HL Deb 20 May 1880 vol 252 cc69-103

, in rising to move that an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty in answer to her gracious Speech from the Throne, said: I trust I can rely on that indulgence which your Lordships have been wont to accord to others who have undertaken this duty.

But, my Lords, this occasion is somewhat peculiar, for although it is the privilege of your Lordships' House to stand aloof from those electoral contests that agitate the public mind out-of-doors, it is impossible even here not to detect signs of a great battle having been fought and won.

My Lords, there is not one amongst your Lordships that will not rejoice in the announcement that Her Majesty's relations with foreign Powers continue to be of a cordial and friendly character. But yet grave causes for anxiety are not wanting. In the East of Europe more particularly the arrangements that have been made for the regulation of the affairs of Turkey are not yet complete. I think your Lordships will agree that now that England has united with the Powers of Europe in framing the Treaty of Berlin, it has become the duty of the Government—whatever Party may be in power—to endeavour to secure for the provisions of that Treaty a prompt and entire fulfilment.

Your Lordships will recollect that by Article 29 and other Articles of the Treaty of Berlin it was provided that the Porte should cede certain territories to the State of Montenegro; and it is scarcely necessary for me to remind you that this cession has not yet been made. A few days ago, my Lords, it almost seemed as if the discontent of the Albanians in the matter was about to kindle afresh the smouldering embers of civil war; and although later accounts bear a more favourable aspect, it can scarcely be denied that the time has come when the fulfilment of these Articles of the Treaty may be energetically demanded. The case of the Greek Frontier stands on a somewhat similar footing. The joint recommendation of the Powers in favour of a rectification of the Frontier has been so far acted upon that a Commission has been appointed by the Greek and Turkish Governments; but their conferences, though prolonged, have led to no results. My Lords, whatever may have been the causes or motives for this procrastination in the cases of Montenegro and Greece, it is obvious that the effects on the inhabitants of the districts whose future is under discussion must be most disastrous. Surely, my Lords, it is not too much to hope that the Powers will be able to take such concerted action as will cause their recommendations to be attended to, and restore to these unhappy people the tranquillity which has been so long denied them.

It must be satisfactory to your Lordships to know that Her Majesty's Government are prepared to take active measures to insure, if possible, the needful co-operation of the signatory Powers.

My Lords, the introduction of reforms into the government of the subject-races of Turkey is a subject of even greater importance. In the Treaty of Berlin it is provided that organic laws should be prepared for the Provinces of European Turkey; and I understand that these statutes have been so far completed that they are at last about to be submitted to the International Commission which was formed for the organization of Eastern Roumelia.

With regard to Asiatic Turkey, however, the Porte is bound with a double tie to England, for the Convention of June 4, 1878, expressly stipulates for reforms; and the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Salisbury), in the same year, wrote a despatch stating, in clear and specific terms, the nature of the changes which he considered to be necessary. About the same time, the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Carnarvon), formerly Secretary of State for the Colonies, called attention to the condition of the Armenians, and I believe his description might have applied to other parts of Asia Minor. But, my Lords, I fear that little or no alteration has yet been made in this state of things, though the Turks have shown that they are not unacquainted with the fact that Commissions of Inquiry may be made the means of postponing a decision on troublesome subjects. The Papers laid on the Table of the House, and the narratives that have appeared in the public prints, agree in representing the condition of these people as miserable in the extreme It would be easy to overwhelm you with quotations to prove that the evil is as deep-rooted as it is dangerous. I will, however, quote but one single paragraph from a recent Report of a British officer in Syria. He remarks incidentally that— Connivance of the police with the thieves is as usual notorious; hut does not, according to rumours in this case, extend to the colonel, hut only to the bombasni (major). My Lords, it is not humanity alone which calls for our interference It is not too much to say that misgovernment has for long been draining the life blood of the Turkish Empire; and if continued it must inevitably bring about a recurrence of those disturbances which of late years have endangered the peace of Europe.

My Lords, the interests of peace and humanity combine with the interests of the Turkish Empire in demanding your Lordships' support for Her Majesty's Government in a zealous effort to remedy these abuses.

My Lords, not the least important paragraph in the Speech from the Throne deals with the affairs of India, and for many reasons I should have desired to offer some observations on the subject; but I shall not attempt to forestall the remarks that will be addressed to your Lordships by the noble Lord beside me.

I will only say, what few will now deny, that in Afghanistan we have as yet accomplished but the easier part of our task. I do not think I detract from the valour of our soldiers or the merit of their generals, both abundantly manifested in these campaigns, when I say that no one seriously contemplated the possibility of their failure. But to annihilate the government of a country like Afghanistan is one thing, to reestablish it is another. And yet, my Lords, the political and financial condition of India so urgently demands an early settlement of the country, that I cannot but entertain a hope that after all the time may not be so far distant as present circumstances would make it appear.

Turning to the affairs of South Africa, the Speech from the Throne recalls our attention to the subject of Confederation, which, no doubt, in consequence of the war, has of late fallen into the background. I have no doubt that your Lordships would readily re-affirm the expediency of a Confederation of the South African States, for effecting which a Bill was passed by the House some years ago. I observe that there is some hope that a proposal may soon be made in the Cape Parliament to hold a Conference of the various Colonies on the subject; and no one who has considered the position of those Colonies can do less than wish success to their deliberations.

My Lords, since the question was be-fore this House, your Lordships are aware a change has taken place in the government of the Transvaal. I offer no opinion on the expediency of the annexation of that country; but as it has taken place, there can be little doubt of the necessity of maintaining the supremacy of the Queen in that part of South Africa. The evil effects of any withdrawal on Native opinion, and the possibility, or oven probability, of a renewal of those Frontier disturbances which were among the primary causes of the Zulu War, justify, in my opinion, the determination to maintain our rule.

My Lords, the population of the Transvaal consists, in addition to the Dutch settlers, of a small quantity of English and a vastly preponderating number of Natives. If the Confederation to which I have alluded be carried out, I think it would not be impossible, while providing for the superintendence by the Federal Government of what I may term the foreign affairs of the country, and securing the enactment of just and equitable laws for the protection and regulation of the indigenous races, to concede to the White inhabitants of the Transvaal the same freedom of local self-government under which many British Colonies have flourished. My Lords, I believe that already there is reason to believe that the excitement which followed from the annexation is beginning to abate; and if the consummation I have pointed out be realized, I think we might anticipate a prosperous future for the Colonies of South Africa.

My Lords, I am very anxious not to detain you longer than is absolutely necessary from other and more interesting speeches, and I do not think you will expect from me any lengthened remarks on the legislation about to be proposed to us. Meeting at this season of the year when, under ordinary circumstances, we are thinking rather of the approaching end of the Session, your Lordships will not be surprised that the list is not a long one; but, at the same time, my Lords, it offers for our consideration several questions of much importance to various classes in the community. Speaking generally, my Lords, it appears to me that it has been wisely determined to bring forward in this short Session measures which in some form have been before the country for a considerable time, in regard to the general principles of which there is some sort of agreement.

My Lords, I shall not attempt to enter into the details of the questions affecting Ireland. I will only remark that it must be satisfactory to your Lordships to know that the measures you have taken for the relief of distress have been effectual. And, my Lords, I think it is satisfactory also that at such a time the responsible Ministers of the Crown are able to restore to our fellow-countrymen in Ireland those personal liberties which I trust they will ever enjoy as part of the United Kingdom.

The amendment of the Laws of Burial was very fully debated in this House in 1877, and your Lordships then gave no uncertain indication that you were prepared to consider in a liberal spirit the grievances of the Nonconformists in this matter. And the question of the liability of employers for the injuries sustained by workmen—one of those difficult questions arising from the complications of modern industry—has been so lately and so well stated in this House by the noble and learned Earl the late Lord Chancellor, that I need only say that it is one which all must wish to see settled on a satisfactory basis.

My Lords, the experience that has been gained since the introduction of the system of voting by ballot in 1872 has made it, I think, an indispensable part of our electoral system. Most of your Lordships can have had no personal experience of what passes on these occasions; but all must have been struck by the great decrease in those disorderly scenes that in former clays too often disgraced the election contests in this country. But, my Lords, I think that the more the system is understood the more it will be seen to secure to every voter that perfect freedom in exercising his political rights which our national love of fair play, if no higher consideration, ought to make us desire for even the humblest elector in the Kingdom.

The question of the Game Laws has often been heard of in Parliament and elsewhere. It is often said that it is one of those subjects in which a good understanding between landlord and tenant is more effective than any Act of Parliament. But, my Lords, while I believe that in the vast majority of instances this good understanding exists, it is, unfortunately, true that cases of hardship do occur under the present law, especially as regards ground game. My Lords, in the present condition of the agricultural interests, it is not merely expedient, but necessary, that any semblance of injustice to the occupier should be removed; and therefore, I, for one, shall cordially welcome any measure which will effectually lay the ghost of these vexatious disputes.

And now, my Lords, I have touched briefly, as I believe it was my duty to do, on the various topics brought before us in the Speech from the Throne. In thanking your Lordships for the patient hearing you have given mo, I have only to request that you will not allow yourselves to be influenced by the bald and inadequate manner in which I am only too conscious my task has been performed, but will join, with your accustomed unanimity, in voting the Address I have now the honour to move. MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN, WE, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the most gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament. We rejoice to learn that the cordial relations which Your Majesty holds with all the other Powers of Europe will enable Your Majesty to promote, in concert with them, the early and complete fulfilment of the Treaty of Berlin with respect to effectual reforms and equal laws in Turkey, as well as to such territorial questions as have not yet been settled in conformity with the provisions of that Treaty. We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that with this view Your Majesty has doomed it expedient to dispatch an Ambassador Extraordinary to the Court of the Sultan. We thank Your Majesty for informing us that your efforts will he unceasingly directed towards the pacification of Afghanistan, and towards the establishment of such institutions as may he found best fitted to secure the independence of its people and to restore their friendly relations with Tour Majesty's Indian Empire. We humbly thank Your Majesty for directing that we shall be supplied with the fullest information upon the condition of Indian Finance. We humbly assure Your Majesty that the important questions of policy connected with the future of South Africa will receive our careful attention. We thank Your Majesty for informing us that Your Majesty has continued to commend to the favourable consideration of the authorities and of the people in the various settlements the project of Confederation, and that in maintaining supremacy over the Transvaal, Your Majesty desires both to make provision for the security of the indigenous races and to extend to the European settlers institutions based on largo and liberal principles of self-government. We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that we shall not be asked to renew the Peace Preservation Act for Ireland. We humbly assure Your Majesty that we shall endeavour studiously to turn to account the time available for useful legislation, and we join with Your Majesty in praying that the blessing of God may attend our labours.


ventured to bespeak the indulgence which their Lordships always extended to one in his position who addressed them for the first time. The noble Earl who had moved the Address referred to most of the topics in Her Majesty's Speech. He gave a summary of the foreign relations of the country; he spoke of the system of Colonial legislation about to be pursued, and enumerated some of the reforms in domestic legislation which it was intended to introduce. With regard to Ireland, he (Lord Sandhurst) thought their Lordships would agree that it was a matter of the greatest congratulation that the present Advisers of Her Majesty found that it was not necessary to renew the Peace Preservation Act in Ireland; but that they intended by a firm, though gentle rule, to carry on the government of that country on the same system as that of the rest of the United Kingdom, thus endeavouring to cement the union between the two countries. It must be admitted there was great cause for regret in the distress which had prevailed in Ireland during the past winter; but, owing to some of the measures which had been adopted, particularly the Seeds and Potato Act, it was highly probable that distress would be alleviated in the future. There had also been large sums of money contributed, and societies had been organized for securing that these contributions should go to the most deserving. He regarded with great pleasure the announcement of the extension of the franchise for Ireland, placing it on the same footing as the rest of the United Kingdom. On this subject he bogged to refer to a few figures which he believed to be accurate. In all the Irish boroughs there was a population of 900,000, and only 54,000 Parliamentary electors. For the same population in England there were 128,000 electors. Manchester, with a population of 380, 000, had 10,000 more voters than all the towns of Ireland together. Leeds, with a population of 260,000, had 44,000 voters; while Dublin, with a population of 268,000, had only 18,000 voters. He therefore thought there was a necessity for some change in that respect. But the subject in Her Majesty's Speech which commanded the chief attention both among their Lordships and throughout the country was, no doubt, the state of Afghanistan and India. There was a paragraph in the Speech which alluded to the state of the finances of India; but it did not lie within his province to make any comment on it. With regard to Afghanistan, they had been at war for some time in a country in which the difficulty of military operations was extreme, and where the troops, both Native and European, were exposed to hardships and privations to which they were unaccustomed. Whether the operations in that country had been eminently successful, or whether they had not been quite so successful as they thought they might have expected, they must not forget to pay a deserved tribute to the gallantry of those troops in the field—to the Europeans, who had acted with that devotion which they had always shown, and always would show, and to the Native troops, whose behaviour deserved equally eulogistic mention. The hearty co-operation of the Native Army with the European Forces, and the readiness with which some of the Native Princes had volunteered assistance to the Government of India, showed that the bonds of friendship between the two countries were being drawn closer together. The practical result of our operations had not yet come to a head. We were still in that country, where we had been for a period exceeding 18 months. We had made a Treaty which had been violated, and a gallant officer with his retinue had been sacrificed. A Ruler had been deposed, and there was no one to place in his stead; and, owing to the want of decided success in our operations, there could be no doubt our prestige throughout the length and breadth of India had suffered in a certain degree. No doubt there would be difficulty in the problem which the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Ripon) had gone out to solve. He hoped its solution would not be remote. The task Her Majesty's Ministers had undertaken was beset with difficulties and dangers. He might be permitted to ask that the debate which must necessarily ensue on the question of Afghanistan would be carried on apart from Party jealousy and recrimination, so as to aid the Government in the solution of that problem which he hoped was approaching; for he believed the object of all was the same—to promote the welfare of the Realm and the honour of the Sovereign. He thanked their Lordships for the patient hearing which they had granted him, and would conclude by seconding the Address which had been moved by his noble Friend.—[See page 74]


My Lords, I would ask your Lordships' indulgence in obtruding thus early a few observations from the great importance of one passage in Her Majesty's most gracious Speech, which I feel I cannot too early allude to. I feel great difficulty in approaching this subject. Having so recently left the country to which I allude, and having experienced there much kindness and generous feeling from all classes, I should feel that I should be performing an invidious task if I were to appear to be urging or forcing on Her Majesty's Government a continuation of measures of an onerous, humiliating, and repressive character. Situated as Ireland is in regard to England, what of more deep and pressing importance could possibly be found to exist than those things which relate to the maintenance of law and order, and the preservation of the peace of that country? United as Ireland is, and ever must be, in all her interests and associations with the other parts of the United Kingdom, everything that relates to Ireland in regard to its prosperity and the maintenance of peace and order in that country must have a reflex action upon this. And, therefore, I feel that although many important and urgent subjects are touched upon in Her Majesty's most gracious Speech, still no one is of more urgency and importance than that to which I now allude. My Lords, it certainly would not be my intention to move any Amendment on this occasion to that course which Her Majesty's Government have seen fit to announce with regard to the non-renewal of the Peace Preservation Act for Ireland. On Her Majesty's Government rests the responsibility—and no slight responsibility it is—of the course which they have seen proper to adopt. But I think we are entitled to demand of Her Majesty's Government a full and explicit statement of that amount of information which they have been able to acquire, and of the grounds upon which they have come to the conclusion that the state of Ireland at the present moment is such as to warrant them in not continuing what I may call that mild repressive legislation which has been hitherto for some years in existence in that country. I must remind your Lordships, though I will not detain you with many observations on this point, as it is one of great delicacy and real pain to anyone who has to allude to it—but I observe that the noble Earl who moved the Address and the noble Seconder touched very lightly upon that subject, and I think it was with great justice that they did so, because I should be very much surprised if in the answer which we may expect to receive from the responsible Advisers of the Crown we shall have that full and explicit information which will justify them in the course which they have taken—there is at the present time existing in Ireland a state of things which does not bear a parallel in any other part of the United Kingdom. In Ireland there are those secret associations which are a fact of peculiar significance in the country, and are not exemplified either in England or in Scotland. Now, my Lords, this is really the point and kernel of the whole state of things. If you can show that there is any amelioration in the present state of Ireland to what existed in the year 1875, if you can show that there has been any alleviation or abatement in the customs peculiar to that country, and of such dangerous peculiarity, then I should say you were justified in the course you have taken; but I will read to your Lordships what was said by my noble Friend the present Secretary of State for India when he introduced an Act of repressive legislation for Ireland. [His Grace was about to road from Hansard, but apologized for his inability to see the small print. He said, however, that it alluded to the secret associations which existed in Ireland.] Her Majesty in Her Speech says that— While determined to fulfil this sacred obligation, I am persuaded that the loyalty and good sense of my Irish subjects will justify me in relying on the provisions of the ordinary law, firmly administered, for the maintenance of peace and order. That implies the statement that the law has not been sufficiently equitably administered, and that there has been a certain amount of laxity in its administration; for it is only with these exceptional powers of the Government that it has had any efficacy in maintaining in many instances the security of life and property. The one thing that presses, and must always press, upon the attention of your Lordships in reference to Ireland is that in order to administer equitably the law, to maintain a proper security for life and property, you must have the power of obtaining evidence; and I ask your Lordships whether there is the slightest hope or indication that evidence will be more generally forthcoming in the case of outrage under the proposals of Her Majesty's Government than they have been in former times. There is another statement in Her Majesty's Speech which I think is peculiarly misleading, and to which I desire especially to draw your Lordships' attention. Her Majesty is made to say— My desire to avoid the evils of exceptional legislation in abridgment of liberty would not induce me to forego in any degree the performance of the first duty of every Government in providing for the security of life and property. My Lords, I think I really must seriously and energetically take exception to that statement, that the existing law is in any sense an abridgment of the liberty of the subject. When the Peace Preservation Act (Ireland) was renewed in the year 1875, my right hon. Friend, then the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), expressly excluded from the re-enactment almost every part that could be considered as an infringement of the liberty of the people. Your Lordships, perhaps, are not aware of the provisions that were repealed at that time. The provisions with regard to the seizing of newspapers, and the restrictions on making and storing gunpowder were repealed. The closing of public-houses was repealed, and the arrest of persons unable to give account of themselves found out at night under suspicious circumstances was also repealed; and, my Lords, what remains of the provisions of this most important Act which is now about to expire, but these which cannot, under any circumstances, be said to be an infringement of the right and liberty of the people? The first is the attendance of witnesses upon sworn information in the investigation of cases of outrage. That itself is a law which already exists in Scotland; and it would be, I think, a very great improvement of the law if it were applied to the whole of the United Kingdom for the repression of crime. But, my Lords, there are other important provisions which cannot, under any circumstances, be said to be an infringement of the liberty of the subject. One of those is compensation for outrages committed either on. persons or on property. It has been my unhappy lot, since I have been in Ireland, to see numberless instances of outrages—numberless is too strong a word, perhaps; but a considerable number of outrages—which have been committed both on persons and property. Murders have been committed for which there is not a tittle of evidence to be obtained; serious destruction of property has been committed for which there is an absence of all evidence; and that provision. which is the only arm which the law can put forth in these cases, of compensating the injured persons by an award of the Grand Jury, is one of the most just, the most humane, and the most sensible provisions which could, under such an exceptional state of circumstances, be clearly enacted. Again, there is the provision which enables the Government when an outrage is committed, and no evidence is forthcoming, to bring the perpetrators of it to justice, to send down an additional police force, and to tax the people for its maintenance. This is no infringement of the liberty of the subject; and I can assure your Lordships that my own experience, and the experience of every body who has had anything to do with the government of Ireland, is that the provision, when it has unfortunately had to be resorted to, has a most salutary effect. Not to weary your Lordships with details, I may say that the general mode in which that part of the law is administered is that the tax on the locality for that body of police is levied by instalments; and if, after the levy of three or four instalments, no recurrence of the outrage has taken place, the levy of the tax is suspended, and with it the intimation is generally given on all occasions that on a recurrence of the outrage the tax will be re-enforced. The evidence the Government has from every quarter of Ireland is that that has had a most salutary effect in deterring outrage. There are certain provisions to which I do not attach very great importance, and one is with regard to the searching for arms. I do not, as I say, attach much importance to that, for our experience is that the search for arms is not frequently successful. The search for arms, when made, is always after the issue of a warrant from the Government, and has not, on the whole, been successful; and with regard to the importation of arms into the country, I believe that may be done whether the Peace Preservation Act exists or not. But with those two provisions I have alluded to—namely, the compensation for injury to person and property, and the taxation of the district for quartering the police on it on the occurrence of a serious outrage—those are provisions which are of the utmost importance to the maintenance of law and order, and without which I am quite satisfied law and order will not be maintained in the country. Now, I would ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the event of their not renewing this Act with reference to peace preservation, they intend to re-enact, in substitution for the provision in prohibition of carrying arms in that Act, the Parties Processions Act of Ireland? Localise I say—and I say it with all the sense of responsibility—that unless some security of that sort is taken the consequences in the North of Ireland will be of the most serious description. It was only a short time before I left the country that a very serious collision took place owing to arms being carried in a party procession. Your Lordships are aware of the feelings that run high on the anniversaries of certain religious bodies in Ireland—the 17th of March, the 12th of July, and the 15th of August—and it is on those occasions that the powers of the Government are strained to the very utmost, when every precaution has to be taken, by sending large bodies of police down to those parts where processions are anticipated, by sending resident magistrates to take command of the police, and a very heavy expense is entailed on the country by the precautions unhappily necessary on those occasions. On most of these occasions the processions have taken place in ports where carrying arms has been prohibited, in parts of the North of Ireland which have been retained under the provisions of the Peace Preservation Act; and if you fail to re-enact those provisions, or any provisions which are analogous to them, you will have the serious responsibility upon you of any consequences of a fatal character which may take place during those processions. I trust that this circumstance will not be lost sight of by Her Majesty's Government; and I ask in what manner has an improved condition of the country, or an amelioration of the state of the people taken place, on which the belief may be grounded that it will end those feelings of unhappy religious bitterness which do exist in the North of Ireland? On another point I would wish briefly to touch, and that is with reference to the peculiar state of things in Ireland at the present time; and I would ask your Lordships and Her Majesty's Government whether they think that the state of things that has been going on during the past six months in Ireland is a justification to thorn for removing the very slight, and, as I said before, the mildly repressive measures the Government possess for the maintenance of law and order, and the preservation of life and property? I would refer your Lordships to the year 1870, and though I am not going to detain your Lordships with figures, still there are facts which have shown themselves in that period, and are again showing themselves at the present moment. In the year 1870 the agrarian crimes rose from 87 in 1866, to 1,329 in 1870. At that time, your Lordships remember, there was a considerable agitation about the Land Question; and though it is not my purpose to go into that question, or to make any comment on measures which were then sanctioned by Parliament, still it cannot be doubted that in Ireland, among an excitable population like the Irish, any question relating to the land, or changes in the laws relating to tenure of land, are viewed with the most intense interest, and excite the feelings and passions of the population; and if they think that by certain outrages the Legislature can be induced to change the laws to suit their views on that particular matter, it is, in fact, a direct inducement and incentive to those crimes. At the present time, I am sorry to say, there is a period of similarity to that of 1870. Though I have not at this moment the latest figures before me, it will be found, on reference to facts from official quarters, that the outrages in the latter part of 1879 and in the early part of the present year have increased—I may say have doubled. There has not been so great an increase going on, happily, to the present time, it is perfectly true; but in the latter months of last year and in the early months of this year outrages were increasing to an alarming extent. To what is this due? Your Lordships are aware of that unhappy agitation which has existed in Ireland during the last autumn, which has been setting class against class, tenant against landlord, and occupier against owner. The doctrine that has been hold forth to the people who attended these mass meetings has been such that in plain and truthful language it can only be called Communistic. The tenants have been told, if they will only keep firm hold of the land, the land will be theirs; that they will sweep away landlordism from the face of the country; that the curse of Ireland is landlordism; and the only reason put forth for the severe famine which has afflicted the country throughout the past six months is the existence and effect of landlordism. With those doctrines preached and believed, who can be surprised at the very great increase that has taken place in the outrages reported to the police. And these are not outrages perpetrated on landlords; it is not the landlords in this case who are incurring a serious danger; it is between themselves that these outrages are taking place. If a man has been told not to pay his rent, he pays it at the risk of his life. If a man has been told not to take any land from which another has been evicted, he does it at the risk of his very life. It is that agitation which has been going on throughout the country, which has been rising and increasing to an alarming extent. And I ask, is this the time at which Her Majesty's Government will relax the law? As I said before, I hope they will show conclusive reasons for doing so. I am sorry to have to bring an apparent indictment of absence of peacefulness against the country in which I can assure you I have taken, and do take, a deep and sincere interest; but I have felt it my duty to bring this matter early before your Lordships' attention, and to call upon Her Majesty's Government to make a full and satisfactory statement of the reasons for not renewing the Peace Preservation Act. In another part of Her Majesty's Speech allusion is made to those measures which have been passed for the mitigation of the distress in Ireland, and which I am glad to see are admitted to have been serviceable to that end; and I do trust that other measures may be in contemplation which will be of a liberal and remedial character. Nothing could do more good to Ireland than measures for the development of the country by means of railways, and the construction of piers and harbours. This will do much to civilize and humanize and elevate the country. All these measures will commend themselves to the people and increase their feeling of loyalty. But lot me say this—that it is idle to suppose that those measures alone will be sufficient to effect that purpose. You must make it known and felt in Ireland that the law can be maintained; and, by whatever means, it must be proved to the people that the Government is determined to maintain the security of life and property. The enactment of beneficial measures will be the dawn of a bright day for Ireland; but, at the same time, these measures should go hand in hand with those I have before described; and if this be done with a firm hand and a strong hand—but, at the same time, with a kind hand—the law administered, and measures of a remedial character introduced and carried, then, my Lords, we may rely that Ireland will no longer be the source of danger and difficulty that she has often been, and that the true interest and prosperity of the Empire will be established.


said, that he felt himself placed somewhat at a disadvantage in following in that debate his noble Friend who had just returned from Ireland, where he had filled with much satisfaction to the country the high post of Her Majesty's Representative, and particularly as his noble Friend had brought back with him an intimate knowledge of the circumstances of the case. At the same time, as the noble Duke had brought a charge against—or rather wished to throw a responsibility on—Her Majesty's Government, it was necessary that he should at once on the part of the Government make a reply. There could be no greater responsibility upon the Government of any country than that of protecting the lives and property of Her Majesty's subjects. The Speech from the Throne showed that Her Majesty's Government did not intend to renew certain measures which had been in, force for many years in Ireland, and he was ready at once to explain why Her Majesty's Government had taken that responsibility. First of all, he must say that considerable responsibility rested on the late Government for the way in which they had dealt with that subject. He understood his noble Friend to say that these measures ought to be at once renewed in order that life and property might be safe in Ireland; but he would ask why the late Government had postponed their renewal Everybody who knew Ireland was aware that on the 1st of June these measures would be no longer in force. Why, then, did not the late Government, be- fore the Dissolution, introduce a Bill for renewing them? Probably the late Government felt confident in the result of the Elections; but even had the result been as they expected, were they quite sure they would have been able to pass the renewal Bills in time? In his judgment the late Government ought to have contemplated the possibility of not obtaining a majority; and they must have known that if that wore the case there would not be time for the new Government to pass a measure on this subject. Therefore, he maintained that the late Government took on themselves a grave responsibility, if they felt as strongly as the noble Duke did on this subject, by not dealing with the question before the Dissolution. He was hardly prepared that evening to meet categorically all the statements of his noble Friend, who had a considerable advantage in introducing this subject in consequence of his recent experience in Ireland. He would, however, ask their Lordships to consider what were the Acts which would expire on the 1st of June. They contained various clauses—some of great and others of less importance. The noble Duke himself had stated he did not consider that the clause prohibiting the importation of arms—for the purposes, he supposed, of Fenianism—was of any great utility. The noble Duke also said he did not consider that the power of searching for arms was a matter of great utility. He confessed he entirely agreed with the noble Duke in those opinions. There were also in the Acts several other clauses which he conceived were practically of very little importance. For example, there were the clauses relating to witnesses. The noble Duke regretted the non-renewal of those clauses; but his own experience of Ireland led him to think that they were of no use whatsoever. Then he came to the clauses with regard to compensation for injuries in anything like an agrarian crime. Those clauses laid down a very rough and ready justice. No doubt the injured people received—and very properly sometimes—compensation for the loss of a relative or for injuries to themselves; but he believed there had not been any remarkable effect on crime by the operation of these clauses, and when a general levy was made on a district it was apt to inflict considerable injury on innocent people. The Acts contained other clauses which really did not operate in any great degree. There was the clause empowering the Government to send down an extra body of police and to charge the cost on the district. That, he admitted, was a most important clause, particularly with reference to wild parts of the country; but happily he was able to relieve his noble Friend's fears as to this clause, because there were similar clauses in other Acts which were of general application, and which would enable the Government to send extra police into a district, the only difference being that, instead of the cost being levied as at present, it would have to be levied with the other county cess at the end of the year.


On the whole county.


Practically, the Acts he was referring to would give the Lord Lieutenant all the power he needed to send down a small force of extra police to a particular district. Were the present Government, then, giving up powers which were practically of any great importance? The enactments relating to arms' licences no doubt very often caused considerable irritation, as people did not like to have to go to a resident magistrate when they wanted to get permission to use arms. This law operated in different ways. With regard to Fenianism, he did not think any serious danger would be caused by repealing the enactments relating to the importation of arms. Nor did he believe that the Arms Act had ever prevented agrarian crime of a determined kind. If a man were determined to use an arm for a criminal purpose he would be sure to obtain that arm in some way or other. Then as to the party processions which took place on certain anniversaries in the North of Ireland, nothing, in his opinion, could be more unfortunate than those displays of what he might call childish rancour. He regretted that they still existed; but he would point out to the noble Duke that those party processions, which often created dangerous riots, constantly took place in parts where there had not been any proclamation, and the Act had no effect whatever in those places. Therefore, they would not be much, if any, worse off without the Act than with it; and the Act would only be placing the whole of the North of Ireland in the same position as those places to which he had referred. They could hardly ask Parliament to pass an Act with regard to arms with a special reference to the North of Ireland. The noble Duke had asked the Government whether, in the event of their not renewing the Peace Preservation Act, they would not reonact one of its provisions, that—namely, which forbade the carrying of arms in the Party Processions Act. The actual point had not been discussed by the Government; but he would state his own individual opinion, which was clear and strong, that no such step ought to be taken. The Party Processions Act was repealed when he (Earl Spencer) was Lord Lieutenant. The repeal was opposed by a not inconsiderable Party in the North; but it had been found that the Party Processions Act was of no avail whatever. Common law was quite as strong in keeping order in the North of Ireland as in any other part of the country. It would be generally found that where it was necessary to have special legislation they weakened the arm of the common law. They had lost no means of suppressing party riots by repealing the Party Processions Act, for they could rely upon the common law. The meetings which had been held in certain parts of Ireland to consider and discuss the questions connected with the land, and which had unfortunately been raised by Members who had influence in Ireland, were exceedingly serious matters; but Her Majesty's Government were not closing their eyes to the state of things which existed. He would ask their Lordships to compare the present state of things to that which existed in 1870, when affairs were very different, and required measures of great stringency. Although the noble Duke had told them that the number of outrages had increased within the year, he (Earl Spencer) believed that they had diminished since the beginning of the year, and he also believed that the character of the outrages against life was not so serious as in 1870. The meetings which now took place and the opposition to law shown against the process-servers was committed openly, and those who committed a breach of the law could be prosecuted; whereas, in 1870, they could not see who were the perpetrators, and no evidence could be obtained, as the breaches of law were entirely the work of the secret societies. Now, he did not know that any one had proposed that the clauses of the so-called Westmeath Act, which he, as having had, unfortunately, to administer it for several years, was bound to admit were the only real means of checking Secret Ribbon crime of agrarian character, ought now to be re-enacted.


Certainly not now.


said, he was glad to hear that his noble Friend did not think that these clauses should be now re-enacted. With regard to the general state of Ireland, he hoped the House would feel that Her Majesty's Government were not going to shut their eyes to what had recently taken place. But in this [country there had been a considerable amount of exaggeration as to what had occurred. A very largo portion of Ireland was now in a complete state of quietness, and those meetings which had so disturbed the country, and also the minds of a large portion of the community, were confined to a small and certainly limited district.


Those portions are unproclaimed.


stated that certain clauses of the Act applied to the whole country; and he thought he was justified in making his observations as to the disturbances in Ireland not extending to every part of the country. In conclusion, he could assure the noble Duke that it was not the intention of Her Majesty's Government to impute anything against the late Government as to the administration of the law in Ireland. It was—as the noble Duke had said—of the utmost importance that the law should be maintained in Ireland with kindness, but yet with firmness. Her Majesty's Government were determined to put into execution all the powers which the common law gave thorn, and they hoped that that would be sufficient; but the Government knew their duty perfectly well, and they would not fail to take any stops which were necessary for the preservation of life and property in Ireland. Without that they were perfectly aware that no remedial measures would be of any avail or use, and they were now quite ready to undertake the responsibilities of the act which they had announced, and they trusted that they would be met by a spirit of firmness and loyalty in that country; and if they were so met, they could not help thinking that those measures, by removing special legislation, might have a beneficial effect upon the people in that country.


My Lords, I think it a matter for congratulation that we have learnt from Her Majesty's gracious Speech the intention of her Ministers—their resolution, in fact—to bring about a complete fulfilment of the Treaty of Berlin. An announcement on this subject having been made while Parliament was not sitting led some to think this would not be the policy of Her Majesty's Government; but after this declaration in the gracious Speech, there can be no longer any doubt on the subject. Words from the Throne are not secondary, or second rate, or second hand; and I take it for granted that the declaration which has been made now has been made in an official and not in a polemical sense. My Lords, there was one expression used either by the Mover or Seconder of the Address in his able speech—they are both able—which appeared to me to be spoken with authority, for the words had the sanction of a cheer from, I believe, some of Her Majesty's Ministers; and that was the announcement that, in order to effect those purposes, active measures were going to be taken by Her Majesty's Government. It would certainly be satisfactory in those circumstances to knew that we are to receive ample information as to the nature of the active measures which Her Majesty's Government proposes to take. "Active measures" involve an epithet to which many interpretations may be applied; and, as generally used, it has been applicable in many cases to a state of affairs which the people of this country do not view with approbation, because measures so described have not unfrequently turned out to possess a bellicose character. There is also a statement in the gracious Speech of Her Majesty with respect to the Treaty of Berlin and the affairs of Turkey, on which I should like also to obtain some information from Her Majesty's Government; it is the announcement that an Ambassador Extraordinary has been despatched to that part of the world. That is an act of great moment—one of the highest acts which a Minister can counsel; and, therefore, I should hardly suppose that the noble Earl opposite (Earl Granville) would grudge us some information on the subject. We all know what an Ambassador is. An Ambassador is an officer known to the Constitution. We know very well that whatever he does the Ministers in England are responsible for his actions; and, therefore, we have all those checks and securities which are required when he is dealing with affairs of State, upon which may depend important results. No one, for example, would venture to criticize Her Majesty's Government if they had changed the Ambassador who is at present at Constantinople for another individual who more entirely may have possessed their confidence. It is an act which would not be noticed in Parliament. It would be the exercise of a prerogative which has never been questioned. It would not be noticed in Parliament, and it would not be alluded to in a Speech from the Throne. But an Ambassador Extraordinary is a person invested with powers of an unlimited character, unless they are limited by instructions, which I trust the noble Earl will not refuse to lay on the Table in the present case. An Ambassador Extraordinary may be so unlimited in his powers that he may, unknown to this country, involve it in war by an act of his own completely, without any person being responsible for the act. And therefore, under these circumstances, we have a right to expect that Her Majesty's Government will lay on the Table the instructions which the Ambassador Extraordinary may be supposed to possess. My Lords, some remarks have been made by the Mover and Seconder of the Address in reply to Her Majesty's gracious Speech with reference to the war in Afghanistan, remarks which apparently received the approbation of Her Majesty's Government, and which conveyed an expression of surprise that so little had been done between the last Speech from the Throne in February and the Dissolution of Parliament by Her Majesty's late Advisers. Agreeing with the language of the Speech in expressing admiration for the gallantry of our troops, it may be fairly, and I think truly, observed that, however lamentable may have been the necessity for this and other wars, one result, at least, is satisfactory—namely, the part played by our Army, and their display of those heroic qualities which are the foundation, and the only foundation, of success in war. I cannot concur in the surprise and astonishment which have been expressed that, notwithstanding the assurances which have been given, no satisfactory conclusion has been arrived at in the affairs of Afghanistan. The time for the movement of troops, I believe, did not occur until the end of March, and we are now only in the month of May. In viewing these operations I have experienced no disappointment, nor have I for a moment lost confidence in the complete success of these operations; and I will express my conviction that if the policy of the late Viceroy of India be pursued a prompt and permanent settlement will be made in the affairs of Afghanistan. But this I must say—that what the scheme of the Government may be is to me a matter of some perplexity, although, no doubt, we shall have ample information with respect to it from the noble Earl. From the confidence I have in the policy of the late Viceroy of India, I think we may count on a prompt and permanent settlement of the affairs of Afghanistan; but I do not contemplate that that result is to be attained by the establishment of "institutions" in that country. I think we have a right to inquire what those institutions are. Is there to be a House of Lords created there of Sirdars? Or is there to be, according to the doctrine of some ardent Members of the present Government, only one Chamber, and that of a representative character? What are those institutions to be? Are they to be County Boards? But it is not merely in Afghanistan that I find this. I find it also in South Africa, where a not unfavourable view is taken of our present position. There, also, there is a question of establishing institutions. Well, if the plan of the Government for the settlement of Afghanistan and the quietude of South Africa is merely the establishment of institutions in the usual sense of the British nation, I must say that I prefer intrusting matters to Sir Frederick Roberts, our General there, or to any High Commissioner who at present may be resi- dent in the country. I come now to the subject which has recently been under the consideration of the House through the speeches of my noble Friend the late Viceroy of Ireland, and the noble Earl who has just addressed us. I think my noble Friend the noble Duke brought the subject before the consideration of the House with great earnestness, great temper, and great ability, and I know with a perfect conviction that it was his duty to do so. I confess that my impression, when I read the passage in the gracious Speech from the Throne on the subject, was that Her Majesty had been advised to adopt language by those who were under the impression that the Peace Preservation Act was, in fact, the original Peace Preservation Act which was introduced some years ago by Her Majesty's then Government; because certainly there is nothing in the Peace Preservation Act at present that would warrant, in a Speech from the Throne, such an expression as that the principal reason for its repeal was its infringement of the rights of the subject. It appears to me that that description was given by those who, from some inadvertence—probably from the great pressure in forming a new Government—in framing the Speech from the Throne did not remember that the Act had been continued in the year 1875 by the late Government, and that all those clauses were studiously omitted which were supposed to abridge the rights of the people of Ireland; and, indeed, the speech of the noble Earl who answered the noble Duke certainly conveyed the impression that in analyzing the Act he could find no cause at present in existence which would justify that description of it which we find in the gracious Speech from the Throne. I am not myself going to resist any action on the part of Her Majesty's Government to discontinue the Peace Preservation Act in Ireland. It is on their responsibility as a Government that they must act. I think it a serious step. I deprecate it; but it is a step upon which the Government, considering all the circumstances, must take upon their responsibility, and scarcely with the interference of Parliament. What I do regret is that the result of the conduct of Her Majesty's Government will be, I fear, an increase of the agrarian outrages which first brought the subject under the consideration of Par- liament, and the recurrence of an evil second only to agrarian outrages, and that is an autumnal Session. I fear that you are only postponing the consideration of a question which in my mind will force you to action. Whether the Peace Preservation Act in its present form, as modified by the late Government, would be adequate to the difficulties you may have to deal with—although I trust you will not have to encounter them—I cannot say. But I think it would have been a prudent act on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers, considering that it was their own legislation originally, and considering that their successors modified it in those points which are now alleged as a reason for its repeal—I say I think it would, under these circumstances, have been a prudent act, and one which would have been approved by the country and by Parliament, had Her Majesty's Government not thought fit to take the step which has been announced. With regard to the serious charge which, according to the noble Earl who answered the noble Duke the late Viceroy of Ireland, we have incurred in taking no step for continuing the Act, had we, after the General Election, sat on the seats now occupied by the noble Earl and his Friends, I would remind the noble Earl that there would have been ample time to have moved the continuance of the Act, and it would have been our duty to do so. Whether for a longer or shorter time, whether with more modifications or not, that would have depended entirely on the information the Government at that time possessed; but as an act of prudence, and an act as free from violence as any act of a repressive character can be, I think it would have been wiser if Her Majesty's Government had continued the Act in question. My Lords, I am glad that it is unnecessary for me to trouble you to-night at any length upon the Address which has been proposed, and to which I willingly give my sanction. The change in the Government may be alluded to, because it is specifically mentioned in the first paragraph of the Speech. If, my Lords, I allude to it now, it is not on this occasion to introduce any controversy, to use any expression disparaging to our successful opponents, or in vindication of our past policy. But there is one reason why I refer to that event. This is the only occasion on which, on the part of the late Advisers of the Crown, I have had the opportunity of thanking this House for the great support which they gave to Her Majesty's Ministers on every important occasion of State. They sustained and strengthened that self-confidence which becomes a great nation; and the House of Lords, on more than one occasion—as they have done on many occasions in the history of this country—proved that they were the guardians of the national honour, and were prepared to vindicate that power which, I believe, is the only sure basis of the prosperity of England.


My Lords, the last time I had the pleasure of hearing a speech from the noble Earl (the Earl of Beaconsfield) he road me a lecture as to the desirability of not pressing a Government unduly with questions. Certainly, a change of opinion seems to have taken place since that time, as the noble Earl has put several questions to me, the propriety of which I do not dispute, and which I shall happy to answer to the best of my power. The noble Earl, following the lead of the noble Duke the late Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (the Duke of Marlborough), criticizes the Government for what he calls repealing an Act. I am not aware that Her Majesty's Government contemplate repealing the Act referred to. The Act will expire in a few days, and we merely announce that we do not propose to renew it. I do not wish to go over that ground after the discussion which has taken place between the two noble Peers who have spoken on the subject; but I think that the explanation given by the noble Earl behind me (Earl Spencor) was almost conclusive as showing that the Act was a somewhat feeble one, and that in some respects, as admitted by the noble Duke himself, it was of no use at all. The noble Earl opposite has entirely failed to answer the question raised by the noble Earl behind mo—namely, Why, if the late Government attached such great importance to the continuance of this Act, they have left it to us at this moment to deal with? The noble Earl told us in his letter to the noble Duke that there were circumstances in Europe of a most critical character and which required the immediate dissolution of Parliament. Well, I am not aware that there were any circumstances which did not equally apply to an earlier period, when we should have had a full working Session, or that could not have allowed the Government a few weeks to do that which they now say is necessary for the preservation of life and property in Ireland. The noble Duke says they would have had time to deal with the matter. They must have thought there was, after all, a possibility of a reversal of the existing state of things. Even if that had not occurred, I doubt very much whether it would have been in the power of the noble Earl, if he had been still sitting in my place, to have passed a continuance measure before the 1st of Juno. The only difference of time in his favour would have been one of about three weeks. It is perfectly clear there would have been immense opposition to the Bill, and I exceedingly doubt whether it could have been carried in time by any action of the Government. The noble Earl says that this is a question which must be left to the responsibility of the Government. Her Majesty's Government do feel their responsibility most strongly; they have weighed the matter as carefully as they can, and they have resolved that between the balance of advantage and disadvantage it is better to do away with this exceptional legislation, in the hope that the people themselves will rightly respond to the appeal that is thus made to them. The noble Earl alluded to Afghanistan, and he somewhat called me to account for certain things which had been said by the noble Earl behind me (the Earl of Elgin) in reference to the subject. I entirely concur in the tribute of the noble Earl to the remarkable ability of the speeches of both noble Lords who moved and seconded the Address; they bear distinguished names, and their speeches have done honour to the distinguished names they bear; but while, as one of Her Majesty's Ministers, I am responsible for what is in the Queen's Speech, I did not compose the speeches of my noble Friends, and I am not responsible for every adjective and epithet they used. But as to Afghanistan, I remember that at a recent period we were confidently assured of a speedy settlement of affairs in that country. Her Majesty's present Government are not fully informed of the state of affairs in Afghanistan; and all I can say is that the information we have received is far from justifying the very sanguine expectations put into the Queen's mouth a very short time ago, whether we look at the political or at the military situation. We have some 60,000 men in Afghanistan, an enormous proportion of the garrison army of India; all employed beyond the Frontier in a country of a most difficult character. As to the political situation, we really do not know how far the process of disintegration which appears to have been decided upon by the late Government has proceeded; and I am sure the House will feel that, if we are right in the general principles which are laid down in the Queen's Speech, this House will not think it proper to press us for definite views before we have received the reports, particularly that of General Stewart, which we anxiously await, and also that of the Governor General, who is going out with the full knowledge of the views of his Colleagues as to the state of things in India. The noble Earl in a letter to the Viceroy of Ireland, and in a subsequent speech before the Dissolution, gave a very alarming account of the state of foreign affairs; but I cannot help thinking that he took too dark a view, as he took too sanguine a view of Afghanistan. From the information which I have obtained from the Foreign Office, from that derived from conversation with the Corps Diplomatique, and from that which I owe to the courtesy and public spirit of the noble Marquess opposite, I am not so much alarmed about foreign affairs as when I read the declaration of the noble Earl opposite. I admit there are questions of great importance which will require wisdom, moderation, and joint action with the Powers of Europe to prevent their producing disagreeable complications. The noble Earl wishes to know why we have sent a special Ambassador to Constantinople, describing him as if such a person had never been heard of before, and as if the office was unknown to the British Constitution. He goes out with exactly the same kind of technical appointment as Sir Henry Layard was sent out with a short time ago, by the Government presided over by the noble Earl himself, as special Ambassador. The questions I alluded to which require gentle and firm treatment arise, out of the non-ful- filment of certain portions of the Treaty of Berlin which relate to Servia, Rou-melia, and Bulgaria. The noble Marquess knows well that we have an enormous amount of claims on Turkey that remain unsatisfied; but I agree that they do not affect the European Question. I will therefore pass them over together with those conditions which, though important, are not so pressingly urgent; but I may mention, in the first place, one condition of the Treaty of Berlin not yet carried out—I mean the promulgation of the Organic Statutes for the European Provinces of the Porte. Under the superintendence of Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, aided by the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Donoughmore), the International Commissioners formulated a Constitution for Roumelia, giving to that country, to a great extent, powers of self-administration and taxation while it maintained the supremacy of the Sultan, and Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice has gone out to continue their work. It is believed that if the present Commission are able to insure that the other Provinces should have statutes corresponding with that drawn up for Roumelia, and if the Sultan carries them out, much good will be done to the subjects of the Porte, and corresponding advantage will result to Europe. There are three points, however, to which more than any others our attention has recently been directed, and which are more difficult to deal with. One of these is the rectification of the Greek Frontier; the other, the cession of territory to Montenegro; and the third, the reforms that are necessary in Armenia. With regard to the Greek Frontier, the Porte has certainly done nothing but put forward dilatory pleas to delay action. Upon this matter there have been great differences between the Powers of Europe not only with regard to the line it is desirable to recommend, but also as respects the mode of procedure to be adopted, which have stood in the way of a settlement. The surrender of the territory ceded to Montenegro has been interrupted by an insurrection of the Albanians from the mountains. Whatever may have been the instructions sent from Constantinople to the local authorities, it is certain the subjects of the Porte have interfered with the fulfilment of the Treaty to which the Porte is a party, and that there has been connivance on the part of the local authorities. With regard to the condition of Armenia, I am sorry to say that the accounts are most heartrending, and absolutely nothing has been done under either the Berlin Treaty or the Anglo-Turkish Convention. Some slight good has been done by individuals; Mussulmans and Christians have met and have shown some of the qualities which make men fit for self-government; but as for any real progress being made, nothing has been done by the Turkish Government, and when they have sent out Commissions they have entirely disregarded the recommendations that have been made by them. Her Majesty's Government thought it their duty very carefully to consider the way these conditions of the Berlin Treaty could best be carried out; and they have come to the conclusion that what chance of success there was lay in the vigorous and concerted union of the Great Powers. To promote this they have addressed a Circular to the other Powers of Europe, proposing that an Identic Note on these points should be addressed to the Porte. As soon as it is presented it will be my duty to lay it on the Table of this House. I can only say that the reception which we have met with from the other Powers up to this moment has been of the most cordial and encouraging description. The noble Earl asks—what are you going to do if all these efforts fail? I can only say that in a conversation I had with him a short time ago I pointed out to the Turkish Ambassador the extreme danger to the Turkish Government of neglecting the fulfilment of these conditions of the Treaty, and at the same time I told him that I abstained from anything like threatening language, but that I hoped he would impress on his Government that if we were obliged to give an intimation—which we trusted would not be necessary—we should not fail to carry that intimation out. I am not going now to use a threat; but I do believe, as I believed three years ago, that if you wish these great dangers in Turkey to be removed it must be by the united action of Europe; that if that action is applied it will be effectual, and if it is resisted, the resistance will be of the most feeble character. That is what I wish to be done now, and it is what I wished to be done three years ago. I am rather glad that the noble Earl has alluded to this subject, because Her Majesty's Government have been accused of entirely abandoning their own principles, and adopting those of the late Government. We have been accused of having opposed the concert of Europe, and of having abused the Treaty of Berlin, and by that means having contributed greatly to our electoral success. Well, without discussing whether all the stops which were taken were right or wrong, I would point out that we on repeated occasions, which I need not now go into, instead of opposing, very much supported the concert of Europe on this point. With regard to the Treaty of Berlin, I am not aware that in any speech of Mr. Gladstone, the Prime Minister, or Lord Hartington, or myself, that Treaty ever was fallen foul of abstractedly. On the contrary, our language was that, under the circumstances, on the whole it was a good arrangement. No doubt there were faults in it; but our complaint was of a very different character to that. Our statement was that the Treaty of Berlin was one which was in contradiction to the public professions of the Government; and we also complained that there had been great dilatoriness and want of energy in enforcing those conditions of it which bore upon the well-being and the advantage of the populations subject to the Porte. My Lords, I repeat what I said three years ago, and it was this—I said that I believed the interference of Russia alone to protect the Eastern populations was fraught with danger and inconvenience; that if England joined with Russia the joint action of the two Powers might mitigate, but could only slightly diminish, the danger and the inconvenience. What I appealed to the Government to do at that time was to call upon the European Powers to act in concert together, and that is exactly the policy which we are now pursuing, and which we hope may be attended with success. With regard to the special Embassy to Constantinople, Sir Henry Layard is an old personal and political friend of mine. He is a man of great ability, industry, and knowledge of Asiatics. He has, however, been placed in a very difficult position, for it is impossible that any man who has been engaged month after month in making remonstrances without success should not find his influence exhausted. Under these circumstances, we did think it desirable to advise Her Majesty to change the form of representation at Constantinople, and to send out a special Ambassador for a short time. We felt that it was very important that the person sent out should be not only of the highest character, but one who had been living in intimate personal communication with us, both in and out of Office—one of whom we had the most perfect knowledge, and one who had a perfect knowledge of the views of Her Majesty's Government. His task is one of great difficulty, and it is impossible to say whether he will succeed or not; but, if he does not, it will certainly not be from any want of endeavour on his part, or from any want of assistance or support from Her Majesty's Government. I can only say, in conclusion, that our greatest difficulties in dealing with Turkey have been these—First of all there is a belief that England has so exclusive and special an interest in the maintenance of the Ottoman Power that we must maintain it without reference to any other nation. Again, there is a belief, which has arisen within a more recent period, that we are bound upon self-aggrandizement and territorial acquisition in Asia Minor. Both these things are totally contrary to our policy and our wishes. We think there might possibly not be so much danger from Austria, Russia, France, or ourselves being at Constantinople as is sometimes thought. But it is an experiment which we object to see carried out. We desire the maintenance of the supremacy of the Sultan; we desire that the limitation to that supremacy should not be diminished as to territorial limits beyond what it is at present; but we do say that that supremacy must not be dissociated from a proper and a righteous government of the large populations subject to that rule. My Lords, we have thought it right to give these views to the Forte; and we trust they will have a due effect at Constantinople. With regard to further information to your Lordships, I can assure you it is our wish to present the Papers as soon as possible, and all the information in my power I shall be most happy to give you.


said, he rose to complain against that part of the Address which referred to the intention announced in Her Majesty's Speech of not renewing the Peace Preservation Act in Ireland. He did not do so because his predecessor had fallen a victim to assassination, but because he was convinced it was necessary very carefully to consider the state of that country before they allowed the present Act to expire altogether. The provisions of that Act were, he insisted, necessary for the protection of life and property in that country. He protested most emphatically against the construction placed by the noble Earl (Earl Spencer) upon the Act, and contended that the principle which was adopted in common law, that where property was destroyed the town-land, barony, or county, should be taxed to provide compensation to the person or family who had suffered loss, provided the Grand Jury were satisfied that justice to the injured could not otherwise be done, through the collusion of the people of the neighbourhood, was just—that this principle, which by common law applied to property, was by the Act extended to the most valuable property—life—and could not admit of this principle being termed "harsh," or "at all events but rough and ready justice." This statute for the Preservation of the Peace in Ireland ought to be re-enacted.


said, that the noble Earl who moved the Address began by referring to the recent battle of the elections, and it seemed that those electors who explained their votes by saying they wished to give the other men a turn were more honest that the candidates, for it appeared that Sir Bartle Frere was going to be left at his post and not recalled, though the leading Members of the present Government had spoken most strongly against him, and that the Zulu War had contributed more than anything else to the fall of the late Government; and if the Government left Sir Bartle Frere at the Cape, were they going to prove that the late Government was responsible for the Zulu War? The Prime Minister's success in Mid Lothian had been the signal for the re-commencement of murder and rapine by the Bulgarians in the Mussulman villages; it had encouraged the Russians to attempt to raise a loan of £15,000,000, and to send out more ships to the China Seas. If we allowed the Russians to proceed to hostilities against China, and to harass the seaboard of China, not only would the important ordinary British trade with China be destroyed, but the opium trade might also be destroyed, and a deficit of £8,000,000 caused to the Indian Treasury.

Address agreed to, nemine dissentiente, and ordered to be presented to Her Majesty by the Lords with White Staves.