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position of repute and morality before the world, therefore it is I warn the Government and this House against proceeding with a policy which no man here can say in his conscience is not a policy conducted in defiance of the laws of Heaven, and those principles of justice without which human society itself cannot be held together.'
No division was taken on the motion, but in the course of the evening the House voted in Committee of Supply a sum of £850,000 on account of the intended expedition. The whole war involved an expenditure of several millions.
The affairs of China were also fully discussed in the session of 1864, when Mr. Cobden made a powerful attack upon the policy of the Government. In accordance with the doctrines which he had always consistently maintained in regard to foreign policy, the member for Rochdale strongly objected to the intervention of England in the civil war between the Imperialists and the Taepings. On the 31st of May, therefore, Mr. Cobden moved a resolution declaring that the policy of non-intervention by force of arms in the internal political affairs of foreign countries, which we professed to observe in our relations with the states of Europe and America, should be observed in our intercourse with the empire of China. The hon. member said that China was the only foreign country where we had systematically endeavoured to force a trade by violence and war; and, curiously enough, it was the only country which formed an
exception to the general progress that was apparent everywhere else. In about twenty years we had had three wars with China, the object of which was to open up, as it was called, trade with that country; but the result had been that, whenever there was a war, our merchants, stimulated by anticipations of extended markets, sent out large quantities of produce, and reaped nothing but disappointment, collapse, and reaction. He recommended the appointment, early in the following session, of a Select Committee to inquire into our commercial relations with China and Japan.
Lord Palmerston, in reply, said that the object of England in establishing herself at the Treaty ports was not to obtain territory. All she wanted was a basis for her commerce, and this could not be obtained as long as there were hordes of revolutionists congregated in their neighbourhood. The policy which England had pursued had been eminently successful; and as we had now entered into friendly relations with the central Government of China, he was persuaded that those relations were not likely to be shaken, and that our interests in China would every year increase.
Mr. Bright remarked that, looking back over the past thirty years, there was, perhaps, no portion of our annals of which we ought to be less proud than of those connected with our relations with China. The Government of Lord Palmerston had brought everything Chinese into such inextricable confusion that it was hardly worth while to make any attempt to get them out of it. From the debate of that evening he came to the conclusion that, with two or three exceptions only, the House universally condemned the policy that had been pursued. Lord Palmerston had attempted to persuade the House that the trade with China—the most miserable trade in the world when compared with the magnitude of the population-was of so great importance to the working classes of this country, that it was worth while to indulge in the policy he had carried on, and to encounter the great expenses which had been incurred. Now he (Mr. Bright) ventured to say that our trade with China-speaking of our exports from England to China for many years back~he believed for thirty years—had not left one single farthing of profit, if we paid out of it the cost of the wars, of the intermeddling, and of the military and naval forces now permanently established there. It is a monstrous folly,' said Mr. Bright, that the population of this country, so hard toiling and so suffering in comparison with us who are here, as millions of them are, should be taxed year after year to carry on a policy which for thirty years has covered us with discredit, and has wholly failed; and that this policy should be carried on only to please a curious crotchet which the noble lord at the head of the Government has taken upon it—a crotchet which is not participated in, I believe, by a single member of his Cabinet, which this House is willing wholly to repudiate, and which, I believe,
in every society in England where the question is discussed receives the same condemnation which it has received in Parliament to-night.' He hoped that the noble lord would now, when he saw the entire failure of his plans and prophecies, for once come to the conclusion that he was not infallible, and allow good sense and wisdom, rather than violent prejudices, to sway his policy for the future.
Having attained his object by the discussion upon his motion, Mr. Cobden now withdrew it.
On the financial affairs of India, and the recall of Sir Charles Trevelyan, Mr. Bright had something to say in the session of 1860. It appears that Mr. James Wilson, having been appointed financial member of the Legislative Council of India, had developed a scheme of retrenchment and taxation, which he propounded in the Council at Calcutta, and which was generally received with approval both in India and England. Sir C. Trevelyan, however, the new Governor of Madras, took an opposite view, regarding Mr. Wilson's projects as very injurious, if not impracticable. The Governor's hostility became so marked that it threatened to create great difficulties, and seriously to impede the success of the projected financial reform. The Home Government were accordingly driven to order the immediate recall of the Governor. On the 11th of May, Mr. Danby Seymour raised a debate in the House of Commons upon Sir C. Trevelyan's recall by a series of questions. The Indian Secretary, Sir C. Wood, said that without
discussing Sir C. Trevelyan's Minute—which he admitted to be a most excellent and able document, the Government could not pass over his very improper act in publishing it. It was an act of insubordination
-an act subversive of all authority—the mutiny of one Governor against another.
Mr. Bright followed, observing that the question was one of a somewhat painful character, and he quite understood the difficulty in which Sir C. Wood was placed. He had considered the Budget of Mr. Wilson, and did not deny its ability, but the fault he found with it was that it proposed to balance income and expenditure by proposing new taxes Sir C. Trevelyan was strongly of opinion that Mr. Wilson's scheme was not a wise one for his Government, and that it was not necessary to raise new taxes, but that the balance might be effected by reducing expenditure; and he wrote a most able Minute, which showed him to be more of a statesman than the authors of the Calcutta scheme. But the question was as to the course taken by him in publishing his Minute. This course was most unusual, and contrary to official etiquette, and he could not join Mr. Seymour in condemning Sir C. Wood. Mr. Bright argued, nevertheless, that this was a case which proved to the House-and ought to prove to the gentlemen on the Treasury Bench—that, as he had frequently insisted, it would be far better to have five or six separate Governments in India, and that the laws to be passed should be passed by each