Lord Clarendon next took up the far more important part
of Lord Claud- carde's speech—the inquiry whether we are at peace or war. That inquiry could not be answered at the moment. " We are not at war, because war is not declared. We are not strictly at peace with Russia, because — (Some laughter.) My noble friend laughs, but he must know it is correct to say that we are not at war with Russia, though diplomatic relations have been Suspended. He must remember that the initiative of the interruption of diplomatic relations was taken by Russia, and those relations are declared by Russia to be simply suspended. Therefore I say we are in that intermediate state, when our desire for peace is just as sincere as ever, though I must say our expectations of maintaining it are gradually dwindling away, and drift- ing towards war. Still, as my noble friend at the head of the Government said the other evening, so long as war is not declared, the maintenance of _peace is not despaired of. It has been stated in this House that certain pro- positions had been made by Russia by way of reply to those contained in the collective note of the Ambassadors; but it seems to me as easy to make two parallel lines meet as those two sets of propositions ; and therefore I consider the negotiations to be at an end. But it does not follow that a state of war is instantly to ensue ; and I am sure your Lordships would not expect me, in the exercise of my discretion and responsibility, to state exactly the steps which her Majesty's Government may think necessary to take in the present state of affairs, because you must remember that we are not acting alone, but in conjunction with our allies. I think it sufficient therefore at present to say, in answer to the doubts thrown on our proceedings by my noble friend, that every preparation is being made with all the vigour and with all the rapidity which the existing state of things allows." In contra- diction of the assertion that no steps have been taken to come to an under- standing with France, Lord Clarendon stated that engagements have been entered into between France and England ; but he was sure the House would not wish him to lay on the table any agreement between the two powers as to their naval and military operations. In reply to the objection that we should not have interfered at all, he strongly pointed out the consequences. Russia would have acquired a protecting power over ten millions of the Sul- tan's subjects; and then, do what you like to prevent it, she might have beoome mistress of Constantinople. "Then, directing all her energies to the increase of her naval force, nothing could have prevented her, after becom- ing a great Mediterranean as well as Baltic naval power, from giving the law to Europe, but such an amount of naval superiority on the part of this country as it would have been a constant drain on our resources to maintain. It was not merely a geographical question ; it was not merely a question of right and humanity ; but in the protection of the Turkish authority was in- volved the independence of Europe. Remember, it was not France and England alone that so regarded the question, but it was viewed in precisely the same light by Austria and Prussia. No one can doubt that in May last Austria and Prussia did not wish to pick a quarrel with Russia ; yet their representatives at Constantinople had received instructions from their Go- vernments cordially to unite with the Ambassadors of England and France in recommending the Porte to resist the demands of Russia, they clearly foreseeing the consequences of those demands. And, if that was the con- duct of Austria and Prussia simply in reference to a demand made, how much more were they bound to support their own principles when the demand was followed by such a dangerous precedent as the occupation of the Principalities." That occupation gave to the question great importance. There had been no backwardness, no lack of attempts to convince the Emperor of Russia of the injustice of his demands ; but, while recognizing that occupation as a • emus both, the Sultan had been recommended not to stand on his strict right and not to declare war while there was a hope of peace. And Lord Stratford had-forestalled Ministers in giving that advice to the Sultan. Had war been du:dared in July, Lord Clandearde would have been the first to say that it had benn done unnecessarily. When the fleets were ordered up to the Bos- phorus in October, Russia was told that they were there not to attack her but to defend the territory of Turkey. Distinct assurances were received from the Russian Government, that they would retain a defensive position. "This was the state of things until the horrible affair at Sinope, when a Turkish fleet, at anchor in a harbour which is within the territory of the Sultan, was attacked and completely destroyed ; when, if the combined fleets of England and France had been present, they would have repelled the aggression and chastised the aggressor. After that occurrence, her Majesty's Government, in conjunction with the Government of the Emperor of France, felt that the time had come not only to prevent the occurrence of a similar catastrophe, bat at once to protect the Ottoman flag and territory ; and a communication to that effect was despatched to St. Petersburg, and was also made to the Russian Ambassador in this country?' We were not justified in permitting any aggression on the part of Turkey, which she was too weak to attempt, and which she could only have attempted under the protection of the Eng- lish and French fleets. "We thought that to permit an aggression on the part of Turkey would be to become aggressors ourselves ; and, more than that, we considered that it would be an act of covert hostility, and that, by permitting it, we should expose ourselves to the accusation of allowing such acts without .possessing the manliness or courage to declare war ; we con- aidered that it would be a dastardly course, unworthy of the people of this country. Early in December we did not declare war, because at that time we did not see that war was at all necessary ; we saw no reason to doubt that the object we had in view might be carried out without war ; but I repeat, and I have no doubt that your Lordships will agree with me, that to permit acts of war under the mask of peace would neither have been just nor lionourable." The communication made to St. Petersburg with regard to the entrance of the fleets led to the demand for explanations ; and as the fleets did not enter the Black Sea to remain neutral, but to protect the Otto- man territory and flag, to have replied that they did intend to remain neu- tral would have injured the cause Ministers were prepared to support.
Lord Clanricarde had treated with levity the attempt to cement an alliance between France and England and Austria and Prussia ; but since Lord Cla- rendon last addressed the House Government had reason to be satisfied with the conduct of the Governments of these two countries. "The Conference Of Vienna came to three determinations. They agreed that the limits and boundary of the Turkish territory should not be disturbed ; that the Otto- man Porte had expressed its readiness to accede to just and honourable terms of peace ; and also, that the prepositions made by Russia were so unaccept- able as not even to be worthy of being sent to the Turkish Government. We have, therefore, the French, Austrian, and Prussian Governments agree- ing with us on these three points.
"I shall not on the present occasion use harsh terms, but there can be no doubt what the universal opinion of mankind will be with respect to that power which seems determined to plunge Europe into the incalculable hor- rors of a war, when it might preserve peace with honour to itself. (Cheers.) The Governments of Austria and Prussia have replied to the proposals of Russia in a manner becoming independent countries. England and France, it is true, are competent to make war against Russia; but with Prussia and Austria it now rests either to prevent war, or if that be impossible, to render it of short duration ; and never were obligations to duty more consonant to the general wish. A noble and a generous course will also bring safety to their home ; for revolution will not rear its head in a country which is faithfully performing its duty. The answer that Austria made to the last mission from Russia was, that as long as Russia maintained a defensive atti- tude, Austria would retain an expecting one; but now that Russia appeared determined to go further, Austria would send a body of troops to, protect ite frontier. At the same time, to reassure the Turks upon the character of the operation, she declared, that if the intervention of her troops became neces.. airy it would be to maintain the status quo. The answer of Prussia was to the same effect ; so that Count Orloff did not think it worth his while to go to Berlin. I must say, my Lords—and I think your Lordships will agree with me—that our endeavours to secure and cement an alliance with Ams., tria and Prussia, and to pay deference to their wishes and interests, have not been misplaced." In conclusion, Lord Clarendon said he thought the English people had shown a most admirable discretion during months of excitement and misre- presentation, in not discussing the subject or passing judgment on the Go- vernment without information. " They will see that we have laboured in an eventful hour to preserve peace with honour; and, if it should become our duty to declare that it can no longer honourably be maintained, they will come forward in a manner worthy of Englishmen, worthy of the cause at issue, and worthy of those allies who will now for the first time be ranged in order of battle by their sides. They will shun no sacrifice and neglect no effort to obtain such a peace as will be consistent with the national honour, and to establish those principles which they are determined at any risk to maintain."
The Earl of ELLESMERE expressed a hope that the troops about to em. bark in this worthy cause would not be despatched upon any principle that would allow civil or diplomatic agents to interfere with the profes- sional judgments of the commanders. The Earl of MA.LMESBURY repeated the charge that Ministers had not adopted the best course. for preventing the evils which threaten the country ; he revived at great length the complaint that Ministers had de- ceived the Russian Government as to their intentions, and had caused the delusion under which Russia laboured that " England and France were not on the same line." He charged the Government with showing an in firmity of purpose and a want of courage throughout the whole of the transactions; with leading the Russian Government to believe that they would not follow a vigorous course ; and treating the invasion of the Principalities with an excessive politeness, an extreme tenderness of lan- guage. It reminded him of a very timid master of the ceremonies in a town near his residence, who, upon being requested one night at the as- sembly to turn out a very ferocious-looking personage who had entered the ball-room with his hat on, replied, "Oh, have patience ; no doubt he'll take his hat off by-and-by." (Much laughter from the Opposition benches.) Lord GLILVELG was prepared to say that Government had made out what is popularly termed a very good ease. He was aware of the existence of no negotiations, of no diplomacy, at any period, or between any powers, to which minor objections might not be, and had not been started ; and these might be discovered by those who sought minor points of doubt and objection in the negotiations under consideration : but he would boldly say, looking blvadly at these negotiations, upon so im- portant an occasion, extending over so long a period, and conducted with so many parties, that the Government, in Ins judgment, game before Parlia- ment, and before the eountry, and before the world, in the position of men who had acted well and justly in a good and just cause. They felt that war was to be deprecated as full of grievous evils; but they felt also that there were evils to which war itself was preferable, when war became an exigency in which were involved great national interests—the cause of humanity, the cause of human progress; and what they sought should be judged was, not minor particularities, but the. general scope of their intentions, their actions, and their language. Feeling with deep earnestness how great are the evils of war, the Government were to be commended, instead of blamed, that so long and so anxiously they had sought to avert those evils, while yet pre- pared to encounter them, if by them alone the greater evils inevitable from the longer avoidance of war were to be averted in the name of humanity and of the world's progress. He vindicated the Government from the Marge of confiding in a personage who, in his past life, had given no ground for disbelief in his-assurances;, and from the other charge of using over-delicate language. He applauded the frank and honest understanding between England and France ; and trusted that in what remains of these mighty transactions the relations of the two countries may be yet more firmly cemented, end, that having concurred in negotiation, and having been ex- posed to the same hazards, they may enjoy the same successes and achieve a common triumph. Ministers could only be reproached with a desire to prolong peace. Many Ministers had plunged the country into war who would gladly have retraced their course. It was the chief merit of Sir Robert Walpole that he had resisted a clamour for war. Walpole was con- demned by his country ; but the present Ministers, more fortunate than Walpole, had so conducted their negotiations that they -entered on-a war with the majority of the people on their side. (Cheers.) It might be question- able whether the axiom of Wellington was applicable on all occasions, but Lord Glenelg trusted that in this instance at least no petty warfare would he carried on ; that there was to be no by-play at war ; that there were to be no spasmodic efforts, no nibbling at extremities, but that with a strong and overpowering force the Government would aim at and accomplish great and vital objects. They have the means of effecting such objects. This is great nation ; it possesses great genius, great courage, great science, great improvements in all arts of peace and war. Let them employ all these great qualities, and he for one would not be afraid of the result. (Cheers.) Earl UREIC concurred with Lord Glenelg in his praise of the policy of peace, and thought we had erred in not carrying that policy further. Disclaiming hostility to Ministers, he contended that they should not have allowed themselves to be drawn into the quarrel between Russia and the Porte. Because Russia had done wrong, did it follow that we should go forth like knights-errant and undertake the defence of Turkey ? We were bound by no engagements ; and an enlightened regard for our own interest equally counselled us to abstain from interference. He in- sisted at great length that Turkey is not independent; that the spirit of the false and bloody religion of the Turks is adverse to civilisation; that under their rule the finest region of the earth is struck with sterility, not only where Mahometans govern Christians, but where they govern Ma- hometans, as on the Tigris and Euphrates. He cited the opinions of Lord Stratford and of Lord Clarendon to show the disorder and weak- nesses in. the Turkish empire, and the cruel treatment of the Christian?. He maintained that apprehension of the power of Russia for aggression is a delusion, since she is a nation of slaves, governed by corruption. He ridiculed the fear of a Russian invasion of our Indian empire, as a chimera. He thought the further extension- of Russian-influence would be a great evil ; but argued, that the course taken by Government Was calculated to promote that extension. A change is going on in the Chris- tian population—a silent but a real revolution is working in those co.un- tries. If the Menschikoff ultimatum had been accepted, headlines might have been averted for a considerable time, if not for ever. Rusk asked
nothing more than hi her own opinion she already possessed under the treaty of Kainardji ; and by signing the Menschikoff note, the position of Turkey would not have been materially altered. By the opposite course, whit losses have ensued! And if the Greek population revolt, Russia from being a principal would become an auxiliary ; England and France could not allow their soldiers and sailors to shed their blood in order to bring under the Mahometan yoke the Christians of Greece and Turkey. They must abandon, in her greatest need, a power they had encouraged to enter on a war. He looked upon such an insurrection as possible, and it could only result in augmenting the influence of Russia. Re combated the idea of a French and English protectorate for Turkey. Our experiments in India do not encourage a trial of a similar experiment in Turkey. Such a protectorate would only put an end to our happy re- lations with France.
It is now too late to retrace our steps, as regards our original error ; but he cast no censure on Government. He hoped the House would give him credit for having been actuated by no other motive than a solemn and powerful sense of duty, in circumstances of great national peril, at the risk of bringing much obloquy on himself, and of encouraging the dis- approbation of those whose opinions he respected.
The Duke of ARGYLL took up and controverted various points put for- ward in debate. He showed that not the Ambassadors but the Porte alone decided on the rejection of the Menschikoff ultimatum. He pointed out that Lord Clanricarde and Lord Malmesbury had not mentioned the fact, that within six days after he had sent for the fleet, Colonel Rose begged it might not be sent ; and he showed, by a comparison of dates, that the movement of the fleet from Malta could not have prevented the invasion of the Principalities. With regard to the Christian population, the Government are not only justified in including a stipulation on behalf of the Christians, in their arrangement with Turkey, but are bound to do So.
The Earl of DERBY made merry with the comparison of Ministers to Sir Robert Walpole—" Sir Robert Walpole without his peccadilloes, from which they are altogether free" ; and raised a laugh at Lord Cla- rendon's statement that we are not at peace, nor at war, nor neutral. What state is that ? We are "drifting towards war." "I think this Walpolean Minister has been less fortunate than if he had landed us at once into a war." He concurred with the opinion expressed by Lord Stratford in July last, when he said that anxiety for peace might eventu- ally frustrate the object. Professing to place himself in the position of Ministers, Lord Derby contended, that before the 2.5th of April last, when they apprehended no disturbance of the peace, they had received in- formation from various quarters showing that Russia was moving and concentrating troops upon the Turkish frontier, and that the protectorate over the Greek Christians was always involved in the question of the Holy Places. "No one in his senses would suppose that the key of a grotto at Jerusalem was what the Emperor was contending for." Lord Clarendon had been informed that Russia was concentrating troops, seek- ing an alliance offensive and defensive with Turkey, and attempting to negotiate a secret treaty with the Porte ; and yet, after receiving all that information, Lord Clarendon told the House of his absolute and unhesi- tating reliance on the friendly assurances of Russia. Having shown what the Government ought to have seen on the 25th of April, be showed that subsequently they had been infoteied that Russia was not likely to recede; yet the Principalities were occupied without remonstrance, and Ministers had used language that must have convinced the Emperor that Great Bri- tain would never go to war upon a question like the present. But if it had been shown to the Emperor that France and England would not suffer the Principalities to be invaded, no doubt the invasion would have been checked. Were they going to war to enforce tho terms of some particu- lar note ? Did Ministers think that the Emperor would recede before the great naval and military preparations of France and England ? If they did, they. furnished the most stringent condemnation of their own policy. After other criticisms, Lord Derby concluded by stating his course for the future— Believing now, as he did, that war is inevitable, and that everything de- pends upon the vigour and energy with which the efforts of this country and of France, and he hoped he might also say of Austria and Prussia, are con- ducted towards bringing this quarrel to a satisfactory termination, he should from that moment discard all considerations of the past—he should discard all party feeling and all questions; and if the Government were in earnest, and were shout to embark in a war just, right, and necessary—as he con- sidered the approaching war to be—with the determination of carrying it on in a manner worthy of the cause at issue and worthy of the dignity of this country, he would be anxious and earnest in his desire of giving them his su ort, and doing all in his power to assist them in obtaining their end.
e Earl of ABERDEEN ridiculed, as a lame and impotent conclusion, Lord Clanricarde's motion for a few additional papers without knowing what he wanted, only desiring to have some papers. The least to have been expected was a vote of censure. Indeed, threats of impeachment had been uttered by those who entertained opinions similar to Lord Clan- ricarde's. In the course of these transactions, Lord Aberdeen admitted he had passed many anxious hours and some sleepless nights, but the appre- hension of impeachment had never:entered his thoughts. To his personal knowledge, many of those who are most disposed on other occasions to censure Government, have had the candour to admit that the production of these papers has materially changed their views.
Lord Aberdeen concurred in an opinion recently expressed by Lord Ellen- borough, that the people are not sufficiently impressed with the importance and magnitude of the war in which they. may he engaged. They too com- monly look upon it as a pleasurable excitement, and disappointment would ensue in many quarters if peace were preserved. The public feeling is gene- rous and natural; but it is the duty of Government to restrain and moderate, not encourage, the imprudent tendencies of public feeling. "In adopting this conme, I know very well I must submit to the epithets which have been bestowed upon my exertions to maintain peace—such as cowardice, vacilla- tion, and treachery. All this I must submit to ; but, at the same time, it seems to one that her Majesty's Government have shown more moral courage in resisting strong popular impressions, because we thought them irrational and carried to a mischievous extent, than in yielding to those common- places which I am ashamed to hear applied by the noble Earl. It is very well to say that war should not be entered into for its own sake. Everybody, even the conquerors that have afflicted mankind, have always professed to love peace and only to make war in order to arrive at peace : this is lan- guage which is used upon all occasions. But when war ensues we must look to that language which is really opposed to war, rather than to the declama- tion of persons who profess net, to go-to war for its own sake."
Lord Aberdeen dealt with the accusation that Minters had shown infirm- i i ty of purpose and lack of vigour. " If we had been more vigorous and less
infirm of purpose, says the noble Marquis, we might have brought matters to another issue ; and the noble Earl brings the same accusation. I wish just to show your Lordships that the step taken by the Emperor of Russia— the only step, the only act with which we could deal—was the invasion of the Principalities. Now, what would the noble Earl have had us do in that matter ? He would have had Us threaten the Emperor with results the only practical meaning of which was war. Now, I will put it to the House whe- ther, if we had held such language and taken this Course, under the circum- stances in which the occupation of the Principalities took place, we could have hoped for the sanction of Parliament or of the country ? For what were the facts ? The Emperor bad invaded the Principalities, and occupied the Principalities, be said, as a material guarantee for the claims he had made on Turkey. He announced that the occupation was but temporary, that he did not declare war, and that he did not intend to make war. Turkey, at the same time, determined not to make it a case for war, and abstained, therefore, from declaring war ; being, in truth, utterly unprepared to make war. Under these circumstances, if we had made such an appeal to the Emperor of Russia as would have produced war, I ask whether we should not have found in noble Lords opposite the most inexhaustible fund of censure and attack which it is possible to conceive ? Whether we had found It or not, I am quite sure we should have deserved it. If you look early into the negotiations, you will see what Lord Stratford thought of this very point of the invasion of the Principalities. In describing the interview which he had with the Sultan, he relates that the due position which it was conceived the Porte should maintain was that of moral resistance. It is all very easy after one course has been taken, the event of which is known, to point to some other course which, in the opinion of the suggester, might have been taken : I can only say that, looking over the whole transaction as it has taken place from the outset since negotiations began, I cannot charge myself with any reason to lament any step that we have taken in the whole course of the transaction. (Hear, hear !) The no- ble Earl is of opinion that I have been more of a war Minister than 1 intended. In saying this, he has put forth more truth than he perhaps contemplated ; for I can assure him, in good truth, that if I have any misgiving at all as to our course, it is certainly not that we have been too precipitate. But we have done the best we could to preserve peace, in our earnest desire to accom- plish that object. I believe the course we have pursued has been that which was perfectly justifiable ; and I will say further, that, on full consideration, I should feel disposed to repeat it were the occasion to recur. (Hear, hear !) I am totally of a different opinion from those who say that the exertions to preserve pesos have been continued too long. I think that every additional day that peace has been maintained has been an ad- vantage ; and I do not in the least regret the time which has been spent in following out these endeavours to effect peace." Another fault found with Ministers was that entire concert with France had not been established at an earlier period. But we could not act with France on the question of the Holy Places, not only because we were indifferent to the whole subject, but because we thought Russia had some ground of com- plaint. So anxious were Ministers to establish a concert with France, that when Lord Stratford left England, he carried instructions directing him to assure the French Government, at Paris, on his way to Constantinople, that the British Government believed "the interests of France and England in the East are identical," and that nothing therefore would prevent "their cordial cooperation in maintaining the integrity and independence of the Turkish empire." From the first, when Lord Stratford took his instructions to Paris, up to the present hour. the most entire and cordial concert with France had been maintained. That concert Lord Aberdeen trusted would continue; and he promised that no efforts should be wanting on his part to preserve, and if possible to strengthen, these frank and friendly feelings.
We are manifestly called upon to defend the Turks to the utmost of our power. But "I do not look without apprehension to the consequenoes of war—let it end how it may—to the Turkish empire. I find that the feeling of disaffection in the Turkish dominions is so strong, and the condition of the Government is such, that even a successful war would be attended with great danger to the future condition of that empire ; and therefore it is that, wishing to preserve the existence of that empire as an European necessity, I am doubly anxious to preserve it, if possible, from the continuance of war."
Lord Derby had made merry with the answer given by Lord Clarendon to the question, whether we are at peace or at war. "The noble Earl said that, being neither at peace nor war, and not being neutral, he did not very well know in what position we are. At all events, let that position be what it may, it is very far from being unprecedented. We have been in it before, and very likely we may be in it often again. Look at what happened in the year 1827. Our Ambassador was then withdrawn from Constantinople; we blockaded the Turkish ports; we had our Sinope too. We destroyed the Turkish fleet in harbour, with an immense loss of life : yet we were not at war. Not at all. There was no war ; and things continued for a year and a half in that state. We were not at war, although there had been demon- strations such as have not yet taken place between this country and the Russian empire ; for as yet we have not struck a blow or fired a shot at the Russian forces ; and therefore we cannot be said to be so much in a state of war with Russia as we were at the time to which I allude with Turkey, with which we professed to be at peace. Therefore, difficult as it may be to de- scribe our position, at least the noble Earl will see that it is not unprece- dented. There are other instances of a similar kind. We subsequently joined with the French; the French army besieged Antwerp ; we blockaded it ourselves; but we were not at war with Holland." "I could very much desire that we had seen the worst of this state of things, be it war or be it peace ; but, although I have ventured to say I did not think war inevitable, I never said I expected that war would not take place. I most ardently pray that war may not take place; but all I have said is, that it was not inevitable. I cannot abandon that hope, slender as it is even now. What I may hope, or expect, or think, is not a matter of very deep importance ; but what is of importance is this—that her Majesty's Government are making every possible preparation for war, as if it were in- evitable. That is all the country can desire : they may leave me and others to indulge our hopes and our prayers as we think proper ; but every effort will be made, and is making at this moment, to carry on war—if war there must be—in such a manner as becomes the character and dignity and power of this country." (Cheers.) Praising Lord Clarendon for the prudence, skill, and foresight manifested in the conduct of these transactions, he said he appealed to that House and the country without hesitation, not merely for an acquittal, but their appro- bation. (Cheers.) After a few words from the Earl of ALBEILLRIX, Lord CIANRICARDE replied : in conclusion, he assured Ministers that he rejoiced to find that there was but one determination in that Mouse and the country, namely, to support her Majesty's Government through the struggle, without any reference to what had passed.
The motion was withdrawn.
In the House of Commons, on a questionby Mr. DISRAELI, Lord JOHN Itunis,LL stated that he did not doubt the authenticity of the letter from the Emperor Napoleon to the Emperor of Russia, published in the Mord- Mak Her Majesty's Ministers did not object to the sending of the letter, 'when applied to, as they found the terms in conformity with the Vienna note : they suggested modifications—which were made ; but they did not see the letter in its published form before it was sent. Government ap- proved of the step, and considered it a laudable endeavour to prevent, if possible, impending war. SOLDIERS' Remiss.
In answer to a question by Lord WILLTAII GRAHAM, Mr. SIDNEY HER- BERT made a statement with regard to supplies of rations to the troops. Abroad, the troops are supplied at a fixed stoppage per day ; they receive from Government less pay by a penny a day than at home. In Ireland, the troops are rationed by regimental contract, and the stoppage oscillates with the price of provisions, up to the maximum of 6d. a day. In England, the troops are supplied by public contract, subject to an oscillation in the price up to the maximum of 6d. ; but above 6d., the Government pay the differ- ence: and the Artillery and the Household Troops were supplied in the same way. At this moment, owing to the extremely high price of provisions, the cost of rations has come up to the maximum. In former years it was constantly at the maximum ; but at that time the comfort of the soldiers was less cared for than it is now, and the troops had not the advantage of three meals a day. The consequence is that it is now impossible for the sol- dier to pay for his third meal. The Matter -his accordingly received the serious attention of the Government, and it is proposed to make this arrange- ment—that, in lieu of having the price charged to the soldier oscillating up and down with the varying price of food, there should be a fixed stoppage ; but that on the other hand, the soldier should have no interest in the mar- ket-price of food. Thus the soldier would not be. charged more for his food on an average than its actual eost,—that is to say, in no circumstances would the Government make a profit by the soldier. Looking back for ten years, it was found that the rations had actually cost a HUM fractionally less than 6d. and more than 4id. It is proposed, therefore, to take the rate of 414., and at the same time to take an additional precaution for the excellence of the provisions supplied by public contract—to take ears, for instance that there should not be an undue proportion of bone in the meat, and that the bread should be white, made of seconds flour, and not such as was formerly supplied under contract. This arrangement would, at present prices, eon- mderably increase the cost of the troops to the Exchequer.
Before presenting his bill on this subject, the LORD Cmixemans en- tered into an elaborate survey of the well-known evils of the present sys- tem, which have been admitted by successive Governments for more than twenty years. He pointed out the multitude of distinct tribunals, 386, which multiply appeals and produce uncertainty of jurisdiction ; the dis- tinction between the treatment of real and of personal estate, cognizable in separate courts ; the difficulty of preserving original wills, in comic- quence of their dispersion, &c. He also gave a history of the attempts at legislating on the subject, and recited the recommendations of the various commissions of inquiry. The remedy.he proposed for these evils is to vest the whole contentious jurisdiction in the Court of Chancery ; but that court will not have anything to do with the common form or non- contentious business, constituting ninety-nine hundredths of the whole. The present amount of testamentary business in the Ecclesiastical Courts does not occupy more than sixty days. As there are four Judges of original jurisdiction in the Court of Chancery, this sixty days' business will give each fifteen days' extra work. The authenticity of a will, or its validity, would be more correctly decided by a judge who. deals with a wider range of subjects than by one who never had any other subject brought before him. Therefore a new Court of Probate, as recommended by the Commissioners, is not needed. 31e would transfer to the jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery all the staff of the Ecclesiastical Courts as it now exists, and constitute one principal registrar to transact all the common form business. As to the proctors, who are only eighty in number, he proposed to continue them in the com- mon form business exclusively, for a limited time ; after which, solicitors ehould be allowed to practise as well as proctors, and thus the former would no doubt become familiar with the business. That is not an essen- tial part of the scheme, but he thought it desirable ultimately to get rid of double agency. He proposed to allow probate in the country under 1500L; and for that purpose would divide the country into districts, con- ferring on these courts all business of a non-contentions nature. But to give full security, every probate should have the seal affixed to it in Lon- don. As people do not like to see probates in copies, he would allow the original will to remain in the country for six months, and after that time it should be transmitted to London, where there would be one registry of wills with proper indices. Finally, he would extend testamentary juris- diction to all property real or personal. The bill having been laid on the table Lord BROUGHAM briefly ex- pressed his approval of the principle of the bill. He suggested the pro- priety of transferring from the Ecclesiastical Courts to some other juris- diction the cognizance of the offences of slander and defamation, brawling and smiting in churches, and various other offences of a similar descrip- tion; and asked whether the optional power suggested to be given to the Court of Probate in 1832 and 1835, of either trying issues itself or send- ing them for trial to a court of common law, might not now be given, under the proposed bill, to the Court of Chancery. Lord ST. Lzosuams and Lord CAMPBELL also expressed their concurrence in the measure. Lord St. Leonards said that when he came down to the House he was afraid he should be opposed to the Lord Chancellor ; and it was with much satisfaction, therefore, that he could agree with a great part of what had fallen from him. His objection was to the proposal that real property should be subjected to probate.
The bill was read a first time.
Mr. J. G. PHILLIMORE moved for leave to bring in a bill to appoint a public prosecutor. The object of the bill was to withdraw criminal pro- secutions from private animosity, caprice, and revenge. He proposed that the Crown should distribute the different circuits into divisions, and appoint to each division a public prosecutor, who should hold office during good behaviour. He also proposed to appoint district agents, to collect and examine evidence and to conduct the cases before the magistrates. He would give any prisoner power to send to the public prosecutor a list of witnesses whom he desired to call.
The AronNEY-GEICERAL thought that leave should be given to intro- duce the bill. It did not seem so complete as might be devised ; but the
subject is under the conaidemtion- of Government, who feel that the prin. ciple of the bill ought to be adopted. Leave given.
LAW OP SUCCESSION.
Mr. Loess Km* obtained leave to bring in a bill to remedy the defects of the law of succession to realproperty. If a person possessing personal property dies intestate,- that, property is, under the statute law, nuttily distributed; but if he posseaseaaeal property, the common law steps in and benefits one to the exelnaimi'd many. Mr. 'King supported his motion by an able exposition of the generally-received arguments' on his side.
Several Members siMported the motion. Lord Jerks ..Rnstazu. did not oppose the introduction of the bill, though he could not assent to some of the sweeping propositions laid. down in its support.
1 TENA.NT BIGHT.
Mr-Sergeant Slim obtained -leave to bring in a bill to provide com- pensation fur improVenients made by tenants In Ireland. He explained the provisions of the bill at 'some length. It diffem from his antecedent bill in providing that compensation may be obtained for main and thorough drainage, arid for blasting rocks, done by tenants.
AFFIRMATIONS INSTEAD OF OATHS.
Mr. asked Lord John Russell, whether it is the intention of her Majesty's Government to introduce any bill this session to authorize persons entertaining conscientious .scruples to taking an oath, and not authorized by the sets already existing, to make affirairitions instead ? Lord Jens' RUSSELL said, that a 'recommendation upon this Subject had been forwarded to her Majesty'e Government by the Common LIM Com- missioners, and he was happy to say that Government would consider it advisable to adopt &mil recommendation.
Mr. OLIVEIRA brought on his motion to reduce the duty ; and expressed his belief that a reduction of the duty would not occasion any loss to the revenue, ite the consumption would be enormously increased. Having dealt with the subject, be said that he would not, tinder present circumstances, with a war in prospect, divide the House, as that might embarrass Government. Hethereforewithdrew his Motion. The SPEAKER expressed a hope that the precedent set by Mr. Oliveira-, of making a speech and leaving the House -with no question before it, so that an answer could not-be madef-would not be followed.
After some discussion on successive days as to the numbers and per-
sons to be nominated as a Committee of Privileges on the corrupt conduct of certain Irish Members, the following twelve were appointed, nine to be a quorum—Sir John Young, the Solicitor-General for Ireland, Lord Hotham, Mr. John O'Connell,-Mr. Bright, Mr. George Moore, Mr. Henry Thomas Liddell, Mr. Ker Seymer, Mr. Macartney, Mr. Kuntz, Mr. George Bentinck, and Mr. Napier.