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must lead to a future war. This was particularly the case with the present war, the evident scope of which was to establish an independent Italy and an united Germany, and that, he predicted, would be the result if we did not interfere. Our interest in this matter was to have a solid balance of power in Europe, and to have that effected by such geographical and national arrangements as would lead to a permanent and stable settlement; and having laid this down, he showed that the arrangements of 1815 could not be regarded in this light, being founded on artificial, not natural rights-on the rights of Princes, not of peoples; and he maintained that an independent Italy and an united Germany—both of which must be Conservative and peaceful Powers--would not only be favourable to the interests of England, but must lead to such a state of equilibrium of political power in Europe as would produce a permanent and real peace, and enable all the Powers to reduce their excessive armaments. It was, too, for the real interest of Austria - whose true mission lay towards the East- in the cultivation and civilization of the territories lying along the Danube. Without asking for a decided pledge not to mediate, he pressed the Government to declare that they would not commit the country to an armed mediation, without calling Parliament together and laying the whole circumstances before it.
Mr. Horsman, after some remarks as to the different degrees of sympathy felt in England for Prussia and Italy, expressed his concurrence
with Lord Stanley's non-intervention views, but maintained at the same time that as we were a great Power, with great responsibilities, we ought to be ready to co-operate every where to advance the cause of liberty and peace. He discussed the various rumours afloat as to the invitation of France to England to join in a mediation, and showed that the relations and the views of the two Powers in respect to Prussia and Italy were so divergent, England only desiring to see Germany united and powerful and Italy free and independent,—that there could be no joint mediation unless the Emperor were prepared to bring his policy into harmony with ours. He professed his inability to see the necessity for any application to Prussia and Italy, for Austria could have peace at any moment by agreeing to give up Venetia without stipulations, and to retire from the German Confederation; and both these conditions, he showed, were reasonable and for the ultimate advantage of Austria. The German people would not permit the return of Austria to the Bund; for the real explanation of Prussia's astounding success was not only the needle-gun, but the adhesion of the German people to a Power which could guarantee them the unity they so much desired. After an elaborate disquisition on the motives and policy of the French Emperor, he expressed a sanguine hope that the Emperor would acquiesce in the events which had been too much for him; and, if he applied to England, that the two Governments would join in pressing Austria to acquiesce in them also, and to put an end to a war which could be of no
advantage to her. Though at the commencement of the war his sympathies were strongly against Prussia as represented by Bismark, he could not but acknowledge that he was now engaged on a work of the greatest benefit to Europe. Mr. Horsman concluded by putting a string of questions to Lord Stanley as to the communications which had passed between France and England.
Sir G. Bowyer made some caustic remarks on the present position of the French Emperor, and read from a speech of Prince Napoleon to prove that the war was one against Catholicism and for
the triumph of Democracy—the result of a conspiracy between France, Prussia, and Italy. 'He trusted that the present Government would endeavour to remedy the mischief done by their predecessors, whose foreign policy he strongly denounced, and would discountenance the exclusion of Austria from the German Confederation.
Mr. Gladstone, having first vindicated with some warmth, in answer to Sir G. Bowyer's attack, the Italian policy of Lord Palmerston's Government, said that, whatever the origin of the war might have been, we must now look at it as bearing upon the happiness and freedom of Europe, and consider how we could best use our influence to promote those objects; and, adverting to a remark of Mr. Horsman, he contended that the influence of England was best preserved by refraining from elaborate schemes to promote it. In discussing our duty, he exhorted Lord Stanley not to forget that the cause of Italy was dear to the people of this country, and warned him that they would never forgive a policy which attacked her unity and independence. Turning to Germany, he maintained that for years past she had been a perpetual weakness to Europe, and that often our Estimates had been increased by millions on account of what might happen to her. The struggles of Austria and Prussia for predominance had been an immense injury to Europe and to Germany, and the elevation of one Power to a position to wield the influence would be an unmixed advantage even to the loser. Her old position had been both in Germany and Italy any thing but beneficial to Austria, and though he lamented the unprecedented attempt to introduce a third party into the strife by ceding Venetia to France—which might prevent her parting from Italy on such friendly terms-the loss of Venetia, which need not at present, at least, involve the loss of Trieste, would be a gain to Austria. Even if she were excluded from Germany, she had still a glorious task before her in the cultivation of that vast and fertile territory and the civilization of those millions of subjects which would still be left to her.
Lord Stanley, in the present state of affairs, excused himself from going into any detailed discussion of a situation which varied from day to day, but with regard to the armed intervention into which Nr. Laing seemed to dread we might drift, he could conceive no stronger guarantee against it than the language held by Lord Derby and by himself constantly, both in and out of office. He was not fond of giving advice to foreign Powers, though cases might arise in which the interference of a friendly and disinterested Power might be of service; but he assured the House that up to the present time the Government was entirely unpledged to any policy whatever. The sole diplomatic action we had taken was to support in general termsas a matter of humanity and common sense—the proposition of the French Government for a temporary cessation of hostilities. That opportunity had passed away, and since then our advice had neither been asked nor offered. Replying to Mr. Horsman, Lord Stanley stated that he had every reason to believe that an armed intervention was not meditated by France. Austria had asked France to mediate, and the matter rested with her; and if we were asked to join, we must first of all ascertain on what terms she proposed to mediate. With regard to the terms said to have been offered by Prussia, Venetia, there was no doubt, was already practically ceded to Italy; and as to the exclusion of Austria from Germany, it had never been stated that it was the sole condition on which Prussia would make peace. The Government could be no parties to pressing terms upon Austria until they knew the whole extent of the terms. Speaking of the future policy of the Government, Lord Stanley said there never was a great European war in which England had less direct interest. The Italian question was not far from a settlement, and he could not see that the establishment of a strong, compact Power in North Germany would be either a detriment or a menace to us, whatever it might be deemed to be by other Powers. So far as human foresight could go, there were no complications in the situation which would involve us in war; and if we did not mean to take part in it we ought equally to avoid empty threats and holding out illusory hopes. If our advice were asked, and it seemed likely to be of use, we ought not to refuse to give it; but at the same time we ought carefully to avoid any responsibility for the consequences of its being followed. In conclusion Lord Stanley said that, as far as was consistent with his duty, he should take care to keep the House cognizant of all that was done.
Lord Stanley's statement appeared to be received on both sides of the House with much satisfaction.
The latest Parliamentary utterance on the subject of the war before the close of the Session, was made by the Earl of Derby in the House of Lords, on the 23rd of July, when that noble lord gave an explanation of the communications with the French Government, which commenced immediately upon the present Ministry assuming office, and stated that they acceded to the request of the Emperor by instructing the British Ambassadors at Berlin and Florence to co-operate with the French Government, in order, if possible, to obtain an armistice and to ascertain if any terms of peace could be agreed upon. They had expressed no opinion upon the mode in which the cession of Venetia had been effected, but their sole desire was to assist, if possible, in preventing further bloodshed. The armistice was not agreed to, and the British Government had taken no further step, nor had they tendered any advice, nor proposed any terms. They had, however, recently learnt that a five days' armistice had been agreed upon and preliminaries of peace accepted by Austria and Prussia; and more recently they had been informed that Baron Ricasoli was willing on the part of Italy to accept the conditions proposed.
PARLIAMENTARY REFORM the great question of the Session-Declarations of Earl
Russell's Government on that subject-Reference to the same topic in the Queen's Speech. Mr. Clay's Educational Franchise Bill- Fate of that measure – The Chancellor of the Exchequer introduces the Franchise Bill of the Government on the 12th of March-Reception of the Bill in the House of Commons-Formation of a third party in the House opposed to the Bill, commonly known as the “ Adul. lamites "--Notice given by Earl Grosvenor of a Resolution disapproving the introduction of a Franchise Bill apart from the entire scheme of Reform-Public meetings in favour of the Government measure— The Chancellor of the Exchequer addresses, in the Easter recess, large assemblies at Liverpool, and declares the resolution of the Government to stand or fall by their Reform measures-Great debate, continued for eight nights, on Earl Grosvenor's resolution-Summary of the arguments of the leading speakers, Prominent part taken against the Bill by Mr. Lowe- Powerful and eloquent reply of the Chancellor of the Exchequer-A division results in the rejection of the resolution by a majority of five only, and the Bill is read a second time - Shortly afterwards the Government announce their consent to lay their whole scheme before the House, and bring in a Redistribution of Seats Bill - Statement of that measure by the Chancellor of the Exchequer- The Irish and Scotch Reform Bills are also brought in—The Ministers, on the suggestion of Mr. Bouverie, agree to refer both the Franchise and Redistribution Bills to the same Committee Captain Hayter, M.P. for Wells, gives notice of moving an amendment on going into Committee condemnatory of the Redistribution schemes—That Bill is read a second time without opposition - Sir R. Knightley interposes an instruction to the Committee to make provision against bribery- The motion is carried against the Government by a majority of ten-Captain Hayter's amendment is moved and is debated for four nights, after which it is withdrawn by the mover— The Bills are committed and discussed clause by clause-Controversy as to the rental or rating test of franchise Rejection of amendments moved by Lord Stanley, Mr. Walpole, and Mr. HuntImportant amendment proposed by Lord Dunkellin to make rating the basis of the franchise in boroughs--Debate on that motion-It is carried against the Government by a majority of eleven-Extraordinary scene of excitement on this division.
The political history of the year 1866 turns upon the question of Parliamentary Reform. This one subject absorbed a very large portion of the time and almost the whole energies of the House of Commons-it brought about a change of Administration, it unsettled the relations of parties, it affected many political reputations, it engendered no small amount of popular excitement; and although it terminated for the present in no practical result, it yet produced a conviction in the minds of all thoughtful politicians, that some alteration of our representative system was an inevitable necessity, and was only a question of time. Her Majesty's Speech at the opening of the Session had announced the intention of laying a measure of this nature before Parliament, and the chiefs of the Administration had made no secret of their intention not only to introduce a Bill, but to stake their official existence on its success.
The majority of the House of Commons which the constituencies had lately returned as representatives of the Liberal party, appeared strong enough to carry through a well-considered measure of Reform, even in the face of a Conservative Opposition ; but it was not till the actual trial was made that the difficulty of passing a Bill which might greatly alter the existing distribution of political power in the country was fully appreciated.
It devolved upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as leader of the House of Commons, to introduce and conduct through that House, the measure of which notice had been given soon after the commencement of the Session. In the meantime, however, a Bill for extending the elective franchise on a novel basis was introduced by a member on the Liberal side of the House, Mr. Clay, one of the representatives of Hull. It was proposed by this Bill to create an educational qualification, and it provided that every man of full age should have the right of submitting himself to be examined before the Civil Service Commissioners, and upon such examination (if satisfactory) should receive a certificate which would entitle him to the exercise of the franchise. The subjects of examination would be reading, writing, spelling, and the four rules of arithmetic.
Mr. Gregory seconded the motion, contending that the Bill, if passed into law, would have the effect of admitting the élite of the working classes to the possession of the franchise, whilst at the same time it would not let in an overwhelming majority to counterbalance the superior claims of education and property.
Lord Elcho supported the Bill.
Mr. Horsman hoped that some one on the Treasury Bench would state the views of Government on the subject of Reform. He taunted the leaders of the Radical party, with Mr. Bright at their head, for the antipathy and indifference which they had exhibited after all the pro-Reform clamour with which their names were associated out of doors. In fact, it seemed as if the Reformers in the House were either afraid or ashamed of the question.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer denied that Government were responsible for delay. The death of Lord Palmerston and the necessity for collecting trustworthy statistics had raised unforeseen difficulties; but he could assure the House that the Bill would be introduced at the earliest possible moment. With regard to the invitations addressed to him to give some utterance on the part of the Government in reference to the proposal of the hon. member for Hull, he flattered himself that on that subject neither his admiration for his hon. friend's abilities, the curiosity of the House,