12 MARCH 1864, Page 1

The most important speeches that have been delivered this session

in Parliament were delivered casually, and by way of conversation, more than of debate, in the House of Lords on Tuesday night. Lord Derby asked for further papers, and commented briefly on the events that had occurred since the last of the despatches that have now been published. The occupation of Schleswig has assumed a character, he said, " entirely inconsistent with the mere holding of the Duchy as a ledge, to be afterwards restored to its rightful owners," as the Germans have destroyed the Dannewerke, dismissed the Danish officials, introduced the German language even into purely Danish districts,--and (Lord Derby would have added, if he had spoken two days later) substituted a German for a Danish currency; and they had also invaded Jutland. Lord Russell said no papers could be given till the last effort of the English Government for a conference and armistice had either failed or succeeded. Prussia, he said, and " probably " Austria, are willing to conclude an armistice on the basis of continuing the military status quo at the moment of the armistice, and to enter into con- ference with Denmark and the great European Powers during that armistice. This, it will be remembered, was refused by Prussia and Austria when proposed before the invasion of Jutland, and Denmark had not yet made up her mind to accept it. There was another proposal to evacuate Jutland on condition of the Danes evacuating the Island of Alsen. Lord Stratford de Redcliffe expressed his hope that at least when this negotiation was com- pleted one way or the other, Her Majesty's Government would take and announce a decisive line. The time for "hesitation," he thought, was exhausted, and they should adopt either " the sad alternative of total inaction," or "resolute interference in co- operation with such friendly Powers as have sincerely at heart the claims of justice and the welfare of Europe."