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ADDRESS OF THE EASTERN QUESTION ASSOCIATION. The Eastern Question Association have issued the following address: "The course taken by her Majesty's Government in summoning Parliament to meet three weeks before the usual period is one which, in the present disturbed state of Europe, has given rise to much anxiety and apprehension both at home and abroad. The an- nouncement of that step has been accompanied by no authoritative declaration of the nature and objects of such an unusual proceeding. The public mind is left in an uninformed condition, at the mercy of the sinister interpretations which are placed upon the in- tentions of the Government by persons who, for more than a twelvemonth, have exhausted every resource to goad or to beguile the country into a war for the maintenance of the Turkish Empire. This mis- chievous party has already seized upon an act which may possibly be innocent enough in ihelf. and employ it to create the belief that the object to which tbeir incessant efforts are directed is at length on the point of fulfilment. Their purpose is not doubtf ul; it is to induce Europe to believe, and to lead the English people to suppose, that a resolution is already taken, and preparations are about to be made, to embark this country in war. The effect of this conduct will be equally disastrous at home and abroad. The Government of Turkey will be dissuaded from making peace fey the hopes held out of English intervention, and thus the sanguinary war which is now being waged will be indefinitely prolonged. At home the condition of uncertainty and alarm thus inspired will produce —indeed has already produced—many of the evils inherent to a state of actual war. The Chambers of Commerce at Manchester and elsewhere have already raised a voice of warning and pro- test against the injury which the present state of affairs inflicts upon industry and commerce. The resources on which the employment of the people depends are threatened with a depres- sion even greater than that which already weigh. so heavily on the mass of the population. We are menaced (possibly without just cause) with increased taxes, dearer food, and lower wages. It may be that the policy and intentions of the Government are now, as they have been so often before, misrepresented by those who pretend, without authority, to speak on its behalf. But, if it be so, no time should be lost in dis- pelling a false and mischievous delusion. The Go- vernment have pledged themselves to Parliament and to the country to observe a policy of neutrality, sub- ject to the necessary safeguard of British interests. There is no grounl whatever for assuming that | those interests, as defined by the Government, are in any greater or more immediate peril than at the time when these official de- clarations were made. From the first the Government have proclaimed that it was not their I intention to defend the Turks against the attacks of Russia. Are we, then, at this moment in the presence of an altered state of facts, or of a change of policy? If the facts are altered, wherein consists the altera- tion ? When Lord Derby last declared the neutrality j of the Government, Kars had fallen and the surrender f of Plevna was imminent and foreseen. But, if the I policy of the Government is changed, what are the s new principles on which it is based? These are i questions on which it is not tolerable that the nation [ should be left in doubt even for three weeks. I "The country had rested tranquil and satisfied I with the declaration made by Lord Derby to the most f recent deputation. What has occurred since that date to call for or to justify an unusual and unexplained proceeding which inevitably begets a suspicion of a change of purpose ? In the absence of any official ex- planation of this transaction, and in presence of the interpretations placed upon it by the enemies of peace, it seems necessary that the Government should be strengthened if they adhere to their policy of neu- trality, and deterred, if it be possible that they con- template war, by a clear and decisive expression of the mind of the nation. It cannot be alleged that such an expression of opinion can weaken or embar- rass the Administration. As Lord Derby stated last year,' the first object of a Minister is to know the will of his employers. The country have accepted a policy of neutrality and they will resist a policy of war. No matter by what specious or plausible pretexts such a policy may be recommended, it h necessary to take a firm stand and to declare that upon no pretence whatever shall England be embroiled in a war for the maintenance of the Turkish Empire. Such a war is one in which it is notorious we should engage with- out an ally. It is a war which would kindle hostili- ties throughout the length and breadth of Europe. It is a war in which, if we were even successful, we should render ourselves hereafter responsible for the good government of Turkey—a responsibility which recent events have sufficiently shown we have no power to discharge. If British interests are to be protected, they must be protected in some other way than by or through the Turks. It is not necessary to re-open old controversies or enlarge on well-worn themes. The issue is a simple one, but it is one of the most momentous nature. Is England to be involved in the war J between Russia and Turkey ? No such war can be undertaken by any Government in the face of a divided nation. In order to avert it, all those who believe such a war to be at once unjust and unneces- sary should take all lawful means to convince the Government that a policy of war is one which the English people do not desire and will not support. For that purpose every method should be employed by which the public opinion of & free people can be uttered in order to counteract the machinations of those^whe are labouring to force the | Administration into so fatal a course. j With that object we venture to urge upon you the; expediency of obtaining from all sections or the com- munity to which your influence may extend a clear declaration in favour of neutrality, and a decisive protest against a war for the support of the Turkish Empire, since nothing seems to have yet occurred to alter the wise declaration of the Foreign Secretary that of all British interests the greatest is that o £ j Peace. 4 WESTMINSTER, President. SHAFTESBURY, Vice-President. A. J. MuTOEtLA, Chairman of Committee. WILLIAM MORRIS, Treasurer. GEO. HOWARD, } F. W. CJHESSON, > Honorary Secretaries. j J. W. PROBTN, ) "EDWARD S. PRYCE, Secretary."


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