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a like position, do but acquiesce ? submitted to decision, and to give This was on the 18th of March. their votes in favour of the MinisWhen Parliament reassembled after try, while fully admitting the accuthe Easter recess, the Government sations laid to their charge. announced that a Conference was So conscious was the Ministry of about to meet, and thus discussion the badness of its case that it did was again staved off. The first act not dare to meet the vote of cenof Lord Russell in the Conference sure on the usual issue of Aye or was to propose that the proceed- No. It took refuge under cover ings should be kept secret; and of an amendment, which simply this arrangement, though quite dis- sought to give the go-by to the moregarded by the other Powers, was tion of the Opposition, and which,
, pleaded by our Government as a whatever other objections there reason for keeping Parliament in were to it, certainly did not pledge the dark as to what was in progress. the House to an approval of the Parliament, indeed, was pretty well Ministerial policy. This was of itself informed as to the transactions of a humiliation for the Ministry. A the Conference through the medi- Ministry which shrinks from meetum of foreign newspapers ; but, ing a vote of censure stands self-conowing to the ruse of our Govern demned. But if we look at the ment, it was not in a position to amendment, what do we see ? Why, take cognisance of them. As a the very adoption of the form of foreign critic observed, the Con- address proposed by Mr Kinglake ference was simply a “protracted
censure on the policy of Parliamentary manoeuvre," devised the Government. Its terms were, by our Ministry to stave off discus- “to express the satisfaction with sion and keep themselves in office. which we have learnt that, at this There is a great power in accom- conjuncture, her Majesty has plished facts; and when the mis- been advised to abstain from chief was done, and remedy impos- armed interference in the war sible, the Ministry reckoned that now going on between Denmark Parliament would have less motive and the German Powers.” Now, for displacing them. From first to the Government, so far from having last their game was delay; and the been desirous to remain neutral, game was so far successful, that had throughout been eager to go Parliament was made to appear as
This fact is patent on the to some extent an accomplice in face of their despatches; it was the policy of the Government. The publicly acknowledged by Lords Opposition took the very earliest Russell and Palmerston in their opportunity of challenging a ver- speeches in Parliament on the 27th dict upon that policy; but the fact of June. When announcing the that the miserable career of blun- failure of the Conference, and the dering was, or seemed to be, at an resumption of hostilities by the end, enabled the ingenious con- German Powers, Lord Russell took sciences of many members to ignore pains to show that the Government the true character of the question had done its best to go to war with
my own part, I must say that I should have been very glad to render the fullest explanation of the conduct of the Government in respect to the affairs of Denmark and Germany. There are, however, reasons of public policy which make it desirable that there should be no discussion at the present moment. In the first place, I have now to present, by command of her Majesty, various papers in continuation of those which were presented a few weeks ago. These papers contain the further correspondence which has taken place up to a very recent period. In the next place, there has been a correspondence lately carried on with regard to the holding of a Conference and a proposed armistice, and I have good hopes that the Danish Government will agree to that Conference.”—Times, March 19, 1864.,
the German Powers, and that if it no doubt that they were made in had failed to do so, it was only be- earnest, and that the Cabinet meant cause it could not help it. He said to be as good as its word. Even the Government had repeatedly Mr Gladstone and Mr Layard in solicited France and Russia, and the recent debate admitted that every Power who was likely to help this was the case up to the end of us, to join us in a war against the January; and their only defence of Germans, but that unfortunately the Government is, that after that they would not co-operate with us. date, as soon as it became certain What, then, could we do ? he said. that we could not get allies for the We have no allies—no Power will war, the policy of menace was disjoin with us—and we cannot ven- continued, and all thought of interture single-handed to engage in a vention abandoned. Such a dewar with the whole powers of fence in reality is an admission of Germany. Such was the language the case against the Government. of the Foreign Minister—such was Yet, as was to be expected, the the exposition he gave of his Chancellor of the Exchequer and policy. "The Government had tried the Under-Secretary for Foreign all along to go to war, and regretted Affairs confessed to only a part of that they had not been able to do the truth. The policy of menace
Nevertheless, he said, there was continued for several months were certain events not unlikely to after France had peremptorily dearise in the continuance of the con- clined to join us in hostilities. And test which, if they occurred, would the intention to intervene singlecause the Government to reconsider handed was not abandoned even the matter : obviously implying up to the close of the Conference. that the Government might yet For months the public mind was take part in the war, even without disturbed by threats and signs of allies ! Lord Palmerston spoke to imminent war. The Channel Fleet the same effect, and in some re- was recalled from Portugal; then spects even more strongly, in the it was advanced to the Downs; and House of Commons. And yet, again it was officially announced to after all this, the Ministry, in order be ready to go anywhere on twento save themselves, actually sup- ty-four hours' notice. Nay, Lord ported an address to the Queen, Russell openly menaced the Austrotaking credit to themselves for hav- Prussian fleet with an attack from ing followed a policy of peace ! If our powerful squadron. this be not humiliation, we know not until the debate on the vote of not where to look for it. The censure commenced that the MinisMinistry saved themselves from a try began to realise its position. direct vote of censure only by sup- Then at length it made a wonderporting an amendment which con- ful gyration-turning its back upon demned them by implication. its former self, and supporting an
Three months ago we pointed address to the Queen which her out, by quotations from the official Majesty knew well was quite at despatches, that the desire and in- variance with the past sentiments tention of the Ministry was to and conduct of her official advisers. engage in the Dano-German contest The conduct of the Ministry in in the character of belligerents. regard to the late abortive ConferUnwise as were the threats which ence was shameless beyond parallel. Lord Russell directed against the Seldom has hypocrisy been carried German Powers, and the expecta- so far, or the selfish interests of a tions held out to Denmark—and Ministry been more recklessly purhumiliating as the consequences of sued. Ostensibly the Conference these threats and promises have was sought after for the sake of been to this country—there can be Denmark, to preserve her integrity
and independence-yet no sooner of the movements of the British did the Conference assemble than fleet; and they knew that if once Denmark was sacrificed, and the our iron-clads were in the offing, English Minister himself proposed their terrible flanking fire would her dismemberment! When the crush every attempt at assault on Conference met, no Power had re- the part of the assailants. Dybbol pudiated the Treaty of 1852 ; and fell, and the Conference met: and Lord Palmerston stated that Eng- still hope lingered in the breasts of land engaged in the Conference on the Danes. England, they said, has the basis of the treaty, and to uphold now brought our enemies to book ; the integrity and independence of the and if they will not make peace on Danish monarchy. Well, it met tolerably fair terms, then at last she but when it ended, the public heard will throw off her neutrality and with amazement that the Treaty of come to our aid. How different was 1852 was wholly abandoned, -that the actual issue—how different the the English Minister himself had sentiments and conduct of our Minproposed the dismemberment of isters, everyone knows. They Denmark,—and finally, after time sought for a Conference only as a had been given to Prussia 'to pur- Parliamentary manovure, in order chase iron-clad ships of war, hosti- to save themselves. They sought lities were to be resumed, and Den- for an armistice, which told only mark was to be left alone to meet in favour of the Germans—for furannihilation at the hands of her ther prolongations of the Conferassailants ! “Denmark is dead !” ence, though at the price of new was the curt remark of one of the sacrifices imposed on Denmark,Plenipotentiaries as the Conference they sought for anything, in short,
Dead she is, and it is which might postpone the crisis, England that has killed her. But and stave off discussion in Parliafor the expectations of aid which ment. Step by step, week by week, were held out to her by Lords Pal- they abandoned one part of the merston and Russell, Denmark Danish cause after another, in order would never have engaged in a war to propitiate the German Powers, with Germany. She would have and obtain a peace which might negotiated. But our precious Min- ruin Denmark but which would istry first led her to take up arms, save themselves. And now, how and then left her to her fate. Not stands the case ? Baron Beust, the only at the outset, but at every new arch-champion of Germany against phase of the contest, Denmark hop- Denmark, boasts of the Conference ed for aid from England. In Janu- as a greater triumph than could have ary she was told by the Morning otherwise been obtained. On his rePost' (the special organ of Lord turn to Dresden, on the 8th July, he Palmerston's policy) that an army said, “I am most entirely convinced of 30,000 men, commanded by the that the London Conference, alike Duke of Cambridge, was to go to her in its proceedings and in its terhelp, and maintain the line of the mination, could not possibly bave Dannewerke. Her soldiers worked operated in a manner more favourthemselves to death in fortifying able for Germany. I am of opinion that line: but the redcoats never that the position gained there, withcame, and the poor Danes, left un- out any sacrifice, could not have supported in a position which their been equalled even by the most adnumbers were quite inadequate to vantageous arrangement of which defend, had to make a terrible the circumstances permitted.” There night-retreat in the depth of winter is no longer any appeal to the Treaty to save themselves from being sur- of London : Lord Russell himself rounded. Again, at Dybbol and has abandoned it. There is no longAlsen, they heard with eager ears er any question of maintaining the integrity of Denmark : Lord Russell mark and her King had had enough himself has proposed the dismem- of that. A sardonic smile must berment of that kingdom. At the have curled the lips of the Danes outset of the war, the line of the as they read that pitiable declaraSchlei and the Dannewerke was tion, if indeed they had heart to more than the Germans even in smile at all. A short and emphatic secret could hope for : now, what- curse was the more likely reply to ever happen, it is the least that it. Denmark has been fooled to they can get. Lord Russell, in the her ruin by the English Ministry. hope of getting them to make peace, Too late she perceives the unworthy has declared that they are entitled game that has been played on her, to have it; and has even proposed and now she turns to her cruel that other portions of Schleswig adversaries to obtain terms of peace shall be theirs also, if a plebiscite which, hard as they will be, will decide in their favour. After en- better serve her purpose than relycouraging Denmark to resist-aftering any longer upon her faithless threatening and abusing the Ger- friends. man Powers as outrageous robbers The case against the Government
-after maintaining that war in was so strong that the Ministerial no way nullified the Treaty of speakers sought rather to carp at London, and that the integrity and and misrepresent the arguments of independence of Denmark were the Opposition than to maintain requisite to the balance of power in the soundness of their own policy. Europe,—the English Ministry at This was the line taken at the outlength sacrifices Denmark, abandons set by the Chancellor of the Exthe Treaty, and recognises as just chequer; and it was only varied and equitable the annexation of the by Lord Palmerston, who, on the half of Denmark to the territories eve of the division which he feared of Germany. Baron Beust is right. would be hostile, appealed to the The Conference gave him a greater House to condone the errors of the triumph than could have been won Ministry, and not visit upon their by mere force of arms ; and Lords heads the punishment which they Palmerston and Russell have assas- had fully incurred. There was one sinated Denmark and her King feature in the speeches of the under the pretext of being their Ministerialists in the Lower House friends.
which was eminently base as well There was only one more igno- as ridiculous. Mr Gladstone and miny, one more hypocrisy, wanted Mr Layard, both of whom are to complete the tale of Ministerial singularly reckless and unscrupuculpability._ And the want_was lous as debaters, indulged in supplied. Having sacrificed Den- charges against Mr Disraeli and mark in the Conference, Lords other members of the Opposition Palmerston and Russell, to the of “misquoting” and “falsifying” disgust of every one, still flourished the despatches from which they their threats, and hinted their pro- read extracts. It is very rarely mises as before. If the Germans that any such charge is well foundwent farther-if they attacked the ed, and in the present case there islands_or, at all events, if they was not a vestige of foundation for took the capital-certainly if they it. Mr Disraeli gave the dates of took it by storm, or if the King the despatches from which he should fall into their hands, or if quoted, and any member could there were a bloody bombardment verify the accuracy of his quota-ah, then, said Lord Palmerston, tions in a moment. And when we shall see what England will do! pressed home, Mr Layard admitted It was the drivel of senility, or the that what he meant by "falsificaempty flourish of hypocrisy. Den- tion” was simply the omitting of
certain parts of the despatches disgraced by such shameless manquoted from ; and neither he nor cuvres.
The Duke of Argyll was Mr Gladstone succeeded in show- as pert and carping as usual, but ing that in any case the true neither he nor any of his colleagues meaning of the despatches had stooped to imitate the “calumnies been perverted. But these charges of Mr Gladstone and Mr Layard. of “misquoting” and “falsifica- The Opposition had to sustain the tion” sound well for the moment; irreparable absence of Lord Derby, they raise doubts for the time, and who was suffering from ind sitake the edge off the facts which tion, and whose powerful eloquence were so efficiently appealed to by would in other circumstances have the leaders of the Opposition ; and led the attack against the Ministry. both Mr Layard and Mr Glad- In his absence Lord Malmesbury stone, in lieu of honest argument, assumed the leadership of the Condid not hesitate to have recourse to servative Peers, and discharged the this shameless mode of warfare. duty which thus unexpectedly deHappily the House
volved upon him with eminent abibrought to a just sense of the posi- lity. It is to be regretted that, tion by the eloquent speech of Mr apparently from natural diffidence, Hardy, who repelled these charges the noble Earl rarely does justice with indignation, and very properly in delivery to the substantial exdenounced them as a calumny" cellence of his speeches ; but it Then followed a curious, though would have been difficult for any certainly not edifying scene. Mr orator in either House to have Layard, with marvellous effrontery, surpassed the luminous exposition rose to demand that the words be with which he opened the case taken down, and appealed to the against the Government. The GovSpeaker on the question of order. ernment were beaten on the disThe Speaker at once decided that cussion, and the policy of the Foin this case Mr Hardy was entitled reign Minister was condemned in to use the phrase “a calumny.” the House of which he is a member. The decision of the Speaker is In the Lords as in the Commons always final; yet, strange to say, the most eminent of the indepenthe Premier rose and protested dent members spoke and voted against his decision, setting him- against the Government. At first self in open opposition to the sight it seems surprising that, on highest authority in the House. so clear an issue, the Conservatives This was too much for the House, should not have had a larger majoso it peremptorily supported the rity than nine. But it is long since Speaker; and Mr Layard and his there has been a great party fight in backer, the Premier, had to keep the Upper House, and the public their seats, and had to listen to Mr forget the enormous addition which Hardy as he again denounoed their the Liberal party have made to charges of “falsification” as calum- their power in the Lords by the nies. What added to the piquan- creation of new peerages, both cy of this Parliamentary fracas was, spiritual and temporal. With two that soon afterwards a member rose exceptions the whole bench of and read a passage from ‘Hansard,' bishops voted with the Ministers showing that on a former occasion who had raised them to the episcoMrLayard had been called a calum- pate ; and it has been computed niator, with the permission of the that, of the whole number of Peers Speaker, and that he had been present who voted with the Miniscalled so by Lord Palmerston him- try, one-half have owed their peerself!
ages to the Liberal party since In the Upper House, as was to 1831. be expected, the debate was not Up to the very moment of the