§ Mr. Maclean
I understand from those who are more versed than myself in the business of this House, that the most suitable time to bring forward questions of this description is on the moving of the Order of the Day for going into Committee of Supply, the more especially so when the subject itself has a direct reference to the manner in which the funds of the country are expended. I am, too, considerably strengthened in my position by the speech we have just heard from the hon. Member for Berkshire, which certainly did not appear to be very closely connected with the money transactions of the country. I rest my vindication of the course I am taking partly, therefore, upon this ground, and I shall persevere in my observations, although I am forbidden by the rules of the House to make any specific motion upon the subject. We have expended a large sum of money for which, as far as I can understand, there is no guarantee whatever in the hands of the Government. We have supplied considerable stores of arms and ammunition to Spain, and I shall be glad to know 947 from the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether any steps whatever have been taken by the Government to secure a reimbursement of our expenditure? The sum expended by us, as appeared by the returns laid upon the table of the House some months ago, amounted to 400,000l. or 500,000l.; since which, according to the accounts in the public papers, a considerable additional expenditure must have been incurred in arms and ammunition, independent of the increased naval force sent to the north of Spain to act as auxiliaries to Colonel Evans. My intention was to have submitted to the House a motion for a return of the number of men and marines now serving upon the coast of Spain, as well as the number of ships employed there, that we may know how far the treaty has been maintained or infringed in so doing, for the Government has thought proper to send out 600 or 700 marines in addition to those already on the station, who, although nominally attached to the Castor, have all of them been acting on shore, which, of course, must entail a greater expense upon this country than if they had continued on board the vessel to which they are attached afloat, or if they had remained in garrison, as they have hitherto been, at Portsmouth. Upon this ground alone, therefore, there is a grievance to be remedied to which I am justly entitled to call the attention of the House previous to going into a Committee of Finance. Since the period at which I submitted a motion to the House on this subject we have received much increased information relative to affairs in the northern parts of Spain, from which certainly it would appear that our intervention has exceeded the limits of the treaty, and has ended, too, in nothing but disappointment, both to this country and to the parties more immediately engaged in it. Let us for a moment look at the stipulations on it. The original object of the treaty I presume was to eject Don Carlos from Portugal. What are now called the additional articles, at that time had no existence. They were not added to the treaty until he had gone to Spain, and succeeded in taking up that, as it seems, impregnable position which has served him hitherto as a barrier, behind which he has been able to bid defiance to the united armies of England and Spain. We stipulated in the additional articles, when they were added, that ours should be simply a naval intervention and it seems to have entailed upon this country an expense of an almost unlimited nature, 948 for where are the limits? We have increased our naval force on both sides of the Peninsula, and what at last is the object of this intervention? It is to prevent any supplies from reaching Don Carlos from the sea, on the supposition that but for our increased force he might make himself master of some of the ports on this side of the Peninsula—the king of France on his part guaranteeing to prevent the transit of stores or ammunition by the passes of the Pyrenees. Notwithstanding all this I believe it is beyond a doubt that Don Carlos has received supplies from that source. Now I put it to the House whether, having sent such a force as this, it is consistent with the terms of the treaty that they should be permitted to be used ashore, under the directions of General Evans, when they happen to be inoperative at sea? We might send out, if this is the case, under the name of naval assistance, every division of our marine force—the whole of the 10,000 men of that gallant corps might be nominally attached to a ten-gun brig and landed to be employed in defending the military entrenchments under the command of General Evans, or any other commanding officer of the Queen's troops, and the country might still be told that the men sent out in our steamboats were under the command of Lord John Hay, assisting as a naval force, while, in truth, they are landed on the coast, and placed as a military force, under the command of Lieut. Colonel Evans; and England might be told that we were still acting under the terms of the treaty. It may be said, that they are used strictly as a naval force; but it is well known that they were present both at St. Sebastian and at Fuentarabia, acting as an infantry corps; and what is to prevent their being used in the same manner in an attack upon Durango, or any other place in the interior of the country? Will the noble Lord say, that this is not a virtual infraction of the treaty, by which we are bound to succour the Queen of Spain by the intervention of a simple naval force? The Emperor of Russia and king of Prussia, together with the kings of Naples and Holland, have not made themselves parties to any such proceeding; they have not recognised the authority of Queen Isabella—they are not at war with Don Carlos. Is the King of Great Britain at war with him? The question has been several times put in this House, and it has never yet been answered. When the King of this country does go to war he should do it in the same manner his illustrious pre- 949 decessors have done it, that is, by an open declaration of hostility. Now, in what position do we put Don Carlos? He is the chieftain of a large portion of the Spanish people, who are devoted to his person, and I suppose to his principles, reigning as he virtually does, not only in the mountains of Navarre and Biscay, in Alava and Guipuscoa, but now extending the influence of his cause to Catalonia, to Castile—nay, to the Asturias and Gallicia. Call him, if you please, at least, a mountain chieftain, you attack him without any declaration of war against him; and has he not a right, let me ask, therefore, to consider you as marauders on this his acknowledged territory? You talk of the blood-thirsty decree of Durango, and no one can be more indignant at such an atrocity than myself; no language can convey the execration I would pour on such a fiendish declaration as that was. But who set him the example? Who but the allies of his Majesty the King of Great Britain, a circumstance which of itself would form a sufficient excuse to his Majesty's Government for withdrawing from the unfortunate treaty into which we had entered. It was meant to be acted on by men of honour. You might have said, with just indignation, "We entered into a treaty with you, which was meant to be observed in that spirit of good faith which belongs to a great nation, but not to be maintained by the assassins of Barcelona and the monsters who slew the mother of Cabrera. If you carry on your war on that atrocious principle we will dissolve the contract, we will adhere to it only as long as it is conducted as a war of principle, and according to the laws which are acknowledged by all civilized nations; we will not be the abettors of murder, or the panders to bloodshed." But, Sir, I was touching on a point relative to Russia and Prussia. They are not at war with the mountain chief but the queen of Spain is. We are, as it has been said before, quasi belligerents, we are quasi at war—but not according to the usual principle of belligerents. What is the meaning of all this mystery? Are we prepared, as allies of the Queen of Spain, to tell Austria, Russia, and Holland, that they shall not trade with those ports which may be in the hands of Don Carlos? Because, if we are not, in what position shall we be placed? Our vessels which are sent to prevent supplies from reaching Don Carlos will be inefficient for the purpose unless we are prepared to make a declaration of war against those Powers, in case 950 they attempt to enter into commercial relations with Don Carlos. They have a right to enter into communication with the insurgents if you like to call them so; and what will be the conduct of Great Britain under these circumstances? Suppose during the contest, which I believe to be unrivalled since the sanguinary but not more murderous contest of the Theban Brothers—suppose the continental Powers who have not signed the treaty were to acknowledge Don Carlos, what line of policy is the noble Lord prepared to pursue? Every difficulty which may arise would have been avoided if we had never affixed the seal of Britain to the unfortunate document I have mentioned. Had we not intervened in this fiery struggle until we were called upon to do so by a position of affairs disgraceful to humanity we might then have justified our interposition by a plea that would have been met by the applauses of civilized Europe. I remember on a former occasion I listened with great attention to the speech made by the noble Lord, fraught with the courtesy and generous and gentlemanlike urbanity which is the characteristic of the noble Lord. He said we had interfered with Greece and Belgium, and he asked us to contemplate the blessings we had poured on those countries. Is he satisfied, let me ask, with those we have showered upon Greece? Have we not had a nation recently before us which exhibited the bankrupt nature of its financial position? Are we content with the mode in which they have husbanded their pecuniary resources? I will not enter into the question of Belgium, nor the feelings I entertain of the efforts of the great Powers to stop the effusion of human blood. We stopped the murderous career of Mahomet Ali. I do not mean to say that your subsequent negotiations may not at any time ruin your previously sagacious and praiseworthy efforts. But look to the force of the Carlists; are they now an obscure body of soldiers—a mere band of mountain insurgents? Do you not acknowledge that those whom you styled formerly barbarous hordes, however ignorant of the technical rules of war, on most occasions have fought like men who bled for freedom, and with such constancy as you might have expected from trained and disciplined soldiers, so much so that you acknowledge that had it not been for that opportune arrival of the Salamander and Phœnix, the Carlists would have driven in disaster and disgrace the auxiliaries into the sea. You have given them credit for per- 951 sonal bravery; you have deemed them worthy of consideration by the evidence you yourselves have given of the efficiency of the attack, and the credit you claim from it. General Evans himself endeavoured to animate his own troops by the example of the enemy. Now, Sir, one word upon the reconnoissance en force which we have heard so much before Fuentarabia. I own I know little of these military manœuvres; but this at least seems evident, that if it was a reconnoissance en force it was likewise a retreat enforce. Of that there is no dispute on any side. Assuredly too it was a very close examination of the place with, I imagine, the intention of taking it if possible. The General evinced great anxiety to make himself master of the town, and, not having done so, I must own is entitled to the credit of retreating in very soldier-like order—with the sacrifice of some portion, it is true, of his men and his provisions. But why were we kept in a state of darkness as to whether his Majesty lost any of his troops in this affair? We are told that his majesty's marines retreated, and that the flag which had hitherto waved so proudly per mare per terram, and which had hitherto struck terror into the ranks of the adversary, was withdrawn from the field in conjunction with his Majesty's Allies. I have received a communication from Behobia, in which the writer, a man of undoubted veracity and character, says, that he was a witness of that scene, in conjunction with the French officers from Bayonne; and he states, in emphatic language, that it nearly broke his heart to listen to the jeers with which that retreat was accompanied by those spectators. I regret to see that smile on the face of a gallant Member opposite. He, doubtless, knows from experience the rapture of victory—doubtless, he has never known the pain of defeat. Now, what, in truth, has been the effect of this intervention? We have poured out our blood and treasure—have they strengthened the cause of the Queen? Has it not rather exhibited the real weakness of her position. Have we not within these few days been informed that the advances of the Carlists have been so rapid as even to disquiet the solitudes of La Granja? What are you prepared to do? Will you send more marines? Are they to act at a distance from the coast? If so, where is the virtue of your treaty? Now let me allude to an order recently issued by General Evans, relating to the application of the 952 punishment of death to British subjects. There are several versions of that document. But what right is there vested in General Evans to affix the penalty of death to any individual serving with Don Carlos? The Act of Parliament (the Foreign Enlistment Act) makes it a misdemeanour. General Evans makes it a capital offence—death, forsooth, may, if he pleases, be the penalty he chooses to dispense to those taken in arms; but will he follow the atrocious example he so strongly deprecates in others? Will he seize the sword of vengeance to perpetrate a deed of massacre on his fellow-countrymen in arms? Surely there should have been some communication from the Government of this country to that General, showing him that in this country we understand no such principle as he has promulgated. But, Sir, he will not shed their blood—he will not doom himself to share in the execration which has attended the atrocities of the Carlists. No doubt the order did attract the attention of his Majesty's Government, and had I been permitted to make any motion I should have moved for the correspondence on that subject. If we refer to the history of the country, how stands the claim of Don Carlos? As the law originally stood, I own that the Queen might have succeeded to the throne; that was altered to the Salic Law, which has been from that period the rule of the monarchy. Ferdinand repealed that law on the persuasion of one who seldom pleaded in vain, the fair and fond partner of his throne. But is there not, on the face of the transaction, something that is unfair to Don Carlos? He conducted himself at Madrid as a faithful subject of his brother. He entered into no intrigue. He withdrew to Portugal. It is true he claims the throne as the legitimate successor of the Bourbons, and he came into Biscay saying—"I am here not only as your monarch, but as the vindicator of those invaluable and constitutional rights of which you are robbed by the decrees of the Queen's government." They combat, then, under such a leader with the fervour of men who have dear-born rights to vindicate of their own, as well as the hereditary privileges of the king that they adore. Do you expect to drive him from his mountain fastnesses by your war vessels and your marines? As an effective force it is ridiculous—but, as it affects the moral greatness of this country, it is, I fear, of no mean magnitude. You 953 will combat without effect—you may be forced at last to withdraw with dishonour. I say such an intervention is not called for by the treaty—it is undertaken, under such an aspect of affairs, as induces me to believe that it is fraught with ultimate disaster. I wish the noble Lord would indeed pacify the Peninsula. Did we consult the Greeks or the Turks when we thought proper to stop the mad indulgence of their envenomed passions? You intervened at Navarino. You told the king of Holland that the voice of England should be heard. You admitted at last of no argument. You had indulged in protocols, indeed—but at last you spoke as became Great Britain. Are you doing so now? If you are sincere in your wish to tranquillise that unhappy land, why do you not endeavour to act in unison with those powers who will willingly, perhaps, extend "in fœdera dextras." You have placed yourselves in a false position with those nations. Should they choose to intervene on the side of Carlos, and you act with the spirit of Britons, the issue of the contest may be most disastrous to the welfare of this country. But by perpetuating such a contest as this you will prove yourselves a curse when you might have been a blessing to that afflicted country. Do not allow them an opportunity of robbing us of the glory which is consecrated on that soil by the childish display of force which is only calculated to exasperate those who are strong, or to exhibit in more painful colours the weakness of the feeble. We were told Mendizabal was to prove the miracle of prosperity; he was to turn the Pactolus of Spain into the royal treasury; the troops were to be paid by the money of those who declined to be belligerents; an army of one hundred thousand men was to be raised, two-thirds of whom were to be an army of reserve. Where is it? where is the boasted repletion of the treasury? Those who did not join the conscription were to be personified by a pecuniary representation quite as agreeable perhaps in all probability as the corporal presence. But Mendizabal has vanished—the same breath that made him has unmade him, and the same intrigue of the Camarilla which raised him to that eminence laid his greatness prostrate by its influence. Matters are more desperate at Madrid than ever. But if Don Carlos come to the throne where will be your loans—where will be your security for the advances you have made under the treaty? 954 Surely those persons, not only at home but abroad, who have embarked their money in the advances of those wars have a strong claim on your attention. If the noble Lord will make advances to the powers of Europe he may then pursue a course which will throw the protection of their influence and our own over those important transactions. Let the noble Lord make an effort. If Don Carlos proceeds as he has hitherto done, he may reach Madrid. How then, do you imagine, will he treat those who have supplied the instruments of war to those who were the enemies of his throne, although it may be said, in truth, that, in administering those weapons to his foes, we have in reality armed his followers—for it is notorious that the muskets of Carlism bear the satisfactory indication of British manufacture? You have straightened his arm, and you have encumbered his enemies, your allies, by your assistance. This is all done, too, for a liberal government—a government which does not hesitate to transport your unoffending subjects in the dead of the night, without appeal, without an hearing, or a reason, to the frontiers of their country, because, forsooth, they use the privilege of Englishmen, and are imprudent enough to speak the truth of what they have witnessed in the capital. The government is a liberal government—the queen is a liberal sovereign—the ministers are paragons of liberality; yet such is their conduct to the subjects of their ally, the King of Great Britain. I again beg to say, that I hope I may rest my vindication for the step I have taken on the grounds I have previously advanced. We lavish half a million on an enterprise in which we have no interest that could induce us to exhibit such a careless profusion. We refuse to make concession to the difficulties of our domestic financial condition. I know the noble Lord will deem this discussion worthy of his deep attention. I am sure he will give me credit for having brought it forward conscientiously; and I hope nothing has escaped me, even in the warmth of the investigations that can produce a moment's pain to a single individual who is interested in this contest. I have given, I hope, the praise that is due to those who have fought in defence of the principles they may sincerely entertain. I have not detracted from the merit of those who have exhibited their readiness to lay-down their lives for the King and the 955 liberties they love, and have bled with a consistency and an undaunted firmness worthy of the name of Spaniards, whose early days are hallowed by the remembrance of great and glorious achievements.
§ Mr. Poulter
said, that the quadruple treaty was entered into for the attainment of great national interests; it contemplated the complete pacification of all the kingdoms of the Peninsula, and to have stopped at anything short of that, would not have been carrying it fairly into effect. As to the complaints that have been made by the hon. and learned Gentleman with regard to the Castor having had too large a complement of marines, really I never heard any thing so preposterous: I have heard complaints of too small complements, but never yet did I hear it gravely objected, that a ship of war had too many marines belonging to her. I hope the House will support the Government in acting up to the treaty, and in doing every thing they can, to establish that which is in truth the main principle on which it was founded,—namely securing to the Queens of Spain and Portugal the peaceful enjoyment of their constitutional rights. When the hon. and learned Gentleman asks whether we are at war with Don Carlos?—I ask in reply, How can we be at war with Don Carlos? Do we recognise any such sovereign in Europe as Don Carlos? Do we not rather look upon him as an invader of the kingdom of Spain? The hon. and learned Gentleman referred in strong terms to the proclamation lately issued by General Evans. I think it was quite right and perfectly constitutional in that officer to represent to any Englishmen in the service of Don Carlos, that they were violating the law of treason in serving that person. I am not for applying, in such cases, the strict penalties of treason; but I do say this, it is a principle well known and universally acknowledged, "nemo potest exuere patriam;" and if an Englishman, having engaged in the service of Don Carlos, should put to death any of the troops in the service of the King of England, or of his allies, he does come under the law of treason, and is liable to the penalties affixed to that crime. General Evans does not pretend to enforce this law himself; his proclamation is in the nature of an advice, caution, or admonition to Englishmen in the service of Don Carlos, representing the danger they are in of incurring the penalties of treason to King William 4th if taken in arms against his subjects or allies. I repeat, 956 I am one of the last who would desire to see the strict law of treason put in force, in these cases particularly, in a case so peculiar as that of Spain—a country in which as all who adhere to Don Carlos are accounted traitors to the Queen, and the adherents to the Queen are considered guilty of treason to Don Carlos, there must be a nation of traitors, for, of course, civilians are subject to the same law; and where there is a nation of traitors there can be no treason, for in its very nature, treason is an exception. We had, in 1815, many lamentable instances of misapplication of the law of treason; upon the accession of Louis 18th, military executions took place under that law, which threw a shade (if any thing could) upon the glorious achievements of that period. What did hon. Gentlemen opposite say to the atrocious, bloodthirsty murders that were perpetrated on the side of Don Carlos? Was there ever anything more abominable than the slaughters of Cabrera? Can you shew me anything equal in atrocity to the putting to death, by slow torture, English soldiers, taken in arms against Don Carlos? I defy you to find me any one case in the list of cruel and cold-blooded deeds committed on the Queen's side, which will equal that. Let me have permission to pass some compliments upon General Evans, after what has been said upon the opposite side of the House against him. I look upon the action in the neighbourhood of Hernani as one which will bear comparison with any that have taken place in Spain, since the Duke of Wellington quitted her shores. It presented a display of the characteristic bravery of British troops, not surpassed, I venture to say, since the glorious achievements of our army in the Peninsular war. It will do honour to this country, even if (as I do not believe will be the case) the cause of the Queen should eventually fail. Even the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite did justice to the Legion in this instance; but he did no more justice to it than was done by a foreigner—a gallant officer of the French army, Count Harispe, commanding upon the frontiers, who wrote a letter to General Evans congratulating him upon the glory which he and his companions in arms had won by the action of Hernani. The want of success to the Queen's army, of which the hon. and learned Gentleman spoke, I ascribe mainly 957 to the disgraceful misconduct of Cordova. That General is the first military commander who does not wish for victory. In the full tide of success he leaves his army exposed to the attack of its vindictive enemies, the small and reduced British Legion hastens to Madrid, and there consumes the precious moments in miserable trickery of political intrigues and cabals. Never was there more disgraceful, dishonorable conduct. But the hon. and learned Gentleman, when commenting upon the ill success attending the Queen's forces, ascribed it to the splendid victories or brilliant exploits of Don Carlos's troops, and he entirely left out of sight the disgraceful conduct of Cordova, to which, in my opinion, it is mainly to be traced, and I should be very glad to hear of his dismissal. Sir, I look upon the despotism which has long prevailed in Spain as the cause of all the defects in the Spanish character, and I sincerely hope, that when constitutional liberty is established, a new order of men will arise in that country. Until that happy period arrives, I, for one, will join in the sentiment so nobly expressed by the hon. and gallant Member for Windsor (Sir John Elley) upon a former occasion,—"Wherever Englishmen were, there shall be my heart, my wishes!" That was a noble, a truly patriotic declaration—worthy of the brave and distinguished officer from whom it fell. What a contrast does it afford—not, I am happy to say, to any sentiments expressed by the hon. and learned Member for Oxford, for he has spoken, at least, with respect of the British Legion—but to certain publications, the authors of which seem to wish nothing more ardently than its utter annihilation! I hope the Government will be supported by this House in the line of conduct they have hitherto pursued. I hope that they will be enabled to do everything necessary to maintain the real principle of the treaty, and to take a decided part, not—I agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman—not going beyond, but in strict conformity with, the treaty, in effecting the complete pacification of the Peninsula.
§ Dr. Bowring
said, that the hon. Member for Shaftesbury had not touched the cause of the evil. It was not that Cordova was treacherous—it was not that Carlism was feeble—it was, that the Spanish government had not the affections of the Spanish people. Let the 958 history be reviewed since the death of Ferdinand. The first minister Zea, like every other minister that followed him, came too late for the wants of the country. He wanted to supersede a barbarous by an enlightened despotism; but no despotism was then possible in Spain—so he fell, as he deserved to fall. He was succeeded by Burgos—another clock behindhand. Burgos wanted to introduce a French centralization—a policy to which all the habits, all the associations, all the recollections of Spain are opposed. Spain is not a country of national, but merely of provincial feelings; Catalonia has nothing in common with Galicia, nor Andalusia with Biscay; Madrid has no influence with the capitals of other provinces except by recognizing their local habits; and Burgos hated the press, and fell, as he deserved to fall. Then came Martinez de la Rosa with his remedies—always too late, always insufficient, and inadequate. Next came Toreno, a little more liberal than Martinez, but he, like his predecessor, was frightened at the idea of giving to public opinion a representation—but that public opinion, without a representation, hurled him from his seat. Mendizabal's fate was the same; he had a great and a pure name—and what was his conduct? He followed in the same backward course as the rest; and, instead of seeking the support of a nation, asked for a vote of confidence—a miserable screen for weakness. And now comes Isturitz—. and it is the same story, the liberty of the press, and the liberty of the subject not secured—no local government—no really popular elections. Now, how can the House wonder that the insurrection is not subdued? The insurrection can be put down by nothing but liberal institutions. The constitution of 1812 was quietly making its way—producing peace and happiness, when that most atrocious of modern political iniquities, the invasion of Spain by the French Bourbons, overthrew the hopes of liberal Spaniards and of the enlightened portion of mankind. He had seen that constitution in operation, and the influence of that constitution, the recollection of its results, was still deep in the hearts of Spaniards. That constitution had covered the country with schools; it had introduced education into the villages—it had improved the towns—it had established a hundred newspapers—it was based on universal suffrage—it had shed 959 no blood. There were only two principles at work in Spain which had in them stability or power. There was liberalism on one side and despotism on the other. What had been the policy of all the fleeting Governments which had succeeded one another? What but to establish a juste milieu, which should not be purely despotic nor honestly liberal. That policy must fail, and until the course of the Spanish government were the bold advocacy of a popular cause, it would not obtain, and deserved not to obtain, the support of the Spanish people.
§ Mr. Thomas Attwood
did not believe that Cordova would be able to crush the Carlists. He believed that if General Evans had been at the head of 20,000 good English troops, well paid and provided, he would long ago have crushed them. But it was in Spain as it was in that House. He feared the Whigs were not very sincere in their love of liberty, and so "we poor Radicals," said the hon. Member, "when we propose any measures of real and substantial reform, are beaten by the united forces of Whigs and Tories. So in Spain, the forces of Don Carlos and the Queen combine in defeating any attempt to introduce a liberal constitution in Spain;" and he (Mr. Attwood) agreed with the hon. and learned Doctor, the Member for Kilmarnock, that Spain would never be tranquillised till a free constitution was set up upon the basis of representing the great mass of the people. As the country was now situated, it would not do for the Queen's Government to put down the Carlists altogether, they were necessary to keep the liberal party in check: and therefore the Queen's generals received secret orders not to crush them entirely. In such a state of things, with treachery in the camp, and intrigue at the Council Board, it was impossible that General Evans should succeed. The Governments of Spain were the bitterest enemies of liberty; and till liberty was established upon a secure foundation, Spain never would be pacified.
Mr. Grove Price
was most anxious that this question should be brought on before the prorogation of Parliament. It was one of the highest importance to the people of England. He was taunted before with want of information on the affairs of Spain. He had, however, read her history most attentively, and diligently watched all the proceedings since 1812. No man felt more anxious that the elements of a free Government should be 960 found to exist there. That, however, was not the case. The clergy did not desire a free Government, and the gentry were attached to their ancient institutions. Spain, in fact, possessed no elements of a constitutional Government. They could not be forced at once upon a people—they must grow up by slow degrees. It was impossible for him to forget the 24th of June last, when they were told by the noble Lord (Palmerston) that Spain, with the exception of one province, was quiet, and devoted to the Queen. The noble Lord did not understand the character of the people of Spain when he signed the Quadruple Treaty, or he never would have signed it. It was said, the people of the Basque provinces rose in rebellion because they were deprived of their ancient privileges. Before ever those privileges were taken away there were 50,000 men in arms who opposed the Government, the moment they heard that Don Carlos was excluded from the Throne. They were attached to their clergy; the principle of loyalty was strong in their bosoms. Their feelings were powerfully excited by the outrages committed upon the clergy in 1820; and when they heard that Don Carlos was expelled the Throne they exclaimed, in a spirit of loyalty, like the Hungarians in the time of Maria Theresa, "Moriamur pro Rege nostro Maria Theresa." He thanked God that all the provinces of Spain were now ripe for insurrection in the cause of Don Carlos. Cabrera was active and enterprising, and while he must express horror at some of his acts, still it was but justice to say, that they were provoked by still more horrible atrocities. Gomez had traversed the Asturias unmolested and unopposed, and was now on his way to Gallicia, not meeting interruption from the people. So much for the general opposition throughout Spain to the cause of Don Carlos. There was no such thing as a democracy in Spain. A few demagogues persuaded the fools and dupes of the country, that they encouraged liberty, when in reality they were only usurping it, and seeking by its means their own ends. But how were their ends to be achieved? The Queen's army was unpaid; her civil servants were unpaid; and for the last four months not a dollar had been forthcoming to them. Cordova could not advance, because his army was in such a state as to be incapable of undertaking a mountain campaign. Half of his troops, moreover were Carlists, and ready for in- 961 surrection at a moment's warning. He was charged with treachery; but he had no means of acting. He could not put an end to the war, because he found it was impossible to advance into the mountains. It was not possible to look at Spain as it now stood and not say, that the interference of England in its domestic concerns had by no means added anything to the national character of the country. England—or the Government rather—had not pursued a bold, manly, straightforward line, nay, it had not even acted with masculine vice. They had sought to settle matters by the force of moral influence, but that of this country had sunk so low since the noble Lord opposite came into office as not to be of any avail. Since the noble Lord had held the reins of power as Foreign Minister of the Crown the character and reputation of this country had gone down with foreign States to an immeasurable extent. To destroy the national power of Spain in the person of Don Carlos was impossible; it was vain to attempt it. And when he (Mr. G. Price) saw the treasure of this country wasted, and its honour spoiled in the effort, he could only thank God that he had no hand in it.
§ Viscount Palmerston
began by observing, that the determination of the Spanish Car-lists, as described by the hon. Gentleman who spoke last, certainly bore no resemblance to the course of debate which had been pursued that night; for whilst it was Stated by the hon. Member for Sandwich, that the Carlists were going direct to Valencia, he had wandered into the utmost diversity of topics, and touched not merely on those connected with Spain, but had travelled back into the affairs of Greece. We, continued the noble Lord, are like the Spanish Government, for in the words of the hon. Gentleman, "our treasures are empty, and we are anxious for supplies." My right hon. Friend near me (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) is like the state of Gallicia, as its: inhabitants have been represented by the hon. Gentleman, "quite steady, but ready to rise." If he were to consult his own convenience, and perhaps the wish of the House, he should have declined to enter into any discussion of the matters which had been introduced, but since he knew that the anxiety of the hon. and learned Gentleman who began this debate was not altogether without foundation, as his presence would be required elsewhere within a very short period, and as this was 962 the last opportunity which he might have, consistently with his duty to his English clients, of saying any thing in favour of his Carlist clients, he (Lord Palmerston) felt, that it was not fitting in him to allow the observations of the hon. Gentleman, and those of the hon. Member for Sandwich, to go altogether unanswered. The hon. Gentleman who began the debate contended, that the Government of this country had not adhered to the stipulations of the Quadruple Treaty, for our marines had been suffered to serve ashore; and that our assistance had been carried beyond the limits within which we had been bound to confine it. It was also contended by the hon. Gentleman, that that Quadruple Treaty did not contemplate the expulsion of Don Carlos from Spain, but simply his removal from Portugal. He denied altogether the correctness of the interpretation given to that treaty by the hon. Gentleman. It was well known that the principle laid down by the parties to that treaty, was the pacification of the Peninsula, according to the purposes on which they had agreed. At the time of that contract, Don Carlos was in Portugal, and, therefore, their proceedings applied to the objects which were immediately to be accomplished, and they accordingly limited the steps which they thought it necessary to take to the expulsion of Don Carlos from Portugal. But afterwards, when he came into the northern provinces of Spain, it was only in accordance with the principles of the treaty that orther articles should be inserted in it to meet the altered position of circumstances. It was evident that this agreement could not have been made at the time that the treaty was originally entered into, but it was in accordance with the principles of the treaty, and had for its object to carry the principles of that treaty into effect, in accordance with the altered circumstances which then arose. Now what was the nature of our engagement? Our engagement was to supply the Spanish Government with arms, men, and, if necessary, to assist it with a naval force. Well, then, with regard to the supply of arms, that stipulation had been acted upon not only by the present Administration, but by that which had preceded the present Administration, and it was during the period that the latter held office that a communication took place between the Governments of England and Spain, by which Spain bound itself to repay whatever arms were sent her, and the English Government on the other hand 963 agreed to postpone the demand until the finances of Spain would better enable her to meet it. The assistance, therefore, which England afforded to Spain, was not money but money's worth—principally consisting of arms and stores, which we had in our magazines. And, although, undoubtedly, it was such as to call for repayment, still it was not of that description which would justify the remark of the hon. Gentleman opposite that in consequence of this assistance the people of this country were not relieved from a large amount of taxation which the Government was now unable to forego. With respect to the charge made by the hon. Gentleman of suffering the marines to enter into a contest on the land, he thought that the hon. Member had himself furnished the best refutation to the accusation which he had made by mentioning that the motto which distinguished that force was "per mare et terram." He thought it right, however, to state that these marines were under the exclusive command of Lord John Hay, and were not subject to any orders of a general in the Spanish service. The hon. Gentleman had said, that he wished to know whether we were at peace or war. That question had been already asked on several occasions, and he felt so strongly that those who asked it seemed perfectly well able to answer it themselves, that he should leave it to pass without any observation but that his silence might be supposed to give currency to an unfounded insinuation. All those who were conversant with international law could easily perceive, that the Government of England were auxiliaries, but not principals, in the cause of the Queen of Spain. Don Carlos was in open rebellion against the Government of Spain, which was not only sanctioned by the sovereigns which have filled the throne of that country, but also by the mass of its inhabitants, being thus doubly entitled to respect and subordination. Don Carlos, too, on seeking to obtain the Crown, had (whatever good qualities might belong to his private character) carried civil war throughout the country, and spread fire, sword, and murder, by wholesale into the bosom of the country, and disturbed the peace and tranquillity of that nation of which he called himself the father. Well, then, our position was in perfect accordance with the principles of the law of nations as laid down by all writers on the subject, when, under the treaty, we took the part of auxiliaries without entering into a state of war. But the hon. Gentleman asked, if 964 other governments took their share in the affairs of Spain that the English Government had done, what would have been the result? Why, it was a well known principle in international law that two powers might take different sides with respect to another country, without being necessarily brought to engage in a state of war. But let it not for a moment be conceived, from anything that fell—he would not say from the hon. Gentleman—but from anything that transpired in the course of that debate, and that happened by accident to be heard of elsewhere—let not, he repeated, any one be so deluded as to suppose that because this country was not a belligerent power, and therefore not entitled to the rights of a belligerent, that ships for the purpose of carrying supplies to Don Carlos would not be obstructed, because he could assure him that there were ships belonging to the Queen of Spain perfectly competent to intercept any supplies. It had been said, that the Durango decree which had taken place subsequent to the Eliot convention was caused by the conduct of the English Government. But the fact was, that the decree to which he alluded was in direct violation of the Eliot convention, and fully deserving the censure with which the hon. Gentleman opposite had stigmatised it, in language which was most becoming to him as a member of a free State. The hon. Gentleman here made some general observations on the order issued by General Evans, which showed that the hon. Gentleman had not read the order, or if he had, that he had not sufficiently attended to the meaning of the wording of it. In the first place it must be observed, that the order being one issued under the Spanish Government, the English Government was not responsible for it. That order stated, that British subjects found serving Don Carlos would, in his opinion, he guilty of treason, and would, in his opinion, be liable to the punishment of treason, as prescribed by the laws of the country. Now, he was not so much of a lawyer as to say what was the precise offence of which British subjects so situated were guilty. He thought, however, that no body would contend that when the King of England was by treaty allied with the Queen of Spain, it was fitting that Don Carlos should have amongst his adherents British subjects, and that this country should be said to have thereby adhered to its true and obvious engagement. The very mention of appealing to English law 965 showed that General Evans did not contemplate doing anything with reference to those persons to whom his remarks applied in Spain. Indeed, the enacting part of the order, after talking of treason of English laws, resolved itself into this, that no verbal communication should take place between his picquets and the soldiers who had deserted from the British legion to Don Carlos. So that, after all, General Evans's order amounted to this, that it was expedient to prevent his men deserting, by not allowing them to speak with those engaged in the opposite cause. The hon. Gentleman had adverted in light terms to the affair of Fontarabia. He would not discuss the merits of that movement; but he would say, that if all the Queen of Spain's Generals had shown the same vigour, the same conduct, and the same prudence as General Evans on that occasion, the success of Don Carlos would not seem so certain as hon. Members on the other side would wish to make it. Having disposed of the hon. and learned Member's observations, he should next turn to those of the hon. Member for Sandwich. The argument of that hon. Member he could not, he confessed, understand. That hon. Member contended that such was the debased condition of Spain, that no hope ought to be entertained of her being able to obtain a free constitution. He must however say, that it was extremely desirable to have a free government in Spain, and the hon. Gentleman had not satisfied him that these were not the elements for effecting such an object. If the hon. Gentleman's argument were a sound one, it would go to establish the principle, that the more degraded and wretched a people were in consequence of bad government, the stronger was the necessity of making no effort whatever of raising them from their appalling state. The doctrine of the hon. Member—if he might be permitted to say so—was a revolutionary principle, for by it there was no alternative to a state of hopeless degradation, but violent convulsions and bloody revolutions. His opinion was, that the course adopted by England with respect to Spain was consistent with duty and sound policy. He held the alteration in the succession of the throne of Spain to be rendered perfectly legitimate, and to be sanctioned not only by Ferdinand, but by his predecessor and the Cortes, and afterwards adopted by the Spanish nation assembled under the regency. Well, was it, then, consistent 966 with the interest of England, that this country should pursue the course which it had adopted with regard to Spain? This country had no hand in bringing about the present situation of the Spanish crown. It had not prescribed or dictated any sovereign to Spain, but had supported, so far as was consistent with its interest, the sovereign chosen by the Spanish nation. It would have been inconsistent with the true principles of the British constitution, and repugnant to the best practice of the English Government, for this country to have denied the validity of the change which had taken place, sanctioned as it was by all the constitutional organs of the Spanish nation. We had taken the only course which was consistent with our interests; and he did not think that in persevering in it we had exceeded the limits prescribed by the terms and spirit of the contract on which we had acted. Now, with respect to the assertion, that the moral influence of England had declined since he came into office, he thought it rather inconsistent with the host of assailants, which their policy had called up with regard to Belgium, Portugal, and Spain, that the power of England had, through the instrumentality of the present Government sunk to the lowest degree of insignificance. It was rather surprising, that the Government which the hon. Gentleman represented to be in so unfortunate a position should obtain so much countenance and respect from foreign countries, as to be made the arbiter of their disputes; and when we found two great naval Powers like France and America, each of them in former times opposed to us in war, and each of them supposed to be our rival in the arts of peace as well as in the pursuits of war, when we found them conceding to us the adjustment of their differences, he thought he might appeal with confidence to the single fact, in reply to the statement of the hon. Member for Sandwich, and say, that whatever was the estimate formed of them by the hon. Gentleman, or those with whom he communicated, France and America at least did not seem persuaded, that their "moral influence" had sunk to so low a state as the hon. Gentleman would have it believed. Without pretending to any military experience, he felt great confidence that, through that dispensation by which human affairs are governed, the 967 cause of the Queen of Spain must eventually prosper. He could not bring himself to think, that a cause so sullied by cruelty and crimes as that of Don Carlos, whose object was to establish a despotism in Spain, and snatch from his unhappy country all prospect of improvement—he could not, he repeated, bring himself to believe, that it could ever enter into the arrangement of human affairs, under that supreme dispensation, to prosper under such a cause as this. He took up this view upon the same grounds, that when Don Pedro had no place whereon to rest his foot, save the ruins of Oporto, he had predicted, that by some means or other, his cause and that of the young queen, his daughter, must eventually triumph. That prediction had proved well-founded, and he now, with equal confidence, entertained a similar event in the case of the Queen of Spain.
§ The House went into a Committee of Supply, and voted part of the Miscellaneous Estimates.