Page images

House to listen to, might be constructed necessary, he was bound to resort to by despatch writers so competent as the some other he preferred, or to succeed noble Earl and his supporters, to arrest by abstinence from any. When it turns for a long time the course which Austria out that, according to his own Papers, was meditating, and which has now be- which for six months have been reviscome a grave event, although it is not ing, to which he might give any form yet appreciated properly. Have those he chose, he has done literally nothing, arguments been used although they are when that inaction has been accompanot given in the Papers ? Neither be- nied by failure, no Opposition, however fore nor since the Identic Note is any enervated and divided, no Member of trace of them exhibited. If modesty an Opposition, however favourable to has led the noble Earl to keep them the Government, could pass his conduct back, when this appears, I shall be ready without question. The second Resoluto acquit him. There is one circum- tion, therefore, was inevitable; but it stance, however, which ought to be al- leaves it open to the noble Earl to say luded to in passing-although I shall that judicious measures were adopted at not dwell upon it. On the 19th of April, Vienna, although without success, and I moved for the production of the Treaty that he does not think it prudent to which binds Austria so remarkably, and convey them to the Legislature. So far, fixes her position on the Eastern ques- I well know your Lordships go along tion, because I knew from the best au- with me. But it is not enough to prove thorities that its production at that mo- the justice of the Resolutions, unless ment was the only chance of acting, one can establish their utility. The in our sense, on the still hesitating, House may fairly say that they are not still undetermined attitude of statesmen bound to move out of their way to upat Vienna. Without any argument at hold the Secretary of State when he has all, the noble Earl repelled the Motion, taken a sound line, and to admonish in a way by which his own responsibility him when he has been feeble or inadewas seriously heightened. In short, he quate, unless a good effect upon the took a course which nothing could de- Continent of Europe can be traced to fend, except the opposite result to that their proceeding. I approach that conwhich has arisen. Had the negotiation sideration, and all the more because it of Austria and Roumania blown over- may be rapidly disposed of. Let the and there was considerable hope of it, House only glance at the exact stage of the noble Earl might have come down the transaction. The three Powers laid to this House and said—“ Your propo- down a new principle. The Ottoman sition was superfluous. We have gained authorities immediately exposed its inour point without you. It was not es conveniences. The British Government sential to produce the Treaties you re- upheld the Ottoman authorities. No quired. We have saved the country kind of refutation was elicited. The eighteen pence or half-a-crown which whole thing remained suspended, and their production would have cost it, thus might have disappeared. One Power showing how adroitly we can blend alone, after a labyrinth of difficulties, finance and foreign policy together.” resolved to execute the project of which And it is, my Lords, a great flight of the standard was unrolled. My Lords, statesmanship to do so. But the result it is a perfect fallacy-although some has shown-what I was thoroughly con- who think with me were first inclined vinced of—that the proposal was not to adopt it—to assume that nothing now superfluous, but opportune and indis- remains to be contended for, and that pensable. Up to the end of time, the the Austrian step disposes of the subject. noble Earl can never possibly establish The extent of the blow to Ottoman that, had he acted differently, had he integrity, the extent of the disparageacted as usage would suggest, and ment which falls upon the system of something more obligatory called for, the 1856, will be proportioned to the mass negotiation then suspended would have of States who follow that example, who come to the maturity, which he, as well so act as to encourage and confirm the as I, was anxious to avert. The only separative forces of the Vassal Princiinference I draw from this regretable palities. If no one joins, the evil will proceeding is that, if the noble Earl re- be localized. If many join, the crisis pelled one method as improper or un- we are anxious to avert will be precipi

Lord Campbell

tated. Neither Russia nor the German one. To describe it briefly, it amounts Empire, although they shared in the to a new and ingenious road across the Identic Note, have, since the Ottoman lines of public law to the dismemberreply, done anything whatever. But ment of Empires. It is just, therefore, even in Italy and France-although that a House like yours—which, although there is not time to prove it—a struggle night by night, we see it plunged into appears to be going on between com- the business of a vestry or a school mercial and political ideas, of which the board, will not forget its mission as termination is uncertain. The opinion a guardian of sound principles and of this House—which, as I have often elevated interests—should do something seen, has a prestige abroad even supe- to restrain the Powers which only verge rior to that which it enjoys within the upon, which only contemplate an error, limits of the kingdom-would be the unworthy of themselves, injurious to us, very barrier to check and guard the and tending to the loss of national coheoscillating Powers. And the opinion of sion in large and complex States, whatthe House would be sufficiently con- ever age, whatever clime they may veyed in both the Resolutions. Both belong to. My Lords, one among many imply that the position of the Identic views which leads me to think the evil Note is not to be sustained. Both imply may be localized, is that the Cabinet of that the Austrian measure ought not to Germany have not the slightest motive be generalized, while both are qualified to extend it; that, as these despatches to isolate it. My Lords, if anyone show, they were drawn into the Identic maintains that the undetermined Powers Note reluctantly and doubtfully; that cannot be held back; that they are too many European Governments look up to intent on the supposed material advan- them for counsel at this moment; that tages of these direct engagements with they are themselves directed by a mind the Vassal Principalities; there is one to which, ideas more just, or more compart of the subject he has not yet at-plete than those which guided it at first tended to. My Lords, the three Powers have often been admitted. But everyone themselves, when they resolved on the may form his own opinion on this subIdentic Note, can hardly have observed ject, which I scarcely touch upon in the lever they were going to furnish to passing. My Lords, it is not unusual to the general disturbers of political so- anticipate objections on a Motion of this ciety. Indeed, the more we mingle in sort, and to reply to them. The pracaffairs, the more we see that critical de- tice seems to me a dangerous one, as it cisions are often come to in a hurry. is likely to fatigue the House, and inNo sooner is it laid down that depen- deed I know but one mode of thought dencies may enter into Treaties which with which the Resolutions are in coninvolve a general negotiating faculty, flict. It is that mode of thought-and and lead on by easy passages to the many hold it conscientiously—which right of making peace and war, than looks to a regular alliance between every State which is not perfectly com- Russia and Great Britain as a specific pact and homogeneous becomes threat for the maladies to which Europe is ened. If those who rule at Constanti- exposed. It cannot be denied that any nople are forced to tremble for Molda- course which discourages or limits the via, Wallachia, and Servia, France may execution of the Identic Note, is unbe disquieted for Algeria and Corsica, favourable to the objects Russia has the Italian Kingdom for Sardinia and been long accustomed to pursue in the Sicily, Great Britain for various posses- Danubian Principalities. The eloquent sions among the quarters of the globe. historian, Lamartine, pointed out that On the Austrian Empire the principle is the sword of Russia had composed the calculated to rebound with a disinte- Treaty of Kainardji, by which Turkey grating force which clearly has not been was so much humiliated in 1774. Since anticipated. For the House will bear then, her policy in the Danubian Prinin mind that you cannot possibly main- cipalities has never been reversed, altain a special right upon this subject though late events may sometimes have in the Vassal Principalities of Turkey. interrupted it. To adopt a Motion to The despatches of the noble Earl com- disturb it, or to check it, is not the part pletely overthrow that proposition. The of men who wish to substitute an intiprinciple is not a local, but a general mate relation with that country, for those paths which Mr. Canning and complicated by a very extraordinary Lord Palmerston bequeathed to us. But Paper that was brought before the the House might be justified in asking, Foreign Office, and which was signed by how far that alliance can be compassed, Prince Ghika, in which it was asserted except by sacrificing all the objects for that a modification of the Customs syswhich our foreign policy continues. At tem of the Principalities could only be present, it is usual to remark that the effected in virtue of a special Convention European balance has been wholly concluded between Roumania and a superseded. It may be so. But it is Foreign Power. That was a most illoonly superseded and eclipsed because gical and untenable proposition. It Russia draws into her system important might be alleged that the material intePowers which used to counteract her. rests of Roumania and those of the Should Great Britain fling herself as an Ottoman Porte were distinct; but the additional and a subordinate ingredient Porte itself acknowledged that to be so, into that sinister, dark, and overgrown and it promised to consult with the preponderance, the dismay of those Principalities in regard to their distinct States which prize their independence interests, and to accede to any special without large armies to uphold it will arrangements which might be necessary be as boundless, as it must be certainly, for them. All that the Porte required well-founded. Even, therefore, should was that the Principalities should not it be proved to-night that Resolutions assume a power which did not belong to such as these are little favourable to them. It was clear that the noble Earl united action with St. Petersburg, they the Foreign Secretary regarded the Conought not on that account to be rejected vention with Roumania as utterly indeby your Lordships. Nations which aspire fensible, for he had declared that Her to exist can hardly be unfaithful to the Majesty's Government were convinced purpose which renders their existence that the pretensions of Roumania were sacred to the world. The noble Lord inconsistent with the terms of existing concluded by moving the Resolutions. treaties, and that they could not believe

that any of the Powers who had signed Moved to resolve, That this House concurs the Treaty of Paris would infringe that gality of the demand addressed to the Ottoman important international instrument. That Porte by the Three Powers, Austria, the German vigorous language, however, had not Empire, and Russia, in their identic note of been backed up by any vigorous action20th October 1874.-(The Lord Stratheden and all that the noble Earl did when the Campbell.)

matter came to a head was to make a THE EARL OF ROSEBERY said, he proposition to the German Ambassador, did not wish to complain of the delay which he promised to communicate to which had occurred in the presentation his Government—and the matter then of the Papers which the noble Earl the disappears from the Blue Book. In Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs another despatch the noble Earl let down promised on the 25th of February last the three Powers in rather an easy manshould be laid on the Table of the House ner, remarking that too much imporin the course of a few weeks, although tance should not be attached to the that delay seemed to him to be some- political aspect of the question, which what unusual. It was, however, fully lost much of its significance from the decompensated for by the contents of the claration of those Governments that they Papers themselves, for he did not believe had no intention to weaken the ties that so many extraordinary propositions which bound the Principalities to Turkey. had ever been contained in so small a The direct action of the three Powers in compass as were to be found in the negotiating with the Principalities had space of this Blue Book. Some time done as much as could possibly be done last year, it appeared, a demand was to sever those ties; and if Her Majesty's addressed by Austria to the Porte for the Government were satisfied that the three right of concluding an independent Com- Powers had no intention of doing what mercial Treaty with Roumania, and they actually had done, diplomatic action several propositions were laid down by would seem to be useless. It was clear · Count Andrassy with respect to Servia, that the object of those Powers could which, by some misapprehension, he not be a merely commercial one, because omitted to prove. The question was such an object could have been attained

Lord Campbell

with the consent of the Porte, which was had entered into arrangements with the quite willing that a commercial Conven- Governments of neighbouring Powers tion should be concluded. The noble without applying for the consent of the Earl had proposed a Conference; but Porte; and the present complaint of the proposal was at once declined by the Porte hardly came with a very good those Powers—which showed that their grace, when it was remembered that, in object was not commercial only. It was the words of our late Consul General in not pretended that anything was to be the Principalities," with regard to Congained by treating the sovereign autho- sular jurisdiction, that treaties and capirity of the Porte with discourtesy. They tulations were virtually a dead letter" must have had in view a political ob- there. If now the Porte held the Prinject of some sort. He did not pretend cipalities to the Treaties, it should also to offer an opinion as to what that poli- have required them not to depart from tical object was. The noble Earl had those Treaties where the interests of the suggested several methods by which, Powers were concerned. He believed without detriment to the authority of the that the Customs tariff had never been Porte, the commercial objects professedly strictly observed in the Principalities; aimed at might have been attained and in various existing Treaties it was but the German Ambassador declared, not made imperative upon the Powers with the somewhat cynical frankness to ask the assent of the Porte for any that characterized the diplomacy of his arrangements they might make with nation, that the positive interests of his States under the suzerainty of the Porte. country could not be endangered by In his opinion, too, it was very inopporquestions of mere form-holding that tune on the part of the Porte to raise she had a right to conclude a direct spe- these doubtful questions. The Governcial Customs Convention with the vassal ment of the Porte were sure to be met provinces of Turkey. The Turkish Go- by rejoinders which were more or less vernment had not been treated with well-founded, and which might weaken common courtesy, and whatever might the position of the Porte when it came have been the object of those proceed-by-and-by to apply for the assistance of ings, their result was perfectly obvious— the Powers in matters of graver interest. a great change had occurred in the He thought the Porte should rest satisEastern Question, and it could not be fied with the assurance-a valuable one doubted that if the Principalities pos--given it by the German Ambassador sessed the right of making independent that Germany had given and would treaties, their position was essentially give no encouragement to any designs altered. Nor could it be denied that if which would bring about the separation treaties were ridden rough shod over in of the Principalities from the Turkish that manner on the plea of material Empire, or would injuriously affect the interests, which were undefined, danger position and rights of Turkey. The must arise both to the security of nations House would, in his opinion, be hardly and to the peace of Europe.

justified in imputing to the Powers that LORD HAMMOND said, that if they they were open to the charge brought sanctioned the pretension of the Prin- against them by the noble Lord (Lord cipalities to conclude Commercial Con- Stratheden); and with regard to the ventions, they would sanction that which Resolution expressing the regret of the was entirely inconsistent with the suze. Houserainty of the Sultan, and which was “ That no effectual measures seemed to have wholly without warrant. The three been taken to prevent or retard the definitive Powers rested the demand addressed by conclusion of a Treaty between Austro-Hungary them to the Porte upon the terms of the

and the Danubian Principalities,” Treaties of 1856 and 1858; the Firman such a Resolution would be equivalent of 1866 and the Treaty of 1856 de- to a Vote of Censure upon the noble Earl claring that the Principalities should the Foreign Secretary, who, he thought, continue to enjoy under the suzerainty did not deserve it. In conclusion, he of the Porte the privileges and immuni- wished to say a few words upon the deties they then enjoyed, including full sire of the Principalities to separate liberty of worship, legislation, com- themselves from Turkey. Such a desire merce, and navigation. He believed on their part was no secret—but was that on many occasions the Principalities very unwise. Practically, they were now



I will now


24 in the enjoyment of independence, com- partly in the hope that before they were mercially and otherwise; but directly laid upon the Table we might have arthey withdrew themselves from the rived one way or the other at a definitive guarantee which at present secured to settlement of the question—in which them this quasi-independence they would event the Correspondence might have have little chance of long remaining an appeared in a more complete form than independent State. Russia might, per- it actually does appear—and partly, they haps, hold her hand from a feeling of were kept back for the purpose of congrace and from religious sympathies; sulting on the question of publication but the temptation would be strong, and the other parties to the Correspondence, incorporation with that Empire would without whose consent I could not fairly bring Russia on the Danube, from which lay them upon the Table. But, so far as it was the object of the Treaty of 1856 my recollection serves me—though I may to exclude her. On the other hand, no- have spoken in general terms of laying thing could be more fatal to Austria the Papers in the course of a few weeks than any encouragement given to the the only promise I gave to the noble Lord Principalities to shake off their con- was that they should be laid upon the nection with Turkey. Austria must Table in time for a discussion during know that if they did so, they would be the present Session. They are upon either incorporated with Russia, or, if the Table now, and the noble Lord has they remained independent, would seek brought the subject forward for consito extend their power by incorporating deration at least a fortnight, I am afraid, with themselves some of the neighbour- before the time when we may hope to ing Austrian Provinces. Community of look forward to the close of the Session. origin would be a great temptation on Therefore, I think the noble Lord canthe part of some of these Provinces to not fairly complain that the pledge I coalesce with the Principalities, but he gave has not been fulfilled. did not think it could be the wish of pass to the substance of the noble Lord's any Englishman that Austria should be Resolutions. The Motion of the noble weakened by the severance of any further is in effect a Vote of Censure of the portion of her Empire.

Government. He asks you to express THE EARL OF DERBY : My Lords, regret that certain things have not been before I say anything else on the sub-done. ject, I hope I may be allowed to con- LORD CAMPBELL interposing, exgratulate your Lordships on having plained that what he said was, not that heard the opinion-expressed I believe certain things had not been done, but for the first time-of that Member of that we could not see that they had been your Lordships' House who of all who done. sit here has the largest and longest ex- THE EARL OF DERBY: I put the perience of the Foreign Affairs of this interpretation which I think most people country (Lord Hammond). I do not, would put upon the Motion. The noble however, entirely agree with the con- Lord is, of course, quite free to under'clusions of my noble Friend. Still, stand his own Resolutions as he thinks although I am compelled to dissent fit. The question, however, is not what from his conclusions, I think that the the noble Lord intends, but what his point of view from which he regards words imply. One of his Resolutions the question supplies a very useful and implies that certain steps, if they have necessary corrective to the exaggerated not been taken, ought to have been apprehensions of the noble Lord who taken. Now, I do not think your Lordmoved these Resolutions—apprehensions ships will, upon the statement which you which were, I think, to some extent, have heard, endorse that view, and if shared by the noble Earl who succeeded a division is called for, I shall appeal him. The noble Lord who moved the with confidence to noble Lords on both Resolutions complained that an unreason- sides to reject it. In answering the able delay had occurred in the produc- noble Lord, I shall not go back to the tion of the Papers, and that there had partition of Poland, nor discuss the exbeen a violation of a promise on my pediency or otherwise of forming a close part. It is quite true that some delay alliance with Russia. How does the has occurred; but it has arisen from matter stand ? The whole story is told two causes. I kept the Papers back, in these Papers, and I shall recapitulate

Lord Hammond

« PreviousContinue »