§ THE EARL OF ST. GERMANS
begged to ask the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, whether a Proclamation which appeared in The Times that morning, and which purported to be signed by "Alexander John Couza I., Prince"—not Hospodar—" of the United Principalities," was genuine or not? After the caution which the noble Earl gave their Lordships the other evening he should not now advert to the question of the election of Colonel Couza, and the possible doubt of its validity, nor to the question of the union of those Provinces. But as this proclamation distinctly declared that the gentleman who called himself Prince Alexander John I, was about to mount the throne by virtue of his election, and made no mention whatever of the necessity of his investiture by the Ottoman Porte, or of the suzerainty of that Power, which was distinctly and expressly proclaimed by all the great Powers at Paris in August last, he was justified in asking the noble Earl whether that proclamation was or was not genuine. For his own part, he believed that the absolute independence of those Provinces was an absolute impossibility. Unless they were under the suzerainty of the Sublime Porte they must naturally fall to Russia, and that result would hardly be satisfactory to this country, which lately embarked in a great war to maintain the existing territorial limits of that Power.
§ THE EARL OF MALMESBURY
said, he had had his attention drawn to the proclamation published in The Times, and apparently issuing from M. Couza. He had not seen it before, and he had not received it officially at the Foreign Office. Whether it was a genuine document or a forgery could signify very little at the present moment. The Porte, according to the convention signed last year, had called the Powers who signed that convention together to judge of certain events and acts which had taken place since the constitution which that convention established had been put in force: stating that certain acts of illegality, and acts contrary to the spirit of the convention, had taken place in the provinces, and it would be for the Congress to consider and decide the points laid before it by the Porte. He hoped the congress would be able to meet next week. It could not have met sooner, as the Turkish Ambassador had only just re- 5 ceived his instructions. Lord Cowley was expected to reach London on Sunday, and would be in Paris a day or two afterwards, and he believed there was nothing to prevent the Congress meeting to discuss these matters next week.