§ HER MAJESTY'S SPEECH heaving been reported by the Lord Chancellor,
§ EARL FITZWILLIAM,
in rising to move that an humble Address be presented by this House in answer to Her Majesty's most gracious Speech, said:—My Lords, it is with diffidence that I rise to address your Lordships for the first time, and the greater is that diffidence when I recollect that although for many years I had the honour of a seat in the other House of Parliament, I remained throughout that time a silent actor in all the scenes to which my duties called me; but I will be brief, and the observations which I make shall be few, and I trust you will not weigh in too nice a balance any expressions which may fall from me on this occasion.
We hear from Her gracious Majesty that it is with gratification She meets her Parliament, that She continues on terms of friendship with all foreign countries; but while there is this general cause for satisfaction, there is, in my estimation, one reason for still greater congratulation. I heard but yesterday that a Commercial Treaty had been signed between the Government of the Emperor of the French and the Government of this country. I for one cannot hear of this Treaty otherwise than with the greatest satisfaction, as it appears to me more calculated to promote the prosperity, peace, and happiness of mankind than anything which could have been proposed, and tended more especially to bind together those two countries whose interests are more immediately at issue.
One circumstance we cannot hear of without regret, namely, that those kindly offices which were tendered by Her Majesty to the Governments of Morocco and Spain have not been accepted. But I will turn from that topic to one which we as Englishmen cannot view without admiration. We cannot witness the noble efforts now being made by the Italian people to win for themselves those liberties which we have so long enjoyed, and so justly prized, with- 8 out feelings of the deepest sympathy and respect—and having won them, I trust they will use them with the moderation and wisdom which their conduct has given us every reason to expect.
I will now turn to one other point of Her Majesty's Speech which we heard with feelings of the deepest gratitude. We learn that those vast territories over which Her Majesty rules in India are now tranquil—that the miseries and sufferings of their inhabitants have been brought to a close; and I cannot but hope that having been purified by those fiery trials through which they have passed, the people of those countries may become more moral, contented, and happy, than they have ever been.
My Lords, I said I would not detain you long by any observations I might offer, but there is one other point of Her Majesty's Speech to which I must allude, as from it we learn that the state of this country is one of the very greatest prosperity, and we have the happiness of learning that crime is decreasing, and pauperism dying out.
Allow me, my Lords, now to thank you for the kind forbearance with which you have listened to the few observations I have offered to your notice, but before resuming my seat, I have the honour to propose that an humble Address may be presented to Her Majesty, in answer to Her gracious Speech from the Throne.
§ The following is a copy of the Address agreed to:—
§ 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 Your Majesty's most gracious Speech from the Throne.
§ "We humbly express to Your Majesty our Gratification in learning that Your Majesty's Relations with Foreign Powers continue to be on a friendly and a satisfactory Footing.
§ "We humbly thank your Majesty for the Information which Your Majesty has given us with regard to the Invitation which Your Majesty has received from The Emperor of Austria and from the Emperor of the French to send a Plenipotentiary to assist at a Conference of the Great Powers of Europe.
§ "We humbly express our Gratification at learning that Your Majesty has accepted the Invitation, while, at the same Time, making known that in such a Conference Your Majesty would steadfastly 9 maintain the Principle that no external Force should be employed to impose upon the People of Italy any particular Government or Constitution.
§ "We assure Your Majesty that we humbly concur in the Purpose expressed by Tour Majesty, that, whether in Congress or in separate Negotiation, Your Majesty will endeavour to obtain for the People of Italy Freedom from Foreign Interference by Force of Arms in their internal Concerns; and we trust with Your Majesty that the Affairs of the Italian Peninsula may be peacefully and satisfactorily settled.
§ "We humbly thank Your Majesty for commanding that Papers on this Subject should be laid before us.
§ "We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us, that Your Majesty is in communication with The Emperor of the French, with a view to extend the Commercial Intercourse between the Two Countries, and thus to draw still closer the Bonds of friendly Alliance between them.
§ "We humbly assure Your Majesty, that we partake in the Regret expressed by Your Majesty that Your Majesty's Endeavours to prevent a Rupture between Spain and Morocco have been without Success.
§ "We thank Your Majesty for informing us, that Your Majesty's Plenipotentiary and the Plenipotentiary of The Emperor of The French having, in obedience to their Instructions, proceeded to the Mouth of the Peiho River, in order to repair to Pekin, to exchange in that City the Ratifications of the Treaty of Tien-tsin, in pursuance of the Fifty-sixth Article of that Treaty, their further Progress was opposed by Force, and that a Conflict took place between the Chinese Forts at the Mouth of the River and the Naval Forces by which the Plenipotentiaries were escorted; and that Your Majesty is preparing, in Concert and Co-operation with The Emperor of the French, an Expedition intended to obtain Redress, and a Fulfilment of the Stipulations of the Treaty of Tientsin.
§ "We humbly assure Your Majesty that we shall participate in Your Gratification if the prompt Acquiescence of the Emperor of China in the moderate Demands which will be made by the Plenipotentiaries shall obviate the Necessity for the Employment of Force.
§ "We thank Your Majesty for directing that Papers on this Subject should be laid before us.
§ "We assure Your Majesty that we learn with Satisfaction that a Collision which might have occurred between Your Majesty's Forces and those of the United States, arising from an unauthori- 10 zed Proceeding by an Officer of the United States in regard to the Island of San Juan, has been prevented by the judicious Forbearance of Your Majesty's Naval and Civil Officers on the Spot, and by the equitable and conciliatory provisional Arrangement proposed on this Matter by the Government of the United States; and we trust with Your Majesty that the Question of Boundary out of which this affair has arisen, may be amicably settled in a Manner conformable with the just rights of the Two Countries, as defined by the First Article of the Treaty of 1816.
§ "We humbly express our heartfelt Thankfulness in learning that the last Embers of Disturbance in Your Majesty's East Indian Dominions have been extinguished; that Your Majesty's Viceroy has made a peaceful Progress through the Districts which had been the principal Scene of Disorder; that by a judicious Combination of Firmness and Generosity Your Majesty's Authority has been everywhere solidly established; and that Your Majesty has received from Your Majesty's Viceroy most gratifying Accounts of the Loyalty of Your Majesty's Indian Subjects, and of the good Feeling evinced by the Native Chiefs, and the great Landowners of the Country.
§ "We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us, that the Attention of the Government in India has been directed to the Development of the internal Resources of the Country, and that an Improvement has taken place in its financial Prospects.
§ "We humbly express our Satisfaction that Your Majesty has concluded a Treaty with the Tycoon of Japan, and a Treaty regarding Boundaries with the Republic of Guatemala.
§ "We humbly thank your Majesty for graciously expressing to us the Feelings with which Your Majesty has accepted the extensive Offers of voluntary Service which Your Majesty has received from Your Subjects.
§ "We thank Your Majesty for informing us, that Measures will be laid before us for amending the Laws which regulate the Representation of the People in Parliament, and for placing that Representation upon a broader and firmer Basis; and we assure Your Majesty that we will give our best Consideration to this important Subject.
§ "We assure Your Majesty that we will give our serious Attention to Your Majesty's Recommendation that we should resume our Labours for the Improvement of our Jurisprudence, and particularly in regard to Bankruptcy, the Transfer of Land, Consolidation of the Statutes, and such a further Fusion of Law and Equity as may be necessary to ensure that in every Suit the Rights of 11 the Parties may be satisfactorily determined by the Court in which the Suit is commenced.
§ "We humbly express our Gratification in learning that the great Interests of the Country are generally in a sound and thriving Condition; that Pauperism and Crime have diminished; and that, throughout the whole of Your Majesty's Empire, both in the United Kingdom and in Your Majesty's Colonies and Possessions beyond Sea, there reigns a Spirit of Loyalty, of Contentment, of Order, and of Obedience to the Law.
§ "Wehumbly assure Your Majesty that in common with Your Majesty we fervently pray that the beneficent Power of the Almighty Ruler of Nations may guide our Deliberations for the Advancement and Consolidation of the Welfare and Happiness of Your Majesty's People.
§ LOED TRURO
said, he knew when slender abilities and inexperience appealed to their Lordships' consideration, that appeal was not in vain. he did so then. They had just heard in the words of Her Majesty's Speech that She came to her Parliament with feelings of unmixed satisfaction. It might well be so, announcing as the Sovereign had that day done from the Throne, the good-will of all nations towards this country, pledging Her Ministers to the introduction of measures of high national concern, and gladdening the hearts of Her people with the prospect of an expanded commerce. And when their Lordships were informed that the revenue was never in a sounder condition, that manufactures were never more prosperous, that crime had decreased, and pauperism was less burthen-some, they had had laid before them the just grounds for the Royal satisfaction that had been expressed. he congratulated their Lordships when he reflected on the recent Continental strife, at the assurances that while this country had held aloof from political complications, while she had steadfastly adhered to the policy she had avowed and the principles she had promulgated, she had yet, by a spirit of forbearance and conciliation, maintained with all the Powers of Europe the most friendly and amicable relations. That upon the cessation of the Italian war this country was invited to enter a Congress, to receive communications in regard to the Treaty of Zurich, and to consider the future condition of Italy. This acknowledgment of the necessity for her advice in the resettlement of that country was only to be expected. It was due to her rank and natural influence in Continental affairs, and he rejoiced to learn from the Throne that her 12 compliance was unaccompanied by the smallest departure from the principles of non-armed interference, which England had, by her public men, distinctly avowed, and by the organs of public opinion made known to Europe. he congratulated the country upon the prospect, at last, of mutual reductions of tariff between England and France —that pledge of mutual prosperity, that guarantee of friendly relations, that special security for the prolonged peace of the world. It could not but be agreeable to the country to indulge the hope that under the guidance and sagacity of the Emperor of the French, a course of enlightened commercial policy was about to be substituted for a warlike and aggressive attitude. But if this country had been free from apprehension of war on the Continent, she had not been without grave alarm in the Far West, where the unbounded activity and restlessness of our excellent cousins had, for a moment, raised serious fears in the people of this country. But, however uncontrollable might be some of the spirits of the United States, and unauthorized and unjustifiable their acts and outrages, it was only due to, the Government of that great republic to acknowledge the promptitude of their suppression, and their willingness to enter into a frank reinvestigation of treaty engagements. From this satisfactory picture of our Foreign relations, he invited their Lordships to turn to a scene which but lately had been but a gloomy illustration of chequered fortune—where but two years since an empire was in flames, and all that is horrible of war and massacre was ruthlessly perpetrated. It was not too much to say that India had been reconquered amidst scenes of bravery, devotion, and heroism not surpassed by the deeds of old days, when that vast country was first subjugated. Greatly was it to be deplored that they could not be recorded by the same historian, but the House and the country had but lately grieved the genius that had enshrined the deeds of Clive in terms of unsurpassed eloquence and beauty. Their Lordships had, indeed, to deplore a good and a great man; a brilliant example, an experienced councillor, a nation's instructor. Whatever doubts might be entertained of the policy and propriety of our recent dealings with China, he conceived there could be but one opinion of the treacherous duplicity of the blow lately dealt to Her Majesty's forces in the Chinese waters—a blow for which the people of this country would 13 never be satisfied without voluntary reparation, or forcible redress. he would turn for a moment to a measure of domestic legislation which had been promised to them—the Reform Bill—a measure, the necessity for which had been admitted by all parties. A measure with which all had severally dealt, which had been submitted for acceptance but to meet with rejection, and which now came, it was to be hoped, for the last time before the country for the approbation of their Lordships. It appeared to be conceded on all hands that no extensive changes are demanded; a great extension of the franchise was nowhere required; but the necessity for a moderate measure of reform was, in his opinion, imperative. The country looked forward to such a measure with deep interest if not with anxiety; and it would expect from the great Conservative party that disinterested patriotism in its support which its provisions would, he believed, be found to deserve. And it was because he recognized in the words of the Royal Speech, the determination of Ministers to deal with the questions of the day without postponement or evasion that he invited their Lordships to adopt the Address which he had then the honour to second.
§ [See page 8.]
§ EARL GREY
It appears to me that, with one exception, there is no part of the Address to which any of your Lordships are likely to object; on the contrary, that the greater part of it, as of the Speech of which it is the echo, must have been heard by your Lordships with very high satisfaction. It must be a source of pleasure to us to learn that Her Majesty is able to congratulate us on the peaceful state of our relations with foreign States. We must also rejoice that Her Majesty is able to congratulate us upon the generally prosperous condition of her people, and upon the well-being of the great mass of our fellow-countrymen, as shown by the diminution of pauperism and the state of the revenue and of trade; upon the loyalty and good order so generally prevalent throughout Her dominions; upon the fact that the last embers of rebellion have been extinguished in India; and upon the circumstance that the dispute with the United States respecting the island of San Juan is likely to be settled amicably. Above all, we must have heard with great satisfaction—because upon that point some of us might have entertained misgivings which are thus removed—the paragraphs relating to Italian affairs and to 14 the assemblage of the proposed Congress. I, for one, at least heartily thank Her Majesty's Ministers for having advised Her to inform us that She is determined to maintain the principle that no external force shall be employed to impose upon the people of Italy any particular Government or Constitution. I rejoice to find that the British Government is to be no party to any scheme for cutting and carving the territory of Italy according to the real or supposed interest of other Powers or of foreign Princes, but will maintain the principle that it is the right of the Italians themselves to settle to what form of Government they shall submit. I trust that, taking their stand upon this plain principle of justice, Her Majesty's Government may succeed in conducting these affairs to a satisfactory conclusion, and that we may have the happiness of seeing established in Italy a powerful, independent, and free State. That I am certain is the conclusion which is most desirable for the Italians themselves, and which is also best calculated to promote the general welfare of Europe and that of this country. One paragraph of the Speech relating to a topic of foreign policy I have not, I confess, heard with so much satisfaction. I allude to the passage in which Her Majesty informs us that She is "in communication with the Emperor of the French with a view to extend the commercial intercourse between the two countries, and thus to draw still closer the bonds of friendly alliance between them." No man can desire more earnestly than myself that every obstacle to freer commercial intercourse between England and France should be removed, and a more intimate relation established. It is greatly to he regretted that two great nations so well calculated to promote each other's welfare should have so little commercial intercourse; that by artificial restrictions mutual trade, which might be so beneficial to both, should be so interrupted, and that a commerce which might be so great should be restricted within such narrow limits. But, my Lords, although I am most anxious to see an increase of commercial intercourse between the two countries, yet, if this passage in the Royal Speech is meant to announce to us, as we are led to believe, that a treaty is to be entered into by which France and England shall mutually stipulate to lower their duties upon each other's productions,—if this is what is really intended I must declare my conviction that it will be an unfortunate step backward in our financial 15 and commercial policy. To commercial treaties, within their proper limits, I see no objection; but those limits are very narrow. Beyond providing that each nation shall treat the other with as much favour as it extends to any other nation, and a few ordinary stipulations of that kind, I know of nothing which can properly be introduced into a commercial treaty. When you enter into stipulations as to the duties which each is to levy on the productions of the other, you make a very great mistake indeed. I cannot forget that at the conclusion of the great revolutionary war it was the opinion of almost every statesman of note in all countries, that it would be a common benefit to the civilized world if all nations would remove the obstructions which arbitrary legislation opposed to their commercial intercourse with each other. Unfortunately, with that opinion there prevailed this other—that in the removal of commercial restrictions the gain rested with the nation whose produce was admitted into the dominions of another, and that the maintenance of high import duties was beneficial to a people, provided that their exports were not unduly taxed by their neighbours. Entering upon diplomatic intercourse with that notion, the various countries of Europe, for more than a quarter of a century, went on trying, with much fruitless expenditure of labour and ingenuity, to remove the restrictiens which they had mutually imposed upon each other's trade. The spirit in which these negotiations were carried on was that which is so well described in Mr. Canning's well-known rhyming despatch:—In matters of commerce the fault of the DutchIs giving too little, and asking too much.That was the spirit in which each nation received the proposals of its rival. All thought that too much was asked with respect to their admission of the produce of other countries, and that too little was conceded with respect to the admission of their own by other nations, and the consequence was that they were all disposed to act upon the principle laid down by Mr. Canning at the end of his despatch:—Nous frapperons Falck with twenty per cent.These negotiations continued, as I have said, for nearly a quarter of a century, and at the end of that time left the commercial intercourse of Europe more fettered, if possible, than it was before. At length, my Lords, this country adopted a wiser policy. It came to the conclusion that it was contrary to common sense that we should 16 punish ourselves because other nations refused to admit our productions to their markets; that the wiser course for us would be to regulate our own duties according to our commercial and financial interests, and to leave other nations to follow our example, or not, as they pleased, being convinced that if we opened our ports to foreign produce, it would, in some way or other, be paid for, and the general prosperity of the country would be increased. This policy was adopted at first with some degree of timidity, but afterwards with greater boldness, and was at length carried into complete effect by the repeal of the old Navigation Laws in 1849. We know that this great experiment has been attended with a success which has exceeded even the most sanguine expectations of its supporters. We have seen trade, manufactures, and every branch of the industry of the country improve with unexampled rapidity. We have seen ten millions of duties repealed, while the revenue derived from the Customs has not diminished. We have seen the welfare and general comfort of the people marvellously increase; and, lastly, we have seen other nations gradually begin, though with slow and hesitating steps, to follow our example. Those who are conversant with the commercial tariffs of Europe are aware that almost all nations have made some considerable improvement in their systems, and this, too, be it remembered, since we ceased to make their concessions preliminary to the improvement of our own legislation, or the participation by them in the freedom of our commerce. Unhappily, France is not among those nations who have been willing to make concessions in its tariff. The tariff of France is to this day highly restrictive; but, though I most earnestly desire that its tariff should be amended, I contend that is a step backward—a departure from the wise and sound policy which we have for several years pursued, if in the commercial treaty with France there are any stipulations binding us to reduce the duties upon any commodities of French produce in consideration of similar reductions in the duties upon British productions introduced into France. If there are any duties upon articles of French produce which, consistently with our financial exigencies, we can afford to reduce, let them be reduced at once, and without making similar concessions on the part of the French Government a condition preliminary to such reductions. I am 17 persuaded that this, as it is the most generous, is by far the best and wisest policy. Let any duties of that kind, when your can afford to reduce, be diminished, and with the least possible delay; but, on the other hand, at the present moment, when the financial exigencies of the country, if I am rightly informed, are likely to prove not a little onerous and not a little difficult to meet, I utterly protest against any reduction of duties upon French produce, which is not expedient and prudent with reference to our own financial condition, with the view of obtaining relaxations of the commercial tariff of France. If France likes to maintain a restrictive tariff, she, and not we, will be the principal sufferer, and I am convinced that though she may for a time defer the adoption of a wiser policy, it is utterly impossible that she should long continue to do so. She cannot do so without seeing herself outstripped in the race of improvement by every nation in Europe, and finding herself left far behind in comparative prosperity by those countries which are wise enough to adopt a system of commercial freedom. Knowing, as I do, the intelligence of the French people, I am persuaded it is impossible that they can long witness the effects of their present system without discovering the prudence and the wisdom of changing it. I am aware it has been said that, though our general policy is opposed to commercial treaties, still it is expedient to depart from it in the case of France, because in that country there is so strong a feeling in favour of Protection that even the great power of the Emperor is unable to carry into effect an improvement of its commercial system unless the people can be reconciled to it by gaining some immediate advantage in return. My Lords, that reasoning seems to me to be based on an entire mistake. I firmly believe that in France, under the present or any other form of Government, public opinion will in the end prevail in regard to legislation of this kind; and I am convinced that public opinion is far less likely to be enlisted in favour of a sound commercial system if it is put to the people that they are to consent to the introduction of certain foreign goods, and to the admission of competition in respect to certain articles, not for the sake of the advantages which they will derive from this greater freedom of import, but in order to purchase an easier entrance for their own produce into another country. This is nothing less 18 than the old principle which formerly prevailed amongst States come back again, and it will be represented, and very truly represented to France, that what she can gain by any changes which we may make in our financial policy will be so trifling compared with the effect of any real reform in the French tariff as to be totally inadequate to compensate her for her concessions. This is the light in which the matter will be put before the French people if the inducement you hold out to them for agreeing to the reduction of their import duties on coal, iron, cotton twist, or any other English commodities, is to be the hope that we shall take their silks or their wine more freely; instead of an expectation of the direct benefit which their commerce will receive from the removal of their own restrictions. And a very simple calculation, which the manufacturers of France are quite able to make, will suffice to show them how very small an equivalent they will, on this view of the question, obtain for what they are asked to give up. I believe, therefore, that by making this a matter of stipulation you will increase those jealousies which are the real obstacle to a permanent and effectual improvement. But, my Lords, though I could not permit this opportunity of noticing a question which occupies so prominent a place in the Speech to pass, I am happy to acknowledge that the passage which relates to it is so guardedly expressed and so carefully avoids committing the House to any opinion beforehand, that I have no difficulty whatever in concurring in the Address as it stands. But there is another portion of the Speech with respect to which I regret to say I cannot adopt the same course. In the paragraph which refers to the late calamity in China, and to the measures which Her Majesty's Ministers have taken in consequence, there is undoubtedly manifested a very laudable desire on the part of the Government to avoid to pledge the House prematurely to any opinion on some most important points involved in the transaction. They do not take the tone adopted by my noble Friend who seconded the Address, and ask us to express any opinion as to the conduct of the Chinese, or as to their having been guilty of any treachery of which we have a right to complain. They have no doubt studiously, and very properly, excluded any expression of that nature. But there is one respect in which it appears to me that the passage does commit the House to an admission which it 19 ought not to make. We are asked to thank Her Majesty for having informed us of what has happened, and of the preparations which are making for the sending out of an expedition to China. My Lords, by so thanking Her Majesty for giving the information, but at the same time taking no notice of the delay which has occurred in bringing this subject under the consideration of Parliament, the House does clearly admit that it has no right to complain of that delay. I, for one, cannot consent to make such an admission, even by inference, because I believe that by acknowledging that Her Majesty's Government are not to blame for having failed to bring this question at an earlier period under the notice of Parliament the House would surrender one of its most important rights and privileges. To the Crown it undoubtedly belongs by the constitution to conduct the relations of this country with foreign Powers. The Crown also possesses the high prerogative of declaring war and making peace. But this high authority is most cautiously guarded by this rule,—that Her Majesty's servants are to be held strictly responsible for the manner in which it is exercised; and further, that whenever the situation of the country is such that it is necessary to arm with a view to probable, or even possible hostilities, it is the duty of the advisers of the Crown to make this known to Parliament, and to call on Parliament to provide for the expense to be thus incurred. My Lords, it is not requisite that war should be declared in order to create an occasion when such a communication ought to be made to the Legislature. It is sufficient if the state of things is such that a necessity arises for making naval and military preparations. I am convinced there are none of your Lordships who will dispute that I am laying down correctly what has hitherto been regarded as the law and practice of Parliament. I might quote many examples to show how rigidly this rule has been adhered to, but I shall trouble your Lordships with only two; and in doing so I hope I shall not be taking up too much of your time. These precedents, showing how in former times great Ministers have acted in these cases, will be valuable as a guide to your Lordships' judgment in the present instance. In the year 1790 some British vessels were seized by the Spaniards on the north-west coast of America. An application was made by our Government for redress. That application was not 20 attended to. On the contrary, Spain replied by putting forward claims that were held to be inadmissible; and a fresh application was ordered to be made by the English Ambassador at Madrid. At the same time, on the 5th of May, a Message from the Crown was brought down to both Houses of Parliament, in which, after reciting at greater length than I have done the facts I have just stated, His Majesty made use of the following words:—And, under these circumstances, His Majesty, having also received information that considerable armaments are carrying on in the ports of Spain, has judged it to be indispensably necessary to give orders for making such preparations as may put it in His Majesty's power to act with vigour and effect in support of the honour of his Crown and the interests of his people. And His Majesty recommends it to his faithful Commons, on whose zeal and public spirit he has the most perfect reliance, to enable him to take such measures and to make such augmentations of his forces as may be eventually necessary for this purpose.This Message was brought down by Mr. Pitt before the Crown proceeded to increase the naval or military force of the country in the case of the Nootka Sound dispute. The Address in answer to the Royal Message was unanimously agreed to on the following day by both Houses; and subsequently the House of Commons gave a vote of credit of £1,000,000 to meet the expenses of the proposed armament. I need not tell your Lordships that, in consequence of the determined attitude of this country, the difference relative to Nootka Sound passed off without a war. There is another case. At the beginning of December, 1826, the Princess Regent of Portugal applied to England under the treaties between Portugal and this country for assistance to defend her dominions against an apprehended aggression on the part of Spain. The British Government determined that this appeal was one which should be responded to. Accordingly, on the 11th of December, 1826, a Message from the Crown was brought down to both Houses. On the following day, the 12th of December, Mr. Canning, in moving the Address in answer to the Message, informed the House of Commons that the decision of the Cabinet had been come to only on the Saturday preceding; that the pleasure of the Crown was taken on the Sunday, and on the Monday the Message was sent down to the House of Commons. Such, my Lords, was the course adopted on those two occasions. Contrast it with what happened in the present instance. The Gazette of the 21 16th of September last contained the despatches of the English Admiral giving an account of the repulse sustained by our force in China. I have no means of knowing how soon after that the decision of the Government was come to, but we know from the usual sources of information—the newspapers—that at a very early period afterwards preparations were commenced. My Lords, it is now more than four months since this intelligence was received, and during at least three of those months our ports and arsenals have resounded with the din of preparation. Measures have been taken, as we all know from the public sources of information, for despatching artillery, gunboats and stores to China. I do not know whether any troops have been ordered to proceed to China direct from this country, but troops have certainly been ordered to proceed thither from India, and preparations have been made for a large force, we are told not less than 10,000 men, in addition to our naval forces. Therefore a very large expense must already have been incurred, and I only ask your Lordships to contrast the course which had just been taken—all these measures being taken during three months without communication with Parliament till this moment— with what I have described as having been done on the occasions to which I have alluded by Mr. Pitt and Mr. Canning. They thought it their duty before they did anything else at once to ask Parliament to support the Crown in the measures they proposed to adopt. Is that, my Lords, to be the rule in future? If it is not, I say it is necessary that we should take some notice of the delay that has taken place. If we admit that a Minister may without blame for so long a period as I have mentioned continue warlike preparations without seeking the aid and sanction of Parliament to his measures, I say we admit that a principle which our greatest statesmen and most distinguished writers have always held an essential element in our constitution, is no longer binding upon our statesmen. The power of the Crown to enter on war is admitted, but it has always been held that it was only safe that this great power should be intrusted to the Executive Government of the day, because they were not at liberty to take even one step towards involving the country in war without associating Parliament in the measures they adopted; because they were bound, so soon 22 as they imposed upon the country the expense of an armament, to obtain the sanction of Parliament for that expense; and because in making such an appeal to Parliament, the whole question of the policy and justice of the war was necessarily brought under the consideration of the great council of the nation, which had it in its power to check at the very beginning any steps which it might think inexpedient, or calculated to involve the country in an unjust or impolitic war. But what becomes of this security? What becomes of this guard against abuse if a Minister is to be allowed for such a time as I have described to carry on warlike preparations, keeping Parliament ignorant of them? It may, perhaps, be said that in the instances I have quoted, Parliament was sitting at the time, and therefore it was natural that Government should make a communication to it as soon as circumstances arose which, in their own opinion, made it expedient for the country to arm. My Lords, I can really scarcely believe that anybody will pretend that the mere accident of Parliament being sitting at the time should make the slightest difference. If it is proper to make a communication to Parliament, it is proper also to call Parliament together for the purpose of receiving that communication, and neither our convenience, nor the convenience of the members of the other House of Parliament, ought for a moment to be put into competition with the importance of maintaining a great constitutional principle; and, as it is in the power of the Government at any time, with very short delay, to call Parliament together, if it was their duty while Parliament was sitting to make such a communication, it was equally their duty to call Parliament together for the purpose of receiving it. There is another argument which, perhaps, may be used. I may be told that the large and liberal grants made by Parliament in last Session for our naval and military service rendered it unnecessary to make a further communication to Parliament, as the Government in their preparations have not exceeded those grants. My Lords, I trust we shall not have this argument brought forward, which would partake very much of the character of a quibble. It is, no doubt, true that Parliament made very large and liberal grants in the last Session for the naval and military service; but these grants were not more than sufficient to provide for the demands on the service which Parliament thought 23 ought to be provided for before these new demands on account of the Chinese war were known. What has occurred in China certainly in no degree diminishes the demand on those services elsewhere. If looked into we may, perhaps, find that demand rather increased than diminished. It may be possible that by postponing measures that cannot ultimately be abandoned, with a view of considering the more urgent demands of the Chinese war, no technical irregularity may have taken place, or any illegal appropriation of the sums voted by Parliament have been made. I am quite prepared to expect that such is the fact; but of this I am quite sure, that not only a large, but a very large, expenditure has already been incurred, which Parliament has not yet sanctioned, but for which it will ultimately have no alternative but to provide; that an expenditure has been incurred which may also lead to one far, far larger than anything we may yet dream of, and may prove to be but the beginning of an expense of almost incalculable amount. And I would point out to your Lordships that this question of expense is not a mere technical one of so many pounds paid under such and such a head of the Estimates; what is really wanted is this—that the country is not to be committed to any heavy expenditure, and, above all, to no heavy expenditure in the way of war, without first giving the great council of the nation an opportunity of inquiry into and considering the propriety of that war. I contend, therefore, my Lords, that in the course they have pursued on this subject Her Majesty's Government have been guilty of an unjustifiable departure from the well-established laws and practice of Parliament. And I am the more surprised that this should happen under the present Government, because it happens that there is in the present Government a very distinguished person who only three years ago laid down, in very clear terms, what is the correct rule to follow on this subject. In the debate which took place in the other House of Parliament upon the Address in the year 1857, I find that the following expressions were used with reference to the Persian war:—If Her Majesty's Government have carried us into an English war it was their duty to have called Parliament together at the first moment when they ventured to contemplate so serious a step"…."I will say, without fear of contradiction, that the practice of commencing wars without associating Parliament with the first measures is utterly at variance with the established practice of the country, dangerous to the 24 constitution, and absolutely requiring the intervention of this House, in order to render the recognition of so dangerous a proceeding utterly impossible,"—[3 Hansard, vol. cxliv. p. 145.]My Lords, the person who made these comments with reference to the Persian war was the present Chancellor of the Exchequer—that Member of the Government whose duty it is to see that in the administration of the finances the rules of Parliament are strictly adhered to. Now, my Lords, the object of the Amendment which I shall think it my duty to move will be simply to enforce this sound view of the law and practice of Parliament. But there are many other important questions which will arise in regard to this Chinese war—questions which I hope your Lordships will have to consider at a very early period. There will arise the question whether we have any just cause of war with China at all— whether the Chinese, having had experience that it is dangerous to leave the access to their capital by the Peiho exposed and undefended were justified in fortifying it, and obstructing the mouth of the river,—whether by taking measures for that purpose publicly, and announcing them in the Pekin Gazette, they afforded any just ground of complaint to this country—whether we had any right to insist that the obstructions so placed in the mouth of the river should be removed in order to enable our ambassador to proceed to Pekin,—whether the treaty of Tientsin, having given us a right to send an ambassador to Pekin, but being silent as to the route which that ambassador should take ["hear, bear," from the Earl of Derby], our plenipotentiary was entitled to say, when offered another route, that he would proceed by no other than by the Peiho, and, this not being open, that he would force it,—whether, even if he had such a right, he was entitled to make use of force, without first appealing to the Imperial authorities at Pekin to see whether, by mere peaceable representations, they might not be induced to accede to his demands and withdraw the obstructions; whether it made any difference that those fortifications were stated to be garrisoned by a force of militia and not by the regular troops of the empire; whether this conflict in China must not be judged on the same principles as if it had happened here, and whether, if the ambassador of the Emperor of the French should insist on coming to London, accompanied by a number of gunboats up the Thames and should find obstructions to their further progress at 25 Gravesend, he would be entitled to remove those obstructions by force and to fire upon the troops defending them, because they happened to be manned only by a body of the Kent Militia; whether our now preferring a demand for redress for this affair, backed by the despatch of a large military and naval force to that country in a manner which will probably lead to war, is calculated to promote, in any one respect, the interests of England; and whether any conclusion to which such a contest may be brought can be conducive to our real benefit. We shall have further to consider, my Lords, whether any treaty which we may succeed in extorting from China, or any amount of degradation which we may impose upon her Government, is likely to place us in a better position in her regard, or whether we have any security that such a treaty would be acted upon one hour beyond the time at which the force by which it was wrung from the Chinese people may happen to be withdrawn; — we must consider whether our great trade with China—a trade which, directly and indirectly, contributes more to our prosperity than that which we carry on with any other nation of the world, with the single exception of the United States—a trade which is of such enormous importance both to our home and to our Indian revenue,—is likely to be promoted by burning the cities and slaughtering the inhabitants of that vast empire; whether they are likely to become better customers to us, and to be enabled to purchase more of our manufactures, and to give us in return more of those articles that China produces, by our spreading fire and devastation through their land;—whether it is wise and prudent that we should enter upon a contest from which, once it is commenced, there may be no retreat, save by pulling down the ancient and already tottering fabric of the Chinese Empire, and thus leaving that extensive empire and vast population a prey to anarchy and disorder, These, my Lords, are grave and momentous questions, which it will be our duty to consider with a deliberation commensurate to their importance. They open, however, too extensive a field to be adequately discussed on an occasion like the present. I now advert to the fact that such questions will arise simply as affording to my mind conclusive proof of the impropriety of the delay which has occurred on the part of Her Majesty's Government in bringing this subject under the conside- 26 ration of the Legislature. It will be our duty to deal with these great questions in the course of this Session, but we cannot now do so with the same effect as we might have done three months ago. It is possible that Parliament may disapprove the policy which Her Majesty's Government have pursued in this matter; but if it should, it may now find it too late to correct many of the errors of that policy. Their orders have gone out to the other side of the world. Those orders may be (and I much fear they are) of such a character as to bring on the war for which their preparations have been made, so that this calamity which might some time ago have been avoided, if the judgment of Parliament had been appealed to in due course, may now be inevitable. We are at the present moment, for instance, far more deeply committed to France, who is to act as our ally in this contest, than we were at no very distant day. It is more difficult now than it was some few months since to make any propositions of a conciliatory kind to the Chinese Government with a chance of their leading to an amicable arrangement between the two countries. The very preparations for war which both we and the Chinese have made, according to recent accounts, diminish the chances of such a policy being attended with success. I have now, my Lords, I think, made out my case. It is, then, I repeat, contrary to the established rules and practice of Parliament that any Government should presume to take upon itself, without the sanction of the Legislature, to make preparations, as has been done in this instance, for what may turn out to be a frightfully disastrous contest. No merely theoretical, but a practical and substantial injury has, I contend, been done to the country by so great a departure from previous precedent and the established law of the constitution. If, therefore, we agree to the Address in answer to the Speech from the Throne in the form in which it now stands, thanking Her Majesty for the information which she has communicated to us upon this important subject, without saying one word as to the time at which that communication happens to have been made, we by clear implication admit that the point is one with respect to which we have no fault to find. It is, therefore, my object, in framing the Amendment which I am now about to submit to your Lordships' consideration, to take notice of the irregularity of which I complain in terms the most temperate which 27 I am able to devise. I may add, that if any noble Lord should suggest to me terms still milder, by which the views which I entertain upon this subject could be expressed, I shall be most happy to act upon the suggestion. My sole object in proposing this Amendment at all is to prevent the pernicious proceeding to which I advert from being drawn into a precedent. Bear in mind, my Lords, that the law of Parliament is to a great degree an unwritten law—that it rests on custom and usage. Every bad precedent which you set up in opposition to it therefore tends to break down a wholesome constitutional check. I am of opinion that this House was greatly to blame in omitting to notice the irregularity of which the Government was guilty with reference to the war with Persia. We see in what has since taken place the consequences of the course which was then pursued. If we now pass over with similar neglect a similar irregularity, we shall have gone far to establish a rule which may supersede the old law of Parliament; so that in future any man can hardly complain with justice of a Minister who during the Parliamentary recess should take measures and pledge the country to a policy, owing to which we may find ourselves, when the Legislature assembled, hopelessly involved in a great European war. These, my Lords, are the considerations upon which I venture to submit to your notice the Amendment which I am about to propose, and which, I trust, your Lordships will sanction. To the words in the Address thanking Her Majesty for the information which She has been graciously pleased to communicate to us with respect to the conflict at the mouth of the Peiho, and the measures which She proposes to take in co-operation with the Emperor of the French to obtain redress for what there took place, and to secure the fulfilment of the treaty of Tein-tsin, I beg to add words by way of Amendment: —
Amendment proposed, to insert—
After the Words 'Stipulations of the Treaty of Tien-tsin,' "but humbly to express to Her Majesty our Regret that when the Preparations for the intended Expedition were commenced, Her Majesty's Servants did not advise Her Majesty to communicate to Parliament without Delay the Measures which had been decided upon, in order that Parliament might have an Opportunity of forming a Judgment on their Propriety, and that its previous Sanction might be obtained for the Expense they might occasion.
§ THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE
I greatly regret, my Lords, that the noble Earl who 28 has just spoken has found it to be inconsistent with his duty to allow the Address of your Lords hips' House to proceed to Her Majesty without having proposed his Amendment. The practice—the very wholsome practice, in my opinion—has of late grown up in the proceedings of the Legislature, of never moving an Amendment to the Address of the Sovereign in answer to the Royal Message at the commencement of the Session, unless some great political objects were in view and likely to be attained, or unless some assertion were made in that Address to which the Opposition found it impossible to as sent. Now, the practice to which I allude has, I believe, prevailed in recent times mainly because it has been the custom of ministers, no matter to what party they may belong, to abstain from introducing into the Speech of the Sovereign, so far as it may lie in their power, any topic or phrase which might be likely to produce discord in the deliberations of the Legislature on the first evening of the Session. And, indeed, my noble Friend, the mover of the Amendment himself, expressly stated in the course of his speech that he is perfectly aware that Her Majesty's Government, in framing the Royal Speech, have studiously avoided the employment of any such expressions as were very fairly used by the noble Lord who seconded the Address in commenting on the proceedings which have taken place in China. As, however, my noble Friend has felt himself called upon to move this Amendment, it becomes my duty, on the part of the Government, to make some observations, not only upon the Amendment itself, but upon the arguments by which it has been supported. But before I proceed to do so, I hope the House will allow me to say a few words in reference to another topic of the Royal Speech upon which the noble Earl has commented unfavourably —I mean the treaty of commerce with France. I am sure your Lordships will not expect that any Member of the Government should at this moment, when the treaty was only signed yesterday, and there has been no opportunity of laying it before the House, enter into any discussion of its details or attempt a hypothetical defence of the transaction itself. But I at once concur in my noble Friend's observations as to the impolicy of commercial treaties generally. I readily admit a commercial treaty, as the term was understood in year3 gone by, to be at variance 29 with the soundest principles of free trade, and that nothing hut peculiar circumstances can justify on our part, in these days, recurrence to treaties of that nature. I am, however, firmly convinced that when this treaty is laid before Parliament, and when your Lordships come to consider the circumstances under which it has been proposed by one country and accepted by the other, you will concur in the opinion held by Her Majesty's Government, that circumstances have rendered the proceeding a justifiable one, to which you can give your approval. Without entering into details, I will only put it to the House and my noble Friend whether a treaty of commerce, if it be not absolutely contradictory to the principles of free trade, may not be justifiable as a means of cementing the union of two great countries like England and France; whether there can be any stronger or more reliable bond of union than an extension of the commerce between those countries, which, considering their enormous wealth, has been hitherto of a restricted nature. We may make bargains or engagements with Emperors and Kings, and Presidents, but they may be broken by those potentates or their successors, but an extension of commerce, on the other hand, forms a binding engagement between the people of two countries, and I believe, in proportion to its extension, will eventually make war between them less likely, I might almost say impossible. I am unwilling to trouble your Lordships now further upon this point, but the Amendment proposed by my noble friend requires me to notice some of his arguments. he started from an assumption that it was the established rule and practice to lay before Parliament an announcement of the intention of the Sovereign to enter into hostilities with a foreign nation. I am surprised that my noble Friend should have framed his proposition upon so broad a basis, for I believe writers upon international law have greatly differed upon the subject whether it is necessary to proclaim war under all circumstances, and if it be not, it can hardly be maintained that it is absolutely required to lay the intentions of the Sovereign before Parliament. But surely my noble Friend does not forget that, notwithstanding the example of 1790 and 1826,to which he has referred, the rule which he regards as an established rule has been repeatedly departed from during the last thirty years. My noble Friend shakes his head, but I believe I am not wrong in saying that, although what he describes may 30 have been the general rule in cases of hostilities with European nations, yet there are few, if any, instances where it has been adhered to in cases of hostilities with eastern nations. The noble Earl must admit moreover, that it has not even been the universal rule with regard to European instances, for he cannot have forgotten the cases of Portugal in 1831, and of Greece at a subsequent period, not to mention other instances of smaller or greater importance. My noble Friend has said that he hopes the Government will not attempt to set up as their defence the fact that Parliament was not sitting, nor the argument that they had sufficient funds resulting from the Votes of Parliament for other purposes to enable them to carry on hostilities. As to the last-mentioned ground of defence, I certainly shall not have recourse to it. I am perfectly aware that, under whatever circumstances the revenue may be raised, Parliament only intended it to meet such contingencies as were contemplated at the time when the Estimates were framed. But the other ground—that Parliament was not sitting at the time—I consider to be an important and legitimate defence of the conduct of the Government. In the two cases which have been quoted by my noble Friend, in 1790 and 1826, it happens that both occurred while Parliament was sitting. Surely there is a great difference between the Sovereign communicating to Parliament, during the Session, the state of affairs with regard to foreign countries and his summoning Parliament together specially to consult it upon an event which might never occur. However, it is not necessary to rely upon that circumstance for a defence in the present instance, for my noble Friend has based his argument upon the supposition that we are about to commence war with a nation with whom we were previously at peace. I say that is not the case here. We are not commencing new hostilities with China; we have never been at peace with China for the last two years, and at the very moment when the transactions at the Peiho occurred we had possession, and still retain, one of the most important towns of the Chinese Empire. Surely that cannot he called a state of peace? A treaty, no doubt, was negotiated by my noble Friend near me (the Earl of Elgin), which Mr. Bruce was proceeding to Pekin to ratify, but it could not be a treaty of peace until it was ratified, and until that ratification took place we were not at peace 31 with China. However, I shall not dwell upon this point at present, for my noble Friend himself has told us that there must be many other occasions when the subject of this Chinese war must be fully considered; but he has mentioned some of his objections to that war which I will slightly notice. My noble Friend says we had no right to attempt to pass up the Peiho, and that we should have taken some other route than that which we considered to be the highway to the capital. Her Majesty's Government will be prepared to enter into that question whenever it shall come fairly before Parliament, and I will only say now, that we had every right to consider that river to be the proper highway to Pekin, if not the only highway. In proof of this statement I may observe that in the Russian treaty, agreed to in May last, there is a clause—the second— giving the Russians a right to proceed to the capital of China either by their usual overland route or by this very route of the Peiho, or by any other route. I believe, without any attempt at special pleading, it might be shown that under the "favoured nation" clause of the treaty of 1843 we might insist upon this route, but I do not wish to urge it now, and only mention the last treaty with Russia to establish the fact that there was a deliberate determination on the part of the Emperor of China or his Government or people to treat the English nation differently from the Russians, and to exclude us from a route which was allowed to the latter nation as the proper route to the capital by treaty only a month before. My noble Friend also indulged in some general phrases with regard to the horrors of war. Now, I respect him for the feelings which he entertains on all occasions upon this subject, although I think that he sometimes allows them to carry him too far. But will my noble Friend maintain for one instaut, that if the honour of the country is involved we ought to consider whether we may, to a certain extent, be endangering our commerce, and whether by carrying on hostilities with China we may not injure, even to a considerable extent, the tea trade? Those are no doubt important considerations in themselves, but when the country has been outraged by attacks upon its forces, in which 400 or 500 Englishmen were struck down, I cannot think that my noble Friend, having, as I know he has, the honour of his country at heart, would urge that then, being smitten on the one cheek, we should turn 32 the other to be smitten also. If then, my Lords, it can be shown that we are bound to prepare this fleet and army, for the purpose of vindicating the national honour and of obtaining reparation for the injuries inflicted upon us, providing it can be obtained in no other way, I think that on a future occasion, when this subject comes to be discussed, I may claim the vote of my noble Friend himself, in common with the rest of your Lordships. That we were bound to take such a course, to uphold our honour as a nation, I firmly believe; but I will not enter upon the question now, and am only sorry that my noble Friend has forced me to say so much. Her Majesty has announced that papers will be laid before Parliament, and when those are forthcoming we shall be enabled to understand and to discuss this subject much more clearly. As to the point which forms the basis of my noble Friend's Amendment —that the Ministry have committed an act of disloyalty to the Parliament of Great Britain by not laying before them their intentions respecting China—I repeat that this is not an established rule, though it may be a convenient one; and, even if it were an established rule, I maintain that in the instance before us it has not been violated, because we have not been at peace with China, and had nothing, therefore, to communicate. All we could have informed Parliament of was that the treaty with China had not been ratified, and that the war was therefore continuing. But were we to call Parliament together in order to make such an announcement? I rose simply to answer the observations of my noble Friend, and I trust, therefore, I shall be excused if I do not enter now into the other topics of Her Majesty's Speech. I cannot help thinking, in conclusion, that your Lordships will not agree with my noble Friend on the issue he has raised, and will not support his Amendment.
THE MARQUESS OF NORMANBY,
who was imperfectly heard, said, he, for one, agreed in the principle which had been laid down by his noble Friend (Earl Grey). In his opinion it would have accorded better with Parliamentary usage, and would have been more to the public advantage, if the Government had called Parliament together and acquainted it with their intentions when the new rupture with China took place. he would not, however, enter into any details on the question before their Lordships, as a more convenient opportunity of discussing it would arise; at the same time 33 he might observe he could not agree with the noble Duke that no Amendment was to be moved upon the Address unless some great party question presented itself.
§ THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE
said, he had added, "or in case the Ministry of the day had inserted words in the Royal Speech with which it was impossible for the Opposition to agree."
THE MARQUESS OF NORMANBY
said, seeing that no great unity of feeling could exist in the Cabinet as to the war with China, he thought the country had a right to information as to the course which was being taken. With respect to the treaty of commerce, it wa3 certainly desirable that the discussion on that matter should be postponed for some more fitting occasion; but it had been rather forced upon them by the encomiums of the noble seconder of the Address. The treaty was described as a precursor of friendship and of peace between the two nations, and as a positive barrier to any future war. he was sorry to say he had lately read an address from the master manufacturers of France to the French Emperor, in which they hardly seemed to take the same view. "You have reduced us," they concluded, "to this alternative,—either we must submit to ruin, or must tear the treaty by cannon-balls." That certainly did not look as though the treaty would insure permanent concord between France and England. Only that morning he had received, from one on whose authority he thoroughly relied, a letter which by no means foreshadowed the halcyon age of peace and commerce now spoken of. Armaments of all kinds, his informant said, were now being pressed on in France with the utmost vigour. Naval armaments were continued as though war was expected next week. Munitions of war were being prepared, steel plating for ships was ordered all over the country, vessels were being built, guns proved, and the French dockyards rang with work night and day. Such preparations formed rather a curious concomitant of universal peace, and he could not forget that those who spoke of tearing the treaty with cannon- ball complained of the surprise practised on them by our illustrious neighbour, saying there had been a positive engagement that these changes should not be made without previous inquiry, and that the treaty with England had been hurried on as the means of breaking faith with them. Was this likely to promote good feeling between the two countries? Then, too, there was a 34 strange kind of reciprocity in the treaty, for whereas England was to give at once all the advantages which were asked for, France delayed her concessions until a period extremely remote. he recollected that in 1848 he was very anxious that there should be a practical proof of the good feeling which existed between England and France; and he told M. Lamartine, who had made a great free-trade speech at Marseilles, that the best means of establishing a good understanding between the two countries was to enter freely into a consideration of their tariffs with a view to a relaxation of them; but the hopes which he entertained on that subject were unhappily not fulfilled. M. Lamartine told him that the more popular was the form of the French Government, the more difficulty would there be on this question. he confessed, therefore, considering the disposition of the people of France, that he did not anticipate such a halcyon summer in 1861 as had been predicted; and he was disposed to think it was rather dangerous to have fixed the precise day after which the proposed changes were to take place. he now came to another part of the Royal Speech, but he did not intend to move any Amendment upon it, although he entertained some objection to the phrases it contained: the part he referred to was the following:—Desirous at all times to concur in proceedings having for their object the maintenance of peace, I accepted the invitation, but, at the same time, I made known that, in such a Congress, I should stedfastly maintain the principle that no external force should be employed to impose upon the people of Italy any particular Government or Constitution.He quite agreed that these were not the times when this country should sanction any such proceeding, however unjust might often be the means by which the settled order of things had been upset; but he objected to the phrase put into Her Majesty's mouth respecting any particular government being imposed "upon the people of Italy." Who, he asked, were the people of Italy? [Ironical cheers from the Ministerial side.] he know Italy as well as his noble Friends opposite, and felt as sincere an interest in that country, and therefore he thought that the ironical cheers of his noble Friends on the other side were hardly justified; but in reference to the people not yielding to external force, who, he again asked, were the people of Italy? Italy consisted of various States, with various dialects, governed by different Govern- 35 merits and separated from each other for ages. In short there was no nationality in Italy, and he recollected last Session his noble and learned Friend near him (Lord Brougham) saying there could be no such thing as a united Italy. he therefore felt that he was entirely justified in remarking on the particular phrase put into Her Majesty's mouth, to which he had called their Lordships' attention. Again, the phrase raised a question, which had hitherto been considered settled from the dark ages downwards. Were treaty obligations binding or were they no longer to be so considered? It was a novel and startling doctrine that popular outcry in any country was to establish a right to change the government and territorial arrangements. Besides, had it been ascertained that in this instance the popular outcry was the honest expression of the national will, and not brought about by foreign influence or gold, or intimidation practised by Foreigners who had usurped the Government? An expression of popular opinion created in that way was no justification for a change of Government and deposition of rulers. Again, if in 1860 they agreed to ratify a change of territorial limits in accordance with the popular outcry of the day, they must equally recognize the same principle in 1861, should the popular outcry turn round by that time. In 1848, Lombardy was annexed to Sardinia by a popular vote; and in the autumn of the same year deputies were sent to Paris to say that this was not what the people wished; and that the vote had been obtained by deception. General Cavignac requested I would see some of these deputies, as I had hitherto given him to understand that the policy of my Government was rather to encourage the annexation of Lombardy to Sardinia if there were to be any change of territorial limits. I conceived myself that nothing could then be so distateful to the Lombards as such an arrangement. If they acted at all in the matter, they should guard themselves against recognizing any new settlement, until they were quite satisfied it was in accordance with the opinion and the wishes of the people; and Ministers would have advised Her Majesty to express herself more correctly if the Royal Speech had said that any proposed new Government, or constitution, or change of territorial limits should be in accordance with the well ascertained independent vote of the natives of the State. The last time they had assembled in that House his noble Friend the Foreign Secre- 36 tary had stated that he was content to leave the result to the well-matured deliberation of the Tuscan people. But what was the fact? There had been no deliberation whatever, and they afforded the only instance of a deliberate assembly, who, without one single word uttered, or one single reason given, had destroyed the constitution under which they had for years been governed, and had declared in favour of annexation to a State which was a stranger to their own. he would read a few lines which he had received from an Englishman who was well acquainted with Tuscany, and especially with its financial condition; and, perhaps, before both Houses of Parliament agreed that it was desirable to annex Tuscany to Piedmont, it might be well to ascertain what the effect of such a measure would be upon the interests of this country—interests which they had been that night told were to form the basis of international legislation. The letter stated:—There is no longer an ad valorem duty on English manufactures. The duty is regulated by weight; fine Saxony cloth pays the same duty as coarse Manchester fabrics; duty of cotton goods and produce of the Potteries is doubled; colonial produce doubled; mixed stuffs of silk and cotton are rated as pure silk—all to protect Piedmontese manufactures! Articles paying 15 per cent. now pay 10. Piedmont has no colonial possessions, no manufactures or commerce worth mentioning, but just sufficient to oblige them to adopt the protective duties. They cannot compete with England and France even with a duty of 20 per cent. I know of an hotel keeper at Genoa, who stated that in '48 he paid 60 francs a year duty on his house, and [this is now increased to 1,500…The equalization of taxation, which would compel all Tuscany, Parma, and Modena to pay from 50 to 60 per cent., would relieve Piedmont from the levy of 16 per cent. on her population.He would next read a letter from a Tuscan gentleman of position and intelligence. The writer said:—If the English Government had followed their profession of absolute neutrality desired by the English people they would not so much have compromised the Government of England, which had always formerly been known as one desirous to maintain settled order in Europe. But since her statesmen and her organs of public opinion have allowed themselves to be deceived by the false reports of a factious and lying minority, they have deservedly exposed themselves to the criticism of all other nations for having, without due consideration, encouraged revolution and anarchy. The principles which the English Government now profess are such as must produce disorganization and ruin in any monarchy. The English Government pretends to sustain the rights of the people as claimed by the majority, and to free Italy from the yoke of the stranger These principles, if 37 well applied, might be praiseworthy and reason- able, but they have been willingly deceived in their application at the pleasure of a tyrannical majority. From whom have the British Government received their information as to the present condition of Tuscany? From honest men? Certainly not; they have always refused to listen to them, and the newspapers have refused to publish facts, though guaranteed by persons worthy of faith. They have confined their information to that which is published in the papers here, which is always at variance with the truth. They have received intelligence from the English Chargé d'Affaires at Florence.The English Charge d'Affaires spoken of had, he (the Marquess of Normanby) was informed, attended the reception of M. Buoncompagni. Now, he perfectly remembered that, in 184S, a distinct expression of opinion had been conveyed to him, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, that so long as there was no settled government in a country, no representative of England, acting unofficially, ought to take part in any public demonstration, and upon those recognized rules he had acted during the whole of the French Revolution until, in August 1848, he was regularly accredited to General Cavignac as head of the Executive Government, appointed by the National Assembly. The letter proceeded to state:—The great majority of loyal citizens have hitherto been cowed and silenced by imprisonment, by domiciliary visits, thousands of which have taken place, while a band of paid agitators, commanded by a certain Dolfi, daily threatens the well-disposed. The majority of loyal men comprises at least three-fourths of the population, but they have never yet been able to make their wishes public, because this armed portion of the dregs of the people menace with death any manifestation from those who are entirely unarmed, and have no means of meeting in order to overthrow these usurpers. Their silence has therefore been taken as showing assent to the present order of things. The foreign newspapers have been persuaded or bribed in a spirit of partiality to suppress all accounts of local disorders, all the significant manifestations which have occurred, anything, in short, from which could he inferred the real feeling of the country. The arms of Sardinia, which have been placed over all the public buildings in the town by order of the Government, are nightly bespattered with mud. The troops begin to mutiny, the dungeons are crowded with political prisoners, the homes of thousands have been violated. The National Guard never stir without loaded pieces. And yet we are told that the most perfect order reigns, and the English Government itself is so well and impartially informed that its members assert it is impossible that there should be more complete tranquillity.There were some instances which had come to his own knowledge showing that the so-called popular party were in the habit of imprisoning arbitrarily, and in the most 38 cruel manner, men who were more liberal than themselves. Of this nature was the injury inflicted on Signor Montecchi, who had held high office, and who was said at that time, 1849, although connected with the extreme party at Rome, to he enlightened and moderate in his own opinions. Letters were opened at the post-office, and in one, which was not signed, but supposed by the Government to come from Mazzini, were discovered some expressions to which a dangerous meaning was attached. he was arrested at Leghorn, and having been thrown into a dungeon but without being brought to trial, the utter absence of any evidence to connect him with political offences was so apparent as to cause the charge against him to be dismissed. The Tuscan correspondent of The Times had published the fact to the world, adding that Signor Montecchi's letters gave painful details of his treatment; but if these letters were published, as stated in many Foreign journals, the English press had never noticed them. Now, in a very curious document, entitled La Politica Napoleonica e il Sovrano Toscano, written by one of the most distinguished men of the liberal party in Italy, Signor Amperi, but which from the place of its publication must he presumed to have the sanction of the Emperor, it was shown that the French Emperor had been deceived by Sardinia as to the amount of force which she had at her disposal, and the assistance which the Italian States might expect from her. Instead of keeping up her army to the amount of 100,000 men, which was the extent of her army in 1849, there were not 50,000 men in arms; and as stated by that author, ha had good reason to believe that this was one of the reasons which tended to disgust the Emperor Louis Napoleon with the war, and induced him to sign the treaty of Villa-franca. Another object of the writer seemed to be to show that the inhabitants of the Central Italian States were averse from annexation to Piedmont, and desired the restoration of their former rulers, he further said, that the noble Secretary fur Foreign Affairs (Lord J. Russell) who was now so anxious to alter the relations of the Italian States with Austria, had on one occasion declared that Italy could not have a better guarantee for her liberties than was provided by the arrangements of the Treaty of Vienna; and it was asked how it was that that noble Lord, while joining in the cry of 39 "Italy for the Italians," imposed a foreign and hated rule upon the Ionians, and in many other parts of the world pursued a policy which he affected to condemn in the Cabinet of Vienna. The author concludes his notice of England by saying that the Italians are probably aware, however it may suit the temporary policy of England to thwart the Emperor Napoleon in the fulfilment of his engagements, that they could never expect the assistance of one penny or a single soldier. he was aware that papers were to be produced on this subject, and that other opportunities would be afforded for discussing them; but he could not help recollecting that this and the other House of Parliament was the only place where the voice of truth could be heard; and he had been urged by so many persons to undertake the task, as they complained that they could not otherwise get their case stated, that, unpleasant as the subject was, he felt bound to take up the question. he would object as much as any man to the restoration of any of the Sovereigns of Central Italy by military force; but he hoped that if the proposed Congress were to assemble it would prohibit foreign intervention in favour of, as well as against, the revolutionary Governments; and he would remind the House that in the treaty of Villafranca it was distinctly stipulated that the rulers of Central Italy should be recalled. It had been said that none of those Governments had countenanced any outrages upon persons or property, but he was informed that Farini had given an appointment in Modena to one of the principal instigators of the political assassinations in Parma. It was always unpleasant to labour against the popular feeling, but his sole object in the observations he had made was to promote the peace and prosperity of Italy, and to communicate to their Lordships facts which deserved to be published to the world.
said, that as he had been appealed to by the noble Marquess who had just sat down, he rose to say a few words in explanation he would admit that in discussing the proceedings of the Unitarian party in Italy and considering their prospects, he had always lamented that Italy had hitherto been rather a geographical than a political name; that from all time, at the least from the time of Dante downwards, but long before, there had been animosity and divisions, not only between neighbouring states, but even between one city and town and another in its neigh- 40 bourhood; nay, even between different streets of the same town, so little did the Italians deserve the name of a united people. It was deeply to be lamented; but there seemed no help for it. There seemed no chance by means of war, by the assistance of Sardinia against Austria, or by any other means, of their obtaining union among themselves, and in the great body of the nation. But times have changed; and the fortunes of nations change with events. When the Italian war was discussed he had expressed his opinion of the objects of both the parties to the making it. Of France he would now say nothing. he would not recall to their remembrance the language he then used; either as to the time she commenced the war, or the pretences, or, as in courtesy he might say, the reasons for commencing it. As to Sardinia, and what in equal courtesy he would call the reasons she had put forward for engaging in a war with Austria, he had expressed more than doubts—more than even his suspicions, that the war said to be for the liberation of Italy was really entered into to obtain for Sardinia a part of the Austrian dominions. Of this Italian war he had expressed the reprobation which he might almost say was the feeling of every one in this country. In that war England had no share. England did all in her power to prevent the war; she did all in her power to induce Austria to join in negotiations that would have prevented hostilities. Unhappily, we did not succeed; Austria would not yield to those recommendations, but went on in her own course. In the hostilities that ensued, the defeat of Austria was complete. From the beginning to the end there was not a single battle in which the armies of Austria were not defeated. There was not a single action in which Sardinia and her Ally were not entirely successful. And after a fearful amount of slaughter, after the greatest possible misery had been inflicted on the people of the north of Italy, the result was, that Austria was driven from the greater part of her dominions. The Treaty of Villafranca accomplished nearly, but not altogether, the object which Sardinia had in commencing the war. She virtually obtained the greater part of the territory of Austria, the whole of Lombardy, all Austrian Italy, but the Venetian territories. Such was the result of this short and successful campaign. Then came a totally new state of things. Italy, that never before succeeded in uniting itself under one Government, was 41 at last free from foreign domination. They had not perhaps established an Italian Kingdom, but they had freed from foreign domination several of the petty Italian States. One, two, three or four of those States had successively allied themselves to Sardinia, or declared their desire to do so. And all that England could now wish was, that foreign interference with Italy should be prevented; that the Italians should be left to themselves, to fight their own battles, to form their own Government, and choose their own rulers as they thought fit, provided they did it without Austrian, French, or any other interference. His noble Friend (Lord Normanby) objected to the expressions in the speech, people of Italy, because he said there was no such people. Would his noble Friend take the plural instead of the singular, and allow him to say, the peoples of Italy? he had yet to learn why several different Italian States, or a group of those States, should not secure their own freedom without the interference of the foreigner, the Mo-denese assisting the Tuscans, and the Tuscans assisting the people of Parma. No one was originally more opposed than he was to the treaties of Vienna in 1814–15. he condemned them in the other House of Parliament over and over again; but after they became as it were the statute law of Europe, it was in vain to argue against them. When Charles Albert attacked Austria, some twelve years ago, we objected to his conduct, because it was calculated to disturb the distribution of kingdoms which had been effected in 1815. That attack failed, but it had since been repeated, and had been signally successful—a result due not to want of valour, of the greatest valour, on the part of the soldiers of Austria, but to the errors of her councils, which were as great as those of the Aulic Council, which marshalled the way to the victories of the First Napoleon, and to the incapacity of her generals, each of whom showed himself to be almost more unfit for command than his predecessor. It was to be hoped that the struggle would be succeeded by a settlement in which regard would, of course, in some degree, be had to the relative force of the parties engaged in the contest, but in which deference would also be paid to a consideration of what was just and fair. he would not say what were his hopes rather than his expectations, but he was not without some disposition to believe that the victors would act with justice and moderation. His 42 noble Friend had alluded to the expected treaty of commerce between this country and France. he had an old prejudice, if it be one, against commercial treaties, which was not wholly without effect in the present instance, thinking that duties ought to be levied or removed without regard to diplomatic views; but, nevertheless, he had loss objection to this treaty than to almost any other of the kind that he remembered; and he was quite convinced that the greatest possible advantage would result to France and some to ourselves from the commercial policy which the Emperor had announced his intention to pursue, and which he had no doubt would be carried much further. In France he had heard great objections to the treaty. It was pretended that all the benefits resulting from it would fall to England, and that France would derive but little advantage from its operation. he would not go the length of saying that it was a treaty wholly for the benefit of France, because he believed that England would gain considerably by it, but he was quite clear that our gain from its operation would be as nothing compared with that of France. Our gain was to be postponed for eighteen months; our neighbour's would be immediate. Our gain would he to a very small extent; theirs to a very large one. The outcry against the treaty reminded him of what had frequently occurred in this country. No step was ever taken in the direction of free trade, or of the removal of restrictions, that a clamour was not immediately raised by some party which, though numerically large, was not so in comparison with the rest of the community, but the members of which made up for their want of numbers by the violence with which they strained their throats; so that, to listen to them, any one would have thought all England was against the measure. Probably the most extensive,—in deference to some of his noble friends near him, he would not say clamour—he could hardly call it argument or even declamation,—but he would only say the most extensive utterance was that against the repeal of the corn laws; and yet we had lived to see the day when a real, genuine, uncompromising Protectionist could only find his proper place in one of our museums, among the relics of the ancient world, or the specimens of extinct animals. The commercial policy of the Emperor tended to promote the friendly feeling between the two countries. Tranquillity, too, pre- 43 vailed all over the Continent. The liberal policy now inaugurated by the French Government would tend to confirm and consolidate that peace. But, he had been asked in Paris, "If that be so, why do you go on arming?" In answer to that question he would remind his French friends of a proverb of their own:—"When it is fair weather, be sure to take your cloak with you; when it is foul weather, do as you please." At present all was peace. The storm had ceased, the wind no longer blew, the thunder, if it rolled at all, rolled at a distance, and the lightning was but sheet lightning, that glanced innocuous through the sky. Then according to the wise proverb, let us be prepared for all exigences. We lived in an armed world. There were prodigious armies all around us; armies of 500,000 men in one country, of 300,000 or 400,000 men in another; beside naval armaments, which were being increased, as they are told, in the time of peace. Who, moreover, could answer for the chapter of accidents, or predict what state of things might exist six years—aye, or six months hence? It was, therefore, absolutely necessary that we should be armed—he would not say to the teeth—but sufficiently to make all attacks upon us not only impossible to succeed, but impossible to be attempted. he had been in the north of England since Parliament was last prorogued. he there found that one question which once used to excite a very lively interest, he meant the question of Parliamentary reform, was asleep if not dead—dead even in Yorkshire, where it used to be quite a local question. But it was far otherwise with electoral corruption. he had taken the liberty, while among his old friends and constituents in that county, to chide them, and to chide them pretty severely, for the share they had in that corruption, some of the very worst cases of the kind having occurred in that quarter. he was zealously and constantly supported in all his references to that topic by those whom he had addressed, and they showed themselves as stoutly determined to put down by all possible means that curse of our representative system as he could have wished to see them. But the subject on which of all others there was the greatest earnestness and even enthusiasm, as well as the most perfect unanimity in those assemblages, was the defence of the country. Everywhere, and he found it the same in Northumberland as well as in his own county, 44 and in Lancashire, every where there was the most entire agreement as to the necessity, at all costs, at all pains, and all risks, of putting the country, by every means which human wisdom could devise and human activity employ, on a footing of perfect and absolute security.
THE MARQUESS OF NORMANBY
was understood to remark that Sardinia ought not to have any influence in the final settlement of the Italian question, but that the people ought to be left to declare their wishes without any extraneous influence.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
—My Lords, I do no not recollect any occasion on which a Speech from the Throne, touching on such a variety of important tropics, was treated in debate with greater silence by Her Majesty's Ministers than we have seen preserved by them in this instance. The noble Mover and Seconder of the Address, no doubt, made very excellent speeches; but, unfortunately, I was unable, from the tone of voice in which they spoke, to hear more than a word here and there of the one, and not a syllable perfectly of the other. And notwithstanding the great variety and importance of the subjects adverted to in Her Majesty's Speech, we have heard from Her Majesty's Ministers not one single word in the course of this discussion, except the few remarks which fell from the noble Duke opposite, in reply to the statements on the Amendment moved with great ability by the noble Earl. Of many of the topics referred to in the Queen's Speech no notice whatever has been taken by any preceding speaker; and I am not going, more than by a single word, to deviate from the course which others have followed. Even on those subjects to which our attention has been called, and on which I shall have to make a few observations, I trust I shall be able to confine myself within very moderate limits; for, as far as this discussion has gone, there does not seem to be any very serious difference of opinion between those who sit on different sides of this House. Certainly, among the great variety of topics which have been entirely passed over, I am not surprised that no notice should have been taken of the treaty concluded with the Tycoon of Japan, or of the Treaty regarding boundaries which has been entered into with the Republic of Guatemala—a very important subject, nevertheless, and one likely to have a very important influence on the serious questions pending between! this country and the United States. I do 45 not suppose that the silence with respect to those treaties arises from the fact that they were begun by the predecessors of Her Majesty's present Government, because the ratifications have been exchanged since the present Ministry came into office. But I certainly thought it probable that greater attention would have been paid, in the course of this debate, to proceedings which at one time threatened to lead to very grave consequences, consequences which, however, have been averted—as is most truly stated in the Speech—by the judicious forbearance and admirable behaviour of the naval and civil officers of Her Britannic Majesty in the neighbourhood of Vancouvers Island. I must also do justice to the conciliatory spirit in which the representations of our Government on this subject were met by the Government of the United States; and I can only concur in the earnest hope that the questions out of which this difference has arisen "may be amicably settled, in a manner conformable with the just rights of the two countries." There is, my Lords, another subject with regard to which I have listened to the remarks made to-night with unfeigned astonishment. Up to the present moment I certainly did expect to hear, even in your Lordships' House, some more complimentary mention than has yet been made of the question of Parliamentary Reform; but since the commencement of this debate the only hint we have had that this subject is under consideration, or has ever been discussed, fell from my noble and learned Friend who has just sat down, and who emphatically assured us that, from one end to the other of an important district, where there used to be a pretty extensive reforming element—as the noble and learned Lord in former days had reason to know—he did not find a single person who cared one farthing about reform. I had certainly thought that the zeal and enthusiasm on that question was not quite so great as has been represented, and I have seen hints tending to throw a wet blanket over it emanating from quarters of great eminence; but I was not prepared for the sweeping and unqualified statement of the noble and learned Lord as to the public indifference in respect to a subject which Her Majesty has recommended more than once to the careful consideration of her Parliament. I can only say, my Lords, that if Parliament proceeds to consider the question in the same cool and dispassionate spirit with which the people of York- 46 shire and Lancashire appear to treat it there is little apprehension of any very serious danger to the constitution, or of any very revolutionary principle being introduced into the Bill of the Government. Now, having just touched on some points to which no attention has been called, there are others on which I am sure but one feeling must pervade all classes of Her Majesty's subjects, and that is, a feeling of universal satisfaction and gratitude to Providence for the happy prospects which Her Majesty is able to hold forth in the Speech from the Throne. I am sure all must deeply rejoice when Her Majesty states that "the great interests of the country are generally in a sound and thriving condition, that pauperism and crime have diminished, and that throughout the whole of my empire, both in the United Kingdom and in my Colonies and possessions beyond sea, there reigns a spirit of loyalty, of contentment, of order, and of obedience to the law." I say, every one must rejoice to hear such language from the Throne, and more especially as I believe in my conscience, with the exception of an ebullition of some little animated Irish feeling, the statement may be taken to be tolerably correct. No one, I repeat, can hear such a statement, which Her Majesty was justified in making to Parliament, without the most lively satisfaction and gratitude. Nor is it a less gratifying subject for congratulation, that by a mixture of firmness and humanity, by listening to the dictates of justice and policy, as well as by the combined devotion and energy of our troops, an end has not only been put to that- formidable insurrection which so long disturbed our Indian empire, but there exists a reasonable expectation that the restoration of peace will be followed by good and friendly feeling between the Government and the Native Princes and a steady increase in the prosperity and welfare of Her Majesty's subjects in India. I cannot bnt rejoice to think that these happy results have been materially assisted by the adoption of the spirit of a proclamation which Her Majesty was advised to issue, of a policy at once just, generous, and conciliatory, and dealing, more especially with the revolted subjects of Oude, in a temper and manner more in accordance with that recommended by my noble Friend (the Earl of Ellen-borough), who then filled the office of President of the Board of Control, than that which, whether rightly or wrongly, we had been led to apprehend was contemplated 47 by the Governor-General of India. It is due, however, to that noble Earl to say that in his actual dealings with the talook-dars of Oude he has combined with justice a wise and well-considered policy; and I believe that by his clemency, generosity, and more especially by his regard for territorial rights, he has done more to re-establish and maintain an empire in that part of India than could have been effected by all the measures of repression which any Government could devise or any army enforce. There is one other subject of congratulation, to which I gladly take this opportunity of referring. I cannot but rejoice that Her Majesty has been advised to express in the Speech from the Throne the gratification and pride with which she has received such extensive offers of voluntary service from her people. I think that expression was due to the spirit of loyalty and patriotism which has been manifested by all ranks and classes in the country in defence of Her Majesty's Crown. I trust in God that the service of my countrymen will never be required, for there is only one occasion on which such service can be rendered; but at the same time that does not diminish the merit due to the spirit in which they have come forward or diminish the value of the service they have thus rendered by its tender under present circumstances; for I am perfectly certain that with regard to our influence abroad, as well as our security at home nothing could produce a greater or more powerful effect than the spontaneous, universal burst of patriotic devotion which has shown that with all our wealth and with all our commercial anxieties and rivalries they will not for a single moment be put in the scale in comparison with the safety of our beloved country from the horrible prospect of invasion, from whatever quarter it may come. There are three topics, and only three, on which comments have been made in this discussion, and to which I would now allude. They are all of them most extensive and important; far too important and extensive for me to do more than allude to them in this discussion. The first of these questions is the Commercial Treaty, with regard to which it is rather singular that Her Majesty's Speech has not been able to furnish us with the latest information. Her Majesty's Speech says:—I am in communication with the Emperor of the French, with a view to extend the commercial intercourse between the two countries, and thus to draw still closer the bonds of friendly alliance between them.48 The fact, I believe, is that at the time we are speaking the treaty to which Her Majesty thus vaguely refers as the result of these communications has actually been signed at Paris. Among the few words I was able to collect from the noble Lord who seconded the Address was an expression in the terms of which I wholly concur, though I fear in a somewhat different sense from that in which he used it. The noble seconder of the Address has told us, he hardly knew in what terms to express his gratitude for the reductions in the tariff announced in Her Majesty's Speech. Now, I hardly know in what terms to express my gratification, but for a different reason, because I really do not know what the reductions are, or what is to be the extent of the sacrifices we are to be called on to make for these advantages. Being wholly unknown to me, I am unable, in adequate terms, to describe them; but I must confess that so far as I do know them I do not consider them a matter for unmixed congratulation. I have my doubts whether the peculiar time at which this treaty is signed, as being well calculated on by the Government and their friends across the water, is likely to produce a very favourable impression on the public mind; and all I can hope is, that the public mind in England will be well informed as to the nature of the arrangement before conclusions are formed as to the advantages to be received from it. I don't hesitate for a single moment to say, that the extension of commercial intercourse between this country and France is an object of the greatest national importance to both countries; and I should rejoice to see any opportunity taken for legitimately extending that trade, believing as I do that the extension of commercial intercourse, though it cannot he a complete preservative against the hazard of war between the two countries, must always exercise a great moral influence in indisposing both Frenchmen and the people of this country unnecessarily or rashly to enter into a war, and more especially as our commerce with France has certainly been much more restricted than might be desired or expected, considering the relative position of these countries and their means of supplying each other with the articles they respectively require. I sincerely and cordially rejoice in anything likely to extend the commercial intercourse between this country and France; but with regard to the terms on which this treaty proceeds, and the mode in which the Go- 49 vernment have come to it. I must forbear expressing, nay, I must postpone even the formation of an opinion until I know more about it. The noble Earl who moved the Amendment discussed this subject with his usual ability and freedom. he laid down most distinctly and clearly the principles of free trade as he understands them, and no doubt he most accurately and most properly laid them down. he also drew a broad, clear, intelligible distinction between the principles of free trade—as he contended for them—and the principles of the extension of commercial intercourse through the medium of treaties of reciprocity or commercial treaties of any kind. I am not about to enter on a discussion of the abstract merits of the two principles. I do not at all dispute the proposition laid down by the noble Earl, that it is for the advantage of any country to make such reductions of duties as shall, consistently with its general interests and the purposes of revenue, enable its population to obtain articles of primary necessity on easy terms, irrespective altogether of corresponding reductions in the tariff of foreign countries as affecting its manufactures. But, on the other hand. I am not prepared to say, that there may not be occasions, and many occasions too, on which you may obtain essential advantages for the manufactures of your own country on condition of conceding similar advantages to the manufactures of other countries, and consequently the conferring of these advantages on the manufactures of other countries may be made a most powerful instrument in your hand for obtaining reciprocal advantages from other countries. But it appears to me that the Government has pursued a most extraordinary course on this subject, because the noble Lords opposite, condemning the principle of reciprocity and commercial treaties altogether, now enter into a commercial treaty giving advantages on one side in consideration of advantages on another. And when do they do it? At a time when no step whatever is taken by the country seeking these advantages from us, and when we have made almost every concession to the commerce of France it is possible for us to make. We first of all give away freely almost all we have to give, and having given away everything we then go to barter on the principle of commercial reciprocity, which they all along condemn. They first give away almost all they have, and then deal with their customers on the principle of ex- 50 change. I do not know, I have no means of knowing, what advantages we are to obtain, or what sacrifices we are to make; but, with regard to this treaty, if I am rightly informed, the conditions in the first place, as stated to-night, and not denied on the other side, are that on the one side the advantages we are to give are to come into operation immediately, whereas the corresponding reductions to be granted on the other side are not to come into operation for a period of eighteen months. I pass by the question that the articles which are about to be admitted into France at a lower rate of duty than is at present the case are those very articles which are of vital importance to her, more especially for warlike purposes, and shall content myself with simply observing that among the manufactures which she will, under the operation of the treaty, take from us—if, indeed, the term manufactures is applicable to them at all—are those very articles which require the least amount of skill and labour to be applied in their adaptation to use: whereas the article which we shall receive from France is a staple commodity of that country, the production of which involves the longest industrial occupation in which the French people are engaged. But if there be objections upon general grounds to the principle of a commercial treaty, I think those objections acquire considerably increased force in the case of a treaty such as that of which I am speaking, regulating as it does the precise amount of duty to be paid on certain articles; and if ever there was a time when the Government of this country ought to be cautious in committing itself to the reduction of a duty which now produces a revenue of nearly £2,000,000—the exact sum, I believe, is 1,800,000 and odd pounds—that time is surely the present, when, in connection with the loss of revenue thus created, the enormous demands which in all probability must be made upon the Exchequer, for objects the most vital and necessary, ought to be taken into consideration. It is, therefore, my Lords, that I cannot help regarding it as, under those circumstances, a most unfortunate policy to bind yourself to a large reduction of duty on an article of simple luxury by entering into a treaty by which, supposing it should not answer your expectations in a financial point of view, you would still be bound, and without the power of retracing your steps. Recollect that we are at this moment on a friendly footing with France. 51 The language contained in the Speech from the Throne is, nevertheless, significant. It contains nothing of the ordinary phraseology about a "due regard to economy." It, on the contrary, informs us that "the estimates have been prepared with a view to place the military and naval services and the defences of the country upon an efficient footing." Well, my Lords, that is, no doubt, a most admirable and necessary object, but it is an object the attainment of which will, I apprehend, render it difficult to effect any diminution of taxation. It is, indeed, far more probable that the taxation of the country must, as a consequence, undergo a considerable increase. Bear in mind that the income-tax was to have expired in the course of the present year. No man, however, now entertains a hope that such will be the case. The tax will have to be reimposed by the very Chancellor of the Exchequer who made it a sine quâ non of his financial policy that in 1860 it should die a natural death. Bear in mind also that if you reduce the duty on wines you are guilty of a gross injustice to the great bulk of your countrymen in maintaining the present duty on malt and upon hops. Recollect that the use of these two articles is likely to undergo diminution in proportion to the extent to which French wines are consumed. You are, therefore, in reducing the duty on wine, exposing yourselves to the risk of a double loss—the loss which would arise from the fact that the increased consumption of the one article would not be equal to the falling off in that of the others which I have just mentioned, and also the additional loss that must accrue, if you mean to deal with any degree of justice in the matter, by the reduction of the duty on malt and that upon hops. Her Majesty's Government, moreover, have not, I hope, forgotten that the war duties upon tea and sugar are at present in force. Are there, let me ask, any articles of consumption on which it is more desirable that the duties imposed should be at the earliest possible period reduced? I shall be surprised, indeed, but not more surprised than gratified, to learn that simultaneously with the reduction of the duties on wine, Her Majesty's Government find themselves in a position to diminish also the duties upon tea and sugar; but to reduce all those duties, or to take off any considerable amount of income tax, is impossible without having recourse to the imposition of other taxes to 52 supply their places, and it is expedient, I think, that the imposition of those new taxes should obtain the sanction of Parliament before we give our assent to the treaty in question. Upon this subject, therefore, I can only say that while I concur in the policy of extending trade by all legitimate means, I am not yet prepared to maintain that this treaty of commerce is one which affords matter for congratulation to the people of this country, or one which they can with advantage accept; and I think it not improbable that, unless some explanation of the treaty very different from any which we have already heard be furnished by Her Majesty's Government, they will be very much disappointed in their expectations as to the effect which it is calculated to have on the public mind. I now proceed to the consideration of the question in connection with which an Amendment to the Address has been moved by the noble Earl opposite (Earl Grey). I allude to the unfortunate occurrences which have recently taken place in China. It is not, however, my intention on this occasion, to touch, even in the slightest degree, upon the merits or demerits of the policy which has led to our present position in that country. I am quite aware that great allowances must be made in judging of the conduct of any public servant who happens to be placed in a situation of so much difficulty and embarrassment as was the case with our officers in China, and who, under delicate circumstances, the nature of which could not have been foreseen by the writer of his instructions, is called upon to rely entirely on his own resources and his own discretion. Such allowance must, I think, be made for Mr. Brucein dealing with the question of the policy of forcing the passage of the Peiho. It is at the same time due to my noble Friend near me (the Earl of Malmesbury), who held the seals of the Foreign Office under the late Administration, to state that, although he allowed Mr. Bruce a large latitude—a latitude which was, in my opinion, most properly continued to him, and the continuance of which was amply justified by the manner in which he discharged the important duties which devolved upon him—yet neither my noble Friend nor the Government of which he was a Member could contemplate the occurrence of such a state of things as Mr. Bruce found upon his arrival in China, while the course which he pursued is certainly not capable of being justified by the 53 instructions which he received at our hands. Whether it is capable of justification by other instructions or on other grounds I am not now in a position to say. A grave question in connection with this point has been raised by the noble Earl who moved the Amendment. It is one, too, I am bound to say, which it is not easy to answer in the affirmative. That question is, whether all the blame of those unfortunate transactions which occurred at the mouth of the Peiho is to be thrown entirely upon the Chinese, and whether we ourselves are exempt from all charge of precipitation and imprudence in connection with the matter? The point is one which I do not now wish to discuss. We shall, in all probability, have at no distant day fuller information and more ample means to enable us to do justice to a subject so important and of such great extent. There is, however, one topic in connection with it which I must not pass over on the present occasion. It is a topic which I am sorry to find has not received publicly, whatever may be the case privately, that attention which it seems to me to fairly deserve. I now allude to the heroic conduct which was displayed by the Admiral and the seamen who were engaged in the conflict which took place at the mouth of the Peiho. In referring to that conduct your Lordships will, I am sure, concur with me in the justice of the sentiment that the meed of praise and honour is not to be the meed of success alone. I may add, that unsuccessful though this unfortunate expedition to the mouth of the Peiho may have been, I know of no other in which the daring gallantry and perseverance of British seamen and British troops have ever been more signally exhibited than in that unhappy encounter. I feel assured, too, that these brave men who have suffered so severely in person and in mind from the failure of their expedition will have justice done them by their fellow-countrymen, who, whatever they may think of the policy of the proceeding, will not fail to pay the tribute of their admiration to those unparalleled efforts by which success was sought to be attained, and which, even in the midst of defeat, were of a character nobly to maintain the national honour. The gallant officer who was chief in command of the expedition—Admiral Hope— received a most severe wound on the occasion; and the manner in which, after receiving it, he shifted his flag from one ship to the other, constantly placing him- 54 self in those positions most exposed to danger, furnishes, in my opinion, an example of almost unmatched devotion to his duty, and of an heroic bravery which cannot be surpassed by anything, even in the annals of the British naval service. Now, the noble Earl opposite (Earl Grey) has, in the course of this discussion, called our attention to what he considers! to be the neglect of Her Majesty's Government in not immediately, upon the receipt of the intelligence of those events, calling Parliament together for the purpose of consulting it as to the course which ought to be pursued; and it is, undoubtedly, under ordinary circumstances the duty of the Ministers of the Crown to take no step so serious as that which involves their country in war without seizing the earliest opportunity to secure—if possible even before taking so serious a step—the sanction of the Legislature to the course which they desired to pursue. I doubt not, moreover, that if Parliament happened to be sitting at the time, the Government would have availed themselves of the earliest opportunity to bring the whole subject of the war with China under our notice. The noble Earl opposite, however, seems to think that it was equally their duty to take this course, even though Parliament was not assembled. Now, in that respect, I do not altogether concur in the view to which the noble Earl has given expression. There are other matters which must be taken into consideration in determining upon such a point, and other motives which might render the calling together of the Members of the Legislature on such occasions a matter of difficulty. I am also disposed to give some weight to the argument of the noble Duke (the Duke of Newcastle) that this is not, in point of fact, the first declaration of war with the Chinese. Hostilities had been previously sanctioned by Parliament, as I think most unfortunately. Not that I think we had no cause of complaint with the Chinese; but I thought the Government acted with great imprudence in sanctioning the act of an officer on the spot, who took on himself to decide for the Government whether there was or was not a sufficient cause for war. We never had since been really at peace with China, because peace has never been ratified by that Power. We continued then in the state, not of war, but of hostilities with China. But I must take the liberty of saying that that fact disposes of another argument of the noble Duke opposite, for if we were at war the 55 Chinese were fully justified in strengthening their ports, and if we were not at war there was no occasion nor justification for our destroying them. I dissent altogether from the opinion laid down that we had a perfect right to force our way up the Chinese river. On the question of right there was nothing whatever said in the treaty as regards the manner in which we should go to Tien-tsin. We were informed that harriers had been placed at the entrance to the river and that resistance would he offered to our passage; and under those circumstances we had no more right to force our way up that river than, as had been happily said in the course of the debate, a French squadron would have to force its way up the Thames with an Ambassador, accompanied by an armed escort. But the important point to which I wish to call the attention of Her Majesty's Government is this. We call on the Chinese to respect international rights and the usages of civilization. Be we expect them to deal with us in accordance with our views of those matters? I entreat the Government to take care that we deal the same measure to the Chinese which we require at their hands; and that if hostilities are to be renewed they shall be renewed on a more regular footing than hostilities were formerly waged against that people. I had some experience upon this subject during the time I had the honour of holding office, of the extreme difficulty and embarrassment to which this country might be exposed in consequence of an irregular mode of carrying on a war. Without a declaration of war we have no right to introduce a blockade, to force our way up the rivers of another power, to establish a prize court, or to capture a single vessel. We learn that at present the United States and Russia have had commercial advantages secured to them by treaties with China. I entreat the Government to consider what will be the consequences if, without a declaration of war, should it be necessary to resort to hostilities—which I earnestly trust it may not be—we, undertaking a blockade of the Chinese rivers, stop a vessel belonging to the United States or to Russia in the prosecution of a legitimate trade. Your blockade will be treated as wholly illegal, for illegal it will be, and you will be answerable for all the consequences of an irregular seizure. I hope, therefore, that by prudence and judgment the calamities of a protracted war with China, the results of which no human being can 56 foresee, may be avoided; but should hostilities be inevitable, I trust the Government will take care that they are carried on, so far as we are concerned, in accordance with the usages of civilized countries. I admit, where any great party object is to be attained, it is a legitimate course to take advantage of the Address with that view; but not seeing in the tone of the Speech any cause for a serious difference of opinion, and not concurring with the noble Earl in the strong views he has expressed as to the laches alleged to have been committed by the Government with regard to calling Parliament together, I shall not be able to support his Amendment with my vote in the event of his pressing it to a division. I think, apart from the constitutional view of the case, it is rather a fortunate circumstance that Parliament was not called together on the receipt of the disastrous intelligence from China, because from the feeling which that intelligence excited in the country, Parliament—then imperfectly acquainted with the facts — might have been carried away in the adoption of a course, which in cooler moments and on a calmer consideration of the merits of the case they might not have been inclined to take. If I now touch upon another question it is rather with the view of eliciting some information from Her Majesty's Government which we do not at present possess than of discussing the merits of any particular course. Some suspicion has been excited in my mind by the introduction of a word into the part of the Speech relating to our sending a representative to the approaching Congress. I trust that expression does actually mean what at first sight it may be supposed to mean. I see we are promised that papers on that subject will "soon" be laid on the table. I have had some experience with reference to the production of papers, particularly by the noble Viscount now at the head of the Government, and I know there is a degree of latitude and elasticity about his movements in that respect, which would rather lead me to infer that the use of the word "soon" in that part of the Speech points to a remote rather than to an early fulfilment of the promise. Yet, in the present position of affairs, some information as to the views and policy of the Government ought to be furnished without delay; because we have been lately in a worse position than if we had received no information. We have had information, some of it anonymous, some of a semi- 57 official character, and some on an authority so high as to place it beyond dispute. Now, I must say when Parliament is ever disposed to press any Government for the production of papers, and when the Government states that the production of such papers at a particular time would he inconvenient, that is an excuse which is readily admitted; but I do think at the present period, when we have been obliged to take such information as we had from telegrams, many of them of high authority, from newspapers, and last of all from Imperial letters, Her Majesty's Government should set the public mind at rest by producing their own version of the actual state of things. I find it stated in the Speech at the close of the last Session that overtures had been made to Her Majesty with a view to ascertain whether, if Conferences should be held by the Great Powers of Europe for the purpose of settling arrangements connected with the present state and future condition of Italy, a Plenipotentiary would be sent by Her Majesty to assist at such Conferences; but Her Majesty went on to say that she had not yet received the information necessary to enable her to decide whether Her Majesty may think fit to take part in any such negotiations. I should like, therefore, to hear from the Government the precise nature of that proposition, and under what conditions the assent of Her Majesty had since been given to it. It has been also stated, in some of those sources of information to which I have referred, and I have not seen it denied, that, as long ago as August, Her Majesty's Government proposed to the Government of the Emperor of Prance, in the absence of a Congress, separate negotiations on the affairs of Italy between England and France, setting aside the other great Powers. What answer was given to that proposition at that time we have no means of knowing; but I believe there is no doubt that within the course of the present month—not from Her Majesty's Government, but from that of the Emperor of France — a proposition was made for a separate negotiation by England and France on the affairs of Italy, unconnected with the other Powers; but that —whether by a unanimous vote of the Cabinet or otherwise we know not, though Cabinets are always supposed to be unanimous—proposition was declined, and declined on the ground that such an alliance might be offensive to the other Powers, or might give rise to suspicion, and that, 58 as Parliament was about to meet, it was not deemed expedient to take such a step until it had met, and both Houses had had an opportunity to consider the question. The reason why I advert to this is, that the paragraph in the Speech from the Throne would seem to indicate a probability that the Congress may never take place; yet I trust some member of the Government will explain how they mean, either "in Congress or in separate negotiation," to secure for the people of Italy freedom from foreign interference by force of arms in their internal concerns. These words appear to me to lead to the inference— especially when connected with the previous proposition to which I have referred—that now Parliament has met, and supposing the Congress to fail, the question of a separate intervention of France and England in the affairs of Italy has not been dropped, but may be again renewed. I wish, therefore, to have a full explanation of what is meant by a "separate negotiation for the settlement of the affairs of Italy, and for preventing the intervention by force of arms of any other country in the internal affairs of Italy." I beg your Lordships and the Government to consider the serious consequences to which an agreement like this might lead. If you bind yourselves to France by any engagement to prevent foreign armed intervention on the part of any other Power you tie yourselves to the heel of France, and may find yourselves bound to support her in whatever she may attempt to establish in Italy by any mode other than by force of arms. If France should establish a state of things in Italy calculated to excite the not unnatural jealousy of other Powers, and those other Powers should attempt to interfere with the view of preventing it, if you were to bind yourselves by such a treaty as I have referred to, you would be compelled to join with France whether she had acted rightly or wrongly, in order to stop the intervention of those Powers by force of arms. Now, foreign intervention in the affairs of Italy has been denounced in this and the other House of Parliament in the strongest terms. If there is one principle more recognized than another in this country it is that every State has an undoubted right to settle its own internal affairs at its own will and pleasure, whether with regard to the constitution it may wish to have, or the dynasty it may desire to establish, and that without the intervention of any foreign 59 country. When I say this I am only stating what is the feeling of every Englishman. It is a principle which has, generally speaking, been steadily maintained by us. Even the great war consequent on the French Revolution was no departure from that principle, because that war was undertaken not in consequence of what had been done in France, but in consequence of what was done in France being deemed dangerous to the peace and tranquillity of other countries. There was, no doubt, a deviation from this principle in one particular instance, but that deviation has proved utterly ineffective—I mean the resolution which bound the Powers of Europe to prevent in all time coming a member of the family of Bonaparte from sitting on the throne of France. The Emperor who now sits on the throne of France, by the voice of the French people, has afforded an opportunity of enforcing this article of the Treaty of Vienna, and there is not a single Power in Europe that has ventured to do so, or to call in question the right of the people of France to elect their own ruler. I say not only that every country has a right to settle its internal affairs without foreign armed interference, but that it must be done without foreign assistance; and I am sure that, much as we may desire to see the independence of Italy secured, every one of us would join in saying this, that they ought to attain their own freedom,—that if they wish to place themselves under a constitutional Government they must achieve that great object, not by foreign assistance, but by their own unaided efforts. I go still further, and say that they must be strong reasons indeed which would justify other Powers in taking away any portion of territory from a particular country. Undoubtedly there are cases in which the transfer of a portion of territory from one country to another may be not only at variance with previous engagements, but may involve consequences so serious and dangerous as to render it a matter of universal European interest. If a State already powerful should seek to obtain from another, even with the consent of the people, a new line of frontier which, though not of large extent in point of territory, might be of great value in respect to the construction of fortifications, that would be a condition with regard to which not only the people to be transferred would be entitled to a voice, but which would give good grounds to the other countries of Europe for the gravest protest and remonstrance.
60 Applying this to the present state of affairs in Italy, I would observe that we were anxious in this country to prevent the war that ultimately broke out. So long as that rupture did not actually take place, so long as we were able to appeal to those treaties by which the various States of Europe were bound; and no man laid down more strongly than the French Emperor himself, that so long as Austria confined herself within the limits of those possessions secured to her by the treaty of Vienna he would recognize her rights, and had no power to interfere. But unhappily, and in an evil hour, Austria threw away her chance. I do not mean to say that she might not have had provocation to do as she did; but, unhappily for herself, she took the initiative, and the result was that she lost her possessions in Lombardy. By the treaty she has concluded with France she was compelled to make a sacrifice of a portion of her dominions. We are all familiar with the great evils that have arisen to Italy from the constant contests, not for the independence of Italy, but of the rival Powers of France and Austria to possess influence in that country. No doubt Austria had a perfect right to enter into treaties with the smaller States of Italy, and to afford them protection; but those treaties naturally excited the jealousy of other Powers, because by them, owing to the relative position of Austria and those minor States, the independence of the one was sacrificed in proportion as the other became a protector. But the provisions of those treaties which were most injurious, and by the sacrifice of which Austria might have retained her dominions, were those by which she not only guaranteed the Governments of the smaller States against external aggression, but against their own subjects. It was a violation of every right principle that the Governments of those States should be entitled to demand the assistance of Austria against their own people, and the refusal of Austria to concede this point naturally excited the opposition of other Powers. As to the state of things at Rome, I hope the noble Earl opposite will be able to give us satisfactory assurances on that subject, inasmuch as statements have been made that in my mind seriously impugn the position of Her Majesty's Government in regard to this subject. There has been, as your Lordships are aware, a remarkable correspondence between the Emperor of the French and the Pope, re- 61 cently made public. The Pope has been told by the Emperor of the French that if he would give up the revolted provinces, not that he might hope or expect to be guaranteed, but that he should be guaranteed by the other Powers in his other possessions. I will not enter into the vexed question of the temporal power of the Pope. It is said by Roman Catholics that the maintenance of the temporal power of the Pope is absolutely essential to the maintenance of his spiritual power. That is not the question which the country has at the present moment to consider. No doubt, the spiritual power of the Pope is of great importance to all Roman Catholics, and if they believe that the temporal power of the Pope, although it was not considered necessary by St. Peter himself, is necessary for the maintenance of his spiritual power, I cannot question the sincerity of their anxiety that the Pope's temporal power should remain undisturbed. I can understand that for the due exercise of his high spiritual power, it is important the Pope should be placed beyond a suspicion of being controlled or influenced by any temporal Power, and that he should be, indeed, practically independent. But I ask any human being whether, during the course of the last ten or fifteen years, the Pope has been practically independent? Up to a late period, we have seen one portion of his territory defended by one Power, and another portion by another Power. One portion was ill maintained by the troops of one of these Powers, and the instant they were withdrawn, those provinces were in revolt. Now, I am not arguing as to what shall be done, or what steps shall be taken, but I say that this country can look upon the Sovereign Pontiff in no other light than it would look upon any other Sovereign whatever; and the same principles must be applied to him, as to other Sovereigns, as between himself and his subjects. Viewed in this light, his dynasty is capable of being overthrown, the constitution of his kingdom may be modified by the free will of his subjects, and no foreign Power has the right to interfere with the action of the Pope and his subjects. My Lords, these are the opinions and principles that ought to be acted upon throughout the whole of the Italian States. They are free to choose their own Government and their own constitution; but that constitution must be established of their own free will and under 62 no foreign influence, domination, or interference. I should like to know from the Government, that with regard to these principles they have followed out that line of strict neutrality which was chalked out for them by their predecessors. I acquit them of any of that pro-Austrian tendency that was so liberally imputed to the late Government, because the course taken by Her Majesty's Government cannot be charged with any violation of neutrality in favour of the Austrian cause. But I ask the Government, who professedly desire that the Italian States should settle their affairs for themselves, on what ground one French army at the present moment occupies Lombardy, and another French army occupies Rome? Is that leaving it to the States of Lombardy and Rome to settle their own affairs according to their own free and unbiassed will? The Austrians have been withdrawn from the Roman States and Lombardy; they have crossed the Mincio, and Lombardy has been ceded to France, and by France handed over to Sardinia. Why, then, do the French troops remain in Lombardy, unless it is that there is some lurking apprehension that if the presence of the French troops is withdrawn from the Milanese or the Roman States, some manifestation of feeling would follow which might not be in accordance with the wish of the Sovereign who has sent those troops? The first step towards the due exercise by Italians of those rights which we admit them to possess, must be the withdrawal of foreign Powers and foreign interference, and then Sovereign and subjects will be free to exercise their constitutional rights without interference. We are now either to have a Congress or a separate negotiation for settling the affairs of Italy. How is that Congress to be carried out? What course are the separate negotiations to take? How the decisions of the Congress or the separate negotiations are to be enforced I do not understand. I object to any interference by England if it can possibly be helped in the settlement of a question in which she has no direct or immediate interest. I believe that it is in consequence of our having kept aloof from these embarrassments and from any interference that we have attained to the high position in which we now stand, and which has caused the opinion and the moral force of England to be looked up to, and given her the most powerful influence with all 63 parties engaged in this contest. I admit, with the noble Earl, that there may be steps in regard to the recent changes which ought to have the assent of the Powers who were parties to the Treaty of Vienna. I do not say that we are not to go under any circumstances to a Congress. I only say that you ought to go into a Congress with the basis of negotiations clearly and strictly defined. I object to entering upon a Congress upon the vague and loose terms in which it is described in the Queen's Speech —namely, for the purpose of deliberating with eight Powers who were parties to the Treaty of Vienna, and three others who were not, as to the pacification of Italy, without laying down beforehand clearly and precisely the points on which the opinions of that Congress are to be taken. I protest against this country being bound by the acts of a Congress which may not only bind us to active interference, but to acquiesce in the principles and policy that may be laid down by the majority of the Powers who may be parties to that Congress. Last year the state of things was widely different. There were then no dynastic changes in agitation. There was then a hope that war might be prevented, and certain definite propositions previously agreed upon were laid down between the contending parties, to be submitted to the Congress. Even that Congress was not to take upon itself to do more than decide the questions submitted to it, and to give advice to parties whom it had a right to counsel with regard to the future government of those States. If the Congress does take place, of which, at present, I see little pro Lability, I do not say we ought to refuse to go to it; but, unless I could see some fair prospect of such a result from its deliberations as this country could conscientiously and honourably sanction, and which would accord with public opinion, I think it would be far better not to go into it all. It would be better not to enter the Congress than to have to raise an ineffectual protest, or else to retire from it in the undignified position of being overruled by a council to which we had ourselves submitted our case. I have, I fear, detained your Lordships too long, but I thought it right to lay down the principles of policy which I consider applicable to this and other occasions. My object has been to elicit from the Government whether there is any truth in the statements which have been made as to the advice they have given, and offers they 64 have made, in what position they stand at present to the other Powers of Europe, and what is the policy they are prepared to recommend.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
I was hardly prepared to hear a complaint that only one member of the Government had spoken in this debate. As long as Her Majesty's Government do not shrink from defending their opinions when they are attacked, I think it is better that they should not monopolize the whole debate, but that they should give an opportunity to independent Peers on both sides to take a share in it, instead of jumping up, one after an other, to say the same thing over and over again. At the same time, I feel, after the speech of the noble Earl, that it is quite necessary for me to make a few observations, though I am afraid at this hour of the evening many of your Lordships must be disposed to deprecate any extension of the debate, and would prefer not to have another member of the Government address you. I will make but a few remarks, though I must take longer than I should like if I can remember only a fifth of the numerous questions which the noble Earl addressed to me. Among the minor topics upon which the noble Earl began by touching were the treaties with Japan and Guatemala. For the first of these he, perhaps very naturally, claimed some credit to his Government; as to the other—an excellent treaty in its way—when I tell you that it was negotiated under the instructions of one Government, made during the tenor of another, and ratified by a third, I think you will admit that the proportion of merit to be claimed by the noble Earl is not so great as he would wish your Lordships to believe. Another subject adverted to by the noble Earl was the subject of Parliamentary reform, which he treated with considerable humour, citing the speech of a noble and learned Lord as an instance of the want of excitement and enthusiasm on this subject.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
A great deal of stress has been laid by the noble Earl on the intelligence which appeared in the shape of newspaper telegrams, and through the same source we learned recently that the noble Earl had been taking part in a convivial meeting of some of his supporters at Manchester, and the pith of the speech he made to them was that he would support a very 65 substantial reform, and that the question must be settled during the present Session. Now, I flatter myself that the measure which Her Majesty's Government will shortly be prepared to bring before the House will merit the title of a substantial reform.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
I never used the word "substantial." If the noble Earl is anxious to know what I really did say, I may tell him it was just this,—that I thought it important that the question of reform should be settled during the present Session, and that if the Government brought forward a fair, temperate, and reasonable measure—such as I apprehended they would— they would have no reason to anticipate hostility from those who generally sat opposite to them, but, on the contrary, I should be very glad to give them my support, and settle the question.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
I am delighted to hear the noble Earl's resolution, and can only say that I have been deluded, like himself, by the report of a telegram. I cordially concur in the very just compliment which the noble Earl next paid to the volunteer movement in this country— a movement which has met with the cordial encouragement and support of Her Majesty's Government. There is only one perfect test by which to measure the utility of this movement, and that is an invasion of our shores, which I trust and believe, though, of course, one cannot be certain on that point, will never take place. That this movement will be of the greatest use I cannot for a moment doubt, but of how muchuse will depend on a variety of circumstances— on how steadily the volunteers go on in the same spirited, resolute way in which they began, and are now engaged in perfecting their training for the work they have undertaken, on the degree of organization applied to this large force, on the discipline and obedience displayed by them, and on the readiness of officers of the regular army to avail themselves of this powerful instrument, placed ready to their hands. Though I have no doubt in my own mind of what will be the result, this is, as yet, only a matter of conjecture, and has never been put to the proof; but what is certain is, that already the spirit shown by these volunteers has had a great effect upon foreign nations. I believe that, while it is generally acknowledged to be a perfectly unexceptional movement on our part—purely and entirely defensive in its nature, and impossible to be diverted to purposes of attack,—no two things have raised the prestige of this 66 country more than, first of all, that marvellous resistance offered by a small number of military men and civilians in India against the millions who had been excited to rebel against our sway; and, secondly, that sort of warlike spirit which has sprung up among a nation certainly not military in its nature, and which any power which might venture to touch or attack our shores —as I hope and believe none think of doing at this time—would find very troublesome and difficult to deal with. It is, I think, a matter of especial congratulation that the time at which this movement is going on, and an increase of our defences is being made, is one when we are on good terms with our neighbours and other countries. If such steps were taken at a moment of great and sudden panic, such as certainly prevailed some months ago, it would stamp them with a different character; but, as it is not stamped with any characteristic of panic, it leaves us clearly and unmistakeably in the attitude of merely taking those measures of permanent and reliable defence which the nation has a right, to insist upon that the Government should adopt, and which are intended merely to render us independent of any casualty which may arise. The next point referred to by the noble Earl was India; and I entirely agree with what he has said on this subject. I am especially glad to hear such a tribute of praise accorded to the moderation and judgment of the Indian Administration. The noble Earl said that whatever might have been the mind of the Government of India previous to the proclamation as to Oude, subsequently the instructions of the late Government of Her Majesty had been carried out in a most conciliatory manner. But it is in my power to state what was the mind of the Government of India at that time, and that not from any private information, but from that celebrated despatch in which the Governor General stated what his plans were with regard to Oude, and expressly intimated that he had given the Talookdars to understand that the confiscation of the land was not to be regarded by them as a permanent deprivation, but merely as a means of placing in the hands of the Government the power of punishing or rewarding them according to whether they joined the insurgents or co-operated with the Government in the restoration and maintenance of peace. They were to understand that titles coming to them with the authority of the Government would be much more substan- 67 tial than the very insecure titles which they previously held, and that the acceptance of them would be coupled with conditions by which some guarantee would be taken for their fealty and good conduct. The noble Earl then reproached ray noble Friend on account of his approbation of the commercial treaty with France, of which he could know nothing, and then himself went into all sorts of assumptions and calculations in regard to it, which a better acquaintance with the purport and details of the convention would, I am sure, have dispelled. In thinking over the probable points of attack which would be made use of against us, and bearing in mind the axiom delivered by the noble Earl last year, that when one was bound to find fault one was sure to be able to do so, I had no doubt that some points in our policy would be selected as vulnerable. I anticipated pretty closely the style of objection to this treaty which might be made by the noble Earl who followed the seconder of the Address, and which I might characterize as the very purism of free trade. I have really no ground for knowing what the opinions of the noble Earl opposite may be at this moment on free trade and protection. I believe the last speech on this question which he made in this House was one in which he deferred to public opinion, although he prophesied national ruin, and even appealed to the Freetraders to know how far the gratification of their vanity would prompt them to carry the desolation of the land. Well, I thought we should arrive at what his principles were. he broached two principles, one that laid down by the noble Earl (Earl Grey), and the other a strict reciprocity system. The first admitted certain concessions to free trade, but I remarked throughout the whole argument the old anti-free trade principle coming out strong; whenever he mentioned advantages, it meant always the advantages of sending out our goods to other nations, and not of what we should receive from them. A great deal of what was said by the noble Earl (Earl Grey) was very true. he said it was bad for the nations of Europe to be continually haggling to see which could obtain the best terms, and he could not conceive anything more suicidal than when a nation considered a reduction good for itself that it should wait for the pleasure of another nation to make a corresponding reduction. Our great difficulty formerly was to make a commercial treaty at all. No human thing is perfect, but supposing that 68 our tariff is perfection itself, then perhaps it would be suicidal to alter it; but supposing that there are improvements which can be introduced in our tariff, and when it comes to be discussed it will be seen that it would be the height of pedantry to refuse to insert those amendments in any treaty when by so doing you extend to an immense amount the commercial intercourse with so important a country as France. Nobody doubts that there are great disadvantages to the mercantile and commercial interests of France under the present protective system, but it is also disadvantageous to ourselves. It is injurious to both parties, and it will be undoubtedly an advantage to both sides to remove those artificial restrictions to commerce. I happened by accident lately to open a speech of Sir R. Peel, in which he said that he favoured a better understanding with France, because it would lead to a more extended commercial intercourse, which would have the effect of increasing our mutual prosperity, as well as of increasing the guarantees for peace and goodwill between the two countries. That speech was made more than a quarter of a century ago, and during the time which has elapsed since that period the example on which the noble Lord relies, though it has had an immense effect on other nations, has had no effect on commerce; and now when we are assured that the effect of the treaty will be to introduce a more liberal system in France, combined with improvements in the economy of our tariff, it would be a monstrous thing to throw away the undoubted and immense advantage which increased commercial intercourse would confer upon both nations in the increased security for the maintenance of peace. It is true that we may have close commercial intercourse, and yet go to war with another nation; yet where there is that great commercial intercourse there will also be found a large body of persons whose personal interests will lead them to use their utmost efforts to avoid that which would destroy their profits. The other question—that of revenue— broached by the noble Earl, is one which of course it is impossible for me to enter upon now, as no one can expect me to anticipate the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon this difficult and important subject. The noble Earl suggested that this treaty had been managed by us to act as a sort of firework to produce an effect at the opening of Parliament, but I 69 can assure him nothing of the sort is the case. There is no secret about it. A distinguished man, Mr. Cobden, having, to my regret, declined to join the present Government, for certain reasons of his own went to Paris, and I think it reflects wonderful credit upon that gentleman, and is an extraordinary circumstance, that after having by his influence and eloquence exercised a decisive effect upon the multitudes of a free country in inducing them to adopt a certain policy, he has been enabled to exercise a similar influence upon a very few intelligent men at the head of a wholly different institution of Government, and to bring them to entertain similar convictions. An error not much to the credit of this country has been that sometimes there has been an adulation of the Emperor of the French, and at others a vituperation of him and his acts. I have never gone to either extreme, which are equally offensive to good taste as well as to other considerations, but I must say that this act of the Emperor, which, I believe, will be one of the most beneficial to the country he reigns over, has been one of his best acts, and one which I have no doubt required great moral courage to perform. The noble Marquess had referred to the representation of certain Protectionists in France, which afford a proof of the immense force which a strong organization offers to acts of this kind, and the noble Earl (Earl Grey) says that the Treaty will strengthen the feelings of the French against commercial liberty. There may at first be a feeling against reductions in favour of other nations, but the story of Sam Slick is quite apposite. he left clocks at cottages not for sale, but when he returned he found the cottagers had become, from their use, so alive to the value of the clocks that they would not part with them. A greater freedom of commercial intercourse on the part of France would have another effect, for it would show to other nations that there was nothing peculiar in the institutions and position of England which rendered free-trade possible for it, since so great a continental nation as France had taken the same course. The next subject touched upon by the noble Earl is the subject of the Amendment, namely, China; and I am rather embarrassed how to deal with it. It appears to me that the question—the technical question—of whether we were right or wrong in not calling Parliament together upon that subject has been so completely 70 answered by the noble Duke near me (the Duke of Newcastle) and by the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) that I need not attempt to repeat their arguments. But then comes the general question of China, upon which both the noble Earls professed their intention not to enter, but using the usual oratorical figure, said they would not say the thing which they meant to say, and which they did say nevertheless. I think, however, I judge rightly the feeling of the House if I postpone my remarks upon the subject until a future and a more fitting occasion, and I hope the noble Earl, having had an opportunity of expressing his sentiments, will not press the Amendment he has moved. I next come to the subject of the Congress. The noble Earl has spoken of the imperfect information he possessed upon the subject, but a noble Friend near me assures me that further details will be speedily laid before the House. The noble Earl referred to various statements gathered from various sources, and asked me for an answer to them. I must say the whole of them are almost without foundation. I am not aware of any sort of negotiation or proposition having been made to the French Government in August such as he alluded to. I have no official communication as to any offensive or defensive treaty, and perhaps the best way of answering all those questions is by stating that the Government is perfectly unfettered, free from any pledge or engagement or guarantee to or with any nation whatever. Then there comes the question of our going into Congress at all, which the noble Earl deprecates. I will state shortly what the reasons were which induced the Government to consent to go into the Congress. If we had refused, one of two things would have happened—either the Congress would not have met, and then any complications which arose would have been imputed to our refusal; or the Congress would have met, and whatever dissatisfaction Italy might entertain as to its results would have been brought home to us. I believe it will be found that, with nations as with individuals, in political opinions there is no such thing as a secession from duties naturally belonging to them. Supposing that the Congress had met without us and adopted conclusions respecting the Italian people, opposed to our feelings, what answer could we have made to reproaches addressed to us that we had neglected to use the influence naturally belonging to us upon so interesting a subject? 71 And when we are asked under what conditions we would go into Congress there is the simple answer in Her Majesty's Speech which has made known to Europe that the condition was non-interference by arms in the affairs of the Italian people. We thought it necessary to preserve perfectly free action in the Congress, so that we might either retire or take any other line we thought proper; but to say that other nations had got into a difficulty, and they might get out of it as they could, would have been a selfish sort of policy accompanied with great discredit and fatal effects to this country. With regard to the future, I believe that our policy is very simple. I do not believe that the settlement of Italy is a very simple one. The various interests and feelings in Italy make the settlement a very difficult subject; but the policy of this Government is, I think, as clear and simple as noonday. Indeed, I agree with all the noble Earl has said as to using our influence to prevent armed interference with a country dealing with her own internal concerns. As long as we do that our influence will have a great effect, and if we obtain the result we seek, we shall obtain that which is the real interest of England, and also consistent with the real interests of Europe—namely, the maintenance of a condition of things likely to insure lasting peace. With regard to separate negotiations it is clear that, if we move at all and there is no Congress, it must be by separate negotiations; but I can assure the noble Earl that the interpretation of that point which he has suggested is entirely without foundation. The noble Earl has put to me questions which I certainly do not feel called upon to answer. he has asked me to explain what is the necessity for the temporal power of the Pope in support of his spiritual power, but I must decline to enter into that question. In a great deal which fell from the noble Earl I entirely concur. I am sorry to see a tendency among Catholics, and even among some Protestants, to treat it as a religious question. I do not think it is a religious question. I think it is a purely political question, and I am quite sure that, as far as the Government is concerned, it is their duty to treat it as a purely political question. At the same time I think it very natural the Catholics should feel an interest in the state of their spiritual head, and wish to see what guarantee there is of his independence of lay sovereigns. But, from the sort of accusations made against the Go- 72 vernment by some of these gentlemen, one would suppose that the Pope was in peaceful possession of large States, with a perfectly contented population, and that Her Majesty's Government were about to deprive him of some portion of those States. The case is exactly the reverse. All that we ask, free from any religious feeling, but in accordance with the political feeling of an enormous majority of the people of this country, is what has been eloquently laid down by the noble Earl—namely, nonintervention in the internal affairs of other countries; and all that we wish is, to leave the inhabitants of those countries to settle among themselves what form of Government they choose and what sort of administration they wish to adopt. I believe these principles will be shown by the debate to-night to be very generally adopted in this House. I was very much struck with the feeling manner in which the noble Lord alluded to the death of one among us. It is one of the melancholy incidents of each meeting of Parliament that we miss faces we have known, either the faces of political friends or of respected opponents, and this year has been no exception to the rule. It is very difficult not to allude to the fact that of the four perhaps most eminent modern historians of Europe and America, whose deaths we have seen within a year, one of them should have been a Member of your Lordships' House. It singularly illustrates the elasticity of our constitution; and while I know he felt proud to belong to this House, I believe few among us do not feel pride that his name should be upon the roll of Peers. I know that in accepting a peerage it was his intention to take part in our debates, and it was only that malady which prematurely cut him off which prevented his adding much distinction to our discussions. All know his writings and his speeches; many know his private conversation, and I believe you will agree with me there were no greater characteristics of that noble Lord than his pride in the past history and his faith in the future destiny of this country. Animated with the same feelings I am sure all here will agree to this Address, more particularly that portion of it which refers to the contentment, loyalty, improvements in social life and diminution of crime which year by year must add so much, not only to the material prosperity but the moral force of this country.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
asked whether the Government could give any information 73 as to the period when the French troops were likely to be withdrawn from Rome, or if they remained, upon what terms they would remain?
§ EAHL GRANVILLE
said, it had been a subject of communication with the French Government, but that it was impossible to give an answer as to the precise period when the withdrawal would take place.
§ EARL GREY
said, he would not withdraw his Amendment, but he would not give their Lordships the trouble to divide. he had listened in vain for any instances of an expedition like this to China being fitted out upon the simple sanction of the Government, without the early concurrence or authority of Parliament.
§ Question put, Whether the said Words shall be there inserted?
§ Resolved in the negative.
§ Then the original Motion was agreed to; and a Committee was appointed to prepare the Address: The Committee withdrew; and, after some Time, Report was made of an Address drawn by them, which, being read, was agreed to, and Ordered to be presented to Her Majesty by the Lords with White Staves.