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different among the authorities that guide public opinion in the Metropolis, and those who address it in the country. Some of the greatest pundits of the Metropolis have been puzzled as to what my Resolutions mean; and I am not sure that there is not a similar doubt and obscurity in the minds of Her Majesty's Government. The people in the country, however, do not appear to have experienced any portion of this difficulty. I am able to say, of all the resolutions at meetings held throughout the country, that in more than nineteen cases out of twenty their general scope has been in correspondence not merely with the first two of my five Resolutions, but with the whole. It is only fair to admit that I received an account of an adverse meeting held in the great town of Bradford; but it was the adverse meeting, not of the town of Bradford, but of the Executive Committee of the Conservative Association. I wish to give it its due publicity in order that such weight as it can fairly claim may be given to it. Now, though many of the declarations of opinion have come from Liberal Associations, yet also a large number have come from towns' meetings regularly summoned, and from other public meetings openly convened, largely attended at the very shortest notice, and pervaded by a spirit of enthusiasm equal to that which marked the expression of opinion in September. At one of these towns' meetings--that which was held in Northampton, under the presidency of the Mayor-a gentleman moved a declaration to the effect that it would not be well to interfere with the action of Her Majesty's Government, and not a single person was found to second that motion. There is another town, and that is the town of Christchurch, represented by the hon. gentleman who is not now in his place (Sir H. Drummond Wolff); he has wisely retired for the refreshment so necessary to us all for renewing the zeal and vigour of the inner man. Well, I am glad to think that the hon. gentleman who is about to move the Previous Question if the Notice holds good, is or was entirely one with me on the substance of this matter. I hold in my hand the report in a Conservative journal of the speech made by him at Christchurch in September, in which he declares positively that the Provinces of Turkey must be liberated ; and, as the promises of its Government are worthless, there must be other guarantees. I am glad to see that in the town he represents a public meeting has been recently

convened by the Mayor, and a requisition has been made to the hon. gentleman requesting him to support the Resolutions, the discussion of which he is about to stifle. The hon. member will tell me if I misrepresent the case.

Sir H. Drummond Wolff: The right hon. gentleman is misrepresenting the case. The persons who requested me to support the Resolutions were chiefly persons outside the borough, imported in wagons.

Mr. Gladstone : The authentic organ of opinion in a borough is a public meeting convened by the Mayor, and my statement is not weakened by the census the hon. gentleman has somewhat rapidly taken of the persons attending it, in a manner not, I think, the most complimentary to his constituents.

I now come, Sir, to the main question. These Resolutions would include, undoubtedly, a vital or material alteration of the declared policy of Her Majesty's Government. But my first object, and one of my main objects, is to clear that position of the Government in a most important respect. One of the points which I must endeavour, therefore, to establish is, that that position is at present ambiguous. Am I right in saying that, if this is so, it is desirable that their position should be cleared ? I think I can show that I do not overstate the case. I do not propose to move a Vote of Censure on the Government, simply for this reason, that I do not see what public interest would be promoted by my doing it ; but I wish to say in the calmest words—yet they cannot be weak words—that I know no chapter in the history of our foreign politics since the peace of Vienna so deplorable as that of the last eighteen months. I speak of that policy generally. Some steps have been taken, especially the mission of Lord Salisbury to Constantinople, which deserved the approval of this House. But that step was immediately met on the part of the promoters of the Autumn movement by their reposing at least provisionally, their confidence in the Ambassador, and by their abstaining from every step that could weaken his hands. They had to consider this mission in the light of the Guildhall speech. It was difficult to say how far it was modified by that extraordinary speech; but, notwithstanding, confidence in Lord Salisbury's purpose and views was the principle generally adopted, and upon that mission I have not now one word to say of censure, but only of commendation. But while he was

at Constantinople there was also another Representative of England there, whose views upon the most vital questions were in direct opposition to those of Lord Salisbury. This utter difference of opinion, as we now know, was known to the Turkish Government, and it counteracted all along Lord Salisbury's efforts. This, then, is one of the points upon which the position of the Government is ambiguous and requires to be cleared.

Then, again, with regard to the withdrawal of Sir Henry Elliot from Constantinople at the close of the Conference. The conduct of the Porte had at that time deserved some manifestation of that feeling which it was reasonable for Her Majesty's Government to entertain; and all the other powers had intelligibly shown their displeasure. But so far from displaying such a sentiment, Her Majesty's Government carefully made it known that the departure of Sir Henry Elliot was no sign of displeasure. Why was that done? It brings into question, if not the sincerity of the Government, yet at the very least their firmness and clearness of purpose.

Then, again, why was it that Her Majesty's Government, at the time of the Conference, made a communication to the Porte that the views of the Conference would be words, and words alone, and were not to be enforced either by Her Majesty's Government or with its approval ? It is a mild description of that proceeding to say that that rendered the policy and the position of Her Majesty's Government an ambiguous policy and position. You might as well have dismissed the Conference altogether. You might as well have done that which you seem given to do, and, at the outset of the proceedings of that European Parliament, have moved the “ Previous Question.” The Conference was idle; the Conference became a farce from the moment when Turkey had been informed by England that in no circumstances would she either herself enforce, or recognize the enforcement by others of the decisions at which the Conference might arrive. Why, Sir, what was the position of the case ? England was then the sole obstacle to a policy that would have given reality to the decisions that Lord Salisbury had laboured so gallantly to promote. But, like the power behind the Throne in other days, there was somewhere or other a power behind Lord Salisbury which determined that he should not succeed. And consequently, at a very early

date in the proceedings the Porte was informed on this vital matter. Why was the Porte informed of it ? Why was the Porte informed of it then ? When was Lord Salisbury made aware of it ? Did he know it before he left England ? [The Chancellor of the Exchequer : “ Yes."] Ah ! he did ? He knew that he was to be allowed to use, words, and words alone ? Did he know it before he accepted the mission ? My question now is whether, when Lord Salisbury left England, and not only when he left England, but when he accepted the mission, and allowed himself to be proclaimed Ambassador, he had been made aware by his colleagues that the words which he might use, and the decisions at which the Conference might arrive were to be recommendations simply, and were in no circumstances to be imposed upon the Porte ? To that I have no answer. I must answer it for myself. But, whether Lord Salisbury was aware of the intention or not, why was that communication made to the Porte before the proceedings of the Conference? Why was that communication made, which drew forth a lively expression of the gratitude of the Grand Vizier and of the Turkish Government, not to the British Government at large, but to Lord Beaconsfield and Lord Derby? Was the same thing done by other Governments ? The Austrian Government, the contrary, knowing perfectly well with whom they had to deal, had declared that when the decisions of the Conference were arrived at they ought to be imposed upon the Porte by a naval demonstration ; and, unless I am much mistaken, it was well known to the Government of Her Majesty that in the opinion of the Government of France the conference was an idle form if the Porte was to be apprised that force was not to be used with respect to the recommendations of Europe. Therefore, we find Her Majesty's Government, by their unhappy act, playing the evil genius of Europe, and at the most critical moment taking the very step that was certain, in the opinion of the best and most experienced judges, to nullify and frustrate utterly the labours they were ostensibly undertaking. It is a mild description to say that this rendered the position of the Government an ambiguous position.

I am bound to say I think the mission of Mr. Layard has, in its outward aspect, the same effect. I carefully abstain from pronouncing a final judgment upon it. I do not desire


to make it a subject of censure. I have known Mr. Layard in two capacities. I have known Mr. Layard when I last held office under the Crown. I then knew him as the able Representative of this country at Madrid-discharging his duties in a manner that gave to the late ministry the most perfect satisfaction. But I cannot altogether set aside my recollection of Mr. Layard in this House, when he was by far the most effective, and by far the furthest-going advocate of the Government of Turkey whom I have ever known to sit on these benches. Consequently, as we find in the Blue Book which was presented to us on Saturday, the appointment of Mr. Layard was again selected as a special subject of thanks by the Turkish Government, and it was acknowledged in a peculiar and very appropriate phrase to be on the part of the Government of Her Majesty, inasmuch as they knew his friendly sentiments towards Turkey, a “delicate attention.” A “ delicate attention " to that Government which has made itself responsible in full from first to last for the massacres of Bulgaria, and whose fixed attention it is that on the first similar occasion similar massacres should be again perpetrated. “Delicate attentions” to that Government from the Government of Her Majesty are matters which, if not wrong in themselves, at least require some elucidation to show that their position with regard to the crimes of that Government is not an ambiguous position.

Again, Sir, it will be remembered that a despatch was produced to us in the month of May last year in which it was stated that Her Majesty's Government felt that Turkey was only to depend upon their moral support. Now my second Resolution, which is regarded by the Secretary for War as of so neutral and inoperative a character, carefully states that Turkey has lost all claim to either the material or the moral support of Great Britain. The lines between material and moral support are not always easily drawn. What kind of support did Her Majesty's Government give to Turkey last year when, having sent a squadron to Besika Bay to protect Christian life, they afterwards converted that squadron into a powerful fleet for some other unacknowledged purpose ? What kind of support, I say, was the support then given to Turkey ? Her Majesty's Government, as far as my knowledge goes, have never disclaimed this ill-omend phrase "moral support." I do not want to pin them to it-God forbid ! I

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