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By the clause as it stood there was nothing in the world, supposing the Chancellor of the Exchequer miscalculated as to the probable surplus of the country in bringing in his Budget, or as to the expenditure of income, to prevent him from issuing Exchequer bills for the purpose of carrying on the public service, and, indeed, he must of necessity do so. That principle was one which was opposed to common sense, and its absurdity having been exposed by the Committee of 1828, it was abandoned; and since that time the principle acted on was this: every quarter a calculation was made of the actual, not the anticipated, surplus of the revenue over the payments, and if they had a surplus, to apply it to the reduction of the debt, either unfunded or funded, as might be most convenient. It often happened that it was more advisable to reduce the unfunded than the funded debt, whereas by this clause they bound themselves to reduce the funded debt alone, departing, in short, entirely from the principle laid down in the report of the Committee of 1828. Now, what distinction, he asked, could they make between this 16,000,000l. of debt and any other? If the revenue were prosperous, they ought to pay off more than 1,000,000l., and he believed had done so in two or three years succeeding the Irish famine; but, whether it was prosperous or not, by this clause they bound themselves to purchase Consols at whatever rate they might be to the extent of 1,000,000l. annually. If the House really believed that by such a clause they could tie up the hands of another Parliament, they laboured under a complete delusion, for the arrangement might at any time be virtually set aside, even without the ceremony of an Act of Parliament. Undoubtedly the noble Lord (Lord Monteagle) was right when he termed this a provision for a sinking fund in another shape. The system of terminable annuities made it a little more, and only a little more, difficult to depart from the principle of paying off a debt in time of peace. Too much importance was attached to the system of terminable annuities, and he believed with the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Stradbroke) that it would be preferable to give a higher nominal rate of interest, with a view to reduce it in time of prosperity. This system of terminable annuities seemed to imply that Parliament distrusted its own firmness, and was not very creditable to it, for surely it
ought to have firmness enough to do its duty and provide some moderate surplus for the discharge of the debt without binding itself by such a provision as this. He believed that it was sound policy always to take care in time of peace to have a surplus available for the gradual reduction of debt, and that policy he desired to see carried out.
THE EARL OF MALMESBURY said, he agreed in every word which had fallen from the noble Earl. He could not understand the reason why the Government had imposed this measure upon Parliament, unless it were to enable Baron Rothschild to make a better bargain for his capital, for certainly Baron Rothschild would be the only person benefited by it. Something had very justly been said as to making future loans upon a new system, and he thought that in raising the loan the Government might have pursued the principle adopted by the French Government recently, in offering it to the public generally, whereby they had raised 20,000,000l. in a week, and he had heard that they could as easily have raised 80,000,000l., and he firmly believed that they might certainly have raised 60,000,000l. Now, doubtless, this country was not in the same situation, financially speaking, as France. No doubt in France, a great deal of money was hoarded, there being no savings' banks, and not such abundant means of investment as in this country. Still these considerations were insufficient to satisfy him that the same mode could not be resorted to successfully for the purpose of raising a loan in this country. However wide the difference might be between the habits of the French and the English as to money matters, he could not think there was such a difference that, looking to the enormous wealth of this country, if the French could raise 60,000,0007. in a week or two, we could not raise 16,000,0007. in the same way. He did not know if the Government had formed a decided opinion on the subject, and if so whether they could state the reasons on which it was founded.
LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY said, the subject had been very much considered, and the noble Earl had alluded to that which constituted the reason for not adopting the means he had suggestednamely, the difference between the habits of the French and English people as to money. The habit of the French people was to hoard their money, not having the same means as the English people had of
disposing of it in trade or in savings' banks; and if the mode suggested had been resorted to, the result (would have been that the money would have been withdrawn from savings' banks and other safe and good investments; and, after all, they would not, in all probability, have obtained the loan on more favourable terms than those on which it had been raised from the great capitalists of the country.
Motion agreed to; Bill passed accordingly.
House adjourned till To-morrow.
Friday, May 4, 1855.
MINUTES.] PUBLIC BILLS.-1° Religious Wor-
EVICTIONS-POOR LAW (SCOTLAND)
MR. E. ELLICE (St. Andrews) said, that in consequence of a wish that had been expressed by his right hon. Friend the Member for Inverness-shire (Mr. H. Baillie) he wished to say a few words in explanation of something that fell from him last night. A near relative of his hon. Friend had a considerable estate in the parish of Glenelg, which went by the name of that parish, although, in fact, it formed only a part of it. He was desirous of saying that the disgraceful state of the poor to which he had last night called the attention of the House existed in a totally different district to that of the property of the relative of the hon. Member for Invernessshire, although it was situate in the same parish. So far from intending in any way to reflect upon the management of the property now in question, he was aware that a system of gradual emigration had been for some years conducted there with much liberality by the proprietor, and he believed the result of that emigration, which was entirely voluntary, was quite as satisfactory to the people as it was beneficial to the proprietor himself.
THE VIENNA CONFERENCES. MR. DISRAELI: Sir, I wish to have some explanation from Her Majesty's Government of the unusual delay which has taken place in laying before the House the
State Papers relative to the late unsuccessful negotiations for peace at Vienna. The House is aware that whatever might have been the result of those negotiations
whether successful or the reverse-whether the preliminaries for peace had been signed, or whether the result had been such as it appears to have been-the papers which have been exchanged during the negotiations might have been prepared for the House, so that when the negotiations had terminated there might be only a protocol or two or the last despatch to print. And the papers might have been laid upon the table of the House on the same night that the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies returned and took his seat. If you find that this has been the usual course, I think that I may ask from the Government why the usual course has not been followed on the present occasion, and why there has been an apparent unwillingness on the part of Her Majesty's Government to place Parliament as soon as possible in possession of that information which on so grave a subject it has certainly a right to possess, as soon as it is in the power of the Government to produce it. I have searched the Journals which should guide us on this subject, and as I wish at present to confine myself strictly within the technical limits of a Parliamentary question, I will state what I find in the Journals to direct us at this crisis, and then I will ask the Government to explain to the House why upon this important occasion they have not followed the precedents which have always governed the conduct of Ministers under similar cirto govern us does not vary from others to The precedent which I take which I might refer, but I select it because it is one of modern date, and of the highest importance, and because its circumstances are apposite to the present conjuncture. I take, Sir, the precedent of the rupture of negotiations in 1796. The House will remember that on October 18, 1796, the country was informed that the King had sent the Earl of Malmesbury as his Plenipotentiary to France to negotiate for peace. That was on the 18th of October, and on the 20th of December it was known to the country that the negotiations had terminated. The Earl of Malmesbury returned to this country on the 29th of December, but three days before his return--namely, on Monday, the 26th of December-the Minister came down to
the House of Commons with a Messag| opportunity possible for making the statefrom the Crown-a Message from which will now read an extract to the House.
MR. SPEAKER: Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to conclude with a Motion?
ment which he wished to submit to the House; but he apprehended that the right hon. Gentleman, in entering into all these particulars, was transgressing the rules of the House with respect to the manner in which questions should be put. The right hon. Gentleman should make a Motion.
MR. SPEAKER: The right hon. Gentleman has intimated his intention of concluding with a Motion, and is, therefore, perfectly in order.
MR. DISRAELI: Yes, I will conclude with a Motion, if you should find that I am not strictly within the limits of a question; but I apprehend that you will probably be of opinion that I am strictly within those limits. I wish first to state MR. DISRAELI: Sir, I am sorry that what, under similar circumstances, was the course pursued by the Ministry on the oc- any misconception on the part of the hon. casion to which I am referring, and then Member of a statement which it is for the to inquire why that course has not been public interest that I should make, and adopted on the present occasion. But if which nothing but the state of the public you, Sir, should be of opinion that I am service, and a regard for the honour and trespassing on the rules of the House, I advantage of the country, should have inwill conclude with a Motion which will not duced me to make, should have subjected be inconvenient to the Government, inas- me to this interruption. Still, however, much as it is one which they would have I do not despair of bringing the matter to make themselves at some period during clearly before the House, and I will atthe evening. I may remind the House, tempt to regather the broken strings of that on the 20th December it was known this narrative. The House will see that that negotiations had terminated. On the the moment it was shown that the negoti29th December the Plenipotentiary (Lord ations were broken off-even before the Malmesbury) returned to this country; but Plenipotentiary had returned, there came a Message from the Crown to the House three days before his return-namely, on the 26th-Mr. Secretary Dundas came of Commons, and the Minister at the same down with a Message from the Crown, ex-time stated that all the papers relating to those transactions should be laid before pressed in these wordsthe House, and he gave notice that upon the following day the documents in question should be placed upon the table—a very different position from that in which the House now finds itself placed. But was that all? On Monday, the 26th of December, the Message of the Crown to the House On Wednesday, of Commons came down. the 28th, in reference to the promise contained in that Gracious Message, the Minister placed upon the table of the House the whole of the papers connected with those Mr. negotiations. But that was not all. Canning, then Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, on the preceding day laid on the table of the House, for the use of the Members, a State Paper of the utmost importance, composed with an ability which was not remarkable, since the pen of Mr. Canning may be traced in it, called “ His Majesty's Royal Declaration," in which the King informed the House of all the circumstances of the negotiations, and of the cause which had led to their unsuccessful termination. The House will perceive that, in 1796, under circumstances similar
"It is with the utmost concern that His Ma
jesty acquaints the House of Commons that his earnest endeavours to effect the restoration of peace have been unhappily frustrated; and that the negotiation in which he has been engaged has been abruptly broken off by the peremptory refusal of the French Government to treat, except
upon a basis evidently inadmissible. His Majesty has directed the several memorials and papers which have been exchanged in the course of the lato discussion, and the account transmitted to His Majesty of its final result, to be laid before the House."-[Hansard, Parl. History, xxxij.]
On referring to the Journals of this House, hon. Members will find that the State Papers alluded to in this Royal Message were of a very voluminous description. They will find there the schedule of the papers laid upon the table of the House, and they will perceive that neither in importance nor yet in number were the documents so submitted, inferior to those which are now so anxiously expected. But the House will observe that two days before
MR. RICH said, he rose to order. He was most unwilling to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman unnecessarily, and most desirous that he should have the fullest to the present--so similar, indeed, that
those with whom we were then in treaty | Royal Message? Why were not the paappear to have conducted themselves very pers prepared during the intervals of negomuch in the same spirit as that described tiation, as was the case in 1796, so that by the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) the when the negotiations were announced to other night, in his brief account of his have terminated, Parliament might have negotiations having terminated with "a been immediately made aware of the cirperemptory refusal to treat, except on a cumstances, and an anxious and deeply basis evidently inadmissible"-the House, agitated country have been placed in I repeat, will perceive that upon that oc- possession of such information as might casion, under circumstances not only simi- enable it to form an opinion on the state lar to, but I may say even identical with, of our national affairs? Again, I ask, the present-we had a Message to Parlia- why has there not been a Royal Mesment from the Crown-we had laid on the sage? Why have not the papers been table, even before the negotiator had re- placed more promptly on the table of the turned, the whole of the papers connected House? Why has there not been a Royal with the unsuccessful negotiations - we declaration ? And why has not the Minishad, for the use of the Members, a Royal ter come forward with that frankness that declaration containing the whole pith and befits a British statesman, and, laying the marrow of these same negotiations; and, papers on the table, fixed a day for the more than this, on the very day that he House to take them into consideration? laid the papers on the table, which was on I thought, Sir, I should have been permitTuesday, the Minister gave notice, for the ted to ask these questions without being following Thursday, of a Motion to take obliged to trench upon a privilege which I them into consideration. Now, Sir, as I wished other Members to enjoy, of moving have more free warrant than I had expect that this House, at its rising, do adjourn ed to speak upon this subject, I shall to Monday next. I will, however, make briefly ask the House to contrast the situ- that Motion, because I wish to be strictly ation of Parliament in 1796, under similar within the rules of the House. Having circumstances to the present, with the now done so, I await with interest the condition in which the House of Commons answer of the Minister to the questions now finds itself in 1855? How have we I have addressed to him. been treated? Has there been the same anxiety on the part of the Government to impart to Parliament all necessary information at a moment so pregnant with events bearing upon the fate of the country? Has there been not only the same promptitude, but the same cordial and wise ceremony in conducting the communications between the Throne and the Parliament? So far as the proceedings of Parliament are concerned, I am not sure that we have any authentic information that any negotiations whatever have been carrying on; and most assuredly we have not the slightest authentic information of what the basis of those negotiations was, and what the points of controversy were. Now, Sir, I think that this House has a right to inquire why there has been this singular difference between the modes in which Parliament has been treated under circumstances of so much importance and of so much similarity by the Government of that day and the Government in the present instance? Why was not Her Majesty advised to deign to communicate with Her Parliament when the negotiations for peace were found to have failed? Why has there not been a
VISCOUNT PALMERSTON: I think, Sir, the answer which I shall have to give will have been anticipated by almost all who heard the questions of the right hon. Gentleman, who are at all acquainted with the circumstances to which he has adverted and the circumstances connected with the negotiations recently conducted by my noble Friend (Lord J. Russell). The right hon. Gentleman has referred to a case in which, in a war between England and France, negotiations were entered into directly between the two countries-a case in which it was perfectly clear in the course of the negotiations, before they were concluded, that peace was hopeless, and, peace being hopeless, it became the duty of the Government of the day to appeal to Parliament for more vigorous exertions for the prosecution of the war. If my noble Friend had gone to St. Petersburg without any previous negotiation with any other Power, and if the result of a fortnight's or a month's negotiations at St. Petersburg had proved similar to that to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, the cases would certainly have been much more parallel than they are in point of fact. It is well known that the negotia
tion which my noble Friend undertook | end, and declaring that peace was, under was conducted through the intervention of the circumstances, impossible, would be the friendly Government of Austria. It is the proper course to adopt. But that, Sir, also well known that from the commence- is not the position in which we are placed. ment of the war-and, I may say, even We have failed in the attempt we made, before the commencement of the war- but I am not prepared to say that there Austria, as maintaining friendly relations are no other means open by which, through towards all parties, has been incessant in the intervention of the friendly offices of her endeavours to bring about rec n- Austria, propositions may be made which ciliation of the differences existing be- it may become the duty of Her Majesty's tween England and France on the one Government seriously to consider, with the hand and Russia on the other, and it was view of determining whether it is still posonly a continuance of those efforts which sible to bring the existing differences with led to the Conferences in which my noble Russia to a close. Allow me to say, Sir, Friend took part. Although, however, that, even upon the showing of the right hon. these Conferences did not terminate in a Gentleman, the present case and that to successful issue, they were not broken off. which he refers are not parallel cases. The They were adjourned without any specific right hon. Gentleman says that, in the time being appointed for their renewal; case of France, the basis of negotiations but after my noble Friend left Vienna, and was peremptorily refused by France; but after the Conferences had been adjourned in this instance the basis of negotiation sine die, there took place, at the request has been accepted by Russia. The four of Austria, another Conference. [Lord J. points upon which England and France RUSSELL of Russia.] Yes, the applica- agreed to negotiate have been accepted by tion for a renewal of the Conferences did Russia, and, to a certain extent, even the come from Russia, but through Austria, and interpretation which England and France not directly communicated either to Eng-placed upon those four points has also land or France. At the request of the Rus- been accepted by Russia as a foundation sian Minister, who said that he had an- upon which to negotiate. The difficulties other proposal to make, the Conference was have been as to the mode in which the fair re-assembled, and-without being perfectly meaning of these points was to be carried certain on the subject-I believe that up out in detailed articles of agreement. I to this moment the detailed protocols or think, therefore, Sir, whatever may be the records of that Conference have not been opinion of the right hon. Gentleman with received by Her Majesty's Government; regard to the analogy of the two cases, at all events, if they have been received, that they are essentially different in their it is within the last few hours. Well, Sir, fundamental elements; and I consider that the Conferences were adjourned, and my Her Majesty's Government would not have noble Friend returned to this country; but been properly performing their duty if, folthere still exist at Vienna the elements of lowing out the fanciful analogy of former a Conference-representatives of England, cases, they had taken steps which would of France, of Russia, and of Austria. have proclaimed to the world that we had
The course the right hon. Gentleman sug-lost all hopes of the possibility of an acgests might certainly be a very proper commodation. Sir, I should, at the same course to adopt, if it was the determina- time, be equally neglecting my duty if I tion of Her Majesty's Government to shut were to hold out false hopes which might the door against every possible means of not be realised; but, while saying that I settling those differences which have led to feel that the Government would entirely the war. If Her Majesty's Government violate their duty if they stated that all had fully determined that, under no cir- hopes of accommodation were at an end, cumstances, would they listen to any further I wish to leave the question in the state in overture that may be made, either by Russia which it is. I wish to leave the door of through Austria, or by Austria with the negotiation open. I would not shut the view of suggesting means of accommoda- door to any possible negotiation by such tion between the belligerent parties, then, measures as those into which the right undoubtedly, the course the right hon. hon. Gentleman would wish to drive Her Gentleman recommends Her Majesty's Go- Majesty's Government. We said, Sir, that vernment to pursue, of coming down with we would produce the protocols relating to a Message to Parliament, stating that all the Conferences at Vienna. Those propossibility of accommodation was at an tocols shall be produced, and when they