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conduct comes from the lips of the speech which he delivered on the very Minister whom he is always 20th of last month at a London quoting in his own favour, and political club. Now that the war whose authority he places far is over, our difficulties perhaps are above that of any living statesman. in one sense only just beginning; Undoubtedly the fact that before and it is, said the noble Marquis, the delivery of Somerset's message “of great importance that neither the great Powers had withdrawn the Sultan of Turkey and his suptheir Ambassadors from Madrid did porters, nor the Government of something to harden the Cortes Greece and their supporters, should against all concession. But we be under any illusion as to the see where Canning himself thought state of feeling in this country that the chief responsibility rested with respect to the present passing The impression made upon the events." The Powers are all Cortes by the English Liberals agreed that no Christian populawas largely responsible for the tion must be replaced under the peremptory rejection of the advice dominion of the Sultan. Turkey tendered by Great Britain—advice must understand that. But we which would have prevented war must be careful to prevent any imand saved the Spanish constitution. pression from getting abroad that
The impression made upon the public opinion in Great Britain is Greeks by the words and actions prepared to relieve Greece from of the English Radicals a few the natural consequences of her months ago was exactly similar in own acts of folly and injustice. kind, and followed by similar con- The penalties which she has insequences. But besides encourag- curred by them she will have to ing the Greeks, it had a bad ef- pay—if not by the cession of terfect upon the Powers, which was ritory, by some other amercement visible at once in the different only a little less agreeable to her. position of England before the Greece must understand that. If meeting of Parliament and after- English opinion is misrepresented wards. The influence of Lord on this point, as it was on the Salisbury, which was predominant question of Crete by those who, during the autumn and winter, without the smallest right to conhas latterly been overruled; and stitute themselves the spokesmen who can question but that the of this country, persuaded Greece change is due in great part to the at all events to regard them in mischievous behaviour of the that capacity, they will only bring Opposition, who, refusing a on their unfortunate clients the pitched battle when the Govern. repetition, in some other form, of ment victory would have reassured the disasters which they have the other Powers, have kept up a already endured. The hundred dropping fire, which leaves them members who disgraced the House still uncertain which way English of Commons by an act which conpublic feeling is tending after all. tributed so largely to mislead the They have deceived not only Greeks, and so to lure them on to Greece, but Europe, and “not their ruin, are chargeable with the only as to the conduct of the sin of blood-guiltiness; and this Government, but as to the senti- should be a warning to all poliments of the British nation.” ticians and all sympathisers with
To this very danger Lord Salis- Greece at the present moment—of bury adverted in the impressive whom, indeed, Lord Salisbury is
one - to refrain from language feeling of the people of Cape Colony, which may produce a similar im- and the vote taken the other day was
a vote of condemnation of this war pression, and to remember that the policy of nations cannot be policy. That vote was in support of regulated by sympathy and senti
a peace policy, and by a majority, I
am happy to say, the Cape Government alone. "The policy of nations
ment rejected the policy which is must be guided by international represented by these additional estilaw and justice, and by the obli- mates.” gations which nations have undertaken to each other, and by the The absurdity of this description high duty which is imposed on all of Mr Du Toit's motion requires no of pursuing that course which may exposure. But what was the real lead to the maintenance and secur state of the case at that moment ? ity of the peace of the world.” The Transvaal Government had on Here spoke the voice of Canning: more than one occasion violated the real voice, and not the sham the Convention of London, which one which issues from the lips of they had sworn to observe: and Sir William Harcourt.
they had been requested in friendly But a still more flagrant exam and conciliatory terms to give us ple of the same mischievous pro- satisfaction. This request was then pensity, which treats the highest under consideration : and this was imperial interests as so much food the moment which the Liberal for party, and sticks at nothing so leader thought a fitting one for long as a blow can be delivered at telling the Transvåal Government the Government, is supplied by that the request was conceived the debate of April 29 on the “in a spirit of hostility and agChancellor of the Exchequer's gression "; that it had been confinancial statement. In
demned by the Cape Colony; and menting upon this, the leader of suggesting, not obscurely, that the the Opposition took up the resolu- Transvaal would be justified in tion which was passed by the Cape refusing it. If this is not "exasHouse of Assembly on the 26th of perating" public sentiment, we April, in favour of settling all don't know what is. But if such difficulties with the Transvaal by language has any effect, it can peaceable means, at the same time only have the same as the encourdeprecating the interference of agement addressed to Greece. It any foreign Power. This, said can only precipitate a war, which our patriot, was the answer of the English Government is so the people of the Cape to Mr anxious to avert—a war bringing Chamberlain's " war policy.” They ruin on Sir William’s deluded prowould have none of it. The Col- tegees, and reducing thousands to onial Secretary had done his best poverty and misery. Mr Chamberto kindle a hostile feeling between lain bad hoped that this South the Cape and the Transvaal. African question might not be
made a party question. Had he, "In every utterance of his during really? We should have thought the last few months there is no doubt he knew his man better, he has been endeavouring to exasperate sentiment in that country, and to
It is not, perhaps, of much use
to refer to Sir William Harcourt's produce what, thank God, he has failed in producing—a racial war. But his
conscience, At all events, it is policy has been defeated. It has been one of those pleasant ones which defeated by the good sense and good “never does its owner any harm."
He may not feel any qualms' at free people.” We could almost the thought that he has been in- fancy we were listening to Elijah stigating President Kruger, as we Pogram or the brown Forester. may judge from his reply to Mr In his speech at Norwich on the Chamberlain, to adopt an attitude 17th of March, and again at the towards this country which may Eighty Club on the 13th of April, end in war, by representations Sir William gave utterance to which have no foundation in fact, those sentiments which met with and can only entail on those who 80 sarcastic a reception from Lord are deceived by them the most Salisbury at the Albert Hall on bitter disappointment. But his the 6th of May. We that is, the friend Mr Canning thought differ- Liberals --- will be parties to no ently. He thought nothing could policy of which the integrity of lie more heavily on the conscience the Ottoman empire is the basis. of a public man than such a course That is his dictum.
But they as Sir William Harcourt has pur- are parties to it. They cannot sued. But Sir William loves a help themselves. The treaties of free hand. He is only to quote 1856 and of 1878, the one conMr Canning when it suits his pur- cluded by a Liberal Government, pose. He is to use him as he the other by a Conservative, have would have us use the Continental made them so. When a man has Powers. But why complain of backed a friend's bill, he cannot this? What is Sir William's whole refuse to pay because he says he career but one long illustration of will be no party to the system this great principle of freedom in of kite - flying. Let the bill be his own person. He has been Con- got rid of : let the treaty be reservative and Radical, Gladstonian pealed: and he may then talk. and anti - Gladstonian, Parnellite We cannot escape from our conand anti-Parnellite, Unionist and tracts because we are tired of the Home Ruler, all in less than forty responsibility.
responsibility. The introduction years. He certainly stands quite of the contrary doctrine into the at the head of the deciduous school realm of diplomacy would indeed of politicians.
be anarchy, and must end in chaos. We must now turn to his views It would break down all public of treaty obligations; and here we law and every guarantee that we come in touch again with Mr possess for the security and indeCanning, and have once pendence of nations. It would the benefit of his testimony. Sir destroy civilisation, Yet the William declares, for himself and language used by Sir William for the Liberal party generally, Harcourt, if it is pushed home, that they will hear no more of really comes to this. He will say the integrity of the Ottoman em- of course that it is a gross exaggerpire. It has indeed been solemnly ation. But will he tell us how he guaranteed by treaties to which proposes to get rid of the "integall the great Governments are rity of the Ottoman empire" with
But what of that, says out either repealing or repudiating the honest fellow, to whom the the treaties which confirm it? The honour and dignity of Great Powers are not ready to repeal Britain are so dear,
What is a them; and if England chose to treaty? Take away the bauble. make a clean slate, and apply a Let not such musty obligations wet sponge to all her most solemn control the action of "a great and engagements with
the rest of
Europe, would not that practically 1830 meant a war upon opinion : be an act of moral bankruptcy, the suppression of political prinjust as dishonourable as the re- ciples to which the monarchies pudiation of a national debt ? were opposed. It was not formed
It was at the Eighty Club on to resist breaches of international the 13th of April that Sir William law, to prevent territorial aggresmade his most vehement appeal sion, and to keep other countries to the memory and example of within their assigned limits. It Canning, recommending the rising was directed against domestic generation, almost with tears in revolution, against forms of his voice, to take that great man government, and national instifor their model. Now Sir William tutions, with which no Foreign was quite right in saying that Power has any right to interfere. Canning refused to join the great This was the European Concert Powers in forming a kind of com- from which Canning stood aloof, mittee of supervision for settling and it had little more in common the affairs of Europe generally with that now existing than the This is a totally different thing Inquisitor who burns a heretic has from an agreement between the with the magistrate who quells a same Powers to act together for one riot. particular purpose; to avert one This distinction was unfortunspecial and practical danger which ately overlooked by Sir William concerns them all; and to protect Harcourt. There is nothing in and uphold arrangements in which the career of Mr Canning to lead they have a common interest, and us to suppose that he would have to which they are all pledged. refused to join any European The Concert which Canning re- coalition of which he thoroughly coiled from—not the Holy Alli- approved the object: which was ance, which was a harmless fad, directed to the maintenance of was nothing of this kind. It was, peace, and the settlement of a as we have said, nothing less than quarrel between two minor States, a permanent Vigilance Committee
so as to prevent the risk of its or Mutual Insurance Society; and leading to a general war. this would have been enough to But if Sir William's reference make any English Minister, from to Canning in regard to the EuroChatham to Salisbury, decline the pean Concert is plausible at first honour of belonging to it.
sight, and until the analogy is But there is a still wider differ- pricked, he cannot get even this ence than this between the two superficial and short-lived support alliances, which Sir William had from him on the question of apparently forgotten. No Power treaties. As he is so fond of Mr can be expected to join in a com- Pitt's pupil, let him lay his case pact of which it disapproves the before him, and see what answer objects. This goes without saying: he will get. When Canning was and it was less because he wished to appealed to by the Greeks to do stand aloof from such connections, something to help them against than because he was hostile to the Turkey, he replied to their ambaspurposes for the sake of which he sador as follows:knew them to be established, that Canning acted as he did.
“They forgot that there existed beThe
tween England and Turkey treaties league between the great Con- of very ancient date, and of unintertinental monarchies from 1820 to rupted obligation, which the Turks
faithfully observed, and to the protec- England will follow his advice, tion of which British interests, to a and read for themselves what Mr vast amount, were confided within the domains of the Sultan; and that
Canning said on this very point. all these interests must at once
The words used by Sir William be put in jeopardy, and the obliga
Harcourt on the 12th of April tion of the treaties which protect them would be quite sufficient for our be at once advisedly broken, by the purpose ; but they are not the most first blow which Great Britain should abusive ones that he has thought strike, as the ally of Greece, in hostil- proper to employ :ity to Turkey."
“The cause of humanity and the Mr Canning then suggested the claims of freedom are sacrificed to idea of compromise with the Porte,
the jealousies and selfish interests of but the deputies declared that the
the Powers, who declare that they
will go to war if they are called upon Greeks must be either "entirely to listen to these claims of humanity independent or perish."
for which they appear to care
little, and to these claims of freedom "Mr Canning, then, having thus for which they certainly care a little explained to the deputies all that the
less." Greeks had to expect from the British Government, endeavoured to impress Elsewhere he has accused the upon their minds that the efforts to great Powers, graciously exceptinduce Great Britain to take part in ing England, of supporting Turkey their favour had not only no favourable result, but were always attended better hereafter, when their turn
now, that she may cut up all the by consequences prejudicial to their
comes for dividing the spoil.
Speaking in Monmouthshire a This is the language of Lord fortnight later, he stated that the Salisbury and the language of great Powers looked on the OttoMr Chamberlain. "We observe man empire with the eye of a treaties ourselves, and don't intend gamekeeper :that others shall break them to
“They used the integrity of the our prejudice.” Our difficulties in
Ottoman empire as excuse in South Africa only arise from what
Armenia, they use it as a pretext in is our bounden duty, our demand, Crete. It is not because they really namely, that treaty engagements respect this integrity; they regard it shall be faithfully observed. Sir just as a gamekeeper regards a covey William Harcourt thinks that this
of pheasants. One of these days is unnecessary. But how he can
they mean themselves to have a great
shooting, when they can agree upon reconcile such a theory with the
the terms of the battue." advice which he gave to the youth of England at the Eighty Club- Mr Balfour told the leader of the namely, that all who looked for Opposition what he thought of ward to political life should make him, in words reminding us very Canning their study night and day- much of the rebuke addressed by we are not in a position to explain. Canning to the Opposition of his
We next come to Sir William own day for their abuse of the Harcourt's mode of speaking as to
Continental Governments. the motives and characters of the
“The right hon. gentleman,” said European Governments : and we Mr Balfour, openly said that the hope that on this subject young Powers of Europe for their own selfish
Stapleton's Life of Canning, vol. ii. p. 444.