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Russian Government or to the insurgents, and, consequently, that it should allow neither of the contending parties to come upon Prussian soil without at the same time being disarmed."
As an amendment to the above, the following resolution was proposed by M. Bonin in the name of the minority of the Committee :—
"The interest of Prussia requires that, in face of the insurrection that has broken out in the Kingdom of Poland, the Government should confine itself to such measures only as are required for the defence of the frontier, and should avoid auy interference beyond that point; and, consequently, that it should not allow of any armed persons coming upon Prussian soil, without at the same time disarming them."
As sub-amendment to the above, Baron Vincke proposed the following:—
"That the interests of Prussia, in the face of the insurrection which has broken out in the Kingdom of Poland, requires that the Government should not allow Russian troops to come upon Prussian soil in pursuit of Polish insurgents."
M. de Sybel iu moving the resolution, referred briefly to the circumstances under which Prussia had become possessed of portions of Poland. Her present title was a valid one, de jure and de facto. She had made it good by the improvement and civilization of the country, through German industry and German capital. "What, therefore, he added, we desire for our Polish fellow-citizens, is a humane and just Government; but, at the same time, we desire that the German inhabitants of what was formerly Poland Bhould know that, for their protection, and for their maintenance as belonging to the Prussian State, the entire Prussian people is ready to stand good. "With consciences so clear, with a position so well-defined, and differing so essentially from that occupied by Russia, it is evidently our business to protest against a policy which, without any natural necessity, runs counter to our most important interest, namely, that of preserving peace for our Prussian territory.
The speaker then went on to show how, without auy necessity, the Government had delivered over a large portion of the fatherland to all the horrors of a barbarous war; had undertaken a joint responsibility for Russian misdeeds, and changed the Polish into an European question. Further, how this policy had been followed up without any prospect of compensation, and at the expense of hundreds of thousands, without the consent of the Chamber. In doing so, the Government had once more given proofs of that which was the essence of its being, viz., contempt for rights; and had shown that it could neither live nor die without breaking the laws of the country.
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M. de Gottberg defended the Government. MM. von Bonne and Boessell attacked it.
Count Eulenburg, in the absence of M. de Bismarck, defended the Government, and said, in reply to one of the former Bpeakera, that it was no unusual thing for the Government to show confidentially to a foreign Government a Convention -which they had not laid before the House. With reference to the Poles who were arrested at Thorn, he would give the following explanations :—They had not been delivered up (" ausgeliefert") in the sense of the Extradition Treaties; but having been arrested at the station at Thorn on their way from the west, and having been found possessed of no other legitimations than old Russian passports no longer available, they had been expelled (" ausgewiesen") across the Bussian frontier, according to existing Cartel provisions. (Great sensation and murmurs.) Well, Gentlemen, continued Count Eulenburg, I can only refer you to Article XXIII of the Cartel Convention,* according to which you will see that every individual belonging to the Russian Empire not provided with proper papers can be expelled by us, and must he received by Russia. In virtue of the above paragraph, the four individuals in question have now been expelled.
Dr. Becker argued in a long speech that an independent Polish Kingdom would be a better neighbour for Germany than Russia, though he would not give up to such a kingdom the ports of Dantzic and Elbing, or a single acre that had been fairly reclaimed by Prussian industry. He spoke strongly and indignantly against the former partitions of Poland.
Count Eulenburg, with reference to the supposed entrance of Russian troops into Poland, read a telegram from the Landrath of Strasburg in West Prussia, to the effect that some outposts had been pushed on in the night of the 18th of July upon the bridge of Drewinz, which belongs to Gollub (a Prussian town), and joins that place with Dobrzyn, a Russian town, because both towns were threatened with a baud of insurgents which expected reinforcements from Gollub. The town of Dobrzyn had never been occupied by Russian troops; the pushing forward of outposts had been rendered necessary by local circumstances which strongly favoured an attack of the town, denuded as it was of Russian military.
Minister President von Bismarck recapitulates the course taken by the various debates held in the House respecting the Polish question, from the first interpellation of MM. Hautall, Kautak and Co. to the present resolution, in order to prove a revolutionary tendency to sympathize with the Polish insurrection. The interests of the country had thereby been sacrificed to party interests, and * Convention of fj^^ 18S7. Vol. XLYII. Page 1168.
German speakers had expressed themselves in an unheard-of manner. M. "Waldeck had compared the calling in of Prussian reserves to the sale of Hessian troops to the British Government M. do TTnruh, amidst the applause of the House, had declared that if from the present acts of the Government foreign complications arose, the Chamber would refuse to the King the meaus necessary for the defence of the country. Now, was not this equivalent to saying to foreign countries, Now is your opportunity; come on! for Prussia is defenceless. (Oli! Oh! and strong marks of dissent.) I am glad to see, Gentlemen, that you ace still capable of indignation on such a subject. (Great sensation, and loud cries of " Order.")
Vice-President Behrend.—I must request the House to be quiet. The Minister President has the right to express his pleasure at what the House may think or do. A call for order is here out of place.
M. de Bismarck.—I will not here touch upon the question of whether the Ministers can be called to order, but if the question is again mooted I shall reserve to myself to speak upon it. Gentlemen, the threat to make Prussia blameless was expressed by that same M. de Unruh whose name is associated with the refusal to pay taxes in 1848. (A violent scene here ensued; cries of order from all sides of the House; members rising from their seats and groaning.)
The President having rung his bell and restored partial order, said: I must here observe to the Minister President that the last statement made by him stands in no sort of relation to the subject under discussion.
M. de Bismarck.—I cannot admit the right of the President to call me to order. I have not the honour to belong to this Assembly. I have had nothing to do with making the rules of this House; I have not assisted in electing the President. The disciplinary power of the President is limited by these boards (striking the front of the Ministerial tribune). My superior is alone His Majesty the King; I do not speak in virtue of the rules of your House, but in virtue of the authority given to me by His Majesty. You have not got the right to interrupt me.
Vice-President Behrend.—I had not disputed the Minister President's right to speak, nor, according to the Constitution, can I dispute this right. But according to the rules of the House, the disciplinary power of the President is limited only by the four walls of the House, and this power I shall most undoubtedly use. (Loud cheers.)
M. de Bismarck.—This is a view which, on the part of the Ministry, I must repudiate. To resume then, M. de Unruh, whose
name i3 associated with the refusal to pay taxes in 1848 (renewed
disturbance and cries of "Adjourn"),
Vice-President Behrend.—If the Minister President repeats observations -which I have declared not to belong to the subject, I shall most certainly use my right to adjourn the House.
11. de Bismarck.—I cannot prevent the President adjourning the House, and as I have twice repeated what I meant to say I am satisfied. (Renewed disorder; the President rings his bell.) This threat to lay Prussia defenceless is an unfortunate one, all the more so that with this tendency the names connected with 1848 again become prominent. You are asked by your resolution to express your sympathy with the insurrection under Mierolawski. I have nothing to do with the intentions of the persons who have brought forward this resolution, but the practical result of it will undoubtedly be to identify the House with the Polish insurrection. The Report of the Committee is based upon a set of proofs in reference to the contents of the Convention derived from lies and misstatements taken from the newspapers, and the reporter has conjured up from these an imaginary belt of 500 square miles of Prussian territory given up to Russian occupation. This is a mere foolish phantasy. (Oh! oh !) On the contrary, the Convention secures Prussia against a danger of this sort. By it, Russian military are not allowed to cross the Prussian frontier without our sanction. Prom the exaggerations, the lies, the misrepresentations of the press, has arisen the bad impression made by the Convention abroad, and these misrepresentations form the material of the present debate. But this debate, I can tell you, will have no practical result, not even that of causing an embarrassment to the Ministry unless it be the inconvenience of a waste of their time. If the object of the resolution therefore has been to shake the position of the Government it will fail in its object, and all that will be obtained will be to prove before the whole country that you take part with the Polish insurrection.
M. de Sanger, for the Bonin amendment.
M. de Bismarck, in reply to an observation of this Bpeaker, again repeated that ': each act of transgression of the Russian or Prussian frontier required the express sanction of the other party in each individual case."
A motion for the adjournment was then moved and carried.
Sitting of Friday tie 27th.
A further amendment was moved by M. Bockum-DolfFs, supported by the party of progress and the Left Centre. It only involved a slight alteration of the resolution before the House. It was as follows:
"That the interest of Prussia requires that the Government, in face of the insurrection that has broken out in Poland, should not assist or favour either of the contending parties, or allow armed persons to touch the Prussian soil without at the same time disarming them."
Baron VincJce, in a brilliant speech, attacked, as is his wont, both the Government and the House. After dissecting the speeches made in favour of the resolution, he attacked the Government, and in an eloquent outburst showed how impossible it would be for a country like Prussia to pass safely through a great external crisis unless the policy of its Government had the enthusiastic approval of the whole country. He spoke in a very unfriendly manner of the Poles, and of their dangerous character as a revolutionary element in Europe, and approved of strong measures being taken by the Prussian Government against the present insurrection. Ho did not approve, however, of the opening up of the Prussian frontier to Russian troops, and had accordingly, in his amendment, confined himself to this one point. As the sum total of his views, he would conclude by saying that (he right policy of the Government was to favour Russia to the utmost in putting down the insurrection, short of the entrance of Russian troops into Prussia or of Prussian troops into Russia.
The debate was then continued to a very great length; the two most remarkable speeches being those of MM. de Bonin and Schulze-Delitsch. The former spoke in favour of his amendment, and having been the President of the Province of Posen under the liberal Ministry, he was able from personal knowledge to show the unwiseness of the Convention in regard to the practical interests of that province.
The debate was adjourned at a late hour, and resumed this morning. The results of the divisions were as followB:
Por the Bonin amendment, 72; against it, 229. For the
No. GO.—Earl Russell to Lord Napier.
Her Majesty's Government view with the deepest concern the state of things now existing in the Kingdom of Poland. They see there, on the one side, a large mass of the population in open insurrection against the Government; and, on the other, a vast militaryforce employed in putting that insurrection down. The natural and probable result of such a contest must be expected to be the success of the military forces. But that success, if it is to be achieved by a series of bloody conOicts, must be attended by a lamentable effusion of blood, by a deplorable sacrifice of life, by wide-spread desolation, and by impoverishment and ruin, which it would take a V of years to repair.