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acted in this matter but with frankness and consideration for other Powers. And if there be a Power in existence to which we have endeavoured to show most consideration from particular circumstances in this matter it is France. There is no step of this kind that I would take without considering the effect it might have upon the feelings of France—a nation to whom we are bound by almost every tie that can unite a people, and with whom our intimacy is daily increasing If there could be any step which of all others was least calculated to excite the suspicion of France, it would appear to be this because we avoided Egypt, knowing how susceptible France is with regard to Egypt; we avoided Syria, knowing how susceptible France is on the subject of Syria ; and we avoided availing ourselves of any part of the terra firma, because we would not hurt the feelings or excite the suspicions of France. France knows that for the last two or three years we have listened to no appeal which involved anything like an acquisition of territory, because the territory which might have come to us would have been territory which France would see in our hands with suspicion and dislike.
But I must make this observation to your lordships. We have a substantial interest in the East; it is a commanding interest, and its behest must be obeyed. But the interest of France in Egypt, and her interest in Syria are, as she acknowledges, sentimental and traditionary interests; and, although I respect them, and although I wish to see in the Lebanon and Egypt the influence of France fairly and justly maintained, and although her officers and ours in that part of the world -and especially in Egypt—are acting together with confidence and trust, we must remember that our connection with the East is not merely an affair of sentiment and tradition, but that we have urgent and substantial and enormous interests which we must guard and keep. Therefore, when we find that the progress of Russia is a progress which, whatever may be the intentions of Russia, necessarily in that part of the world produces such a state of disorganisation and want of confidence in the Porte, it comes to this—that if we do not interfere in vindication of our own interests, that part of Asia must become the victim of anarchy, and ultimately become part of the possessions of Russia.
Now, my lords, I have ventured to review the chief points connected with the subject on which I wished to address you namely, what was the policy pursued by us, both at the Congress of Berlin and in 'the Convention of Constantinople ? told, indeed, that we have incurred an awful responsibility by the Convention into which we have entered. My lords, a prudent minister certainly would not recklessly enter into any responsibility; but a minister who is afraid to enter into any responsibility is, to my mind, not a prudent minister. We do not, my lords, wish to enter into any unnecessary responsibility; but there is one responsibility from which we certainly shrink; we shrink from the responsibility of handing to our successors a weakened or a diminished Empire. Our opinion is, that the course we have taken will arrest the great evils which are destroying Asia Minor and the equally rich countries beyond. We see in the present state of affairs the Porte losing its influence over its subjects; we see a certainty, in our opinion, of increasing anarchy, of the dissolution of all those ties which though feeble, yet still exist and which have kept society together in those countries. We see the inevitable result of such a state of things, and we cannot blame Russia for availing herself of it. But, yielding to Russia what she has obtained, we say to her—“ Thus far, and no farther." Asia is large enough for both of us. There is no reason for these constant wars, or fears of wars, between Russia and England. Before the circumstances which led to the recent disastrous war, when none of those events which we have seen agitating the world have occurred, and when we were speaking in “another place” of the conduct of Russia in Central Asia, I vindicated that conduct, which I thought was unjustly attacked, and I said then-what I repeat now,—there is room enough for Russia and England in Asia. But the room that we require we must secure.
We have, therefore, entered into an alliance-a defensive alliance with Turkey, to guard her against any further attack from Russia. We believe that the result of this Convention will be order and tranquillity. And then it will be for Europe-for we ask no exclusive privileges or commercial advantages—it will then be for Europe to assist England in availing ourselves of the wealth which has been so long neglected and undeveloped in regions once so fertile and so favoured. We are told, as I have said before, that we are undertaking great responsibilities. From
those responsibilities we do not shrink. We think that, with prudence and discretion, we shall bring about a state of affairs as advantageous for Europe as for ourselves; and in that conviction we cannot bring ourselves to believe that the act which we have recommended is one that leads to trouble and to warfare. No, my lords, I am sure there will be no jealousy between England and France upon this subject. In taking Cyprus the movement is not Mediterranean, it is Indian. We have taken a step there which we think necessary for the maintenance of our Empire and for its preservation in peace.
If that be our first consideration, our next is the development of the country. And upon that subject I am told that it was expected to-night that I should in detail lay before the House the minute system by which all those results which years may bring about are instantly to be acquired. I, my lords, am prepared to do nothing of the kind. We must act with considerable caution. We are acting with a Power, let me remind the House, which is an independent power—the Sultan-and we can decide nothing but with his consent and sanction. We have been in communication with that Prince—who, I may be allowed to remind the House, has other things to think about, even than Asia Minor; for no man was ever tried, from his accession to the throne till this moment, so severely as the Sultan has been; but he has invariably during his reign expressed his desire to act with England and to act with Europe, and especially in the better administration and management of his affairs. The time will come—and I hope it is not distant—when my noble friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs may be able to communicate to the House details of these matters, which will be most interesting. But we must protest against being forced into statements on matters of importance, which are necessarily still immature. And we must remember that, formally speaking, even the Treaty of Berlin has not been ratified, and there are many things which cannot even be commenced until the ratification of that treaty has occurred.
My lords, I have now laid before you the general outline of the policy we have pursued, both in the Congress of Berlin and at Constantinople. They are intimately connected with each other, and they must be considered together. I only hope that the house will not misunderstand—and I think
the country will not misunderstand-our motives in occupying Cyprus, and in encouraging those intimate relations between ourselves and the Government and the population of Turkey. They are not movements of war, they are operations of peace and civilization. We have no reason to fear
Her Majesty has fleets and armies which are second to none. England must have seen with pride the Mediterranean covered with her ships ; she must have seen with pride the discipline and devotion which have been shown to her and her Government by all her troops, drawn from every part of her Empire. I leave it to the illustrious duke, in whose presence I speak, to bear witness to the spirit of imperial patriotism which has been exhibited by the troops from India, which he recently reviewed at Malta. But it is not on our fleets and armies, however necessary they may be for the maintenance of our imperial strength, that I alone or mainly depend in that enterprise on which this country is about to enter. what I most highly value—the consciousness that in the Eastern nations there is confidence in this country, and that, while they know we can enforce our policy, at the same time they know that our Empire is an Empire of liberty, of truth, and of justice.
JOHN BRIGHT IF Bright's speeches were in the ordinary sense more eloquent than Cobden's, they had, like his, the merit of perfect lucidity. Bright was not a deep thinker, nor did he trouble himself about the philosophy of legislation. He combined with a great command of language a rich vein of occasional humour, and a power of leading up to a height from which the whole subject he was discussing could be in a moment surveyed. His mind was not the mind of a debater. In the campaign against the Corn-laws he usually left to Cobden the duty of bringing facts to bear upon assumptions. What Bright could do better than any other man was to clothe in memorable phrases the conclusions he desired to enforce. He was a student of the English language from the oratorical point of view, an accomplished artist in the structure of sentences which embodied the feelings of his audience or his party. It would be unjust to say that he spoke above his abilities. He always had a plain and definite idea of what he meant to say. But it was not his habit to deal with the preliminary stages of a conflict. He took up the question where it emerged from the dialectical phase, and clothed it in a form which made it impressive to multitudes of hearers and readers. No great orator has known more accurately and completely how to be emphatic without becoming wearisome, or how to point without exaggerating a truth. When he remarked, in 1874, that if the Conservatives had been in the wilderness, they would have complained of the Ten Commandments as a piece of harassing legislation, he only put into a memorable and humorous shape the answer to a charge that