§ Mr. O'Dwyer
expressed a hope, that although at that late hour, (it was past two o'clock) the House would not object to receive the Motion of which he had given notice. The subject was one of very considerable importance, which deeply affected the honour and character of this country. His Motion was for documents relating to the conduct of General Moreno, who, it was well known, had invited the brave General Torrijos, and several of his companions to Malaga, and had there become the instrument of their destruction, and, what more immediately concerned this country, the destruction of Mr. Boyd, an Englishman. Moreno was now in this country, having recently landed on our shores, and for the character of the country itself, and for the future security of the lives of British subjects, some steps ought to be immediately taken to obtain satisfaction for this violent outrage. It was well known, that at the time of this transaction the British authorities in Malaga had strongly remonstrated against the assassination of Mr. Boyd, though, unfortunately, without effect. It could be proved, he understood, that Torrijos and his companions had been not only invited, but strongly urged by Moreno to come to Malaga. He had been informed, that there were at this moment, documents within reach of the Government, which would fully show the nature of the invitation that had been sent. There was one letter in which, as he was instructed to state, would be found these words—"We burn to join your glorious constitutional cause." This letter was from Moreno, and professed to speak the sentiments of himself and the people of Malaga. This letter, he understood, was at this moment in possession of a person connected with the Government. It would be for the noble Lord (Lord Palmerston) to make inquiry into this subject, for Government was bound to see the honour of the country asserted, and to bring, if possible, the murderer of one of its subjects to justice. He would move "An address for a return of the names of all male persons accompanying Don Carlos, the Infant of Spain, to this country, whose arrival has been notified to the Foreign Department: copy of 938 all correspondence between the Foreign Department and the authorities of Spain, regarding the seizure, and putting to death of Mr. Boyd, a subject of his Majesty."
§ Viscount Palmerston
had no objection to the hon. Member's Motion, but he would suggest to him an alteration in the latter part of it, making it rather for the correspondence of this Government with our Minister at Madrid, and also with the authorities at Malaga, on the subject of the detention and execution of Mr. Boyd. These letters, when produced, would speak for themselves. On one point he must say, the hon. Gentleman was mistaken and misinformed, and that was in supposing that he, or that the Government, was in possession of any such letter as that to which he had alluded, or even that he had ever read any such letter. The circumstances of General Torrijos's entry into Spain were well known. In 1831 General Torrijos went from this country, accompanied by several of his countrymen, with the intention of landing in Spain for the purpose of forwarding their own particular political views. They first got to Gibraltar, and their presence and object there becoming known to the Spanish government, a representation was made by that government to this country, remonstrating against an English garrison being allowed to harbour persons menacing with a hostile attack a country in amity and alliance with us. This Government felt, that our garrison ought not to be used for such a purpose, and the Governor of Gibraltar, as he had authority to do, took steps to find out the parties in order to prevent their making a descent on Spain from that place. Unfortunately, he was not successful in his search; he said unfortunately, for if they had been found they would have been placed on board a British ship, and thus the fate which they afterwards met would have been averted. The parties went from Gibraltar to Malaga, in pursuance of an invitation from some persons there, and an intimation that they would be kindly received. This was his belief. The moment they arrived at Malaga they were arrested, and an account was transmitted by Moreno to Madrid stating the fact. In five days after that, an order came from the Spanish government directing that they should all be shot. A claim was made on the part of the British authorities in behalf of Mr. Boyd, as a British subject; that claim was not recognized, and the demands transmitted by the British authorities were of 939 no avail. The execution took place, and he believed, that in strictness, as far as the Spaniards were concerned, it was quite in accordance with the laws of Spain. As to Mr. Boyd, he was afraid, however they might lament his fate, that his death was justifiable according to the law of nations. Mr. Boyd was found in arms acting against Spain, acting against its authorities, in union with persons who were considered traitors to its government. This was not merely his own opinion, but that of persons much better qualified to form an opinion on the subject than he was. The remonstrances of Mr. Mark at Malaga, and of Mr. Addington, at Madrid, had been very strong to the Spanish government on the subject, but Mr. Boyd had ceased to exist before any intimation of the fact reached Government here. All the Ministers here could do, was to remonstrate with the government of Spain against the course it had pursued, and that had been done. The nature of the remonstrances that had been thus made would be seen when the papers were laid before the House. He hoped, after what he had stated, the hon. and learned Gentleman would alter his Motion, so as that it should include the documents to which he had just referred.
§ Mr. O'Dwyer
had no objection to adopt the suggestion of the noble Lord, but he would beg to ask whether, since the arrival of Moreno in this country, any reference had been made to the Law Officers of the Crown as to whether any and what mode existed of bringing that man to punishment.
§ Viscount Palmerston
said, that he had directed such reference to be made for the satisfaction of the public feeling on this subject, but though he had adopted that course, he himself had very little doubt what the nature of the answer returned would be.
§ Mr. Cuthbert Rippon
said, that there was a letter in the possession of an individual at this moment in this country, addressed by Moreno to General Torrijos, in which the words referred to by the hon. and learned Gentleman, "I burn to join your constitutional expedition," occurred. He was ready to put this letter into the hands of the noble Lord. Now, after this fact, could the noble Lord hesitate to go into an immediate inquiry for the purpose of ascertaining how far the country could receive satisfaction for the outrage committed on one of its subjects?
was sure, that the law of nations would not permit that a man who 940 was in our power, who had enticed a British subject into his hands and then cruelly murdered him, should be suffered to escape with impunity. In the law of nations some provisions must exist, and no doubt did exist, to punish the subject of one country for the murder of the subject of another. It would not permit that a monster of this kind should be suffered to escape, and he was sure that every good man would rejoice at seeing a murderer of this description brought to justice.
§ Viscount Palmerston
said, the question was, whether Mr. Boyd was placed in such a situation as that he could be protected by the law of nations? Was an enterprise which had been previously undertaken against Spain, but which had been accelerated by the acts of others—he would not say how fairly—was not that, he would ask, such a circumstance as took the case of Mr. Boyd out of the protection of the law of nations? He could not think that that law could be construed to afford protection to an individual circumstanced as Mr. Boyd was.
thought, that if an agent of a foreign government enticed a British subject into his power, and then put him to death, there must be some law which would reach an act of that kind; and if so, our Government ought at least, now that this monster was in its power, to put the question into a train of judicial investigation. Language was not strong enough to express the feelings of detestation which every man must have for atrocious perfidy of this kind; and yet this wretch had polluted the Press of this country by his name affixed to an attempted vindication of his horrid deed. He must repeat, that he did think this was a case to which the law of nations would apply, and he hoped, therefore, that the noble Lord would take steps for having an opinion on the subject from proper quarters.
§ Mr. Hutt
said, he had known the brave General Torrijos intimately, and he was aware of the cruel treachery by which he had been invited to Malaga, and there betrayed by the blood-thirsty Moreno. He knew that the General and his companions were sacrificed to the blood-thirsty ambition of that cruel tyrant, who had made their bodies the steps by which to ascend to power and favour under the Spanish government. If that man were now in this country, if he were in our power, he ought not to be suffered to depart until some 941 means had been tried to bring him to justice. Human nature recoiled at the cold-blooded atrocity of inviting a man under the mask of friendship and attachment to a meeting that he might be lured to his destruction, for the mere selfish purpose of personal advancement. If then, he repeated, there were any means by which this dastardly and blood-thirsty coward could be brought to justice, he hoped the noble Lord would not fail to have recourse to them.
§ The Motion agreed to.