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In accordance with my noble friend's desire, I laid his
resignation before her Majesty, who has been graciously
pleased to accept it. My lords, I have said I was not
fully possessed with the motiveswith all the motives
which may have induced my noble friend to take this
step. I was perfectly aware that some time agotwo
months agomy noble friend disapproved of, or was
dissatisfied with, the conduct of the government; but
after the explanations which took place on that
occasion, and his constant activity, both in sharing
the business and preparing the measures of the
government, up to the very day on which parliament
re-assembled, I was certainly somewhat surprised, as well
as deeply concerned, at receiving the letter which I have
just read to your lordships. My noble friend may be at
this moment givingat all events it is his intention this
day to givein another place a full explanation of the
motives of his conduct. It is not for me to do more than
to express, as I do most unfeignedly, my deep regret at
the step which he has thought it his duty to take. My
lords, no one can possibly feel more than I do the great
loss which her Majesty's government must sustain by
such an event as this. Indeed, any of your lordships
who may recollect what I said at the formation of the
present government, will remember I expressly stated
that I never should have ventured to undertake the
formation of an administration, had I not secured the
active co-operation and assistance of my noble friend.
Now, my lords, under these circumstances, and in
ordinary times, I might, perhaps, adopt myself a different
course; but in the present condition of the country, of
public affairs, and of her Majesty's government, I feel it
due to our own honour, our own consistency, and our
sense of duty, to meet the motion which is to be made
this night in another place, and which will decide
whether a censure is to be pronounced on her Majesty's
government or not. And therefore, my lords, even
without the great and powerful, and almost indispensable,
assistance of my noble friend, we have thought it
due to ourselves to meet this motion so announced,
which has induced him to take the step I have just
explained to your lordships.

Earl GREY gave notice that on Monday next he
should move the resolution respecting the
Conduct of the War, of which he had given notice for
Thursday next.

the EXCHEQUER gave notice of a resolution with a view
to the introduction of a measure relating to the law of
Newspaper Stamps.

Mr. LAYARD asked the president of the council
whether he had any objection to lay on the table of the
house the correspondence that has taken place with
foreign powers with regard to the treaty of the 2nd of
December, 1854, and especially any document
communicated to the Russian government containing the
Interpretation put by the British and French Governments
on the Four Points, not for negotiation, but for acceptance?
Lord J. RUSSELL said;—I cannot at present
say whether it will be possible to lay on the table any of
the correspondence referred to. With respect to the
correspondence generally, I may say that it will not be
usual nor for the convenience of the public service to
lay it on the table, but there may be one or two papers
of great importance which it may be possible to lay on
the table, and I will consider that point before I give a
final answer. In the meantime I may state generally
what has occurred with respect to the Four Points. In
this state the question stands at present:—At the end of
November the Russian government, through their
minister at Vienna, declared their acceptance of what
are called the Four Points. On the 2nd of December a
treaty was signed by France, England, and Austria, and
on the 28th of December a meeting was held by the
ministers of France, England, and Austria at Vienna,
with Prince Gortschakoff, the minister of Russia. At
that meeting the French minister read, on the part of
his own government and of the governments of England
and Austria, the interpretation which those three powers
put on the Four Points, and which should be considered
as the basis of negotiation. I will mention only that
with respect to the third point, it was proposed in that
interpretation to put an end to the preponderance of
Russia in the Black Sea. Prince Gortschakoff" stated
that he would not agree to the proposed interpretation
of the Four Points, but that he would request further
instructions from his government. Ten days afterwards
he informed Count Buol that he had received those
instructions, and on the 7th or 8th of January another
meeting was held at the office of the Austrian minister
for foreign affairs, and at that meeting Prince Gortschakoff
read a memorandum which he said he had
received, and which contained the views of his
government. It was replied by Count Buol, Lord
Westmoreland, and Baron de Bourqueney that they had
no authority to receive any such memorandum, and
that they must require, as the basis of negotiations, the
consent of the Russian plenipotentiary, to the
interpretation of which he had already received information.
The Russian plenipotentiary, as Lord Westmoreland
states in his despatch, then withdrew the memorandum
he had read, and declared the acceptance, on the part
of his government, of the communicated interpretation
as the basis of negotiations. My hon. friend will
understand that the Russian government, in accepting that
interpretation as the basis of negotiations, of course
reserve to themselves the power, when the basis is laid
down in articles, to make any objection which they may
think fit. The government of Her Majesty declared
that they were ready to enter into negotiations upon
the basis I have mentioned, but no powers are given to
our minister to negotiate.—Mr. LAYARD wished to know
whether the house should understand whether
negotiations were actually going on or were suspended at
present?—Lord J. RUSSELL replied that negotiations
had not yet begun on the basis he had mentioned.—Mr.
BRIGHT understood the noble lord to say that certain
terms were offered to Russia, and he understood that,
after some deliberation, Russia had consented also to
that one of the Four Points which had for its object to
put an end to the predominance of Russia in the Black
Sea. He hoped the noble lord would not withdraw
from that, and he wanted to know whether instructions
were about to be sent out for the purpose of opening
negotiations, as the noble lord left the house to infer the
contrary? Would, when a distinct proposition had
been accepted, instructions for the prosecution of
negotiations be sent out?—Lord J. RUSSELL had already
stated that the government had expressed their willingness
to negotiate on the Four Points, but they could not
state anything further.

Mr. STAFFORD inquired whether any arrangements had
been made to Enable our Wounded and Sick Soldiers at
Scutari to Remit Money Orders to their Relatives at
Home.—Mr. S. HERBERT said, instructions had been
given to the paymasters so far back as last May to afford
every assistance in their power for this object; and Lord
Raglan was requested, with a view to give greater
publicity to the facilities provided for the remittances of
money, to issue a general order relative thereto. In
September last, when depôts were formed at Scutari,
instructions were issued to the paymasters especially
with the view of calling attention to the facilities
existing, and, having heard of remittance orders not
being obtained, he sent out orders on the 27th of
December last that the greatest care should be taken in
order that the wishes of the soldiers might be complied
with; that unnecessary forms should be dispensed with;
and that the money they desired to remit should be
sent to their relatives with promptitude.

Sir B. HALL, in moving for leave to bring in two
bills to Alter and Amend the Public Health Act and
the Nuisances Removal Act, which he should propose,
he said, to refer to a select committee, explained the
state of the law under the existing acts, and the manner
in which he proposed to amend it, accompanying his
explanations with copious details. One of the
provisions of the first-named bill would empower local
boards desirous of acquiring property within or without
the locality, for the purpose of bringing water or for
drainage works, to acquire the same without the
necessity of coming before parliament. The bill would
likewise provide that local boards should make annual
reports, and send copies to every ratepayer, and that the