§ Lord Mahon
rose to bring forward the Motion upon the subject of the late Orders in Council in regard to the Foreign Enlistment Act, of which, some time past, he had given notice. The noble Lord commenced by expressing his regret that he should stand in the way of any hon. Members in whose name a Motion for that evening stood, and expressed his obligation for the consideration evinced in permitting him to take precedence of the other business which stood upon the paper. It was not for his own sake that he asked the House to give him an opportunity of submitting his Motion—it was for the sake of the important subject to which that Resolution referred; and, much as the attention of hon. Members was at the present moment directed to a question of the greatest domestic interest, he confidently trusted that they would, for a short time turn to a ques- 1134 tion which he thought he should be able to convince the House deeply affected the national interest and the national honour. In order to narrow the grounds on which it was his intention to base his Motion, and to bring the Question within as small a compass as possible, he should, in the first place, lay aside those points on which there was no difference of opinion between himself and the noble Lord opposite. There were some points on which he and the noble Lord were entirely agreed. He did not dispute the legality of the Order in Council. He believed the Foreign Enlistment Act gave to his Majesty in Council a dispensing power, and in using that dispensing power Ministers had not gone beyond the bounds of their just and constitutional authority. He would admit also most readily that the Queen of Spain was our ally, and that we were bound to deal with her as our ally in a cordial and liberal spirit. He admitted also the obligations contained in the stipulations of the treaties we were required to perform towards our ally, the Queen of Spain. Those obligations were expressed in the second article of the four additional articles which were signed in August last by the noble Lord opposite, and were in these words: — "His [Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland engages to furnish to her Catholic Majesty such supplies of arms and warlike stores as her Majesty may require, and further to assist her Majesty if necessary, with a naval force." He did not wish to discuss at present the policy of the quadruple treaty. When the late Government came into office it formed no part of their business to inquire whether that treaty was formed on wise political principles—and whether the noble Lord in concluding that treaty had duly consulted and followed the interests of England. It was enough for him to know that the late Government was aware that that treaty had been actually concluded, and that the faith of England was pledged to it. The Members of that Government had felt there could be no deviating from that treaty consistent with the faith and honour of this country towards foreign powers; therefore they had observed most scrupulously every part of it. In pursuance of the stipulation he had just read, the noble Lord, while in office, had, he believed, supplied to the Queen of Spain about 40,000 muskets; the Duke of Wellington had supplied about 50,000 more, and other supplies of arms had also 1135 been granted. When the question of repayment arose, the Duke of Wellington decided that he would not press inconveniently on the Government of Spain for repayment, but would trust to the good faith of that Government to repay at a future opportunity. Then this country sent out the mission of Lord Eliot, a mission upon which he did not think it necessary to trouble the House with any observations, because, when the subject of that mission was discussed a short time ago, it appeared to him that nearly the whole House seemed to concur in thinking that that mission was no less honourable to England than beneficial to the Government of Spain. That being the case unless the contrary was the wish of the House, he would not say another word on that question. On the whole, therefore, he would assume that the stipulation to which that House was bound by treaty had been most exactly and scrupulously attended to and fulfilled by the late Government. He was sure he need say no more on that point, which he felt to be the less necessary after the very honourable testimony borne to the conduct of the late Government by Lord Melbourne —honourable to his manly character—and satisfactory to those whose conduct he approved of, and that testimony was, that the late Government had not given the slightest encouragement to the cause of Don Carlos, and that they had most honourably fulfilled their obligations to the Queen of Spain. Such, then, had been the conduct of England. But it was one thing to fulfil all the obligations of a treaty—one thing to construe a treaty in a liberal and cordial sense, and quite another thing to be prepared to support an ally at the expense of British treasure and British blood. Why was it we supported the Queen of Spain? It could only be because we believed it to be agreeable to the great majority of the Spanish people. Because it was supported by nine-tenths of the Spanish people. Were the fact otherwise it could not be contended that we had a right to impose a government on that people contrary to their inclinations. Was the Spanish Government, in fact, agreeable to a great majority of the people of Spain? He should like to hear the noble Lord's answer to that question. If it were, how came it that a large majority was not able to put an end to an insurrection on the part of a small minority? If it was not, on what ground was it that we were to support it? He might be asked, upon 1136 the argument he had just brought forward, how did it happen that the Spanish Government had so signally failed to put down the insurrection of Don Carlos? His answer to that was to be found in the impolitic acts of the Government of Spain. What could be more impolitic and more unjust than to abolish, all at one blow, all the privileges of the Basque provinces? Was it necessary to change the character of the war from a struggle for a disputed succession, into a struggle for ancient freedom. Then, again, could anything be more impolitic (he might use a stronger word) than the burning of villages, the massacre of helpless prisoners, nay, sometimes even of women and children, by which the provinces of Navarre and Biscay had been desolated, and the glory of Mina and Rodil for ever stained? If even it were said, that the same or greater atrocities were committed on the other side, that was no excuse for such conduct on the part of the Government. It was the duty of an established and legal Government to set an example of moderation and justice to the people—it was its policy to turn the odium of such atrocities on the side of the insurgents. And what had been the result of the system of barbarity which had prevailed? Instead of intimidating, it had aroused that brave people—it had fanned the very flame which it was intended to extinguish. He put it to the House, whether the facts he had stated were not enough to account for the failure of the attempts of the Government to suppress the insurrection; and whether those were not causes fully within the power of the Queen's Government to alter or remove? On such arguments he could not see the necessity, and he would not admit the justice, that they should support the throne of the Queen of Spain at the expense of British blood; but if her throne was to be protected, he was not sure whether he would not prefer a straightforward and manly intervention by sending out a body of the King's troops under the King's Commission, rather than the indirect, and, in his view, discreditable measure to which his Majesty's Government had recourse. He thanked God our people were not Swiss, and he trusted when the time did arrive when they should be called on to assist an ally, they should do so by troops and officers commissioned by the King, and not by mercenary bands. From the period of the Revolution down to 1819, there was 1137 no instance of any individual being authorized by the King's commission to levy armies in England for the service of a foreign power. In 1819 such an attempt had been made in behalf of the South American Republic; but with the assistance of the noble Lord himself (Lord Palmerston) it had been immediately put down. Even if they went back to a more distant period than the Revolution, they would find but very scanty precedents for a proceeding like the present. He would not weary the House with a long historical discussion, but his own opinion was, that the precedents in the reign of Elizabeth were against this course. There was a precedent in the reign of Charles 1st in favour of the present practice, when troops were sent out to the succour of Gustavus Adolphus under the Marquess of Hamilton, but surely they would not be told that Charles was a very constitutional prince when he governed without his Parliament. In his view of the Question, however, the precedents of such remote times were to be valued rather for historical curiosity than for legislative use. He took up his case from the settlement of the Constitution in 1688, and from that time there was no precedent for the measure which he was now discussing; and he said, that to introduce such a system—to encourage such a system as that of mercenary troops—was equally discreditable to the Government and injurious to the country. Such a system had not been defended even by the Swiss themselves: they had only urged, in palliation, the poverty of their rugged and barren mountains. But could such a plea be admitted for this great and rich country? No character, in his opinion, was more entitled to respect than that of the gallant soldier who stood forth in the cause and at the call of his country; he most sincerely wished all those gallant men the prosperity which they were the means of securing and guarding to themselves; and if they fell, their graves would, he hoped, be honoured, and their memory immortal! But very different was his feeling towards those soldiers, however brave or skilful, who fought as mercenaries— who had no country but their camp, no patriotism but their pay—who were ready to call themselves Englishmen to-day, and Spaniards or Portuguese to-morrow. He did not throw this out by way of imputation against those officers who had enlisted in this expedition. He was ready to admit, that those who had come forward 1138 under the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster were not influenced by any sordid motives, such as plunder and pay; he had no doubt they were influenced by the love of distinction, and by a spirit of enterprise —motives not by any means dishonourable, but which were certainly not sufficient to vindicate the proceeding. In his opinion, to justify the character of a soldier it was absolutely necessary that he should come forward at the call, and in the cause, of his country. There were cases when the profession of a mercenary soldiery might, perhaps, be considered a necessary evil, such as where they existed in exile from their country, as was the case with the Poles at present. Other instances might also be adduced, as the Jacobites of last century, and the Catholics who fought at the battle of the Boyne. But he never would sanction by his voice in that House the establishment in Great Britain of a system of condottiéeri. It was disgraceful to Italy in the darkest era of her history, and it was utterly unworthy of England in the present enlightened age. He had another objection to make with respect to a number of the force to be employed on the present occasion. It was inadequate to perform the service required of the troops. He understood that when the Question of intervention was discussed, 50,000 men was stated as the number which would be required, and the French Commissioner went so far as to speak of 120,000 men. According to the opinion of those who had the best means of judging on this Question, what chance is there for the success of only 10,000? If a. General Officer wished to perform a special service, and if he were to dispatch only one-fourth or one-fifth of the number of troops which he understood to he required, he would be liable to an impeachment by this House. And would it be said, that a Minister, under precisely the same circumstances, was wholly free from blame? Then, again, look to the manner in which this force was to be commanded. He meant no disrespect to the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster; he should be sorry if political hostility led him on any occasion to say anything at all personally offensive to him. But without disparaging his military services, he had a right to speak of his rank. Now, if there was any value in military subordination of rank, and the due scale of promotion, which the noble Lord (Palmerston) would not be disposed to question, he (Lord Mahon) very much doubted whether, without any 1139 wish to give personal offence, a half-pay Lieutenant-colonel was altogether a fit individual to be Commander of 10,000 men. In the scale of military rank, he could scarcely be supposed to have either sufficient experience or authority. Nor was the manner in which the hon. and gallant Member intended to conduct his expedition likely to prove much more satisfactory. Without entering into any military criticism, he might ask if it was not extraordinary, that the gallant Colonel did not resign his seat? He felt himself, it seemed, quite competent to serve his new masters in Spain, and his old constituents in Westminster; but was there not a fear that he might thereby be tempted to compromise both the characters he had assumed? Would they not be incompatible one with another? The hon. and gallant Member might find it difficult to return to this country when his Majesty might again call Parliament together. His military operations might prevent him. He could not leave the field on the eve of a decisive victory. He did not assail the character or motives of the gallant Colonel. He only stated the position of the gallant Officer. The expedition tended altogether to failure, and Government ought not to expose the honour of the country to such a venture. If the noble Lord opposite (Palmerston) should say it was no business of theirs, that it concerned only the Queen of Spain, he (Lord Mahon) would say on the other hand, in answer to such an argument, that the honour of the country was implicated, and such an army of equipment, though not bearing the King's Commission, if defeated in Spain, must cast a great stain on the national renown. What right had the noble Lord to expose the military glory of the nation to such a disaster? What right had he to expose our countrymen to failure on the fields of Salamanca, or Vittoria still green with our laurels? There was another point of great importance, to which he felt it necessary to call the attention of the House—he meant, how far this corps would be included in Lord Eliot's convention. The Queen's Generals had restricted it to the armies contending in Navarre, although, as previously signed by Zumalacarreguy, it had a more extensive aspect. It was very doubtful whether the force about to be sent out to Spain could be fairly included in the convention, even if acting in Navarre; but if employed in other parts besides Navarre and Biscay, it would certainly not apply to them. Such was the interpreta- 1140 tion put on the Convention by Lord Eliot himself, and therefore it was a point which demanded the serious attention of the House. He felt reluctant to take up more of their time; but he considered it incumbent on him to bring the matter under their attention. There was another point in which the Question might also be considered. He (Lord Mahon) was not unacquainted with Spain, with the country itself, or with the character and condition of its inhabitants. He had gone through most of its provinces, and endeavoured to make himself acquainted with the feelings and opinions of the people. No doubt the national character was very different in the different provinces of which that country was composed, and the feelings of all on various subjects were not in perfect unison; but he could confidently state on his own knowledge, that, from the highest peaks of the Sierra Morena to the shores of the Tagus, national pride and an intense hatred of foreign interference with the politics of their country were common to everyone of them. It was, in fact, stronger in Spain than in any other country in which he had been. Taking this into consideration, he should say, that if there was any wish on the part of the present Government to increase the adherents and extend the power of Don Carlos over the population of the country, no more effectual mode of doing this could be adopted than that now set on foot by the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Foreign Department. He could assure the noble Lord and the House that if it were persevered in, it would be only the first step to some more decisive and alarming measures. If the intervention were on a larger scale—if it were such as that of Napoleon, when he sent 100,000 men to Spain, sufficient to overpower all immediate or open resistance, then he could understand it: but when it was confined to a comparatively trifling force of 10,000 men, he could only calculate upon a perpetuation of resistance, and an encouragement to continuous opposition. It was, therefore, the most unsatisfactory measure which could by possibility be devised. It would tend directly to increase the adherents of Don Carlos and to assure his chance of the throne, while its indirect tendency would be the destruction of so many British subjects, and the loss of the national honour. There was another point to which some attention would be required. He meant the expenses of this army of 10,000 men. He understood that the answer of Lord Melbourne in another place was, that the 1141 British Government was not liable, and that the court of Spain bore it all. He wished to know who would secure to the men and Officers engaged that the pay for which they stipulated should be duly discharged? Many of the men had joined the expedition under the impression that the British Government, by sanctioning the course, guaranteed the payment and all contingencies. It would be a great hardship on them if they were, by some of those accidents to which each party was liable— defeat, loss of possession, or death—to find themselves without any resource and without any mode of recovery. He could not but wish that the noble Lord opposite had looked more to the opinion of the noble Duke, his predecessor in office, and less to his own, in dealing with the subject. He could assure that noble Lord that that noble Duke had never hesitated to adopt his measures whenever he found them likely to be serviceable to the State. That illustrious individual never suffered party feeling to interfere with the true interests of his country, and it was equal to him in what quarter measures originated, so they had the public good for their object. He recollected a particular instance, which he should state to the House. It was the case of a despatch which it was necessary to send to one of our Ministers at a foreign court. In that instance the noble Duke did not give any new instructions; he simply referred the Ambassador to the directions which he had received from the noble Lord opposite, his predecessor in office. And he expressed the satisfaction he felt whenever he was able conscientiously to adopt the opinions of his predecessor. He wished that the noble Lord opposite had been actuated by a similar feeling in regard to the case before the House, as it would have been greatly for the advantage, as well as for the honour of the country. If there was one subject to which, more than to any other, the Duke of Wellington, in his speeches in Parliament, at the Congress of Verona, and in his official despatches, expressed his aversion, it was to foreign intervention with the internal affairs of Spain. He had always asserted, and always argued, that no British soldier especially should be permitted to interfere with them. The noble Lord had the last-named documents in the records of his office, and he must, therefore, be aware of the disapprobation with which the noble Duke, his predecessor, regarded this subject. The noble Lord must also have been aware, in common with every 1142 individual in the kingdom, that the opinion of the noble Duke was peculiarly valuable on all matters relating to Spain, especially at the present moment, when an infant constitution was beginning to bud forth into being and life. On this point he should wish to call the attention of the noble Lord to an authority of great weight with his side of the House, an authority which only exceeded itself by the beauty of the language in which it was couched. It was no less an authority than a speech made by the noble Lord himself, on the 30th of April, 1823, on a motion made by Mr. Macdonnell, respecting the Spanish negotiation. In the Debate a question arose on the advice which had been given by the Duke of Wellington relative to noninterference, on which occasion the noble Lord expressed himself in these apposite terms:—He could not but think that the choice of the Duke of Wellington, as the person by whom this advice was to be given, was most delicate towards Spanish feelings, and most consistent with a regard to Spanish honour. If there was any man in Europe from whom advice to Spain would flow free from the remotest taint of suspicion—and might be taken by all Spaniards as dictated by the sincerest regard for Spain—it was the Duke of Wellington. It is often said that nothing creates so strong an affection as the consciousness of benefits conferred. If ever there was a man who conferred upon any nation benefits which should call down blessings on his head from every voice —from the lisping accents of infancy to the tremulous benedictions of age—that man was the Duke of Wellington, that nation the Spanish people. It is also true, in the principles of human nature, that man loves the theatre of his glory, and the companions of his triumphs. The proudest laurels which encircle the brow of the Duke of Wellington were gathered in the sterile and unfruitful fields of Spain. It was in the provinces of the Peninsula, and surrounded by its co-operating population, that he displayed those various qualities which form the character of the unconquered General and the consummate Statesman— characters which, rare in their separate existence, are uncommon indeed in their union in the same individual; it was there that he established that imperishable fame that will last while history endures. Was it in human nature that the Duke of Wellington should not take the warmest interest in all that concerns Spain and the Spanish people? Was it possible that they should not feel, that advice from him came as free from suspicion as from the best patriot in Spain; and could they suppose that the man who had rescued Spain from subjection, and washed out from her soil the pollution of invading footsteps in the blood of the de- 1143 feated invader, could counsel Spain to dishonour?*The noble Lord went on to say—Had we engaged in the war it is by an army alone that we could have given effectual assistance; and from the first moment that an English soldier set foot in the Peninsula we should by necessity have become principals in the war, and upon us would have fallen the whole burden of the contest; for we must have sent a large army, or none at all. To have sent a force so small as to depend upon Spanish co-operation and support, and not large enough to act independently, and to stand upon its own resources, would have been to expose us to the certainty of defeat and disgrace, and wilfully to drag in the dirt the laurels we gained in the last war." †He admitted that this passage applied to regular, and not to mercenary soldiers; but it was quite plain that the argument was, in the latter case, only the stronger, unless indeed the noble Lord would contend that mercenaries raised in the streets of London, at a moment's notice, were likely to be more efficient and valuable than the same number of King's troops. He had now gone through the grounds on which he considered the Order in Council liable to the most serious objection. He had not, he trusted the House would see, moved on light grounds for its production. He trusted that the House would pardon the trespass he had made on their time, and believe him when he assured them that a sense of duty alone had urged him to bring forward his Motion. Perhaps there were other considerations besides those which he had adduced; but he conceived he had brought forward a sufficient number for his purpose —which was to convince the House of the impolicy and inexpediency of countenancing the proceeding in question. He hoped that, in viewing the subject, hon. Members would look at it in all its bearings; not as in connexion with party politics of any kind whatever. If they should do so, he felt persuaded that they would speedily and entirely coincide with him in opinion. The noble Lord concluded by moving an humble address for
"A copy of the Order in Council exempting his Majesty's subjects who may engage in the service of Spain from the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act, and copies of all correspondence which had taken place between the Spanish Government and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs relative to the subject."* Hansard, vol. viii, (new series) p. 1456.† Ibid, p, 1458.
§ Viscount Palmerston
began by assuring the noble Lord that he should offer no opposition to the production of the papers in question; on the contrary so confident did he feel that the more the conduct of his Majesty's Government on this subject was investigated, the more would it obtain the approbation of that House and of the country—that he should willingly give his support to any Motion, such as that of the noble Lord, which tended to lay more fully before the House and the public the nature of the transaction to which those papers referred—and the grounds on which it rested. He was glad that the noble Lord, in the beginning of his speech, had cleared away in some respects those points on which a difference of opinion might have been supposed to exist between them, and that he had stated it not to be his intention to question either the legality of the Order in Council, or the policy of the Treaty of the Quadruple Alliance. At the same time he must be permitted to remark, holding, as he did, that the measure under discussion grew out of that treaty as its natural consequence, and was conceived purely in the spirit of it, that he could not but feel great surprise that the noble Lord should abstain from questioning the policy of the treaty, when he had so strongly condemned the policy of a measure which flowed from it as a necessary corollary. He was glad to have then an opportunity, which circumstances had deprived him of on Friday evening, of giving his testimony to the policy of the Convention signed by Lord Eliot and Colonel Gurwood, and of saying that he thought it redounded highly to the credit of the Government by whose instructions it had been proposed. He regarded it as an act of which they might be proud, as advantageous to all parties concerned. He was equally ready to bear his testimony to the fair, sincere, and honourable manner in which the late Government conducted the foreign relations of this country in reference to the contest in Spain, and the execution of the Quadruple Treaty. The noble Lord had quoted from a speech which he (Lord Palmerston) had made on a former occasion, a passage in which he had stated his opinion that the Duke of Wellington was, from the services which he had rendered to Spain, peculiarly entitled to be the counsellor of Spain in the hour of difficulty, and must be looked upon as one who had the interest of Spain at heart. He had not altered in one iota the opinions ex- 1145 pressed in that speech; and what he had seen of the records of the Office over which he had the honour to preside, relative to the manner in which the Duke of Wellington had acted in the execution of the engagements of the treaty of the Quadruple Alliance, had only tended to convince him the more that the Duke of Wellington had the interest of Spain at heart. Those records had shown him that that noble Duke had acted with the strictest good faith, sincerity, and honour in the execution of that treaty, whatever might have been his opinion on the policy of originally framing it. That testimony he felt bound to bear, not only because he had been appealed to by the noble Lord, but because he conceived it to be his duty to bear that testimony from the situation which he had the honour to hold. Knowing, then, from these records what were the opinions of the late Government on the present question, it was not without some surprise that he had heard opinions of so different a nature implied, if not expressed, by the noble Lord who had then belonged to that Government. For although the noble Lord had expressed a tender anxiety lest the number of troops should be insufficient, lest their pay should not be adequate, and lest officers should be discouraged from entering into the service of the Queen of Spain by apprehensions that they would not be included within the limits of the Convention, and although the noble Lord seemed to tremble with alarm lest his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Evans) should not possess rank enough to give him the authority necessary to enable him to carry the undertaking in which he was about to embark to a successful issue, and although any one who had heard the expressions of the noble Lord might suppose him to be really anxious for the success of the cause of the Queen of Spain, yet the impression on his (Lord Palmerston's) mind was this, that if the results should be adverse to her cause, the noble Lord would not be found amongst the greatest mourners on that occasion. The noble Lord, indeed, had been not merely expounding his own opinions, but had undertaken to say what were the opinions of the Duke of Wellington on that particular question, and had told the House that that noble Duke greatly disapproved of the Order in Council. The noble Lord would doubtless not have taken on himself thus to state what were the opinions of a noble Friend of his, particularly as that noble Duke had the opportunity 1146 of nightly expressing his own opinions in Parliament, unless the noble Lord had been fully authorised so to do; but when the noble Lord referred him (Lord Palmerston) to the records of the Foreign Office in confirmation of them, and reproached him for not having adopted as well as consulted the recorded opinions of the Duke of Wellington, as, in some instances, that noble Duke had consulted and adopted the recorded opinions of the Government preceding him, he must beg to say that he was not aware that there were in the archives of his Office any records of any opinions of the Duke of Wellington on the particular Question which the noble Lord had brought before the House.—[Lord Mahon: As to the intervention of foreigners in the internal affairs of Spain.]—The noble Lord made use of a very convenient expression, and included under one denomination things totally different; indeed the fallacy pervading the noble Lord's speech was this, that he confounded the measure now under consideration—namely, the permission accorded to English subjects to enter into the service of the Queen of Spain—with a measure perfectly distinct in its nature, the sending out into Spain of armies, under generals obeying foreign sovereigns and receiving foreign pay, and therefore not under the orders and disposition of the Government of Spain. When the noble Lord quoted opinions of his (Lord Palmerston's) expressed at the time when France was sending an army of nearly 200,000 men to dispose of and re-model the internal Government of Spain, and seemed to found upon them a charge of inconsistency, the noble Lord should bear in mind that those opinions were not applicable to the present case, from which the case of that former period was totally and essentially distinct. Looking to the question of policy, what remote resemblance could there be between the two cases? At that time there was an army of nearly 200,000 Frenchmen marching into Spain to decide what should be the constitution of that country; and now about 10,000 or 12,000 persons were in arms with a view of opposing its established Government. And here he would, in answer to the question of the noble Lord as to the side on which were the majority of the Spanish nation, declare that he had no hesitation in stating it to be with the Queen; and the proof of that fact was to be found in the circumstance that for nearly a year and a half the resistance to her authority had been confined to particular 1147 provinces, and that no disturbances had broken out in any other parts of the ting, dom. It should be recollected also that the inhabitants of these provinces formed a people different in race, habits, and language from the people of the rest of Spain; and there could consequently be no justice in inferring from the resistance of the inhabitants of Biscay, that the people of Spain generally partook of the same feelings as influenced them. The noble Lord had quoted also his (Lord Palmerston's) opinion in the case of 1823, that it would be inexpedient, if we sent troops, not to send a large army. But in that war was it merely 180,000 or 200,000 Frenchmen that we should have had to encounter? Did not the noble Lord recollect that the French army on that occasion was merely the advanced guard of Europe; that the other European Powers supported France on that occasion; and that the contest into which we should have been led would have been a contest not with France alone, but with the other Powers of Europe? The objection which he (Lord Palmerston) had taken, too, was to the sending of a British army into Spain which should act under the orders of the King of England, and not be subject to the orders of the King of Spain. No such course had been pursued on the present occasion; no English army had been sent as an English army; permission had been simply given to British subjects to enrol themselves in the service of the Queen of Spain; and the dignity of the Crown of Spain was in nowise wounded by a measure such as that, because the levies so enrolled under that permission were, for the time being, the troops of the power whose pay they received, and whose colours they wore. A force such as they constituted, and a foreign army, were so palpably distinct, that he wondered how any man could confound them. The noble Lord had said, that there was no precedent for the course pursued. He (Lord Palmerston) would not dispute with the noble Lord as to that point; he wished to found the conduct which the British Government should pursue upon the circumstances of the case, and upon the expediency of the time. If that Government were wrong in what they had done, twenty precedents in their favour would not make that case of wrong a case of right; if they were right, as he contended they were, it was perfectly indifferent whether they had been following a precedent in the course which they had taken, or boldly establishing a precedent for themselves and 1148 for others, in time to come, satisfied that when similar contingencies arose, their example would be followed if they had been right, and avoided if they had been wrong. He therefore maintained that that case was not one of precedent, but a case af acting right or wrong. He held that they were right, that they were acting in strict pursuance of the true interests of England; and he would say moreover, that they were acting in strict fulfilment of the treaty which they had formed, and that if they had gone a step further—if, for instance, France had sent troops under French generals, and England had sent troops under English generals, on the demand of Spain for assistance—such operations might have rendered necessary fresh articles, in order to regulate the execution of their objects, but they would not have been exceeding the spirit of the Quadruple Treaty. A question might have arisen as to whether such a mode of proceeding was expedient or wise; but no question could have arisen as to whether the adoption of it implied the entering into a new course of policy, and the departure from the spirit of engagements which were contracted twelve months since, and which had been before Parliament since that period, and had not called down the disapprobation of Parliament. It was an English interest that the cause of the Queen of Spain should be successful; it was of great interest to this country that that alliance which had been fortunately cemented between the four Powers of the West, England, France, Constitutional Spain, and Constitutional Portugal—it was, he repeated, of great interest and importance in the most enlarged views of national policy that that alliance should continue; and it could only continue by the success of the Queen of Spain. If any man were to tell him, that in the event of Don Carlos succeeding in what he (Lord Palmerston) held to be impossible—establishing himself on the throne of Spain, and in restoring all those principles of internal government and of foreign policy which would inevitably accompany his establishment—if any man were to tell him that such a change in the state of Spain would leave her as efficient an ally in the spirit of the Quadruple Treaty for England, as she would continue to be if the cause of the Queen should triumph,—he would tell that individual that he neither understood the interests of England, nor the spirit of the treaty in question. They knew that Eu- 1149 rope had been, since the French revolution of July, divided, he would not say into hostile, but into different parties, of which the Members of each have acted together according to their respective principles, and if they have not met in arms, have not done so because of the anxiety which all the Governments of Europe have felt and professed to maintain peace and avoid everything likely to involve Europe in war. The maintenance of peace not only in the Peninsula, but also in Europe, was one great object which that Quadruple Alliance was intended to effect; and in his opinion there was no better guarantee for the continuance of the peace of Europe than that alliance— an alliance founded not on any selfish views of interest, not for any purpose of national aggrandizement, not from the remotest design of aggression against others, but solely for the purpose of preserving the peace of Europe, and maintaining the independence of the states who were parties to it. With regard to the convention, it was clear that it did include the troops who were going from this country; on that point there could not be a question. With regard to their pay—the noble Lord must be fully aware that the British Government had nothing to do with that point. When the noble Lord was pleased to taunt those men who should enrol themselves in the service of the Queen of Spain as mercenaries— ready to call themselves Englishmen to-day and Spaniards to-morrow—as men who disgraced their country, and were about to sell for lucre their own blood and the blood of their countrymen. He could not but express a deep regret that the noble Lord, whom he knew to possess the feelings of an Englishman, and who had devoted his leisure and the faculties of his mind to subjects connected with the history of the country in question, should have felt so coldly on the matter, and that he should take so false and narrow a view of it as to throw out on brave and honourable men imputations so entirely undeserved. Could the noble Lord not conceive that some other motive might lead Englishmen to fight under the banners of a Constitutional Sovereign except the mere lucre of pay.
§ Lord Mahon
said, that he had expressly stated that the motives of these men might be honourable, but not sufficient. He admitted the bravery and the enterprise of these individuals, but that was not enough in his view to justify their proceedings.
§ Viscount Palmerston
had certainly un- 1150 derstood the noble Lord as dwelling much on personal interest for the noble Lord talked of condottiéri, and declared that men were not justified in the eyes of God in shedding the blood of others except in defence of their country—and the noble Lord alluded to the Swiss as an illustration; but of course, if the noble Lord had not expressed such feelings, the observation made by himself in reference to them at once fell to the ground. He had only to state further, that he entirely differed from the noble Lord upon the particular question under discussion; he thought that the Government of this country was perfectly justified, not only by law, as the noble Lord admitted, but by policy, by prudence, and a due regard to its interests, in taking the step which it had taken—a step which was widely different from the measure with which the noble Lord had confounded it, the sending of a foreign army into Spain. For his part he must say he admired these brave men, who were embarking in the cause of the Queen of Spain, and he cordially wished them that success which he confidently believed would attend their efforts. He had, he believed, noticed every point to which it was necessary for him to allude; he would only, in addition, express a hope that if anything further should be said rendering it incumbent on him to make any other remarks, the House would indulge him with the opportunity of so doing.
was ready to repeat the belief which he had formerly expressed, that the Duke of Wellington had fulfilled his duty in reference to the Quadripartite Treaty, however much what had fallen from the noble Lord opposite (Lord Mahon) might seem to imply that he had not. The noble Lord had made some observations in reference to himself and those who were about to embark in the expedition which was to be placed under his command; and the noble Lord had, among other things, spoken of them as men who were ready to call themselves Englishmen one day, and Portuguese or Spaniards the next. He should wish to ask the noble Lord, whether he noble Lord had meant to imply anything disrespectful in the observations he had made, and whether the noble Lord meant to include him amongst those whom he had described as mercenaries.
§ Lord Mahon
could have no hesitation in saying, that he had no intention of making any remark disrespectful to the gallant Colonel.
said, the noble Lord had talked of evasive policy, but his answer was evasive. The noble Lord had said, that he meant no disrespect to him personally, was it to the men or to the officers that he meant to apply the language the noble Lord had used? The noble Lord was involved in a series of contradictions and evasions throughout his speech, both with reference to persons and things. The noble Lord might disclaim any intention of conveying disrespect to himself personally; but if he meant to apply disrespect to those who would serve with him, he (Colonel Evans) must say that he should, on their part, treat any such intimation of disrespect towards them with all the disgust and contempt which he should conceive it to merit if applied to himself.
§ The Speaker
said, the hon. and gallant officer was making use of strong language and he must be aware that such language was not consistent with the moderation and forbearance usually observed in the House.
had spoken hypothetically and had merely said, that "if" the noble Lord had made such an intimation, he should entertain those feelings; he did not at that moment know whether the noble Lord had or had not, for in some parts of his speech he had said things which he had counter-said in others, and therefore he (Colonel Evans) did conceive that he might be allowed to put the hypothetical case, and might say that if the noble Lord meant to throw out expressions of disrespect, he (Colonel Evans) would return them to him with perfect contempt and disgust. Whether the case was to apply to the noble Lord or not, he could not tell, because he did not know whether the noble Lord meant or not to apply the expressions. The noble Lord had spoken of condolliéri; surely that name could not apply to British soldiers under any circumstances! The term condottiéri had been applied to a class of men who hired themselves out, but did not fight much; and the noble Lord could not then, he should think, apply it to any of the persons about to engage in the undertaking in question. The noble Lord had spoken also of mercenaries; what was the meaning of that term? It applied to those who spoke, acted, or fought for pay. The noble Lord had said, however, that he did not apply that term to him (Colonel Evans) but he was not willing to accept of a compliment at the expense of those who were engaged with him in the same undertaking. 1152 The noble Lord said, that they were mercenaries, but that he (Colonel Evans) was not. He did not see how that could possibly be the case; nor did he see how he himself could be entitled to the appellation because he served under another Government with the permission of his own. If he accepted a Commission in the Spanish service, what did he do more than the Duke of Wellington had done, and was doing now? Was he more of a mercenary than the Duke of Wellington, who was still, he believed, a field-marshal in the Spanish service, or holding a rank corresponding to that? It might be said that he was a mercenary, because he received pay; but was the Duke of Wellington free from that charge. He trusted that no person would think that in that observation he meant to convey anything disrespectful to the noble Duke; indeed he knew of no part of the Duke of Wellington's property more honourable to him than was that which he held in Spain. But it had been given for his military services in Spain; and if he had rightly acquired it, how absurd, how inconsiderate, how unworthy were the paltry imputations thrown out by the noble Lord? There was also Lord Beresford, who held the rank, and was receiving the pay, of a field-marshal in the service of Portugal, and who had also served as a marshal of the Portuguese army under the sanction of the British Government, and he was about to act in a similar manner under a similar sanction—and under one than which he did not conceive he could have a stronger. The noble Lord said, that he (Colonel Evans) and those who would act with him, were equally ready to serve either one Government or another— one set of principles or another set; but was he going to serve in support of principles which he had not hitherto supported? And if the noble Lord would point out any officer or soldier in the force to be placed under his command, who did not more or less participate in the feeling which he himself entertained, and which influenced him, he would engage that that individual should not make part of the expedition. The noble Lord had also alluded to the lowness of his rank, and seemed to question, on that ground, the propriety of his appointment. All he could say on this point was, that he was perfectly ready to admit the moral weight which the rank of the Officer who might be appointed lo it, added to the command which he had the honour to receive; but he need hardly in- 1153 form the House that he had not sought the appointment; that it had been offered to him in a very flattering manner, and that as he had willingly and cheerfully accepted it, so he was ready to resign it to any general or field marshal who was prepared to act on the principles of the noble Lord, which he took for granted were the same as those which influenced the Duke of Wellington: namely, to take such steps as were necessary for putting down Don Carlos. As to his experience he must be allowed to consider the opinion of the noble Lord on that head as one to which he was not certainly prepared implicitly to submit; and as to his devotion to his own country he might, without meaning to attach any undue importance to the services which he had rendered, declare that he had given at all events as strong proof of his attachment to it as any which the noble Lord could adduce. With respect to the charge of being mercenary, he should take no further notice of it than to say that it might perhaps be urged on something like ostensible grounds, if the noble Lord who made it had not required that he should be paid the amount of his quarter's salary for the time during which he remained in office. He was satisfied that the House would expect no further explanation from him; and he should, therefore, conclude by reiterating what he had previously said; that the whole of the noble Lord's speech was a tissue of inconsistencies and evasions from beginning to end, and of denials in one or two points of what he had previously stated.
§ Mr. Poulter
I thank the Government for not having permitted any law or restriction to prevent the gallant spirit and gallant affections of this country from giving their important and animating assistance to a just and righteous cause. I think we must either abandon the Quadruple Treaty, or do more in support of it than we have hitherto done. That Treaty begins by laying down, most distinctly, the great principle upon which it is based—that is, the complete pacification of the two constitutional kingdoms of the Peninsula. The Treaty having done this, seems to have left the precise course of proceeding, and the kind and degree of assistance to be afforded by the contracting parties, to future circumstances and future contingencies as they might arise. At the time of the execution of the Treaty the evil to be overcome was the position of Don Miguel and Don Carlos at the head of a military force in the kingdom 1154 of Portugal. When this evil was at an end, the second state of things was connected with the insurrection in the northern provinces of Spain, at that time neither formidable nor dangerous. Under this state of things, France undertook to prevent the transmission of arms and ammunition by the Pyrenees into Spain,—England undertaking to do the same in reference to their importations by sea. A third state of things has now arisen, in the very formidable and fearful character of the increased power of this insurrection. We must now either desert the principle of the Treaty, or go further than we have hitherto done. National interference is inexpedient; and, I ask, can we do less than remove all obstacles which may prevent the subjects of this kingdom from enlisting in the service of constitutional liberty? I regard this Treaty as one of the most beneficial ever executed by this country. It is difficult for the mind to enumerate all the great consequences which will ultimately flow from it. It is a subject of congratulation that the great changes which have taken place in Spain and Portugal have been in both instances conformable to the principles of right and legitimacy. The old Salic law of France was imposed on Spain at an early period of the sixteenth century by Philip 5th, under the grossest intimidation of the Cortez, and of the old Council of Castile; and the abrogation of that law under Charles 4th., though not duly promulgated till the reign of his son Ferdinand 7th, would have been universally acceptable to the Spanish people as a return to the ancient law of that monarchy, had it not been for its connexion with representative Government, which made it odious to the priesthood and to the apostolical party in that country. This case is one of the most singular, or rather the most singular case itself which can occur, in the political world. No doubt a large portion of the people are awaiting in fear and trembling the issue of the conflict. After every deduction, however, there is certainly a considerable body on the side of Don Carlos; but I ask what are they composed of?—a bigotted priesthood—an ignorant and degraded peasantry, —and a soldiery whom I verily believe to have been all along in the pay of the enemies of constitutional liberty all over the world. I feel sure that all the respectable and middle classes—all the merchants and traders, and persons of education, are entirely on the side of the Liberal Government. I think it an additional circumstance 1155 in favor of the Treaty that it tends to consolidate and cement the happy connexion now subsisting between England and France. I know that the encouragement of this connexion was sometimes imputed as a fault to the present Government during their former Administration; but I think that these two kingdoms, the very first in the world in literature and science, in the genius of their people, in naval and military renown, in every thing which can constitute national superiority, have been but too long engaged in past times in the most hostile warfare. That hostility has now terminated for about twenty years, — and I hope terminated for ever. Looking forward on futurity, and on a new order of things under a better system of general Government, I know nothing upon which the peace, the happiness, and the improvement of mankind, so essentially depend, as upon the cordial union of these two kingdoms. I admit the faults of France; many ages of misgovernment have made that country to be, in a constitutional sense, still an infant state—she has, indeed, much to learn and to unlearn—she has to abandon her love of military glory—her ancient desire of territorial aggrandizement—to study the principles of a well-regulated liberty, and the true sources of national wealth and prosperity. She having, however, during some years, given us such distinguished proofs of her good faith—having retired instantly on the termination of the successful armament against the citadel of Antwerp —having repeatedly submitted her fleets to the command of England,—I hope she will consent to follow and contemplate the latter as an elder and more experienced State—as her best guide and instructress in the arts of a just government, and a truly national policy. If, however, war should ever become necessary, I hope to see it carried on together by the two most powerful nations of the world; and, on every account, I rejoice in this Treaty, and on the prospect it affords of a speedy triumph to the constitutional cause.
§ Sir Robert Peel
said, that nothing was more reasonable than the proposal made by the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Lord Palmerston), that if any observations were made on the policy of the Act to which his noble Friend had called the attention of the House, which required explanation, he should not be debarred by a rigorous adherence to the rules of the House from meeting those observations. He was bound, in the first place, to 1156 thank the noble Lord for the frank and cordial testimony which he had borne to the manner in which the late Government had generally carried into effect the obligations contracted under the Quadruple Treaty, that Treaty being the diplomatic act of a former Government. It was a testimony equally honourable to the noble Lord himself, and to those to whom it was borne, in as much as it proved on the one hand, that no political difference of opinion should prevent an honourable man from doing justice to a political opponent to whom he felt it was due. And on the other, that the pledged faith of the country had been scrupulously observed by those who might have doubted the wisdom of pledging it. The testimony of the noble Lord must be considered conclusive on the subject, because the noble Lord had access to all the official documents, as well as to the most secret correspondence which had passed through the hands of his noble Friend (the Duke of Wellington); and with all the knowledge derived from such sources the noble Lord had not hesitated to declare, that if even the parties to it had been called on to execute that Treaty, they could not have done so in a more honourable and complete manner than that in which the obligations of the Treaty had been executed by his noble Friend. The hon. Member for Westminster seemed to think that the only act done by the British Government in execution of that Treaty was the exportation of 40,000 stand of arms. He apprehended, that whatever the spirit and intention of the Treaty was, all that the British Government was called upon to do was literally and honourably to fulfil the special engagements into which it had entered. The obligations of the British Government under that Treaty were, as he understood them, to afford arms to Spain, to allow the opportunity of getting Spanish vessels repaired in our harbours, and also to give to Spain, if circumstances required it, the aid of a naval force. He was sure the noble Lord opposite would bear out the truth of the observation, when he stated, that though the obligation of supplying a naval force to Spain was in case of necessity imposed on England, yet the law of nations did throw great obstacles in the way of the fulfilment of that special obligation. Without a declaration of war, it was with the greatest difficulty that the special obligation of giving naval aid could be fulfilled without placing the force of such a compact, the performance of which 1157 was guaranteed on the existence of certain circumstances, against the general binding nature of international law. Let them take, for instance, a neutral nation requiring arms. Whatever the special obligation imposed on this country might be, it did not warrant us in checking the enterprise of our own countrymen, or preventing that neutral state from receiving a supply of arms. But we had no right, without a positive declaration of war, to stop the ships of a neutral country on the high seas. It was this difficulty of properly adhering to a determination to give just effect to the terms of the Quadruple Treaty (a difficulty which he was sure the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Attorney-General, would readily admit) had been equally felt by the Government of Lord Melbourne, and that by which it was succeeded, and which induced the latter to confine its aid to a limited supply of arms, not from any unwillingness to fulfil the obligations under which this country was placed, but on account of those obstacles to which he had before alluded, and which were found by all Administrations to be insuperable. The Queen of Spain's claims on the cordial assistance of this country are the same as those of any other ally. She had been recognised, no matter by what Government—for he considered nothing of such vital importance to the character and interests of this country, as that the engagements entered into by one Administration should not be disturbed by another of opposite political principles; and upon that principle he should have considered it unjustifiable on the part of the Administration to which he belonged, to attempt to evade the obligations of the Quadruple Treaty (however they might have dissented from the policy by which it had been originally dictated), or to refuse to carry it into operation in a fair, honourable, and equitable manner. But still, consistently with the admission that the Queen of Spain was equally entitled as any other friendly power to the cordial assistance and good wishes of this country, he might call in question the policy of a particular act, which for the first time in the recent history of this country admitted of direct military intervention in the domestic affairs of another nation. The noble Lord had stated that the permanent interests of this country would be promoted by the firm establishment of the Queen of Spain on the throne. That was a doctrine which might, he thought, be carried too far. 1158 What limit could be affixed to such a principle? What nation might not find in it a pretext for interfering in the domestic concerns of another. The general rule on which England had hitherto acted was that of non-intervention. The only exception admitted to this rule were cases where the necessity was urgent and immediate; affecting, either on account of vicinage or some special circumstances, the safety or vital interests of the State, and then interference was admitted. To interfere on the vague ground that British interests would be promoted by intervention,—on the plea that it would be for our advantage to see established a particular form of Government in a country circumstanced as Spain was—is to destroy altogether the general rule of non-intervention, and to place the independence of every weak power at the mercy of a formidable neighbour. It might be said, however, that he was not warranted in applying the terms "direct military interference," to the expedition which had been sanctioned by the Government. How did it, in principle, differ from such an interference? It was impossible to deny that an act, which the British Government permitted, authorizing British soldiers and subjects to enlist in the service of a foreign Power, and allowing them to be organized in this country, was a recognition of the doctrine of the propriety of assisting by military force a foreign Government in an insurrection of its own subjects. When the Foreign Enlistment Act was under consideration in that House, the particular Clause which empowered the King in Council to suspend its operation was objected to on this ground—that if there was no Foreign Enlistment Act the subjects of this country might volunteer in the service of another, and there could be no particular ground of complaint against them; but that if the King in Council were permitted to issue an order suspending the law with reference to every belligerent, the Government might be considered as sending a force under its own immediate control. The noble Lord had stated, that the insurrection in Spain was confined to the Biscay an provinces. The noble Lord had not, he thought, escaped from the dilemma in which his noble Friend had shown him to be situated—namely, that if the Queen's Government were established in the general affections of the people—if those who, it was said, possessed intelligence, opulence, and knowledge of political rights, and who were in favour of 1159 her Government, preponderated immensely over those engaged in the insurrection, why did they not put it down without calling for the assistance of any foreign power? But if, on the other hand, it happened that the Question was a disputed one—that the opinions of the people were nearly equally divided—and if the difficulty of suppressing the insurrection arose from the fact, that the Pretender to the Throne had support nearly as powerful as its possessor—we had, in that case, embarked in a contest, the issue of which could not now he foreseen, and the settlement of which by our arms, if the precedent of such intervention were once established, must lead to eternal turmoil and warfare. To succeed by our arms, too, would be a perpetual source of weakness to the Queen's Government. The Queen had an army of 54,000 men. How came it, again he asked, that with this preponderating force, with all the intelligence and wealth of the commercial towns ranged, as was said, on the Queen's side, that the insurrection was not yet put down? And where was the security that that Government, which could not suppress an insurrection without foreign aid, would maintain itself by its own native vigour? The noble Lord, however, had stated, that the spirit of the Treaty justified the expedition. The spirit of the Treaty never contemplated, in his opinion, military intervention by any of the parties to it; on the contrary, it rather excluded military intervention. But he would say no more on the foreign policy of the Act, and would only further make a few observations with reference to the bearing of the Order in Council on the domestic concerns of this country. He held, that with respect to them it would be a most dangerous precedent. First, there was no restriction, as far as it appeared, with regard to the number of the men to be enrolled. He would ask the noble Lord (the Secretary of State for the Home Department) if any limits had been assigned since the Order in Council to the number of men to be enrolled? Had he made any private arrangements on the subject? Had he been authorized to do so? He did not take the particular case, he was arguing on the principle; and he asked if there were anything to prevent the enrolment of 5,000 men, and their retention in this country for an indefinite period previous to their embarkation? Thus they would be British subjects in the service, say, of the Queen of Spain, bound 1160 together by new associations, and, at least, while abroad, acknowledging immediate allegiance to another sovereign. He wished to ask, under what system of discipline they were to be? He perceived the force was styled, the British Auxiliary Force, and one of the regulations stated, that the men during their stay in Spain would be subject to the British military law. He could not exactly understand that. The regulation assumed that it would be possible to apply the military code of this country to troops in Spain. He asked the Attorney-General and the noble Lord (Russell) could they be so subjected to it? Would any voluntary arrangement of submission on the part of the soldiers be binding? He apprehended not. Their refusal to obey would be sufficient. Any punishment inflicted on them would be illegal. Therefore he thought it would be impossible to apply our military code in another country. Whatever might be their numbers, whether 5,000, or 10,000; whatever might be the service in which they were engaged, he looked upon the principle of permitting the enrolment, and discipline of troops here for a foreign State, as pregnant with great dangers. These men were to go to Spain, to engage in warfare, and contract its habits. The House had a right to be satisfied touching the discipline under which they would be placed. They had a right to know whether men who might shortly be returned to their native country, were under the same control with the private soldier here, who looked to the state for his reward on the termination of his service. In conclusion, he would say, both with reference to our foreign and domestic relations, he doubted the policy of the present proceeding. He viewed the principle, the precedent, and the power of perverting it with serious alarm.
§ Viscount Palmerston
begged the indulgence of the House while he offered a few remarks in reply to the right hon. Baronet. The right hon. Baronet had admitted the necessity of carrying the Quadruple Treaty into effect. He begged, therefore, to recal the attention of the House to the circumstances under which the Quadruple Treaty was signed. Don Carlos and Don Miguel were then in Portugal. The claim of Don Carlos to the Throne of Spain had been set aside by what was considered throughout Europe as perfectly competent authority. This country immediately acknowledged the right of Queen Isabella to the 1161 Crown of that country. At that time the Spanish Government wished to send a military force to Portugal, in order to expel from that country Don Carlos, who was organizing a military force for the purpose of invading Spain. They called on the Portuguese Government to expel Don Carlos from Portugal; and the Portuguese Government, being unable to do so, declared that they had no objection to allow a Spanish military force to enter Portugal for that purpose. The two powers having thus come to an understanding on the subject, it became necessary that that understanding should be recorded in a Treaty; and it was therefore deemed expedient by the Governments of England and France to adopt the agreement which had been entered into by the Governments of Portugal and Spain, and to become parties to the Treaty concluded between those powers. Now, what was the preamble of the Treaty in question? How did it state the objects which the contracting parties had in view? The preamble declared that "Her Majesty, the Queen Regent of Spain, during the minority of her daughter Dona Isabella 2nd, Queen of Spain, and his Imperial Majesty the Duke of Braganza, Regent of the kingdom of Portugal and of the Algarves in the name of the Queen Donna Maria 2nd, being impressed with a deep conviction that the interests of the two Crowns, and the security of their respective dominions, require the immediate and vigorous exertion of their joint efforts to put an end to hostilities which, though directed in the first instance against the throne of her most faithful Majesty, now afford shelter and support to disaffected and rebellious subjects of the Crown of Spain; and their Majesties being desirous, at the same time, to provide the necessary means for restoring to the subjects of each the blessings of internal peace, and to confirm, by mutual good offices, the friendship which they are desirous of establishing and cementing between their respective States, they have come to the determination of uniting their forces, in order to compel the Infant Don Carlos of Spain, and the Infant Don Miguel of Portugal, to withdraw from the Portuguese dominions." The immediate object of the treaty, therefore, was to establish internal peace in the Peninsula; and the means by which it was proposed to effect that object was the expulsion of the Infant Don Carlos and the Infant Don Miguel from Portugal. The preamble 1162 went on to state that the Kings of England and France, desirous of assisting in the establishment of peace throughout the Peninsula, acceded to the engagements proposed by the respective regencies of Portugal and Spain. It was clear, therefore, that although the immediate operation of the treaty was confined within the Portuguese dominions, the ultimate object of it was the pacification of the whole Peninsula including Spain as well as Portugal. When Don Carlos returned to Spain, it was thought necessary to frame additional articles to the treaty, in order to meet the new emergency. One of those additional articles was, "His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland engages to furnish her Catholic Majesty with such supplies of arms and warlike stores as her Majesty may require, and further to assist her Majesty if necessary with a naval force." Now he (Lord Palmerston) believed that the writers on the law of nations all agreed that any Government thus agreeing to furnish arms to another must be considered to take an active part in any contest in which the latter might be engaged; and the agreement to furnish a naval force, if necessary, was a still stronger demonstration to that effect. If, therefore, the right hon. Baronet objected to the recent Order in Council on the ground that it identified Great Britain with the cause of the existing Government of Spain, the answer was, that by the additional articles to the Quadripartite Treaty that identification had already been established; and that one of those articles went even beyond the measure which was at present impugned. He did not mean to say, however, that the right hon. Baronet was bound to concur in the policy of the proceeding; for the right hon. Baronet, though he had no right to question the principle of the proceeding, had a perfect right to contend that the measure which had been adopted was not the most expedient way of fulfilling the engagements which had been made. He would now advert to what had fallen from the right hon. Baronet with respect to the danger of establishing a precedent for the interference of other countries. In the first place, the present interference (for he took it to be generally allowed that it was in principle an interference) was founded on a treaty arising out of an acknowledgement of the right of a sovereign, decided by the legitimate authorities of the country over which she ruled. In the case of a 1163 civil war, proceeding either from a disputed succession or from a long revolt, no writer on national law denied that other countries had a right, if they chose to exercise it, to take part with either of the two belligerents. Undoubtedly it was inexpedient to exercise that right except under circumstances of a peculiar nature. That right, however, was general. If one country exercised it, another might. One might support one party, another the other; and whoever embarked in either cause must do so with their eyes open to the full extent of the possible consequences of their decision. He contended, therefore, that the measure under consideration established no new principle, and that it created no danger as a precedent. Every case must be judged by the considerations of prudence which belonged to it. The present case, therefore, must be judged by similar considerations. All that he maintained was, that the recent proceeding did not go beyond the spirit of the engagement into which this country had entered, and that it did not establish any new principle and that the engagement was quite consistent with the laws of nations. The right hon. Baronet had adverted to another circumstance which was well worthy of attention: he had pointed out the inconveniences which might arise if troops raised by the Government of Spain in this country were to be organized and trained within the realm. But when the papers for which the noble Lord had moved should be on the Table, the right hon. Baronet would see that his Majesty's Government, in answer to the application which had been made by the Spanish Government, had stated that the disciplining, training, and organizing of the troops in question could not be allowed to take place in this country; but that those troops must be sent to Spain in detachments, as they were raised; for that, however great the wish of the Government was to assist the Queen of Spain, the continuance of the troops for any length of time in this country could not be permitted. With respect to another observation which had fallen from the right hon. Baronet, he (Lord Palmerston) could not conceive that any greater inconvenience could arise from the return of these troops whenever their term of service was expired, than arose every month in the year from the discharge of men belonging to our own army, who had not acquired a claim to any pension. This was an occurrence con- 1164 tinually happening; and those hon. Members who were acquainted with military affairs well knew that men might serve in our army for a much greater length of time than that for which the service of the troops now raising by Spain would probably be required, and yet on their discharge without pensions no inconvenience would accrue. He trusted he had shown that the object of the treaty, in its origin, was not merely the expulsion of Don Carlos from Portugal, but the pacification of the whole Peninsula, and that with respect to the additional articles in which Great Britain was concerned, they went farther than the particular assistance which was now afforded.
§ Mr. Fector
considered that he should compromise his dignity as a British senator, and his duty as a British subject, if he did not raise his voice against the course taken by the Government of the country on this important Question. He deeply regretted that any British Government or Administration should tarnish for a moment the laurels that had been so nobly acquired by a British army in the Peninsula, and that an army of mercenaries should now be sent out thither from this country under the auspices of His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He used the word "mercenary" without intending it at all offensively to the hon. and gallant Officer (Colonel Evans) who was to be the future Commander-in-chief of this force; but he called the force "mercenary" in the ordinary meaning of the term, as applying to a body of strangers fighting for hire in a country with which they had no connexion. He was quite ready to give to the gallant Officer full credit for honourable and gallant feeling, and for motives of bravery, for he understood the gallant Officer had already bled in the service of his country; yet, with all this, he could view him only as at the head of a body of mercenary troops, got together, it was said, to support the cause of liberality, but, as it appeared to him, they cared not so much for the cause as for the pay. They had no connexion with the country, and that cause could not justly be called liberal which opposed the rights of his Majesty Don Carlos of Spain, who was at the head of the legitimate Government. He would assert that the actual Government of the country was under the domination of an ambitious and unprincipled female. He had no hesitation in avowing his decided opinion as to the legitimate right of Don Carlos, as his 1165 (Don Carlos's) principles were those which he (Mr. Fector) advocated. With these feelings he must denounce the course taken by Government in the case of Spain, which he maintained was one in which we had no right to interfere. He could not too strongly deprecate the policy of the Quadripartite Alliance.
§ Mr. Ward
said, after the magnificent introduction of the hon. Member for Dover, he had expected something like argument and fact, but he had heard neither the one nor the other, except that what he considered a fact, that Don Carlos was King of Spain, not by the grace of God, but by the grace of the hon. Member for Dover. He would not enter into the question of legitimacy, but come at once to the point, and say that the noble Lord, by the course which he had pursued, had impeded the progress of other important business, without the prospect of obtaining any beneficial object. He was aware that the noble Lord had given way on Monday, but what had he obtained by persisting in bringing forward the Motion of that evening? He had got the consent of the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, for the production of the papers, with the contents of which every one in the House was perfectly well acqainted. [Lord Mahon said, they were not in the hands of any body but his Majesty's Ministers.] That might be strictly the fact, but they were accessible to all, and the fact was their contents were already well known throughout the country. The noble Lord had not brought forward the question in a shape in which the House could come to a vote, and, in saying so he did not mean to impute any indirect or unworthy motives, but if he had made a Motion to the effect that this interference was un-English (the term made use of by the hon. Member for Dover), if he had put the question as to the rights of Don Carlos, in such a shape as the Commons of England could express their opinion, he had no hesitation in saying what would have been the result. From the terms of the Treaty read by the noble Lord the Secretary for the Foreign Department, he had no hesitation in saying that this country was entirely justified in the course which she had pursued. The right hon. Baronet had doubted the right of this country to blockade the ports of Spain in case the Northern Powers should consider themselves justified in sending succours to Don Carlos. He opposed the arguments 1166 of the right hon. Baronet with great diffidence, but it appeared to him that when this country was in alliance and conjunction with a foreign Sovereign, against her rebellious subjects, we were clearly justified in taking every step allowed by the treaty into which the four countries had entered, to assist that Sovereign. But, putting that treaty out of view, were there no English interests connected with that country which authorised us to interfere? Were not the Spanish Bonds recognised by the late King of Spain, and was not that recognition sanctioned by a deliberate resolution of the Cortes. But there was another point. Was not this country interested in the settlement of the dispute between Spain and her colonies in South America? And he must candidly say, from what he knew of the subject, that we could have no hopes of the settlement of the disputes, or of a recognition of the independence of the Spanish colonies, from a Government at the head of which was Don Carlos. He knew well the reluctance evinced by the late Government to consent to their independence, and he was convinced that the same reluctance would be shown by any Ministry appointed under the dynasty of Don Carlos. Another question arose, was the step likely to succeed? And, in answer to that, he would say that it was the most proper mode to conciliate the feelings of the Spaniards. The noble Lord had said, something about the abhorrence with which Spaniards regarded the interference of foreigners, and thereby prognosticated the failure of the expedition. But he had a right to ask, what was the abhorrence of foreigners displayed by the Spaniards when the British troops entered Spain in 1809. He had a right also to ask how that abhorrence of foreigners was exhibited in 1823, when the French invaded the country, and took complete possession of it without shedding a drop of blood? What reason had they to suppose that the feelings of the Spanish people would be different on this occasion, when nine-tenths of them were in favour of the Queen's Government? The fact was, that the contest was carried on only in one corner of the country, where the inhabitants had some privileges to preserve. These persons cared little or nothing about the Monarch that should rule at Madrid, provided their ancient rights were left undisturbed. He therefore must say, that those persons who had these anticipations regarding the feelings 1167 ings of the Spaniards, or who exclaimed against his gallant Friend, and the gallant officers that were to accompany him, and described them as mercenaries, were advancing doctrines for which in the history of nations there was no authority. Why, was it not well known that on the introduction, or rather the origin of Protestantism in Germany, foreign troops were engaged for the purpose of establishing the reformed religion in that country, and might not the same means be legitimately used for establishing constitutional liberty in Spain? The noble Lord had thrown out a sort of taunt against the Gallant Officer because he was only a Lieutenant-Colonel on half-pay. Another charge against him was, that on taking the command he did not resign his seat for Westminster. He was not surprised at the desire expressed by the noble Lord (Lord Mahon) that his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Evans) should vacate his seat for Westminster previous to his assuming his command in Spain. It was well known that his noble Friend (Lord Eliot), whom he also had the pleasure of knowing and of esteeming, as all who knew him must do, was the Chairman of the Westminster Conservative Society, and the noble Lord (Lord Mahon) might very naturally desire to get his noble Friend to step into the shoes of the hon. and gallant Officer, as Member for Westminster. The hon. and gallant officer, too, had been raised to the rank of a Lieutenant-General in the Queen of Spain's service, and he would go out with that prestige of military rank that would aid in its way that cause to which the skill and bravery of his hon and gallant Friend would under any title so mainly contribute.
said, he rose to notice what he considered an omission on the part of the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and regretted that this subject had not been alluded to by the noble Lord, at least alluded to in such a way as to lead to the hope of a satisfactory conclusion; he meant the interference of the British Government for the settlement of the dispute between the Spanish Government and the Biscayans relative to the privileges which they had long enjoyed. He trusted that the Government of this country would use its influence with the Government of Spain, and point out the interest which the Spanish Government had in acceding to the wishes of the inhabitants of the northern provinces. He was sorry that 1168 the hon. Member for Dover had left the House, for the purpose, probably, of taking refreshment after his great labours— but if he had been in the House, he would have told him that in his eager anxiety to cast reproach on the present Government for the support it gave to Spain; he had also visited the Constable of Dover Castle with his reprobation. Why, the noble Duke said, he had sent out 40,000 stand of arms to Spain, and the noble Lord, the Foreign Secretary, had admitted that his predecessor had candidly carried into effect, as far as he was concerned, the articles of the Treaty, not only by supplying the Spanish Government with arms, to be used against his Majesty Don Carlos, King of Spain, as the hon. Member for Dover was pleased to call him, but also as regarded that part of the Treaty by which we were to assist Spain with a naval force, if necessary; so that the Queen of Spain had not only been recognized but supported against the Usurper by the noble Duke. Yet all the anger of the hon. Member had been reserved for the present Government. But to come to the point, and speak seriously, he must protest against any Member of the British Senate calling Don Carlos King of Spain. The Salic law was introduced by the Bourbons to suit their own purposes; it was introduced against the will of the people of Spain, and he was therefore justified in saying that Don Carlos was no more Sovereign by right than by fact, and he trusted that by English arms and English valor he would soon find that he had no prospect of establishing himself as King of Spain, either de jure or de facto. The right hon. Baronet seemed to have some doubt respecting the advantage which this country would derive from the establishment of a Constitutional Government in Spain. Now he would ask was it a matter of indifference whether a despotism or a liberal Government prevailed in that country? Was it not the policy and interest of England to support liberal institutions, when they remembered that the Holy Alliance was not dead, but only asleep, and that it was the anxious wish of the Members of that society to extend their dominion not only to Spain and Portugal, but also to this country, and exercise the same despotism which they practised in their own States as well as over every part of Germany. The right hon. Baronet had complained of the course adopted by the Government in encouraging the enlistment of Britons to serve in the cause of 1169 freedom in Spain. Now he must take the liberty of saying, that the right hon. Baronet said so because he was not a Whig, for he must know that our glorious Constitution was obtained by the help of Dutch troops. There was one point, however, to which he wished particularly to call the attention of the House. Two discussions had already taken place on the mission of Lord Eliot and it was agreed on all hands that the mission was deserving of every praise—that its object was, to put a stop to the shedding of human blood, yet no Member of the House had come forward and called on the British Senate to raise its voice against the horrible cruelties which had been committed, against the murder of unarmed men in cold blood—in tranquillity and in perfect security. Every one knew the case of the young O'Donnell, and his atrocious murder by the monster Zumala-carreguy. That officer had been taken prisoner, and an offer was made to spare his life if he would recognize Don Carlos. He gallantly refused, and was shot like a dog. Every one shuddered at the thoughts of such murderous deeds, but it was just to say, that the cruelty was not confined to one side. When he read the monstrous proclamation of Mina, he repented that he had ever been in his company, and still more that he had ever paid him the compliment of acting as a steward at a dinner given to him in London, and the only thing that remained fur him now to do was to express his utmost indignation at such brutality. He said, therefore, that instructions ought to be sent out that the British Government and the British House of Commons would shun with horror the wretches who had recourse to such inhuman practices. They all remembered the horror with which they read the accounts of persons poisoning wells in ancient times, and surely that crime was not greater than putting brave men to death in cold blood Much had been said against Bolivar. Now, he had followed the career of that commander—he had watched his character and, though he was bound to admit that he had retaliated for a time, he at last adopted the right course, and declared that liberty was not worth obtaining if it was to be acquired by putting unarmed men to death. He discontinued the practice, and his conduct had such influence on the Spaniards that the cruelty on both sides soon ceased. He trusted, therefore, that when his gallant Friend went out to that country such barbarities would be put 1170 an end to; for he knew that his gallant Friend would shun all fellowship with men who could conduct themselves with such barbarous cruelty. That was the way in which, if no other way was adopted, this country might put an end to those horrors, and prevent their recurrence.
Mr. Grove Price
believed that Zumalacarreguy was the first to wish to terminate the sanguinary practice to which the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had adverted; but when he proposed to Mina an exchange of prisoners the answer was that he had no prisoners to exchange for that he had shot them all. Something had fallen in the early part of the debate which had given great pain to himself personally, and he had no doubt the House at large. Something like a misunderstanding had arisen between his noble Friend (Lord Mahon) and the gallant officer the Member for Westminster, in consequence of the application of a particular term to troops employed for pay to serve in a foreign country. The subject was a painful one to discuss in the presence of a Gentleman who appeared in the double capacity of a Member of that House and the commander of such a force. However unwilling he might be to offer one word that could be offensive personally to the gallant Officer, the gallant Officer must still give him leave and licence to animadvert, as a public man, as strongly as he chose, keeping always within the rules of order laid down by the House, upon any measure that might be brought before it, more especially when it related to so important a matter as the enrollment of British troops for purposes so ambiguous as those alleged in the present instance. He admitted, and admitted frankly, to the gallant Officer, that he believed no sordid idea of pay, no idle motive of fresh distinction, induced him to draw his sword in the cause of the Queen of Spain, He believed he was solely actuated by a gallant but mistaken enthusiasm. He did not apply to the gallant Officer the harsh term of "mercenary" or leader of condottiéri, but he thought that the term might well be applied to the common soldiers who were to serve under him, who could have no interest in the cause, who were wholly unacquainted with the political state of Spain, and to whom it might reasonably be supposed it was a matter of perfect indifference whether the Princess, Christina, or Don Carlos, sat upon the throne of that country. It was to them, and not to the gallant Member, or the offi- 1171 cers who proposed to serve under him, that he (Mr. Price) would apply the term "mercenary." True, the gallant Officer had declared that he would dismiss every soldier who felt no enthusiasm in the cause, or who did not heartily approve of it; but if the gallant Officer acted up to the letter of that declaration he (Mr. Price) believed he would sail from the shores of England with an expedition formed of many officers as gallant perhaps as himself, but with a very small proportion of common soldiers. Passing from the gallant Officer and the motives and views which induced him to enter upon this undertaking, he came next to the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, whom he most heartily congratulated on putting aside all former volumes of the laws of nations—all former rules by which Statesmen had been guided —by which the ablest men, since the modern civilization of the world had been actuated; and on coming forward as the author of a new code. Was it not very extraordinary that, amidst all the complicated events of the last century and a half, no statesmen in this country had ever for a moment dreamed, not of declaring war, but of allowing a quasi war silently to go forward, not under the command of the Sovereign but prosecuted in another name for her interest, and thus, by underhand means, to strike an unconstitutional blow, which England, in her avowed character, did not choose to strike herself? The very absence of all authority upon the point ought to have told the noble Lord, if he thought for a moment upon the subject, that he should pause before he assented to the formation of such an expedition as that of which the gallant Officer was to have the command. What posterity would say as to the introduction of this new page in the laws of nations and of England was another question; but this he (Mr. Price) would say, that if the cause for the expedition were held to be sufficient —if a new principle were to be laid down fey which the people of this country were to be permitted to issue forth, like bands of Crusaders, to fight battles not their own— let it be pronounced boldly—let it be declared honestly—let our fleets and armies be sent forth and let it be avowed to the world, that England came forth as the champion of what she deemed the Liberal Cause—but let them not take a step by which unhappy men, excited by the feelings of the moment, might be induced to carry their arms into a foreign 1172 country, to take part in a quarrel in which they could feel no interest thereby infringing at once the acknowledged laws of nations and the sacred law of God. He said that any man who took up arms for mere pay—who engaged in a war, not of honour, in the defence of his country, or under the command of his Sovereign, doubtless infringed that commandment which said "Thou shalt spill no blood." He wished to ask the noble Lord, the Foreign Secretary, whether he was willing to oppose all the principles which had been laid down by Mr. Fox upon the subject of intervention in the domestic affairs of Foreign States? Mr. Fox laid down this principle, that there was no right for one country to interfere in the internal affairs of another unless the state of things in the one endangered the safety of the other. That was the broad line drawn by Mr. Fox—that was the broad principle upon which every Foreign Minister in England ought to act. Moreover, it was a principle to which, if we did not rigidly adhere, the result in a short time would be, that Europe, now divided into two great parties, on every occasion where a dispute arose between two States would be sending forth her mercenaries to fight on the one side or the other, and thence throughout the Continent would ensue a struggle as violent and as bloody as that which formerly took place between the supporters of oligarchical and democratical principles. Such a state of things once induced, if there was a weak and unguarded point of the British empire, —if, within her shores, there was a body of persons professing to have grievances, complaining of being harshly and cruelly used, asserting that they were writhing under an iron yoke—and such words were commonly to be found in the vocabulary of most demagogues—if, from such circumstances, any weak or vulnerable point could be found in the kingdom—England must expect to have turned upon her own head the consequences of the course which she was now pursuing towards Spain. He (Mr. Price) repeated that this country had no right whatever to interfere in the internal domestic question in Spain of—whether Don Carlos or the Princess Isabella should occupy the Throne. It was a Spanish affair from beginning to end, and an affair which Spaniards alone ought to determine. If, indeed, the noble Lord's statement were true, it was an affair which threw discredit on the whole Spanish nation. It was a discredit to them if, as had been stated, 1173 nineteen-twentieths of the Spanish nation were so feeble, so apathetic, so utterly lost to all proper principle, so little wanting in attachment to their new and liberal Government, that they were obliged to search through every shamble in Europe, to find men ready to fight their quarrel for them. This he would say, that if, under such circumstances, a single foreign soldier landed on the soil of Spain, the honour of that country would be extinguished for ever.
§ Mr. Henry Bulwer
merely wished to make one or two observations in reference to what had fallen from the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel). The right hon. Baronet, in the first place, spoke against the Order in Council as an act to be regretted, because, in his opinion, it was adopting a line of policy which would sanction other Governments in interfering in case of any domestic differences in this country. He (Mr. Bulwer) begged to ask the right hon. Baronet this question,— What course did the right hon. Baronet himself pursue under similar circumstances? The right hon. Baronet came into that House, of which he was so great an ornament, in the year 1810. Not many years afterwards, the remarkable event took place of Buonaparte's landing from Elba, and passing without opposition through the whole of France, and arriving at Paris, the capital of that country. The question was then agitated in the British House of Commons, whether it was expedient or right for the Government of this country to interfere in the affairs of France; and after an animated discussion upon the subject, it was at last determined that England should interfere, and that she should do so at a much greater cost of public money, and a much greater expenditure of British blood, than could possibly result from the interference which it was now proposed to make in the affairs of Spain. He begged to ask the right hon. Baronet whether he did not give his sanction to the Government which adopted that course, and which interfered in domestic dispute in a foreign nation, where nearly the whole of the nation was arrayed on one side, and none but foreign troops on the other? It was well known that the right hon. Baronet had given his support to the Government who pursued that course, and in his opinion, the right hon. Baronet was perfectly justified in so doing. But, then, the right hon. Baronet inquired, "How, if you adopt this course, can you prevent other Governments from 1174 interfering?" Might he (Mr. Bulwer) be allowed to answer that question by asking another? Had we, in the course we had hitherto pursued, prevented other Governments from interfering? Did the Austrian Government stop to ask the advice of England when she marched her troops into Bologna? Not only did she not wait to ask our advice, but she marched them with such sudden rapidity, that they arrived at their destination before the Secretary for Foreign Affairs in this country had received intelligence of their having set out. Whatever other evils might attend the course which the Government now proposed to pursue, this evil at least would not attach to it—that they were setting an example which had never before been acted upon. The hon. and learned Member for Sandwich (Mr. Grove Price) had declared, that the course proposed to be taken was a perfectly new course. He (Mr. H. Bulwer) maintained it was not a new course. What course did Elizabeth pursue in times and under circumstances almost exactly resembling those in which we were now placed? The course then pursued by that sagacious Queen, was precisely similar to the course proposed to be taken by his Majesty's present advisers. Spain was internally disturbed; Elizabeth interfered, not by declaring war against the Spanish monarch, but by allowing her subjects to take part against him. She allowed 10,000 men to enlist in the service of the Netherlands, under the command of Sir Horace Vere. As to the other argument used by the hon. and learned Gentleman, that the common soldiers would know nothing about the merits of the cause in which they were embarked, he (Mr. Bulwer) very much doubted whether the men who had served so gallantly under the noble Duke (Wellington), in the late war in the Peninsula, knew anything more about the merits of the cause for which they were fighting than that an enemy was before them whom they were bound to beat.
§ Sir John Elley
rose to speak rather in a military than in a political point of view. He agreed most cordially in the opinion of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, that every conciliating measure of interference ought to be resorted to, with regard to the present circumstances of Spain, before any auxiliary troops were allowed to enter that country. But if, under any circumstances, these British troops were allowed to enter Spain, it immediately became necessary to ascertain how the Finance 1175 Department was to be conducted. From statements which had been made in the course of the discussion that evening, it appeared that the Spanish Government was to defray the expense of this auxiliary force. Now, if the House depended upon the faith of the Spanish Government, he apprehended it would be very liable to be led into error; because a nation which was not capable of paying the interest even of what it owed, was not likely to possess the means of furnishing a very considerable sum, instanter, for the support of foreign troops. He feared, therefore, that if the faith of Spanish promises only were relied upon, the expense of providing these troops would eventually fall upon this country. Everything that a dauntless soldier could achieve, he was convinced his gallant Friend, the Member for Westminster, would accomplish. He only lamented that he was not going out in command of troops in a complete state of discipline. To show the paramount importance of discipline, he need allude only to the state of the French army at Waterloo. On that day the French Infantry behaved differently to what they had ever done on any other occasion, and the difference of their behaviour was to be attributed to the hasty manner in which the army with which Napoleon entered the field had been congregated. Gathered promiscuously from all parts of the empire, they had never acted together as troops before, and were officered by persons who were wholly unknown to, and unconnected with them. Hence there existed amongst them a great want of union and of confidence. Yet these troops had been well trained (an advantage, perhaps, which his gallant Friend would not enjoy), but brought together under the circumstances he had mentioned, their discipline was far from being complete, and hence the disastrous result of the battle in which they were engaged. What, then, could be the expectations of his gallant Friend? With undisciplined troops what could he expect to achieve? As one intimately acquainted with the Spanish Peninsula, he could tell his gallant Friend, that unless his troops were well disciplined, his difficulties would be insurmountable. It required the best state of discipline in troops to conduct war in that country. Was his gallant Friend to rely on the assistance of any Spanish troops, or was he to fight the battle with his own unaided forces? In either case he must have a place for his magazines—a general knowledge of the country—a system 1176 of strategy and tactics: these it would be absolutely necessary for him to possess, and, beyond that, he must have a fearless mind that would stand responsibility under any circumstances. He advised his gallant Friend never to leave this country unless he had in his military chest such an amount of money as would defray the expense of his army for at least six months. Whatever promises the Spanish Government might make, he would venture to say they would never be performed. He had served a long time in the Peninsula, and was tolerably well acquainted with the disposition of the Spanish people. He knew they would promise anything, and he was equally certain they would perform nothing. Neither was any reliance to be placed upon any information they might pretend to afford. He had known them send intelligence one moment, which they the next were compelled to contradict. He had known intelligence coming even from Madrid to the British General, desiring his army to hold its ground, when, at the very same time, the enemy had taken possession of Madrid. If his gallant Friend were to be exposed to a like want of accurate intelligence, what could he expect to perform —what operation could he undertake, what end could he achieve? He thought that all these matters should be made known, because as things at present stood, he thought England would eventually become the paymaster of these auxiliary troops. At all events he entreated his gallant Friend not to stir unless he carried with him the sinews of war.
§ Mr. Maclean
saw no analogy between the two cases referred to by the hon. Member for Mary-la-bonne (Mr. H. Bulwer) namely, the return from Elba, and the furnishing of auxiliary troops by Elizabeth; he saw no analogy between these two cases and the case now under consideration. —[Cries of "Question!"]—He would not detain the House longer than to ask the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, whether the Northern powers had not withdrawn their Ambassadors from Madrid, and whether some of the Southern European powers had not refused to recognise the Queen's authority?
§ Lord Palmerston
thought it was generally known that Russia, Prussia, and Austria had not, at present, any Ambassadors at Madrid. He thought it also was well known that the King of Naples had protested against the change in the order of succession.
§ The Speaker
felt it his duty to state, that what passed in the early part of the debate between the noble Lord and the gallant Member for Westminster had left, as he understood, an unsatisfactory impression on the mind of the noble Lord. He understood the noble Lord to have admitted, that while the motives of the gallant Officer and his associates were truly honourable, yet as a Member of Parliament, he could not approve the course they were pursuing, even though their motives were honourable. The gallant Officer, not having correctly understood the argument of the noble Lord, had repelled the imputation in strong language. After an explanation from the noble Lord, he put the case hypothetically, and although he reiterated his hypothetical case, it was merely for the purpose of vindicating himself from the charge of having been out of order, and not with any view of giving offence to the noble Lord. If the House concurred in the accuracy of this statement, he hoped that the noble Lord would feel satisfied, and that both parties would express their satisfaction, and thus put an end to all unpleasant feeling.
§ After a short pause,
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
said, I was not in the House when the noble Lord made use of the expressions which seem to have given offence to the hon. and gallant Officer. I therefore rise with some difficulty. I heard the expressions made use of by the gallant Officer in reply to my noble Friend, but as I did not hear the remark which gave rise to those expressions in reply, I stand in the position of one who has heard only one side of the question. But it appears to me from what I heard that the exposition which you, Sir, have made is so correct and so satisfactory, that there ought now to be no difficulty on either side in coming to a satisfactory arrangement. I hope whenever I rise in this House after any misunderstanding between two of its Members, I shall always do everything in my power to conciliate. I therefore repeat that after what has been said by the Speaker, I think my noble Friend ought to rise in his place, and state whether, under the circumstances which have been explained, he is satisfied with the explanation which has been made. But I am bound, at the same time, to say that sitting near my noble Friend at the time, that the discussion took place, I did collect from him that he was not satisfied, and I do think that under these circumstances the interposition of the Speaker has been absolutely necessary. I think I am 1178 confirmed in that impression by the silence of my noble Friend, and by his refusal to get up after what has just been stated from the Chair. I declined to give any advice or to speak with my noble Friend upon the subject when he referred to me in the early part of the evening, because I thought that by so declining I might afterwards rise in my place and perform the part which I am now endeavouring to do. It appears to me that the gallant Officer, in the first place, stated, not hypothetically but positively, that he received the expression of my noble Friend with contempt and disgust; and that when the Speaker called on the gallant Officer to give some explanation of those expressions, then the gallant Officer stated the case hypothetically, and said. "If the noble Lord means to say so and so, then I tell him I receive it with contempt and disgust." Now I gathered from my noble Friend that he considered this hypothetical case as a repetition of that which he had, in the first instance, conceived to be offensive. But I think, after the interference of the Speaker, and with the feelings which the gallant Officer must have, that there was no intention on the part of the noble Lord to state any thing discreditable to him or to the officers who were to serve under him, an arrangement should at once be entered into to prevent this matter from proceeding further. When my noble Friend said, that the troops employed in his service must be regarded as mercenaries, the gallant Officer must have had the same impression as any other gentleman, that soldiers who are not employed in the actual service of their country, but enlist in another service, may, without the slightest imputation of dishonour, be called mercenaries. The gallant Officer opposite, however, took offence at the terms employed by my noble Friend; but as my noble Friend subsequently guarded himself against being supposed to impute any improper motive to the gallant Officer, I think the matter may now terminate in a very satisfactory manner to both parties [cries for Lord Mahon to rise].
I feel bound to declare, on behalf of the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster, that the expressions he used appeared to me in the first instance to be quite hypothetical.
An hon. Member
on the Opposition side of the House was understood to say that his impression of the language of the gallant Member for Westminster was the reverse of that stated by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin.
§ Mr. Fitzstephen French
After the explanation that has been given by you, Sir, whatever doubt may have existed on the mind of the noble Lord, none can now exist [cries for Lord Mahon.]
§ Major Beauclerk
It is clear that the misunderstanding has been mutual; and after the explanations which have been given I should hope that the noble Lord will have no objection to state himself satisfied.
§ Sir Edward Kerrison
As I should certainly have thought what fell from the gallant Colonel opposite to have been, without explanation, an insult, my feelings upon the subject would have been the same as those of my noble Friend; but after the matter has been placed in so clear a light as it has been by you, Sir, I do hope he will get up and at once declare that the matter is settled to his satisfaction.
§ Mr. Edward L. Bulwer
I would beg to suggest that my noble Friend, if he will allow me so to call him, did say that he did not mean anything personally offensive to my hon. and gallant Friend. I am certain that it could not have been the noble Lord's intention to say anything personally offensive, and everybody who knows him must have the same conviction. Such being the case, and my hon. and gallant Friend having stated that his words applied to another case than the actual one, I do not think the noble Lord will hesitate to declare himself satisfied [renewed cries for "Lord Mahon].
§ Major Fancourt
As there appears to be great doubt whether the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster did or did not put an hypothetical case, perhaps he will be good enough to say how the fact is.
§ Colonel Leith Hay
Whether the hon. and gallant Member put the case hypothetically or not is rendered, by what followed, of little consequence; for the noble Lord stated that he had not the slightest intention of saying anything personally offensive. Then the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster stated what he meant to say, and what I believe he said in a manner perfectly hypothetical. Such being the state of the facts, I do not think it more than what the House has a right to expect 1180 that the noble Lord should be called upon to disavow personal imputations. The noble Lord could say, that after the explanation of my gallant Friend, he considers the expression to have been used originally in a hypothetical sense, and is therefore perfectly satisfied.
§ Lord Mahon
I have nothing to add to the explanation I have already given. That explanation is before the House, and has, Sir, been rightly construed by you. I have yet to learn whether the hon. Member opposite (Colonel Evans) did or did not use the expressions which others as well as myself conceived him to have used.
The House will clearly see that in the terms used by the noble Lord, although he has completely exonerated me from any dishonourable motive, and has, indeed paid me some compliments, yet from some confusion of expression I was led to apprehend that he imputed dishonourable motives to the officers with whom I am associated. Under that impression I made use of the expressions I did. If dishonourable motives were imputed to those officers I could not understand the distinction which freed me from them, when any thing applying to them must apply to me in a degree so much stronger. And at all events I was bound to repudiate any disrespect to my companions in arms. But now, understanding from the noble Lord and others that no improper or dishonourable motives were attributed by him to myself or the officers serving with me,. I have no hesitation in saying that I did not wish to injure the feelings of the noble Lord.
§ Lord Mahon
If I understand the hon. and gallant Member rightly, he formerly spoke under a mistaken impression of what I had said, and does not intend to apply to me the terms of contempt and disgust he used. I have no hesitation, therefore, in saying that I am perfectly satisfied.
Undoubtedly, understanding the noble Lord does not intend to impute dishonourable or improper motives to myself or those with whom I am associated, I am willing to have my explanations so taken.
§ Lord Mahon
One point I would press upon the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. As almost every Member who has spoken from either side of the House has regretted that the inhabitants of the Basque provinces should have lost their ancient privileges, he will perhaps make some representation in their favour.
§ Motion agreed to.