Page images

As re

it very briefly. The Government of the of the Porte had been asked to the makPrincipalities on the one hand, and the ing of these Conventions, it would have three Governments of Austria, Russia, been conceded without difficulty ; but I and Germany on the other, desire to believe that to be the case.

The comconclude Commercial Conventions with mercial arrangements of Roumania have one another.

The Government of the no interest for Turkey. The Roumanian Porte objects on the ground that such Exchequer is separate from that of Conventions are not within the right of Turkey; a surplus there is of no assistthe Government of the Principalities to ance to the Sultan, and a deficit there is contract without sanction from Constan- of no importance, so long as the very tinople. We and the French Govern- small tribute to which Roumania is liable ment agree with the Porte in the con- continues to be punctually paid. In struction which we place upon our Treaty fact, one argument against these Convenobligations. The three Governments of tions is that they are utterly unnecessary. Eastern Europe, on the other hand, re- If the Roumanian authorities like to regard such Conventions as within the duce their Customs duties to the lowest right of autonomy which the Principali- point, they can do it. Nobody will obties confessedly enjoy. They accordingly ject and nobody will interfere. If they proceed to make their Convention, and like to raise them within certain limits, the noble Lord is of opinion that we to which they are bound by European ought in some way, which he does not Treaties, they can equally do so. They explain, to prevent that transaction from can make, and they have made, informal taking place. Let me remind the House understandings with other States as to within what very narrow limits this rates of duty to be levied, and they question really lies. It is admitted on might have continued to do so. all hands that the Roumanian Govern- gards material and practical results, it ment has not the right to make treaties makes absolutely no difference which properly so-called—treaties of a political way this matter is settled. Well, then, character dealing with general interests. is the conclusion of these Conventions a It is equally admitted that there is a step to ultimate independence? I will certain class of Conventions with neigh- be entirely frank. The Principalities, bouring States which the Roumanian no doubt, have drifted in the course of Government is entitled to make by the the last 20 years into a position different Firman of 1866. And that, let me say from that which was made for them by in passing, disposes of his argument as the Crimean War. That is only saying to the impossibility, according to Inter- that the Crimean War was waged 20 national Law, of any Convention being years ago. The Roumanians, as a people, entered into by a dependent State. are stronger and more united now than The whole difference between the two they were then. They may indulge in parties in this dispute consists in this dreams of a possible future; but I shall --whether Commercial Conventions such be surprised if they take any steps to as are now proposed come within one realize those ideas, and for this reason. category or the other. We think Why I say that the Roumanian people they are excluded, for reasons which will not take steps to separate themI will not dwell upon because the selves from the Turkish Empire is, that noble Lord accepts them as valid. The the only security they have for selfAustrians think they are included, government, or even for existence, lies grounding themselves mainly on the in the European guarantee which, as a right of the Principalities to make part of the Ottoman Empire, they enjoy. their own internal financial arrange- So long as they remain in name a depenments, and on the words of the Firman dency of Turkey they are secure, as far of 1866. Now, is this a question which as treaties can make them so, against can be treated as one of European mag- the risk of being absorbed in any

other nitude and importance ? It can only be State. They are not strong enough to important in one of two ways—either as stand alone, and they know it. I do regards its immediate practical results, or not think, therefore, they will risk the as a step to the ultimate separation of the forfeiture of the guarantee which now Principalities from Turkey. As to the protects them. And I cannot doubt that practical results, they are, none. I they clearly understand the situation. not authorized to say that if the consent That guarantee was not granted to the

[ocr errors]

Principalities for their own sakes—it a course of conduct such as this? They
was granted to them as forming a part would have said—“Your morality is
of the general system of the Ottoman excellent; but while we have just as
Empire. So long as they remain within much respect for treaties as you have, we
that Empire, they have a right to it, and have our own method of interpreting
no longer. I do not think they will be them, which unfortunately differs from
in haste to break off a connection which yours.” If we had endeavoured to create
is not galling or humiliating, and which out of this a great European question, we
leaves them complete internal freedom, might certainly have succeeded in mak-
either for the sake of being absorbed in ing ourselves ridiculous; but we should
any more powerful State, or for the bare have done no good to the Porte, and I do
chance of being able to maintain a pre- not think we should have been thanked
carious independence, exposed to danger for our trouble. Whatever is still pos-
from every quarter, and without having sible to smooth over the difficulty and to
a claim on the protection or friendship of save the dignity of the Porte shall be
any Power. That state of things I con- attempted; but I believe at this moment
sider affords the best security we can the Turkish Government, which certainly
have for the maintenance of the status is mainly concerned, is not only satisfied,
quo. As for this small matter of the but grateful for the line we have taken.
Conventions, it leaves things in sub- I do not think, therefore, that your Lord-
stance where they were. The Rouma- ships will be more Turkish than the
nian people, at any rate, do not consider Turks themselves, and censure us for
that they have gained a diplomatic results which we did not bring about,
victory, for we hear of the supplanting and which, as far as I can see, no lan-
of the Government and of discontent and guage or action on our part could have
agitation at Bucharest—which does not averted.
look as if the Government were con- THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY agreed
sidered to have accomplished a national with the noble Earl opposite (the Earl
success. It may be that by better manage- of Derby) in deprecating the use of
ment on both sides this dispute might violent language, or the adoption of
have been averted. I think that was what would be called a rash or ill-judged
possible, and in despatches I have in course in reference to this matter. It
dicated more than one way in which it was never desirable to adopt strong
might have been done. But the time language, and in this matter it would
for that is past—not by the fault of Eng- have been more than usually rash to
land. And now it only remains to con- have done so. He agreed in thinking
sider in what way the actual result could that it would be the greatest possible
have been averted. On that point the mistake to erect the subject which had
noble Lord (Lord Stratheden) has given been brought forward by the noble Lord
us no information. He does not suppose (Lord Stratheden) into a great European
that we ought to have broken off rela- question. He would not for a moment
tions with the three Powers, because of presume to set up his opinion on a ques-
this difference. Ought we to have with tion of the interpretation of treaties
drawn from the guarantee of Roumania? against the view which might be held
But that would be only injuring our- by the Foreign Office. On the other
selves, unless other Powers took the hand, he thought great weight ought to
same course. My noble Friend has sug-attach to the views which had been ex-
gested several remedies for the state of pressed by the noble Lord (Lord
things which he desires to see put to Hammond), who was for so many years
rights. He has said that we might Under Secretary of State for Foreign
have laid the Papers relating to the Affairs. Looking at the question by the
matter before Parliament, and that we light of the Firman which was issued
might further have appealed to the good by the Porte, he was in considerable
faith of the other Powers interested in doubt whether the commercial arrange-
the question, in the belief that publicity ments which had been entered into by
and discussion would have changed the the Principalities were such as they were
course of the question. We might have excluded from making by their general
made more noise and written excited de- relations with the Porte. It would, in
spatches about the observance of treaties; his opinion, be idle to address strong
but what would have been the result of language to the other Powers, because

The Earl of Derby

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

their views on these points differed from to the noble Earl the Secretary of State those entertained by Her Majesty's Go- himself, the importance of his office vernment. The general position of the renders it incumbent on me to encounter Principalities was of a very artificial cha- some of the remarks of which I was the racter. For many years past they had object. The noble Earl ascribed to me endeavoured to set themselves up as the view that a Parliamentary discussion, something greater than they really were, some time back, would have been the

, and, in all probability, they would con- proper method for giving a more favourtinue in the same course. This being able turn to the transaction now before so, he thought it fair to regard the us. Undoubtedly I do maintain that, question as one concerning which the if a Parliamentary discussion were to principle of self-interest would weigh happen, its chance of retarding the Auswith the Principalities--and as the noble trian negotiation would have been greater Earl had said, self-interest was more before, than after the negotiation was binding than treaties — and prevent concluded. But Parliamentary discusthem from going as far as some persons sion was not, as it occurred to me, the thought them likely to go. The Prin- most important weapon to rely on in the cipalities were not likely rashly to sacri- business. The noble Earl has said much fice a position in which they would lose to extenuate the gravity of what he was the advantages of the European guaran- not able to avert, and denied that in tee-within which they were now in- Moldavia and Wallachia there is the cluded—and become a mere shuttlecock separative tendency which I imputed to between two great Powers. On the them, and which forms an important whole, he thought the noble Earl oppo- link in the case I urged upon your Lordsite (the Earl of Derby) had taken a ships. How comes it, therefore, that the very prudent course in advising the Porte noble Earl, in language I will read, not to attach exaggerated importance to officially rebuked the aspirations of the question in its present position, but Prince Charles and of his councillors for to suffer it to be looked upon as a ques- an independence they would not be able tion of arrangement between neighbour- to perpetuate ? [Lord CAMPBELL here ing States, and not as one involving great read the passage.] The noble Earl has questions of treaty obligation, and likely charged me with general exaggeration to imperil the arrangement made in 1856 in the importance I attached to the for

Ι with regard to the whole question. mation of these Treaties. What have I

LORD CAMPBELL: If no other noble done except adopt the language of the Lord is going to address the House I | Ottoman authorities, “ that they are the shall feel bound to make some comments earliest stage in the road of demands still on what has passed, and to announce the more important, still more inadmiscourse I propose about the Resolutions. sible ?." The variance is between the As regards my noble Friend upon the noble Earl and men whom patriotism, inright (the Earl of Rosebery) he has terest, experience enlighten, who have a shown an aptitude in foreign, not un local knowledge of the countries in disequal to that which he was well-known pute, whose minds are constantly embefore to have upon domestic topics, and ployed upon the subject. I venture to has taken the first step in what I trust prefer the judgment which they form at may be a long continued effort to uphold Constantinople to that which he may the validity of Treaties and the honour of form at Downing Street-were he withhis country. The noble Lord, who may out a bias-upon some parts of the quesbe justly regarded as the Nestor of the tion. Is there no such thing as ability, Foreign Office (Lord Hammond), and the sagacity, or insight on the Bosphorus ? noble Earl on the front bench (the Earl Is statesmanship unknown, or is diploof Kimberley) who has gone with him, macy uncultivated on those waters ? The have adopted the position of the Identic noble Earl has asked me, in a manner the Note; they have supported the legality most pointed, “what ought we to have of the demand which it embodied; they done ?” My Lords, there never was a are at utter variance with the Secretary question easier to satisfy. If either beof State, they are exposed to the reply fore the Identic Note of October 20th, or which his despatches have brought for- during the long interval which followed, ward, and I am not compelled in any one despatch had been submitted to the way to answer them. But when I come Austrian Government, pointing out


France upon


however guardedly and cautiously—that leave to them the responsibility of rethe course they meditated would not har-jecting it. monize with the engagements which THE LORD CHANCELLOR said, bound them to Great Britain and to that this was one of those cases of

the Eastern question; that pressing a Resolution which no the advantages they sought might be particularly desired to oppose ; but, at more legitimately compassed; it would the same time, if it were accepted, it have seemed to me the conduct of the might give rise to some misapprehenGovernment ought not to be impugned. sion in other quarters. The second ReWill it be said that such a task was solution being withdrawn, there would beyond the faculties of the noble Earl, be no necessity for the first; and it apand those who sit around him here, or peared to him that the better course those who aid him at the Foreign Office ? would be to agree to a Motion that the My Lords, the noble Earl regards the Resolution should not be put. He theresecond Resolution as a censure. In that fore moved the Previous Question. event, however just its terms, I shall withdraw it. Dissatisfied with the

A question being stated thereupon,

proceedings of the noble Earl in this affair, the previous question was put, “WheI do not fail to recognize his international ther the said question shall be now utility in the function of maintaining put ?Resolved in the Negative. peace between two contending Powers, Then it was moved to resolve, That this House or Powers not unlikely to contend. It regrets that no effectual measures seem to have would not, therefore, be consistent with been taken to prevent or to retard the definitive my views as to the interest of Europe by and the Danubian Principalities.—(The Lord

conclusion of a treaty between Austro-Hungary any vote to weaken his authority at pre- Stratheden and Campbell.) sent. As to the former Resolution, nothing will induce me to withdraw it,

Motion (by leave of the House) with

drawn. and nothing will, I hope, prevent the noble Earl from acquiescing in it. It is CONSPIRACY AND PROTECTION OF a tribute to the Government as against

PROPERTY BILL.—(No. 220.) the Identic Note, and it must tend to counterbalance the effect of the Austrian

(The Lord Chancellor.)

SECOND READING. example on those States which at this very moment are doubting whether to be Order of the Day for the Second Readswayed by it.

ing, read. THE EARL OF DERBY acknowledged THE LORD CHANCELLOR, in movthe friendly tone of the noble Lord's ing that the Bill be now read the second speech towards the Government and time, said, he would briefly explain the himself, and hoped that the noble Lord purpose of this Bill, and also that of would rest satisfied with the discussion the Employers and Workmen Bill, which which he had evoked, and withdraw stood next on the Paper. The latter both Resolutions. He (the Earl of Derby) Bill was confined to civil remedies for could not object to the first Resolution breaches of contract between employers in the abstract, but it would afford no and workmen, while the other, while it security that it would be unanimously provided that no combination should be accepted by the House; and looking at deemed criminal if the act proposed to the state of the House and the number be done would not be criminal if done of Peers who were absent, and had by one person declared certain breaches taken no part in the discussion, any of contract, though done by one person Resolution agreed to in such a manner to be criminally punishable, and others would not have any weight with or in- involving injury to persons and property fluence over European nations.

to be also punishable. The Employers LORD CAMPBELL adhered to his and Workmen Bill, he might add, was opinion, that the proper course would intended to replace the Master and Serbe to withdraw the second Resolution ; vants Act of 1867, sometimes called and, as to the first Resolution, its ac- Lord Elcho's Act, while the other meaceptance or non - acceptance, entirely sure was intended to replace the Crimidepended upon the Government. Asnal Law Amendment Act of 1871. As to the first Resolution, if the Govern- far back as 1350 there was an Act—the ment would not adopt it, he must 23rd of Edward III.-called the Statute

Lord Campbell

of Labourers. That Statute, after re- was that the present Government, on citing that a great part of the people, coming into office, found great and especially workmen and servants, had general dissatisfaction existing on the of late died of the pestilence, and that subject, and that dissatisfaction was many, seeing the necessity of masters aggravated by further complaints which and the great scarcity of servants, would were made as to the working of the not serve unless they received excessive Criminal Law Amendment Act. They, wages, and that some would rather beg therefore, thought it necessary to obtain in idleness than by labour get their some information as to the working of livings, proceeded to enact that all agri- those two measures, and a Commission cultural labourers should be bound to was appointed, on which sat a noble work for the wages usually paid in the Lord whom he saw near him, the Lord 20th year of Edward the Third's reign Chief Justice of England, the Recorder (1347) or the five or six years before, of London, Sir Montagu Smith—one of and subjected them to imprisonment for the official Members of the Judicial disobedience. From that period up to Committee of the Privy Council-Mr. 1867 there had been almost incessant Bouverie, Mr. Macdonald, and others. legislation on the subject, which was That Commission obtained information of directed to two separate objects—the great value, and presented a very elabomaking service compulsory, laying down rate and able Report, and upon'that Report the rate of wages to be paid, and the Her Majesty's Government were decided imposing of criminal penalties on work- to act. The Government decided to draw men, but not upon employers, who were a broad line of demarcation between left to be dealt with by means of civil civil and criminal breaches of contract, remedies only. The first of those ob- and to leave that line to be deterjects-compulsory service-was given mined, not by the tribunal, but on the up in 1824, but the system of criminal face of the Act of Parliament itself. punishment continued until 1867. The The Employers and Workmen Bill dealt Act passed in that year, following the with civil breaches of contract alone, Report of a Committee of which Lord laying down the general rule - apart Elcho was Chairman, placed for the first from certain exceptions which came time employers and workmen on the under the other Bill that breach of same footing; but the misfortune was contract which resulted in damages that it left certain classes of breaches should be treated as giving rise to a of contract to be punished either civilly civil remedy, and not as constituting a or criminally at the option of the Jus- crime. It provided that wherever the tices. The 14th section of the Act was damage from a breach of contract did as follows:

not exceed £10 it might be dealt with “When on the hearing of an information or by the petty sessions, and where it excomplaint under this Act it appears to the ceeded that amount must be dealt with justices, magistrate, or sheriff that any in- in the County Court; that both as to jury inflicted on the person or property of the the petty sessions and the County Court demeanour, or ill-treatment complained of, has there was to be no imprisonment whatbeen of an aggravated character, and that such ever, except that kind of imprisonment injury, misconduct, misdemeanour, or ill-treat- which resulted occasionally in County ment has not arisen or been committed in the Courts where a debt had not been paid bona fide exercise of a legal right existing or bonâ fide and reasonably supposed to exist, and by a person against whom a judgment further, that any pecuniary compensation or had gone, and as to whom the Judge other remedy by this Act provided will not came to the conclusion that he had the meet the circumstances of the case, then the means of paying, but did not choose to justices, magistrate, or sheriff may by warrant commit the party complained against to the pay. In those cases, and those cases common gaol or House of Correction, there to only, the petty sessions or the County be (in the discretion of the justices, magistrate, Court was to be allowed to commit the or sheriff) imprisoned, with or without hard la defendant to prison, not as a criminal, bour, for any term not exceeding three months.” | but as a debtor, subject to the checks Thus, there might be conflicting deci- and safeguards existing in regard to orsions in the very same county, for what dinary cases of debt in the County Court. in the eye of one magistrate might ap- The Bill also authorized the petty sespear to be an aggravated offence, might sions or the County Court, as the case not appear so to another. The result might be, to adjust a set-off on the side VOL. CCXXVI. (THIRD SERIES.]


« PreviousContinue »