§ Mr. Maclean
said, that as his motion was fixed to come on upon the question of going into a Committee of Supply, upon that question being put, it would have been most inconvenient to postpone it, and he might have lost the opportunity ever to bring it forward. He was deeply impressed with the importance of the question he was about to submit to the House; so much so, indeed, that he should imagine a stranger, coming down to the House, would be astonished to find any hesitation as to which should be first considered,— this question, or one respecting the corporation of Poole. He hoped the House would give him credit for sincerity, when he stated that no one could be more sensible of his want of ability to do justice to this great question than the individual who was then addressing them; but when he found that the course of policy which had been pursued on that question by his Majesty's Government was one which, in his opinion, ought carefully to have been avoided, contravening, as it did, all former policy observed by this country with regard to any interference with foreign nations; when he found that the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, had taken a course not warranted by any precedent in the history of this country; when he found that the consequences of the struggle now going on in the northern provinces of Spain, were likely to implicate the honour of this country, he did hope that the House would think this was a question that immediately called for their attention. But, without insisting further on the importance of the subject, he could not avoid, before stating his own views, adverting to what passed on a former occasion—he meant the debate which took place on the motion of his noble Friend the Member for Hertford (Lord Mahon), during the last Session; and he alluded to that debate because in it he found that the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs did develope to the House the reasons for the policy pursued by him, and did state the arguments which he thought most proper to defend the course which the Government had pursued. The noble Lord stated upon that occasion to the House, that the force which was about to be levied and sent out of this country, by the suspension of the Foreign Enlistment Bill; through the direct inter- 953 ference of the Crown of this kingdom, and through the medium of an order in council, was for the purpose of putting down an insurrection, consisting of 11,000 or 12,000 persons only, in one of the remote and obscure provinces in the northern part of Spain. Now, if it was true that those troops were levied for the purpose of putting down an insurrection consisting; merely of that numerical force, he would ask the noble Lord what could have then been the vigour or power of the Spanish Monarchy, which called upon this country to do that which we had abstained from doing ever since the year 1688, for the purpose of putting down an insurrection of 11,000 or 12,000 men, in an obscure province of the Peninsula? What, too, had been the result of our interference? Either the communication of the noble Lord was correct, or it was not. If it was correct that the insurrection included only 11,000 or 12,000 persons, and was confined to one obscure province how would the noble Lord account for that insurrection not having been suppressed by Spain herself, and having now attained such accession and vigour as to be able to defy all the energy of the Spanish Government in combination with the troops sent out from this country? From the official returns it appeared that the force of Don Carlos had been greatly underrated. At the beginning of this year, the troops of Don Carlos amounted to very nearly 60,000 individuals. So that between the period when these troops went out—between the period when the noble Lord spoke on this subject—between the period when General Evans landed at Bilboa, up to the beginning of 1836, a space of five months, the rebellion in those provinces had increased from 11,000 or 12,000 men to (according to the official returns) 57,000 men, and the insurrection had extended itself from Biscay to Navarre, Guipuscoa, Aragon, and Catalonia. Thus it appeared that the troops that had been sent out were insufficient to perform the work required of them; and the work which they had done had not, he believed, been such as was expected by the noble Lord; for they had utterly failed in their undertaking. Now the noble Lord on that occasion acknowledged that he was following no precedent; that he had, in the prodigality of his strength, thrown over all rule which had hitherto guided the states- 954 men of this country. But he would refer at once to the ipsissima verba of the noble Lord. His noble Friend (Lord Mahon) had said that there was no precedent for the course pursued. The noble Lord, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, then said, "He 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 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 of acting right or wrong."* He must hold that the reasoning of the noble Lord did not present much novelty, for every question must be a question of right or wrong, and must be tested, not by its success—he believed the noble Lord would not say that that was the best test of the soundness of modem policy—but by its wisdom. But when the noble Lord threw over all precedent, and chose to establish a precedent of his own, stating that he would not follow precedent, because the case was either right or wrong, he (Mr. Maclean) could only suggest one ground by which this measure could be tested—namely, by its success or failure. An hon. Gentleman, however, who followed in that debate, and who supported the noble Lord, did not think the case so strong as to avoid some allusion being made to the course which had been formerly pursued in similar cases. The hon. Member for Mary-le-bone (Mr. H. Bulwer) stated, that in the time of Queen Elizabeth there was a precedent for the course which the noble Lord had pursued. But the case of Queen Elizabeth was perfectly distinct from this She sent troops, she lent money, she guaranteed the payment of a certain sum to the Dutch (the Dulch having previously offered her the throne, which she gener*Hansard, vol. xxviii. 3rd Series p. 1148.955 ously declined), in order to oppose the intrigues of Don John of Austria in the Netherlands, who was intriguing for a marriage with the Queen of Scots, that threatened the subversion of Elizabeth's own Government. It was, therefore, time for her to interfere, and which she did with sagacity and with policy in the affairs of the Netherlands. Hume described her conduct in the following words:— "This Princess, though magnanimous, had never entertained the ambition of making conquests, or gaining new acquisitions; and the whole purpose of her vigilant and active politics was to maintain, by the most frugal and cautious expedients, the tranquillity of her own dominions. An open war with the Spanish monarchy was the apparent consequence of her accepting the dominion of these provinces, and after taking the inhabitants under her protection, she could never afterwards, in honour, abandon them, but, however desperate their defence might become, she must embrace it, even further than her convenience or interests would permit. Don John, of Austria, endowed with a lofty genius, had opened his mind to vast undertakings; and looking much beyond the conquest of the revolted provinces, had projected to espouse the Queen of Scots, and to acquire, in her right, the dominion of the British kingdoms. Elizabeth, aware of his intentions, and seeing now, from a union of all the provinces, a fair prospect of their making a long and vigorous defence against Spain, no longer scrupled to embrace the protection of their liberties, which seemed so intimately connected with her own safety. After sending them a supply of money, about 20,000l., for the immediate pay of their troops, she concluded a treaty with them; in which she stipulated to assist them with 5,000 foot and 1,000 horse, at the charge of the Flemings; and to lend them 100,000l., on receiving the bonds of some of the most considerable towns of the Netherlands for her repayment within a year. It was further agreed, that the commander of the English army should be admitted into the Council of the States, and nothing be determined concerning war or peace without previously informing the Queen or him of it; that they should enter into no league without her consent; that if any discord arose among themselves it should be referred to her arbitration; and. that if any prince, on any pre- 956 text, should attempt hostilities against her, they should send to her assistance an army equal to that which she had employed in their defence. This alliance was signed 7th of January, 1578." It was upon that ground alone that the policy pursued by Queen Elizabeth was to be justified —upon that ground alone she had acted, and was not tempted by even the splendid offer of a throne itself; knowing well that if she had accepted it she would have involved herself in consequences dangerous to her own safety, by connecting her with circumstances foreign to the interest, the integrity, and the honour of the empire over which she reigned. Another allusion made by the hon. Member for Mary-le-bone was to the case of King William. He stated that King William was accompanied to this country by his Dutch guards. But he would ask, whether there was any analogy between the case of King William arriving in England, distracted as this country was by circumstances of no ordinary nature, with 7,000 Dutch guards, for the purpose for which he was called, and the case now under the consideration of the House; that of this Government interfering by supplying troops to the Queen of Spain to be under her pay, not to be under the orders of British generals, but Spanish generals, and, except their being British troops, having no connection whatever with this country. He would say that there was no analogy whatever between the cases of Queen Elizabeth and King William and the present case. It was true that his noble Friend, the Member for Hertford, alluded to another instance, which occurred in the reign of Charles the 1st. Charles the 1st sent out troops to the succour of Gustavus Adolphus, under the Marquess of Hamilton. But, on reference to all the historians who had spoken of that circumstance, there was not a single historian to be found who did not repudiate that act of Charles the 1st. The last historian of the thirty years' war, stated that the interference of Charles the 1st. through the medium of the Duke of Hamilton, was derogatory to the King, and dishonourable to the country. He (Mr. Maclean) alluded to these cases and precedents, because, in the defence made by the noble Lord on that occasion, he stated that he had not found any precedent, and he wished to establish one. The noble Lord stated, as a further vindication 957 of the policy he pursued, that the interest of the Queen of Spain was essentially an English question. The noble Lord said:—"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."* The noble Lord might be right; but he would put the other alternative, and he would suppose that it was just possible, what the noble Lord had ex cathedra stated to be impossible, for Don Carlos to be successful; and he would ask whether he did not think since that speech was made matters had not so changed their aspect as, he would not say would insure the success of Don Carlos (for, perhaps, it was immaterial to gentlemen on his side of the House whether Don Carlos succeeded or not), but whether circumstances had not so changed their aspect as to render it possible that he might succeed? Supposing he did succeed—for the events of war no one could foresee—their issue no one could predict—and that Don Carlos should become King of Spain—he would ask the noble Lord, did he not think that the interference of this country in this mode and manner was likely to be prejudicial to the interests of Great Britain? Did he not think that it would create in the breast of Don Carlos an acerbity of feel-* See Hansard, Vol. xxviii. p. 1148.958 ing, a bitterness of enmity against those who endeavoured to prevent him from having the lawful chance of obtaining the Crown, which would prejudice the interests of this country? Would it not have been better to have abstained altogether from interference, to have remained neuter, and have allowed this country, at least, the chance of standing well in' the good graces of Don Carlos, should any event place him on the throne of Spain? Would it not be more likely to place us upon an equality with other nations should Providence give success to his arms? What, if Don Carlos should succeed, was to become of those large sums sent by this country to Spain for the support of the Queen? Could it be expected that Don Carlos would guarantee those sums? Could it be expected, that after this country had done everything it could, except by an armed intervention under our own troops and generals, to oppose Don Carlos, the holders of Spanish bonds would realise the sums guaranteed by the Queen for the succours we ourselves had supplied to her? The amount he did not know. He had moved for a return of all stores, ammunition, arms, &c., furnished to the Queen of Spain, and also a return of the men and officers serving in the Queen's service and receiving pay from the English Government; but neither of those returns had been made. This disabled him from stating the amount of sums advanced by, and the re-payment guaranteed to the bondholders. England was to rely upon the honour of the Queen, he was told; and in another place it had been stated that the honour of the Queen was pledged for the repayment of these advances. He did not doubt that. He would not attempt to throw any discredit on the Spanish Government; but he was putting the supposition, that by a reverse of fortune Don Carlos should be placed upon the throne of Spain, did the noble Lord anticipate that he would repay us the sums expended for the purpose of annihilating him and his army in the northern provinces? If not, then the policy on which the noble Lord acted, was a one-sided policy. It went upon the ground that the Queen must succeed. We were told that the Spanish nation were longing for the dominion of the Queen, and that the constitutional Government promised by her would be a panacea that would cure all the evils that distracted that country. Were those juntas, whom 959 the vigour and vigilance of Mendizabel had, if not annihilated, reduced to obedience and subjection—were they satisfied with the predecessors of Mendizabel? Up to the end of 1835 every province had its junta, and every junta its constitutional nostrum. There was a prevalence of feeling throughout the country almost verging on republicanism. Where the Carlists did not threaten the authority of the Queen the Republicans threatened it with almost equally imminent danger. The malcontents on the one side, with all the zeal of proselytes, were panting for republicanism, while on the other side the adherents of Don Carlos were reproaching the queen with the violation of all legitimate authority. Had we by our interference stifled the one or eradicated the other? Was there not sufficient evidence that instead of having done so, we had matured the flame into a degree of greater vividness, and had excited the people of Spain into a degree of animosity which we should never be able to uppress? We had, in point of fact aimed at what it was impossible for us to do—the extinction of a feeling which was indigenous in the Spanish people—a feeling of hatred to the interference of foreigners. Was that a feeling of yesterday? A feeling which the troops of General Evans, or the soldiers of the Algerine legion had newly excited? He need not, he was sure, allude to the language of an illustrious statesman, whose memory was dear to many in that House—he meant the late Mr. Canning—he need not allude to what he had said on a former occasion to convince any hon. Gentleman of the strength of that feeling in the Spanish breast which he (Mr. Maclean) had denominated "an indigenous feeling." In the year 1823, when Mr. Canning was speaking of the contest then going on in Spain by the armed intervention of the French, and deprecated that intervention acknowledging that it was an act of gross injustice, he said,—The first condition of engaging in any war, the sine quâ non of every such undertaking is, that the war must be just; the second, that being just in itself, we can also with justice engage in it; and the third, that being just in its nature, and it being possible for us justly to embark in it, we can so interfere without detriment or prejudice to ourselves. I contend that he is a visionary politician who leaves this last condition out of the question; and I say further, that though the glorious abandonment of it may sound well in the 960 generous speech of an irresponsible orator, with the safety of a nation upon his lips, and none of the responsibility upon his shoulders, it is matter deeply to be considered; and that the Minister who should lay it out of his view in calling on the country to undertake a war, would well deserve that universal censure and reprobation with which the noble Lord opposite has this night menaced me,Upon the subject of the alleged gratitude of Spain, he would also quote the authority of the same great Statesman. Mr. Canning said—When the army of England last fought in Spain, they fought in favour of an united people against a foreign and a common foe. How altered is the case at present! Who is there who could wish to see Englishmen, on entering the Spanish territory, opposed, not to the foes of Spain, but directing their bayonets against Spanish bosoms? This I confess is a sight which I would rather not witness. In one case, perhaps, a feeling of gratitude might be created in the minds of Spaniards, though I confess that upon this point I am not very sanguine; for I recollect, that, though something like gratitude was manifested by the Spaniards for the services rendered by the English during the late war, there was also upon the embarkation of our troops something like a public gratulation that the country had been at length cleared of the presence of those heretics.Mr. Canning proceeded to observe in vindication of that feeling,—You may call it bigotry on the part of Spaniards—you may call it ignorance, or what you will, bat still it is in the nature of the Spaniard; and you must deal with man—not as you wish him to be, but as you find him to exist.*At that time they were losing the friends of former years, who had poured forth their blood like water to give that freedom to others which their forefathers had handed down as their own imperishable inheritance; they were parting with men who had been their companions in arms for years, men who had poured out their blood like water, to secure and hand down that freedom to them which they themselves had long inherited from their ancestors; they were parting with, men who had pursued but one line of conduct, having enlisted but under one motto,—Parcere subject is et debellare superbos.Though one could not but regret the feeling he had portrayed as the natural con-sequence of the departure of the British troops from Spain, yet one could not* See Hansard, Vol. viii, New Series. pp. 1055, 1056.961 be astonished that such a feeling should have arisen in their bosoms. It, at all events, showed that a hatred of foreign interference grew with the growth of the Spaniards, and strengthened with their strength. There was another point, and one of considerable importance, to which he wished to call the attention of the House. He would ask whether anything more dangerous to the discipline or permanent stability of the army could have been devised, than the course which had been pursued with regard to the enlistment of the troops that had been sent to Portugal. If he knew anything of the British soldier's character, it was a mixture of loyalty to his King and devotion to his father-land. He would ask whether anything could be more dangerous to the high character which attached to our army, from its great achievements, than a continuance of those practices and principles which had lately been adopted—than a proposition emanating from the highest authority in the State as it were, inviting men to enlist under the banners of a foreign Sovereign —or than the sufferings which those troops had recently endured—disasters the most painful and roost galling to gallant men? He would ask the noble Lord whether the highest military authority in this country, adverting to the provisions of the Quadripartite Treaty, would sanction the course of proceeding of which he complained? Independently of these considerations, it must be remembered, that the English troops in Spain were not under the orders of our own commanders, but were under the orders of officers out there whom they were compelled to obey, and who were, therefore, liable to become parties to all the aggressions that might arise from their treachery, duplicity or misconduct. Putting out of view, however, the revolting contingencies to which they were liable, it was now admitted by all, that the anticipations of speedy triumph were unfounded, Mina, whose name was once so hallowed in Spain as the symbol of victory, was now execrated in Europe as little better than an assassin, and rebel hordes that used to flee at his appearance, shut him up in the fortresses of Catalonia. Let him call the noble Lord's attention to a recent, and he believed, an authentic communication, describing the state of those troops, dated "Vittoria, Jan. 26." The writer of that letter stated that the troops had suffered most severely from the immense number 962 of sick. A great fever had cut off many, and, what would seem very extraordinary, the frost had done them fearful injury, some of the men having lost their toes, and others their feet, in addition to which they had to undergo the hardship of sleeping on the brick floor of a damp convent, with now and then a bivouac in the open air. These the writer assigned as the causes of the sickness that prevailed. They never showed themselves before the castle without the black flag being displayed, and one-half of the men were labouring under the effects of diseases, which were not confined to the men alone, but under the influence of which the officers were daily falling victims. The writer concluded by expressing his opinion that they could not at present muster more than 5,050 able men. He believed the situation of these men was even worse than it had been described; the sources from which he had derived this information no one could dispute. The account however read, shewed that his hon. and gallant Friend, the Member for Windsor, was most accurate when he spoke on this question in 1835. The facts he had stated showed that his hon. and gallant Friend was prophetic in the warning he then held out to General Evans and the troops about to embark under that officer's command, when he told them what they had to expect, and advised the gallant officer commanding the expedition not to quit this country under any assurances, however flattering or encouraging, unless he bad six months' pay in his military chest. The harassing nature of the country was described with an accuracy which the letter he had read painfully corroborated. Had it not turned out that nearly every word spoken by his hon. and gallant Friend, dictated as it must have been by the wisdom of military experience, had been realized and fulfilled"? The troops embarked from this country on this unhappy service were, generally, such as the most effective authority would be insufficient to check in their irregular habits and disposition, and to reduce to a proper state of discipline before it would be safe, to call them out upon any active service or expedition. Without long and previous training these men could not even have been sufficiently indurated to undergo the fatigues of a march over a very difficult country. Accordingly, in a march of twenty-one days from Bilboa to Vittoria, the Legion was almost in a state 963 of disorganization; and after their arrival at Vittoria, the greater portion of the troops were obliged to give up their beds for the accommodation of the sick. The refreshments they received were of the most scanty and unwholesome description; and they were literally huddled together upon the cold and comfortless floors of the convents of Vittoria. Then came the unfortunate business of the retreat of the Legion. On one occasion, when the troops bad bivouacked on the field of battle, the British soldiers under Evans were abandoned by Cordova, leaving the Carlists undisputed victors, and almost the captors of the British with their stores. Deserted by those who ought to have supported them, they were compelled to fly from before the Carlists, into whose hands their persons must inevitably have fallen, but for a thick fog coming on, which rendered pursuit useless. It was such circumstances as these which induced him to say that the interference of Great Britain, by means of these soldiers, was detrimental to the character she had so well established in the Peninsula. He did not charge these men with want of gallantry; he did not say that their conduct was reprehensible on that score; but he maintained that their being obliged to leave the field, and only retiring in safety through the intervention of a fog, was in itself sufficient to tarnish the renown, the honour, and the character of the British empire. In 1835 the noble Lord opposite acknowledged that England had interfered in the war. What were the responsibilities we had contracted by doing so, and what were the consequences which might result from that interference? Suppose it should become the policy of the Russian, Austrian, and Neapolitan governments to interfere in favour of Don Carlos, in what a situation would England be placed? In 1823, when the question of intervention was fully debated, during Mr. Canning's administration, the present Lord Melbourne, then Mr. William Lamb, said, "It was necessary that the government should possess the power of controlling any strong-demonstration of political feeling, in regard to our foreign relations, which might otherwise commit the country in those hostilities which it was our best policy to avoid. Could it be supposed that if any other country were to take an active part in behalf of a power with which we might be at war, that we should bear 964 it tamely, and not call upon that country to choose between peace and war? The repeat of the Foreign Enlistment Bill would be considered as an act of decisive hostility; and if we affected, at the same time, to maintain neutrality, would be unworthy of the fair character and honest dealing of the country. He was ready to admit that the aggression of France on Spain was an act of injustice, but he denied that we were called upon to repress every act of injustice committed by a foreign power, and that we were bound, on every such occasion to embark in the contest." Let the House remember the present position of affairs. The succession to the Crown of Spain was still undecided, and the claim of Don Carlos, as compared with that of the Queen, might still be mooted in that country. The Basque provinces possessed privileges which no other province possessed—of a very important and valuable nature—being no less than the right of raising their own custom duties, and taxing themselves. These privileges the Government of the Queen of Spain had abrogated. What was the effect of our interference? To make ourselves virtually parties to that odious proceeding. He was deeply impressed with a sense of the obligation of this country to fulfil the provisions of any treaty to which she became a party. If there was one thing more sacred than another, it was the conservation of the inviolability of the promises of a great nation; but while we were bound, not only by policy, but morality, to keep the faith of treaties, we were equally bound to act with the utmost caution and discretion in doing so. When he said this, he begged to refer the noble Lord to the provisions of the treaty itself. It was curious, that of France and England, we were the only nation which had promised to furnish to the Queen of Spain a naval force, arms, and ammunition, and military stores—that we were the only nation to which any loss could accrue. As well as he recollected the treaty—and if his recollection deceived him the noble Lord would be able to set him right upon the point—the King of France only pledged himself to take such steps as he and his august allies, after due consideration, should deem expedient. The King of France therefore pledged himself to no overt act, but we pledged ourselves to assist the Queen of Spain with a naval force, 965 or, in other words, to render the funds of this country available for the prosecution of this domestic struggle. But this was not all; in the additional articles we pledged ourselves to assist the Queen of Spain with arms, ammunition, and military stores. There was no guarantee on the part of the Queen of Spain for the payment of these supplies, or of any portion of them; and he really thought that when we promised so much, the other party might have promised something. The King of France promised in an additional article to take all necessary precautions for preventing the passing of stores to Don Carlos. He did not think the King of France would incur any very great expense in the discharge of this obligation, and he entertained, in common with many other persons, a shrewd suspicion that the watch which was kept along the line of the Pyrenees was not of a very vigilant nature. How did it happen else, that Don Carlos, in his secluded retirement, with 12,000 ragged troops, had been enabled to raise an army of 50,000 men? He would relate an anecdote on this part of the subject, which he had heard from very good authority: — Shortly after we had sent some muskets out to Spain, a sally, headed by Zumalacarregui, took place against the Queen's troops, who, after showing themselves a little while, making what he believed was called a "demonstration," retired, leaving behind them a considerable number of new muskets. Zumalacarregui, who was very curious in arms, and had a great taste for collecting them, possessed himself of these muskets, and shortly afterwards sent his compliments to General Rodil, with a polite message, intimating that as the arms they had taken bore the Tower mark, and as his troops had a decided preference for that description of fire arms, they would feel highly obliged to him if he would have the kindness to allow his men to carry them on all future occasions. He could assure the noble Lord that he heard the anecdote from a source not very far removed from Zumalacarregui himself. He would now request the attention of the House to an extract from a work lately published by Captain Henninsgen, entitled "A Twelve Months' Campaign with Zumalacarregui during the War in Navarre and the Basque Provinces of Spain," in which (he resources and prospects of Don Carlos are 966 spoken of by one who had possessed opportunities of personal knowledge superior to most others who had offered their opinions to the public:—
"Hitherto, it is true, his success has not been decisive; but of his eventful triumph those who are acquainted with the popularity of his cause in the Peninsula, protracted as the struggle may be, can have but little doubt. The northern provinces can only be subdued by the extermination of the male population, the transplanting of families, burning of harvests, and destroying every human habitation, as was attempted by the French Convention in La Vendée. But to effect all this in a country like the present seat of war, which baffled the genius of Napoleon with all his legions, and where every arbitrary act, instead of striking terror, arms fresh masses of its population, would require, I apprehend, a larger army than was ever marshalled under any man since the days of Xerxes. The official return of Don Carlos's forces, on the 1st of January, 1836, gives:—For Navarre, Alava, and Biscay, 35,200 men; for Catalonia, 22,363: in all, 57,563." The authority from which he had read this statement, he believed, was allowed to be good, and he felt himself, therefore, justified in placing reliance upon it. He thought it his duty thus to bring under its consideration the foreign policy that had been pursued by the Government in this instance, and to call for an investigation into the line of conduct that had been adopted by the noble Lord opposite (the Secretary for Foreign Affairs) in permitting a force of 10,000 British troops to take part in the civil war now raging in Spain, contrary to the letter of the treaty of the Quadruple Alliance. He did not complain of a supply of arms having been furnished, because that was consistent both with the spirit and letter of the treaty, but he contended that if an armed force was to be supplied it ought to have been specified in the treaty itself, and not left to the discretion of any Minister. He would not trouble the House further. The honour of his native country, with which was entwined the honour of its army, whose reputation would, he hoped, be immortal, had induced him. thus to trespass on their kind indulgence. He knew that no man was more fondly proud of that fame, which had made British chiefs and British soldiers the property of 967 history, than the noble Lord himself. He knew that no one would feel more deep regret than the noble Lord, if the laurels which we had planted on that soil, and watered with our blood, were now to droop and wither; but what he said was, do not let us pander to the worst passions of human nature; do not let us enter into a crusade under the name of liberty, which might proceed in dishonour, and terminate in disgrace. If England were to speak, let her speak as she did of old. If she were to unsheathe the sword, let her not return it to the scabbard until she knew she could change it in security for the ploughshares of peace. In his opinion, we might have terminated this struggle more speedily, by abstaining altogether from intervention. Intervention at this moment, to have such an effect, must plunge this country in a war; for which there was no justification. He contended, then, that the best course for the honour, the peace, and the security of England, would be to withdraw at once from the contest the men who were now engaged in it. If the noble Lord would permit him, he would say to the noble Lord——"fortiter occupaPortum. Nonne vides, utNudum remigio latos,Et malus celeri saucius Africo,Antennæque gemant, ac sine funibus,Vix durare carinæPossint imperiosiusÆquor?—non tibi sunt in tegra lintea.Thanking the House for its kind indulgence, the hon. Member concluded by moving, after a short delay, that "the papers which the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, intimated his intention of bringing forward on a former occasion be laid on the Table of the House."
§ Mr. Ward
very much regretted that hon. Members opposite always carefully abstained from bringing this question forward in any tangible shape, which enabled She House to come to a decision upon it. The proper course would be, to visit with the censure of the House those Ministers who had neglected the interests of their country, by laying themselves open to the charge which was to be implied, at least, from the speech of the hon. Member, if that charge were well-founded; and if it were unfounded, to remove such an imputation from them at once, by an expression of the sanction and approval of the House. 968 But any such coarse was always most carefully avoided. Such were the tactics constantly pursued on the opposite side of the House, whenever the affairs of Spain were brought under its consideration. When the noble Lord, the Member for Hertford, brought the subject forward last Session, he concluded a speech which, though moderate in its tone, was full of strictures on the Government, by moving for the production of papers, to the production of which, he well knew, there could be no earthly objection, inasmuch as their contents were previously well known to the House, The noble Lord would excuse him for saying that, by the adoption of this course, he placed the House in a most unfair position, compelling it either to refuse its assent to a motion, in itself perfectly unobjectionable, or by acceding to it; to bestow its sanction to a certain extent on the grounds on which that motion was founded, and the statements by which it was accompanied. But the hon. Member for Oxford was even more cautious—his caution exceeded all precedent; he would not move for anything at all, but merely placed a notice on the books, which just served as a peg to hang a speech upon, without the slightest notion of ever attaining any definite or specific result. The hon. Gentleman took precedence, as he understood, not because he was going to make a speech, but because he was about to make a motion. The speech had, however, been made without any motion at all; and thus he (Mr. Ward) was deprived of a pleasure which he had promised himself—the pleasure, if that motion had impugned the conduct of his Majesty's Government, of moving such an amendment as would have brought the whole subject under the consideration of the House, and enabled them to pronounce an opinion upon it. He regretted that the mode of proceeding which had been resorted to, did not leave him the power of changing the hon. Member's field-day into something like a regular discussion. The real question at issue was, had his Majesty's Ministers, under the obligation of a treaty, pursued a right object; and if so, had they pursued it in a right way. It was very convenient for hon. Gentlemen to say that they did not impugn the treaty itself, while they impugned every act that naturally flowed from it. It was quite impossible to separate the two; the House must take the 969 policy of the alliance into consideration, before it decided to what extent the Government were justified in acting upon its stipulations. What was the police of the quadruple treaty? To give peace and security to the people of Spain and Portugal (with the last of which, be it recollected, England was the most intimately connected), and to afford them an opportunity of introducing and working out those changes which they might consider desirable, without the fear of foreign aggression, and without the interruption of a disputed accession. He maintained that the peace and welfare of England were most intimately concerned in putting an end to the fluctuations which had, during the last century, prevailed in the Peninsula. It was with the Cortes of Spain we formed our connexion in 1809: we became their protectors in 1814, when they were driven into exile; and many hon. Members of that House must recollect that it required all the power of Mr. Canning's great talent and eloquence to restrain the tide of popular feeling which had set in their favour in 1823. To Portugal we were bound by equally strong ties. We were bound to protect them from all foreign aggression, and from all interference in their internal affairs. Uniformity in the Peninsular Governments was of the utmost importance to England; and now we were bound by the Quadruple Treaty, in conjunction with France, to throw the shield of our protection over the infant liberties of both these countries. The objection of the hon. and learned Member for Oxford was to the extension which had been given to this treaty. But he (Mr. Ward) contended that our Government had acted in the true spirit of that treaty. The hon. and learned Member should not forget that, by the letter of that treaty, a most important obligation was imposed upon this Government. That treaty obliged us, in case of necessity, to send an armament to the coast of Spain or Portugal, to protect either from foreign interference in their internal affairs. Suppose, then, that Russia (and the hon. and learned Member did not regard it as a very improbable supposition) or any continental country, had sent an army to Spain to support the cause of Don Carlos—as France would, under the terms of the Quadruple Treaty, prevent their passage through her territories—we should have been obliged to send a fleet to the coast of Biscay to 970 obstruct their landing. We should have been committed to the whole force of our armament. Then, with respect to the efficiency of the aid afforded under his gallant Friend, General Evans, it should be remembered that that gallant officer acted under the orders of Spain, and therefore should those untoward events occur, which had been anticipated by the hon. and learned Member, but of which he (Mr. Ward) had not the slightest apprehension, the disgrace would fall, not upon England, but upon Spain herself; so that when we could accomplish the object of the treaty by a less exertion of power, why should we be called upon to make the greater. So far from joining in the unfavourable anticipations of the hon. and learned Member, he was convinced that the gallantry of the British Auxiliary Legion would fully justify the cause in which they had embarked. So soon as the severity of the season should be mitigated, and that an opportunity of distinguishing themselves was afforded, he felt assured that these brave men would prove themselves worthy of the reputation acquired by their predecessors in the Peninsula. The hon. and learned Member opposite had attached much importance to the opinion of Mr. Canning. When the hon. and learned Member attributed to Mr. Canning the doctrine of non-intervention in all cases, he attributed much more than that illustrious individual professed. In 1819, 1823, and again in 1827, was it not obvious that Mr. Canning's opinions and policy were governed by circumstances? In the very passage quoted from a speech of Mr. Canning by the hon. and learned Member opposite, it was admitted, nay strongly enforced, that our interference or neutrality must be greatly determined by circumstances. With respect to the feeling in favour of the constitutional cause, he would take it on himself to say, that all the influential and populous towns were in favour of it; and he referred with pleasure to the remittance which had arrived in Madrid from. Havannah. This was a strong proof of the feeling existing in the colonies. He was surprised how the hon. and learned Member could assume that the conduct adopted by England was unjustifiable in a power which had signed the Quadruple Treaty. It was quite true that Government had gone beyond the letter of that treaty. [Cheers.] These cheers he was prepared for from hon. Members who were opposed to the 971 Quadruple Treaty in spirit and in letter. But he would mention that, in acting as she had done, England was only acting; in accordance with the spirit of that treaty. He denied that the salique law was part of the constitution of Spain. It was introduced by the Bourbons, and the same power that established could at any time repeal it. He could conceive no more unimpeachable title than that of the Queen of Spain, sanctioned as it was by the Cortes of the kingdom. The host, and learned Member had said, that Don Carlos ought not to be irritated. Now he should take leave to observe that Don Carlos was identified with fanaticism in Spain. It had been his lot to have spent four years in Spain, at a period when be could form a very accurate opinion upon the subject, and he should venture to put his own persona] experience in opposition to the "information" of the hon. Member opposite, Don Carlos was a supporter of the Inquisition in Spain; he was opposed to the slightest modification of it by Ferdinand, and he endeavoured to induce his brother to revive it in more than its pristine odiousness, as an engine not merely of religious, but also of political oppression. He was therefore an individual from whom this country had nothing to hope, and he believed as tittle to fear. It was quite clear that if he came to the Throne of Spain, he would fall into the hands or those who were most opposed to England and her free institutions, England had guaranteed the succession to the Queen of Spain, and was proceeding prudently, but efficiently, to secure it; and he believed that Mr. Canning, if in the situation of the noble Lord near him, would have adopted precisely the same course. The public professions of Mr. Canning justified him in this supposition, and the opinion of Mr. Huskisson, who ought to have been familiar with the opinions of Mr. Canning, also justified him in saying, that that Statesman would have adopted precisely the same course as that pursued by the noble Lord near him. From the moment that Sir Charles Stuart brought the Constitution of Portugal from Brazil, the danger that was principally to be guarded against was, to prevent a division between England and Spain respecting its establishment. Any such danger as that was no longer to be apprehended. It was sufficiently guarded against by the Quadruple Treaty—the maintenance of which 972 would be most conducive to the honour and interests of those Powers that were parties to it. In conclusion, he had only to express his hope, that if the hon. and learned Member had any objection to urge against the fulfilment of that Treaty—as it had been fulfilled by this country— he trusted that he would bring some intelligible and tangible motion before the House, that would give them an opportunity of expressing an opinion on a subject of so much importance.
§ Mr. Poulter
declared, that if ever there was any treaty that was clear and specific in all its possible provisions, it was that treaty, and whatever virtually fell short of a complete carrying out of its principle was a virtual abandonment of it. When that treaty was entered into by the contracting powers, Don Carlos was almost an exile from Spain; his arrival here was supposed to be for the purpose of retirement, and not with the view of making it a stepping-stone to the Pyrennees, It was never expected that he would meditate at Alverstoke or Brompton a design to prosecute, at the earliest opportunity, his claim to the Spanish throne; and if such an expectation had been entertained, the country would have been bound to take, and would have taken, steps to prevent the completion of the project. But as it was impossible to prevent it, it was the duty of Great Britain to afford such future assistance, in order to carry the treaty into effect, as should be required. A good deal had been said about mercenaries, and undoubtedly the brave men who had left this country to fight for the Queen of Spain, in one sense, were mercenaries. Those were mercenaries who received merces, but in a sense of reproach he utterly denounced the term, and the men who had left England to fight for Donna Isabella were actuated by motives which did them the highest honour—that of contending for the cause of constitutional monarchy. A man who served anybody for pay was a mercenary. Would these men have served Don Carlos on those terms? He wholly and utterly denied that they would, having chosen, as they had done, a great and most honourable principle to support. The hon. Member near him (Mr. Ward) had anticipated him in stating that the salique law was not the law of Spain. It was introduced into Spain by the force of intimidation, and the Spanish people would not have 973 hesitated to declare their preference for the old law, had it not been for the connexion of the salique law with the representative of the apostolical party. This it was which made the abrogation of that law unpopular with the people of Spain, and particularly with the peasantry, ill educated and ill informed as they were. He would ask hon. Members which of the two forms of Government, a constitutional or an absolute monarchy, was likely to be most productive of the greatest blessing which could be bestowed on a nation —a system of popular education? Which of the two was most likely to tend to the formation of virtuous private character, the best component part of public character, the most likely to inculcate that respect for law in its ultimate and proper sense, and promote that security for property, and he would say, though it might excite a cheer on the opposite side of the House, that tenderness for human life, which were the usual consequences of a system of constitutional government? A good deal had been said about the atrocities that had been committed; about the fact there could be but one opinion, but there might be two about its cause. They all agreed in thinking that it was the duty of the noble Lord to protest in the strongest manner against the recurrence of such abominable atrocities. But he did not set down the commission of these disgraceful acts to the charge of liberty, but to the long antecedent despotism which had prevailed in Spain; the fetters were thrown off, and the nation behaved as a mere child which had never known how to regulate its own actions. These disgraceful acts were the penalty which must be paid in passing from a state of despotism to a state of freedom. Such a penalty was paid in France, and most tremendous it was, owing to the long course of antecedent despotism, owing to lettres de cachet, to the bastile, and to the freedom from taxation which was allowed to the privileged classes. But if we looked to those who were descended from our own stock, when they bad thrown off the yoke, they presented the spectacle of a peaceful and honest form of government. He was saying nothing in favour of republics, but this circumstance was enough to show that those alone to whom the notions of freedom had been transmitted from ages back, could at once be expected to 974 conform themselves to their new situation, and be their own masters with grace and dignity. Hon. Members had spoken of the sympathy which the Spanish nation felt for Don Carlos. If so, why was he shut up in the mountain fastnesses, which he would speedily abandon if his cause was really the cause of the people. But when he came to ask where Don Carlos obtained his resources, he was sorry to say that he procured them from the friends of absolute government all over the world. He was playing the stake for nearly the last absolute monarchy in Europe, and certainly the last in western Europe, and those who were interested in the event of the game took care that he should be enabled to play it with the greatest possible advantage. Smugglers from France supplied him with all the munitions of war. When he considered that the greatest changes in the constitution of a country, as had been lately shown in our own case and in that of our neighbour France, could be carried into effect, and the public peace and order still be preserved, he could not but feel inclined to favour the cause of the Queen, and he must think that ultimately the whole of western Europe would come under the influence of constitutional and representative governments. Hon. Members might call this principle a disorder, but he would remind them that it was contagious in its character and he felt confident that it would extend to the north as well as to the west, to Poland as well as to Italy, and finally spread itself over the whole civilised world.
hoped the House would give him credit for meaning what he said, when he assured them that he had no intention of trespassing at any length upon their indulgence. But he could not allow the debate to conclude without calling attention to the real cause of the difference of opinion existing on the subject now under the consideration of the House. The real difference was that between the principle of absolutism and that of constitutional liberty. Yet there was not one word of that in the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Oxford, because the cause of Don Carlos was that of absolutism, and that of Christina was the cause of constitutional liberty. There was something unnatural too in the alliance that had been formed in support of the cause of Don Carlos, That prince was so much of a 975 Catholic, that he had arrived at the stage which those who regard Catholicity as superstition, call Popery, And yet notwithstanding this, the most violent No-popery men in this country had rallied round his cause. By this conduct they showed, at all events, that their opposition was not to the abstract principle of Popery, but to Popery when allied to liberal institutions. They were opposed to Popery in Ireland—not because it was Popery, but because it was just now wrapped up with Liberality. The cause of Christina, though it was the cause of free institutions, had yet been disgraced by atrocities which he was the first in that House to condemn. He was the first in that House to denominate Mina a monster for his atrocities—and so should he speak of Zumalacarregui. Was there, he would ask, any man in that House who would stand up to defend Don Carlos? to defend him who had entered into that treaty which was so much for his advantage, and which entitled him to be recognised as a person who could be treated with by the British Government, but who was still guilty of the most abominable atrocities—murdering and assassinating the British subjects who happened to fall into his power. How could any Englishman stand up after that and advocate the cause of such a man? But he hoped a day of retribution was coming, and that instead of going to Madrid, Don Carlos would fall into the hands of his gallant Friend, General Evans, who, however, had too much magnanimity to retaliate by putting him to death, but who would, he trusted, treat him with all the contempt of forgiveness. He was glad the hon. and learned Member had not so far forgotten the principles of his profession as to pretend that Don Carlos had a shadow of a legal title to the Crown of Spain. The original principle upon which Kings in that country governed, which was the will of the people by which they were appointed, for so long a time as they ruled for the advantage of the country—resulted in the principle of hereditary succession; and in this females were included at first, as well as males. Nor was there any salique law until after the Bourbon invasion. Even then it was much qualified. In France a female could not succeed at all; but in Spain she might, if there were failure of male issue in the first and second line of succession. And even if a partial salique law was established in Spain, it was not sanctioned by the Cortes, but by the Council of State; and the opinions of that body were not taken by- 976 voting, but in writing. The law thus introduced was repealed in 1787, and again twice by Ferdinand. Soon after the first time he did so, the Act by which it was done was rescinded, but soon after it was again repealed; and this latter Act was sanctioned by the Cortes. But, supposing that he had a title, what kind of a friend of liberty was Carlos, to involve the country in such scenes of bloodshed as he had done-He thought that the time was come when it was the general opinion of enlightened men that the man who would "wade through slaughter to a throne" was unfit to reign. He was supported in his contest by those who from ignorance were against good government. He had that species of force which should rather be called a natural than a moral force—that species of force which it was difficult to hunt out of the mountains in which it had taken refuge, and which was determined not to descend to the plains. No doubt it was the duty of a soldier to act with prudence, but, if Don Carlos possessed that strength which he was said to have, he would before now have been at Madrid, Before he sat down, he could not help adverting to a rather singular circumstance, which he believed was no secret—he meant the proceedings that were going on at the Stock Exchange. A number of persons at that place had undertaken to lend the Government of the Queen money, but some of those persons had determined "to hedge," and agreed to lend a sum of money also to Don Carlos. He understood that Don Carlos was to have a loan of 250,000l. to assist him in murdering British subjects; and if he ever got to Madrid, he was to have a large loan; but if he did not, of course the lenders would lose what they advanced. By this means they "hedged" as to the Christinos loan. Those gentlemen might laugh at this proceeding, but he could not help considering that it was frightful thus to traffic in human blood. These proceedings would continue, however, as long as Members in that House lent their countenance to the projects of Don Carlos. The hon. Member for Oxford had read a number of letters from the scene of warfare in Spain. He (Mr. O'Connell) had also received letters from Vittoria—some from relations of his own, who had gone out with General Evans, which gave a very different account of the march and fight from that given by the hon. and learned Member. He knew the writers of some of these letters to be incapable of misrepresenting the truth. These letters 977 were from persons who were remaining with General Evans's army, and who were determined to continue there and fight it out. These were not the persons who sent letters to the newspapers of the disasters of the army, and who probably were sitting at their firesides at Bayonne, or other places, while writing the accounts of the horrors that had been described. He was glad to think that the Government of the Duke of Wellington considered themselves bound by the treaty, and that the present Government were determined to carry out its provisions; he only regretted that more strenuous assistance was not rendered to the Spanish Government. He did not think that Don Carlos could have continued to maintain himself in the mountainous regions where he was if there was not treason in the Christinos camp. Even if there was, it would be an extremely difficult task for him to succeed. At any rate, he was sure that the brave force under his gallant Friend, General Evans, would never disgrace the character of British soldiers, by sharing in any part of the atrocities and cruelties which had characterised the career of Don Carlos. He trusted that this discussion would show the country that the House had confidence in the Government, and that they relied upon its carrying out the stipulations of the treaty. He would only add, if the hon. Member for Oxford had made any attempt to take the sense of the House on the subject, that he would have found that Government was supported by a triumphant majority.
§ Sir John Elley
trusted that the House would afford him its indulgence while he entered upon a few observations connected with this subject, and he would confine himself to the military view of what was taking place in Spain, in consequence of the division which left this country under his gallant Friend General Evans having proceeded thither. He should commence his observations with the landing of the force on the northern shore of Spain. On arriving at St. Sebastian they found the barracks occupied by Spanish troops, but quarters were provided for them. After a short stay they left that town, to reconnoiter the forces of the enemy, in company with some Spanish troops. The advanced corps Was composed of some of the best troops in the Spanish army, and was followed by two battalions under General Evans. They proceeded as far as Hernani, a town about three miles from St. Sebastian, on the Tolosa road, and having made the 978 reconnoissance, they returned. They next went to Bilboa, and there they found good lodging, good provisions, and ample opportunities of bringing the men into a state of discipline. Unfortunately those opportunities were not sufficiently improved, and the consequence was, that finding no other mode of punishment effectual, they were obliged to resort to a punishment which we must all dislike, which we must all reprobate, and more especially his gallant Friend, To each battalion was appointed a provost-marshal. He had a drummer, a serjeant, a corporal, and six file of men. The duty of this provost-marshal was the exercise of absolute power, and if he found any man who, in his opinion, was acting out of the strict line of discipline. without further ceremony he was to tie him up, and give him a couple of dozen. This punishment and these powers were absolutely necessary, for the troops were not to be brought under subjection by any other means. After remaining some time at Bilboa, where, on the arrival of General Evans's battalion, there were stationed 15,000 Spaniards under the command of Espartero, the latter gave up the garrison to General Evans, and the Spanish troops under Espartero marched on towards Vittoria. Now, the House, or at least the military Members of it, would suppose that in an affair of such a nature as this march, under the circumstances attending it, and the situation of the country, that all the precautions of war would have been taken. These precautions were, however, in fact, wholly omitted, and the consequence was, that before Espartero and his column had proceeded seven miles from Bilboa into the mountains occupied by the Carlists, they were resisted with such force and spirit that they were compelled to retreat towards Bilboa, and to call upon General Evans and his small force to aid and protect the 15,000 Spaniards, under Espartero, who had gone forth. In short they came back with the Carlists at their heels in Bilboa, into which town the Carlists remained firing for upwards of an hour and a half. Before the march commencing, it was worthy of remark that Espartero had sent two battalions of his force in flank on parallel roads with the line of march, and it would naturally be supposed that after being discomfitted in the manner he (Sir J, Elley) had described, Espartero would have sent 979 to those two flank battalions orders to retreat, but instead of doing so the two unfortunate battalions received no orders, and were consequently cut off from retreat by the Carlists, and were left only to choose between two evils—first, to contend with the superior force of their opponents, the Carlists; or to swim the Durango, a river of considerable width and of great swiftness of current. The battalions thus cut off from retreat chose the latter alternative, namely, that of swimming the Durango, and no less than 1,400 persons perished in the attempt. Shortly afterwards the 15,000 Spanish troops left the garrison of Bilboa in the sole possession of General Evans. No lengthened period elapsed, however, before that gallant Officer and the troops under his command were ordered to advance from Bilboa towards Vittoria. Now, did the gallant General take the nearest line of route, namely, by Durango? No, he did not; and why? Because he knew the Carlists occupied the passes on that route, and it was therefore that he took another road—that by Portugalette. Even there the Carlists met him. Did he bring them to action? No; he knew better a general action was not his object. He, however, struggled to proceed towards Vittoria, because such were his orders; and he mentioned this to disabuse the public mind with reference to these matters. In a word, General Evans did not attack or attempt to force any place he found occupied by the opposing party, because he had received positive orders not to do so. He found himself beset on all sides, and then came the question to his mind, how was he to rescue himself and those under his command in a situation of so much difficulty? He retrograded his force, and returned into a mountain pass, which took him over a very extensive range of country, a country of a most difficult nature and character, and here it was that the fatigue of the British legion first took place. What was the object, he must stop to inquire, of the British legion crossing this dreadful line of country—for such it was well known to be by those who were acquainted with its description and character? Why, he could state that the object was to gain a particular road from the coast towards Durango, which opened to Vittoria. The British legion, under the command of General Evans, came out with three days' provisions, and they were 980 so improvident as to consume those three days' provisions in one day. The consequence, as might be naturally supposed, was, that on the second day hunger made rapid strides, especially in a country unprovided with every necessary of life. The third day the result was still worse; but General Evans, like a good soldier, gained with his troops the road he (Sir J. Elley) had already described, and by a forced march of thirty-five miles preceded the course of the force designed to have also intercepted that passage. General Evans, however, succeeded, and he entered Briviesca—a strong place, and fully equal to the reception of the troops under his command, and where, from fatigue, it was absolutely necessary for them to halt. So great had been the fatigue and hardships the men had experienced, that many threw away their knapsacks on the march. The anxiety of mind, added to personal fatigue, on the part of General Evans, was such as to confine him to his bed for six or seven days. When the legion was, however, again prepared to move, they succeeded in gaining the high road to Miranda del Ebro. On crossing the Ebro, the Carlists occupied one of the banks of the river, near the bridge by which the passage was to be effected; General Cordova came up with the Spaniards, and covered the movement of General Evans's troops. Eventually, however, General Evans arrived at Vittoria, and there he (Sir John Elley) understood he and his troops were well accommodated; but unhappily the march from Bilboa, to which he had adverted, had then laid the foundation of succeeding and consequent sickness among the troops, and, however reports which had gone forth might be supposed to be exaggerated as to the state of General Evans's corps, yet he (Sir John Elley) much feared that the hospitals were now much more crowded than the ranks. He lamented to state this, because his ambition was, that British troops —he cared not under whose command, he cared not for what object they might serve—should always succeed in any important undertaking that might call for their best exertions. He trusted the House would allow him permission to advert to the observations which fell last night from an hon. and learned Gentleman not now present (Mr. Roebuck), on the subject of corporal punishment—a matter to which he (Sic John Elley) had already addressed himself, The observation was to the 981 effect that the French could distinguish on the field of slain the English soldiers from those of every other nation by the marks on their back. The hon. and learned Member for Bath had declared his own ignorance of the fact, and he (Sir John Elley) begged to inquire whence the hon. and learned Member derived his information. The House would perhaps be surprised to learn that the information came from a French serjeant—from a penny publication by that serjeant; but who that serjeant was, or whether he ever was a serjeant, the House had not been informed; but he would venture to say that the author, whether serjeant or not, had never seen a field of battle, and he ventured to say that a greater libel on the British army, or a more unfounded statement, never issued from the mouth or pen of man. The statement was of so exaggerated a character as to defeat the purpose of its author. He was but an humble individual, though he had participated in several hard fought actions. He had witnessed many an ensanguined field, and he would state that it was impossible that any French-roan could refer to such an index as that stated to discover the number of British slain; and this for the best of all reasons —namely, that after an action the Frenchmen invariably got away as fast as possible; the French after defeat never stopped to examine either the front or the rear of their enemies. But there was another good reason why the statement made by this French serjeant was unfounded, and that was the fact that there existed no necessity to strip a British soldier to discover his nation, for he was throughout the war distinguished by the colour of that uniform which covered the hearts of many brave men, who met successfully and defeated the most formidable legions that ever crossed the frontiers of France. Was it then necessary for Frenchmen, in order to know the nation their opponents served, to strip the British soldier of the uniform, the colour of which they had ever quailed at? He hoped that what he had just now said would have the effect of disabusing the public mind of the many false impressions which had been sent forth from this House on the subject of military punishments. He now, however, came back to the proceedings of the British legion under General Evans. After remaining some time at Vittoria, the French legion arrived 982 there—a body disciplined in Algiers, and of a very different composition, from the British legion. The French legion was composed of Germans, French, some Poles, and a few Englishmen, but in point of discipline and composition it was held to be invidious to put the force under Gen. Evans in comparison with this corps, than which no better men could possibly be put under arms. He repeated that it would be invidious to put such a body of men in comparison with those who had undergone a forced march of the distressing and most fatiguing description, to which he had already adverted. The Spaniards, though a brave, were a jealous nation; they had never shown any affection for their best friends—they forgot that they owed their country as a nation to the success of a British army, and, as in most cases of ordinary life, they, as a nation, were regardless of gratitude for favours conferred. On the 16th of January last it appeared, however, that the British, legion moved from Vittoria for the purpose of joining in the attack upon the Carlists. Now out of Vittoria there were three roads towards the North. He spoke from personal knowledge of the district, for he knew every inch of the ground, inasmuch as out of Vittoria he had followed with the British army, during the war, the French, who retreated with such expedition, that so far from stopping (as the French serjeant would say) to strip and examine the backs of the English, they left between 600 and 700 cavriages behind them near the town, containing the great portion of the plunder they had taken in it. He repeated that there were three roads, two of them leading towards France, and the other towards Durango. The right and centre roads were occupied by the Carlists, and the road to the left by Generals Evans and Espartero. General Evans, on that occasion, succeeded in every part of the duty he was ordered to execute, and with his force crossed three bridges, and took up a good position; but, strange to say, the right and centre columns, the one under Cordova on the Tolosa road, the other under Espartero on the road leading by the left to Villareal, both retreated without any communication of the fact being made to General Evans. And what was the result? Why nearly the loss of his entire corps. There was no fault to be attributed to General Evans. He, however, remained in the position he had 983 taken until the 20th of January, without the supplies that were absolutely necessary to the forces under his command—those forces exposed to bad weather during a most inclement season—without any covering under which the men could go; and eventually he fell back, and reported to Genera) Cordova what he had done. This was the first communication that passed between Generals Evans and Cordova after leaving Vittoria. Here it was that the seeds of future schisms were sown, and to this these schisms might be traced. He was sorry to find that unpleasant feelings had arisen on this point in the mind of General Evans, who, he was sure, left, with his companions in arms, this country with perfect honour to themselves, and with the best wishes for success in the breasts of their fellow-countrymen. Those officers under General Evans who had served in the regular army, had had a most severe task to perform, inasmuch as another person, besides General Evans, a Spaniard of some rank, had appointed other officers to the British legion without General Evans's sanction or concurrence; indeed, some individuals had been appointed who were so unacquainted with military matters as scarcely to know on which side their swords were to dangle. As to the effect on Spanish affairs of the efforts of the British legion, and the subject in that respect generally, he left it to others to deal with that question. He should, however, have wished, that if any interference in the affairs of Spain had been made to stop the effusion of blood, and to lead to the termination of the contest—if, in a word, the interference was justifiable—he should have hoped that it would have been made in a way calculated to make an impression. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite had paid a high compliment to the British army, by saying that three battalions of British regular troops would set all at rest in Spain. Now he (Sir John Elley) after some experience, would say that ten times three battalions were necessary, for he was satisfied, that without a great preponderating force, no good could be effected. In a word, if by the scale of assistance afforded, that assistance only played second in the concert of arms, the British troops would be paralysed for want of accordance on the part of those of Spain, He had hoped that the Government would interfere in a way becoming that dignity which 984 the world admitted this country to possess amongst nations, and that thus the sanguinary war would have been brought to a termination. He trusted also that General Evans would not be reinforced by mere dribblets, by which no beneficial result could possibly be attained. On a former occasion, during the last Session, he had told his hon. and gallant Friend to look well to the sinews of war—in other words, to look to six months' pay well secured in the treasury chest. His hon. and gallant Friend said thereon smilingly, that two months' pay would answer every purpose, for that at all events he could look to Spanish treasure, He (Sir John Elley) had responded, that as soon as blood could be extracted from a post, so soon the miracle of reaching Spanish treasure would be worked out. Results had occurred in confirmation of his views, for he found that in November last the estimates sent for a month's pay then due amounted to 1,3000l. and that all advanced to liquidate that amount from the military chest was 250l. He feared he had been too diffuse on the present occasion, but he trusted he had not made a single observation at all calculated to give pain to any individual. He had no such intention when he rose, and he hoped he had not strayed so as to hurt the feelings of any person in the world.
said, that as an officer in his Majesty's service, and he believed he might say, without risk of error, holding also a place in the establishment of the British legion in the United Kingdom, for his insertion in the list had only been delayed by accidental circumstances, he wished to offer some observations to the House, He could not but thank the hon. and gallant Officer who had just sat down for the courtesy with which he had dealt with this question. Having, he believed, access to as complete information on every thing connected with the British legion as any man in this country, he should endeavour, with equal courtesy, to make some statements in reply. The first appearance of the legion before the enemy was at Hernani. There were always difficulties in deciding when and how a new-raised force should be brought before the enemy. If it was not brought at all., the question was asked, how it was ever to learn; and if it was brought, there was always a danger of failure. At Hernani the legion was brought before a position which was found too 985 strong, and it consequently retreated, followed closely by the enemy. Was this a thing of which the like had never been heard before? At that moment no part of the legion had been formed above two months; and the wonder was, not that they lost ten or twenty men in the retreat, but that they got back without serious loss. There certainly had, as was stated by the commander in his account, been some degree of misadventure or misunderstanding at Hernani. An officer who was in the action wrote to him (Colonel Thompson)—"We had a trinity of generals, and I am afraid not a trinity in unity." Was this the first time complaint had been made of mischief arising from the same cause? The next time any part of the legion was in action was at Bilboa. A Spanish division of 15,000 men left Bilboa, and was driven back. The British legion was brought to support the retreat of the Spaniards; and a part of one regiment attacked the enemy with the bayonet, and drove him back with loss. After this the retreat was uninterrupted. The same officer he had mentioned wrote to him thus:—"Our regiment brought up the rear, but nobody attacked us." From Bilboa General Evans proceeded to Briviesca; but instead of losing three or four thousand men in the defiles between that place and Bilboa, he had taken a circuit, and arrived at his point without being interrupted by the enemy. Since when had a general been bound to ask an enemy's leave for avoiding engaging his troops at a disadvantage? So convinced had he (Colonel Thompson) been upon this point, and he was proud to find his opinion confirmed by the practice of General Evans, that he had written to an officer of his acquaintance in the legion, "You must not allow the Carlists to come in contact with you; if you go round by Corunna for it." From Victoria, a general movement had been directed in advance. The British legion (which occupied the right, and not the left, as the gallant General, probably through a verbal error, had stated) did everything it was directed to do. The enemy (and he did not mean anything derogatory to their military conduct) had everywhere retired as the legion advanced. But the Spanish general on the left, for reasons assigned in his own report, had fallen back, which necessarily obliged the legion to do the same. Something had 986 been said to the House, from a civil not a military authority, about a fog. Now, fogs affected all parties; and military men could not agree, that the credit of a corps was ruined and gone, because there happened to be a fog. The truth was, that the fog was in favour of attacks on the retreating force; and the proof was that part of the Algerine legion had been so attacked at great disadvantage, and nothing but the courage of that gallant body of foreigners preserved them from destruction. The policy of affording the Spanish government assistance in the particular mode pursued had been questioned? but he (Colonel Thompson) saw two reasons which were to him convincing in support of it. The one was that the Spanish nation, from a feeling of national pride, objected to receive assistance in any other way. They desired that the troops which should assist them should be in their service, not lent them by the kindness of another government. That this was a practice not inconsistent with British notions of national honour there was abundant proof. Had the House never heard of Corsican, Hanoverian, Swiss, and other regiments in the service and pay of England? Had the national honour ever been questioned in consequence of such employment of foreign troops? The other reason which convinced him (Colonel Thompson) of the expediency of this mode of assisting the Spaniards was, that it enabled this country to afford the assistance while another country paid for it. Had battalions of the regular army been sent, instead of the forces under the command of General Evans, the British nation must have paid the expense. It had been urged that the men composing the legion were of a bad class, but he (Colonel Thompson) had found the reverse to be the case. What proof was there that the men who had enlisted to form that legion did not belong to precisely the same class as that from which the soldiers of the line were drawn? Many of them were respectable tradesmen's sons, who had embarked in the expedition from a political feeling for the Spanish cause. He had heard something said about "characters" and "lust of plunder." Now there was no rule more clear than that whoever made a charge against gallant men in their absence was bound to prove it, or submit to the imputation of having made an unfounded charge. What had the legion done? Had 987 they plundered, as it was certain the old army did at Badajos? Had they ravished, as there was but too much reason to apprehend the old army had done at St, Sebastian? Where was the proof that any single officer or soldier had misconducted himself in any way? If officer or man had misconducted themselves, let them be laid on the floor of the House— let their names be put upon the Table. If this was not done, he hoped, for the credit of the House, that no more would be heard of charges of this kind, which only proved that the legion was an object of political animosity. He lamented as much as any man the" cruel mode in which the war was carried on; but it arose out of a horrible law, not peculiar to Spain, according to which every gallant man who fails in civil warfare is doomed to death. That barbarous law, be it recollected, was carried into full effect in this civilised country only forty years ago, at the period of the Irish rebellion. For his own part, he was ready to declare, as a soldier, that he never would act as an executioner on such occasions; but why should Spaniards be so harshly blamed for doing that which had at a former period been done by generals within our own kingdom? There was a moment when a stop might have been put to these cruelties in Spain. A corps was in that country which would have delighted to rescue the Carlist prisoners from the bayonets of their Christine enemies, had not an atrocious decree been issued, directing that every Englishman taken in battle should be shot. The reproach of cold-blooded cruelty would ever attach to the memory of the individual from whom that decree proceeded; and he (Colonel Thompson) still trusted, that that great criminal would die the death of a common felon on a tree. Then only would the outraged feelings of civilised Europe be satisfied. Was this a time for raising up the question, whether royal birth gave license to sport with the blood of lowborn men? Within the walls of the House of Commons the nation had once been roused to fury by the mutilated head of a single British subject, deprived of its members through the cruelty of a Spanish governor. Would the nation be more passive now, when the "deliberate murder" of numerous British subjects had-been authenticated under ministerial hands?
§ Lord Mahon,
having been several times mentioned in the course of the debate, and taking the strongest interest in this question, hoped the House would allow him to make a few observations. He must say in the first place, that he adhered to all those opinions which he had expressed, when on a former occasion he had addressed the House on this subject. Nay more, he ventured to think, that experience had confirmed his anticipations, so far as experience had yet gone. He had said that the force then about to be raised would be inadequate to its object. He asked now had that object been attained? He had said that the result of the expedition would not be found to redound to the glory of the British arms. Had any, even the smallest, exploit been achieved? He had anticipated the suffering and privations to which the gallant officer and his troops would be exposed, and he found the reality to exceed his worst anticipations. He had predicted that this expedition would not increase the influence and reputation of this country with Foreign Powers. And how stood the case in that respect? Need be seek any other answer than that which he had received from the noble Lord opposite (Palmerston), with respect to the twenty-seven prisoners at Santander. How low the power of the English Government must be in the estimation of other governments, when even that Government which we were so lavishly assisting with blood and treasure—to which such vast supplies of stores were daily pouring, when even that Government refused the noble Lord the trifling boon for which he applied on the 1st of September. It was a trifling boon to ask as regarded Spain, but the refusal was by no means so trifling to us; it involved the interests of humanity; it involved, at least after the application was once made, the honour of the English name. Now he contended that the failure of the application of the noble Lord to the Spanish government in the instance adverted to, was a most melancholy proof of the want of influence of his Majesty's Government, with a government which under present circumstances he could scarcely call an independent government. He would not follow the hon. and gallant Officers who had last addressed the House, through the military details into which they had entered. He was incompetent to such a task, and therefore he should confine himself to the poli- 989 tical points which had been touched upon in the earlier part of the debate. The real question was limited to very narrow grounds. It was simply this, whether or not the Spanish people had not always shown such abhorrence of foreign interference in their internal affairs as to render that interference more detrimental than beneficial to the cause in favour of which it was exerted? This feeling had at all times and on every occasion that he knew of been evinced in a remarkable degree by the people of Spain. When the hon. Member for St. Alban's adduced 1808 as a precedent to the contrary, he was guilty of a fallacy unworthy his acute mind. It was true that the Spanish people had always shown great gratitude for the assistance they had received against a foreign enemy, and this was exemplified when this country united with them in 1808 against the invasion of Buonaparte. But when we had stepped in, not to aid the nation against another nation—but to assist one faction against another faction—then the result had been national animosity against us. Interference in the internal affairs of Spain was attempted at the period of the war of the succession, but what was then the observation of Lord Peterborough? Why, be declared that not the whole power of England would be able to subdue the spirit which it had aroused throughout Castile. And what was the result of that war? Why final failure. He maintained that, however grateful the people of Spain might be for the aid given to them when at war with Foreign Powers, they never could endure the assistance that was given to one faction against another in their own country. If the government of the Queen was not supported by a large majority of the Spanish people, what right had we to prop it by foreign bayonets? If that government, on the contrary, was supported by a large majority, he asked whether the physical force of a majority could not always put down any insurrection that might be got up by a small minority? Could it not do so in all cases where the majority proceeded on just and reasonable principles—where it did not begin a system of extermination—where it had not such merciless and bloody generals as Mina and Rodil. He maintained that the course which his Majesty's Government had taken was not consistent with the interest or honour of England. If we were determined 990 to assist the government of Spain—that friendly government which would not gran us even the liberty of twenty-seven prisoners—that vigorous government whose vigour had lately been confined to burning of villages and massacres of prisoners—if we were so determined, surely that assistance should be limited to the tneans pointed out by the Quadruple Treaty. He must say, that he for one recognised that treaty; he was prepared most fully and most honourably to carry out all its stipulations, and he hoped no Government which might exist in this country would ever do otherwise than respect the treaties which had been entered into by their predecessors with foreign powers. But he took his stand on that treaty and its additional articles. He would not consent to move one jot beyond them. By the course which had been adopted, had not British subjects been induced to attempt that which the British Government did not wish themselves to achieve? It was, he contended, lowering the characters of Englishmen to allow them as a body to serve under any banner but that of their own King and Country. Throughout the whole of the debate, not a single word had been said about the evils which had occurred in other parts of Spain. He did not intend to go into that subject, but he must, at the same time, say, that he should be very glad to receive some information from the noble Lord respecting it. He alluded to the transactions which had taken place at Barcelona. Now, what he wished to ask the noble Lord, in reference to that subject, was, whether Captain, Parker had acted on his own responsibility, or under instructions which had been given him by the Government at home, and if he had acted under instructions from the noble Lord, and not upon his own responsibility, whether the noble Lord would have any objection to lay those instructions before the House? Until he (Lord Mahon) had received this information he should refrain from further observation, than merely to say that the transaction was one which loudly called for inquiry on the part of that House. The hon. and learned Memberfor Dublin(Mr. O'Connell) it would seem, now blamed the convention brought about by the able negotiation of Lord Eliot. If anything coming from the Hon. and learned Gentleman could surprise him, it would be the blame which he had attached to that convention, remembering, as he did, the observations which the hon. and 991 learned Gentleman had made when the subject was brought forward by the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe). What did the hon. and learned Member for Dublin say on that occasion? Why, he declared that the explanation which he (Lord Mahon) bad given was most satisfactory and complete and even went so far as to advise his hon. Friend, the Member for Finsbury, to withdraw his motion. After this be could be surprised at nothing which might proceed from the hon. and learned Gentleman, and his only wonder was, that the hon. and learned Gentleman did not feel ashamed of the inconsistency of which he had been guilty in attacking that now, the attacks on which he had at a former period declared to be utterly groundless. He (Lord Mahon) doubted whether it would be necessary to proceed in the refutation of his remaining statements. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin had stated, that the present motion had been brought forward by the partisans of Don Carlos in that House, merely because Don Carlos was likely to establish a despotic and monkish Government in Spain. Such a taunt, it must be admitted, came with a bad grace from the hon. and learned Gentleman. Whenever Ireland was mentioned, the hon. and learned Member was always ready to charge the hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House with alt sorts of illiberal prejudices and projects against the Roman Catholics. But says the hon. Member, with his own peculiar candour, the moment you pass the Pyrennees, the case is quite altered—you are then warm admirers of Roman Catholic bigotry—you are quite in love with the Jesuits—you long for nothing so much as the enthronement of Don Carlos, and the establishment of the Inquisition! When he (Lord Mahon) heard such contradictory charges made almost in the same breath by the same persons, had he not a right to complain, not only of the injustice to his own party, but of such a delusion on the public. As far as his own feelings went, he had no objection to state, that he did look on the contest carrying on in Spain with deep interest; but he at the same time utterly denied that he was a partisan of Don Carlos. He reprobated the decree of Durango as much as he did the atrocities winch were committed by the other conflicting party, and, certainly, if it were true that the cause of Don Carlos was the cause of tyranny, or would 992 lay the foundation for the re-establishment of the Inquisition in Spain, he should be as anxious as any hon. Member of that House to deprecate any thing that might lead even to a chance of success. But, on the other hand, he must say, that looking to the Ministers now governing at Madrid, he could not profess for them any degree either of sympathy or respect. That "prudent and vigorous government," as it was called in the King's Speech, had he thought, kept all its prudence for its generals, and all its vigour for its executioners. Six months ago he saw that the government of Spain were departing from the wise principles of Martinez de la Rosa; and he must say, that his idea at present was with respect to the contest in that country, that if there was the danger of despotism to be apprehended on the one hand, they had the prospect of anarchy to fear on the other, and to neither was he friendly, even when despotism called itself legitimacy, Or when Anarchy took the name of Freedom. The only chance of a speedy and satisfactory settlement of the affairs of Spain, which he saw, was to leave the Spanish people to settle their differences among themselves, for sure he was, that interference on the part of a foreign power, so far from abating the evils of that country, would only tend to increase them, by keeping alive the spirit of rancour and animosity which unhappily prevailed. There was only one point more to which he should call the attention of the House. He admitted that if Don Carlos should prevail, there would be the danger of absolute power being again established in Spain. But what was the case with respect to the Basque provinces? So far as the cause of Don Carlos was connected with the Basque provinces was it not the cause of freedom, and not of despotism? It was not by Don Carlos that the rights of those provinces were abolished, but by the "prudent and vigorous" government of the Queen of Spain. Was the House really aware of the facts? Was it aware that these brave mountaineers were now in arms, not merely for the claims of Don Carlos, but for the provincial privileges which their forefathers bad enjoyed for centuries? And could it be that such a cause should excise no sympathy among the representatives of a free people— among those who, were they treated in like manner, would think it a pride and 993 duty to follow the same example! Now, if the noble Lord really possessed great influence with the Spanish government, ought he rot to have exerted it for the purpose of obtaining such an amnesty as would have restored to the Basque provinces the rights and privileges which they had so long enjoyed; for if could not be supposed that those provinces would resign the advantages which they possessed upon the mere hope of obtaining a prize from the great lottery of laws and institutions now drawing at Madrid. He could not suppose that the noble Lord ever entertained any such idea; and he did think that the noble Lord had been neglectful of his duty in that respect. He (Lord Mahon) felt most strongly on this subject. He felt a deeper interest in the affairs of Spain than in those of any other country except his own. Some of the early part of his life had been passed in that country, and it was to Spain that he owed the origin not only of the fortune which he inherited but of the name which he bore. Spain was therefore endeared to him, not only by early recollections but by his personal circumstances, and hence it was, that he felt it his duty to protest against an interference which he was satisfied would be ruinous to Spain without being even in the least beneficial to England. The public attention was now arousing to this subject, they would no longer bear this juggle of professed non-intervention, and real intervention—this pretence of giving peace to Spain, when you give her no peace—no peace but a sword; when you only perpetuate and envenom the wounds of her civil war! He entreated the noble Lord to abide by the terms of the Quadruple Treaty, and not to advance a step further beyond it. He entreated the noble Lord to endeavour to mitigate the horrors of this barbarous conflict. And if the noble Lord took that course, he (Lord Mahon) could assure him that no party feeling would prevent him from bearing his humble testimony of approbation to his future measures.
§ Viscount Palmerston
commenced his observations by saying, he was sorry to interfere between his hon. Friend Mr. Thomas Duncombe, who had risen with his Lordship and the House, but be assured him that he should not detain the House so long as to exclude him from an ample opportunity of answering the remarks which had fallen from the other 994 side with reference to him, and which, no doubt, he was anxious to reply to. He was afraid when the noble Lord opposite rose, that this debate was going to die a natural death; for though the fire was kept up pretty briskly on this (the Ministerial) side of the House, yet it was easy to see, that the ardour which had warmed hon. Gentlemen on the other side, was in some danger of being altogether extinguished. The hon. and learned Gentleman who began this debate, having stated that he considered it exceedingly important to bring the subject before the House, struggled for precedence with the hon. Gentleman who wished to bring forward another question which was adjourned to this evening, and at last prevailed, having, it must be presumed, satisfied the House of the extreme urgency of the motion of which he had given notice. Any one who had seen the fervour—any one who had witnessed the great impatience of the hon. and learned Gentleman, would no doubt have imagined that the subject was either some measure into which the Government were about rashly to embark, or some measure of recent date, of which he was anxious to prevent the evil consequences, by stretching forth his saving hand, and directing back the Government from the imprudent course they had entered upon. Let the House suppose—according to the illustration of the hon. and learned Gentleman—that a stranger had witnessed these proceedings; and having learned that the motion had reference to a treaty and order in council, had rushed to the library of the House to see the date of the treaty, and the date on which the order in council was issued. The result of such an investigation would be the discovery that the treaty was two years old; and the order in council was issued, not in January last, but in June, 1835. The hon. and learned Gentleman, then, having had ample time to reflect on the subject— the time between the date of the order, viz. the 10th of June and the period when Parliament was prorogued, that is, last September, not having been sufficiently long to enable him to condense his ideas into a practical shape, so as to satisfy him whether it was his duty or not to call on the House to interpose; after eight months' deliberation, the hon. and learned Gentleman gets up with this motion, and to answer a speech which in the month of June was made by him. The deliberation 995 of the hon. and learned Gentleman at one time, and his very particular impatience at another, made a contrast which was undoubtedly very striking and remarkable. The hon. and learned Gentleman began his speech by answering some of the things which had fallen from him so long ago, and the hon. Member said, that he had thrown overboard all precedent, and contended that this measure of permitting the subjects of Great Britain to enlist in the service of Spain was contrary to all precedent, but being right in itself, should stand on its own merits. Now, he begged to remind the hon. and learned Gentleman that this was not a correct representation of the argument which he used on that occasion. What he did say was, that he did not rest on precedent for a justification of the course he had adopted; but by no means did he say, that it was not sanctioned by precedent, because every man who had paid the slightest attention to history, must know there were many precedents for a measure such as the present. The hon. and learned Member must surely be aware that the reign of Elizabeth was full of precedents—not, perhaps, exactly in point, because those cases were much stronger than the present one. The measure complained of by the hon. and learned Gentleman was simply a permission given, or, he should rather say, a prohibition retracted, which a recent law had imposed on the subjects of this country, to prevent them from entering into a foreign service. The effect of the order in counsel was simply to leave the matter as it was under the common law—as it was before the Foreign Enlistment Act had passed. That order in council was merely to restore to the British people the freedom of choice. They might stay at home if they pleased, but it drew from them the interdict which the statute law had interposed, to prevent them from joining in a noble undertaking, if that was their desire. Let him ask what were the precedents of Elizabeth? In the time of Charles I. were the cases merely those in which the King's subjects were free to do as they chose? Directly the reverse. These were cases with which the hon. and learned Gentleman must be acquainted. He must know that Queen Elizabeth sent first to assist the Huguenots in France, and next the revolted subjects in Spain; and not only gave her subjects permission to engage in the war, but did that which the 996 present Government had been accused of doing—she accomplished, in an indirect and underhand way what she did not choose to do openly. Being restrained by prudential reasons from openly declaring war in her own name, she not only gave permission to her subjects to engage in the war, but gave money and other efficient aid—sent 6,000 men to assist the Huguenots, and 6,000 men to the Low Countries, furnished them with arms, supplied her own artillery—did, in short, not only what had been done by the Government of which he was a member in the present case, but took a more active part in the way of interfering. The precedent of Charles I. was of exactly the same description. Charles raised the army which marched under the Marquess of Hamilton. Could it be said, then, that there were no precedents for the measures of the present Government? He had heard it asserted, also, that it was contrary to the laws of nations for the subjects of one power to fight in the country and under the banners of another. "Why, really, did the hon. and learned Member suppose that the hon. Gentlemen to whom such arguments were addressed.— [Mr. Maclean did not say what the noble Lord attributed to him.] Well, then, the hon. and learned Gentleman had said, that such a course was contrary to the honour of nations, and the practice of nations, and a thing improper and deserving of the censure of the House. Why, what happened at the time of the revolt in the Low Countries? The army of Prince Maurice was composed of men of all nations, whose love of freedom induced them to fight in his ranks, and by their gallant conduct secure those victories by which he was distinguished. In that battle which was fought in Nieuport, the auxiliaries were mainly instrumental in securing the victory. When Ostend was taken, who were the officers who commanded the garrison? Were they not Dutchmen with Hepburn, the Scotchman, and Sit Philip de vere, the Englishman? To say, when the subjects of one country were fighting in the ranks and under the banners of another country, and on that account any man was justified in denouncing such persons, or declaring he would put them to death because he was interfering in the affairs of another country, and no foreigner had a right to fight under any banners but his own, of that doctrine, when propounded, he would 997 say, that it was false, and contrary to the stream of historical facts in every part of Europe. Then the hon. and learned Gentleman said, that the precedents were not in point—why, he was at a Joss to make out. In the case of Queen Elizabeth, it was English troops fighting in the Netherlands, as in this case, it was English troops fighting in Spain. The hon. and learned Gentleman laid stress on this—that our troops were now fighting on Spanish ground, and not under the chief command of an English officer; but in the cases he had quoted a course precisely similar was taken: our auxiliaries, though commanded by British generals, were embodied in an army the chief command of which was vested in a foreigner. The hon. and learned Gentleman next affirmed that he condemned the conduct of the present Government in this matter on the authority of the late Mr. Canning, and he referred to a speech made by Mr. Canning in a case as different from this as it was possible for one case to be from another. There was not the least similarity between the entrance of the French into Spain in 1823, and the motives which led the English Government to decline interfering then, and the circumstances now under the consideration of the House. There was no question of disputed succession, nor could those motives exist which induced the present Government to give the aid which by the treaty they thought it proper to afford. Mr. Canning asserted the right to interfere then, but argued that, as a matter of prudence, it was proper to abstain from using that right. And why was it a matter of prudence? Because the Powers with which England would have had to contend were probably greater than she could have contended with with a fair prospect of success. The French army, amounting to nearly 200,000 men, entered Spain; it was well known that the troops entered Spain under the avowed and open sanction of the other great Powers of Europe, and Mr. Canning said that if this country sent troops into Spain, they would encounter the other great Powers, and a war would be the consequence of a magnitude such as the Government of the day was not prepared, under the circumstances, to advise the country to embark in. He thought the Government of that day judged wisely; but so far from thinking that the reasons 998 which induced them to take that course applied to the present case, he was of opinion that the principle then laid down the principle of assisting Spain to maintain her independence had been acted upon by the present Government, taking care not to embark beyond our means, or beyond what it would be wise to undertake. The hon. and learned Gentleman said, that at all events the interference would bring down upon us the hatred of the Spanish nation, and he drew his inference, he said, from the fact, that on the former occasion, though we went to relieve them from foreign domination, even in that instance they saw with joy the embarkation of our troops. Why, he would ask the hon. and learned Gentleman, what country in the world was there which would not feel exactly the same? What nation was there that was fond of a foreign army on its own ground? We ourselves must be thankful For assistance if so great a calamity befell us as an invasion, but, when our deliverance was effected, none would be more glad to see the friends who had assisted us take leave of us than this nation. It was not fair to reproach Spain with ingratitude, nor was her rejoicing in the departure from her shores of foreign troops a proof that our assistance was not wisely given. It was quite natural that, when a contest was over, a nation should be glad to get rid of a foreign army. The hon. and learned Gentleman reminded them of the very wise advice which the gallant Gentleman opposite gave to General Evans before he left the country, which was always to have six months' pay in advance in his chest. The hon. and gallant Gentleman had shown his talents in every field of battle in which he had been engaged, and his encounters had been many and difficult, but he must say, that the advice he gave did great and surpassing credit to his judgment and sagacity, He much regretted that General Evans had been unable to take that excellent advice, but no reflections could, on that account, be cast on the gallant General. If the Spanish Treasury could have afforded the means of keeping the military chest so well replenished, no doubt there would have been adopted every other description of counsel which they were so glad to receive from the gallant General. How far the present motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman might have the effect of preventing him from having six. months' pay 999 in advance—how far, by endeavouring to throw discredit on the cause, by taunting the British force, and reviling them as mercenaries, by representing the contest as hopeless, by representing the people as apathetic, and by admonishing the Queen—how far it might be thought that, by such practices, additional difficulties would be thrown in the way of our countrymen, it was not for him to decide; but he was persuaded that the tone of the House this night, and the feeling of the public, would not render such attempts successful, even if they were made. On the contrary, he was convinced, that the more the matter was discussed, the more the question was gone into, the more general and deep would be the wish for the success of the Queen—of that cause which was the cause of constitutional liberty and the defence of which had been most nobly undertaken by our gallant countrymen. They might be taunted, they might be spoken of with disrespect, but he never could believe—nor would it be believed by the people of England— —that either in the hour of suffering or privation, or in the day of battle—that at any time, or under any circumstances, they would fail to sustain the name and the honour of British subjects. The hon. and learned Gentleman considered the measure of promoting the enlistment of the troops, as grossly impolitic; but one of the hon. Member's reasons did not appear to him quite so weighty as it was considered by the hon. and learned Gentleman himself. He said nothing was so ill-advised as sending English troops to fight in a foreign country, more especially if their numbers were not great, and they were liable to the dishonour of being forced to retreat. In illustration of this position an instance had been referred to, in which the British army had been obliged to retreat in consequence of being caught in a fog. The hon. and learned Gentleman, however, did not explain whether the fog or the retreat justified the charge. The hon. and learned Gentleman should have remembered that fogs were impartial. They were not like his Majesty's Government, according to the description of their opponents, all on one side. They appeared on both sides, not on one side alone, therefore the mischance of a fog was surely no reason why it should cover either party with dishonour. But he would appeal to gallant officers 1000 whom be saw opposite, to tell the House whether they ever went through a campaign in which none of the troops under their command ever retreated—in which, however small the number being resisted, they were able invariably to overcome the force opposed to them. If that was the only case the hon. and learned Gentleman was able to make out—if his only objection was, that the British troops being exposed to a fog were liable to a retreat, or might retreat occasionally before a superior force—if the hon. and learned Gentleman, during the eight months he had been in cogitation, had not been able to discover any more serious charge than that—if he had made it the subject of a resolution, he questioned if the House would have considered it a sufficient ground on which to censure his Majesty's Government. The fog, however, was not the only apprehension of the hon. Gentleman, for he told them that if Austria, and Russia, and Naples had joined Don Carlos, England would have found herself under the necessity of embarking in a war with those countries. Would the hon. Gentleman say whether such an obligation arose out of the Order in Council or out of the treaty? If the hon. Gentleman said it arose out of the Order in Council, he denied the assertion. If the hon. Gentleman said it was part of the obligation created originally by treaty, that we should stand by those powers with which we were in alliance, undoubtedly his assertion was true; but as he understood the object of the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech, it was to show not the impolicy of the treaty, but the impolicy of the Order in Council, and he confessed be was at a loss to understand how any danger of a collision with Austria, Russia, and Naples, could arise out of the Order in Council more than from the treaty. But the hon. and learned Gentleman said, that one great triumph had been achieved by the course taken, for he asserted that it had settled; a question which six Spanish lawyers had decided in one way and six in another. If the Ministers had been able to arrange so knotty a dispute as that, whether they could claim the merit of being successful war-makers or not, at least they were entitled to the merit of being successful mediators. The hon. Gentleman said, that by treaty England was bound to give arms and succour, and France had nothing else to do but to watch her frontiers, and pre- 1001 vent a supply passing them. It certainly did appear that the obligation contracted by England was greater than that of France. But when the hon. Gentleman came to consider that between the southern provinces of France and the northern provinces of Spain there was a great and constant commercial intercourse, and when he considered also that, in order to execute the engagement made by France, it had been necessary almost to put a stop to that intercourse, the hon. Gentleman would conceive that the faithful and complete execution of that article was imposing on France sacrifices far greater than those which our convention had imposed on this country. He begged further to say, that though Spain had been furnished with a considerable quantity of arms, as would appear by the papers laid on the Table, yet the Spanish Government had undertaken to pay the whole. The hon. Gentleman might insinuate that there would be some doubt as to the payment if Don Carlos were successful, but as he (Viscount Palmerston) hoped and trusted that that event was not likely to take place, he did not feel any doubt as to the punctuality with which Spain would redeem her engagement. He did not feel much doubt upon this subject, notwithstanding the high authority that had been produced by the hon. and learned Gentleman. He founded his opinion, not upon any book, not upon any particular document, but upon the general principles of human nature—on the belief of what were the feelings of the Spanish people—on his conviction, with such a cause as that of Don Carlos, and with such a cause as that of the great majority of the Spanish nation, it was impossible that the right cause should not prevail; and therefore it was, that he would not believe the success of Don Carlos was possible, until he saw Don Carlos descend from the modest retirement of the mountains in which he now sheltered himself; and until Don Carlos was surrounded with the acclamations of nine-tenths of the Spanish nation, and installed in his proper place, in all the magnificence of the Estuarial. The hon. Gentleman had stated, that he conceived not only the Government should not have issued the Order in Council, but that they were also precluded by the treaty from having recourse to it. He confessed he did not understand by what process of reasoning the hon. Member had 1002 arrived at that conclusion. If the noble Lord who declared that the Government, so far as the treaty was concerned, was bound to abide by it, but that they should not have gone one step beyond it—if the noble Lord had said that, though he disapproved of the treaty (as he understood, the noble Lord), then he should be able to comprehend the logic and sense of the assertion. But the hon. Gentleman argued that the Government was wrong in issuing an Order in Council, because it did not form a part of the stipulations of the treaty. Would it not, he would ask, be just as easy, when the Spanish Government asked for permission for British subjects to enlist in its service, to have made another additional article to the treaty, as to have issued an Order in Council, and if it had done that, where would be the argument of the hon. Member opposite. The noble Lord had asked whether the captain of the Rodney acted upon a late occasion in consequence of orders from his Government, and if so, whether the instructions given would be laid upon the Table? He could tell the noble Lord that the captain of the Rodney acted in conformity with the instructions that had been given to him. The captain of the Rodney bad done what the Government was most ready to acknowledge, and which they would not shrink from avowing. The noble Lord did not state what the captain of the Rodney had done; but he could only state the captain had acted up to, and in accordance with, the orders he had received. But if he were asked to lay the instructions given to that captain upon the Table, his answer should be, that it was not during the execution of instructions customary to lay upon the Table instructions given to captains, cither by sea or land. The great charge mads rested upon one point. The charge of the hon. Member rested upon this—that the Ministry had given support to the Queen of Spain, and that the people of England had no interest in the success of her arms. On that point he was at issue with the hon. and learned Member. On that point he was willing to rest the justification of the whole course of their proceedings on this question. If England had no interest in the success of the Queen's arms, then, undoubtedly, they had no right to conclude a treaty, and they were not justified in issuing the order in council. But Eng- 1003 land had an interest in the success of that cause. It was the interest of England that Spain should be free, and that Spain should be prosperous. It was for the interest of England, whether Spain was a friend or an enemy, that she should be independent, to preserve the balance of power in Europe; or whether, even they were to look at it in the narrow view of her being a nation trading with England, it was their interest that the resources and the wealth of Spain should be developed, and that Spain should receive the benefits of that Constitution which Martinez de la Rosa (and of whom the noble Lord had spoken in such high terms) had laboured to procure for her. It was of importance to England that Spain should no longer be under such a slate of misrule as during the reign of Ferdinand, and to which she would return if Don Carlos ascended the throne. The Government had been accused that night, as on former occasions, with interference in the affairs of other nations. In observing upon the treaty, and the order in council, there was the same perversion of terms upon "noninterference." The Government was accused of meddling too much in the affairs of other nations. He should be glad to know from the hon. and learned Gentleman at what period of English history the Government of this country had not interfered in the affairs of other nations. England must do so as long as she had commerce to protect, and shores to defend. If they did not show a determination to guard their own interests, to preserve their own honour, and to uphold their own character, the time would very soon come when other countries would interfere with their affairs. But the question was this—it ought to be this—Was their interference proper? Was it for their own advantage? Was it for the advantage of the countries which had been the scenes of that interference'? He said, that they had interfered in the affairs of Greece. He referred to their interference in that country, and that country had become free and independent. The Greeks, who had been "pirates by sea, and robbers by land," as they had been the other night stigmatised by the hon. Member for Southampton, were now settling down into the arts of peace, they were building cities, they were founding towns, were cultivating lands, were extending their commerce, and daily increasing 1004 in civilization, peace, and happiness. Where did the Government next interfere? In Belgium Was Belgium worse off for their interference? Had any man in that House been in Belgium in the course of the last year, and would that person tell him that it was not one of the most prosperous countries in Europe, having a king of its own choice, and though being in a state of half peace and half war, having a large army, necessarily maintaining a defensive force, and yet finding the means to bear the expenses of the year without having recourse to a loan, and without even heavy taxation on its population? And yet these very people who, when they belonged to one master or another, were regarded as the most turbulent and discontented people in Europe, had now become a most happy and prosperous nation. England had interfered, too, with Portugal—and that interference was supposed to be much worse than with respect to Spain. How did they find Portugal? They found her distracted by a civil war, and oppressed by the most grinding tyranny—they found the flower of her nobility in exile or in prison, properly confiscated, liberty insecure, commerce suspended, industry at a stand—they found it in the most abject and degraded state in which a nation could be placed, and in what situation was she now? Enjoying a free constitution, with a queen of her own choice, parties almost annihilated, even the Marguerites reconciled to their legitimate sovereign, and they found, in so short a period, the nation in a course of prosperity, in which, he trusted, she would every day increase. With regard to Portugal, he would ask, had they not the same prophecies uttered that they now heard concerning Spain? Of Donna Maria it was said, that it would be utterly impossible to place her on the throne of Portugal—that the whole of the Portuguese nation was for Don Miguel— that he was the idol of the people, and that Donna Maria was supported only by a band of mercenaries, and that her success was beyond human possibility. Ministers were told, that they ought not even to imagine that she could ever get to Lisbon: they supported Donna Maria, however, even though they were told that their doing so would only tend to show their ignorance of the country, and to entail upon themselves disgrace. They now interfered in the affairs of Spain, and that 1005 in a more decided and positive way than they had interfered for the queen of Portugal. In the propriety of that interference he entertained one opinion and the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite another. He did not shrink from his anticipations upon this subject; and he begged to pin hon. Gentlemen opposite to theirs. He begged that their declarations upon this subject might be borne in mind, and let their political sagacity be tried by the result; and for his own part he would say, he was not afraid if the same test and the same mode of trial were fully and strictly applied to him.
§ Sir Robert Peel
The noble Lord began his speech by a facetious allusion to the surprise which a stranger suddenly spirited into that House would feel at hearing; the present discussion, after having observed the anxiety with which the motion was pressed forward. But what proof does the noble Lord advance of the probable surprise that would be felt by the stranger? Why, this: that a debate, involving important questions of foreign policy, had been suffered to take precedence of a debate on some matters relating to the Municipal Corporation of Poole. If that stranger was a person who took no interest in any other subject, and was entirely engrossed by the question of Corporation Reform, I might possibly be able to understand his astonishment; but to suppose that the stranger would feel surprise that after a month since the assembling of Parliament an humble Member should think it right to call the attention of the House to an important subject of foreign policy, is to suppose such stranger more grossly ignorant than I would be willing to suppose any stranger of common sense to be. The noble Lord says, that the stranger would feel surprise at the anxiety that there was manifested to press this discussion; but if the stranger were made acquainted with our forms, he would see that this discussion did not arise on the proposition of my hon. Friend, but on the noble Lord's opposite, and if the stranger were impartial he must acquit my hon. Friend; for though the noble Lord, as well as myself, was absent from the House last night, yet his duties as leader of the House mast make him perfectly aware of what occurs, and the public must have been fully acquainted with what had taken place. The noble Lord (Lord J, Russell) was the person who moved that 1006 the Order of the Day for the House going into Committee of Supply be read, and he certainly could not have done so for the purpose of postponing the present motion, but, on the contrary, for the express purpose of inviting this discussion, of which repeated notice had been given, and to which allusion was made at the time; and it was not until the hon. Member for Poole reminded the noble Lord of the adjourned debate on his motion, that the noble Lord interfered. The hon. Member for St. Alban's has expressed some surprise that his hon. Friend has not brought forward his motion in the shape of a specific resolution, as the motion involves a censure upon the Government. But if he refers to the practice of this House, both in ancient and modern times, he will find that it has always been considered a most convenient and proper time to enter upon discussions of this nature when the House is about to go into a Committee of Supply. The hon. Gentleman will find that in some of the most recent periods, as well as at various periods of the history of Parliament, some of the most important discussions on questions of foreign as well as of domestic policy have taken place on the motion for going into Committee of Supply. We are now about to vote the Ordnance Estimates, and I certainly do not think that there could be a more proper occasion for such a motion as the present to come before the House. I find in this printed paper a statement of all the stores that have been furnished for the service of the Queen of Spain. I do not want to go into any question as to whether the Government were bound to furnish those supplies or not. On that subject there can be no altercation. Government were certainly bound to furnish those supplies, and the first part of them was furnished last year by the Government over which I had the honour to preside. But it is quite another question to consider the extent to which those supplies should be furnished. I hold in my hand a paper containing the following statement of the supplies that have been furnished. I am surprised to see the hon. Member for Middlesex reposing whilst a question of this particular nature is under discussion. [Mr. Hume (rousing)—I was sent to sleep by your speaking half an hour to little purpose.] — The hon. Member tells me that I have been speaking very little to the purpose 1007 for the last half hour. Now, the fact happens to be that I have not been upon my legs for more than the last five minutes, so that for the other twenty-five minutes of dulness and inapplicable reasoning it is not I but the noble Lord opposite who is answerable. I thought, when I was adverting to the Ordnance Estimates, that I touched a chord to which the hon. Member for Middlesex would respond. I own I did not expect the hon. Member's attention to any general observations on a question of foreign policy; but I hoped, without intending to be guilty of any unfairness, to awaken the attention of the hon. Member when I talked of a Vote of Supply. The Order of the Day is a Vote of Supply on the Ordnance. Estimates; and here I may notice that this is the first time in my experience in which the vote for the supply of the Ordnance has preceded the vote either for the army or the navy, the Order of the Day being, as I said before, a Vote of Supply for the Ordnance, nothing could be more appropriate, or indeed more germane to the matter, than that those who doubt the policy of the course which the Government is pursuing should invite a debate on our interference in the affairs of Spain. The right hon. Baronet read the items of the Ordnance Estimates to which he had alluded, from which it appeared that 220,000 muskets, 10,000 swords, 10,000 carbines, 3,000 rifles, 3,000,000 cartridges, 900,000 lbs. of powder, with a number of guns, besides the articles furnished to the Auxiliary Legion, constituting a large supply of military stores sent to the assistance of the Queen of Spain. The value of those stores was 386,777l. of which not a single farthing has been received by the Ordnance Department. Now (continued the right hon. Baronet) admitting that such an expenditure could be justified as consistent with sound policy, that this country should be put to an expense of nearly 400,000l. without a satisfactory proof that such an expenditure would be made good to this country—now did not this justify my hon. Friend, if there were nothing more, in bringing forward his motion? The noble Lord, in the course of his speech referring to an argument used in the course of the debate, has talked of the impartiality of fogs. I confess I never heard a speech that seemed to possess more of the effect of fog than the speech 1008 of the noble Lord, for under the veil of is obscurity he has been enabled to with-iraw from the chief points of the discus-ion. The question is whether it was just to interfere in a civil contest—a contest for the succession to the throne of Spain. To enter upon that question, it is necessary to consider the whole policy of the Quadruple Alliance. That treaty, Sir, I admit, having been once ratified, must in all its articles be to the letter fulfilled. It is the bounden obligation of every Government of this country—they are bound in duty and in honour—to fulfil the treaty. No Government would be warranted by any technical objection whatsoever to found thereon a non-acquiescence with the articles of that treaty; but neither should any Government, through political motives, go beyond those articles. No matter what party might hold the reins of Government in this country, they are bound by honour even more stringent than written law to adhere to the treaty. Sir, in accordance with that treaty the late Government did advance arms and ammunition to the Queen of Spain, nor did it seek immediate payment for the stores thus advanced. But the noble Lord opposite has laid down principles of intervention more extensive than ever yet were attempted to be upheld by any party in this country. Sir, if the principle of the noble Lord were once to be generally adopted it would justify the intervention of any Government which might think proper to interfere with the internal relations of any other country, that Government constituting itself the judge of the necessity for such interference. The noble Lord says, that it is the duty and the interest of a free Government to interfere for the advancement of free institutions. Why, Sir, the very same argument might be advanced by despotic Powers desirous of suppressing the nascent principles of freedom, and of crushing States which sought to establish more popular forms of Government. Prussia or Austria, for instance, might allege, "Our interests are opposed to the establishment of democracy, or to the maintenance of popular government, in the neighbourhood of our territories, and on the same principle on which England, possessing a popular government and a free constitution, has interfered in Spain to procure the establishment of a similar political system in that country, do we justify ourselves in promoting a system of 1009 despotism, and in crushing the first attempts to establish a just and rational liberty," It was quite beside the question to enter, as the noble Lord had done, into a consideration of the policy of the Quadruple Alliance. With equal facetiousness the noble Lord upbraided my hon. and learned Friend for having allowed so much time to elapse without calling; the attention of Parliament to the Order in Council relaxing the Foreign Enlistment Act. My hon. and learned Friend was reproached with having taken six or eight months for deliberation. I must, however, remind the House, that when the noble Lord last appeared upon the stage as the defender of that Order in Council, he appeared not only in the character of a logician, but also in that of a prophet. The present object of my hon. and learned Friend is not to show that the ratiocinations of the noble Lord were illogical, but that his prophecies had not been fulfilled, and it was necessary that there should be some lapse of time to contradict the noble Lord's predictions. The noble Lord's arguments were all answered and refuted at the time. The only advantage which the noble Lord obtained, if indeed he obtained any, was derived from his being in possession of official communications, which could not be in the possession of hon. Gentlemen on his side the House. From the implicit reliance with which the noble Lord appeared to rest on those communications, and from the confident tone in which the noble Lord then spoke, I certainly entertained hopes that the contest in Spain would have been terminated, and that the British Legion would have returned home before this time. The noble Lord complained that great disparagement had been very unjustly cast upon the British Legion, and upon its gallant commander Colonel Evans. I have not heard one word uttered in this House derogating either from the character or the gallantry of Colonel Evans. Neither have I been any party to the aspersions which have been thrown upon the soldiers under his command. Whatever may be the cause in which they are embarked, it is impossible for me not to feel a deep sympathy in the fate of a large body of my fellow-countrymen engaged in a foreign laud in the support of a cause which they deem to be in accordance with their principles. With regard to the British Legion, though it is not in our service, though it is commanded by those from whom we 1010 on this side of the House dissented widely on political questions, the noble Lord may be assured that he will not hear one word from us in disparagement of our fellow-countrymen who compose it—that he will not hear one expression of doubt as to their maintaining the honour of the British name—that he will not hear one reflection cast upon their gallantry and courage. Suppose that they fall; suppose that sickness and privations have thinned their ranks; suppose that want of discipline has prevented their energies from being perfectly effective; suppose that the rivalry of foreign commanders has impeded the display of their native gallantry,—is that any reflection on them? No; but it is a reflection upon those who have committed them unnecessarily in this struggle, and who have committed along with them the name of the British nation and the honour of the British character. If the Quadruple Treaty requires that a foreign expedition should be sent from this country to Spain, that I admit would be a sufficient justification for the Government in sending it forth; but I contend that, by the Quadruple Treaty, no obligation is imposed upon us to interfere in the contest now waging in Spain by recalling the prohibition contained in the Foreign Enlistment Act. The recall of that prohibition made ns substantially a party in. that contest. The noble Lord admits that it did. Well, then, the Quadruple Treaty specified what we should contribute to the common cause. If that treaty required from us military intervention, the Government is justified in asking such intervention; but the question is, "Did that treaty impose on us the obligation to repeal the prohibition contained in the Foreign Enlistment Act by the exercise of the prerogative of the Crown in favour of one party?" If it did not, I am at liberty to question the policy of that repeal as much as if that treaty had never existed. I freely admit to the noble Lord that we are bound by that treaty, but I am now inquiring whether a particular act, which we have committed, was required from us under it. The noble Lord says it was; but that I am equally prepared to deny; and if my denial be founded on right principles, I have a right to question the policy of Government. I remain, then, up to this moment, after all that I have heard from the noble Lord, totally unconvinced that we are called upon by the Quadruple, 1011 Treaty to permit an English army, not under the control of English officers appointed by the Crown, to go to Spain, as an auxiliary force. We have not taken— we cannot take—any security for its success. This suggests another consideration—does the noble Lord consider that the Quadruple Treaty requires from us still more coercive measures against Don Carlos, supposing the present measures to fail, as it appears probable that they will? The permission to enlist is not sufficient. We have already given the Spanish Government permission to enlist 10,000 men in this kingdom; are we to give it permission to enlist 10,000 more? or are we to support the British soldiers now under General Evans by a more marked exhibition of the military vigour of England? You have begun by a grant of arms and ammunition; you have followed that up by permission to enlist in your dominions; are you prepared to go still further? The noble Lord attempts again to carry us along with him, by giving us, as of old, the most flattering hopes of success; but how can we repose credit in them, knowing, as we all do, that we are in a worse position now than we were on the last occasion on which the noble Lord dazzled our eyes with delusive visions of success? "But," says the noble Lord, "if you doubt our policy, you identify yourselves with the policy of Don Carlos."— Sir, I do no such thing. I do with all my soul abominate and abjure the cruelties and excesses in which both parties in this sanguinary contest so want only indulge. I am not, I never have been, a partisan of Don Carlos. All I wish is that we were not parties in this contest, and that we were not in our present painful position. "But," says the noble Lord, "have we not interfered elsewhere, and have we not interfered with success? We interfered in Greece, in Belgium, and in Portugal— and has not our interference been productive of good?" To this I reply—the case of Portugal is separate and distinct from all others. We stand to Portugal in a very different relation from that in which we stand to any other country. We are bound to that country by treaties of a very-special nature, and our interference in the concerns of Portugal, either with a naval or a military force, rests upon grounds very different from any which exist between us and any other nation. I will ask the House to consider how we interfered 1012 in the case of Belgium. The noble Lord said that we had interfered with the domestic concerns of Belgium. How? The inhabitants of Belgium, for reasons best-known to themselves, refused to submit to the yoke of the King of Holland. After that refusal broke out into open resistance, a question might have arisen, whether under treaties then in existence, we were not bound to protect the King of Holland in his rights or dominion over Belgium. Right or wrong, we declined to interfere. The right hon. Member for Nottingham (Sir John Hobhouse) will recollect the case of Belgium well. Upon the opening of Parliament, objection was taken to that part of the King's speech which referred to the domestic affairs of Belgium. [Lord Palmerston: I did not use the expression domestic affairs.]—No? Why the whole question we are now discussing turns upon the right which one state claims to interfere with the domestic concerns of another. Don't I know that if you have a defensive alliance with another country, and that country is attacked by a third party, you may be called on, and if called on, you must interfere and assist it in that foreign quarrel? But is it a foreign quarrel in which the government of Spain now calls on you to interfere? The objection to our interference in Spain is, that we, professing principles of non-interference, except in a peculiar case of danger arising to ourselves from vicinage, or from the undue preponderance of a third party—the gravamen of the charge against us is, that we have undertaken, when there are two parties struggling for the succession to the Crown of Spain, to interfere in behalf of one of them, and to say that the claims of the inhabitants of the Basque provinces are not founded in justice. There never was a country in less danger from foreign aggression than Spain is at this moment. Portugal is friendly to her; France is friendly to her. If they were not, I would admit that our interference in her domestic concerns might be justified. The gravamen of the charge against us, I repeat, is this—that we, being interested in the establishment of free constitutions, have made ourselves parties in the domestic dissensions of Spain, by endeavouring to establish a free constitution there, in a way not justified by the Quadruple Treaty. For my own part, I doubt the ultimate result of the war which we ere now 1013 assisting the Queen's Government to carry on. If we succeed in establishing her dynasty by the assistance of a foreign force, I fear that we shall do little good. If the Queen's government cannot repress a mountain insurrection without the aid of a foreign force, I cannot bring myself to believe that a government which rests for support on foreign intervention can be permanently successful. Again, let us look to our interference, or rather to our mode of interference, as it bears on the domestic policy of England. For my own part, I doubt the policy of letting a large force of British soldiers enter into the service of a foreign power in the way in which the British Legion has entered into the service of the Queen of Spain. If it is defeated, it injures the national character, and damps the national spirit. If, in consequence of that defeat, you increase its numbers, and raise it to 20,000 men, and if upon that increase its exertions become triumphant, and it returns to England flushed with feelings of victory, I will not conceal from you the apprehensions of danger which I entertain from your having two different armies in your dominions, both belonging to the same country, but connected with their officers by different ties. The right hon. Baronet after some other observations, which the lateness of the hour prevents us from reporting, concluded by declaring that entertaining as he did the views which he had just declared respecting our foreign policy, he was compelled to object to the course adopted by the noble Lord. He did not, however, feel himself justified in supporting a vote of crimination against the Government, but he did feel himself justified in demanding his right to be heard, whilst he questioned on a vote of supply the policy of his Majesty's Government.
§ Sir John Hobhouse
was sure the House had not expected to find the right hon. Baronet opposite bringing so grave a charge as he had brought against his noble Friend the Secretary for the Foreign Department, and then ending his speech with such an extraordinary attack as that contained in the right hon. Baronet's concluding observations. Not content with terrifying Parliament and the country with the imprudence of the foreign policy pursued by Ministers, and with a laborious endeavour to show the serious 1014 dangers into which it was inveigling the nation, the right hon. Baronet had concluded by stating, that if General Evans returned to England at the head of his army flushed with alt the feelings of victory and triumph, he would be more dangerous than if he came back smarting under a sense of defeat. ["No"] He begged pardon of the right hon. Baronet and his clamorous Friends, but he was not mistaken, for the right hon. Baronet, after detailing to the House the disgrace of defeat in this contest, stated that the victory of General Evans would be still more dangerous, for he would come back, as the right hon. Baronet said, at the head of his mercenary army. ["No, no."] The right hon. Baronet, if he had not used the word "mercenary," had implied it, for he said that General Evans had not levied his army under ordinary circumstances. He had likewise added, that General Evans would come back with his array dangerous—the right hon. Baronet did not say to the liberties of the country, but dangerous in some mode which the right hon. Baronet did not explain, and which therefore appeared sufficiently anomalous. It was to be in some way productive of danger, which would prove very embarrassing to the domestic tranquillity of the country, and which his Majesty's Government ought to be prepared to anticipate and to avert. It was not for him to dispute the valour and the terrors of the great General Evans—Great let me call him,For he conquered me,And although the right hon. Gentleman had made a most ingenious and edifying discourse upon the subject, he must be permitted to say that there was something about the right hon. Gentleman's genius almost too ponderous for a joke. He must say further, that in the discussion of this question the right hon. Gentleman had not treated his noble Friend, the Secretary for the Foreign Department, quite fairly, neither had he consulted the dignity of the House, nor, if he might be permitted to say it, of himself, by the course which he had thought proper to take. Did the right hon. Gentleman complain that the present Government had done any thing at variance with the treaties which they found in force when they came into office? Certainly, he believed no such charge had been attempted to be made. It would be recollected, that during the 1015 short time the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues were in office, the right hon. Gentleman took an opportunity of stating in that House that he had maintained the existing treaties which he found on coming into office, and that he considered himself bound to maintain them, and to follow the policy of his predecessors; and he would now take the liberty of saying that in pursuance of this principle the provisions of the Quadruple Alliance might have been carried out further whilst they were about it, by the equipment of a naval force in support of the Queen of Spain. This had not been done however; by so doing a more direct act of hostility against Don Carlos would have been committed, and there certainly would not have been any ground for complaining of the auomalous line of conduct now attributed to this country. He presumed that if his Majesty's Government had proposed to adopt such a demonstration of active support, there could have been no opposition to it by Parliament, because, by virtue of the very treaty in question they were called upon and bound to take that step if it were demanded of them. The right hon. Gentleman had made an observation that the Ministers of this country ought not to suffer themselves to be diverted or turned aside from what the great commercial necessities and the interests of freedom demanded, by vague and general notions of foreign policy. Now, if it turned out that the course pursued on the present occasion was conducive to the commercial advantages of this country, he presumed the principle upon which the Ministers had acted would not be called vague; or if the great interests of freedom, whereof this country was of old the great and prescriptive defender, were secured by it, then he presumed no vagueness of principle would be attributed to them. The right hon. Gentleman then talked about intervention, he said that sometimes the present Ministers were for intervention, and called it non-intervention; and sometimes they were for non-intervention and called it intervention. Now, in pursuance of this ingenious argument, the right hon. Gentleman had fallen into one or two mistakes, which he should just wish to remind him of. He should like, in the first place, to refer the right hon. Gentleman to a notice put upon the books a short time before the right hon. Gentleman went out of office, on the sub- 1016 ject of the disputes between the King of Holland and his subjects. Who was it put that notice upon the books? Why, he had done it himself. But why had he done so? Because it was declared that the King of Holland's subjects were not justified in the cause they had taken up. And who made that declaration? Who decided between the King of Holland and his former subjects? Why, the right hon. Gentleman himself; and the allusions to the subject in the Speech from the Throne under the Duke of Wellington's Government, at that time, showed the opinion of the King of England and his Ministers to be, that intervention in the affairs of that country was not only justifiable, but indispensable. There was another mistake of the right hon. Gentleman's. He said, You did not interfere in the case of Belgium; why did you interfere in Spain? Now, he would like to ask what was the charge that had been made against his noble Friend, year after year, in respect to Belgian affairs? Why, certainly not that he had not interfered, but that he did interfere. The truth of the matter was this—whether his noble Friend interfered or did not interfere—whichever way he acted—the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends must complain. If his noble Friend and his colleagues did nothing, they were told they ought to do something; if they did something, they were told that they ought to attempt more. The fact was, that his noble Friend, during the few years he had held the office of Secretary of State for the Foreign Department, had had to contend with difficulties such as no Foreign Secretary had hitherto ever had to contend with; and he must say further, that in his opinion his noble Friend had come forth from his arduous labours, in which certainly he had been supported by all the native energies of his country, and also by the general principles and feelings of his countrymen—he had come forth from those arduous duties with a more complete success than any one who had preceded him in such an office. His noble Friend had succeeded in keeping alive and spreading the great flame of freedom which had marked the character and the intellect of the British people, ever since we had been a nation, through circumstances of unparalleled difficulty—he had compromised nothing of the nation's dignity, and stood clearer in the face of his country and of surrounding nations, than any Foreign, 1017 Secretary who had ever sat upon that Bench. Did the noble Lord opposite, who laughed at what he had just said, suppose that he (Sir John Hobhouse) said this from any feeling of private regard for his noble Friend. He spoke upon very different grounds. Circumstances had brought his noble Friend and himself to sit upon the same Bench. He would tell the noble Lord opposite [Lord Mahon, we believe] that nothing which the noble Lord himself could promise him, nothing that he could offer him, no interest or patronage that he could give him, would induce him (Sir J. Hobhouae) to say one word which he did not in his conscience believe to be true; and in the thorough conviction of the truth of what he was uttering, he again repeated his opinion—on all that he had seen of the foreign policy of his noble Friend, that his noble Friend had acquitted himself with greater honour than any of his predecessors in office. The Government had acted fully up to what was their duty, in regard to the Quadruple Treaty; they had done no one act in reference to it, to which, if they were to go out of office to-morrow, their successors in office could attach any blame. His noble Friend had not done in office a single act which if out of office to-morrow he would not support and enforce. The policy of his noble Friend was the same now as it was in 1834, and nothing had occurred since of which Parliament had aright to complain. He had nothing to reply to in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who had preceded him. There was no laying hold of his pleasantness, which, though clever, could not be caught by minds less lively than the mind of the right hon. Baronet. The question now before them was, whether Government had done anything of which Parliament had a right to complain; but, as he said before, the right hon. Gentleman had abstained altogether from making any charge of the kind. In conclusion, he would only observe, that he and the rest of his colleagues would always hold themselves ready to meet, fairly and frankly, any charge that could be brought against them on the subject of their foreign policy, when he had no doubt of their being able to show most satisfactorily that they had in no wise departed from the spirit of existing treaties, nor in the slightest degree compromised the honour and dignity of the country.
§ Mr. Thomas Duncombe
wished to have 1018 risen at an earlier period of the debate to, express his dissent from the noble Lord's, (Mahon) opinion with regard to Spain; he could not admit, that the noble Lord's prophecies had been fulfilled, nor could he agree in the description the noble Lord had given of the contest now Carrying on in that country as a contest between two "factions." He denied that the Queen's party was a "faction"; her's was a legitimate Government, which had been recognized by the noble Lord's late leader, the Duke of Wellington. With regard to the convention of Lord Eliot to which reference had been made by the noble Lord, he (Mr. Duncombe) had always been of opinion and still was, that that convention was more favourable to Don Carlos than to the Queen; and as to its being dictated by humanity; the fate of some of our countrymen in Spain showed that to be a mere delusion. Then as to precedents for allowing the enlistment of troops under a foreign banner, he held in his hand an Act, brought in by Mr. Pitt, and passed in 1794, entitled, "an Act to enable French subjects to enlist in the British service on the continent." Hon. Gentlemen opposite, no doubt, would say, these Frenchmen were mercenaries. [Hear, hear, from Mr. Wynn.] The right hon. Member for Montgomeryshire seemed to think so; but the Tories of the day supported Mr. Pitt in that Bill, and in that they were perfectly consistent with their present opposition, for that Bill was to encourage the enlistment of foreign troops to crush that very cause of liberty on the continent, for the support of which the present suspension of the Foreign Enlistment Act was defended by Government; they were consistent in their object, if not in their means, their object in both cases was to put down freedom, for that they now declaimed against the very measure which they had assisted Mr. Pitt to carry through Parliament in 1794. There was one subject to which he had intended to call the attention of his Majesty's Government, and which, if the House did not think it too late, he would then briefly advert to. He alluded to the unfortunate state-prisoners at Ham; the political victims of the late French Revolution. He was grieved to find that one or two of those unhappy captives were fast pining away from the effects of their long imprisonment, and the unhealthiness of their situation. Surely, whatever crimes they had been guilty of, six years of impri- 1019 sonment and affliction had expiated it, and of what crimes had they been guilty which the authorities since established had not equalled or surpassed, even-handed justice required that their imprisonment should be terminated, or if justice did not demand it, enlightened policy recommended it, and every feeling of generosity and humanity spoke loudly in its favour. The hon. Gentleman concluded by reading the letter addressed by Prince Polignac on the 17th of August, 1830, to the French Chamber, in which he entreated permission either to retire for ever into private life, or to expatriate himself with his wife and children to some other land. That wife and the mother of those children was a British subject, and consequently had an additional claim upon British sympathy. These unfortunate prisoners were now in a declining state of health from their protracted imprisonment, and if not released could not long be expected to survive. He trusted, therefore, the House would not think he had deviated too far from the question in entreating of his Majesty's Government to mediate with the French Government for their release; a request which would not only come graciously from them, but would, he was sure, be at once responded to by the generous forgiveness of the French nation.
§ The Motion of the hon. Member for Oxford, (Mr. Maclean) was acceded to, and the Order of the Day for a Committee of Supply, on which the debate arose, was read, and the Committee deferred.