§ LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If it were true, as stated in "The Morning Post" of April 25, thatMr. Layard had informed the Porte that England had guaranteed the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire only under conditions laid down by treaties stipulating for the exercise of control by the Powers?Though too much importance ought not to be attached to statements by newspaper correspondents, yet they could not be altogether disregarded, since Mr. Gladstone or Mr. Bright laid down last Autumn that those who read the penny papers were as capable of judging of foreign affairs as Cabinet Ministers; and as there were still to be found persons who upheld the exaggerations of The Daily News Correspondent, and considered them to have been entirely corroberated, notwithstanding the large reduction of the figures of that Correspondent by Mr. Baring's Report; whose figures had again been reduced to one-third by the report of Mr. Storey, who was charged with administering relief to the Bulgarians. That might be said to be fresh reason for not allowing erroneous newspaper statements to remain uncontradieted, especially after the recent remarkable exhibition of credulity and simple faith in newspaper statements on the last occasion their Lordships sat. He desired, therefore, to ask the Secretary of State, if the statement in The Morning Post of April 25 was true or not? He could not believe it to be true for three reasons—first, because there were no such treaties; secondly, because, so recently as the 8th of February last, the Secretary of State stated to this Housethat he did not conceive we had a. Treaty right to do so—that was, exercise intervention 724 in favour of Christians—under the Treaty of 1856;and, thirdly, because the language attributed to Mr. Layard would be contrary to that which he was said to have held only about a fortnight before. As he entirely concurred with the opinion of his noble Friend the Secretary of State as to the extreme undesirableness of his being called upon night after night to express opinions upon important subjects, he should not put the other two Questions of which he had given Notice.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
I have no difficulty in answering the Question of the noble Lord. Mr. Layard has not reported himself to have used any such language as that to which the noble Lord has referred, and I feel certain that no such language as that ascribed to him could have been used, because no man is better acquainted than Mr. Layard with the state of the case as regards our Treaty obligations, and the statement contained in the extract from The Morning Post is not in accordance with the facts. Seeing the Notice given by my noble Friend, I referred to the article in question, and found that the language quoted was not ascribed to Mr. Layard on the authority of any person professing to have accurate knowledge of what he said or did not say; but the writer merely gave the language as ascribed to him in the reports current in Constantinople at the time. I apprehend that Constantinople is a place where a good many reports are current which are not true.