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with remarkable energy and vigour. They were met, he said, at a time of great peril and anxiety. When told that the Government were acting strenuously for peace, for his part he had very little sympathy with efforts on behalf of peace which naturally led to war. The right hon. gentleman went on to review the conduct of the Government in spending the six millions recklessly, after the Commons had been assured that they would probably not be spent at all. He blamed them for having determined on a policy which neither Lord Derby nor Lord Carnarvon could endure, though the former must have suffered terribly in separating himself from Lord Beaconsfield; for representing that the fleet had been sent into the Sea of Marmora for the protection of British interests, when it was now acknowledged that it was sent there as a menace; for declaring before Parliament adjourned that nothing was about to happen, when they were about to import thousands of Mahometan soldiers to fight against the Christian nation of Russia; and for neglecting the House of Commons, which 'either dare not ask for information, or when it asks is denied.' The English Government was the only obstacle to the Congress. The British interests' dodge had been dropped, and we were to go to war for European law, which outside these islands nobody understood. The Premier was the only real disturber of the nation, and his object was to restore Turkey to sustain that terrible oppression, that multitudinous crime which we call the Ottoman Government.' England must not repeat the error of the Crimean war.
The prospect of Turkey suffering at the hands of Russia, said Mr. Bright, was said to present a danger through which England's interests might suffer. And on this perhaps,' a remote and imaginary evil, we were to go to war. 'It recalls to my mind a passage in one of our poets. He says,
“On this perhapsThis peradventure, infamous for lies,
We build our mountain hopes, spin our eternal schemes." If we had Mr. Hardy's policy and that of his Government, I fear we should rush into that enormous, that incalculable crime for which language has no word but one which conceals its meaning—but a crime which involves a multitudinous murder, the shedding of torrents of blood over many of the fairest regions of the globe. I ask you here—it may not be worth while to ask any Conservative here or outside : there must be Conservatives so-called who vote for Conservative candidates, who have, I trust, some idea beyond that of the mere superiority or success of party-there must surely be Conservatives, as there are any number of Liberals, who consider great national interests and great truths to be superior to the demands of party; and I ask them whether they will be led in this career and to this terrible catastrophe by a Minister—for I hold that I am not describing the policy of the country—I am not even describing the policy of Parliament-I may not even
be describing the secret wished-for policy of the whole of the Cabinet; I am describing, as far as I can gather it, the policy of a Minister—a Minister who for forty years has never yet been known of his freewill, or from an earnest and liberal mind, to say or do anything for the advance of any of those great measures of good and of freedom which have distinguished the legislation of this country.'
This spirited attack on Lord Beaconsfield elicited prolonged cheering from the audience. Resuming, Mr. Bright said that his consolation and hope was that the love of justice, of mercy, and of peace was not dead in the minds of Englishmen. “I wish that it may grow and may strengthen from day to day; and that, growing and strengthening, it may baffle a policy which is hateful in the sight of Heaven, which to my mind is profoundly wicked, and which I feel certain beyond all possibility of doubt is a policy which is hostile to and may, if persisted in, be fatal to the greatest and highest interests of the empire.' In responding subsequently to a vote of thanks, Mr. Bright, again alluding to the proposed war upon the Christian population of Russia, said with great emphasis, ‘For no such cause as this shall the torrents of English blood be called to flow, which are apparently now on the point of being shed at the command—I will say to the people, at the betrayalof a Minister who has not one single drop of English blood in his veins.'
This was the last of Mr. Bright's important
addresses upon the Eastern question. With the subsequent history of that question the reader is doubtless familiar. All that it is necessary, therefore, to say here is that the war fever in England, thanks to the energetic efforts of those who were opposed to the anti-Russian policy of the Government, gradually subsided. On the 13th of July, 1878, the Berlin Congress assembled, the representatives being Prince Bismarck, Prince Gortschakoff, Alexander Carathéodori, Lord Beaconsfield, the Marquis of Salisbury, Count Andrassy, M. Waddington, and Count Corti. A treaty was drawn up which provided, amongst other things, for the independency of Montenegro, Servia, and Roumania, the constitution of Bulgaria as an autonomous principality, the formation of the new province of Eastern Roumelia, the occupation and administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austro-Hungary, and the cession of Ardahan, Kars, and Batoum to Russia. The Treaty was signed and ratified on the 3rd of August. With the conclusion of the Berlin Treaty, that question which had cost Europe many costly and sanguinary wars was once more temporarily settled.
PUBLIC ADDRESSES AND CORRESPONDENCE-1867-79.-DEATH OF
Mr. Bright's Addresses in the Provinces.—Mr. Jacob Bright's Return for Man.
chester.-Political Retrospect by Mr. Bright. --Speech at Birmingham on Education and Government Aid.-Mr. Bright receives the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh.-His Address on that occasion.—Elected Honorary Member of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.—Important Speech in the Corn Exchange.—Mr. Bright at Birmingham in January, 1875.—The Government and the Church.—The Efforts to Suppress Ritualism.—The Public Worship Bill.-Tribute to Mr. Gladstone.--Mr. Bright on the Liberal Defeat of 1874.-On Political Questions in the year 1875.—The direct Representation of Labour.—The Gothenburg System of Public-house Management. --Social Progress. --Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Bright at Birmingham.A Stirring Week.—Mr. Bright on Household Suffrage for the Counties. — Speech at Bradford on Free Trade.-Opening of the New Town Hall at Manchester.—Mr. Bright on the Cotton Trade and Indian Administration.Address at Rochdale on Science and Art.-On Liberal and Conservative Legislation.-On the Work of Sunday Schools.—Letter on Protection in America.-Correspondence on Public Questions.—Great Speech at Birmingham on Foreign Affairs.—The Eastern Question.—Egypt.-The War in Afghanistan.—The Government strongly condemned.—Mr. Bright on Protectionism in England.—On the Depression in Trade.—Canadian Policy.Waning Popularity of the Beaconsfield Administration.-Conservative Demon. stration at Manchester in October, 1879.--Great Counter-Demonstration by the Liberals.-Animated Speech by Mr. Bright. -Scathing Denunciation of the Government.—Mr. Bright on Education.—The Progress of the United States.—Death of Mrs. Bright.
We propose in this chapter to deal with a series
of important addresses by Mr. Bright, all of which were delivered outside the House of Commons, and at many of the chief towns in the provincesEdinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford, etc.