native grandeur, exaggerated by the imaginations of men, and surrounded with all the prestige which diplomatic skill, talent, and great wealth could throw around her—Russia at that time exercised over the greater part of continental Europe a mesmeric influence, which extended into Asia, and overshadowed even our Indian Empire. What was then the condition of the several countries of Europe? All Germany overawed or paralysed by the supremacy of Russia; Sweden gradually entangled in her meshes; the Principalities in her grasp; the waters of the Danube under her seal; the Black Sea hedged round by her fortresses and loaded with her navies; Turkey at her feet—not yet, indeed, reduced to the last gasp, but already condemned by the sentence of mortal disease which her powerful neighbour had pronounced. What do you see now? The spell broken. Germany awaking from that trance and beginning at last to show some symptoms of conscious existence. Sweden released, the Principalities rescued; the Danube free, the Euxine free, the Ottoman Empire free. The spell is broken. But, my Lords, there is more reason for congratulation even than this. The conspicuous characteristic of the treaty which has been concluded is the 1959 moderation which has been displayed by the belligerents. The two belligerents who commenced the war have, as to that treaty, been swayed by no sordid or personal desires of aggrandisement, by no vulgar ambition. Throughout its stipulations there is not one which can be called of a private character—they are all national, all European, all public, all belong to the world. We remember, my Lords, that when France and England entered on this war they announced to the world that it should not be followed by any personal aggrandisement. Some persons very naturally were disposed to regard that declaration with suspicion. Such announcements from kings and statesmen have too frequently been the preludes to acts of rapacity and spoliation. On this occasion, however, that pledge has been honestly redeemed, and I say that its redemption is the most satisfactory characteristic of the treaty.
There, is, however, yet another subject of congratulation—not, indeed, in the articles of the treaty, because it relates to the internal affairs of Turkey, but in that instrument which is in a manner incorporated with the treaty and is surrounded by its sanctions—a document which interests all Christendom—I mean that by which the Sultan has accorded civil and religious equality to all his subjects, Christian and Mahomedan. That alone would almost have justified what we have done, and it imparts a species of sacredness to the conditions of the treaty. For the first time the Sultan has recognised the rights of conscience and the rights of man. All honour and praise are due to that monarch for having crowned a long series of beneficent acts with this great charter of the liberty of his Christian subjects. Praise be to him, and honour to all those who have in any way contributed to this good work; honour especially to that eminent man by whose wisdom, and unwearied efforts, and distinguished talents, this triumph has been accomplished—I mean our Minister at Constantinople. My Lords, it is impossible to express any hope for Turkey without mentioning the name of Lord Stratford. It is to his efforts, his zeal, and his high principles, that we owe it, that we can number this among the results of the war; and warmly have the exertions of Lord Stratford been, appreciated by those best able to judge. There is among the papers on your Lordships' table, an address from the missionaries of various religious 1960 societies of England and America stationed at Constantinople. It is one of the ablest and most eloquent documents that was ever penned, evidently proceeding from the hearts of the writers. After describing by what able means Lord Stratford has obtained the great object of the emancipation of the Christians in Turkey, they offer up their prayers that he may for many years be spared to that country, because, as they assert, all the wisest measures which have, during the last thirty years, been adopted by the Porte have been the results of his personal influence and advice. All praise is also due to those Sovereigns of Europe who have cordially ratified this treaty, thus giving their assent to the principles and the policy on which it is founded, and, having thus introduced Turkey into the European system, have cast round its stipulations every guardianship which the policy and the good faith of Europe can supply. We have fenced them round with the vigilance and watchfulness of European statesmen, with the might of European armies, and with the sanctity of religious obligations. I venture to say that this is a treaty which, looking at it generally, must command the approbation of your Lordships and of the country. But, my Lords, I should be unjust indeed if, in alluding to the treaty, I did not add my humble tribute to the praise which my noble Friend has so eloquently bestowed upon the Government of this country. In the presence of my noble Friend (the Earl of Clarendon) I must, I know, restrain in some degree the feelings which I wish to express; but, in justice to my own position, I am bound not altogether to abstain from their expression. I say, then, that great credit is due to the Ministry of this country, and especially to those Members of it who have been by their position most concerned in the negotiations and the treaty—to the Prime Minister who, called to his high office under peculiar circumstances by the unanimous voice of the people, has gloriously answered to that call—and to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, I am persuaded that we owe this treaty—the advantageous conditions which it contains, and the whole spirit which runs through it, in no small degree to the personal character, to the manners and general bearing of my noble Friend (the Earl of Clarendon). Before he took his departure for Paris, my noble Friend told us, in this House, that he would endeavour to make 1961 a peace which should be honourable to all and humiliating to none, and well as he carried out that declaration. That speech resounded throughout Europe, and I believe that the impression which it made contributed mainly to the successful termination of his labours.
My Lords, I agree most cordially in the observations of my noble Friend who has just sat down (the Earl of Ellesmere) respecting the conduct of the people of this country during the war. From the treaty itself we are naturally led to consider those who have contributed to its conclusion not by negotiation in the Cabinet, but by gallantry in the field, and by patience and liberality at home. I cannot but express my admiration of the noble attitude which the people of this country have presented during the two years of war. When the war commenced it was supposed that we were so enfeebled by luxury, so devoted to the acquisition of wealth, as to be unable ever again to recall our ancient valour or to rival the former glories of England. It might have been true that we had to a great degree given ourselves up to the arts of peace, but it was not true that these had in any degree affected our national character; on the contrary, there never was a period in the history of this country so full of great exertions, of self-denial, of the pursuit of great objects at great sacrifices, of the development of every art relating to social life, as the thirty years which had elapsed since the termination of the last war. Under the appearance—perhaps the partial reality—of luxury, there were as high principles of duty at work as ever animated the hearts of Englishmen. Those sterling virtues which during that period were silently engaged in strengthening the hearts of the people, in teaching them sound principles, in elevating their character, and in enlightening their minds—all those efforts of great and good men in every rank, many of whom have now passed away—were deeply planting the materials from which have ultimately sprung those mighty results which have been seen by all Europe with admiration, and which are now crowned by the conclusion of an honourable and satisfactory peace. The people of this country, devoted indeed to the arts of peace, were yet deeply alive to the call of justice and humanity, and from one end of the country to the other the demand of justice and humanity was answered by one universal voice. This war was peculiarly the war of the people; they threw themselves 1962 into the lists regardless of consequences, and, joined to noble Allies, resolved never to cease from the war until its objects were obtained. If that period excite admiration, what must be our admiration at the subsequent attitude of the country? No eulogy can be too great for the qualities which were exhibited during the summer and winter which followed the commencement of the war. The winter of 1854–55 is one of the most glorious periods recorded in the annals of England. The most powerful demands were made upon the greatest virtues which belong to man's character. In the field, in the hospital, in the trenches, gallantry, self-devotion, noble heroism——"the better fortitude Of patience and heroic martyrdom,were all gathered together and exhibited to the world in the ranks of the British army. At home the nation was not idle or indifferent. We all know how the springs of sympathy were unlocked, how every heart and every head was at work to furnish supplies of every kind to our soldiers in the Crimea. We know how all ranks, from the throne to the cottage, vied in efforts to minister to the wants of our fellow-countrymen, and how from the lap of luxury, from the retreats of unpretending virtue, from the bosom of domestic happiness, the fair, the young, the tender, the refined, hastened to the seat of war itself to carry consolation to the sick, the wounded, and the dying. But this was not all. In the spring of last year negotiations for peace failed, and it seemed as if the war was to be protracted for a long period. New burdens were to be imposed, new sacrifices to be required, new miseries to be endured. Then it was that strong nerves began to tremble and stout hearts to falter; but did the people of England waver? Never. They had nailed their colours to the mast, they had chosen their lot, and they were determined to carry the contest to an honourable issue. Nothing can excel the solemn but noble attitude of the people of England at that moment. There was no noisy invective, no factitious excitement, but a determined resolution arising from a consciousness of right and of power—a resolution that they never would be baffled. Neither have they been baffled. It was impossible to mark the conduct of the people at that period and not to see that the fate of Sebastopol was sealed.
1963 At that juncture Sardinia joined the Allies. Let that never be forgotten. In extent and in resources Sardinia is not among the first Powers of Europe, but she did not hesitate to enter into the lists with us, though greater Powers shrank from our side. With her admirable army, with her people faithful to their Sovereign because he was faithful to them, with the single free constitution in Italy, she did not scruple to enter into those bloody lists, though she was fully aware of the desperate nature of the contest, and had seen that the task was one which had put to the stretch the energies even of this great country. At that time unexampled calls were made upon the resources of this country. Let it never be said that a constitutional Government is unequal to the hard exigencies of war, or that it is deficient in energy and rapidity of action. However our military system may have been relaxed during the time of peace, when the call was made there perhaps never was before seen such a rapid creation of great forces, so wonderful an application of the multiplied powers of science to the purposes of war as between Christmas, 1854, and Christmas, 1855. New power seemed to be given to this country, and new armies and navies seemed to spring up as if by magic.
But, my Lords, it is not alone to our own army and to those of our Allies that praise must be rendered. When history tells of the famous leaguer of Sebastopol, she will tell not merely of the armies of France, Sardinia, and England, but of those who were within the walls of Sebastopol. She will tell of the matchless intrepidity of the Russians, of their unfaltering courage, of their patient endurance, of the science of their engineers, and of the bravery and consummate skill of their generals. It is pleasing thus to be able to speak of those who have been our enemies, and I know the people of this country would have been willing to pay them this tribute had they still remained our enemies. But they are no longer our enemies. With the exception, perhaps, of one or two instances, the Russian soldiers of all ranks, particularly those of the superior ranks, and indeed all Russians of the higher ranks, have displayed a gallant courtesy and a generous feeling for their enemies which entitle them to the highest applause. It will be long remembered—that beautiful example of generous sympathy shown at the commencement of the 1964 war by an illustrious lady, the lady of General Osten Sacken, to the mother of the young midshipman who died of his wounds when the Tiger went ashore near Odessa and was captured. From that act down to the closing scene of the war—the interview between General Mouravieff and General Williams—the same generous feelings softened the horrors of war; and in that interview, how admirable was the chivalrous conduct of the Russian commander!
But, my Lords, when we speak of chivalry, I am naturally led to that great nation which has been our companion of the war, and whose armies have in all ages been eminent for that noble quality. With that great nation we have, unfortunately, been too frequently in a state of hostility, but henceforward, I trust we shall enjoy perpetual friendship. Nothing can be more noble than the manner in which France and England joined together to resist an attempted aggression—their past animosities vanished in a moment—they became brothers in arms, brothers in sufferings, brothers in military labours and in the victories of war, and I trust that they may now continue brothers in the more glorious victories of peace.
The confederacy between France and England will be memorable in history. Confederacies are proverbially frail. They carry within themselves the seeds of their dissolution. It is true that when one mighty Power coalesces with an inferior Power, the undisputed supremacy of the greater Power may preclude the evils and dangers of divided command; but even here there are risks of disagreement and disunion. But in cases of coalition between equal Powers, those risks become more numerous and far greater, and rarely do such coalitions hold long together. There is, indeed, a splendid instance of a confederacy between two great and equal Powers which worked as harmoniously as if it had been under the guidance of a single mind—that under Marlborough and Eugene—but there the genius of two great men mastered the evils inherent in a coalition. When one mighty Power coalesces with an inferior Power, there is then the acknowledged supremacy of the former, which precludes the evils of divided command; but it has its peculiar risks of disagreement. Even when the confederate Powers are of more equal rank, though such an alliance, as in the case of Marlborough and Eugene, may be successful, it is usually sustained by 1965 the genius of the great men who command. In the present instance, France and England, two nations equal in power and renown, and European position, combined in a course of united action, for a great purpose. Great armies and great fleets were to be put in motion, but the generals and admirals were to be separate, and yet these forces thus combined and thus separate, were to stand "front to front, against one will supreme, independent, irresponsible, and that the will of a mind of vast capacity and gigantic aspirations, and the absolute master of millions of brave, intelligent, and disciplined, soldiers." Such were the odds against which this confederacy had to contend, and under unexpected difficulties, too, because unforeseen delays occurred, severe sufferings were endured, disappointments took place, all calculated to multiply the embarrassments and bring forth the weaknesses of a confederate action. And yet success was the result. What was the secret of that success? First and foremost, the purity of your motives so disinterested as to elevate the alliance above the range of petty discords and vulgar animosities. The next cause of our success was the loyalty and good faith, at home and abroad, of those by whom affairs were conducted. But something more was wanted to effect what purity of motive and loyalty and mutual confidence could not by themselves effect, and that was a wise and well-judging mind to direct the policy of the war. You must select one great paramount object; the importance of which should be such, that its acquisition should at once decide the final issue of the whole contest. And that was the principle on which you proceeded. Thus, and thus only, could the combination of the two nations in one common bond be assured. You bound together the different wills of the two nations to one common end and one common endeavour, and entwined all their hopes and councils and interests with one enterprise; you thus gave compactness to their alliance, and thus gave it the power which enabled it to cope with the supreme and single will of your antagonist. I say it to the honour of my noble Friend near me (the Earl of Aberdeen) who then was at the head of the Administration, that the paramount object was selected wisely and well. But it was not enough to select wisely—you were also to adhere to it firmly. In spite of difficulties and dangers, the fixed object, 1966 the fall of Sebastopol, must be followed up with pertinacious fidelity. You could not, indeed, have unity of command, but thus you had unity of purpose, and no collateral enterprise of the moment, however interesting, no temptations or inducements, no prophecies or menaces must be allowed to divert your mind from that object. All praise is due to those military and naval officers who, on the 14th of last June, were assembled in General Simpson's tent to decide upon a plausible proposition made by an eminent general, for the despatch of some troops to a different destination. They felt that the success of the cause they were engaged in was centred in the fall of Sebastopol, and they refused to yield to any arguments for the diminution of the force before that stronghold. They knew that the crisis of Sebastopol was approaching; Pelissier, in persisting in that refusal, even after the fall of Sebastopol, proved how well he had studied his profession, and the opinions and the conduct of great commanders, both ancient and modern; he showed how well he had profited by being trained in that great school of war bequeathed to France by the great Napoleon—or, I should rather say, by the first Napoleon, for the epithet is now no longer distinctive as applied to that name. He knew that for an army there is no moment more critical, perhaps, than the moment of success, when exultation and self-confidence are likely to lead to a relaxation of vigilance. History abounds with instances where victory has been from this over-security torn from the conqueror at the very moment of conquest. I must also add, in reference to this part of the subject, I honour the French Emperor for the course he pursued. He did well in referring that question to the Marshal, and well did the Marshal justify the confidence of his Sovereign.
My Lords, one very satisfactory part of this treaty and the papers connected with it is, that, besides the advantages which the stipulations and engagements entered into by the contracting parties confer at present, they contain the promise of much future good, the development of which must be productive of important results. Look, for instance, at the well-earned and honourable place which Sardinia now occupies among the nations of Europe. Look at the admission of Turkey into the pale of European States, and the incalculable consequences of such a measure. Above 1967 all, look at the union between France and England, and, knowing the misery which war brings and how the advance of arts, science, and civilisation is retarded by it, tell me, if you can, what may be the possible consequences of this union, which I trust will continue unbroken. If it does so continue, it will not be stationary. It will from day to day acquire new strength, and produce ever increasing accessions to the cause of civilisation and happiness. I believe that this treaty will be beneficial to all the parties concerned, and I am glad to think that it will also be beneficial, and not least beneficial, to Russia herself. We have no hostility to Russia now, and we remember our former friendship with that country. We lament the interruption of that friendship, and delight in binding up the wounds which war has inflicted. I hope and believe that Russia, remaining a great Power, will enhance her greatness and fill the position to which, she is entitled. The present Emperor of Russia has already won the esteem and regard of Europe. He has shown, as had been already noticed in this House, by his recent conduct, great moral courage, humanity, and a just estimate of the interests of his people. A magnificent career of usefulness is before him, and I trust he will steadily pursue that course which he seems determined to take, and, if so, I am sure he will obtain a glorious reward in the improvement and happiness of his country, and in the love and admiration of all Europe. With these sentiments I most cordially support the Address to the Crown.
§ THE EARL OF MALMESBURY
My Lords, I am sure that your Lordships must begin to wish to hear something about the treaty we have been invited to discuss by the noble Lords; for, although it was impossible for us to have heard more eloquent speeches than those which have just been delivered by those noble Lords, I doubt—without any discourtesy to them—whether one of your Lordships now knows anything more about the treaty than he did when he entered the House. Upon an important occasion like this I should be very unwilling to raise any small objections, but I cannot help observing that Her Majesty's Government would have acted more fairly, and more in accordance with the custom of Parliament, if, at the time or immediately after they placed the treaty on your Lordships' table, they had also laid before your Lordships the Address which they 1968 intended to move. It was not until Friday evening that we received copies of the Address, so that if we had wished to move any Amendment upon it, in which we had desired to have the support of the whole body of our party, it would have been impossible for us to obtain it. It might have so happened that the reason for this delay was, that the Address would be framed in a perfectly unexceptionable manner; that it would be what my old friend Baron Brunow used to call une addresse inodorée—an Address perfectly devoid of salt or savour—that might have been presented from any quarter. But, far from proposing an Address of that kind, I am sorry to say that Her Majesty's Ministers, carried away, perhaps, by the feeling of the moment, have made use of language so exaggerated that I, for one, cannot concur in it.
Her Majesty's Ministers have instructed the noble Lords who began this conversation to recommend your Lordships to assure Her Majesty that—While we should have deemed it our duty cheerfully to afford Her Majesty our firm support if it had unfortunately been found necessary to continue the war, we have learnt with joy and satisfaction that Her Majesty has been enabled to re-establish peace on conditions honourable to Her Majesty's Crown, and which fully accomplish the great objects for which the war was undertaken.I cannot concur in this strong language. I may observe, in passing, that if the noble Earl who moved the Address, and who is so well known as an elegant writer, had drawn up this article, he would not probably have called upon your Lordships to express your "joy and satisfaction" on the re-establishment of peace, but would have made the "joy" the climax to the "satisfaction," instead of making "joy" merge into "satisfaction." But, waiving such criticisms, I cannot follow the noble Earl in recommending your Lordships to make use of these words at all;—I do not think that the treaty warrants us in expressing our joy, or even our satisfaction. Further, so far as I understand what were the objects of the war—and I confess I do not clearly understand them, inasmuch as they have never been clearly explained by Her Majesty's Ministers—I deny that they have been fully accomplished by this treaty; and I should, therefore, respectfully advise your Lordships to leave out from this article the words "joy and satisfaction that Her Majesty has been enabled to re-establish 1969 peace on conditions honourable to Her Majesty's Crown, and which fully accomplish," in order to insert the words, "satisfaction that Her Majesty has been enabled to re-establish peace upon conditions which have appeared to Her Majesty and her Allies adequately to effect the great objects of the war." Whether or not I shall press this Amendment to a division depends upon the feeling that may be manifested by your Lordships during the debate. I have no wish to divide upon any Motion hostile to the Government, but I have a strong desire to record my decided opinion with respect to the treaty. We are not now met to discuss a question the decision of which must depend upon our votes; we are invited by the noble Earl the Secretary for Foreign Affairs to consider a treaty which we cannot alter, but which Her Majesty, in accordance with her undoubted prerogative, has entered into with other European Powers.
My Lords, before I refer to the treaty for the purpose of pointing out the parts which do not fulfil the objects of the war, it will be necessary to tell your Lordships what those objects were; and the best, in fact the only, authority on that point is the authority of Her Majesty's Ministers. I hope your Lordships will therefore pardon me if I quote a few passages from the debates of this and of the other House, in order to give you some information as to the opinions of Her Majesty's Ministers with respect to the objects of the war. On the 24th of February, 1854, the noble Earl the Secretary for Foreign Affairs said:—It might be very desirable or very just to take from Russia and to restore to the countries from which they had been taken various territories which Russia had taken from other countries; it may be very just and desirable to make Russia pay the cost of the war; but, my Lords, it is impossible that we should take any resolution upon any of these subjects without knowing with what skill and with what success the war will be conducted, or what will be the position and circumstances of the Emperor of Russia at its conclusion,"—[3 Hansard, cxxx. 1230.]This was a complete truism. Events have succeeded my noble Friend's speech, and this treaty has been framed entirely in consequence of these events, which have, to say the least of them, been very unfavourable to our Allies and to ourselves. My noble Friend continues—But, my Lords, as we are about to undertake it, and as we have been forced into it against our wish, I say that it ought to be settled, and firmly 1970 settled, once for all. I can assure your Lordships that it is the purpose of every man who directly or indirectly will take part in this war, and that it is the purpose of Her Majesty's Government, so far as the course of events will permit, to do that which is necessary for the future security and tranquillity of Europe to check the aggressive and ambitious power of Russia; I say it will be necessary to take solid guarantees that Europe shall not be again deprived of the great blessings of peace."—[Ibid. 1231.]It will be my duty to show, if I am able, that solid guarantees have not been obtained by the documents now presented to the House. On the 31st of March, 1854, my noble Friend said—I trust that at the close of this struggle we shall find them—Austria and Russia—by our side re-establishing peace upon a solid and secure foundation; but that peace, my Lords, will be neither solid nor secure unless the territorial extension and the immoderate influence of Russia be repressed and for ever limited."—[3 Hansard, cxxxii. 152.]I shall endeavour to show that the territorial extension of Russia has not been much repressed, and that her immoderate influence, if she chooses it to be immoderate, has not been removed. On the 12th of December, 1854, Lord John Russell said—I believe no peace will be safe for Turkey—I believe no peace will be honourable to this country, which left Sebastopol in the same menacing position in which it had been of late years before the war."—[3 Hansard, cxxxvi. 219.][Cheers from the Ministerial Benches.] I understand the meaning of those cheers; but I think I shall show that if Sebastopol is not literally in the same position—if the same stones do not still stand upon others in the same manner as formerly—it is, politically speaking, very nearly in the same position as before the war. On the 19th of December, 1854, Lord Palmerston said—We have engaged in a great war against a great Power, with great exertions, and for great objects; and it does not become this country—it is not either to the interest of this country or the honour of this country—that we should end that war by small and ineffectual results; we ought to have a result adequate to the sacrifices we have made, and in conformity with the interest and dignity of this country."—[3 Hansard, cxxxvi. 589.]Let us now proceed to examine the treaty, and to inquire whether the hopes expressed by the Government with regard to the results of the war have been fulfilled. The first two Articles appear to be merely preamble, but in the third occur the words "the town and citadel of Kars."
1971 I am anxious at this point to give your Lordships an explanation. I have been taunted in another place by no less a person than the Prime Minister with having shrunk from my pledge to this House, and with not having brought forward a Motion of which I had given notice on this subject, because I was afraid of being defeated. Those who know the customs of this House will, I hope, do me the justice to say that, if I consulted your Lordships' convenience and the propriety of debate always studied here, it was necessary that I should withdraw my Motion on Friday last. On Tuesday week the noble Earl appeared here for the first time after his return from Paris. It is the custom of the House never to give less than a week's notice of a Motion upon an important subject, and I was not able to give any notice until Thursday. I should then have brought forward the Motion upon the following Thursday, but that, unfortunately, was Ascension-day, and the House did not sit. By that time the noble Earl had placed the treaty upon the table, and it would; have been impossible for me to thoroughly discuss the circumstances of the war in Asia Minor without referring to that important Article of the treaty in which Kars was mentioned. I hold that it is the duty of every Member of Parliament, if he thinks the Government in the wrong, to point out the faults they have committed, without the slightest reference to divisions. That is especially the duty of the Opposition; besides, looking at it as a mere question of tactics, it is a great advantage to them to discuss questions upon which they are convinced that the Government are in the wrong, in order to inform the country of their opinions, by which means they may possibly convert a majority of the country to those opinions.
The Articles of the treaty to which I shall first refer are the 3rd and 4th:—Art. 3. His Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias engages to restore to His Majesty the Sultan the town and citadel of Kars, as well as the other parts of the Ottoman territory of which the Russian troops are in possession.Art. 4. Their Majesties the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Emperor of the French, the King of Sardinia, and the Sultan engage to restore to His Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias the towns and ports of Sebastopol, Balaklava, Kamiesch, Eupatoria, Kertch, Yenikale, Kinburn, as well as all other territories occupied by the allied troops.Is there anybody in this country who has the common knowledge that would enable 1972 him to change a gold sovereign into twenty shillings, or conduct any simple negotiation of that kind, who will say that the town and citadel of Kars are an equivalent for all those forts and fortresses restored to Russia? Take the first. Sebastopol, the scene of all our disasters and of all our glories—the scene of all our hopes and disappointments, our misfortunes and victories—the goal for which we contended for nearly two years—is restored to Russia in exchange for the town and citadel of Kars. Will anybody say after that that the loss of Kars has had no influence on the negotiations at Paris or on the conditions of peace? Why, the mere juxtaposition of the two Articles proves that such was the case, and so completely did at least one of our Plenipotentiaries feel the objection which I now state that, as I read in the protocols, Lord Cowley protested against the conjunction of the two Articles on the ground that it would appear as if the belligerent Powers were making an exchange, whereas in exchange for the forts and territories occupied by the allied armies Russia had consented to the rectification of her frontier with European Turkey. But Lord Cowley was immediately repressed and suppressed, for the matter was not afterwards referred to in the Conferences; the Articles appear following one another in the treaty, and therefore I think we are entitled to assume that there has been an exchange of all the fortresses I have mentioned for the town and citadel of Kars. The treaty goes on to declare that neither Russia nor Turkey shall establish or maintain any military-maritime arsenal on the shores of the Black Sea. There is no exact definition of what that term means, and I should be glad to hear from the noble Lord opposite an explanation of its true import. But I conclude it means that there are to be no docks in which men-of-war may be built and armed. Sebastopol, then, will have no war-docks; its docks will not be restored, and no men-of-war will be built there. But here is nothing in the treaty to prevent the northern forts of Sebastopol being maintained in their present impregnable strength—nothing to prevent the Russians again fortifying their hills and raising another Malakhoff with even greater power than before—nothing to prevent them constructing immense stone fortresses heavily armed on the shores of the Black Sea, facing the Turkish Empire, and certainly finding no rival on the; opposite side. When once such a fortification 1973 is rebuilt—sayat Sebastopol—the treaty may be observed within it or it may not, but that fortress will remain impregnable for ever, and we must all know that, whatever circumstances may happen, it can never again be wrested from the hands of the Russians. I assume that these fortresses may be rebuilt; else let the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary say that they may not. But Sebastopol is not all that we give in exchange for Kars. We give Balaklava, an excellent harbour, which the Russians from past experience will not allow to fall into our hands a second time; we give Kamiesch, which has been admirably fortified by the French; we give Eupatoria, which has been strengthened by ourselves; we give Kertch, in the same position; Yenikale—I do not know whether it is to be rebuilt or not; and Kin-burn, a place of considerable strength. All these are given in exchange for the town and citadel of Kars, with the province in which Kars is situated, and the only portion of the Ottoman territory occupied by the Russians. But our liberality, or weakness, does not stop here; for what becomes of those many forts along the Circassian coast which the Russians were obliged to abandon, and the abandonment of which at last gave peace and liberty to that noble people, the Circassians? It has been stated by the Prime Minister in another place that the Russians are to resume possession, and if they please rebuild and garrison them. In plain English, my Lords, we have deserted the Circassians; we have left them to a dreadful and a certain fate, after having begged for their assistance and, let me add, benefited by it to a very great extent. [An ironical cheer from Lord PANMURE.] Notwithstanding the cheer of the noble Lord the Secretary for War—who, let me say in passing, is not the first authority I should take upon hostilities in Asia Minor—I repeat that we have benefited by the assistance of the Circassians, because, in 1854, when the Russian general had gained two victories over the Turkish army, and was entering Anatolia, it was the inroad of Schamyl upon Tiflis that compelled him to retreat, and prevented him from following up his advantages during the whole of that spring and summer. But no wonder that the noble Lord and his colleagues have deserted the Circassians, when they have already forgotten their obligations to them. Even, however, if the Circassians had been unable or 1974 unwilling to assist us as we wished, what were the causes of that backwardness on their part, or how were we to be excused for abandoning their interests in the treaty after having excited them to aid us in the war? On the 26th of June, 1855, Lord Palmerston stated in the other House that there were no relations subsisting between Her Majesty's Government and the Circassian chiefs until those arising out of their co-operation in the attack upon Anapa. Mr. Baillie immediately got up and inquired, if the statement of the noble Viscount were correct, in what capacity Colonel Lloyd was sent to Circassia in the previous year, at a salary of £ 2,000 per annum? The noble Lord replied that Colonel Lloyd had gone to Circassia to open a communication with the people and ascertain to what extent and upon what terms their co-operation with us could be obtained. Is not that inciting them to assist the Allies and direct their arms against Russia? If afterwards their support did not come up to what was expected, it arose very much from the mistakes and blunders of our own Government in conveying arms to that country; and because they did not assist us as much as we wished they are forgotten entirely—they are not noticed in the treaty—only one observation, which had no effect, is made on their behalf by the first British Plenipotentiary, when he protests against the restoration of those forts, and the word "Circassia" is not found in the protocols. I am afraid that the noble Earl opposite will stand in history in the same category with those politicans who, many years ago, deserted the liberties of other free countries when they had an opportunity of saving them. I cannot believe, knowing as I do the generous spirit of the noble Earl, but that he did strongly desire to save the Circassians from perdition, and that he was restrained by circumstances which we do not know and which, perhaps, he dare not tell.
Well, great stress will, of course, be laid upon the neutralisation of the Black Sea, and I confess—as I said when the Vienna Conferences were going on—that of all the modes of settling that question, the neutralisation of the Euxine—the making it a purely commercial sea—is, in my judgment, the best. But are we quite safe in the arrangement which we have made? Was there no arrière pensée in the minds of those who took part in the negotiations at Paris? I am not entirely satisfied with the answers given to the 1975 first British Plenipotentiary upon this point. It is clear that Russia and Turkey are respectively to maintain only six ships of war of a certain size in the Black Sea. The Russian Plenipotentiaries claimed great credit for making what they called such a concession; but it is not a concession on their side only. Turkey, who had the right of navigating the Black Sea, makes a similar concession, and, therefore, the Russian Plenipotentiaries had no right to claim any praise upon that score. But I observe from the protocols that the suspicions of our first Plenipotentiaries were roused, for I find him asking with evident anxiety whether the transport vessels which, it appears, the Russians may build ad libitum would he armed? I do not wonder at the jealousy of the noble Earl; but I should like to know how that question was finally settled, because, in answer to the noble Earl's observation, Count Orloff replied that, like all the transports employed by the Powers in other seas, the transports of Russia in the Black Sea would be furnished with an exclusively defensive armament, suitable to the nature of the service for which they were required. The noble Earl (the Earl of Clarendon), said the protocol, not considering that he would be justified in admitting this explanation, the consideration of the question was adjourned; but it seems to have been adjourned sine die, for the subject does not appear to have been alluded to again in the protocols. I should like to know from my noble Friend how the matter ended. The suitable armament for these transports may be only one gun, but that may be a very large one, and the transports may be ships of 1,000 tons or of 3,000 tons; they may lie in the impregnable harbour of Sebastopol, whence they may hereafter issue, when they please, to make a descent upon any part of the Turkish coast. It is our duty to consider all possible contingencies, and that is not a very remote one. I think, then, it cannot be said that the objects of the war are fully accomplished if Sebastopol may be rebuilt more strongly than before, and if its harbour may be filled with transports sufficiently armed to defend the troops on board and to convey them to any part of the Black Sea. Unless we can believe that this question of transports was settled in accordance with the views of the Foreign Secretary, it is impossible to say that the objects of the war have in this respect been fully accomplished.
1976 There is another question, also, with regard to which the Russian Plenipotentiaries seem to have acted with great expertness. My noble Friend opposite asked some awkward questions about Nicholaieff, and he was told that as that port was not on the Black Sea, but a considerable distance up a Russian river, the maritime-military arsenals there might be continued; but Count Orloff added, as a great favour to my noble Friend, that he had no objection to promise that no larger ships than those described in the treaty should be built at Nicholaieff, and that he was also ready to consent that two line-of-battle ships now at that port should be sent round by the Bosphorus to the Baltic. The noble Earl asked for the only security for the fulfilment of this promise that he probably thought he could obtain—namely, that it should be entered upon the protocols. I have no doubt that Count Orloff is a man of the highest honour, and meant what he said, and that both he and the Emperor of Russia mean to fulfil this promise; but I think it is no insult, even to an Emperor, when we are making important agreements upon which the fate of nations depends, to ask for some more binding guarantee. We do not regard a bridegroom as a rascal because we ask him to make a settlement upon his wife; and why should we not insist upon binding articles with reference to agreements which concern the honour and the faith of nations? I do not like to rake up old grievances; and at this moment, when we have just signed a peace with Russia, I should be sorry to say a word that could lead a Russian of any class to believe that I do not sincerely rejoice at the conclusion of that peace; but political events have occurred in former times between Russia and ourselves which ought to act as warnings, and which ought, I think, to have led my noble Friend (the Earl of Clarendon) to get some more solid guarantee on the subject to which I have referred than a mere phrase in a protocol which will be worth nothing after Count Orloff and his master—who are mortal—are no more. [The noble Earl read an extract from Sir J. M'Neill's Progress of Russia in the East, detailing negotiations which took place in 1814 between Russia, Persia, and the Porte, with reference to the cession of territory held by Persia in the Caucasus. The Russian Governor General in Georgia then solemnly pledged himself that a certain portion of this territory should be 1977 ceded to the Porte, and the British Ambassador, whose intervention had been employed, satisfied of the sincerity of this promise, felt himself justified in confirming it; but the Emperor of Russia could never be induced to relinquish a foot of the ground in question.] I have not the least doubt of the good faith of Count Orloff and the Emperor of Russia; but when they have passed away from this earthly scene, you will not have a line in your treaty which will prevent Russia from building what ships she pleases in Nicholaieff, so long as she does not bring them down into the Black Sea until a favourable moment arrives for doing so. If, therefore, the object of the war was to prevent any future aggression on the part of Russia, similar to that of which she has been guilty, certainly the maintenance of the maritime-military arsenal of Nicholaieff should have been forbidden, and the fortifications at Sebastopol should have been razed, as other fortresses almost as important have been razed under the conditions of former treaties.
There is one important part of the treaty, with reference to which I fear that I shall have some difficulty in explaining my meaning without a map. One of the cessions made by Russia—and a very important one—is a part of Bessarabia. Your Lordships may remember that, when Austria proposed the preliminary basis of negotiation, a line was drawn by her which divided Bessarabia into two parts, proceeding from Kichenau in the north-west to the Sasyk Lake on the borders of the Black Sea. The whole length of the district was about 250 miles, and the line drawn as nearly as possible bisected Bessarabia. When this question came to be discussed at the Conference I find that the Russian Plenipotentiaries made a suggestion, to which my noble Friend could not listen—namely, that something like a quarter of the province which they had promised Austria to give back to Turkey should be retained by Russia. This proposition was, of course, at once stifled; but to cut the matter short, Count Walewski said, that, although he could not consent to the sacrifice on the part of the Allies involved in the proposition of Baron Brunow, there was such a thing as a principle of compensation, and that, if Russia would give some other part of Bessarabia in lieu of that which she wished to keep back, such a proposition might be considered. But what do your Lordships suppose 1978 was the extent of territory proposed to be given up by Russia according to Count Walewski's principle of compensation? Looking at the map, it bears about the same proportion to the territory retained as my thumb-nail bears to my arm. It has been agreed to give to Russia a portion of territory extending 200 miles, and from thirty to forty miles in width, and it is of most essential importance. The line drawn by the Austrian officers would have given Turkey both banks of the Pruth and both banks of the Danube, and would have given to Bessarabia, belonging to Turkey, an exit into Austria, and it passed by the Russian magazines at Kichenau, which were driven back on the Dniester. But the plan adopted leaves 120 miles of the Pruth, belonging half to Russia, and half to Turkey. There must have been some strong reason for such a change in the distribution of territory as this. When you had relinquished Sebastopol and the other points I have mentioned, together with the whole of the Circassian fortresses, and when you had accepted the tortuous promises of Count Orloff relative to Nicholaieff, why was this important boundary and barrier against Russian aggression thus given up? Rumour was rife—although the protocols make no very distinct allusion to it—that the Russian Plenipotentiaries alleged that their Government was not in the same position as when it agreed to the Austrian proposition; that it had since then taken Kars, the key of Anatolia, and had one foot established in Asia Minor; and that, as it was, therefore, in a more advantageous attitude, it had a corresponding right to a more advantageous treaty. Indeed, the protocols even hint that the restoration of Kars and its province must be taken into account by the negotiators when the question of rectifying the frontier in Bessarabia was under discussion. It appears that my noble Friend gave way, and has obtained exactly one-half of what he was promised when the Austrian and French Governments first submitted their proposals to the English Cabinet. Why, then, should I be asked to join in an Address of joy and exultation to the Queen, declaring that such a result fulfils all the objects of the war? I am afraid, my Lords, that not the objects of the war, but the objects of the peace, were the matters chiefly considered at Paris. I am afraid my noble Friend forgot that one principal aim of the war, four months before, was to secure half Bessarabia from 1979 Russia. Be this, however, as it may, the only reason for yielding on this point could have been the conquest of Kars. In plain English, the first Article, as entered into by Russia, means this:—"Here is Kars, we have got it, and what will you give us for it?" It has been the fashion of late for the Government and their supporters to depreciate Kars, and assert that it was of very little consequence in relation either to the war or to the Conferences; but a perusal of the protocols cannot fail to induce the suspicion that some pressure, some force majeure, must have been at work to compel my noble Friend and the other Plenipotentiaries of the Allies to recede from the points previously intended to be maintained; and, without adverting to common gossip which has been circulated in this country on the matter, I cannot help concluding that the real cause of this retrograde step from the frontier of Bessarabia was the advantage given to Russia by the surrender of Kars. I am not going into the whole question of the campaign of Kars, but I confine myself to the loss of that city; and that disaster I directly impute to the neglect of our Government; and on the same shoulders the responsibility for our not obtaining such a treaty as we could wish, and as my noble Friend himself would, I am sure, have desired, must consequently rest.
The history of the events ending in the loss of this important Asiatic fortress may be divided into two epochs; and the first of them comprises the period—about ten months—between the date when General Williams was first sent out as the Queen's Commissioner and left Erzeroum to defend Kars, and the time of Kars being finally invested. At any part of that period Kars might have been saved—I do not mean by the aid of an army, for that was not necessary, nor by sending any English or Turkish Contingents, that is not the real point; but by your sending provisions and ammunition to its garrison. This view is borne out by General Williams himself, who says as much, and is confirmed by Dr. Sandwith, who is now in England, and who says as much in his book. Your Lordships must not perplex yourselves with the second epoch when—Kars being invested and in imminent danger—it was necessary to relieve it by an army; but simply confine your attention to the antecedent period, when all that the place wanted was, not men, but a supply of provisions and ammunition, there being excellent 1980 troops within its walls, with an extraordinary soldier to command them. When England was "drifting into the war," I asked myself the question—put simultaneously to themselves, no doubt, by thousands of my countrymen—Who is to conduct the great and distant contest now impending? The great man who used to occupy that chair (the late Duke of Wellington) was no more; and he had left no equal behind him. It has not pleased Providence to raise up a general or a statesman fitted to supply the void occasioned by his removal. The Ministers to whose hands the Government of the country was committed in such an emergency did not take that comprehensive survey of the theatre of the conflict which a far-reaching sagacity would have dictated. From the first Asia Minor was neglected, and our efforts were entirely directed to other points. I do not say this was wrong—I am no soldier, and will not venture an opinion upon strategy; but still I think the Government held Asia Minor too cheap. Defensive operations in that quarter, if planned in time, might have easily been combined with the offensive in the Crimea, and if that had been done in time, Kars would have been saved. The Government cannot complain of the want of warning. The war of 1829 and the Treaty of Adrianople ought to have told them the importance of Asiatic Turkey, for it was far more the victories of Paskiewitsch in Asia Minor than those of Diebitsch in European Turkey, that gave Russia the advantages she then obtained. On the 6th of February, 1854, an eminent Member of this House (the Earl of Ellen-borough) raised his voice to enforce the same lesson of history, and to urge the necessity of a campaign in Asia. The total defeat of the Turkish commander in this region followed in the next campaign, and yet it was not until the month of August that my noble Friend (the Earl of Clarendon) sent out an agent, who was certainly well chosen—General Williams—as British Commissioner to the Turkish army. General Williams's story is soon told. Having communicated with Lord Stratford and Lord Raglan, that officer at once went to Erzeroum. Having reviewed the Turkish army, and given the best advice he could to its generals, he thence proceeded to Kars; and, having put also that town in a still better state of defence than General Guyon and other distinguished officers who fortified it in the previous 1981 spring had left it, he returned to Erzeroum, there to prepare an account of what he had witnessed for his own Government and for the British Ambassador at Constantinople, with whom he had been duly authorised to correspond. General Williams's account of the condition of the Turkish army was deplorable. The soldiers had not been paid for eighteen months; the officers, from the colonel down to the lowest subaltern, had been robbing them of provisions and money, and many of the generals were worse, if possible, than the subalterns. In a word, more harrowing descriptions of cowardice, debauchery, and corruption than those contained in the Blue-book which had been laid on their Lordships' table were never perused. General Williams represented all these things to the Ambassador at Constantinople and to my noble Friend the Foreign Secretary, and what he most earnestly requested was, that he might be recognised by the Turkish officers as the accredited agent from England, and armed with such extensive powers as would be respected by the Turkish generals. He distinctly asserts that if he had possessed such powers, and had been acknowledged as possessing them, he could have done anything—corrected any abuse and redressed any wrong. Yet some of the powers he thus asked for he did not obtain until he had been contending for many months with the corrupt officials around him, and others, as, for instance, those of director general of supplies, he never received at all. Who is responsible for this neglect? I should be sorry to lay upon your Lordships' table a bill of indictment against Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, of whose former services to his country I am fully cognisant. I have had personal experience of his great talents, and never having had a dispute with him, but, on the contrary, having been always on the best terms with him during the existence of our official relations, I have no reason to make observations respecting him which might be imputed to any other motive than that suggested by a sense of public duty. But this Blue-book—the correspondence relating to the fall of Kars—has been placed in my hands, and no honest man can peruse it without perceiving that it is a bill of indictment against Lord Stratford de Redcliffe for not having invested General Williams with that authority which would have been the great key to his operations at Erzeroum and Kars, and which 1982 would have enabled him to procure for the army those supplies which the Turkish Government either would not or could not furnish. If General Williams had had that authority he would have revictualled Kars—not for four months, but for any length of time—and that fortress would hare survived not only the taking of Sebastopol, but the negotiations for peace. On the 2nd of August, 1854, my noble Friend (the Earl of Clarendon) directed Lord Stratford to send General Williams to the Turkish army as the Queen's Commissioner. Lord Stratford answered, on the 15th, that he saw no difficulty in making the necessary arrangements for sending General Williams properly authorised; yet, on the 23rd of October, six weeks afterwards, he wrote to say that Reschid Pasha required to be informed officially of the name of the Commissioner. So that, six weeks after the Ambassador had promised to make the necessary arrangements, the Prime Minister of the Sultan did not know even the name of the Queen's Commissioner. In the meantime General Williams had gone to Erzeroum, where his scarlet uniform insured him a good reception; but when he began to meddle with the affairs of the Turkish, army, he was asked to show his credentials and he was obliged to confess his inability to do so, and what was still more extraordinary was, that on the 3rd of December—four months later—he was still disavowed, and Shukri Pasha did not hesitate to speak of him as one who had no higher power or position than that of a simple colonel. Thus four months were lost, during which General Williams might, if he had been invested with proper authority, have supplied Kars and Anatolia with victuals and ammunition. On the 22nd of September the Foreign Secretary wrote to Lord Stratford to say that it would be well to obtain for General Williams a high rank in the Turkish army; but the latter did not make the necessary application until the 15th of November, or seven weeks after the date of Lord Clarendon's letter. Delays continued. Mr. Pisani, that constant and useless go-between between the British Ambassador and the Porte, repeatedly communicated with the Turkish Government, and always came back with the same answer—namely, that what was necessary would be done without delay; next he was told that it had been sent; but, not with standing the frequent and indignant remonstrances of General Williams, 1983 it was not done until the 23rd of January, 1855.The third authority which General Williams solicited was that of director general of supplies—a position of the highest importance, as the preservation of Kars depended on the possibility of procuring provisions. He applied to Lord Stratford de Redcliffe on the 29th of January to obtain it for him; Lord Stratford did not do so, but lost four or five weeks by referring the application to the Foreign Office. Of course, by return of post, the noble Earl told him that he was to get the office for General Williams if he could. By the time that letter was received, the 20th of March had arrived, and then General Williams bitterly complained that he had not got the authority in question, and that he might do anything if he had it. But the delay did not rest there, for from that day to this General Williams has never received the appointment of director-general of supplies—he was left entirely to his own energy and resources. On the 10th of May there was only one week's or at most a fortnight's provisions at Kars. The English and Turkish officers wrote to General Williams, then at Erzeroum, entreating him to send them some supplies. The Russians were then within a month's march of Kars—for it was on the 9th of June that the place was invested. General Williams was still at Erzeroum, and not having received the necessary authority, could send no provisions; but seeing that the Russians were advancing upon Kars, he left Erzeroum and in what he describes as "an isolated position," took matters into his own hands, and by wonderful energy and ingenuity contrived to throw four months' provisions into Kars, thereby saving not only that fortress, but Erzeroum, and, probably Asia Minor; for, if the Russians had attacked Kars only a week sooner it must have fallen, and they would have had the whole summer to march upon the Bosphorus. These are not my statements; they are supported by the authority of Dr. Sand-with, who distinctly declares that had not General Williams taken the Commissariat under his own management, Kars must have fallen at once; and that had he been invested with adequate powers from the first that fortress would have been saved. Upon that narration I need not enter. The town was not surrendered until mothers brought their children to the doors of the general, and entreated him to save their lives—until every atom of eatable food was gone—until 1984 the soldiers were spectres—until the officers were in a state of actual starvation, and were induced to eat the dogs which fed upon the carcasses of the dead. There is no other man who has come out of this war with such a reputation as General Williams. I am not eloquent enough to do justice to his merits, but his name is engraved in the history of his country. When I make such an accusation as I am compelled to make against the noble Lord opposite (the Earl of Clarendon) and his Ambassador, your Lordships will expect that I should support it by some extracts from the correspondence. The first letter which I will quote is one of accusation from General Williams. Three months after his departure from Constantinople—namely, on the 8th of December, the Commissioner wrote to Lord Stratford:—Since I fulfilled the duties confided to me as Her Majesty's Commissioner to the head quarters of the army of Kars, I have had the honour of addressing to your Excellency fifty-four despatches, identical with those forwarded simultaneously to the Earl of Clarendon and General Lord Raglan. Each packet has been accompanied by a private letter containing details and suggestions which, had they found place in my public communications, would have inconveniently lengthened those documents. On the 23rd of September I was honoured by a private letter from your Lordship, appealing to my 'spirit and humanity,' relative to the captivity of those unfortunate Russian ladies who had then recently been seized and carried into the mountains by Sheik Schamyl, the Circassian chieftain. Since the above date I have not been favoured with a line by your Excellency, even with an acknowledgment of the reception of my public or private communications. To one who has served your Lordship for so many years such an avowal on my part can only be recorded with feelings of deep disappointment and mortification—feelings which I have studiously endeavoured to conceal, even from my aide-de-camp and secretaries, because each successive post was anxiously looked for, in the hope of receiving answers from your Lordship on the pressing and important affairs connected with my mission to the head quarters of the army of Kars."—inclosure, No. 66.It is impossible for any man accustomed to the amenities of civilised life to understand the reason of this extraordinary conduct on the part of the Ambassador. It can only be known to two persons in the world—Lord Stratford himself and my noble Friend opposite. The noble Earl (the Earl of Clarendon) must have asked the reason, and I hope he knows it. I will make no guesses at it, but will only say that such a solecism as the neglect to reply to fifty-four despatches from a servant of the Crown is unintelligible to the 1985 House of Lords, and I will leave if to the noble Earl himself to explain it. If this had ended in a fault of manners it would not have been a subject for your Lordships' interference; but when want of politeness, or rudeness, is detrimental to the public service, it is then manifestly our duty to reprove it, and to reprove it strongly and publicly. This neglect of General Williams was most detrimental to that service, because it deprived him of the little personal authority which he possessed among the Turks. As soon as the knowledge of this unaccountable conduct reached my noble Friend, he wrote a despatch in which he severely reprimands the Ambassador for his neglect. No one who has read that despatch can fail to approve it, because every one must feel that the conduct of the Ambassador to General Williams cannot be palliated. It is but fair to Lord Stratford to give his reasons for not answering the despatches and for failing to give proper assistance to the Commissioner. In a letter to General Williams he says:—I have received your several despatches numbered to 61 inclusive. I have also received from you a number of private letters, to which you appear to have given an ostensible character. The public interests with which you are more immediately connected have not, as you suppose, been neglected by Her Majesty's Embassy. In due season I hope to afford you ample proof of my correctness in making this assertion. For the present I can only assure you that I have not time to write more fully. I received information ten minutes ago that the steamer was to start for Trebizond in an hour, and other more urgent matters are pressing upon my attention.Other more urgent matters! What matters could be more urgent than the welfare of Asia Minor and the preservation of Kars? Will the noble Earl (the Earl of Clarendon) tell us what they were? If the noble Viscount (Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe) alludes to Sebastopol, he was not there. He was at Constantinople, with a very large staff of some of the ablest men in the diplomatic line. Could none of these have been trusted to answer General Williams's despatches? Could none of them have given to him one of those stereotyped acknowledgments of their reception, while the Ambassador was attending to the more important affairs to which he alludes? Equally trifling is the statement about the steamer to Trebizond. I had no idea that our Ambassador was treated so cavalierly as to be informed only ten minutes before of the 1986 departure of that steamer. It used certainly to be the case formerly that they were more likely to wait ten hours to suit his convenience than to depart ten minutes after they had told him they were about to go. Lord Stratford, however, afterwards enters into a much more elaborate defence, which amounts to this—that he cannot get the Turkish Government to move or to take any steps to procure the supplies which are required by the Commissioner. In my opinion he never frees himself from blame for not having obtained for General Williams the authority which would have enabled that officer to get the things which the Ambassador could not himself procure. That despatch is not the only one (besides the other which I have read) in which the noble Earl opposite positively disapproves Lord Stratford's conduct in not having supported General Williams as he ought to have done. General Williams afterwards maintains that he could have done anything had he been properly supported—that is, he could have victualled Kars and have held it until peace was made, and the Russian negotiators would not then have had the opportunity of entering the Congress Chamber with a bargain in their hands, or with anything at all to offer in exchange for the places and territory which we have restored to them. Having arrived at that point, I certainly did believe that Lord Stratford was greatly to blame, and, as it is my constitutional opinion that the Ambassador is solely responsible to the Foreign Minister and not to Parliament, and that the noble Earl alone is responsible to Parliament, it follows that I think the noble Earl is responsible to Parliament for not having either recalled Lord Stratford or sent another agent with advice and money for General Williams. If you had sent General Williams money, Kars would have been saved. But there is another mystery in the subject. The whole Cabinet must have concurred in the reprimands which were addressed by the noble Earl to Lord Stratford; certainly the Prime Minister, in the discharge of his duty, must have read and approved the despatches; but yet, no longer ago than the 1st of May, I find Lord Palmerston speaking in the other House as follows:—I am perfectly ready to take my share of any responsibility that may devolve upon those who did not think it right to recall Lord Stratford. No doubt, we lamented that from the pressure of business, or any other cause whatever, Lord Stratford 1987 omitted to answer those letters, and to give to General Williams that comfort and encouragement which would naturally have been derived from letters received from the Ambassador at Constantinople; but Lord Stratford did at Constantinople that which General Williams urged him to do; and no man who reads the papers with an impartial mind can fail to arrive at the conclusion that Lord Stratford did everything which it was in the power of an Ambassador to do for the purpose of obtaining for General Williams the supplies and reinforcements which he wanted."—[Page 1887.]I ask any one of your Lordships who has read those papers to listen to this speech of Lord Palmerston, and tell me whether the conduct of the Ministry is not as inexplicable as the conduct of Lord Stratford. I withdrew my Motion the other evening, and it is not now, of course, the time to renew a similar one; but my former impression remains—is, if anything, stronger than before—that the Government are most blameable for not having duly attended at first to the position of Asia Minor, and, when they did turn their attention to that country, for not having properly supported the agent whom they sent there. They showed vacillation from the beginning in prosecuting the war in that quarter. I think I may say that they have crowned their former conduct by still further vacillation, when we see the Foreign Minister in one House writing a despatch strongly condemnatory of the Ambassador, and the Prime Minister in the other House completely exonerating him.
I have nothing further to say than to congratulate your Lordships on the position in which this country stands at the end of the war. While all the other belligerents are breathless and exhausted after the deadly struggle, this country alone appears to remain unwearied, and stronger even than when that struggle commenced. Yet had the war continued, I am not sure that we should have gained greater advantages than we have gained, and I cannot say that I regret that peace has been concluded. I am willing to join in an Address to the Crown in the terms which I have proposed, but the terms which have been submitted to your Lordships are exaggerated, and are not such as we can, in justice to ourselves, consent to use. If the objects of the war were such a reduction of the power of Russia as would make it impossible for her ever again to attack Turkey, they have not been attained, neither have we obtained that cession of territory which we might have obtained, and the omission to obtain which it remains for 1988 the noble Earl to explain. Having said this, as it seems to be the wish of the House to accept it, I shall not oppose the Address which has been proposed from the other side, but shall remain content with recording the opinions which I entertain upon the subject.
Amendment moved in the Second Paragraph to leave out ("Joy and Satisfaction that Her Majesty has been enabled to reestablish Peace on Conditions honourable to Her Majesty's Crown, and which fully accomplish") and insert ("Satisfaction that Her Majesty has been enabled to re-establish Peace on Conditions which have appeared to Her Majesty and Her Allies adequately to effect").
§ THE EARL OF CLARENDON
My Lords, before I proceed to offer some observations upon the long and unmitigated censure pronounced by the noble Earl opposite, in the course of a speech which, he says, he has found it his duty to deliver, in order to bring back to the knowledge of the country that which they might well have already known, I shall take the liberty of expressing my satisfaction and gratitude at the able and eloquent speeches of my noble Friends who moved and seconded the Address. It is most satisfactory to me to find that my noble Friends, who, from the beginning, were of opinion that the war in which we were engaged was a just and righteous war—who have been second to none in advocating the vigorous prosecution of the war with the view of arriving at an honourable peace, and who did not think that any peace would be honourable which did not attain the objects for which the war was commenced—it is most satisfactory to me that these noble Lords should call upon your Lordships to agree to an Address of approval of the treaty of Paris, thereby implying their opinion that the peace has been concluded upon safe and honourable terms. My Lords, I am most grateful to my two noble Friends for the opinion—far too favourable to myself—which they were pleased to express of the manner in which I had discharged the duties confided to me by Her Majesty of conducting the negotiations as one of the Plenipotentiaries on behalf of this country. But I would wish to take this opportunity of saying that any commendation which may be awarded to me for my part in the negotiations applies equally to my noble Friend and colleague. Her Majesty's Ambassador at Paris. The noble Earl says that the name of Lord Cowley is not seen 1989 in the protocols, and that I had, indeed, completely superseded him.
§ THE EARL OF MALMESBURY
I said my noble Friend's name was immediately superseded after he made the excellent observation as to the juxta-position of the two articles. No one knows better how to appreciate my noble Friend's (Lord Cow-ley's) diplomatic services than I do, and I hope always, both in public and in private, to bear testimony to their value.
§ THE EARL OF CLARENDON
I am glad I have given occasion to this explanation. It is certainly true that my noble Friend's name appeared much less oftener than mine in the protocols; but I should be pained, indeed, if any inference prejudicial to my noble Friend should be drawn from that circumstance. In my official capacity I naturally took the precedence of my noble Friend, and I consequently spoke more often in the Conferences, but I did so in his as well as in my own name, and always after previous consultation with him; I likewise received from him all the sound advice and able support which it was possible for me to derive from his experience. I am also anxious to take the earliest opportunity of removing the apprehension of the noble Earl opposite as to the prejudicial influence which he thinks the fall, of Kars exercised on the negotiations and upon the terms of peace which were ultimately concluded. That apprehension, or, as I will take the liberty of calling it, misapprehension, appeared to be so strong on the mind of the noble Earl, that not with standing the secrecy maintained at the Congress, he did not hesitate to record it, before the treaty of peace was laid before Parliament, in a notice of Motion which he placed upon the paper of your Lordship's House, but which, in consequence of what took place elsewhere, he afterwards prudently withdrew. It is perfectly true that the fall of Kars was alluded to by the Russian Plenipotentiaries at the Conferences as an important event, which had taken place since the preliminaries of peace had been agreed to at Vienna, and which gave them some title to advantage, or at least favourable consideration, in the negotiations; but they at the same time said that the conditions having been accepted by the Emperor of Russia—and Count Orloff told me the same thing privately, the day after his arrival at Paris—they should be faithfully and honourably carried out in the negotiations. The Russian Plenipotentiaries 1990 were told that the fall of Kars was known at St. Petersburg at the time the conditions were accepted there, and that no notice was taken of the event; and that as the restoration of territory between the belligerents was a matter of course, and as, in the present case, it was a sine quâ non condition, we could not even admit that it formed matter of discussion. I will not enter into details of the discussions which took place on that subject, because a certain proposal was agreed to at our first meeting, and the complaint of the noble Earl that the first protocols are meagre and unsatisfactory, shows how well that agreement has been adhered to. We determined, in the first instance, that these protocols should merely contain decisions and such opinions as tended to elucidate those decisions, but that all desultory remarks and observations should be excluded, and, above all, anything that might wound national susceptibilities, and leave cause for irritation, in the event of our labours fortunately concluding in peace, should be excluded. However, if the noble Earl will have the goodness to look at the conditions of Vienna, and compare them with the treaty of peace now signed, he will discover that the fall of Kars has not exercised any injurious influence. Those conditions did not originate with us. They were proposed to us, but were made clear and precise by us. We were determined not to accept less, but we could not in honour demand more. I fearlessly appeal to your Lordships and the country, and ask whether those conditions have not been developed and carried out to their legitimate conclusions, and whether they are not stated in clear and unambiguous language? Such being the case, I regret that the noble Earl should have thought it necessary to bring forward the subject of Kars at such length—though I, perhaps, should be the last to complain, because I am the cause, as he told your Lordships, of his having carried his speech about with him so long. I appointed Colonel Williams to his post in the East with the entire approval of my noble Friend at the head of the Government, who first brought him forward and employed him. Colonel Williams was sent as Commissioner to the army at Erzeroum, and if Colonel Williams had been an ordinary man he would have confined himself strictly to his instructions, and reported only the occurrences which took place. The instructions to a Commissioner 1991 sent by the Foreign Office without military command or any military duty are to report to the Foreign Office, or to the Foreign Ambassador, the events and political occurrences which pass under his observation. If Colonel Williams had been an ordinary man, he would have confined himself to those instructions; but he was not an ordinary man. He exceeded his instructions, and determined himself to carry out the reforms which were indispensable to the existence of the Turkish army. His conduct was approved, and he was encouraged to proceed in the same course. It was quite true, that in the early part of his proceedings he did not receive from Lord Stratford that assistance he was entitled to expect; and no one regrets more than Lord Stratford that he left for so long a period the despatches of Colonel Williams unanswered. Even if Lord Stratford had employed himself in obtaining, and had been successful in obtaining, all that Colonel Williams desired, still it was a great error to leave a man like him, situated at a distance, in a position which might add to his difficulties and tend to dishearten him. I admit this—and Lord Stratford would also admit it—but it would be unjust to assume that because Lord Stratford did not write, therefore he did nothing else, or to suppose that in a city like Constantinople things were as well organised as at Paris, or that procrastination was not the rule there and the performance of duty the exception. What Blue-books might have been made out of the Duke of Wellington's despatches, and out of all the disappointments and delays he experienced, not from the ill-will of the Spanish Government, but from their slow habits of business, the want of means and of organisation, and from the dislike of foreign interference which was to be found in all nations, and in none more than in Turkey. The Turkish Ministers are at all times opposed to compliance with foreign representations; and at the moment when Colonel Williams's demands reached Lord Stratford, that noble Lord had actually several important matters on hand. He had to demand the cession of the Heraclean coal mines, to obtain a place for barracking the British troops, he was forming the Turkish Contingent, providing baggage animals throughout the provinces of Turkey, and more especially he was attending to the pacification of the Turko-Greek frontier. I do not wish to defend Lord Stratford on any point on which he 1992 may be rightly censured; but if your Lordships would consider that he had all this business on hand, with political intrigues without end going on, you will have some idea of the difficulties he had to contend with, and will rather think that he deserves credit for having done so much, rather than condemnation for not having done everything. The noble Earl opposite said that Lord Stratford is responsible to the Foreign Minister, and that the Foreign Minister is responsible to Parliament, and he implies that what should have been done was to recall Lord Stratford. Now, I think we should have acted most imprudently if we had at that crisis recalled Lord Stratford and sent out a new Ambassador to represent British interests at Constantinople, who would have taken weeks to get there, weeks more in learning their peculiar ways of conducting business, and still further weeks in learning the proper way of dealing with them. We certainly should not by that have saved Kars, and we should have been deprived of the public services of an eminent man at a critical moment. I say, then, that Her Majesty's Government, under these circumstances, took the only course which they could have taken. They expressed strongly to Lord Stratford disapproval of such of his proceedings as were to be disapproved; they insisted that he should communicate with the Porte, and obtain from it a recognition of Colonel Williams's rank, which would give him authority with the army at Kars, and that his demands should be complied with; and this course was successful, for the Blue-book shows that when Lord Stratford received these despatches he did make exertions and was successful in supplying the wants of Colonel Williams. My Lords, I know very well that Lord Stratford has his defects—who has not?—but his failings are those which arise from the indomitable energy of his character. No man who does not feel strongly can act vigorously; but the worst enemies of Lord Stratford admit that he has always used his experience of the country, and the influence he has gained during his long and honourable career in the East, exclusively for the good of Turkey. It is not too much to say, that it is to Lord Stratford's knowledge, experience, and influence with the Porte, that Europe is indebted for that hattisheriff which is the Magna Charta of the privileges of the Christian subjects of the Sultan, which has established equal justice 1993 in the place of religious domination, and which will, as far as a decree can, unite all ranks and classes of the empire, and achieve one of the great objects of the war by bringing Turkey into fuller intercourse with the Christian Powers of Europe. Whatever Lord Stratford's failings may be, they are certainly not new; such as he is, he has been all his life; and yet it is to my noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Derby) that he is indebted for a seat in this House. Only a short time ago my noble Friend took credit, most properly, for having only recommended to Her Majesty three Peers, and of these Lord Stratford was one. I have been reminded, too, since I came down to this House, that there was at one time a rumour that Lord Stratford had considerable reason to complain of my noble Friend (the Earl of Malmesbury), because he was entitled to expect that he would be appointed Ambassador at Paris. It was said that my noble Friend was not indisposed to recall Lord Cowley and send thither Lord Stratford, whose defects have to-night been so vividly described by him, in order, no doubt, to cement and promote the harmony of that alliance of which my noble Friend flatters himself that he is the author.
§ THE EARL OF CLARENDON
My Lords, I do not propose to follow the noble Earl into everything he said with respect to Kars; but I would ask your Lordships whether, stripped of all party colouring, any charge can be brought against the Government with respect to Kars that does not apply equally to the French Government—unless, indeed, you are prepared to say that we had an interest, exclusively English, in Asia Minor? When I had the honour to attend Her Majesty to Paris, I discussed the whole subject of Kars and Asia Minor with the French Government. I pointed out the dangers that might result to Turkey from that quarter, that both Powers were equally pledged to defend her from those dangers, and that it was imperatively necessary for that purpose to take measures for the relief of Kars. I found the French Government just as much alive to the dangers which threatened Kars and as desirous to send relief as we could be; but it was always urged upon us by various persons with whom we discussed the subject, that Sebastopol was our chief object, that to 1994 Sebastopol all our attention should be directed, that if Sebastopol fell other things would follow as a matter of course, and that in all military affairs of consequence nothing was so unwise, so likely to produce failure, as divided operations. The generals, too, were consulted, and all of them—General Pelissier, General Simpson, General Delia Marmora—were unanimous in the opinion that not a man should leave the Crimea. And what, I ask, what would I have been the feeling of indignation raised throughout the country if the Government had taken on themselves—at a distance of 3,000 miles, and setting aside the wishes of the Turkish Government and the recommendations of the Generals—to send into Asia an army able to compete with that of General Monravieff, which General Williams described as the most efficient he had ever seen, which might have given a lesson on parade to the best European armies, and which, besides being large enough to blockade the whole circuit of Kars, included a large force of cavalry? My Lords, the fall of Kars was a great disaster—a deplorable incident in the war. What its consequences would have been if the war had gone on I will not now pretend to say; but I do declare that that disaster had no prejudicial effect upon the negotiations of peace.
My Lords, I will now offer a few observations upon my noble Friend's criticisms upon the treaty. In the first place, he called your Lordships' attention to the juxtaposition of the 3rd and 4th Articles, referring to what was given up on both sides. But, my Lords, the juxtaposition to which he attaches so much importance, has a cause which he evidently does not understand. The whole of these first Articles relate to the belligerents, they are kept distinct from those which follow, and which relate also to the Powers which had nothing to do with the war. The 6th, the last of the war Articles, which provides for the restoration of prisoners, is generally the last clause in a treaty. Having in the 3rd and 4th Articles provided for the territorial arrangements necessary to complete the peace, the 20th Article, in conformity with the conditions of the Treaty of Vienna, states that—In exchange for the towns, ports, and territories enumerated in Article 4 of the present treaty, and in order more fully to secure the freedom of the navigation of the Danube, His Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias consents to the rectification of his frontier in Bessarabia.1995 The next point taken by my noble Friend refers to the Russian transports, and he asks for an explanation of Count Orloff's statement upon that point. In a conversation that occurred upon the subject of transports, Count Orloff stated that it would be necessary to have them of a considerable size for the conveyance of the troops, and to give them a certain amount of armament; but it was ultimately arranged that the conveyance of the troops might be secured by ships of war, and that six small vessels of about 200 tons each would be sufficient. With respect to Nicholaieff, I must observe that Nicholaielf is not in the same condition with respect to the question of military and naval arsenals as Sebastopol. The Russian Plenipotentiaries did not attach much importance to it; but Count Orloff pointed out that the same principle by which we required the destruction of the works of Nicbolaieff would apply equally to any place situated upon the internal waters and rivers of Russia flowing into the Black Sea, from whatever distance, and that some shipbuilding place was absolutely necessary for Russia in that part of her dominions for the purpose of building and repairing the vessels which she would be entitled by her engagements with Turkey and the other European Powers, to maintain in the Black Sea. What Count Orloff said was very true. He said it was not the existence of an arsenal, but the use to which it was put, that was of importance; and he solemnly declared, on the part of the Emperor of Russia, that neither at Nicholaieff, at Kherson, nor at any port in the Sea of Azoff, nor in any tributary to that sea, would there ever be constructed or maintained any vessel exceeding in number or size those which Russia would be entitled by the treaty to maintain in the Black Sea. My noble Friend complains that this declaration is not included in the treaty; but I do not see that Russia was bound to make any engagement with respect to her inland waters. We had no right to propose that degree of humiliation, and she would not have agreed to it. But the declaration made by the Russian Plenipotentiaries in the name of their Sovereign, and recorded in a protocol which is signed by them, although it may not have all the binding force of a treaty, carries with it a moral obligation which appears to me satisfactory; and I have no hesitation in saying that if one of those protocols were ever violated it might be appealed to successfully 1996 by all the contracting parties, as a binding document.
My Lords, another point to which the noble Earl alluded was the rectification of the Bessarabian frontier; and here also he attributed the arrangement that has been made to some mysterious influence—some spell which he supposes to have been exercised upon my noble Friend and myself, which fettered our independent action; and induced us to make a great concession to Russia. Now, it is quite true that the Russian Plenipotentiaries did bring forward a project to a great extent at variance with the conditions agreed to at Vienna; but that project was unhesitatingly rejected. It did appear, however, that the line of frontier proposed in the Austrian conditions was by no means the best. There was very great doubt as to the existence of what was called "a chain, of mountains." Some maps omitted them altogether; others had them; and there appeared to be no doubt that they were little more than rising grounds—mere watersheds, in short—just a line that would have made a bad frontier and led to great confusion. It appeared, moreover, that it would intersect some Bulgarian colonies in which the Russian Government take great interest, and those colonies, from information I have since received from one of Her Majesty's Consuls, seem to be in a most prosperous condition; the inhabitants are free from the conscription, they are free from taxes, they pay only a small amount of rent, they have a local government, and they can leave Bessarabia when they please. We felt that to insist upon a line of frontier which would, not be a good one, simply in order to keep Russia to the letter of our bond, would be mere chicanery, and we therefore agreed, upon a line which was so clear that it could lead to no doubt or dispute whatever; which gave both sides of the Danube to Turkey, and restored to her all the fortresses upon that river; which gave to Moldavia 200 miles on the Pruth from the point at which it joins the Danube; and which removed all the apprehensions that had been entertained as to the possibility of Russia collecting large flotillas there. Towards the east the frontier line is extended from the Lake Bourna Sola—one side only of which belonged to Moldavia—to the sea, and the Danube will henceforth be free from all obstacles. The removal of the impediments will be entrusted in the first instance to a European Commission, 1997 and the maintenance of perfect freedom of navigation will be confided afterwards to a Riverain Commission, acting on the same principles as those which regulate the management of the Rhine. Your Lordships will see, therefore, that that great European object—the freedom of the Danube—has been successfully accomplished.
I will next refer to the forts on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. Not having obtained any military successes in that quarter—not having, indeed, carried the war into Asia Minor—we were certainly not in a condition to impose terms upon Russia with respect to Mingrelia, Imeritia, and the other countries in that region. It would be extremely difficult, indeed, to know what conditions to have imposed upon Russia. Only two courses were possible—you must either have restored those countries to Turkey, or have rendered them independent. Now, none of those countries would have submitted to be restored to Turkey; and to have declared their independence in the neighbourhood of Georgia, and of a Power like Russia, would have been a mere mockery, particularly as the sympathies of most of the chiefs are with the Russians, who have behaved to them with great kindness and consideration. Among those chiefs, notwithstanding the remarks of the noble Earl opposite, I must include Schamyl, for it is remarkable that the only period during which there have been no military movements whatever against the Russians, on the part of Schamyl and the Circassians, has been the two years of war. They have never shown the slightest sympathy with us, or the least wish to assist our arms. On one occasion, indeed, a chief did engage with the captain of one of Her Majesty's ships to produce 10,000 men at a particular place, on a particular day; but when the officer went to receive them, he could not find a single man. The only evidence we had of their feeling was the declaration of some of their chiefs to obstruct our progress along the east coast of the Sea of Azoff. There can be no better authority as to the disposition of the Circassians than General Williams, who, in a letter to myself, dated the 13th of April, 1855, informed me that Schamyl was only to be found when the invading army arrived near Tiflis, and that it was a notorious fact that this too-much vaunted chieftain did not even succeed last campaign in pillaging that town. In another letter, of so late a date as the 21st of 1998 August, 1855, General Williams states that at that time nothing was known of Schamyl's movements, and that the restitution of his son, together with large sums of money in the form of ransoms, might account for this inaction on the part of the Circassian chief. That does not show any very great activity on the part of the Circassians or their chief in support of the Allies, and does not constitute any great claim upon us in negotiating the treaty of peace. I say, therefore, that, not having been in a position to alter the territorial limits arranged by the Treaty of Adrianople, we confined ourselves to that which was a real grievance to Turkey, and which, by giving rise to encroachments upon the frontier line, has been a constant cause of quarrel for twenty-seven years between the Porte and Russia. We have appointed a mixed Commission, upon which there will be one English and one French officer, for the complete rectification of the Asiatic frontier; but, not having been able to annul the Treaty of Adrianople, we could not require Russia to demolish the forts on her own territory. Count Orloff said, that the forts on the eastern coast of the Black Sea had been built at great expense in most unhealthy localities; that their occupation had been attended with great loss of life; that they were now destroyed, but that he could not engage that nothing of the kind should be built, because some troops must go there, and they must have shelter and be protected against the brigands who infested the whole of that quarter. Moreover, these forts are not forts for purposes of aggression; they were intended for internal objects; in fact, for defending commerce—for assisting the blockade which has been so many years established in these countries; but Count Orloff stated, on the part of the Emperor of Russia, that he hoped the character of the people would be improved by the civilising influence of commerce, that the blockade and other restrictions would be removed, and that all the ports of Russia in that quarter—seven or eight in number—would be opened to foreign trade and would receive foreign consuls.
My Lords, I believe I have now answered most of the objections that were taken to the treaty by the noble Earl opposite, and I shall, if necessary, be prepared to give any further explanation that may be required. But I should ill fulfil the obligations imposed upon me by justice and 1999 gratitude if I did not bear my humble testimony to the honourable conduct, the perfect good faith, and the straightforward proceedings of the Emperor of the French. My Lords, the Emperor occupies a great position, which he has made for himself, and which he deserves, because it is founded upon entire confidence in his honour and fidelity. That confidence will continue to increase, for the great position which he occupies, the great power which he wields, has neither disturbed his calm judgment nor kindled in his breast the flame of ambition. His policy had its reward when, on the 30th of March last, the anniversary of the battle of Paris, the representatives of the same Powers who had signed the Treaty of Paris went in a body to the Tuileries, to announce to the Emperor Napoleon that they had just signed with France, and not against France, another and a very different Treaty of Paris, restoring peace to Europe. My Lords, my noble Friend who moved the Address has alluded to the difficulties of my position, arising out of a general belief in the insincerity of England, founded on the vast preparations which she was making, as it was supposed, for the sake of military glory, and on the warlike spirit which was manifested by the Parliament and by the press of this country. I must acknowledge, my Lords, that when I arrived in Paris I became painfully sensible of the existence of a feeling there that we did not intend to make peace, but to drag France on in a war with us, even after she believed that the objects for which the war was undertaken had been accomplished. But I must say, my Lords, that the Emperor did not share that feeling. The Emperor knew that what we had undertaken to do we should perform. He believed in the honour of England, and he believed that no British Minister and no British representative would have undertaken negotiations for the purpose of securing any selfish objects. But, on the other hand, the Emperor well knew that, faithful as we should be to our own engagements, we should, at whatever risk or hazard, insist that engagements should be kept with us. Now, I believe one of the chief reasons which rendered the notion of a Congress and the negotiations at Paris unpopular in this country, was the impression that Russia was insincere, and that the Conferences of Paris would be put an end to, as those at Vienna were terminated, by Russia. I am, therefore, the more desirous 2000 of saying, that throughout the negotiations, the conduct of the Russian Plenipotentiaries was honourable and straightforward. They certainly did, in a manner of which no one could complain, in a reasonable tone and with great moderation, endeavour to alter some of the conditions which were submitted to the Congress; but they uniformly declared, that if those conditions were insisted upon, they should be faithfully observed, and on no occasion did they pertinaciously insist upon any deviation from those terms to which the other Plenipotentiaries declared their determination to adhere. I must also say, that on more than one occasion, proposals were made to Count Orloff, which were at variance with his instructions, sometimes exceeding them, but which he accepted, and upon which he was obliged to ask for orders from St. Petersburg; and in no one instance did the Emperor of Russia fail to approve, by the telegraph, the conditional acceptance given by his Plenipotentiary. On all occasions, indeed, Count Orloff manifested a desire not only to prove that he acted in good faith, but to meet every wish of the other Plenipotentiaries. I trust—although my noble Friend (the Earl of Malmesbury) thinks that Lord Cowley and I have been somewhat too "soft" in this matter—that your Lordships will agree that, if, without abating one atom of the substance of our conditions, we could, in matters of form, consult the dignity of a Sovereign between whose subjects and those of Her Majesty there existed important relations which could not but be promoted by the restoration of cordiality between the respective Governments, we were right in doing so. I think if your Lordships will reflect upon the state of things which existed two years ago—if you remember the onerous treaties by which Turkey was bound, and which were so interpreted as to give Russia powers of interference in the Ottoman Empire—if you remember that Russia claimed a protectorate over the civil and religious immunities and privileges of many of the Sultan's subjects—that Sebastopol, protecting a powerful Russian fleet, was a standing menace to Turkey—that Russia claimed a protectorate over the Principalities, and claimed and constantly exercised a power of armed intervention—that she was able to obstruct the free navigation of the Danube—that she was meditating the establishment of another Sebastopol in the Aland Islands—that she was aiming at 2001 an occupation of Norway, which would have given her complete command of the Northern seas—if you remember that Russia had created and justified the greatest alarm throughout Europe—and if you reflect that now all the treaties between Russia and Turkey are annulled—that the Sultan has granted reforms, privileges, and immunities to his Christian subjects—that Sebastopol and the Russian fleet are no longer a menace to Turkey—that the seas which were before closed, are now open to free and unrestricted commerce—that the Principalities will no longer suffer from Russian protection, or have cause to fear Russian intervention, but that the institutions which, in fact, they will give themselves, will be placed under the guarantee of Europe—that a treaty has been signed, which is annexed to the general treaty, and therefore part of the national law of Europe, which guarantees the possessions of Sweden and Norway from aggression on the part of Russia—that Austria is now more closely bound to the Western Powers by the treaties into which she has entered—that Sardinia has gained great influence and prestige by the position which has been assigned to her in the Congress of the great Powers of Europe—that the alliance between England and France has been strengthened by the war—and that the common sacrifices and hardships which they have borne have cemented the ties of friendship, good-will, and cordiality, between the two nations—I think, my Lords, you will have no reason to be dissatisfied. I think it will be admitted that the objects of the war have been accomplished, and I trust that a treaty which secures those objects may not be thought unworthy of your Lordships' approval. I trust, also, that the people of this great country—knowing, as they do, that their resources are unexhausted, that their energies are unimpaired, that they never were, at any moment of their history, better prepared for war than at the present time—will be content to sheathe the sword with honour, and remember the calamities of war only the better to appreciate the blessings of peace.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
My Lords, I am very far from denying to the noble Earl that, comparing the condition of this country and its foreign relations at the present moment with what they were two years ago, the war has not been unaccompanied by circumstances which afford reason for satisfaction and congratulation; 2002 but the question between us is, whether all that might have been attained has been effected—whether we have made the full use we might have done of the powers we possessed—and whether by this treaty we have, according to the statement of the Address, "fully accomplished the great objects for which the war was undertaken." I can assure Her Majesty's Ministers that nothing would have given me greater satisfaction than to have been enabled to join in an unanimous Address to Her Majesty upon the Royal Message which has been sent down, announcing the conclusion of peace; and I certainly hoped that the noble Earl, having so long delayed laying before your Lordships the words of the Address, would have taken care—and I think I ventured to make the suggestion to him—that it should be framed in such terms that no possible difference of opinion could have occurred; but, with my conscientious views of the results of the war and the terms of the peace, I cannot consent to adopt that language of high-flown eulogy which Her Majesty's Ministers have thought fit to apply to themselves, and declare that I regard the peace "with joy and satisfaction," and as having been concluded "on conditions honourable to Her Majesty's Crown, and which fully accomplish the great objects for which the war was undertaken," I accept this peace—and I accept, as I believe the country accepts it—without enthusiasm, but without opposition. I believe the country looks upon it as a peace which might have been worse, but which might have been far better—a peace with which they are willing to put up, but not a peace which they think compensates for the sacrifices, the sufferings, the labours, and the expenses of the war. I can only hope that this peace may be permanent. I hope it may have a better fate than that peace to which, unless he was misrepresented, a right hon. Colleague of the noble Earl opposite compared it—the Peace of Amiens,—a peace which that right hon. Gentleman declared was one at which all men rejoiced, but of which all men were ashamed. This is a peace at which all men may rejoice, inasmuch as it must be a matter of general rejoicing that this and other countries are freed from the calamities of war, and enabled to enjoy the blessings of peace; but I say, also, that it is a peace the terms of which afford little, if any, reason for national rejoicing.
2003 My Lords, I cannot complain that my noble Friend who has just sat down has referred to the siege and abandonment of Kars; but I must be forgiven for saying that I do not think his explanation was entirely satisfactory, either with regard to the conduct of the Ambassador or of Her Majesty's Government. I entertain high admiration of the talents and ability of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. It is quite true, as my noble Friend opposite has stated, that I felt it my duty to advise Her Majesty, in reward for Lord Stratford's long labours and able services, to confer upon him a seat in this House, which he had richly earned by his devotion to the public service; but it is not the fact, as my noble Friend has been led to suppose, that I at any time suggested the removal of my noble Friend, who was then Ambassador at Paris, in order to substitute Lord Stratford de Redcliffe; and I think my noble Friend the Ambassador at Paris will recollect the particular circumstances under which he was retained at his post in that capital. Whatever gratitude, however, the country may owe to Lord Stratford for his many and important services—and for none of greater value than those rendered in the position which he has so long filled at Constantinople—Parliament must not omit to censure a neglect which appears to have been prejudicial to the public interest, merely out of consideration for those services. In dealing with Lord Stratford, my noble Friend (the Earl of Clarendon) and the noble Viscount at the head of the Government seem to be under some strange misconception. My noble Friend dwelt apologetically upon the vast demands there were upon the time of the Ambassador at Constantinople, and he said that at the time when Lord Stratford de Redcliffe neglected to write to General Williams, he had six matters, all more important than the relief of Kars, pressing upon him coincidently; and, allowing for a little exaggeration in the estimate here given of the relative weight of the rival subjects claiming his attention, I have no doubt that his time was amply occupied. But, if that be so, what is the meaning of the stern and severe rebuke administered to the Ambassador by my noble Friend for not doing that which, according to this statement, it was absolutely impossible for him, overwhelmed as he was with his multifarious other avocations, to perform? Then my noble Friend says that Lord Stratford 2004 deeply regrets and deplores his neglect of the British Commissioner at Kars, and penitently wishes that he could recall it; but that in the latter period of the siege of that fortress, when it was unfortunately too late to do anything effectual in behalf of its brave garrison, no man could have devoted himself to the business with more zeal and ability than our Ambassador. Yet he sincerely repents of his shortcomings, for which, in no over lenient terms, my noble Friend reprimanded him; and, therefore, what becomes of the assertion of the noble Viscount the First Minister, that Lord Stratford did everything within his power?
§ THE EARL OF CLARENDON
The noble Earl must pardon me for interrupting him, but I should like to know when, the statement was made which he ascribes to Lord Palmerston?
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
The authority on which I spoke is not such as I would always trust, yet it is fully as authentic as many of the public documents laid on your Lordships' table. But, whatever may have been the conduct of Lord Stratford on this point, he was, in the first place, the agent of Her Majesty's Government, and, in the next, whatever blame attaches to him is of small importance as regards the fate of Kars when compared with the omissions directly and immediately attributable to the Ministry. In the eulogium passed by my noble Friend on General Williams, there is not a man who would not cordially and entirely concur, and—as it turns out—no selection for his office could have been better or more fortunate for the public service. But what was his position? He was a Commissioner attached to the Turkish army, precisely, as the noble Earl says, on the same footing as Sir Hugh Rose stood in connection with the French army. He had no power—no authority—no rank. True, being no ordinary man, he took upon himself an authority far beyond any with which he was invested, but there is no denying the fact that if—when it became evident that Colonel Williams must either be practically supreme or fail in his object—Her Majesty's Government at home and the Ambassador at Constantinople had interposed to support him, Kars would have been provisioned, and that fortress would have remained at this moment in the hands of Turkey. That fortress fell from famine and not from force; and if Colonel Williams had been 2005 properly furnished with the authority or money to procure supplies of provisions—as he might easily have been to any amount—the place would never have been captured; for it had fallen from famine and not from war. I say, then, it is indisputable that not our Ambassador, but primarily and mainly Her Majesty's Government, were the cause of that disaster, having left Colonel Williams without the means of laying in those stores which would have enabled him, with the military assistance of his friends, to make Kars absolutely impregnable. It is vain, therefore, for the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to ride off upon the second epoch of this unhappy business, and to tell us that troops could not be spared from before Sebastopol to save this Asiatic stronghold. My Lords, I have thought it my duty to follow my noble Friend through his statement with regard to Kars, and I would not have done so if the question had not borne directly upon the terms of the treaty. I listened with great admiration to the eloquence of the noble Earl who introduced this Motion, and to the speech of the noble Baron who followed, yet, I trust, it will not be deemed disrespectful if I observe that neither of them in the slightest degree touched on the merits of the question before us, or at all attempted to discuss the advantages or the defects of the treaty of peace. The speeches of these noble Lords were excellent addresses in praise of everybody and everything—the gallantry of our troops and of the distinguished men, many of whom are unhappily lost to their country—the bravery of the Turkish forces, as well as of our own army and navy—the foresight and ability displayed by Her Majesty's Government—and last, but not least, the unparalleled efforts made with unparalleled constancy and unanimity by the people of this country for the promotion of the great objects of the war. But, as to the results of those exertions and sacrifices, and their ultimate effect in achieving the great ends which they contemplated, not a single syllable fell from either of the first two speakers. The noble Baron (Lord Glenelg) did, indeed, advert to one point in the treaty, and assured us that the hatti-sheriff granted by the Sultan in favour of his Christian subjects reflects infinite credit on Her Majesty's Government; but allow me to remind him that that document is a condition obtained from our friends and not from our enemies—I can assure the noble Baron that the hatti-sheriff was granted not by Russia, but by Turkey, 2006 Perhaps, also, the noble Baron will allow me to inform him, if he does not know it already, that the hatti-sheriff does not form one of the Articles of the treaty. [Lord GLENELG: I said it did not.] "If," said the noble Lord, "you have got nothing else, you have got that which is worth all the war has cost. It is not a part of the treaty; but we have extorted"—such was the noble Baron's phrase—"extorted the ungrudging consent of Turkey to it."
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
I beg the noble Lord's pardon—it was the noble Earl who talked about "extorting an ungrudging consent."
§ THE EARL OF ELLESMERE
The noble Earl probably alludes to an expression which fell from me in the course of my speech. But what I said, and what I now repeat, was, that the British army had "extorted the ungrudging admiration" of their former enemies.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
Well, I do not exactly understand how a thing can be "extorted" when it is "ungrudged;" but that is a point of rhetorical taste upon which it would be useless to dwell. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs says that the fall of Kars made no difference to the terms of the treaty. I am not going to dwell on the conjunction or the juxta-position of the Articles in the treaty, on the subject of which my noble Friend (the Earl of Malmesbury) made a remark which the noble Earl opposite said was made in ignorance—wherever the Article to which I am about to allude is placed, one thing seems clear—namely, that when the basis of the pacification was originally signed, no provision was made for the restitution of territory by Russia, for the simple reason that she had taken none. The original terms were that, in exchange for the fortified positions and territory occupied by the Allies, Russia consented to the rectification of her frontier in Europe. In the meantime circumstances had changed. Russia had become possessed of the fortress of Kars and of a considerable portion of Anatolia; and, consequently, when at one of the Conferences the restitution of Kars was brought upon the tapis, the Russian Plenipotentiaries, admitting the principle of that restitution, yet expressed a hope that the question would be reserved for discussion till the close of their proceedings, and that in the meantime credit would be given to him for having assented to the concessions already 2007 agreed to. In the first instance, it was one of the preliminary conditions on which we consented to enter into negotiations for peace, that in exchange for Sebastopol, Kertch, Kinburn, Eupatoria, Balaklava, and other places, we should obtain from Russia the very rectification of the territory of Bessarabia that had been arranged at Vienna; but when the Plenipotentiaries came subsequently to discuss the terms of the treaty, the Russian Minister claimed that as a counterpoise for the restoration of Kars, most important alterations should be made in that rectification, and those alterations were made accordingly. Yet the noble Earl the Secretary for Foreign Affairs has the courage to stand up and assure your Lordships that the fall of Kars had no influence one way or the other on the terms of peace, and that Turkey is secure from future danger. And what is this rectification of which the noble Earl makes so light? Here was a district of 300 miles in length and thirty or forty miles in breadth. The Russians gave up both banks of the Danube and of the Pruth, with thirty or forty miles of territory to the east of the latter. But the noble Earl now says that that was an inconvenient line—that it was marked out not by mountains, but by a mere elevation of land. But what is a more convenient or a more usual boundary, not only of territories but of properties, than one which shall include the whole watershed and the sources of the river, whether such watershed be determined by a chain of mountains, or by a mere elevation of land? What, in fact, the noble Earl has given up is150 miles of territory, thirty or forty miles broad; he has brought the Russians back upon the Pruth, and has given them a divided command of that river. But again, where is now Jassy, the capital of Moldavia? Under the original scheme there would have been forty or fifty miles between it and the Russian territory; now, the Russians have been allowed to approach the stream, over which there is a good bridge. The difference between the plan of rectification originally proposed and that to which, owing to the surrender of Kars, we were compelled to accede, may be illustrated by a familiar simile. In the first case, there was a locked door, both keys of which were in the keeping of Turkey; in the second, there was the same locked door, but the parties on each side of it had each a key: and which Power is the more dangerous to be put in possession of such an instrument—Moldavia 2008 or Russia—I will leave to your Lordships to determine. I do not hesitate to assert that, as regards this matter of the rectification of territory, there is a manifest defect in the treaty, and that this defect has been occasioned by the fall of Kars. With respect to the Black Sea, the original proposition was that it should be completely neutralised. It was to be open to the commerce of all nations, but no military arsenals of any description whatsoever were to be erected on its coasts. Your Lordships have the treaty before you, and you can ascertain for yourselves how far that promise has been realised. There is a question to which the treaty makes no allusion, but which, nevertheless, is one of no trivial importance—What is to become of the fortresses of Ismail and Kilia-nova? Are they to be razed? Is there any understanding on the subject? Perhaps the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs will have the kindness to inform us?
§ THE EARL OF CLARENDON
There is no understanding; they are in the territory which will be restored to Turkey.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
Yes; but I am not sure whether it is not Turkish territory that cannot be occupied by Turkish troops; and unless these fortresses be occupied by Turkish troops, they can constitute no security for Turkey. And what about Nicholaieff—the great maritime arsenal at which most of the Russian ships designed for the Black Sea are constructed? Is Nicholaieff to be dismantled or destroyed? The Government may find it convenient now to argue that we had no right to demand that Nicholaieff should be dismantled or destroyed. The Government may find it convenient now to argue that we had no right to demand that Nicholaieff should be dismantled; but such was not the opinion of the noble Earl (the Earl of Clarendon) at the Conferences of Paris. A change in our fortunes, however, necessitated a change in our policy. At the request of the Russian Plenipotentiary, the question was adjourned, which is tantamount to a Motion in this House to postpone the reading of a Bill for six months. The matter dropped; and it is admitted by the Government themselves that Nicholaieff is to be left untouched. We are told, indeed, that the Emperor of Russia will not permit any ships to be built there except such as are expressly mentioned in 2009 the treaty as being intended for the service of the Black Sea. But no such obligation is imposed on him by the treaty. It is simply recorded in the protocol that it is the intention of the Emperor not to permit other ships to be constructed there.
§ THE EARL OF CLARENDON
It is stated in the protocol that the Emperor is under an engagement in that respect.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
The noble Earl will pardon me for assuring him that on this point he is quite in error. The protocol has not one word about "engagement." Instead of a condition that Nicholaieff shall not be used as a naval arsenal for building vessels of war, you are content with the simple declaration that the Emperor has no intention to use it for such purposes. This may be true enough of the present Emperor, but you cannot have any means of ascertaining what may be the intentions in this particular of any future Sovereign of Russia. There is nothing in the treaty to prevent the building of any number of ships at Nicholaieff; and as for Sebastopol, I can see no reason why it should not be rendered impregnable. For commercial purposes the docks may be restored to their original dimensions; and, limiting my observations to the mere provisions of the treaty, I can see no reason why vessels of war may not be floated down from Nicholaieff to the Black Sea, and placed behind the impregnable forts of Sebastopol. Perhaps it may be said that we shall have Consuls at Sebastopol and all other ports in the Black Sea, and that from them we shall be sure to obtain information early enough to render remonstrance effective. Yes, upon the coasts of the Black Sea; but you have agreed that Nicholaieff is not upon that sea, neither is the Sea of Azoff to be considered any portion of it; therefore we have no right to have Consuls at either of those important places. And, after this, you tell mo that you have taken treaty security for the neutralisation of the Black Sea. With regard to the forts on the east coast of the Euxine, my noble Friend says that we had no such success in that quarter as would justify us in demanding the abrogation of the Treaty of Adrianople. I thought that that, like every other treaty between Russia and Turkey, had been abrogated by the war. My noble Friend says that we could not call upon the Russian Government to demolish these forts. I do not know whether, upon the part of the country, he had a right to do so; but I know that the British Plenipotentiary 2010 did ask for the destruction of these forts, and his request was, to use a mild diplomatic term, "adjourned." And now he tells us that we had no right to ask anything of the sort, and he could not expect Russia to grant it. As to military success, I do not know what view the noble Earl takes of the subject. Perhaps he is so intoxicated with greater military successes, not unmingled with some disasters and some imperfections, even in the achievement of the greatest operations, as to think that the naval operations upon the eastern coast of the Black Sea by which these forts were destroyed, and which caused their abandonment by the Russians, were not such as called upon us to maintain the status quo, and to procure that those forts so abandoned and destroyed should not, by these same Russians, be rebuilt and reoccupied. I will not enter into the question of what degree of support or co-operation we may have received from the Circassians, from Schamyl or any other of their chiefs, nor into the question why we did not receive such support; but I ask, not as a question of gratitude or good feeling towards them, but as a question of policy, and of carrying out that which the noble Earl himself declared to be among the principal objects of the war—the limiting of the territory and the repression of the aggrandisement of Russia—whether he can justify having inserted no conditions in this treaty by which these tribes should be maintained in that degree of independence of Russia which has formed, and might continue to form, an important barrier against the aggressions of that Power in the quarter in which they are most dangerous to Turkey? Your object was to repress the aggressions of Russia and to secure the integrity of Turkey; and you neglect to make provision against the expansion of territory and the continuance of aggression precisely on the side on which Russia can at any time best carry out her views of aggrandisement against that Turkey the integrity of which it is your object to secure. I say that that is a signal defect in the treaty. You may say what you like about the indifference to your assistance manifested by those tribes—an indifference occasioned, perhaps, by your injurious interference with their domestic concerns, or by their inability to hold their own; but I say, that in providing for the neutralisation of the Black Sea, for the repression of Russian aggression, and for the integrity of Turkey, 2011 these Circassian provinces were, of all others, those to which you ought primarily to have directed your attention; and this you have wholly and indisputably neglected.
My Lords, there is one point in the treaty which was not touched upon by my noble Friend (the Earl of Malmesbury), and therefore has not been replied to by the noble Earl opposite—I mean the position in which you have left the affairs of the Principalities. Now, if there was one point which it was important to settle, or for the settlement of which to lay down a basis, it was the precise constitution of those Principalities, Moldavia and Wallachia. They form a barrier between Russia and Turkey, and their neutrality and their virtual independence under the suzerainty of the Porte are of primary importance. How have you left the subject of their constitution? You have left it in this way: The Sultan engages to summon divans, ad hoc, for the purpose of ascertaining the wishes of the people. When he has ascertained those wishes, is he to act upon them? Not at all. The contracting Powers are to appoint another Commission, the composition of which is left to future settlement, which is to make its inquiries and to report to a fresh Congress. Having received that report, and that of the divans summoned by the Sultan, you are to have a fresh Congress for the purpose of settling the constitution of the Principalities. Therefore, the constitution of these Principalities, which is essential to the fulfilment of the objects of the war, and to the maintenance of the intergrity and independence of Turkey, is to be left to two separate bodies responsible to two different authorities; one of which is to be constituted by the Sultan, the other to be constituted I know not by whom, and to be organised you know not how. When these bodies have come to a final conclusion you will enter upon the question, of how Moldavia and Wallachia are to be governed. I say this is not the way to conclude a treaty. This concludes only a truce. It leaves open endless causes of dispute and difference, and does not do that which you might have done, namely, bring to a satisfactory conclusion the questions involved in these subjects.
My Lords, there is another point too important to be dealt with incidentally in a debate upon a treaty, of which it does not form a part, but which I cannot pass over without entering my solemn protest against 2012 the act, and still more against the manner in which that act has been accomplished. I mean that declaration of the maritime Powers which has introduced an entirely new rule in the maritime code of England, which has gone counter to the declaration of every statesman in every period of our history, and which abrogates the principle for the maintenance of which we have withstood foreign combinations and resisted foreign invitations to the conclusion of treaties, and which we have held by as the sheet anchor of our naval power. [A noble LORD: The Corn Laws.] Did we repeal the Corn Laws by the unauthorised act of a Plenipotentiary? The Corn Laws were repealed after full discussion, with the knowledge and sanction of both Houses of Parliament. But our maritime supremacy has been surrendered, to use the mildest word—has been given away—has been yielded to I know not what. There is no protocol which tells us what were the arguments in its favour. There is no discussion as to the objects to be gained by it. There is no statement whether it was volunteered by the British Minister. But this I know, that, right or wrong, volunteered by the British Minister, or surrendered by him to the feeling, prejudices, and desires of other countries, it was done in the dark, without the knowledge of Parliament; and that the Minister, sent and trusted by the country to conduct negotiations for restoring peace on certain bases known to the country, took advantage of his position to make an important alteration in the maritime law of England, without the knowledge of Parliament, and without our having the least idea that such our birthright was being given away. This question is too large to be argued now; but I should have thought myself unworthy of a seat in your Lordships' House if, while we are discussing the terms of this treaty, I did not protest against the contents of the paper which I have seen with astonishment and indignation forms an adjunct to the treaty, of which it is undoubtedly no part. For the treaty itself, my Lords, I accept it, as I believe the country will accept it, with some degree of reluctance. I do not regret—God forbid that I should—I cordially rejoice that we are delivered from the horrors and calamities inseparable from war. I hope, far more than I believe, that the peace you have concluded may be enduring. I do not regret that we have shown moderation in our success. I do 2013 not regret that the great efforts which the country has made will end in the exhibition of a mighty naval armament the like of which no country ever saw, and of an army in a condition which nothing can surpass, and that the actions of which that army and navy might have been capable are no longer required. I am willing to believe that the exhibition of that power, that unbroken power, on the part of England, has had some influence in facilitating the conclusion of peace, and I willingly consent that that great naval armament, as it has been the greatest, so it shall be for the present war the last exhibition of the greatness of the nation, and of the incapacity of the Administration which governs it. I say I do not regret that more blood was not shed; I do not regret that we have come to terms of peace. I accept this peace, even such as it is; but if you call upon me, in my place as a Peer of Parliament, to say that in my judgment this peace is honourable to Her Majesty's Crown and completely attains all the objects for which we went to war, I cannot, with all my desire that we should come to an unanimous vote, assert that which I do not believe, and must give my assent to the Amendment proposed by my noble Friend. I do not mean to trouble your Lordships by taking a division upon the question, but I wish to record my opinion together with his that the words of this Address are not justified by the facts, and that, although the nation assents to peace and gladly reposes from war, this is a peace which they do not hail with enthusiasm, but which they accept with reluctance, and which in the opinion of the country and in mine reflects no honour upon the Ministers by whom it was negotiated.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
I do not rise, my Lords, to answer at length the speech of the noble Earl who has just sat down, but simply to make a few observations on certain points on which he has touched; and I can assure your Lordships that I am too well satisfied with the speeches which have been delivered on this side of the House, and, I may say, on the other side of the House too, to break though that resolution. The first point touched on by the noble Earl was the conduct of Lord Stratford. There was a great difference between the two noble Earls who have addressed the House from the Opposition benches in this respect. The noble Earl who commenced this discussion (the Earl of Malmesbury) spoke in a tone of great vituperation; 2014 but the noble Earl who has just sat down (the Earl of Derby) merely contrasted the reprimand addressed by the Secretary of State to Lord Stratford, and the unwillingness of the Government to recall him. Surely, every man of common sense must see that Lord Stratford, having done wrong on one point, and the Secretary of State having reprimanded him for it, it was the duty of the Government, if they should be of opinion that it would, on the whole, be more for the advantage of the Government that Lord Stratford de Redcliffe should remain at Constantinople, not to recall him, and it is clear that, except upon this point, both the noble Earls are of opinion that the noble Lord is the proper person to represent Her Majesty at Constantinople. The noble Earl (the Earl of Malmesbury) attributes the fall of Kars not so much to the Ambassador as to Her Majesty's Government at home. He says that if General Williams had been supplied with money, provisions, ammunition, and authority, Kars would not have fallen. As to authority, it was clearly out of the power of Her Majesty's Government to invest General Williams with the authority which he desired over an army not their own—the Turkish Government alone could do that—and if Her Majesty's Government had sent a Commissioner into Asia, insisting, before his abilities and energy were known, that he should at once take the command of the Turkish, army, it would have given rise to no small complaint. As to money, General Williams never, except upon one occasion, made application for money; and as to provisions and ammunition, they were in Asia even at the early period which has been alluded to, and it was owing to the gross negligence of a Turkish official that they were not stored in safety in Kars long before its investment. Not with standing the very clear and explicit declaration of my noble Friend as to what passed at the Conference in consequence of the possession of Kars by the Russians, to the effect that it was stated most clearly to Count Orloff that, inasmuch as the fall of Kars was known to the Russian Government when they accepted the proposals from Vienna, the demand made by the Russian Government could not be submitted to; yet the noble Earl misstated the facts to the House, and referred to a passage of Count Orloff's observations inserted in the protocol; but your Lordships will see that that passage does not say that this question 2015 will be considered while treating upon the points already settled at Vienna, but upon the consideration of the additional Articles, which had nothing whatever to do with it. With regard to the other stipulations of the treaty, the noble Earl appears to me to undervalue their importance; because, by the communications of the Turkish Government, it was ascertained that the principal things they wished for were the rectification of the boundary in Bessarabia and the opening up to commerce of the eastern coast of the Black Sea, both of which have been secured by the treaty. The noble Earl made another objection, which I thought was not consistent with the facts of the case, as to the effect of the razing of the forts of Ismail and Kilianova. If there was one thing more than another which surprised me in this treaty, it was that the Russians had consented to give up the fortress of Ismail, which is connected with one of their greatest military achievements; but when your Lordships remember that the whole of the Powers have guaranteed the integrity of the frontier as newly laid down, and that three of the Powers have declared it to be a casus belli if the provisions of the treaty are infringed, it was, you will allow, something very like special pleading for the noble Lord to argue that Ismail was not really restored to Turkey. The noble Earl has expressed his regret that Nicholaieff was not included in the treaty, instead of being made merely the subject of a declaration in the protocols; and he stated that Sebastopol was still a standing menace to Turkey, as there was nothing to prevent Russia, reconstructing the docks, fortifying them, and building any description of vessels she pleased. But I put it to your Lordships whether there is not that moral obligation imposed by a declaration made so solemnly in the face of all Europe by the Plenipotentiary acting on behalf of his Sovereign, which Sovereign has afterwards ratified the treaty, which would give us a right to protest, and even to proceed to further extremities, should any breach of it be attempted. If we are not to place confidence in this sort of expressions, the value of the treaty itself must be very much weakened. The noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) repeated the objection of the noble Earl near him with regard to Sebastopol. He said it would not be a difficult thing to build a new town, to fortify it, and to construct commercial docks. I speak certainly with very great deference 2016 in the presence of those who are so much better acquainted with these things than I am; but, I ask you, would it not be a direct infraction of the treaty if Russia were to rebuild her docks, calling them commercial docks, and then to fortify them, as the noble Earl suggests? Would not the treaty be clearly broken by such a perfidious proceeding? When the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) talked of the Circassians, he moderated his tone a little from that adopted by the noble Earl near him, in consequence of the noble Secretary for Foreign Affairs having pointed out how little the acts of the Circassians really put us in a position to justify us in urging a point not easy to be obtained in their favour. The noble Earl said that we compromised the Circassians, and asked what Colonel Loyd was about? I regret to say that he died immediately after the battle of the Alma, and never reached Circassia; and Mr. Longworth, another agent, did not succeed in making any arrangement with the Circassians. Perhaps the noble Lord will say that this was owing to not employing able agents; but exactly the same ill success attended the efforts of the French Commissioner. I must say, however, that when the noble Earl complains of the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary for not carrying out all his views on this question, he speaks as if Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary had been sitting in his own room and dictating despatches to some subordinate, bound to execute his intentions. But there were other Plenipotentiaries concerned—those of our Allies as well as of the belligerents to whom we were opposed; and I ask your Lordships whether you think it would have been possible to prolong the war because these arrangements were not made for the Circassians, in insisting on which, I venture to say, my noble Friend would not have been supported by any other nation represented at the Co0ngress? The noble Earl made one observation which I am willing to attribute to a slip of the tongue. It was surprising that one who has had no small share in persuading this nation to make one of the noblest sacrifices ever witnessed for the abolition of slavery in our own colonies should have said that Her Majesty's Government had pursued an ill-judged policy in endeavouring to put an end to the slave trade in Circassia. With regard to the Principalities, the noble Earl said that the arrangement with respect to those provinces was one of the principal points 2017 on which he found fault with the Government, and he thought that nothing would have been so easy as for the Plenipotentiaries at Paris to settle the question off hand and to have done with it. Now, I think, we are acquainted sufficiently with the consequences of Congresses proceeding on the assumption that they know better than the people of the country they are dealing with what is best for their welfare. I venture to say that there was not sufficient knowledge on the part of the Plenipotentiaries at Paris to enable them to come to a satisfactory arrangement on the subject of the Principalities, or one pleasing to the inhabitants. The noble Earl said that a Divan was to be called to express the wishes of the inhabitants, then a Commission was subsequently to be formed, and that references were to take place from one to the other; which would lead to endless confusion. This is not a correct statement. The Commission is not to be subsequently appointed, but is to be ready to confer with the Divan representing the wishes of the people. The noble Earl said that he would reserve his animadversion on another part of the proceedings, and then went on in every possible way to discredit what had been done by Her Majesty's Plenipotentiaries, in regard to the maritime law. Whenever that question may come on for discussion we shall be able to show the noble Earl, who is such a stickler for precedent, that the Government strictly followed the precedent invariably set with respect to treaties or conventions with foreign nations, and would show, moreover, most triumphantly, that what was thus settled would not only be an immense advantage to mankind, but would be most especially beneficial to the interests of this country. It was said by the noble Earl that nothing could show more the greatness of the nation and the incapacity of the Administration than the events of the late war. Now, as to the former, I freely admit that the steadiness and determination of this nation during the war, and its calmness and good sense now that we are in the enjoyment of the blessings of peace, have been beyond all praise; but with regard to the incapacity of the Government, I must say it was most extraordinary that, to prove the incapacity of the Administration, the noble Earl should have taken as his illustration one of the greatest armaments which this country was ever able to produce. The noble Earl concluded by stating that he 2018 could not regard the treaty with feelings of joy or satisfaction, and I am grateful to the noble Earl that, while entertaining that opinion, he shrinks from taking a division on the Address. I conclude that the noble Earl had some fear that he should not have many noble Lords on his side if he were to divide the House; he had probably assumed that the contrary would be the case, as he had in the case of "the fall of Kars," and had in vivid recollection what took place elsewhere in that matter, and feared the same result in this House. In conclusion, I congratulate my noble Friend the Foreign Secretary on what has taken place this evening. Considering all the difficulties of his position, to have restored the inestimable blessings of peace to Europe, and to have fully and amply, at the same time, carried out all the objects of this great war, without leaving any embittered feeling on the part of any of the nations of Europe, is a triumph he may well be proud of, and it is one which will not in the slightest degree be affected by any of those little objections to details which have been urged this evening.
§ THE EARL OF ABERDEEN
My Lords, it is not my wish or intention to enter into any details of the treaty; but I wish to say that, as no man ever more earnestly desired than myself to prevent the calamities of war, none can now more cordially rejoice in the restoration of peace. I rejoice that the warlike reputation of my noble Friend now at the head of the Government has rendered it possible to make a peace wise and honourable in itself, but which, if it had been made under my auspices, might, perhaps, have produced discontent and excited serious reprehension. I think the peace wise and honourable to Her Majesty's Crown. It is not, indeed, of the triumphant character of that treaty which it was my good fortune to sign in the same capital some forty years ago; that was a moment of unexampled glory and success, but the present treaty is one which amply fulfils the objects for which the war was undertaken, and such therefore as ought to be satisfactory to every reasonable man. I entertain no doubt that, whatever may be the criticisms which we hear now on the terms of pacification, this treaty will meet with the approbation of the country; for it is a remarkable circumstance in the history of the last century, that all our treaties of peace, however unpopular and objected to at the time they were made, have always, ultimately, been sanctioned by the 2019 deliberate opinion of posterity. There could not be a stronger instance of this than the declaration of Mr. Pitt, which I very well remember to have heard him make, that he thought the treaty of Utrecht a very good one, but it had been much disfigured and misrepresented for party purposes. My noble Friend on the cross benches (Earl Stanhope), who has done so much for the history of his country, has described wisely and justly the treaty of 1763, looking at it from this distance of time; but if he had lived in those days, he would, very probably, have entertained the same opinions as his illustrious relative, Lord Chatham, who described it as a treacherous, insecure, and disgraceful capitulation. But not only have all treaties of peace during the last century, however much objected to at the time, been acquiesced in, but they have been ultimately approved by posterity. I will go further and say, that with regard to wars, the operation which has taken place has always been the converse. Wars which have been extremely popular when they were undertaken have, by the verdict of posterity, been less favourably judged. The most popular war in which the country was ever engaged—truly a war of the people, as the late war has sometimes been called—was that one into which Sir Robert Walpole was reluctantly dragged. I believe there is no one who will now hesitate to declare, that it was one of the most unjust and unnecessary wars this country ever engaged in. It is but natural, that when the passions of men are excited, they should not be able to judge of events as coolly as after those events have passed away—and, consequently, wars which have been popular when entered upon, have been looked upon with different conclusions when the passions have passed away. I will not undertake to say, that the war in which we have recently been engaged, will have the same fate as its predecessors. I never felt the slightest doubt respecting its justice; and, although the policy of a war must always be more or less a subject of debate, we have every reason to believe that the universal judgment of the country upon it was clearly pronounced. At the same time, I will not undertake to say, that our posterity may not come to a different conclusion, both as to its necessity and its justice. [Earl GREY: Hear, hear!] Some noble Lords have, I know, anticipated the verdict of posterity. But, however reluctant I was, and no one could be more reluctant, 2020 to engage in the war, I cannot deny that it was justified by the great interests of the country. My noble Friend (the Earl of Clarendon) has fully carried out a declaration which I had great satisfaction in hearing him make shortly before his departure for Paris. My noble Friend said that the peace, in order to be durable, must be honourable to all the parties concerned in it; and I think that the present treaty answers that description, that it is honourable, not only to the Allies, but also to the Power with whom they were at war. I will not trouble your Lordships by referring to it in detail, but there are one or two Articles, with respect to which I wish to obtain some explanation. In the first place, I do not perfectly understand what will be the operation of the Article with respect to what is called the neutralisation of the Black Sea. Russia and Persia might easily enter into an agreement with respect to a sea situated like the Caspian, or we may agree with the United States to regulate the military force in the American Lakes, but the Black Sea is open to all the world. The neutralisation clause sounds well, and consecrates what appears to be a good principle; I should like to see the Mediterranean also neutralised, but that would be impossible, and I am afraid it will be found practically impossible to neutralise the Black Sea. The clause must either give enormous advantages to Russia, or it must be inapplicable. The Turkish fleet can enter the Black Sea when it pleases, it will be prevented from doing so merely by the obligation of the treaty; but if Russia ever had reason to apprehend an attack by the Turkish fleet, and applied to you, what are you to do? You must either guarantee her from any such attack, or you must allow her to make preparations for her own defence. Either, you guarantee Russia from an attack by the Turks, or your neutralisation conies to nothing. You say it is not probable that Turkey will attack Russia. Perhaps not, under ordinary circumstances; but we cannot tell what combinations may hereafter take place, which may give Turkey the means and the inclination to attack Russia. My noble Friend at the head of the Government has, over and over again, stated that the war ending in the Treaty of Adrianople was provoked by the Turks, and that they were entirely to blame. I do not say that this opinion was correct, but at least such a contingency is not impossible.
2021 I also wish for some explanation with respect to the Article which refers to the act of the Sultan conferring rights and privileges upon his Christian subjects. No one can rejoice at that act more than I do, or can give more credit to Lord Stratford for the great ability he displayed in obtaining it. It leaves nothing to be desired. I find that the hatti-sheriff is communicated by the Sultan to the Conference at Paris; but that body, while not undervaluing the importance of the document, declares it to be clearly understood that it does not give to the European Powers a right to interfere, either individually or collectively, in the relations of the Sultan with his subjects, or in the internal government of his dominions. That makes the hatti-sheriff of less value than it might be, because it precludes the contracting Powers from interfering in its execution, and that prohibition is included in the treaty of peace itself. Now, I know enough of Turkey to be aware that, without the constant superintendence of the other Powers to secure its execution, the hatti-sheriff will not be worth the paper on which it is written; and if they be prohibited by treaty from interfering, the Christians will be worse off than before. I may appeal to my own experience. Ten or twelve years ago, when I was at the Foreign Office, a Christian turned Mahomedan, but repented shortly after, and resumed his former religion. They put him to death. The same thing was done more than once. Upon that I insisted that the law should be abolished. They said they would be ready to abolish any human law, but this was a Divine law, and they could not meddle with it. However, I persevered, and at last, by means of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, obtained the abolition of the law. But, like all other Turkish engagements, it was not adhered to, for I believe that several persons have been murdered since for the same offence. Although I had no hatti-sheriff, I did not hesitate from interfering authoritatively to put a stop to such an abominable practice. I believe this treaty would have prevented me from doing so, and it will prevent my noble Friend, whatever his own wishes may be, from interfering to put an end to abominations that still exist in Turkey. No man could value more than I do the provisions of the hatti-sheriff, but it appears to me that its efficacy is completely destroyed by that passage in the treaty 2022 which declares that the contracting Powers should not be entitled to interfere with its execution or with any of the internal affairs of the Sultan. Perhaps the noble Earl the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, will be able to give some explanation of this. I have no doubt that should Lord Stratford remain at Constantinople, he will take care to have the hatti-sheriff put in execution; but, suppose Turkey were to call in the aid of Russia to prevent your interference in its internal government, would Russia not have a right to oppose your proceedings as contrary to the engagements of the treaty of peace? I trust some explanation will be given to us upon the point to which I have thus briefly referred. Upon the whole, however, I think the treaty is all we could expect—honourable to Her Majesty's arms, and creditable to the noble Earl, whose wise and conciliatory conduct of the negotiations helped to secure it.
§ LORD COWLEY
My Lords, it is with extreme diffidence that I present myself before your Lordships. Personally unknown to the great majority of you, and speaking for the first time in public, nothing but a sense of duty could have induced me to rise on the present occasion; but, having been engaged in the negotiations at Paris, and having put my name to the treaty now under consideration, I think I should be almost wanting in respect to your Lordships if I did not trouble you with a few observations. I shall confine myself to the two questions asked by the noble Earl who spoke last. First, with regard to the neutralisation of the Black Sea; the noble Earl inquires whether, in the event of Turkey making an aggression upon Russia, the Allies would go to the assistance of the latter. That point was discussed in the Conferences, and it was laid down as a general rule that if either party violated the conditions of the treaty, the Allies would go to the assistance of whatever party required their help. But if the noble Earl will read the treaty, he will find that the case he puts can hardly arise, because the parties to the treaty bind themselves not to commit any act of aggression without giving the other Powers an opportunity of meeting the difficulty. With regard to the second question—the execution of the hatti-sheriff—it was not the intention of the Congress to limit the power of diplomatic interference—that is expressly stated—but to prevent the Government of the Sultan being constantly harassed by applications from foreign 2023 Powers with regard to the internal affairs of the empire. The noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) may have an opportunity of making any inquiries on this point from the Grand Vizier, who will shortly be in England, and who will, I am sure, be ready to give him every information. I have only to remark upon the general question that I think the treaty has been discussed this evening too much as if England had been the only party on one side, and Russia on the other. It should be remembered that other Powers were engaged in this transaction—that we were not alone—and that, in fact, from the day on which we entered into the alliance with France we practically gave up our right to independent action, both in reference to the operations of war and to the negotiations for peace. With regard to the operations of war, I think that if we had been able to have an undivided command in the field we might have stood in a much better position than at present. That, also, is more or less true with regard to the negotiations for peace:—We were obliged to take into consideration the wishes and ideas of the other Powers that went along with us in the negotiations, and could not act entirely on our own. Nevertheless, I believe the treaty is a good and honourable one, worthy the acceptance and approval of your Lordships, and the approbation of the country at large.
§ EARL GREY
My Lords, though I did not intend to take any part in this debate, I cannot allow it to close without expressing my entire dissent from the observations of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) with regard to that modification of the maritime law which our Government have so wisely accepted. So far from agreeing with the noble Earl upon that subject, I feel deeply grateful to the Government and to the Plenipotentiaries of the various Powers represented at Paris for having adopted what I believe to be one of the greatest advances made for a long course of years in the progress of civilisation and humanity. I am persuaded that we have acted rightly in giving up the powers which we formerly exercised against neutrals at sea in no very gentle or creditable manner. Does any man believe, looking at the present state of the world, that those odious and intolerable powers, pressing so unjustly upon neutrals and innocent persons, could be now exercised by any of the great Powers without involving ourselves in hostilities 2024 with all the maritime nations of the world? We have, therefore, great reason to rejoice that now, when it can be done without any suspicion of our being overawed by other nations, we are enabled to give up voluntarily powers which we could not put in execution without the extremity of danger. I say, moreover, that England, the greatest commercial country in the world, will gain more than any other from this new principle of maritime law. I confess I heard with extreme astonishment from the noble Earl that he objected to the manner in which this alteration has been made. If there is one principle of the constitution more clearly recognized than another, it is that the Crown acts on behalf of the nation in its relations with all foreign countries; that it is for the Crown to contract such engagements as it thinks fit, and that Parliament has the right to censure the servants of the Crown for any improper advice which they may give. Our constitution does not resemble that of the United States, where treaties entered into by the Executive must be ratified by the Senate; but in this country treaties entered into by the Crown, and ratified by the Crown, are binding upon the country, whatever may be the opinion of Parliament. This country has, at various times, by treaties with Sweden, Holland, and other States, consented to a temporary or permanent modification of the rights it possessed by maritime law; and these objects were effected, not by the authority of Parliament, but simply by treaties ratified by the Crown. The noble Earl below me (the Earl of Aberdeen) has referred to the hatti-sheriff, as it is called, which the Porte has granted to its subjects. My noble Friend went into the general question of the policy we are pursuing towards Turkey; and I think from the answers which were given to his inquiries by the noble Lord who followed him (Lord Cowley) that we have reason to form very alarming anticipations with regard to the future. Now, what are the facts with regard to this hatti-sheriff? I find it stated in the treaty that the contracting Powers recognize the value of the firman, but state that it cannot give them the right to interfere, in any case, in the relations of the Sultan with his subjects. When I read that article, I thought, like my noble Friend, that it would place Turkey in a position very different from that which she has hitherto occupied. I know that the 2025 Governments of this country have, for many years, been in the habit of interfering with respect to the treatment of the Christian subjects of Turkey; I know that this very hatti-sheriff was not the voluntary act of the Sultan, and it is a farce to speak of it as if it were so. It was, in fact, a measure extorted by the Ambassadors of England and France, in consequence of the weakness and inability of the Sultan to resist demands so pressed upon him; but when I saw the statement in the treaty that the firman gave the contracting Powers no right of interference on matters concerning the internal Government of the Sultan, I thought that Turkey had made a great step in advance, and had obtained an independence which she never before possessed. The explanation which has been given, however, completely destroys that idea, for we are told it is distinctly understood that the Article does not limit the right of diplomatic interference, and what other interference could there be? We are, then, in this situation:—Turkey has passed certain laws with regard to her Christian subjects, and if any abuse of these laws takes place we are to bring diplomatic pressure to bear upon the Sultan. Now, what will be the consequence? The hatti-sheriff has been panegyrized in very glowing terms, and noble Lords on both sides of the House have expressed a high opinion of its extreme importance; but if the enforcement of the firman is left to Turkey, it is not worth the paper upon which it is written. The regulations of the hatti-sheriff are directly opposed to the religion of the Koran, and in such cities as Bagdad or Damascus, where there is a bigoted and numerous Mussulman population and a small Christian population, do you think it is possible that the Pashas or Turkish authorities can attempt to place Christians upon an equal footing with Mussulmans? I have been told, indeed, that when the hatti-sheriff arrived at Bagdad the Pasha took to his bed in sheer despair at the impossibility of carrying out a law which he had no means of enforcing. The Christians themselves are alarmed at any attempt to enforce such laws, because they know that if a Government so weak as that of Turkey endeavoured to put laws of this description in force in distant provinces, the passions of the bigoted Mussulman population would be so strongly excited against the Christians, that they would probably suffer far more from direct 2026 violence than they had done from the operation of the old Turkish laws. I am persuaded that the whole system of hatti-sheriffs is an attempt to accomplish an impracticable object, for you cannot make people like the Christian and Mahomedan subjects of Turkey live together amicably by such means. It is admitted, I believe, that this law will be entirely nugatory unless it is supported by diplomatic interference. The result will be, then, that every Pasha will find, in carrying on the ordinary government of his province, that the consuls of European nations are viceroys over him. Every act of the Pashas will be reported to the Ambassadors at Constantinople, and they will be in constant dread of being recalled. Every man who has, or fancies he has, a grievance, and every personal enemy of a Pasha, will apply to the consuls. The English and French consuls may probably take different views of the same case, and the result will be to produce throughout the provinces of Turkey a state of absolute anarchy. I know that it is very shocking to contemplate the misery and evils that would prevail in Turkey without European interference; but, with the full knowledge of those abuses, I say deliberately that I am persuaded you do more harm than good by these attempts at interference. Anarchy is worse than tyranny, and nothing but anarchy can result from an attempt to divide authority between the diplomatic agents of foreign Powers and the native officials. I think the importance of this subject is not duly appreciated. We call upon Turkey to admit her Christian subjects to an equality of rights and privileges with her Mahomedan subjects. Now, is it possible for any Government to rule with mildness and equality subjects whose affections it does not possess, who regard it with feelings of bitter hostility, and who look forward with anxiety to the time when they may be able to contribute to its overthrow? Are not these the feelings of the Christian subjects of the Porte, and were they not manifested during the late war? Was it not solely by the intervention of the British and the French that an insurrection in the European dominions of Turkey was prevented from becoming general, and probably successful? It is impossible, after 400 years of the most galling tyranny, that any other than the most hostile feeling towards their oppressors can exist in the minds of the Christian population of Turkey; and therefore, 2027 I say, that to ask the Government of the Porto to admit this portion of its subjects to an equality of rights and privileges with the Mahomedans is to make a demand upon it which it is not in its power effectually to concede; and it is vain to imagine that the system you seek to establish can ever practically work. This was one of my main objections to the original policy of the war—objections only the more confirmed by all that has since occurred. The contest, undertaken ostensibly to uphold the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire, has, in my opinion, tended greatly to accelerate that inevitable and rapidly approaching issue—the dismemberment and dissolution of Turkey as a Mahomedan State. Entertaining that conviction, I extremely regret the Additional Treaty laid on the table on Friday last, the assent to which is an act of the greatest imprudence, binding this country, as it does, without any limitation of time or restriction as to circumstances, to prop up and sustain a crumbling and doomed empire, a burden which no strength can bear. In conclusion, I cordially concur in thanking the noble Earl (the Earl of Clarendon) for the manner in which he has fulfilled the pledge that he gave to this House before he undertook his mission to Paris; for I believe that we owe him a debt of gratitude for having powerfully contributed to the termination of the calamities of war.
The DUKE OF ARGYLL
admitted that the clause of the treaty relating to the hatti-sheriff promulgated by the Porte by no means solved the difficulties inseparable from the rule of a Mahomedan Government over a Christian population; but wholly dissented from the opinion of the noble Earl who preceded him, that that stipulation added to the dangers inherent to such a state of affairs. On the contrary, he thought it would diminish them. The hatti-sheriff of the Sultan contained a detailed enumeration of the various rights and privileges to be enjoyed by his Christian subjects, guaranteeing their continuance for the future; but it as distinctly declared that the issue of that instrument did not authorise any other Power to interfere with the internal administration of his dominions. The noble Earl (Earl Grey) forgot the danger against which we were guarding. We never objected to the bonâ fide interposition of Russia to protect the Greek Christian in the interest of religious toleration, but we conceived that that plea had been used by Russia as a pretext for 2028 usurping a practical right of interference with the internal government of the Ottoman Porte. He was glad to have the approval of the noble Earl to the resolution come to by Her Majesty's Government to give up the maritime doctrine so long maintained by this country, and to sanction the principle that henceforth all property, save contraband of war, should be protected by neutral bottoms. The Government were not fairly open to the censure of having taken this step in an illegitimate or unconstitutional manner.
said he could not forbear to express his deliberate opinion that the new convention respecting maritime rights had been agreed to in a strictly constitutional form. There could be no doubt that the prerogative of the Crown extended to the adoption of such a stipulation without the previous consent of Parliament. Such had hitherto been the practice of the constitution, and such he hoped it would ever remain. Unquestionably it was the law of nations that neutral bottoms did not make neutral goods, and that belligerents had the right of seizure; but this was a right which could not now be enforced, and he exceedingly rejoiced at the change that had taken place, which would confer an inestimable blessing on the civilized world.
§ On Question, that the Words proposed to be left out stand Part of the Motion, it was Resolved in the Affirmative: Then the said Address was agreed to; and a Committee was appointed to prepare the Address: The Committee withdrew; and, after some Time, Report was made of an Address drawn by them, which, being read, was agreed to; and Ordered to be presented to Her Majesty by the Lords with White Staves.