§ On the question that the Speaker leave the chair to go into a Committee of Supply,
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
did not feel that it was necessary for him to apologize to the House on that occasion for occupying its time in calling its attention to the state of affairs in the north of Spain, and also to the manner in which his Majesty's Government was involved in the transactions that had recently occurred there. He considered it necessary that this subject should be brought before the notice of the House, and he also thought that this should be done without further delay, and he felt that no apology was called for from him for doing so beyond that which was necessary for the inadequate manner in which he should perform the task he had taken upon himself. He would not discuss the question as to the propriety or impropriety of entering in the Quadripartite Treaty, or of the additional articles to that Treaty, because his noble Friend the Member for Hertford, and other Members on that side of the House, had already called the attention of the House to the subject with much greater ability than he could pretend to; and he had no doubt they would on that occasion say all that was necessary on that part of the subject. But the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs had never attempted to justify the intervention that had taken place in the affairs of the north of Spain, on the plea that it was called for by the stipulations of that treaty; nor had he said that the order in council was required by the Quadripartite Treaty, or by the additional articles. The noble Lord, he repeated, had never asserted that the proceedings that had taken place with reference to the legion grew out of the Quadripartite Treaty. He therefore said, that the noble Lord and the Government, in issuing their order in council, pursued a course which was not involved in the ques- 1330 tion of the treaty, but merely so acted as a matter of policy on their part. But no question of policy as to the treaty, no question as to the expediency of the proceeding, could be conclusive as to bringing forward the subject, because he thought that the character of the country was so much at stake and was so deeply involved in the conduct pursued by the noble Lord and his colleagues in the Government, that it rose superior to all other considerations, and compelled him to do what he considered to be a bounden duty. He said this when it appeared that his Majesty's Government had, by the conduct they had pursued, placed his Majesty's subjects in the situation of being dealt with as pirates and robbers; and when they did not take any steps to protect those of his Majesty's subjects who had proceeded to Spain in conformity with the issuing of the order in council; he must, therefore say, that the way in which the war had been carried on was a most unsatisfactory mode of proceeding. He considered that the noble Lord, by the measures which he had pursued on this subject, had very much implicated the national character of the country. He had implicated by the operations which he had chosen to pursue the military reputation of this country. He repeated, that he was of opinion that the very act of raising 10,000 men for the service of the Queen of Spain lowered the high character of this nation, and the military reputation of the country, which had been carried to such a high degree of renown at the close of the late war, and which had not been lowered during the peace until by these recent proceedings, and which had been handed over, pure and unspotted, to the present Government, and which it was their duty to preserve as national property. It was the duty of the House to see that the national property—the national honour —was not tarnished by the course pursued by the noble Lord and his colleagues. The noble Lord might say, that he was not responsible for all the failings and disasters that had attended the Spanish Legion; but how could the House sanction such an excuse, when they recollected that this very large body of men, officered by gentlemen holding military commissions in the King's service, although clothed in the Spanish uniform, were still Englishmen? Under such circumstances it was impossible that the country should not sympathise with them. There wets another mode of viewing this 1331 subject—namely, as affecting the moral character of this country, which, in his Opinion, was a matter of high consideration. It remained a matter of deep consideration for the inhabitants of this Christian country whether his Majesty's Ministers and that House should allow men, the natives of this country, to become accustomed to shed the blood of their brother men in a quarrel in which they were not interested. It was a matter of deep consideration whether, by such proceedings as those he alluded to, they should train up our countrymen to scenes of bloodshed and murder, which had never been approached in any modern warfare. He was sure that the noble Lord, from what he formerly heard of him—and he was sure that the right hon. Gentlemen, his col. leagues in office, who sat around him— must deplore these scenes as much as he did; but while he allowed the noble Lord to be actuated by these feelings as a man, he could not but censure the noble Lord as a Statesman and a Minister, for allowing a war to proceed in which all the evils natural to a civil war had been aggravated to a great degree. There was no positive motive for allowing the proceedings that had taken place; the character of the country did not require it; the maintenance of the independence of Spain did not call for it; and, while it seemed to be the act of the noble Lord, he did not recollect any single instance of an explanation where the noble Lord had accounted for his sanctioning the raising of the Legion, and the steps that had taken place with reference to it, unless, indeed, when the noble Lord said, in the summer of 1835, that they had sanctioned the raising this body of troops to put down a few thousand of men who were engaged in a local and partial insurrection in the north of Spain. This being the case, it became necessary to know who were the people engaged in this war. He had lived for two months with this people in the north of Spain, and he was convinced that a more independent, honest, and upright people than the inhabitants of the Basque provinces did not exist. But so far from his feelings on this matter being tinctured by party prejudices, he would appeal to the judgment and opinion of those upon whose opinion the House would place greater reliance then upon his own statement. He was sorry he did not see in his place the hon. and learned Member for Bath, who at the 1332 commencement of the Session stated, that the interference of this country in the present contest in the north of Spain was as undignified as it was useless; if he had seen the hon. Gentleman he should have appealed to him on the subject. He would appeal, however, to an authority which he was sure would have weight with many hon. Gentlemen opposite, he meant Mr. John Quincy Adams, the late President of the United States of America, who had given his opinion on the character of the natives, of the Basque provinces. After drawing a most favourable view of the inhabitants of the United States, he proceeded to say, that in all Europe there Was no race of people who had such claims to respect on the score of liberty, as the inhabitants of the Basque provinces. "He Said, while their neighbours have long since resigned all their possessions into the hands of kings and priests this extraordinary people have preserved their ancient language, genius, laws, government, and manners, without innovation, longer than any nation of Europe. Active, vigilant, generous, brave, hardy, inclined to war and navigation, they have enjoyed for two thousand years the reputation of the best soldiers and sailors in Spain. Many writers ascribe their flourishing commerce to their situation, but as this is no better than that of Ferrol or Corunna, that advantage is more probably due to their liberty. In riding through this little territory you would fancy yourself in Connecticut; instead of miserable huts, built of mud and covered with straw, you see the country full of large and commodious houses and barns of the farmer, the lands well cultivated, and a wealthy and happy yeomanry." Such was the account that the late President Adams gave of this people, and he would ask the noble Lord whether he would allow that this country was at war with this people, for the purpose of putting down whom he had allowed the raising of 10,000 men? If he wanted a more recent expression of opinion as to the character of this people, he would refer to the authority of one of the hon. Members for Westminster—he meant General Evan's-—who, in his proclamation to the inhabitants of the Basque provinces of the 14th of February last, said, "All Spain was now desirous of enjoying those liberties which you (addressing the people of those provinces) have so long possessed. Was not this an admission that the liberties of this 1333 people were real and Substantial? What other meaning could be attached to the expression that the Spanish people wished for the enjoyment of the same liberties as were possessed by the inhabitants of those provinces? Was this the reason that the noble Lord wished to coerce this people by sending 10,000 men to make war upon them? He could not conceive any proceeding more unjust than the course pursued by the noble Lord and his Governments. But unjust as this policy was, the time of interference was also as impolitic. The date of the order in council was the 10th of June, 1835; the date of the convention signed by Lord Elliott was in February. He was convinced that the order in council impeded the carrying into effect the convention, which; if enforced, would have humanized the war; for immediately the noble Lord took part in the content by his most impolitic interference, the convention became almost disregarded. What was the date of the convention? The first act of his noble Friend, the Duke of Wellington, when he accepted the seals as Foreign Secretary, was to endeavour to find but a way to put a stop to the cruelties which were carried oh in the war in Spain. Every nation being liable to the Visitation of war with other powers, as well as civil war, had an interest in taking care that it was not carried on in a way that would inflict greater cruelties than could be avoided, and, above all, in a manner calculated to brutalize the people. In consequence of this, his noble Friend sent out Lord Eliot, and that noble Lord succeeded in the commission that was intrusted to him. But when the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs adopted his orders in Council, the system that had been acted upon in conformity with that convention, was abandoned. They had the authority of General Cordova for asserting, that previous to the Order in Council, the lives of between 500 and 600 Christine prisoners had been saved. Mr. Henningsen also stated, that during the few months between the signing the convention and the issuing the Order in Council, the lives of 5,000 prisoners had been saved by the Carlists. He was convinced by this, that the war had been humanised by the convention; and it was the duty of the noble Lord to abstain from interfering with such a force as that which he was the means of Sending out, namely, 10,000 muskets; but he ought to have 1334 attempted, by means of negociations to humanise the war, and, if possible, to put an end to it, instead of resorting to measures, which, so far from humanising it, tended only to brutalize it. He did not make this Statement on light grounds, but was fully able to establish it. The first operation of General Evans was in the Autumn of 1835. It was a reconnoissance against Hernani, and on that occasion the force of the Legion was accompanied by a regiment of Chapelgorries. These Chapelgorries were natives of the Basque provinces, who were in the service of the Christinos, and they were regarded with strong feelings of animosity and hatred by the Carlists. He was also accompanied by another Spanish force named the regiment of Fernando. The Legion, with these regiments, proceeded against an enemy upon whom this country had no right to make war; at the same time, it should not be forgotten that this advance was made on a Sunday. He said, that he believed that this took place on a Sunday; he knew that the battle of Waterloo was fought on a Sunday, but that was a matter of necessity: but the advance on Hernani was a voluntary act of going out on a Sunday. The fact was, the enemy was driven under the walls of Hernani, and at length General Evans either deemed it expedient or necessary, as it entered into his views, to make a retreat to St. Sebastian. On his return, the Fernando regiment lost eight men as prisoners to the Carlists, while, at the same time, that regiment took fourteen Carlists prisoners. This took place after the convention had been signed, and after it had been in force for some months. Now, he would ask, did the Carlists and Christines really carry this convention into effect? Up to this period it had been carried into effect, the lives of the prisoners taken on both sides were spared; but such was the feeling of exasperation that existed in the minds of the Carlists at the appearance of foreigners taking part in this contest—for he need not inform the House that the Spanish nation was extremely jealous at the interference of foreigners in their affairs—such was the feeling of exasperation excited at the part taken by these 10,000 men of the Legion, that he had the authority of ft person present to state that the Carlists put to death the eight men of the Fernando regiment taken prisoners by them, and 1335 the Fernando regiment put to death their fourteen Carlist prisoners. In addition to the authority of the person he had alluded to, he held in his hand a book written by Major Richardson, of the Legion, who was present at the affair before Hernani: and from the praise bestowed on General Evans in the first part of the book, and from the strong terms of censure applied to the Tory parties, he had little doubt but that the author of this work was a Liberal. The passage he alluded to was as follows:— "In the early part of the action the Carlists had made seven or eight prisoners of the regiments of Fernando, (a regular Spanish regiment), who, in sight of several officers of the 1st. British, were taken to the rear and deliberately shot. The Fernando regiment had taken fourteen Carlists prisoners. The Carlists were in close pursuit. In this emergency, fearing their prisoners might be recaptured, they consulted together for a few moments, and then levelled at the hearts of their victims a simultaneous discharge, and they fell, the bayonet completing what the bullet had left unfinished." This was the Sunday afternoon's reconnoissance! Such was the state of the case which had been brought about by the unfortunate Act of the noble Lord and the Government. He felt justified in imputing the change that had taken place in the mode of carrying on the war to the present Government, and every thing that he had seen, and read, and "heard, confirmed him in this opinion. He had before him a paper from Captain Henningsen, who, from the period of the convention to a date long subsequent to the advance of the Legion, was with Don Carlos in Spain, and Captain Henningsen said;—" I have no hesitation in asserting, that in all the actions subsequent to the first attack on Hernani, August, 1835, not more than one soldier of the Queen's regiment of the line (the least obnoxious part of the army) is now spared during a fight for four who were spared previous to the disembarkation of the Legion. An examination of the proportion of prisoners to the killed and wounded in the affairs that have taken place before and after that period, will, I think, sufficiently demonstrate the correctness of what I advance on this subject." The noble Lord might say that it was not his fault that the Durango decree had been issued. But it ought not 1336 to be forgotten that the Durango decree was subsequent to the embarkation of the Legion, and was not framed before it was sent to Spain. He deprecated this assassin-like decree as much as any one possibly could. It was such a monstrous offence against the laws of humanity, that if any such document should incapacitate any one from holding a crown, this was the decree that should do so. But what was happening at the very moment this took place in other parts of Spain? Mina, at this period, was carrying on a most cruel war; and from the mode in which this was done, the noble Lord was not justified in enlisting 10,000 men into the service of the Queen of Spain. He knew that General Evans was a gallant man, and a man of honour and humanity; and yet he might have been called upon to serve the cause of the Queen of Spain under the orders of General Mina, and he might then be called upon to take part in and even execute the atrocities directed by that man. But he would say, that not only the character of the Legion had been affected, but the soldiers had been inured to a system of bloodshed such as British soldiers had never been present at before. Before, however, he proceeded to allude to this part of the subject, he would, in the first place, direct the attention of the House to the treatment experienced by these British soldiers since they had been in Spain. When the Legion arrived at Vittoria on the 11th of August, it was a strong body, and it remained there for the period of four months. During the whole of this time, the troops were placed in uninhabited convents, without being furnished with bedding, fuel, or indeed supplies of any kind. The men were kept there in spite of the strong remonstrances of General Evans, and the wants of the men increased to such an extent, that not less than forty officers and seven hundred men fell victims. The deaths did not arise from excessive fatigue, but it was evident they took place from the misconduct of the Spanish Government in neglecting to make any provision for the troops. At the same time that the soldiers of the Legion were suffering these hardships, the Algerine brigade was billeted in the houses of the town. On that occasion, General Brenelle, who commanded them, said to the aid-de-camp of General Evans, that the authorities wished to send his troops to the uninhabited con- 1337 vents; but he told them that he would billet them by force on the inhabitants the next day, if they were not furnished with what they required. They had not light authority for these assertions as to the conduct of the Spanish authorities, but they had the evidence of high officers of the staff, who all confirmed the statement as to the heartless cruelty of the Spanish Government. Major Richardson said, at page 177: "Feb. 20, 1836.—We have lost upwards of 700 men and 40 officers, exclusive of those who have died-elsewhere since Christmas." In little more than two months, Major Hall, General Evans's aide-de-camp, says:—"The cause and origin of disease at such a season of the year was attributed invariably to the want of proper accommodation, bad food, little clothing, and, indeed, the absence of all the necessaries of life." Again Major Hall, in another part of the book, says:—"Notwithstanding the continued exertions and applications of General Evans, the consequences of want became daily, nay, hourly, more fatal; and nothing can atone for the unpardonable neglect and brutality of those whose duty it was to supply the unfortunate sick with the most common necessaries. Beds were wanting, and even covering for more than half the number. What were the unhappy consequences may be easily conceived; ten and fifteen men were each day consigned to the earth." Major Hall then praises the unceasing attentions of the medical officers. These statements showed the impropriety of the conduct of his Majesty's Government in allowing 10,000 British subjects to be enlisted into the service of the Queen of Spain, without ensuring to them better means of support, and better protection from the authorities. If the noble Lord wished to degrade this country to the condition of Switzerland and Hesse, in respecting to hiring out troops, he, at any rate, was bound to imitate the Swiss and Hessians, by taking such steps that the rights of their men should be protected, and that they should not be exposed to such sufferings and hardships as they had been subjected to. He believed, that General Evans had done all in his power to provide for his troops. He had sent General Macdougal to Madrid for this purpose; he believed that he was accompanied by Colonel Wilde, his Majesty's Commissioner in Spain, and that these two officers entered 1338 into an agreement with Mendizabal for the supply of the British troops. If this officer had been a party to this proceeding, the noble Lord had sanctioned the engagement, and General Evans had a right to expect that his men would be provided with what they required, and that they would be duly paid. Had he been in the situation of General Evans, no consideration should have prevented him from leading back the troops to England, in order to rescue them from the sufferings they were subjected to, in consequence of the bad faith of the Spanish government. Certainly, General Evans was, perhaps, warranted in acting upon the promise, given through Colonel Wilde and General Macdougal, that the officers and men of the Legion should be better treated for the future; but had he been in General Evans's place, he would not have trusted to such promises. When he reflected how large was the body of men whose lives had been thus shamefully sacrificed—when he considered, too, the circumstances under which they lost their lives, not in the usual vocation of soldiers, not in an engagement with the enemy, but in cantonments—it appeared to him that the system under which such atrocities had been committed, called for loud reprobation. He had been present during the Peninsular war, in 1813, at the battle of Vittoria, and he could state that, in that glorious action, the loss of the British was little more than half the number of men the Legion had thus lost by the ill-conduct and brutality of the Spanish government. It was seldom that he obtruded on the attention of the House any matter personal to him; but there was a circumstance connected with the action of Vittoria, that he thought he might be excused for mentioning. The enemy being posted on a hill in front of Vittoria, he received orders to carry instructions to General Picton. General Alava, who was near him at the time, said, "Observe that hill; it goes by the name of El Monte de los Ingleses (signifying 'mountain of the English'), and received its name from a victory gained there by the English some centuries ago." In two hours afterwards, the enemy's position was carried, and he would venture to say, a triumph far greater than the former one, achieved. The British Legion afterwards went to Trevino, and Major Hall said, that—"Numbers of the men were sacrificed who returned with frozen 1339 feet, sick, wet, and weary, without any change of clothes; and thus many died in misery and pain, whilst others, by the loss of legs and feet, which required amputation, were left mutilated, in the vain hope of receiving pensions wherewith to drag out the remainder of their miserable existence. But every officer of the Legion is well aware how cruelly and dishonourably these hopes have as yet remained unfulfilled." These were the words of one of General Evans's aides-de-camp; and this was six or seven months after the arrival of the Legion in Spain. He had commanded a brigade in that part of Spain for two months, when the ground was covered with snow; during that period he did sot lose a single man, because his troops were well fed and clothed, and the cause of all the misfortunes of the British Legion was, that the men had not proper clothing or sufficient food. When the Legion left Trevino, it went to the coast, and then returned to St. Sebastian; bat, notwithstanding the promises made to General Maodougal at Madrid, the men were not paid; and as much as four and five months' pay was in arrears at that time. The troops showed a great disposition to mutiny in consequence; and instances of insubordination occurred daily. This was strong evidence of the impolicy of allowing a large body of Englishmen to be collected together and armed, without precaution being previously taken for the due payment and provision of the men. It was always impossible to enforce discipline, unless the bargain with the soldier was scrupulously fulfilled. If you gave the soldier his rights, as he termed them, then you could enforce discipline, because, having observed your part of the contract with fidelity, you would then have a right, in case of necessity, to act with severity. But when troops received no pay, insubordination became frequent, mutiny broke out, and scenes of the most painful description occurred, such as those which it would now be his duty to bring under the House. There had existed, unfortunately, strong reason to apprehend that the blood of one battalion would have been spilt by another battalion belonging to the Legion. The men of the Scotch regiment fancied, that they had a legal right to be discharged at the close of one year's service, but the authorities at St. Sebastian maintained that they were bound to serve for two years. The men, unable to obtain 1340 their discharge, mutinied. On this occasion the 10th, an Irish regiment, offered to fire on the mutineers, in case they did did not submit; and it was a notorious fact, which might be proved by indisputable evidence, that 400 men belonging to the Scotch regiment, after being marched up to the Castle of St. Sebastian, through lines of Spaniards, were in a most insulting manner forced on board ship at the point of the bayonet. One cause of the discontent which manifested itself in the Legion was, as he had before stated, that the men were not allowed their discharge after the termination of one year's service, though they considered that to be the full term of their engagement. Major Richardson, who was a most unobjectionable witness, was very precise in his information on this head, and he could not do better than quote that officer's own words. Major Richardson said—The beginning of August was the termination of the year of service of many of the men of the Legion, and more particularly of the Scotch regiments, the 6th and 8th. The 8th had previously mutinied for want of pay, which step they found successful in obtaining it, although it had been pretended there was no money whatever in the military chest.Their conduct was considered so refractory, that it was deemed prudent to get them out of the way altogether; and some troops being required at Santander, where Gomez had made his appearance, they were driven on board for that destination, literally at the point of the bayonet, by the 9th Irish. While at Santander, their conduct did not improve: they sold their necessaries in every part of the town, and were constantly inebriated with the proceeds. Their original insubordination had been caused solely by a violation on the part of the lieutenant-general, of the terms under which they had engaged in the service.The 6th, among whom insobriety was of rare occurrence, were also infinitely more determined. The regiment having vainly demanded a release from the service, in consequence of their having fulfilled the year of contract for which they had been engaged, refused to obey their officers: accordingly they were marched upon the glacis of the town, for the purpose of being disarmed. About 300 returned to their duty, after a sharp lecture from Brigadier-General Shaw; the remainder (about 300 also) were sent to the Castle of St. Sebastian, in the expectation that their resistance would be thereby subdued. General Evans was obliged eventually to acknowledge their claims to retirement, and to send them home.The 6th were much condemned for insisting upon their right of retirement. The 10th Irish regiment, which had been the first to 1341 offer to fire upon them, if required, and to express their readiness to serve without pay, subsequently threatened to go over to Don Carlos, unless they were settled with; and when they did receive their money (mutiny, which ought to have been anticipated, achieved this result), they continued for a length of time in the most riotous state.After such a description, could any one feel surprise at the occurrences which subsequently took place? He (Sir H. Hardinge) offered no opinion as to the right which these men claimed of being discharged, but the officer whom he had just quoted strongly insisted on it, and endeavoured to prove that the men were justified in their demands by the fact that the officers who claimed the right of retiring at the end of one year's service were allowed to do so, without having their names gazetted as deserters, or being brought to courts-martial. The men were not, however, allowed the same privilege. He (Sir H. Hardinge) thought that nothing so forcibly demonstrated the impolicy of suffering a large body of armed Englishmen to proceed to Spain without providing means to supply them regularly with pay, clothing, and food, as the demoralized state of the troops at St. Sebastian. It certainly could not have surprised any person who knew what the condition of the Legion really was, to hear of the arrival of 200 deserters at Bayonne; but it grieved him to learn, from the newspapers, that those unfortunate Englishmen who had deserted because, as they said, their rights had been violated, were, notwithstanding the presence of an English Consul at Bayonne, treated as paupers, and obliged to march by brigades often at a time along the high road to Calais, subject to the derision of the people, who pointed them out to the children in the streets, "crying "Voilà les Anglais!" What a contrast was this to the manner in which the British army had previously marched over the same ground! What a degradation he regretted to say to the national character! To give an idea of the state of insubordination which existed among the troops at St. Sebastian, he would quote the words of a gentleman who had served in the Legion for a year and a half, and whose evidence ought therefore to have some weight with the House. This gentleman (Colonel Churchill), in a letter which he had thought it due to himself to write last January in explanation of his reasons for 1342 quitting the service, expressed himself thus:—Colonel Churchill gives his reasons for resigning the command of the Westminster. Guards. After the meeting of the superior, officers of the Legion, early in December, it appeared to me obvious that there was no prospect of any amelioration in our affairs. With an empty chest, and close run for rations, my heart revolted at the idea of a recurrence of the horrors and disasters of last winter at Vittoria. In the next place, it was evident that the officers had not that control over their men which is indispensable for the well-being of an army. The soldiers had so much ground for complaint, and the nature of the service was such, that subordination seemed almost at an end. Could my longer continuance in the Legion have been of any practical benefit to those who naturally looked up to me for support, I would never have left the brave men I had the honour to command, in whose sufferings I sympathised, and in. whose glories I participated. For these reasons my principles as a British officer, and my pride as an independent Englishman, made me feel that the time for endurance had been passed. I resolved to submit to such a state of things no longer. When the taint of indiscipline and disorganization has once affected an army, it is not the cry of victory that will destroy its fatal consequences. Let justice be done to our countrymen. They ask no more. That will have more effect on them than twenty victories." The letter was signedC. CHURCHILL,Late Colonel Westminster Guards.He entirely agreed with that gallant officer, and he thought it impossible for any man to express himself with greater propriety or, more humanity; but unfortunately the misfortunes of the Legion did not stop at the point mentioned by Colonel Churchill, He had alread shown what had been the conduct of the Spanish government to the men of the Legion at Vittoria; he had proved the frequent occurrence of scenes of mutiny and insubordination at St. Sebastian, rendering the maintenance of discipline perfectly hopeless, according to the testimony of Colonel Churchill; and he now had to direct the attention of the House to what was indeed a very painful part of the subject. He now felt called on to show, that after mutiny and insubordination had manifested themselves in the ranks of the Legion, the soldiers, either from demoralization, or from the necessity of retaliating on the Carlists in self-defence, carried on the war in the neighbourhood of St. Sebastian with such barbarity and ferocity as made it imperative on the House, whatever might be the political opinions of 1343 hon. Members, to interfere for the purpose of putting a stop to it. He felt called upon to notice these circumstances, because he and his right hon. Friend near him had always protested against the impolicy of allowing the British Legion to serve in Spain; and last year the Earl of Aberdeen had urged the Ministry not to allow the Legion to remain in Spain. The jealousy of the Spaniards with regard to foreign intervention was well known. General San Miguel had declared against the interference of foreigners, and his sentiments were openly repeated by many Christino officers. The expediency of withdrawing the Legion was urged by Lord Aberdeen. What was Lord Melbourne's answer? He learned from the usual sources of information that Lord Melbourne's reply to that humane proposition was as follows:— "It is undoubtedly desirable that those who are in the profession of arms should avail themselves of the means of educating themselves in other parts of the world. Young officers should not be forbidden from seeking crosses, and unemployed persons of the lower classes be prevented from gaining an honest livelihood." And, "that these men are receiving, I believe, much the same sort of education that all soldiers receive in time of war; at least, all soldiers placed under, similar circumstances." He had been for a long time in the army, but he never witnessed or heard of such acts of insubordination, mutiny, and ferocity, as had been committed by the soldiers of the Legion; and yet it was to Spain that British officers ought to go according to the Prime Minister, in order to learn proficiency in their profession. The same opinion had been expressed by the writer on Spanish policy whose opinions were adopted by the noble Lord opposite. That writer observed—"Why should our officers, forbid from obtaining crosses, and honours, and practice in their profession? and why should the unemployed men of the lower classes be prevented from gaining an honest livelihood?" The noble Lord opposite surely would not contend that the mode in which the war was carried on was creditable to the profession of a soldier, or calculated to be of advantage to an officer anxious to become proficient in his art. It was hardly necessary for him to allude to the cruelty of which Espartero was guilty outside the gates of Vittoria, in ordering, one morning, ten Chapelgories (who were probably in- 1344 nocent men) to be shot; for it was his object to show the great exasperation which had been excited, not only among the common soldiers, but also among the officers at St. Sebastian. He would read to the House the address made by one commanding officer to his regiment, previous to the assault on the Carlist lines, on the 5th of May; but he would, beforehand, state how he ascertained the authenticity of that address. He first read it in a publication called the Monthly Repository, and he wrote to know whether the individual who had caused it to be inserted would give his name. The editor replied that he was a gentleman whose authority might safely be relied on. He was not satisfied with the answer, for he was determined never to mention as facts statements which proceeded from doubtful or anonymous sources. Happening, however, to mention the circumstance to the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Maclean) he ascertained that there was an officer in London belonging to the Rifles, who had heard the address to which he alluded delivered. That officer who had given him permission to communicate his name to the noble Lord opposite, assured him that the account he had seen was perfectly correct, and that account he would now read to the House:—The spirit with which the British Legion entered into action on the 5th of May, may be gathered from the verbatim addresses of the commanding officers to the regiments under their command. 'Rifles!' said the major, who in the absence of Baron de Rottenburgh, commanded that regiment, ' we are going to be engaged to-morrow: the enemy shows no quarter, neither shall we; skiver every man you catch; take no prisoners; show no pity to the wounded; skiver every man you meet!' 'Men!' said the gallant colonel of the 4th regiment, 'now, we will have no nonsense; no firing behind walls;—fix bayonets, walk into them, and skewer the scoundrels.These were orders, be it remarked, given in cold blood the day before the action took place. How that order had been carried into effect was stated by Major Richardson, an unexceptionable authority, in these terms:—A heavy cannonade was opened by the Phoenix upon the enemy's battery, on the left of their position, which the 1st Brigade had attempted, ineffectually, to carry. By this fire a breach was effected; and the 4th and 8th (reserve) coming up, the left of the position was stormed and gained. The Carlists, thun- 1345 derstruck, saw that the day was lost, and sought safety in flight; but no mercy was shown them, for they had savagely bayoneted several wounded officers and men in the early repulses. Numbers fell beneath the steel of the enraged assailants, burning for revenge; and not a Carlist who could be reached lived to recount to his comrades that the English Auxiliaries, in imitation of the examples set by themselves, give no quarter. The other brigades, cheered by the examples of their comrades, who had come fresh into action, once more moved to the assault. The Irish, like the 1st Brigade, bayoneted all that came near them. We have seventy-eight officers and nearly 800 men killed and wounded.This statement was sufficient to show that the auxiliary army in Spain was not the best possible school to which British officers could resort for their education, whatever the noble Premier might think of the matter. The mode in which this war had been carried on was altogether unlike anything in his own experience; and the statements were so painful to him, as a British officer, that nothing would have induced him to bring them before the House but the obstinate obduracy of Government in resisting every attempt which had been made to induce them to recal the Legion. He ought to say, that he believed General Evans had done every thing in his power, by negotiation with the opposite army, to induce them to lay aside the ferocious mode of making war which had been adopted. Though he might be of opinion that in some instances that gallant officer had been misled by his judgement, he thought he had done all he could to humanize the war, and the way in which it was conducted was no fault of his. He believed that the gallant officer (General Evans) was totally ignorant of those orders which he had referred to as having been given by one or two of his officers. There was another order, which however, he had not read, because he had not been able to authenticate it as he had the others; but he thought that these orders, as far as they went, would illustrate the position he sought to establish. He thought he had succeeded in showing that the state of the Legion was such that, as Colonel Churchill had said, "it was hopeless to expect amendment." There had been slaughter and brutality on both sides. This was not honourable war; it was butchery; and we were butchering a people who, as he said before, were a fine and independent 1346 people, and who had committed no offence against this country. When he put together these facts—when he recollected that these Basque people were a proud, free, and independent people—he would ask what right had this country to carry on a war of extermination? He denied the right, and he called on te noble Lord to retrace his steps, and to revoke the order in council the first opportunity. He had shown the House what had been the result of the mutiny and insubordination of the army; and he would say, that what he had described of its progress appeared to him to be the natural cause under the circumstances. Ill-treatment, want of food, and want of clothes, had induced these unfortunate men to become parties to mutiny and insubordination; and what followed? Why, that they ceased to have the proper confidence in their officers. They had not confidence in their officers when the opposing army appeared, and that which was to be expected followed, viz., defeat and disgrace. Let them palliate the misfortune as they would, however disagreeable it might be to many, there was no doubt of the fact that a large body of soldiers who were British subjects had suffered a defeat such as he believed no British soldiers had suffered in the course of the last five or six hundred years. He would not enter into a detailed description of the circumstances attending the action to which he was adverting; it was sufficient for his present purpose to state, that we had a large proportion of his Majesty's artillery there, which, in his opinion, ought not to have been there; and the conduct of those men contrasted most favourably with the conduct of those who, when commanded by officers in whom they confided, showed on previous occasions that they were as brave as the men of any other nation in the world, because they were treated as they ought to be; but on the present occasion, having lost all confidence in their officers, they were defeated. On the occasion of the 16th of March, being within three miles of the magazines, and having been exposed to the inclemency of the weather for a week, it might be supposed that they would have been well supplied with rations. On the 16th of March, however, there were no rations to eat; but there was, he believed, a ration of rum. The women who had followed the army from St. Sebastian had brought some spirits with them. In order 1347 to destroy the sense of hunger the men resorted to the spirits, and the consequence was, that more than half the Legion were intoxicated on that day. What could be expected from an army in such a condition. How was this state of things to be remedied? The only thing for the noble Lord to do was, to recal the Legion. Let not the noble Lord renew the order in council, and as a British Minister take every step from this time till the Legion were recalled, to see that they should be properly treated. If he thought the noble Lord still wanted a lesson on the art of war he should be glad to explain to him why in his judgment, the system, tie was now pursuing must fail. He should say, let the noble Lord contrast the conduct of the British Legion on the 16th of March, with the conduct of his Majesty's Royal Marines. The Royal Marines were on that day officered by gentlemen holding his Majesty's commission —by gentlemen in whom the men were accustomed to place confidence; and the men themselves were well paid, clothed, and fed. The British Marines did their duty: so did the Royal Artillery. Of their force, comprising from eighty to ninety men, not one man misconducted himself, though the rest of the forces— though the British Legion—were seized with panic. In the midst of the humiliation he felt on account of that defeat, it was some consolation to him to know, that the regular part of his Majesty's service had done their duty. In making these Remarks he wished not to be understood as reflecting in any way on the officers; no one could deny, that General Evans and the officers of the British Legion had conducted themselves with the greatest bravery. But he would say, if we made war, let us make it directly, and not indirectly; let us make it in a manner that was honourable; do not let us adopt such a course as he was deprecating, because if we did, the result would be inevitable failure and disgrace. He maintained that the Marines on that occasion, great as was their good conduct, and able as was the manner in which they were commanded by Colonel Owen, were improperly called into action; he maintained, it was no part of the articles of the treaty that his Majesty's navy should be so employed. He had shown the House why he thought the order in council ought not to be renewed, and he would now refer to some details, to 1348 show why, in his judgment, his Majesty's Ministers ought not to have sanctioned the employ of the Marines as they were employed in the battle of Hernani. If it were necessary that our vessels of war should be placed on part of the line of coast occupied by the belligerent parties, it might be necessary to have in our possession some batteries, in order to secure the place of anchorage; and if the noble Lord had contented himself with allowing the British Artillery and Marines to remain in the garrison of Passages, though he might have objected to their taking up a position on land, he did not know that he should have felt himself called on to bring the subject under the consideration of the House; but the noble Lord was not contented with landing 400 of his Majesty's Marines, and eighty of his Majesty's Artillery of the land service; he was not contented with landing these eighty Artillerymen and the 400 Marines from the four vessels in his Majesty's service—a proceeding, the justification of which was only to be found in the occupation of the fort of Passages being necessary to secure the place of anchorage. No; these Marines and Artillerymen, instead of keeping within their lines and guarding their anchorage, were allowed to march seven miles inland; and not only did they take up that position in support of General Evans, but they acted on the offensive. His Majesty's Artillery, seven miles inland, under the command of Colonel Colquhoun, was employed throwing shells on Hernani. Could that be a proceeding which was within the terms of the treaty? What were the terms? The articles to which he was adverting were the two additional articles; and, what was a great advantage in documents of this description, they were short. The hon. and gallant Officer then read the articles as follow:—Article 1. His Majesty the King of the French engages to adopt such measures on the frontiers of his states as may prevent the Spanish insurgents from receiving from the French territory any kind of assistance so ever, whether in arms, men, or munitions of war.Articles 2. His Majesty the King of Great Britain and Ireland engages to supply her Catholic Majesty with such arms and munitions of war as she may stand in need of; and, moreover, if necessary, to assist her Catholic Majesty by the use of a naval force.Now, he put it as a matter of common sense, whether it was not intended that 1349 Under the first article there was to be established a blockade by land on the French frontier, or what was called a cordon militaire? and whether the second article did not apply only to a blockade of the coast on the part of the English? The French had confined themselves properly to the observance of their part of the treaty; but what had we done? We had not been contented with merely establishing a naval blockade, but, as had been stated by Colonel Colquhoun, four of the guns of his Majesty's Artillery had been employed in the action. Nor were they employed distinct from the Legion, but were attached to the Legion in the action of the 16th of March. It appeared that Captain Bassett received an order from Colonel Evans to bring his guns to the left, in order that he might attempt to stop the Spaniards from corning over the bridge. He was too late, however, to succeed; for scarcely had he fired three or four shots, before the British Legion was seized with panic, and the result was, that he was obliged to make the best of his way and fall back to the Marines, which he did in perfect good order. Here, then, were our land artillery brought seven miles from their garrison to act with the Legion, at a distance and distinct from the Marines, and as if they were a portion of the Spanish army. The noble Lord might again favour him with a definition of what he considered to be naval co-operation, but having one definition of what it was from the noble Lord before he received another, perhaps the noble Lord would allow him to refresh his memory as to the definition he had given on a former occasion. The noble Lord had contended that that was strictly a naval force which was under the command of naval officers, which relied on ships as its chief support, and of which ships formed the chief feature of operation. That definition was given by the noble Lord before the battle of Hernani. He begged to ask the noble Lord whether, on that occasion, ships formed the chief feature? Did the Artillery ever retire to the ships? No; they retired on St. Sebastian, being seven or nine miles from the ships. There was another definition by the noble Lord to which he might refer, in which the noble Lord said, that was to be considered a naval co-operation, w en, from the very nature of the occasion, it was impossible to employ a force in the interior of the country. In the present instance, the 1350 force left the coast, and marched inland seven miles, and his Majesty's Marines were nearly captured by a superior force; for he believed, that nothing but the weariness of the Carlists prevented them from following up the advantage they had obtained; and it was no disparagement of a force of only 400 men, to suppose that they would not have been able to resist a force of 8,000 or 10,000. He contended, then, that the British Legion having been seized with panic, it was by the greatest good fortune that his Majesty's Artillery and Marines were saved. He held the King's prerogative in as high respect as any man, but he must say, he considered it very unusual for warlike operations to be commenced without a message on the subject having been first sent by his Majesty down to that House. To have employed the King's forces to slaughter the Basque people without a message having been received from his Majesty, appeared to be very extraordinary. How did the noble Lord make war? Gomez having advanced with his army to within a short distance of Madrid, came round to San Roque. Having arrived in the neighbourhood of Gibraltar, the officers of the garrison went to visit Gomez in his camp, and see the nature of his army. Was it not remarkable that on the same day that our officers from the garrison visited Gomez in his camp, on that very day, according to the newspapers, from which he derived his information, one of his Majesty's ships, lying in the bay of Algesiras, fired on the columns of Gomez by command of the King's officer, it being stated that Gomez had no artillery, and all the harm that could be done was to kill some of his people. Thus by a curious construction of the law of nations, it appears that our land officers went out and met on good terms that very force which our navy fired upon directly it made its appearance. Was this a proper mode of declaring war? He recollected an anecdote of Lord Exmouth, which as it bore on the event to which he was referring, he begged to narrate to the House. When the noble Lord, then stationed in the Mediterranean, was chasing the French squadron, himself being on board the Caledonia, he came to within half-gun-shot of a French frigate. The Caledonia was firing into the frigate; but it being evident that she would get into, harbour, he cried cut with a nobleness of 1351 heart which distinguished him, "Avast firing! we can't catch her, so don't let us knock off her men to no purpose." Why, he would ask, had we fired on the columns of Gomez, when it was evident there was no point to be gained by the sacrifice of human life? He would say, that this was a mode of proceeding which he must consider to be very improper, and the sooner the House of Commons came to the determination of preventing his Majesty's Ministers from continuing such a course the better. He maintained that after the statements he had made, and the noble Lord having resisted all that had been addressed to him to persuade him to pursue a different line of policy, it became the duty of the House to interfere and take care that our Marines and Artillery were not again employed in this unholy warfare. He would say, it was a most unchristian warfare. What right had his Majesty's Ministers to attack the Basque people in this way? What right had our Artillery to slaughter them? In his opinion, the Members of this House would not perform their duty to their constituents, who could not but disapprove such proceedings, if they did not put a stop to them as soon as possible. He would not fatigue the House by going into an inquiry into the nature of the military operations of the Legion at the battle of Hernani. His business was with the Government. He did not mean to impugn the military capacity of General Evans; whether he had managed well or ill was not a question for that House—for having managed gallantly everybody would give him credit. Those were questions which might be raised by military men, who would discuss them according to their individual views of such matter; but as that gallant Officer would probably be shortly in England, and would have the opportunity of giving any explanation that he pleased, he would not think of going into them then. He would contend, however, that he had laid before the House sufficient grounds for the motion he had made. He had shown to them that failure was the necessary result of the measures of the noble Lord; that we had rendered ourselves, by this mode of carrying on the war, obnoxious to the jealousies and all the bad passions of the Spanish people; that we had taken measures calculated to destroy that feeling of reciprocal regard which had always here- 1352 tofore existed between the Spanish and the English nations; that we had shown ourselves the opponents of a party, and not the friends of the State. By the conduct that had been pursued, the noble Lord had deprived the English nation of being mediators in the quarrel, and of terminating deeds which were shocking to humanity. He had shown to the Members of that House that their unfortunate countrymen had been dying of the most cruel want: he had shown what were the consequences of these transactions, that the men belonging to the Legion were without discipline, and the officers without authority. They had heard of the disastrous results—they were told of danger and defeat. He had been a British Officer for many years—he had witnessed the horrors of war, such as they were, according to the practices of civilized states; but he must say, that he entreated of the House, if it had a consideration for the national character—if it had a regard for the military reputation of the country—if they looked to that which he could not but believe to be of the utmost importance to them, he then conjured them no longer to permit war to be thus made on the principles of the noble Lord; he besought of them to withdraw from the contest in Spain, not only the Legion, but the naval force that was now engaged there. As a Member of that House, as one in that respect whose duty it was to watch over the interests and the honour of the people, he besought of them to withdraw men from continuing in a war such as he had described; nay, more, he called upon them to put a check upon the noble Lord and his Government in his reckless career, and to restrict them strictly to the operation of a treaty which his Majesty had unfortunately been advised to conclude. The right hon. Baronet concluded by moving, "That an humble address be presented to his Majesty, praying, that his Majesty will be graciously pleased not to renew the order in council of the 10th of June, 1835, granting his Majesty's Royal licence to British subjects to enlist into the service of the Queen of Spain, which order in council will expire on the 10th of June next; and praying, also, that his Majesty will be graciously pleased to give directions that the Marine forces of his Majesty shall not be employed in the civil contest now prevailing in Spain, otherwise than in that naval co-operation which 1353 his Majesty has engaged to afford, if necessary, under the stipulations of the treaty."
§ Sir Stratford Canning
, in rising to second the motion which had been read to the House, could not but express that which was the general sentiment of the House—it was, to thank his right hon. and gallant Friend, for having brought under their notice this very important subject; and he thought that the House would feel with him, that justice had been done to this interesting and important question, and that his right hon. and gallant Friend had laid before them ample grounds for giving to it the attention that it deserved. In so doing, his right hon. and gallant Friend had done credit to that professional character which he had so long maintained, and to that branch of the public service of which he was so great an ornament. That the subject was a most important one, it was not necessary for him (Sir Stratford Canning) to repeat —it was one which was so connected with the interests of this country, and those, too, of the deepest consequence—it was also one that affected their national character, and their national honour. His gallant Friend had justly said, that he had performed his duty in bringing this subject under the notice of the House. The fact was, that from the time that the foreign legion had been first raised, from the time that the order in council had been issued by his Majesty, that Act had been questioned; and in proportion as the country beheld the consequences that followed, it had increased its anxiety that that Act of the Government should be brought under the notice of the House, and this with the wish that it should be reconsidered. He said, then, that his right hon. and gallant Friend had performed a duty for which he justly deserved their acknowledgments—this he had done, in having brought the subject so ably, so feelingly, and with so much effect, under the notice of the House. Briefly, then, as the subject would allow, he would address the House. He was sure he was inadequate to such a task, or to merit their attention; but he knew that he could rely upon the indulgence which he had, upon more than one occasion, experienced from the goodness of the House. It was not upon that part of the subject which had been immediately under consideration —that which was connected with the 1354 military profession, and which had already been amply treated of by the gallant Mover —it was not upon that portion of the subject he meant to address them; he considered that part had been amply treated on, and he, therefore, should not enter at any length into a part of the subject which his own habits rendered him particularly inadequate to discuss. He meant to consider such parts of the subject as were connected with the civil proceedings of the Government, and on which the military operations had arisen. He wished to have leave to say, with his gallant Friend, that if he felt himself obliged to come forward, and question the policy pursued by the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign department, he had no intention of separating that noble Lord from his Majesty's Government. In making observations upon the course pursued, his noble Friend must be well aware, that he had not any feeling of an unfriendly nature towards him; and if, upon this occasion, he was induced to take an early part in the debate, it was only from a sense of duty—it was only from a consciousness of the importance of the subject, that he desired to throw what light he could upon. it, and, if possible, induce the House to support the motion made by his gallant Friend. He was not present when a noble Friend behind him so ably introduced the general subject of the policy pursued towards Spain to the House. He did not mean, however, to take advantage of his absence upon that debate, by again touching upon topics which had been before submitted to them; yet there were one or two points which he wished to take notice of, before he entered more deeply into the subject. He was not inclined—he was not from an early period inclined—to throw the slightest shadow of doubt upon, the policy that his Majesty's Government had adopted in recognising the justice of the claim of the Queen of Spain to the throne. It was sufficient for the Government, in his opinion, that they found her the Queen de facto in Spain. They were right in acknowledging her as Queen. She was the Queen de facto, and what they did rested on sound and substantial grounds, inasmuch as all the constituted authorities recognised her, after the death of the late King. They saw, too, no difficulty made to the recognition of her title. They saw her recognised by the Cortes—they found her title recognised 1355 by the grandees—the army, too, had sent in its adherence from every part of Spain. Throughout all Spain, exclusive of the Basque provinces, the Queen's title was recognised. It was not, then, for his Majesty's Ministers, supposing they had a capacity of entering into the niceties of this question, which was more fit to be decided by Spanish lawyers—it was not for them to determine it—it was enough that these were the circumstances he had stated, to justify the policy of his Majesty's Government. At the same time, he being in Spain, could say, the question was brought forward in a more astounding shape. [Hear, hear, from Lord J. Russell.] At that time he was in Spain in the service of the Government, and on a subject respecting which he would say, that instructions had been given to him, and that it was impossible for him, in accordance with his instructions, to have accomplished the proposition he was directed to make. He said, that in answer to the cheer of the noble Lord. He said so when he found that his character was attacked, as he understood an insinuation to be conveyed by that cheer. He understood the position he had taken then as well as now. At the time he referred to be was called upon to execute instructions which it was not intended to enforce—it was known to his Majesty's Ministers that the head of the Government would not have admitted the proposition he was instructed to make. It was not his intention to have touched upon this subject, but he was taunted into it by the cheer of the noble Lord. He was sure that the noble Lord at the head of the Government would not have been so indiscreet. He would now endeavour to adhere to the straight line he intended to pursue, and he was sure that it would be more for the convenience of those who listened to him, if he were permitted to do so. It was not his intention to go into the subject so far as to call in question the validity of the treaty that had been made. He did not mean to enter into the question as to the general policy acted upon by the Government. The Government having determined upon intervention, the natural question presented to the country was this—whether we were to give to the Spanish Government a moral support, or one of a positive and national kind? By the line that was taken, were they to make themselves responsible for the burden of a material support? This question 1356 not only applied to the treaty with Spain, but it also applied to the provisions part of the Quadruple Treaty, more especially to that part referring to Portugal. It was not sufficient for the country to be contented in taking that general view of the subject; but they were on the whole to say whether they were right in maintaining the claims of those sovereigns, and what was their interest in their cases. But then, looking precisely to the nature of those engagements, and the particular interests to be attained, whether was there a sufficient compensation to be found for the expenses and the danger to be incurred. It was precisely in proportion to the extent of the engagements that they could estimate their importance, and therefore it was, that he was anxious that their extent should be exactly ascertained. In pressing this part of the subject, he was desirous that they should look to the circumstances that led to the formation of the first treaty, and also to the adoption of the additional articles. He was aware that both, in diplomatic arrangements, were part and parcel of the same treaty; but, in point of fact, they were to be considered as adopted at different periods. What were the circumstances that led to the adoption of the Quadruple Treaty with respect to Portugal? The pretender to the Spanish crown had left Spain before his brother's death, and established himself in Portugal. He was received by Don Miguel, who was regarded as an usurper here, although recognised by the court of Spain. Don Carlos had united his cause with Don Miguel; he did not go the length of hoisting the Spanish colours, but several of his Spanish partizans got around him, and he thus formed the nucleus of a force which might have been directed against Spain on a future occasion; and, connected as he was with Don Miguel, that which was going on in Portugal was a subject of great anxiety to the Spanish government. From such danger as then threatened the Spanish government, it was desirous to be relieved; first, by amicable remonstrance, and, on the failure of that, by physical force. The subject then naturally presented itself to the British Government, either to allow a Spanish force to enter a country with which this is bound in the closest ties of intercourse by a long standing alliance—and, as his noble Friend was well aware of, they were obliged to send an 1357 armed, force there in, case it was subject to a foreign invasion—they were then either to witness a foreign invasion—or, considering that there had not the casus fæderies arisen, they were to come within the spirit of the treaty with Portugal, and take up the common cause of the Queen of Spain. These were circumstances that constituted a very natural, just, and cogent claim upon the Government of this county. He could perfectly well understand how the Government, taking a statesmanlike view of this matter, should enter into the Quadruple Treaty. But when, the arrangement was made, it was of material interest to observe in what shape assistance was to be provided from them, as well as by other powers. The principle of the treaty was co-operation. The King of France was to aid in one way; the Spanish Government was to provide physical force; the English Government was to afford naval force; the object to be obtained was the expulsion from the Peninsula of the two princes. Under these circumstances, the treaty was made, and that was the object for which it was to operate. The policy of such a treaty did credit to his Majesty's Government. Additional articles to the treaty had been signed, but that was late in the same year—certainly after the distance of some months. In the meanwhile great changes had taken place in the Peninsula, and very considerable changes had occurred in this country. If he recollected rightly, a very considerable change had taken place in the Government of this country. When the first treaty had been made, Lord Grey was in the administration: at the time of the additional articles, a change had taken place—first, in the retirement of Lord Stanley and three of his colleagues, and then the subsequent retirement of Lord Grey. He mentioned these facts rather to mark the interval of time that had occurred, than for any specific bearing that they bad on the argument in question. What, then, were the circumstances under which the additional articles were signed? Don Carlos had come here, he had made his escape from this country, and appeared in Spain. This was, he believed, before the death of Zumalacarreguy. Don Carlos arrived in July, and the articles were signed in August. Don Carlos was in Spain at the time that the addition to the treaty was made; and not with standing the treaty of 1358 Portugal was for the expulsion, of two princes—not with standing all this, there was nothing in the additional articles for his expulsion. That which was a great object in the first treaty was omitted in, the second, and a very vague character was given to it. As the requiring the assistance to be given limited that assistance, on the part of the King of the French to taking measures to prevent supplies from passing the frontiers of France, so on the part of the English, they were, only, in, case of necessity, to assist her Catholic Majesty with a naval force. This confirmed the view, that the original idea of the treaty was not one of naval operations but that of a blockade—that the real intention of the treaty was to co-operate by sea where the civil war was going on. But the question they had to discuss related to military objects. They had heard from the hon. and gallant Mover of this motion all that related to the employment of the Legion, and of the manner in which the Marines of his majesty's forces were employed, and how the royal Artillery were employed in Spain. They would naturally look to the treaty to see whether there was anything in it to bear out this mode of cooperation. It was evident that the treaty did not, in the slightest degree, refer to military assistance. He had looked at the additional articles, and he found, that not only was the assistance confined to a naval force, but that naval force was to be used in the most limited possible manner. But when he looked at the execution of the treaty, he saw, that not only was the naval force used in what he would call a military manner, not only had the Marines become a military force, but they had been, taken from their ships and used at a considerable distance as a land force. This, he thought, incontestably showed the animus with which the Government was actuated. In addition to that, the Legion had been employed and had suffered in the manner so ably and feelingly depicted by his hon. and gallant Friend. He would suppose, from the manner in which the treaty was carried out, that the object of the policy of his Majesty's Government, as understood by Parliament, was, that military aid should be furnished to Spain. When he looked at the contrast between the articles of the treaty and the conduct of his Majesty's Government, the question naturally arose, whether, if they tacitly consented to these article they did so 1359 under the supposition that a naval force should only be employed, and that limited to objects in harmony with the circumstances which that service was calculated to produce, but that their policy, subsequent and collateral, was one of collusion, and one that was inconsistent with the views and feelings of a large portion of the people of this country. When he looked at the contrast between the articles of the treaty and the execution of it by his Majesty's Government, to which, however, he was far from attributing any bad intention, nothing could be plainer to his mind, than that the execution of it should have been in unison with the natural and grammatical interpretation which its provisions would receive and that it should have been limited to objects which were in harmony with our own service, and the least calculated to produce unpleasant consequences. The execution of the treaty, however, was totally different from the letter of its stipulations, and the country was surprised, and he might say cheated, into a course of action which was essentially contrary to, and different from, the course which it was supposed would flow from the language and policy of the Government. It was impossible to approach this subject without feeling the full weight of its importance, and therefore he could not take his part in the discussion without much anxiety. He was the more anxious on this occasion, because not only was the safety of the Legion involved, but the character of the country was at stake, and the colours of the nation compromised on that soil which had been the theatre of the exploits of the greatest captain of the age. It was impossible to approve of the conduct of his Majesty's Government, and the line which they had thought proper to pursue—a course of conduct the most unsatisfactory that could be conceived, leading, as it did, to no practical result, but nevertheless terminating in the discredit of the country and the dishonour of her flag—on the same ground on which her greatest triumphs had been achieved. It was impossible, he repeated, not to be struck by the contrast between the meaning of the treaty and the spirit in which it had been executed, or to avoid a strong feeling of excitement when such a topic was under consideration. What was the shape given to the stipulations of the treaty? A body of soldiers, not taken from his Majesty's service, not enjoying 1360 the advantages which such a position would afford them, but placed under every possible disadvantage in maintaining the honour of the standard of their country— this body of men was placed at the disposal of a government which showed very little concern for the benefits to be derived from their services, and which had exhibited towards them a degree of ingratitude unusual even in Spaniards, who had always evinced the most jealous feeling towards foreigners on the Spanish soil. He said, that the character of this body of men, who had been employed in the service of the Queen of Spain, furnished by this country under the Act of the Ministry, carrying with it, as it did, all the responsibility to this country, as far as its character and conduct were concerned, was not only compromised, but that there was serious hazard that their just rights would not be considered by the Spanish Government in the way to which they were by their services entitled. It was impossible not to consider this as an additional circumstance calling for explanation on the part of the Government with a reference to the policy which induced them to recommend the suspension of the Foreign Enlistment Act. He was aware that examples might be found in our history where the same policy had been acted upon by our Government. We might, however, be considered to be much more enlightened than they were in the times gone by. But even supposing that proposition to be disputed, were we to continue an objectionable mode of employing the military resources of the country because in different times, and under different circumstances, it was considered prudent to have recourse to that expedient? We know positively, indeed, that in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, under circumstances of permanent and pressing national interest, when all Europe was divided into two great parties, and there was a contest for ascendancy between Protestant and Catholic, when, under the banner of religion, this country was threatened by the most powerful sovereign that ever existed, such a course had been adopted. But the sovereign of this country at the time availed herself of every means in her power to offer resistance to invasion. Her situation, therefore, was an example of a peculiar kind, and did not apply to the present times. There was an example, also, in the times of James 1st, when the 1361 Marquess of Hamilton was sent to assist Gustavus 2nd. At that time, there was no standing army, but the same principle influenced them which influenced their predecessors in the time of Elizabeth. At a later period there was the expedition of Sir Horace Vere, in the time of Charles 1st. But this country had now a large standing army, and public opinion had very much improved with respect to the principles of making war, which was now regulated by the laws of humanity. It was not agreeable to these principles that, without some motive of a pressing nature, a country should sanction by its authority a mode of warfare which had been shown to be attended with all the evil consequences so ably represented by the right hon. and gallant Member. It appeared, then, that not only had the King's Government gone beyond the principle of giving a military character to the naval operations, not only did they employ all the Marines in addition to the Artillery, sappers, and miners, but the objectionable mode of giving military assistance to the Queen of Spain was at variance with the letter of the treaty under which it was professed to be given. Then naturally a question arose, what great commercial interests of this country were sufficient to justify the departure from the treaty, or to reconcile the nation to the burthens to which we had been put, and to make the very heavy expenses we had to bear satisfactory? He might add, also, assisting to spread demoralization amongst a body of men, the miserable remnant of whom would return to this country in distress and in want. Were we to find compensation for these in the commercial advantages which we might expect to derive from Spain? Two years of war had elapsed, and they had heard nothing of such advantages. They certainly had heard that the Spanish government had relieved our merchants from the payment of the extraordinary contributions. It did credit to his noble Friend (Lord Palmerston), and to his Majesty's Ministers, who had carried this into execution, but this was a very small advantage. What were the principles of commerce as generally received, and which were allowed to regulate commercial negotiations? They were those of mutual advantage. Neither party could profit by exclusive advantages. They knew that such a course of things could not last, and that 1362 all commerce must rest on the broad basis of mutual advantage. There was nothing of the kind to be obtained. It was not to be supposed, if Spain was inclined to make a treaty of a more liberal character in our favour, that our ally, France, could be excluded from its operation, or prevented from obtaining similar advantages. It would be necessary that the same advantage should be given to France as was given to this country. Supposing, however, that we did gain superior commercial advantages by entering into this contest, were we to go tonwar with a population who had done us o harm, for the sake of a more advantageous tariff? A treaty of that kind would be sprinkled with blood, and he was sure that the feeling of the House would be unanimous against it. But perhaps we might be told that this course had bound us more closely to the French connexion. He thought that the noble Lord had told the House, that he reckoned upon the zealous cooperation of the French nation. Now, he was sure that no man was more favourable than he was to a connexion with that country. But let us look to the fact. Had that co-operation been rendered, and had our connexion with France become more intimate in consequence of both countries being parties to the Quadruple Treaty? Did we find that we were nearer to the French Court than we were before that treaty was thought of? He found, on the contrary, a passage in the speech of the King of the French to the French Chambers that might lead to a very different interpretation, and though nothing of that kind was suffered to appear in the speech from the throne in this country, the silence observed upon that point was impressive and significant. The noble Lord had no doubt the best intentions, but unfortunately they were always disappointed. But this was not all. There was another object to be attained, relating also to France, but of a different kind to that which would seek the growth of French connexion. Without entertaining the slightest suspicion of the French government, it was natural that our own should look to the nature of the connexion between Spain and her neighbour with an attentive eye. But supposing that we wished France to interfere, and she had refused? He believed the noble Lord, in a speech which he made before Easter, had acknowledged that he had made to the French govern- 1363 ment a proposition of intervention. He did not know the exact word used. Whether it was translimitation or co-operation he did not exactly remember; but he remembered that the noble Lord stated, that a proposal of this kind had been made to France. What, however, was the result? Instead of the French Government lending its confirmation to our sys tem of policy towards Spain, England was obliged to sustain the mortification of a refusal. Well, but perhaps something had, been done towards the pacification of Spain itself. Had that end been advanced? Were we any nearer the attainment of that object than we were two years ago? At the beginning of the war, the Queen of Spain was in the possession of the most ample resources, abundantly supplied with every degree both of moral and material force, and supported by the countenance of her two most important and most powerful neighbours. What had been the result of the contest which she had begun? She was obliged to apply to one of those neighbours for assistance, which assistance, when rendered, still led to no practical result, and we were no nearer to the tranquillization of that country than we were when the civil war commenced. It might be something if it could be shown that any mitigation of the horrors of war had been the consequence of our interference; if it could be proved that the barbarous system of warfare which disgraced the character of that contest, had been in any degree softened by our active interposition as auxiliaries to one of the belligerent parties. But we found that what had been done towards the repression of the system of butchering prisoners in cold blood, was again undone; the convention which Lord Eliot had made, ceased when the Legion landed in Spain, and the arrival of a body of British soldiers was only the signal for the revival of that sanguinary system. Under all these circumstances, then, we must be forced to the conviction, that the policy pursued by his Majesty's Government had been most unwise. Let any man ask himself, whether, even with much larger forces than we had sent to Spain, we bad any tolerable chance of success. If, then, it appeared that we were not bound by any engagement to afford military assistance to Spain, even by giving the treaty the fullest latitude of interpretation — if it appeared that we were not bound 1364 to carry on a system of transforming naval into military operations — if we found that his Majesty's Government had it in view to run the risk of exposure to disadvantages and injuries for the sake of securing greater prospective benefits— if this were the case, and he found that no such compensation was to be obtained, why were they to be called on to persevere in a system, which must lead to injurious consequences, and was totally inefficient for any presumable object? Perhaps they would be told, that although no specific British interests would be advanced by our interference, that the benefit of the world at large required it; that the voice of humanity must be heard, and that therefore we were bound to continue this system, and that the policy of the Government was right in this respect. He did not say, that his Majesty's Government might not have this object in view, but he was quite sure, that his noble Friend had never ventured on a statement of such views. Such views were, however, taken and proclaimed by other parties who professed to be in the interests of the Government; and if these sentiments were rightly attributed to his Majesty's Ministers, he could only wish that these sacrifices were of a nature to do honour to the country, and to hold out to us a better prospect of success. This was not the policy of the Foreign office, to which his noble friend must look back with satisfaction. Such was not the course pursued by Mr. Canning on the great and trying occasion of intervention in Spain, in 1822. Such was not his policy with respect to the two nations of the Peninsula, when in the one case he abstained from war, and in the other prevailed on the House to send out an army to Portugal. He bore all that it was possible to bear at those times, for the express purpose of avoiding a general war, and he would not avail himself of his right to quarrel with France, in order to proceed to a war of principles, but he did not hesitate to send out an adequate British force when this country was requested to do so under the obligation of our own treaty of alliance with Portugal. The policy of that time was the very reverse of the system pursued by his Majesty's Government. If it was our object, thinking that to do so would be for the interest of the country, to set out on a crusade of this kind, to go establishing constitutions wherever there was an opportunity of 1365 planting them, let it be done in an honourable manner, let it be declared to be a principle of his Majesty's Government, and Jet the House be prevailed upon to furnish the necessary troops and the necessary supplies. He very much doubted, however, that his noble Friend, would find his right hon. Colleague (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) disposed to assist, him in operations of this kind. But if this were the object of his Majesty's Government, let it at least be fairly avowed, and let the House and the country have every knowledge of the extent to which they meant to go, in order that the necessary supplies and forces might be furnished. He must say, however, that till he heard such an avowal from his Majesty's Government, he could not easily believe that such a principle was adopted either by the Government at large or by any individual Member of that Government; and if so; he would say, let us take the more safe and the more honourable, although the more humble, course, of keeping within the letter of the treaty. Let the Marines keep to their ships, and let us at the least abstain from doing that which threw so much discredit on the character of the country. He was fearful that in endeavouring to do justice to this important subject, he had been led into a length beyond his own intentions and the limits of the House's indulgence. He trusted, that as the time was now approaching when the orders in council would expire, and the Foreign Enlistment Act would resume its course, that the order would not be renewed. We could not hope to restore to life the many gallant men who had found their graves in Spain, nor could we obtain justice for those who had been forced to quit the Spanish service in a most miserable plight, but we could at least do justice to others of our countrymen. The Government were perfectly at liberty to act in this manner, inasmuch as General Evans himself contemplated his return on the 10th of June. It could not, therefore, be improper to take advantage of these circumstances, and to give to the country, even at this late hour the benefit of a better because a peaceful course of policy. As his Majesty's Government value their own reputation and character with the country, he implored them to put an end to this miserable inefficient, and pernicious system of operations. Deaf and insensible as his Majesty's Ministers appeared to be on the subject, he trusted 1366 that they would still voluntarily retrace their steps. If not, he trusted that the Members of that House, conscious of the duty which they owed to their constituents and to the country, would force them to do that which they ought to do. It was not a question which merely affected one side of the House or the other. It was a question the determination of which involved our national honour. We were bound to do justice to our brave countrymen. He did not call upon the House to pass a censure on his Majesty's Government, but he did call upon the House to compel his Majesty's Government to stop in their pernicious career. For himself he had only to thank hon. Members for the kind attention with which they had listened to him. Whatever might be the fate of the motion, he should retire with the consciousness of having performed his duty, and with an anxious desire that his Majesty's Government would perform theirs.
§ Lord Leveson
said, that if the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, had considered it necessary to make an apology for addressing the House on this subject, how much more imperative was it on him (Lord Leveson) to do so. The question seemed to him to have been treated more as an instrument of party warfare than as a fair inquiry into what was due by this country to Spain and to the whole of Europe. What was it that the House was really called upon to consider? In issuing the order in council permitting English troops to enter into the service of the Queen, and in employing the royal marines in the same cause, had his Majesty's Ministers confined themselves within the limits prescribed by the Quadruple Treaty, or had they overstepped those limits. If their conduct had been consistent with the conditions of the Quadruple Treaty (and so he believed it to have been), that conduct they were bound to continue. He had himself, in the Chamber of Deputies in Paris, heard the liberal opposition to the government of Louis Philippe declare that the English had acquired the strongest claims to the gratitude of the Spanish nation. If his Majesty's Government, instead of taking the course which they had adopted, had said, "Let the parties in Spain fight it out; we will take no part in their proceedings," they might indeed have satisfied the Tories, but they would have incurred the condemnation of all 1367 Europe. If England and France had not acted as they had done the northern powers would have poured in their supplies to Don Carlos. It was well known that individuals connected with certain Powders in the Holy Alliance had gone to Goritz under the pretence of taking the waters for their health, but in reality to form a military Congress. Their object becoming known, Count Mole succeeded in effecting their instant removal. He begged leave to ask those who appeared to be so anxious about the national honour, whether that honour would not have been stained if we had deserted an ally at the very moment when she most required our aid. He begged leave to ask those who appeared to be so tender of our military reputation, whether that reputation would be maintained by withdrawing from Spain our brave Legion, by withdrawing from Spain our brave marines, whose employment on such a service was amply justified by the example which had been set on that point at Bastia by the marines under Lord Nelson. For his part he could not help thinking that the real objection to the employment of the latter force in Spain was the efficiency of their succour. If the maxim that it was wise in a nation during a time of peace to prepare for a time of war, and if the declaration of Mr. Canning that the next war in Europe would be a war of principles, had any weight, then the course adopted by his Majesty's Government was a wise course; then it was most desirable to prevent the triumph of a prince who was the representative and impersonation of despotic power. The right hon. Gentleman who spoke last had inveighed against the interference of a foreign force in any national quarrel. Did he not remember one memorable precedent of such interference in the history of our own country? Did he not remember that that Monarch whose "glorious memory" was toasted down to the present day had employed foreign troops to co-operate with our ancestors in getting rid of an obnoxious and tyrannical King? He thanked the House for their patience. He hoped it would be shown by the vote of the House that night that the people of England were not indifferent to the issue of the Spanish contest—a contest of absolutism against constitutional government—of fanaticism against religious toleration.
§ Mr. Charles Wood
, although at that 1368 hour he would not trouble the House at any great length, and although the full defence of the conduct of his Majesty's Government with reference to Spain would naturally fall to his noble Friend near him, and although the noble Lord who had just sat down had made an admirable speech on the subject, yet he found it impossible entirely to abstain from the expression of his opinions. Although he declined following the arguments attacking the Government, he was glad to find that the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir S. Canning) had put him in mind that the conduct of the Government towards Spain was the sequel of that pursued with regard to Portugal. It was said, that the present motion was brought forward on account of the injured Basques, but he must say, that it was the sequel of the line of conduct which the hon. Gentlemen opposite had pursued, ever since Earl Grey's Government took the course they did with respect to the Peninsula. It would seem that the hon. Gentlemen opposite were opposed to the cause of constitutional Government, because they supported only the principle of absolute monarchy. It could not be forgotten, that a motion was brought forward in another place to induce Lord Grey to acknowledge Don Miguel, although the Duke of Wellington had subsequently refused to acknowledge him, on the ground that he was a perjured sovereign. The right hon. Gentlemen opposite seemed to be perfectly indifferent with respect to the character of Don Carlos; and it was clear, indeed, that the object of the motion before the House was to aid Don Carlos. The former attacks on foreign enlistment had been that night repeated, and the most extraordinary doctrines had been held on the subject. It had been maintained, that the entrance of the subjects of this kingdom into the service of other powers, was calculated to lower the character of the country, and that since the times of Queen Elizabeth, no such practice had been exhibited. He was surprised that the right hon. Gentlemen had showed themselves so forgetful, he would not say ignorant, as not to know that both officers and men had frequently obtained leave of the Sovereign of this country to enter into the service of foreign powers. He would not trouble the House with many quotations from it, but he held in his hand a list of officers without number, from the period of the Revolution to 1369 that of the general war in Europe, who had, with leave of the Sovereign, entered into the service of foreign powers. There was the case of Lord Keith, an English rear-admiral, who had permission given him to go into the Russian service, at the head of which he continued for many years. Sir Sidney Smith entered the Swedish service, and fought against Russia. Up to the year 1819, it was a common practice for the subjects of this country to enter into foreign service. The Foreign Enlistment Act was passed, not with a view to its being a permanent Act, but for temporary purposes, as applied to the case of particular states, and that was the distinct, avowed object of those who passed that measure; so much so, that when a noble Earl, in another place, protested against the Bill, on the ground that it might be made a general measure, the then Lord Chancellor said, it was a mistake to suppose it was an Act of general application. The Foreign Enlistment Act was passed at the instance of Spain, to prevent the supply of men and arms being sent to the South American colonies. But, however cautious the right hon. Gentleman might have been, however careful he might have been, the object of the motion was clear. His noble Friend distinctly disclaimed the support of Don Carlos, but there were those who had not hesitated to avow themselves Carlists; and the hon. Member for Dover called Don Carlos Charles the Fifth. Nay, further, a noble English Lord, who was not certainly a peer of the realm, had not hesitated to appear in person against the troops of this country, to take part against the troops of her Majesty the Queen of Spain, for the purpose of retaking a battery, the fire of which had been directed against British soldiers. The right hon. Gentleman's oration within those walls was consistent with the conduct of the noble Lord in Spain, and with the opinions of that Government to which the right hon. Gentleman belonged, with regard to Portugal. But he rose less for the purpose of going into the general question, than of answering that part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, which related to the employment of Marines on shore, a subject which was more immediately connected with that department to which he was attached. He could not but be surprised to hear the right hon. Gentleman say, that he thought they ought to give to the 1370 treaty the most limited construction which it would bear. It was a new doctrine to be held in that House, that to sacred obligations entered into between friendly parties, only a limited meaning should be affixed by one of the contracting parties. The right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, stated on a former occasion, that that treaty should receive the most favourable and extensive construction for the Queen of Spain, and therefore, without saying one word to defend that treaty, he felt himself bound to carry its obligations generally into effect. As to the manner in which the Marines had been employed, the right hon. Gentleman stated, that the Marine force being employed was a surprise and a cheat upon the House. No one would suppose that such instances had ever occurred before; and moreover, the right hon. and gallant Officer stated that, in his opinion, nothing less was intended than the blockade of the coast of Spain. He would put this matter to the test of fact and experience. Had naval co-operation never been rendered by the naval force of this country?—had a naval, force never co-operated with the land forces of this country? Looking to what had passed in former years, he contended that the principle of naval co-operation was fully and fairly borne out and justified in this case, even if they put the limited construction on the word "co-operation," which had been suggested. He was very unwilling to trespass at any length on the patience of the House, but he held in his hand a few cases which he would take the liberty of stating; and even if he trespassed longer than he wished, it was for this reason, that he was desirous of proving that the cases he quoted were not those of single or isolated examples —not cases occurring only now and then, but they happened every year of the war in every part of the globe. Perhaps, however, before he did this he might be permitted to say a few words with reference to the battle of Hernani. The right hon. Gentleman had of course selected this as the strongest case, according to his view of the question. But the right hon. Gentleman stated, that Captain Bassett, in pursuance of orders received from General Evans, moved some guns to a certain position. The right hon. Gentleman stated, that this was done in obedience to the orders of General Evans. He would not say that this might not, strictly speaking, 1371 be the case; but he would say, that in no accounts which had reached the Government had such circumstances been admitted. It was his firm conviction that neither upon this nor any other occasion had there been any order transmitted or given to a single officer, or to any of the men of the British force. Such was his conviction, which was derived from the reports of our own officers employed in that service. He derived his information from the reports of an officer on the coast, and an officer on General Evans's staff, who expressed their belief to the same effect, that though undoubtedly troops were removed by order of our own officers, it was clone at the request only of General Evans. Why, hon. Gentlemen seemed to think that the admission of what he had stated, that no order had in any case been given by General Evans, or any officer in the service of the Queen of Spain, to any of the British co-operative body, militated against his argument. Bat, on the other hand, did hon. Members suppose that when two bodies of men were co-operating together the one was not to act at the request of the other? That was to say, that between two persons acting for one common purpose there was to be no arrangement. It might be the opinion of hon. Gentlemen opposite that two persons to obtain a common object should go different ways to work. But so far as he understood the meaning of the word "co-operation," it consisted in two parties being in formal communication, and acting with and in concert with each other. How then had been the mode of operations carried on on the north coast of Spain? He had distinctly stated, that the royal Marines, and he believed the Artillery, engaged were not under the orders of General Evans in any degree whatever. He stated this distinctly, and his account of the operations had been transmitted by Lord Hay, not yet printed. Though laid on the table, and he was perfectly convinced that when those documents were read, the House would be convinced of the correctness of his statement. There was one other fact with regard to this action, as slated by the right hon. Gentleman, upon which it was necessary the House should be set right. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the marines advanced seven miles into the interior of the country, whereas the very utmost distance they could have gone did not exceed three miles from the sea, It might, perhaps, be said that 1372 they were marched fifty miles, because they were fifty miles from Santander. But the point where the troops which were landed at St. Sebastian stopped and where the steamers where lying for them, was not further from the ships than three miles. But, as he had before said, whether it was a distance of three miles, or four, or of seven, it seemed to him not to be a matter of importance, and when he came to read the documents which he held in his hand, he thought the House would be of opinion that under no circumstances had this case of co-operation exceeded that which had been resorted to on former occasions in respect to naval cooperation. The first instance was that in which the Turkish army co-operated with the British troops under the command of Sir Sidney Smith, who did not confine himself to the mere defence of Acre, but having advanced with a body of seamen and marines, combined with a number of the advanced guard of the Vizier, was occupied for not less than three or four days marching across the desert; and to prove that these seamen and marines were engaged in military operations, the House would allow him to read the concluding paragraph in the dispatch.A detachment of marines under Col. Douglas, Lieut.-Col. Bromley, Captains Winter and Trotte, and Mr. Thomas Smith, midshipman of the Tigre, accompanied an advanced body of the army of the Grand Vizier from Gaza to El Arish. The cheerful manner in which the detachment from the British squadron performed their duty, exposed as they were on the desert without tents, very ill fed, and with only brackish water to drink, gained them the admiration of the whole Ottoman army.He would now take the liberty of quoting another case which must be familiar to them. The case he alluded to was that of the co-operation of the squadron under Admiral Lord Nelson, with the Italian force for the relief of Naples, where an honourable and gallant friend of his won his proud honours. This was the dispatch to which he referred to the House.Foudroyant, Naples Bay, July 13,1779.My Lord — Captains Troubridge and Hallowell, with 1,000 of the best men landed from the squadron, united with 4,000 other troops of various denominations, march against Capua to-morrow morning. "I have, &c.,(Signed) "NELSON.Right hon. Lord Keith, R. B.Now there were hon. Gentlemen present 1373 who, from their local knowledge, must know, that the march from Naples Bay to Capua could not be less than eighteen or twenty miles. If operations of naval force were to be restricted to the shores of the sea, how would these transactions occur in which so many officers had earned such well-merited honours? The question of the right hon. Gentleman was this—not whether we were at war or peace, but whether the seamen and marines were employed at an undue distance from the sea, The real question, however, at issue, was, whether, under the articles contained in the Quadripartite Treaty we were bound to employ a naval force, and whether the country had in any degree exceeded the proper limits. But the experience of former times showed that this country had only done that which she had always been in the habit of performing. He would mention one more case in illustration of his argument, a case in which we had cooperated with the Spanish on the very coast of Spain in which a part of our force was now employed. The following was the document which bore on this case:—Captain West sallied from the citadel of Rosas at the head of 250 seamen and marines of the Excellent, bat were obliged, after succeeding in their object of rescuing the Mequelits, by the superior force of the French especially in cavalry, to retire. Capt. West had a horse shot under him.But the co-operation of land and naval forces had all along been the practice of the service; and he particularly requested the attention of the House to an application of Lord Hood for a portion of land forces to co-operate with him on board the fleet in the attack on Toulon. The application was acceded to; a portion of the land forces were sent on board, and cooperated with the naval force in the capture of the town. The following extract described the event to which he referred:—The Major-general still declining to act, until the arrival of an expected reinforcement of 2,000 men from Gibraltar, Lord Hood took on board that proportion of land forces which had originally been ordered to serve on board the fleet as marines; and obtaining also two officers and twenty privates of artillery, with some ordnance stores and intrenching tools, under command of Captain Wilson, who had acquired from the army the title of brigadier, took the town after a long siege.If that was the case in former times, he did not see what blame could be attached 1374 to Lord J. Hay or the Government for adopting similar practices with regard to Spain. He did not, however, wish to trouble the House with more instances, because he believed he had said enough to prove, that at different periods the practice had been carried to much greater lengths than on the late occasion. Supposing even that Lord John Hay had not received particular instructions to assist with the naval force under his command, he would have been bound, according to the practice, to render assistance. If the hon. Member opposite was old enough to remember the pratice, he would at once admit, that Lord John Hay was bound to do as other Officers had done before him; and that if he had not done so, he could not have expected to receive the thanks of the country. There was one point, however, which he wished to urge as a test of the question, and that involved the good faith of the House. He wished to know—looking at the instances of cooperation which had been adduced—what was the amount of co-operation the Spaniards had a right to expect according to the terms of the treaty. All the Spanish officers—most of the Spanish statesmen— nay, many of the soldiers, knew that they had a right to expect assistance, because they had been witnesses of what had taken place, and had fought side by side with seamen when they were acting, as now, against the common enemy. Having received assistance before, they conceived that they had a right to receive it again; and what would have been the feelings of British officers, if it had been imposed on them as a duty to refuse aid when the Spaniards demanded it, and had a right to expect it? After the examples which he had quoted, he trusted the House would be ready and willing to believe, that it had been the practice of the service. The right hon. and gallant Officer had stated, that the circumstance to which he had alluded was the first instance in which naval forces had been so employed on land. Now he would venture to say, that no officer of the navy would for one moment concur in the statement. If any one officer, however, would support the doctrine that the naval and marine forces were to be employed only on board ship in usual cases, still he should say, looking at the stipulations of the treaty, that he should have been sorry to see such a deep stain on the honour of the country as a 1375 refusal to render assistance agreeably to the terms of the Quadruple Treaty. If hon. Gentlemen attended to the fact, they could not fail to come to the conclusion that naval co-operation was contemplated by the treaty, and that the Spaniards had a right to claim it from us. He confessed he did not see bow the House could come to any other conclusion, and how they could for a moment entertain the idea of supporting a motion which was meant as a censure on the services rendered to Spain. He should therefore vote against the motion.
§ Lord Francis Egerton
expressed his satisfaction at the compliments paid to his noble Friend (Lord Leveson), on making his first speech in Parliament, though he could not concur with him in thinking that he had made out a case respecting the success of the operations sanctioned by the noble Lord opposite, or the soundness of the policy by which they were directed. He would ask that noble Lord whether the policy on which he acted was similar to that of the noble Earl (Earl Grey) under whom he came into office? He would leave it to hon. Gentlemen opposite to say, whether the course which the noble Lord opposite had pursued with regard to Spain, was either sanctioned by Lord Grey or was consistent with his policy. He would contend that a contrary system was the policy, not only of Lord Grey, but, at a former time, of hon. Members who were now in power. When the Foreign Enlistment Bill came under discussion in 1819, he knew it was only a temporary measure, as an hon. Member suggested; but if it was only temporary, then that was an argument for the repeal of it. He would, however, to show what was the opinion of a noble Lord high in power, now read an extract from a speech made on the Foreign Enlistment Bill in 1823. The noble Lord to whom he alluded was then a Member of that House, and he expressed himself to the following effect:—"With respect to the proposition before the House, however, he begged to say, that neither upon any general or particular ground was he prepared to vote for the Repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Bill. He was aware that, in former times, it had been the fashion for Gentlemen of chivalrous character to make campaigns in the service of foreign princes, and that bodies of men had been raised in this 1376 country to assist the Palatine, or the Protestants of France and Holland; but the state of European politics was now changed." These were the words of a Member of the other House, who now sends men to Spain to get ribbons for services performed under the measure he then condemned; these were the words of the hon. William Lamb in 1823. And he was at a loss to know what subsequent change had taken place which could justify the noble Viscount in departing from the principles which he advocated in 1823. He might address also to Gentlemen opposite the words of one to whom they were accustomed to listen—a man from whose principles he did not believe the noble Lord would avow his departure —he alluded to Mr. Canning. Mr. Canning, on that occasion, expressed his opinion as to active interference in Spain in the following words:—"So that here at least no very strong temptation is held out to induce the co-operation of the military spirit, skill, and enterprise of this country in support of the Spanish cause. I have also reason to form this opinion from a recollection of what took place on former and no very distant occasions. When the army of England last fought in Spain, they fought in favour of a 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." Now, were our marines directed against a common and a foreign foe now? How different was the case now from that to which Mr. Canning alluded? No hon. Gentlemen, whatever view they might take of the contest, could say that the men against whose bosoms the bayonets of British marines were directed were the foes of Spain. But it was contended that, even independent of instructions, it was the duty of the marines to render assistance, and that too in a dubious contest, when no one could find out from the noble Lord whether we were at war or not. He thought such a line of policy was a cheat on the country, and that naval co-operation had been sanctioned on a forced construction of one of the articles of the treaty. Some case might have been made out, if only the usual complement of 1377 marines had been on board—the usual complement he believed for each frigate was from thirty to forty each, but in these cases the usual complement was augmented to 400 marines. If that was sanctioned by the articles of the treaty, might not, on the same grounds, a batallion of the foot guards have been sent out. And as to the authority under which they acted, he did not believe they acted under any authority at all. He did not believe the commanding officer acted under the authority of General Evans. But that only showed the danger of such transactions; and as to the artillery, who ever heard of a corps of artillery acting independently? As a civilian he could not take upon himself to criticise the military conduct of General Evans. He believed he was as brave an officer as ever existed, and as to his skill, it was not for him to detract from it in a case of misfortune to which any one was liable. But general Evans, it was natural to suppose, must be suffering under the late unexpected and painful discomfiture, and probably might attempt some desperate blow to retrieve the character of his men. And were the British marines to run their heads against every danger to accomplish an object for which general Evans might be disposed to risk his life? If general Evans, for instance, were to undertake the desperate and bloody enterprise of re-taking the Venta of Oriamundi, or Hernani, were the British marines to be employed in assisting him? These attacks might retrieve what the Legion had lost; but would such a step, when the period of service was nearly expired, contribute much to the great object which the noble Lord had in view? There could be no doubt that both General Evans and the noble Lord had been utterly deluded as to the prospects of the enterprise; they thought it was an enterprise easy and rapid, and that the general and his men were speedily to return to this country crowned with victory. Then it might become a question of some importance what was to become of that army, disciplined in a hurry, fed by a Spanish commissariat, and paid by a Spanish treasury. The noble Lord was bound to consider what was the present situation of that force, and what was likely to be its condition on returning to this country. But for the loss of 700 men at Vittoria, and the further losses which had since diminished their numbers greatly, he was 1378 at a loss to know what would have become of them. From what he knew of the condition of those individuals, he felt some doubt and difficulty as to what might be their condition on their return to this country. He thought that a consideration not to be omitted in the discussion of this question. The hon. Gentlemen who spoke on the opposite side of the House had accused the supporters of the motion brought forward by the gallant Officer of being the friends of Don Carlos. He (Lord F. Egerton) did not rank himself amongst the friends of that individual. But when he found this country aiding in a desperate contest carried on against the pretensions of Don Carlos, he thought he had a right to inquire into the justice of the cause we were supporting. He and his friends certainly were anxious to have tranquillity restored to Spain in place of the present state of confusion, and desired to have a strong and stable government established there. But he did not think that the best mode of achieving that object would be to place the care of the constitution of Spain in the hands of Mendiza-bal, as he at present directed it. The noble Lord could not deny that the present constitution of Spain was precisely the same as that invaded and broken down by the French in 1823. Then the noble Lord was anxious to shut his eyes to those merits which he now seemed anxious to support, and was accustomed to declare that he should be sorry to live under such a government. Yet this government the noble Lord was now most anxious to establish. He formerly denounced it as "holding out no grounds of security, but containing within itself the elements of eternal discord." The description had become prophetic, for what but discord had existed since the death of the unfortunate Ferdinand the Seventh? The noble Lord had anticipated an easy and speedy issue of the contest, in aid of which he had deemed it proper to despatch assistance. But what had been the result? The troops which were sent out had been baffled up to the present time. A despatch of General Evans, of the 12th January, 1836, had expressly admitted that such was the case. And the noble Lord had, without doubt, confidently believed the anticipations there held out. That despatch stated, that "it was nearly up with Don Carlos—that all the places from Pamplona to Vittoria were in the posses- 1379 sion of the Queen's troops—that the troops were moving on slowly but certainly—and that, after a few other places should fall into their hands, the contest must come to an end, for there would not be a roof to shelter the troops of Don Carlos, nor a depot left from which they might draw supplies." But slow and certain as was said to be the progress of the Queen's forces through the mountains from which Don Carlos drew his supplies, he (Lord F. Egerton) had yet to learn that those supplies were exhausted, or that the Queen's troops had made the expected advances. On the 19th of January, another despatch, dated from Vittoria, as head-quarters, declared "that the Queen's party was rapidly gaining ground." It was on the strength of these documents that the noble Lord had continued to entertain his opinion as to the speedy termination of the contest; and the House would judge with what good reasons. He confessed that he entertained a strong feeling on the subject now under consideration. He would not believe that he ought to despair as to the issue of the contest in Spain; when he considered the peculiar character of the people of the Basque provinces. He could not believe that the descriptions of that people, whether given in print, or by hon. Members in that House, were mere romantic statements, and that the character and strong national feeling attributed to them were without foundation. They were certainly a most singular nation, nor, in his opinion, could an example of similar peculiarities of existence be found elsewhere. First of all, they were attached to the institutions of their own district to an almost incredible extent; they felt the utmost pride in everything appertaining to their own mode of living; and they conceived themselves to be more happily situated than any other people on the face of the earth. Their own country they deemed superior to all others, and imagined that they ought to be objects of envy to other nations. These were certainly delusions, but they contributed to throw a deep and romantic interest over the fortunes and welfare of these people, the more so as they were now armed in defence of their peculiar notions, and were engaged in repelling that force which had been sent amongst them for objects not in their opinion strictly national. He certainly hoped that this country and the House would do 1380 something to secure to this interesting people their privileges and the exercise of their peculiar customs. He felt a lively interest in their welfare, and he did hope that the present attempt to deprive them of what they held so dear, would not be attended with ultimate success. The tide of war might roll with violence and tumult over their peaceable valleys, and might, in its wild and unsparing course, overwhelm the inhabitants for a time. But when the turmoil had passed by, and quietness was restored, he believed that this inoffensive and interesting people would again return to the customs of their forefathers, which they so fondly cherished. The effects of war and conquest might, for a time, interrupt them in their usual mode of life, and cut down their habits and peculiar customs; but he firmly believed that, from the root which should be left behind, they would again spring vigorously up, and that the inhabitants would again proceed in their former mode of life, loading those who had broken in upon their quiet with everlasting ill-will.
thought, that the noble Lord stood in a position that might well be envied. He was not the friend of Don Carlos—oh, no; nor was he the enemy of Don Carlos—he was only the enemy of the enemies of Don Carlos. That was the position that the noble Lord took in assailing the British Legion. In the same way, the noble Lord was not friendly to the Orange faction in Ireland, but only the enemy of the enemies of that faction. The noble Lord was perfectly consistent: he refused to ameliorate the institutions of Ireland, and he protested against the amelioration of the institutions of Spain. The noble Lord's information was every way worthy of his consistency. He gave the House a long account of his conversations in France with the wandering deserters whom he found there from Spain, and he told the House what severe censures those high authorities had passed upon the conduct of the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He (Mr. O'Connell) thought that the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, could really very well afford to put up with the censures of the men who had deserted from the Legion at St. Sebastian. The noble Lord's next observation was upon the Foreign Enlistment Act. One would think, that in discussing that Act, the right place to look for the principle of it 1381 would be in the debates of 1819, when the Act was passed. But the noble Lord came to the year 1823 to ascertain the reason why the Act was passed in 1819. Now, every body knew that the cause for the passing of that Act was nothing more nor less than this: we were, at that time, at peace with Ferdinand of Spain, whose colonies had revolted, and the Foreign Enlistment Act was passed to prevent British troops from aiding the cause of those who were at war with a power with which England was at peace. The British Legion, now in Spain, had had the misfortune to sustain a defeat. The hon. Gentlemen opposite took every advantage of the mischance. The valour that the Legion had displayed on many previous occasions was totally forgotten, as well by the gallant Officer who brought the subject forward, as by all who had followed him on the same side. The many fights in which they had done honour to the British and Irish names Were totally forgotten, After two or three days of hard and gallant fighting, they were at last defeated; and not a moment was lost by the hon. Gentlemen opposite in taking advantage of it. The noble Lord (Lord F. Egerton) told them, that he believed General Evans, to whose courage he had paid a great tribute, meditated some great blow to retrieve the honour of the British. Oh, if the House interfered to prevent the blow, let it not be upon the ground put forward by the noble Lord, that it would expose the corps of British marines to too much danger. Let it not be upon such a ground as that. It had been said, that there had been a cheat practised in the assistance furnished to the liberal cause in Spain. There were political cheats of another kind. It recurred to him, that there was a political cheat in the conduct of the hon. Gentlemen opposite. They came forward under the pretence of neutrality, really, and in truth to sustain the Cause of a man whose character was of that kind, that few would acknowledge themselves his direct supporters. Yes, he threw that upon the hon. Gentlemen opposite. He wished that the gallant Officer, by whom the subject was introduced to the House, had left it to other persons to assail the troops who had acted under General Evans. It would have been well, he thought, if the gallant Officer had reserved his observations upon that point until General Evens was present, 1382 to answer for himself and his troops. No man knew better than his gallant Friend how to defend himself. Fearless as the gallant Officer opposite was, he (Mr. O'Connell) could not help remembering that, in a former contest in that House with General Evans, the gallant Officer had not the best of the argument. Therefore, to attack that gallant Friend of his (Mr. O'Connell) in his absence was not fair. Oh, to be sure, the gallant Officer did not attack General Evans—he only showed that he had brought his troops into danger, and that he had allowed their pay to be refused them. If he had been commanding them, he said, he would have them away at once, and would never have suffered them to be treated as they had been by the Spanish government. The gallant Officer did, indeed, on one point, do justice to Don Carlos. He talked of the assassinating decree of Durango. Every body, he believed, called that an assassinating decree. Did it not follow, that the man who issued an assassinating decree was an assassin? Ha thought that the language used by the hon. Gentleman opposite upon that point was intended to be useful to Don Carlos. He looked upon it merely as a manœuvre to benefit the Pretender. Then it was said, out-popped the Eliot decree, and the cruelties began again. Did they commence with the British? No; they began with the friends of Don Carlos, following up the example of their leader. The gallant Officer (Sir H. Hardinge) had told the House that he would not serve under any man-who, on going out to the field of battle, told his soldiers not to spare an enemy. The order to which the gallant Officer alluded amounted to this: that no quarters should be given. Had that never been done in the British service? Did the gallant Officer never hear of the order at Buenos Ayres? [Sir H. Hardinge: No.] Did the gallant Officer never hear that the orders there were to spare the old men, and the women, and children, but to put to death every man capable of bearing arms? [Sir H. Hardinge: Never.] He had witness to the fact in the House. [Interruption.] He could not proceed amidst so many disorderly interruptions. He stated, that he had been informed of the fact by an hon. Gentleman, a Member of that House, He would give big authority; of course, he could not knew the fact from his own 1383 knowledge. His authority was Colonel Thompson, the Member for Hull. That was his authority. But he wanted to know, whether no cruelties had been practised during the war in the Peninsula? [Sir H. Hardinge: There were certainly no such orders as those referred to.] Had the gallant Officer never heard of the orders at St. Sebastian? Had the gallant Officer never read of the cruelties practised by the Spaniards when that town was taken? Had he never heard of the cruelties at Ciudad Roderigo, and at Badajos? Were these things doubtful? But the gallant Officer would not have British valour contaminated by an association with such cruelties as had taken place in the late hostilities in Spain. Did the gallant Officer himself never associate with Spaniards during the Peninsular war, where cruelties upon a much larger scale were carried on by them? He (Mr. O'Connell) would refer for a moment to a summary of the cruelties practised in the Peninsula, as contained in a pamphlet he held in his hand. He referred to this with the greatest confidence, because the pamphlet had been published for more than three years, and as yet no answer had appeared to it. He had no doubt, therefore, as to the accuracy of what he read. Here the hon. and learned Gentleman read a passage from the work; it was to this effect—During the Peninsular war, what was the universal system of the allies, but one of unmitigated cruelty? Was not every straggling Frenchman assassinated? Were not the prisoners of war often, after capitulation, murdered in cold blood by the Guerillas? Were not carriages of the wounded, and of women and children, waylaid and massacred? Were not French soldiers roasted alive by the Spaniards?Yet they were now told by a gallant Officer who distinguished himself—no man more so—in the Peninsular campaign, that he would not allow British soldiers to be contaminated by an association with men who could be guilty of such atrocities. These cruelties were one of the wretched consequences of war; but they ought not to be employed as a taunt against General Evans and the Legion. But then General Evans was described as an adventurer, attacking a people with whom his nation was not at war, upon that point, the example of the Black Prince had been quoted. But, was Eng- 1384 land at war with Spain, when the Black Prince adopted the quarrel of Peter the Cruel? The hon. Gentlemen opposite were on the side of despotism—on the side of him who, in the midst of this struggle for a kingdom, has never deigned to hold out one word of hope for liberty in free institutions; from whose lips the word of pardon never fell; whose pen never put it upon paper; who has never said one word of liberty or of constitutional privilege; but who insists on an absolute throne—on becoming an absolute monarch of a country once great—now plunged into misery, but which, he hoped in spite of them and of Don Carlos, would get through the struggle, and prevent the liberties of her people from being crushed under the accumulated misfortune of a bold pretender to her throne backed by the whole interest and assistance of the Holy Alliance. But amidst all the taunts which the Opposition cast at his Majesty's Ministers, did they say one word of the treachery of Louis Philippe towards this country? No; on the contrary, they enjoyed the treachery of that mistaken and tyrannical man—they rejoiced at the consequences of his neglect of the treaties in which he had taken part. Through the faithless conduct of France, the Carlists obtained supplies, so that if any deficiency of means for the desired objects in Spain appeared to exist, it was simply because other countries had not kept the faith of treaties, and had not acted up to their promises as England had. It was through this defection, this faithless conduct on the part of our supposed coadjutors, that the Carlists had been enabled to carry on till now a contest, which, but for such favouring circumstances, had long since been terminated. He was not there to defend the conduct of the Christino party, he had long condemned their cruelties, and ever should continue to do so. But he would ask this question, whether, if Don Carlos were to succeed, despotism would not be established, and the connexion between Church and State perpetuated for ever, with all its horrible consequences, the hateful Inquisition amongst the number? Dare hon. Gentlemen opposite avow that they were for the establishment of the Inquisition and the domination of the church in Spain? No; in the face of this nation they dare not avow such an intention, yet such was their intention. Why, they were told that 1385 France was without a government, awaiting the issue of this question, and why? France was waiting to see the line of policy which the British Parliament would sanction in regard to Spain, whether despotism was to be allowed to have its sway, or free institutions be vindicated and defended. And it was, at such a juncture —at the very moment that General Evans was meditating another blow in the cause which he had so gallantly taken up—that the opponents of freedom came down to interrupt the Ministry of this country with an attack of this sort. He had but one word more to say. The gallant Officer opposite, in the course of his speech, had talked disparagingly of the 10th regiment, upon the authority of one Richardson, whose book was really two books; the one written when he was in favour with General Evans, and therefore all in his praise; the other written after he had been dismissed the service, and, of course, all against him. As for the 10th regiment, he would just mention this fact, that this regiment only lost five men at Vittoria; and for the gallant officer who commanded that regiment, he thought he might state it fearlessly, as the highest trait that could be adduced in his favour, that although his regiment was located in the quarters fullest of disease, his loss of men was the least of any. He knew that in what the hon. and gallant Officer opposite had said on this subject, he did not state anything personally of the gallant officer who commanded this regiment; but, at the same time, the hon. and gallant Officer had reported a story propounded by Richardson, that the 10th regiment was ready, at one time, to go over to the Carlists. Now, he would tell the hon. and gallant Officer, that he had been misled by his authority, and that it was impossible to give, in any language of courtesy, a more complete denial to any statement, than to that made by Richardson on this subject. Knowing the young officer of this regiment as he did—knowing how little deserving of it he was, he must say, that such an individual ought not to be suffered to be made the victim of calumnies such as he had exposed. He would not pursue this subject further. He would again repeat, that the contest now going on in Spain was one between freedom and unmixed tyranny; it was the same contest as was at this moment going on upon this very floor. Here, it was true, the courtesies of civilized 1386 life and gentlemanly breeding mitigated the asperity of the encounter, but the battle was the same, the object held in view by the contending parties the same, in Spain as in England. The question was, whether the power of one or of the many should prevail—whether despotism or free institutions should exist; this, and this only, was the question in contention between the Carlists and the Christinos of Spain.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
explained, that so far from his having made or intended any attack upon Colonel O'Connell, or the 10th regiment, he had simply repeated a statement verbatim, for which he had given his authority. Neither did Mr. Richardson himself make any attack on Colonel O'Connell: on the contrary, he gave him great credit for his conduct, and stated, that the insubordination in his regiment arose from the absence of their colonel.
said, he should be sorry to receive praise from such a quarter as Mr. Richardson's. If he was not mistaken, all the officers of his regiment refused to mess with him.
rose to say a few words in explanation, having been personally referred to in the course of the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny. There was certainly no mistake in the statement made by the hon. and learned Member, in reference to the order given at Buenos Ayres. He himself heard the order given, which was mentioned by the hon. and learned Member, and he would repeat it to the House, lest there should be any inaccuracy in the manner it had been understood. The order came down the column from the mouth of a field officer, who rode down the ranks on. a good Sunday morning, and who exclaimed, "Spare old men, women, and children; but every man who is able to bear arms, put him to the bayonet." These were the words in which the field-officer delivered the order, which he coupled with an addition, by way of a joke of his own, "Give them only three inches of it; it will be the more easily pulled out again." He could name the officer if he was asked; he was an officer of bright repute, who fell two hours after giving this order.
§ Sir Charles Vere
said, that he must confess that he had stated rather abruptly, in the course of the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny's speech, that that 1387 which he mentioned was not the fact. He was at Buenos Ayres on the occasion referred to, on the staff, and he could state, therefore, that any such order as that referred to by the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny, and by the hon. and gallant Member for Hull, was not an order from head-quarters, And he really could not have imagined that any Gentleman would rise in that House and speak to such an order as the one in question, and that he should not have taken the opportunity of stating it at the time when the subject of the assault on Buenos Ayres was before the country, and a court-martial sitting on the officer who commanded at it. He begged to observe, also, that during that court-martial, everything that had occurred in the proceeding against Buenos Ayres, was inquired into. The proceedings at that court-martial might be obtained by any one who chose to refer to them; and upon so doing, it would be found that no such monstrous order as that mentioned to-night had been given by the officer in charge of the troops on that occasion. Of course it rested with the House to give what credit it might think proper to a statement made by an hon. Member. He did not mean to say, that the hon. and gallant Member for Hull did not believe, at the time he made that statement, that such an order as he mentioned had been given at that time; but he should have been careful, before he stated that a particular order had been given, not to state as an order that, which on reflection, he might find not to have been an order. The hon. and gallant Member stated, that the officer in question rode down the line, and repeated the words he had mentioned, and that a short time afterwards that officer fell. Now, there might have been some indiscreet expression used by the officer on that occasion, which gave rise to the observation of the hon. and gallant Member; but that any such order had been given from head-quarters, be could positively contradict.
had spoken merely to facts within his own knowledge; and, God forbid, that he should speak to any Other, He certainly did hear the order he had mentioned, given; and he believed at the time, and now believed that the order had been sent in an official manner, down the column. Whether the order 1388 was, in reality, an official order or not, he could not tell.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
inquired, whether there was any other officer living who heard the order given, the officer who gave it being dead?
said, that he was very willing to answer any questions of the hon. and gallant Officer, or of any other military man, which could throw a light on this subject. He had no wish to conceal anything, if the hon. and gallant Officer would address himself to him on the subject. After they got outside of the House, he would give him all the information in his power.
§ Debate adjourned.