Mr. Maclean moved the Order of the Day for resuming the debate on the Affairs of Spain. The hon. Member was understood to say, that the subject was acknowledged on all hands to be one of great national importance—indeed, one of the greatest that could be brought under the consideration of that House. He hoped, however, the subject would be treated in the temperate way it had been when on a former occasion it was brought under discussion. He thought that the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs would not now say, that the question was prematurely hurried before the House of Commons, because the party with which he acted had permitted nearly the whole period for which the Order of Council had been obtained, sanctioning the employment of troops, to elapse previous to bringing it forward. He was bound on this occasion to call to the recollection of the House and the noble Lord, whom he regretted not to see in his place, the anticipations in which he had indulged with respect to his policy. He regretted the noble Lord was not in his place, as he might then be able to answer him in the course of the debate. The absence of the noble Lord was, however, his own fault. He should prove, before he resumed his seat, that instead of the prophecies and vaticinations of the noble
Lard having been realised, they had been signally frustrated, both with regard to the co-operation of other Powers, the physical, and moral effects of the contest, and the influence created on the politics of Continental Europe. It would be recollected that the noble Lord, on a former occasion, had been asked by a Friend below him what course he intended to pursue, and whether this country was to be considered at war with Don Carlos and the people of the Basque provinces? What he blamed the noble Lord for was, that there was something in the course he pursued which he did not then explain. He thought that the course the noble Lord had pursued, was one not at all consonant with the interests of Great Britain, or even with the advantage of his protegé the Queen of Spain; and that it was one, moreover, which would result in the overthrow of the general superiority which this country had always held in Continental politics. What was the language of the noble Lord at the close of the last debate upon the subject? The noble Lord then made use of these expressions: —"I do not shrink from my anticipations upon this subject, and I beg to pin hon. Gentlemen opposite to theirs. I beg that their declarations and their prophecies upon this subject may be borne in mind, and that their reputation for political sagacity may depend upon the result. For my own part, I will say, that I am not afraid of abiding by the same test." What had been the result of the noble Lord's pertinacity in adhering to a course of proceeding on which he had staked his reputation? Had it not been disappointment to himself and disgrace to his country? The two hon. Gentlemen who came forward last night in support of the noble Lord, to one of whom he intended to have addressed a portion of what he should have said in reply, if the House sat so long as to permit him to do so, to one of those hon. Gentlemen particularly he should now advert, because, from his official situation, what he said on the subject at issue was deserving of some attention. The whole argument of his right hon. Friend, the Member for Launceston, remained unanswered by that hon. Gentleman. When his right hon. Friend had urged that the marines were used in aid of the Queen of Spain in a way that had neither been specified nor guaranteed by the Treaty of the Quadrup e
Alliance, the hon. Secretary for the Admiralty replied by giving instances which he called analogous, in which they had been, according to his statement, so employed. The hon. Secretary for the Admiralty among these instances, quoted that of Acre, where the marines were engaged under Sir Sydney Smith; that of Naples, where they had been employed by Lord Nelson; and that of the coast of Spain, where they had been used in the late war; but, in quoting them, the hon. Secretary seemed to have forgotten, that there was a slight difference, just sufficient to destroy his analogy. He had, in short, forgotten the fact, that England was then at open war with those countries; and that the marines were employed against Powers with whom we were at enmity. In such a case, was it to be supposed that those having the command would be very nice in calculating the cause, so that the consequences were favourable to the country? When, however, the hon. Secretary for the Admiralty said this, he also said, that the country was not at war with Don Carlos. How, then, could the cases be analogous? Why, should British Marines be not alone employed against him, but a justification be sought for that employment in quoting cases which had no possible relation to the subject. When the noble Lord opposite was asked what earthly interest England had in the issue of such a contest—what advantage it was to her to lavish, not only her treasures but also a large body of her sons for the sake of the cause—nay, more, when he was asked why she should sacrifice the high character which she once enjoyed in Continental politics, what did ha answer?—"If England has no interest in the success of the Queen's arms, then, undoubtedly, we were wrong in concluding the treaty, and are not borne out in issuing the Order in Council. But England has an interest in the success of that cause. And why has she an interest? Because it is the interest of England that Spain should be independent, in order that she may be an element of the balance of power in Europe, Or, even if we look at the matter in the narrow view of our relationship with Spain, as a trading and commercial country, it is our interest that her resources and her wealth should be developed; and that for this purpose she should receive the benefits of that
constitution which Martinez de la Rosa (of whom the noble Lord spoke in such high terms) has laboured to procure for her. It is of importance to England that Spain should not be under the misrule from which she suffered in the reign of Ferdinand, and to which she would return if Don Carlos ascended the Throne." He believed he quoted the noble Lord correctly. England, then, had an interest in the success of the cause, and, why had she one? Because, according to him, it was for her advantage that Spain should be independent—that she should be an element in the calculation of the balance of power. For this, and this alone, it was necessary, according to the noble Lord, that Spain should have the benefit of the constitution which Martinez de la Rosa had conferred on her. The essence of the interference of the noble Lord, then, was first, that it was necessary to make Spain an element in the balance of power, and, secondly, that she should have the benefit of the constitution of Martinez de la Rosa. He thought he should be able to show the House that the conduct of the noble Lord had been the very means of preventing that constitution from being completed. How inconsistent had been the conduct of the noble Lord. When the Queen of Spain first ascended the throne of that country, the French Government, as it seemed, with most inconsiderate haste, tendered to her by an Envoy Extraordinary, M. Menuet, who was sent to Madrid for the purpose, the use of an armed force, to support her pretensions to the Crown. But what Government did the French Minister offer to uphold in Spain? Was it the present system of policy or the men who pursued it? No, it was to the Government of M. Zea Bermudez that support was tendered by him —it was his system of policy—the "enlightened despotism" of Ferdinand VII., and not the constitution of M. Martinez de la Rosa, that was offered to be upheld by him. On precisely the same grounds did the British Government act in its recognition of the Queen's right; on that footing it was, that England first acknowledged her power. But M. Martinez de la Rosa soon found out, on the displacement of M. Zea Bermudez, that the "enlightened despotism" of Ferdinand would not stand; that the revolutions of 1812, and 1823, had introduced a new element
into Spanish policy; and that, in short, without an equivalent change it would be impossible to carry on the Government. He therefore changed it, and substituted the constitution. He would quote a few passages from a work which had many marks of the paternity of the noble Lord, and to which, if he did not stand in the close relation which most men believed, he certainly did in that of godfather. It was a pamphlet well known of late, because often quoted in the discussions on the present question. Now what was the declaration, as given in that work, made by the Queen of Spain?—
After an assurance that the Catholic religion, its doctrines, its temples, and its ministers, should be the first and most grateful care of her government, the Queen Regent proceeds to say, 'I entertain the most complete conviction that it is my duty to preserve intact the deposit of the royal authority that has been confided to me. I will religiously maintain the form and the fundamental laws of the monarchy, without admitting dangerous innovations, which, however alluring in principle, have already for our misfortune, been too much attempted. The best form of government for a country is that to which it is accustomed. A stable and compact power, based upon ancient laws, respected by custom, consecrated by ages, is the most powerful instrument for working out the good of the people, which is not obtained by weakening authority, by combating established ideas, habits, and institutions, by molesting interests and expectations which already exist, for the purpose of creating new ambitions and exigencies, by inciting the passions of the people, by forcing individuals into a state of struggle or confusion, and society into a general convulsion. I will transmit the sceptre of Spain into the hands of the Queen, upon whom the law has conferred it, entire, without deterioration or detriment, in the same state as the law has conferred it upon her,'
That was the declaration of the Queen of Spain—that was the form of government she proposed to confirm—namely, "the enlightened despotism" of her forefathers. But a change in the government ensued shortly after her succession, and then came M. Martinez de la Rosa and the constitution. How came it, then, that the noble Lord interfered in the question? It was found impossible by Martinez de la Rosa to continue the system of Zea Bermudez, so he at once brought forward the Estatuto Real as the constitutional form of government which the noble Lord had once pledged himself to support. The noble Lord might shake his head; but had he not quoted his own words? He would
ask the noble Lord, whether the views of Martinez de la Rosa were the same as those of the French and Portuguese governments, the other parties to the treaty? In 1836, the Spanish government applied to this country for an armed intervention, or rather an application was made for it by certain parties. In June, 1835, a similar application had been made to the French government, and refused by it. On that occasion, it was, that the noble Lord, when he knew the French government had refused all intervention, when the offer made by Spain to that government, had been rejected; it was at that time that the noble Lord had thought proper to raise the Legion in this country, and send it to the Queen of Spain, What was the language used by the French minister, in relation to these circumstances? Count Mole, President of the Council, thus spoke:—
In June, 1835, the Queen of Spain demanded an armed intervention of France. The President of the Cabinet addressed to the Court of St. James's the three following questions:—1. If it thought the present circumstances of the Peninsula warranted an acquiescence in the demand of the Queen?—2. If England would co-operate in it?—3. If she would consider the intervention of France as a casus fæeris? England replied in the negative; and from that day to the month of August, 1836, the same policy presided over the decisions of France as regarded Spain. In March, 1836, England, however, considered, that circumstances justified co-operation, and announced to General Sebastian, that it was her intention to land a certain number of marines on the coast of Spain, and invited France to share in that co-operation. The English Cabinet offered France the occupation of the port of Passages, and even allowed her to limit herself to the extent and fix the mode of her co-operation.
The English Cabinet, then, it appeared, offered France the occupation of Passages. It was certainly very generous of the noble Lord to make the offer, particularly as France could have occupied it at any time. In 1835, then, it was clear that a formal application for an armed intervention was made to France, and that a formal refusal was given; there was no contradicting that. What, then, was the conduct of the noble Lord? When the refusal of France to interfere was given, Toreno was called to the ministry of Spain, and Martinez de la Rosa was driven from the helm of affairs in that Country, M, Mendizabal was then in
London. Several extensive houses in France and England, especially in London, were deeply involved in the loans made to the Spanish government: among them were those of Ardouin, Ricardo, and Rothschild—it was said, to the extent of eighteen millions of reals. When, therefore, the news of a refusal of armed intervention on the part of France reached them, it became necessary to take some steps to neutralize the moral effect it would produce on the state of the loan. A re-union was consequently held in London, and General Alava, the Spanish Ambassador, applied to the noble Lord for 10,000 men. It appeared, therefore, that all these parties were deeply interested in the issue of the question; and it was also quite clear, that it was the policy of the Spanish government to obtain the 10,000 men from this country, because, when once they were granted, we should be implicated, and could not recede from the quarrel. However, he had reason to believe, that there was no direct application from Madrid, or instructions to make it either, but that the act was an improvisation in London with which the Spanish Court, and, indeed, no one but the parties, had anything whatever to do. It was well known, that the holders of Spanish stock were the principal parties interested; and that the houses of Ardouin, Ricardo, and Rothschild desired it, to negative the moral effect of the refusal of France on the market. On these grounds alone was the application made for intervention on the part of England. What effect had it on the Court of Madrid? At that time, M. Rayneval, the French ambassador, had influence and interest there; and he was opposed altogether to England. All parties were, however, more or less interested in the grant of the force applied for, and they all succeeded in obtaining it, in the manner in which he had stated. Now, if that could be proved, and he spoke under the correction of the noble Lord, he had no hesitation in saying, that such application should never have been sanctioned, and such intervention should never have been made. He (Mr. Maclean) would next come to the Legion. What was the course pursued by that body from its formation? He could not but regret, that the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. O'Connell) who spoke last in the debate of the previous night, should have thought proper to throw over the gravamen of the
charge against them, as made by his hon. and gallant Friend who sat near him, and take shelter under a mere subterfuge, by stating, that all those hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House in stating the unfortunate situation of this country in the Spanish quarrel, and that of our wretched countrymen, were rather vindicating the cause of Don Carlos than the cause of humanity. The hon. and learned Gentleman's language, too, was as strong as it well could be on the subject of bigotry and intolerance; but he forgot that those who supported Don Carlos were of the same faith as himself, and that they fought and bled for what he would have made such an outcry about, pro aris et focis—that for which he hoped that every Englishman would be ready to lay down his life. The hon. and learned Gentleman charged his hon. and gallant Friend with having got up the debate in favour of the interests of Don Carlos; also with having made charges against General Evans. With respect to the former, the question was already answered; and as to the latter, he was ready to bear witness that never had a debate in that House been better conducted in that respect than by his hon. and gallant Friend. Indeed his hon. and gallant Friend had seemed most careful to abstain from casting the slightest slur upon the character of General Evans, even when the circumstances of the case would appear to warrant it. An unfortunate brave man was always the subject of regret, and General Evans was unfortunate, whatever causes might have conduced to it—whether accident or military incapacity. His hon. Friend had said in substance no more; and, therefore, the attack on him was unfair. Nothing in his speech, on that occasion, could justify the diatribe of the hon. and learned Member. But, to revert to the subject, from which he had casually departed, what was the course of the Legion after its embodyment? It was concentrated in December, and in the January following it marched upon Vittoria. In a work written by an officer of the Legion, he had seen a good deal on the subject, but he would not trouble the House by quoting it in detail. When it reached Vittoria, what was the state of things? He held in his hand a correspondence from an officer of that force, detailing the almost unprecedented horrors endured in that expedition. He stated, that every
step of the route from Portugalete was marked by excessive punishment of the men, as well as by general suffering of the most intense character on the part of all. When they started from Portugalete, they were laden each man with three days' salt provisions from his Majesty's ship, Ringdove. He did not know whether the statement was perfectly true or not; but if it was, the noble Lord should be aware of it. At all events, there was nothing in the treaty which specified that provisions should be supplied; arms and men were all that it stated. When the troops arrived at Vittoria, the writer took occasion to contrast the treatment experienced by the French forces with that of the English. The English were quartered in a convent, where a large number of recent interments had taken place; the consequence was, that the effluvia was disgusting and unhealthy in the extreme. The French, on the contrary, had the best quarters the town could procure. How was that? It was because their general had threatened to march them back over the frontiers, if he had not the best accommodation which could be afforded for them. Why did not General Evans do the same? Were the lives and comforts of British subjects of less value than those of Frenchmen? Why, when his men were lying in cold damp places, with dead bodies rotting, not three feet under them, did he not say that he would not suffer it. The letter of his correspondent went on to say, that—"What with desertions (the consequence of ill-usage, bad quarters, and flogging) and deaths, the Legion lost during its sojourn at Vittoria and the neighbourhood, seventy officers and nearly 2,000 men." What was the next operation of the Legion? In April they marched to St. Sebastian, from which, with the exception of the unfortunate expedition of Fuentarabia, they never stirred beyond the walls. Therefore, for all the service they had done to the Queen in the acquisition and defence of her territory, and all the injury they had done to the cause of Don Carlos, it would have been quite as well if they had remained at home. The correspondent whom he quoted said, also, that so vigorous and irresistible were the attacks of the Carlists, that the Legion on more than one occasion would have been driven into the sea but for the assistance of the British ships of war the Salamander and Ring-
dove, then in the Bilboa river, and also for the aid given in beating back their opponents by the gun-boats. A great deal 6f the money sent out from this country had been expended on the fortifications of St. Sebastian, working on which it was said that the men got nine pence a day; but that appeared to be all the good ever done with it. The Legion marched to Vittoria, and it marched back. It attacked Fuentarabia and Passages, with a success which was achieved mainly by the undaunted seamen and marines of his Majesty's ships, whose character was to achieve anything which could be achieved, and they were then lodged in St. Sebastian. That was all the effect which had been produced by our interference. Was it a compensation to this country for the lavish expenditure of her blood—for the expenditure of half a million in stores and ammunition, and half a million more in extra ships and provisions? Out of 10,000 men, it appeared, that 4,100 were destroyed either by the sword, disease, Or hardship; and after holding ourselves up to Europe as the arbiters in the contest, as the sole supporters of it, in point Of facts we were now debating whether we should permit it to continue six weeks longer or not. What influence had the noble Lord gained by the course he had pursued at Madrid? Had he made England more respected there? Had he increased her power? What was the answer? The noble Lord had supported the ministry of Martinez de la Rosa? How long did it last? He had done the same by Toreno. What was its fata? Mendizabal and Calatrava's administrations followed, and fell likewise. They ran through every phase, and supported themselves solely on the constitution. What was the constitution? That of the Cortes of the kingdom—that of the old institutions of Spain? No, the government as it now existed, was conferred on the country not by the Cortes, but by Sergeant Garcia at La Granja. The constitution now in force in Spain was suppressed over and over again, subsequently to 1812, in consequence of its incompatibility with the freedom and old institutions of that country. The noble Lord was now supporting the Queen of Spain, was he also supporting the constitution of 1812, and the government of Sergeant Garcia? It was not the constitution or the government which the British nation was pledged to support, Some of its worst clauses, it was true, had
been modified; but too much of evil still existed to render it acceptable to Spain, or worthy of English support. He would ask, after all the noble Lord had done, and after all his interference, what influence did he claim to possess in the affairs of Spain? He remembered that the noble Lord upon one occasion most humanely and greatly to his credit, attempted to interfere to procure the liberation of twenty-seven Carlist officers who had been taken prisoners on the high seas by the Queen's party. The noble Lord wrote to Mr. Villiers, the British Minister of Madrid, to use his most vigorous exertions, on the part of the Court of St. James's to save those officers from captivity. This was the application that was made by the noble Lord on the part of the Court of St. James's—that Court to which the Queen of Spain stood so deeply indebted; and would the House believe what the answer was which the Spanish government returned to this humane application? Why it was this, that the excitement caused by the civil war was so great it would not be safe to set the prisoners at liberty; and the result was, that they were transported, he believed, to Porto Rico, a most unhealthy climate. Here, then, was an instance of the noble Lord's influence. This was the first experiment the noble Lord had made to exercise his influence as the Foreign Minister of England with the Spanish government, and the House would see how signally it had failed. Now, let the House turn its attention to the noble Lord's exertions to mitigate the horrors of civil war. There could be but one opinion existing in every civilized and humane breast as to the character of the Durango decree. That that decree was as atrocious and barbarous in principle as it was foolish in policy it was impossible to deny. But was it the initiative in the cruelties that had taken place? He contended that it was not. Did not the noble Lord remember the sanguinary edict which had been issued by the Spanish Minister at Madrid against all the adherents of Don Carlos, before that Prince had entered the Basque provinces? This decree would show one of the modes adopted for settling the succession. It directed that all persons discovered to be adherents of Don Carlos should be put to death as soon as they had been allowed the rites of religion. This included all persons who gave the aid of money, advice, or information to that
Prince, or those who joined him; and all municipal officers, who harboured or concealed any of the Prince's followers were also made liable to the punishment of death, fine, banishment or imprisonment, according to the degree of their offence. Talk of the Durango decree after this! And this edict, let it be recollected, was issued when Don Carlos was out of the country, and Consequently not in arms against the government. Let the records of Turkey be searched, and it would be impossible to discover a more sanguinary decree than this. The noble Lord must also recollect, that when the accounts reached this country of the massacres at Barcelona, he, with a proper feeling, wrote to Mr. Villiers to represent to the Spanish government the necessity of bringing to punishment the perpetrators of those massacres, and of preventing the recurrence of such barbarities in future. Was that representation of the noble Lord attended to? Not in the slightest degree, for not one of the offenders was punished. It had been said, that the massacres of Barcelona were a sadden effect of popular feeling, highly excited; but it was now clear that they were premeditated atrocities. That monster Mina was the prime mover in this atrocious affair; but the government of Madrid did not dare to molest him, lest he 9hould raise Catalonia against them. It was clear, then, that the noble Lord had no influence to mitigate or assuage the horrors and cruelties of civil war in Spain. But had the noble Lord done nothing to exasperate that war? Beyond doubt he had, by permitting a body of 10,000 British subjects to interfere in the contest. The noble Lord might say, that General Evans was acting independent of the British Government; but what did General Evans himself say in his letter to his constituents? Why, that he was carrying out in Spain the principles of the present liberal Government of England. The pamphlet to which he had referred stated, that the Spanish government at Madrid severely reprobated the foolish and unjust conduct of Castanon in depriving the Basque people of their freedom; but did the government of Madrid even restore to the people of the Basque provinces since their ancient fueros? No, it did not. And what reason does the pamphlet assign for this injustice which it admits? Why, that it would lower the government to have restored those ancient privileges after they had been once taken
away. He did not believe, that the noble Lord thought so. Indeed, he believed that the noble Lord would have rejoiced at justice having been done to the Basque people, if only to prevent all that had since happened. But the noble Lord had referred to the mediation of England between France and America, on a recent occasion of pecuniary differences between those two countries, to show that Great Britain still maintained her influence with foreign nations. Supposing this influence to have existed, had not the noble Lord taken great pains, by the quasi war in which he had embarked the country, to weaken that influence? General Evans had completely identified the noble Lord with the cause in which the Legion had embarked, for he had used exactly the same language about establishing a balance of power through the means of Spain which the noble Lord had used in that House, and the same language had been echoed by Mr. Villiers at Madrid, at a dinner given in celebration of raising the siege of Bilboa, The British Minister, too, upon that occasion, said something about the despotic governments of the Continent —language which he thought well calculated to provoke a contest with those governments. Suppose those despotic governments, as Mr. Villiers called them, thought proper to say, that they would not agree to the establishment on the throne of Spain of the line of succession which the noble Lord was now upholding, and that Don Carlos ought to be the king of Spain; and suppose, in following up this declaration, they sent arms and other munitions of war to Fuentarabia, for the use of Don Carlos, would not the noble Lord direct the British ships upon that coast to tire upon the vessels supplying those warlike stores? And in what position would the noble Lord be then placed? Must he not then interfere directly in the contest, and did he not at this moment leave this country liable to such an issue? The government of France had been taunted with not fulfilling its engagements under the Quadruple Treaty, and the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny had, in deprecating the conduct of the French government, called the king of France an accidental king, and a king of the barricades. Was this, he would ask, fit language to be applied to the sovereign of a country with which we were now in a state of friendly alliance? The king of France
was no more an accidental king than the queen of Spain was an accidental queen. The king of France was called to the throne by the will of his subjects, and how was the queen of Spain called to the throne? Why, by the dotage of her husband. If the noble Lord had read the letters that had passed between Don Carlos and his brother, the then king of Spain, he must have seen the determination of Don Carlos there expressed never to surrender his claim to the throne, and his request to the king to transmit to all the courts of Europe his protest against any attempt to set his claim aside. To this letter of Don Carlos the king wrote an answer, to which he would particularly call the attention of the noble Lord, as it expressed the opinion of Ferdinand upon non-intervention. He would read the last part of the letter; it was dated the 6th of May, 1833, and ran thus: —
Spain is independent of every foreign nation and influence in all that belongs to her internal government, and I should therefore be acting contrary to the free and complete sovereignty of my throne, and with detriment thereof, transgressing the principle of nonintervention generally adopted by the cabinets of Europe, were I to make the communication which you request of me in your letter.
This was Ferdinand's impression of the feeling which he thought pervaded all the courts of Europe on the principle of nonintervention; but the noble Lord took quite a different view of the subject, as his policy respecting Spain had shown. The term assassin had been very lavishly bestowed on those who acted under the Durango decree, and perhaps justly so; but were not the persons who had put Santos Ladron to death, assassins, and were not the perpetrators of the butcheries at Barcelona assassins? After the humane interference of Lord Eliot to procure a mitigation of the cruelties carried on, Valdes refused to be a party to a cessation from the barbarities practised, and this refusal was justified in the pamphlet he had alluded to, on the ground that it would lower the government. After the affair at Bilboa six Englishmen had been taken by the Carlists, and were doomed to death under the Durango decree; but an application was made by a foreign gentleman who had experienced some hospitality and attention while travelling in this country to Don Carlos, to spare the lives of those six men; and Don Carlos in-
stantly complied with the application, on the ground that they were Englishmen. He held in his hand the very order of Don Carlos upon that occasion to spare the lives of those men. This was done through the influence of a private gentleman, and yet the noble Lord, representing all the influence of the British Government, could not procure the liberation from the Spanish Government of twenty-seven prisoners, in whose behalf he had applied. His hon. and gallant Friend had said last night, that he felt great interest in the question, and his hon. and gallant Friend had truly said so. He did feel great interest in that question. He had felt that interest before any change of government had taken place in Spain, or before the upbraiding speech of the king of France had been delivered. What did that speech say? Why, that the king thought it derogatory to the crown of France to interfere in any other way than with French soldiers, commanded by a French general, and under the French flag. It was alleged that the men who had been engaged for the Legion were all engaged for two years; but the fact was not so. They were engaged for one or for two years, at their own option; but those who refused at the expiration of the first year to serve the second, were most inhumanly treated. Was not the noble Lord bound to inquire how these poor men had been treated by the Spanish government? It had been said, that surely the lower class ought not to be prevented from earning a livelihood by enlistment in foreign service, or from earning for themselves crosses, and other distinctions. "God knows," said the hon. Member, "those poor fellows who joined the Legion have earned for themselves crosses enough, if nothing else." He had received from an officer who had served in the Legion, an assurance, that he gave the enlistment roll to another officer of the Legion, by which, it appeared, that a great portion of the men had only engaged for one year. He held in his hand the statement of the affair in question. It was this:—
I gave the enlistment roll of the sixth, eighth, and part of the fifth regiments to * * * of the * * * in August last, when the mutiny took place among the Scotch and tenth Irish regiments. The majority of the Scotch enlisted for one year, and trusted to the recruiting officers' words and good faith to bear them out.
Officers were placed upon the invalid list,
with promise of the gratuities, to keep quiet, and from honestly speaking the truth of General Evans.
What was the situation into which they had brought themselves? They had come to this point—either they must give up the cause of the Queen, or they must drive Don Carlos from Spain—a thing not, under present circumstances, very easily done. Were they prepared to go to war, to support the Queen of Spain? He should like to see the man who would stand up in the House opposite to the hon. Member for Middlesex, and make a proposal to the House for a declaration of war. There were two other courses which might be pursued. One was to call for the intervention of the Great Northern Powers to put a stop to the war now going on in Spain, and recognise the present Queen. Was there any probability that they would act in this way, when those very Powers had withdrawn their Ambassadors from the Spanish Court, or refused to recognise the rights of the Queen? If intervention of this kind had been tried at an earlier period some good might have arisen from it; but now he feared such a proposal would come too late. The other course was to withdraw their marines, together with the Legion. This would be the best, the most just and politic course. They had not from the beginning any right to force a Queen upon the people of Spain. By their intervention, in place of producing any good, in place of contributing to heal existing dissensions, and to smooth down existing difficulties, they had sown the seeds of everlasting dissension and discord among the people of that unhappy country. They might drive Don Carlos from Spain, after a protracted war; but they would never succeed in driving the people of Biscay from their country, or depriving them of their liberties and privileges. A passage in the address of the present President of the United States appeared so applicable to their recent course of policy and to their present circumstances that he would take the liberty of reading it to the House. Martin Van Buren, in his inaugural address, said:—
Our course of foreign policy has been so uniform and intelligible as to constitute a rule of executive conduct which leaves little to my discretion, unless, indeed, I were willing to run counter to the lights of experience and the known opinions of my constituents. We sedu-
lously cultivate the friendship of all nations as the condition most compatible with our welfare and the principles of our government. We decline alliances as adverse to our peace. We desire commercial relations on equal terms, being ever willing to give a fair equivalent for advantages received. We endeavour to conduct our intercourse with openness and sincerity, promptly avowing our objects, and seeking to establish that mutual frankness which is as beneficial in the dealings of nations as of men. We have no disposition, and disclaim all right, to meddle in disputations, whether internal or foreign, that may molest other countries, regarding them in their actual state as social communities, and preserving a strict neutrality in all their controversies. Well knowing the tried valour of our people, and our exhaustless resources, we neither anticipate nor fear any designed aggression; and in the consciousness of our own just conduct, we feel a security that we shall never be called upon to exert our determination never to permit an invasion of our rights without punishment or redress.
This appeared to him to be sound doctrine. The noble Lord thought otherwise, and time alone could tell which course would have most effectually sustained the honour and the interests of the country. He would trouble the House with one other quotation, and then sit down. It was from the German writer, Heeren, an able and well-known man:—
England is now marked as one of the five leading Powers who determine the relation of the European State system. She has connected herself with them without any surrender on her own part, and has, therefore, reserved to herself the power of stepping forward as a mediator whenever it may be necessary Are we not justified in hoping that she will become still more in future the mediating Power? She has lately mediated between two great Powers with an excellent result; let her reserve her mediatorial capacity for such occasions; let her avoid guarantees and alliances; let her maintain a respectable army and a powerful fleet; let her leave her neighbours alone, and resist promptly the slightest aggression; let her leave trade free; and though friends may lament her loss of influence on the Continent, and enemies boast of her exclusion, her character will stand higher in the world, her voice will be more respectfully heard, and her flag more honoured, than when she exchanged guarantees with every State, had a scheme for the succession to every Throne, and intrigued in every Court in Europe.
With a strong recommendation of the prudent and salutary advice conveyed in that passage, he would sit down, hoping that the noble Lord would explain what
his policy was as regarded Spain—would inform the House whether or not they were at war with Don Carlos, and, if not, what course he meant to propose of putting an end to a contest which threatened to involve all Europe in war. Should the noble Lord give no explanation, the country Would naturally conclude that at length the noble Lord had become ashamed of his own policy.
§ Mr. Henry Lytton Bulwer
had many things on which to compliment the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down—on the lessons he had given in courtly manners, on the length to which he had been able to protract the subject in debate, but more especially on the opportunity which he had at last found of Celebrating his countrymen's defeat. As to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman who brought forward the motion, he did justice to his talents and his character, but he still thought he was placed in an unhappy positions when he had to prove a national disgrace, in order to obtain a political triumph, and when there would also be many who would think that on this occasion life had been too ready to Wake the ruined reputation of his brethren in arms a stepping-stone to party purposes. [Sir H. Hardinge: I deny it.] He would repeat the assertion, and make it the more frankly and considerately when he looked at the time at which the motion had been brought forward. Had the right hon. and gallant Gentleman brought it forward after some great and signal success like that of May last year, then, indeed, it might be said that he did not wish to discredit those whom he was recalling. Had he waited until after the 10th of June, when the engagement of those persons would have expired, and when, if the service they were engaged in was so unprofitable, they would return home, then the right hon. Gentleman would have acted in a manner well consistent with his established character for manliness and generosity. But What did he do? He demanded the recal of these gallant men at a time when such recal must be most painful to their feelings as men and officers. He would not allow them a moment's delay by which they might profit by a success that would take the sting out of his motion. He would not do this; neither would he wait until the various charges necessarily employed or made in a debate of this kind could by these gal- 1412 lant persons themselves be met and answered. In making these observations, however, he did not wish to aggravate the situation of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman—far from it. The House was then entering on a party contest which would decide which of two parties should direct the Foreign policy of Great Britain. But, before they went farther, let them for one moment pause there—let them for one moment forget whether they were Whigs, Tories, or Radicals, and only remember that they were Englishmen; and that they had countrymen who had, upon the whole, exhibited great gallantry, as well as Suffered great privations, and who were at that time placed in a position eminently critical to their professional reputation. It was not fair that these gallant men should be made the victims of any favourable opportunity for a party manœuvre in that House. If the noble Lord's policy were wrong, let that policy be attacked and Condemned—let those who had Supported that policy be condemned and attacked; but it was not fair, he said and repeated, that any blame or reproach should, on that account, be cast upon the Legion. And what, upon die whole, had been the conduct of the Legion? He would not go into every detail which had been quoted from a book where the author had, at least, the merit of binding up his recent and former opinions together, so that you might oh the face of the volume see the faith that should be placed on its authority—he would not go over all these details, but he would say what upon the whole had been the conduct of these men; and here he referred to the hon. Member for Sandwhich. That hon. Member had said last year in the House that he held a state document in his hand — the report of the adjutant-general of Don Carlos. And what said this adjutant-general? Why, that there were 100,000 men well aimed and equipped under the command of the Pretender. Well, then, taking only half of what the hon. Member said—and the hon. Member's Friends could not, at all events, believe this to be an exaggerated statement—what did it say? Why, that the 5,000 or 6,000 men who bare the British name, and who had had every difficulty to contend against, and that yet notwithstanding they had contended for two years against 50,000 men, and had actually be at them in seven or eight engage- 1413 ments; and when he said seven or eight engagements he did not speak vaguely or loosely—at Arlaban, on the heights of St. Sebastian, at the capture of Passages, on all these occasions they had been victorious; twice the Carlists had attempted to force their lines, and had been driven back—twice they had attacked the lines of the Carlists, and had driven them in; and if then the gallantry of these men merited praise, still more did the constantly heroic conduct of his hon. and gallant Friend their commander. That hon. and gallant Friend of his had been attacked continually and indirectly, perhaps, during this debate, but more openly on other occasions; he would, therefore, make no apology to the House for reading two extracts from letters which related to his hon. and gallant Friend— one bearing upon a specific charge, the other regarding his general conduct and ability:—With regard to your queries relative to the command of the Legion in connexion with the punishments which took place in it, I know that the opinion of many superior officers', and those of experience, was, that if he erred in any manner, respecting punishments, it Was not in the severity, But in his disposition at all times to carry his pardon too far;That was the language of Col. M'Dougall, who commanded his own regiment five years without inflicting a lash. Another officer, equally distinguished, who had retired from the Service on account of his wounds, and did not think glory was to be attained by calumniating his chief, said:—Never was a general so beloved, indeed I might almost say idolised, by those under his command both officers and soldiers, as General Evans is; and his intrepidity in danger and cool foresight in action, are the admiration of us all.He would, however, leave that part of the subject on which his friendship to his gallant Friend, his respect for his character his admiration for his gallantry, and his regret at his absence had induced him to trespass at some length, and he would turn to the more general subject of debate. In so doing he had to observe that much which the hon. Gentleman had said the night before seemed to him, upon the whole, unworthy grounds for a great motion that was to attest an account of those unhappy and atrocious violences committed by cruel but necessary associates. The strongest argument he had 1414 heard used was that which had reference to the Basque provinces. The hon. Gentleman said, "Would you interfere with the liberty and independence of the Basque people?" And under ordinary circumstances he should not. But the Basque people were in a particular situation—they deemed they were struggling for their own liberties, but they were made the instruments of those who in a most important case mistook the policy of the country. No doubt, if the hon. and gallant Gentleman were to describe the terrors of a field of battle, which no one was better qualified to do, or the horrid scenes which that field would exhibit after battle—if he exhibited the storming of, a town, and all the savage acts of atrocity likely to be committed by infuriated soldiers, at that time rarely under control, that he would be able to harrow up the feelings of the House; but was that a statesman like way of meeting a great question? Might he not reply in the same manner by showing all the horrors of that cause against which these men were fighting. Might he not lead the House to the dungeon, the rack, the stake? Might he not point to the torture, the thumb-screw, and all those devilish and inquisitorial engines by which men had attempted to torture not merely the body but the mind of their fellow creatures? But was it in rational argument to be contended that the ill-timed, acts of any ally were to induce you to withdraw from his cause, if it was according to your policy and to your engagements to adhere to it? Last night reference had been made to the frightful system of assassination which had prevailed during the whole of the last war throughout the Peninsula. But there was a case still more in point, that of El Arish—it had been alluded to the night previous. There we acted in company with allies—the Turks—with those allies we took the fort. What occurred? Why, our allies murdered 300 men in cold blood. Sir Sidney Smith protested against this; he did all he could to prevent it—but certainly the British Government did not think it necessary to deliver up Egypt to Buonaparte, to enslave all the rest of the inhabitants. If we triumphed, all Spain would be free as the Basque people; but if the Basque people triumphed, then, indeed, there was every reason to believe that the man whose cause they had espoused would engulf their liberty in the general tyranny he 1415 would spread throughout the land. The Basque people, therefore, had no good cause to complain of us, but of those who were using and abusing them in a contest which, if what was said was true, would be equally contrary to their character, their principles, and their interests. Now, as to the two cases of the marines and the Legion, the hon. gentlemen would express no decided opinion on the Quadruple Alliance itself; but they said the terms of that alliance declare you should only afford a naval force to the Queen of Spain, and the use of marines as you employ them is not a naval force. His hon. Friend, the Secretary of the Admiralty, had with much ability shown various instances, two in particular, where marines as part of a naval force had been so employed; but then, said a noble Lord who followed, you should not employ so many marines. And what did all this amount to? Why, that we had acted upon a treaty, not in a niggardly, but in a generous, manner. And what were we now called upon to do? Why, we were called upon to contract our sense of the engagement—and at what time? After some great success which rendered our assistance less necessary? No; hon. Gentlemen had been waiting for a moment of misfortune, and now they came forward and showed us an equivocal word on which we could side out of that which we had hitherto considered the spirit of our treaty. And then they talked of national honour. But the Legion had done nothing. Now it was fair in considering what the Legion had done to consider what would have been done without the Legion. Had the Legion not been in Spain last May, St. Sebastian would have fallen; had St. Sebastian then fallen, Bilboa would not subsequently have been relieved; had St. Sebastian and Bilboa both been taken by Don Carlos, that memorable event of which the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Oxford, spoke, would have taken place, and Don Carlos would have been recognised by the northern powers. But would this help the Quadruple Treaty. That hon. Gentleman had forgotten that his leaders meant to stand by that treaty. In what condition, then, would have been the treaty? Would it have been favourable to an amity with the northern powers to have one sovereign whom they recognised, and one whom we recognised, both contending on the soil of 1416 Spain? But he was arguing as if the hon. Gentlemen really wished to maintain the Quadruple Alliance; whereas his belief was that they desired nothing but to discredit and destroy that alliance. Should he justify it? How and under what circumstance was it formed? Austria at that time had the occupation of Bologna —Russia, her foot on Poland, grasped at Constantinople—the freedom of the free town of Frankfort had been violated —the independence of the minor states in Germany had been invaded—in Portugal there was a struggle of opinion— in Spain a struggle of opinion—Belgium stood unrecognised — France menaced— and this country, according to the opposition at all events, disregarded and defied. At such time, and under such circumstances, if there could be a wise and extensive policy, favourable to the peace of the world, and favourable to those principles which make peace prosper, it was the policy of uniting the great western powers of Europe in an alliance of which the solid basis was constitutional and liberal opinions. Did our Government alone see this? No, their enemies saw it also. Why that council at the Po, of which a noble Friend had spoken so eloquently? Why was Rome said to be now ransacking her exhausted treasures to aid the Pretender? Why was Sardinia supposed to be sending secret supplies to the same quarter, and Russia offering officers and gold? Why was it daily said that Don Miguel was about to appear in the camp of Don Carlos, that it was there also that the Due de Bordeaux should make his first essay in arms? Why, because it was felt throughout the world that it was to the camp of Don Carlos that the friends of despotism should resort— because it was felt throughout the world that it was on the soil of Spain that the battle of freedom was to be won or lost. And were hon. Gentlemen opposite insensible to this? No; they knew well enough, that though Spain was spoken of by this motion, England, Scotland, and Ireland would be equally affected by it; they knew well enough that if this motion were carried, the Irish Corporation Bill might as well have been lost. They knew well enough that if this motion were carried, the marines would not only come home, but the hon. Gentlemen themselves would come to that side of the House. But he was sorry if he was hurried into a party 1417 tone; he regretted it if he had been so carried away. He wished, on the contrary, to look at this question in a larger, calmer, and more statesmanlike view; and he would look at it as connected with France, a kingdom, as he agreed, so intimately connected with this country. What was the state of France at that time? There were not two parties, but two divisions of parties; and it did so happen, that in the whole of one party there was not a single man in the slightest degree tinged with popularity who had not pledged himself on the Spanish question. Supposing then, the present motion carried, and the hon. Gentlemen opposite in office, what would be the case as far as regarded France? One of two things must happen in that country. Either the more popular party would come into office in which case they would find a party in this country already pledged against the policy they were pledged to pursue, in which case the alliance so much prized by the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth went to the dogs; or the more unpopular party obtaining power, were linked and leagued, in the presence of the two countries, with the more unpopular party in this country obtaining power also. Could any man look at this state of things, calculating on the easily exciteable disposition of their neighbours, aroused as it would be by the great force of public opinion amongst the great bulk of the two people, by whom public opinion is formed—could any sober person look at this state of things without foreseeing that there might be—what there would very probably be—another great convulsion similar to that of 1830, and of which the consequence would extend as widely. So much for France; and, in the meantime, in Spain what would you be doing there? delivering up that country to a bigoted and persecuted priesthood, or an ignorant and sanguinary mob. On one side was the Inquisition, on the other the guillotine. "Withdraw," said hon. gentlemen," and leave these two unhappy engines for human mischief to come into activity. Looking, then, at the state of Europe, of France, of Spain—and, what he was bound to look at more—looking at England and the honour of England, he would conclude by saying that if there was a motion it would be disgraceful to consent to or fatal to carry, it was the motion of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
said, the hon. Gentle- 1418 man had entirely misrepresented his intention in bringing this question forward. He had carefully abstained from noticing any part of the military government, conceiving that that did not come within the scope of his motion. The House would recollect, that he had attributed the impolicy of the measures which had been adopted entirely to his Majesty's Ministers, and that he had altogether abstained from any military criticism on the conduct of General Evans. It was not for him, on such an occasion as the present, to impugn or defend the conduct of the hon. and gallant Officer; but he begged to add, that whenever the military conduct of General Evans was made the subject of discussion, he was ready to give his military opinion respecting it, as freely as he had already given his political reasons why he considered the longer continuance of the British Legion in Spain detrimental to the best interests of this country. His opinion, confirmed by that of Colonel Churchill, was, that such was the state of insubordination and demoralization of the Legion, that it was impossible to expect it could render any important service to the country whose interests it professed to vindicate.
§ Mr. H. L. Bulwer
must repeat, he did think that in making a motion at this moment for the recal of the officers of the Legion the hon. and gallant Officer opposite was inflicting disgrace on them. He also thought, and he believed a similar opinion was entertained by the country, that the effect of the observations of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, as to the conduct of the officers under General Evans, was more or less to cast an imputation on the character of his hon. and gallant Friend.
§ Sir R. Inglis
said, it appeared to him impossible for any man who could read or hear, to mistake the effect of the motion of his hon. and gallant Friend. If, as was alleged, it had reference to the recal of General Evans, it could only anticipate that event by a few days, inasmuch as, according to the communication of that hon. and gallant Officer to his constituents, it was his intention to be with them on the 10th of June. The object of his hon. and gallant Friend was to obtain the recal of the marines, and to pray his Majesty not to renew the Order in Council for the suspension of the Foreign Enlistment Act. Incidentally the motion of his hon. 1419 and gallant Friend might have the effect of recalling General Evans, but nothing short of the blind partiality of the hon. Gentleman opposite could lead any one to suppose that the motion of his hon. and gallant Friend had that special object. The Tories were charged by the hon. Gentleman with being the enemies of the church of Rome in their own country, but its friends in every other country, because there it was allied with their beloved despotism, He begged to assure the hon. Gentleman that he entertained no such feeling. He supported the cause of Don Carlos because he considered his right Indefeasible. The cause of Don Carlos was the cause of legitimacy, and that was the reason why the Tories were favourable to it; but they had no wish to Interfere on behalf of Don Carlos. What they desired was, to leave the two parties to settle their differences as they could. The Tories would not support even the despot Don Carlos by spilling British blood on the shores of Spain. The hon. Gentleman did not hesitate to say, that the Tories would support the cause of despotism wherever they had the opportunity; and, as another instance of their disposition in this respect, he had referred to Poland. Now he was not an approver of the treatment which had been experienced by the Poles; on the contrary, he believed that the Poles were, of all the people in Europe, the most deeply injured. The hon. Gentleman had alluded to the courtly phrase of his hon. and gallant Friend, of which, with his diplomatic habits, he was doubtless a very competent judge; but perhaps the hon. Gentleman would excuse him if he suggested to him, that he might find it somewhat inconvenient if in some places out of this House—if in a foreign court, for example—when speaking of Don Miguel, he described him as the monster King. The hon. Gentleman should recollect that the individual to whom he thus referred had been recognised as King of Portugal by this country. If not by this country, he, was by some of the other states of Europe. He believed himself to be the lawful sovereign; and as their King the people of Portugal allowed him to rule over them. He would then come to the main question, namely, what was a naval force? The noble Lord (Lord Palmerston) defined a naval force to be that, the principal part of whose operations was sus- 1420 tained by ships. Would it be denied that the great body of these men had been for weeks, he might say months, out of their ships? Could it be said that, in common parlance, they (the marines) came within the construction of the words "a naval force?" The support agreed by the treaty to be rendered to the Queen of Spain was limited to the supply of arms, ammunition, &c., and, if necessary, a naval force. From the returns it would be seen to what extent these supplies of arms had been carried; and the naval force was very considerable, looking at the number of men concerned, and still more from the moral influence of the name of England being attached to them. The question was, whether this country was at war or not? He put it to the House whether this was not an instance in which the King's troops had been engaged without an actual declaration of war. He would now state, as he had stated before, that this was an unauthorised war in which General Evans was engaged. He had stated this before, and if that gallant officer returned to this country crowned with victory, he should feel more satisfaction in raising the question of the principle involved in these operations. He would rather take the issue with the gallant Officer (General Evans) when he was successful than when he was unsuccessful. He held that no mart was at liberty to enter into a war except by the command of his lawful superior. He held, as he had stated before, that the life of man was too precious, and that man's blood ought not to be shed, whether in private or in public, by nations or individuals, except by the command of their lawful superior. He did not make any statement in the absence of the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster which he had not made in his presence, and which he was not prepared to repeat. These were the reasons that induced him to concur in the motion of his hon. and gallant Friend. He believed that the great body of the people of England felt strongly the objections which he had urged. Yes; whatever might be the effect of momentary enthusiasm, he believed that the feeling of the great body of the people of England was, that the blood of Englishmen should not be shed in foreign quarrels in which the interests of England were not directly concerned.
§ Mr. Ward
thought, that the debate 1421 which had grown put of the motion of the hon. and gallant Officer (Sir H. Hardinge) might serve to illustrate, in a very forcible manner, the difficulties which must always attend the conduct of foreign affairs under any Government in this country. If the Government for the time being did not appear to interfere with the events over which they could not exercise any control, they were asked, as the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tarn worth, had asked the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, why in France there was now no Government? as if it depended on his noble Friend (Lord Palmerston) to overcome the difficulties which prevented Louis Phillipe from forming a Government agreeably to the wishes of himself and the Chamber of Deputies. But if the Government of this country did interfere, then they were asked why there was no Government in Spain? and his noble Friend was made responsible, because the Government of the Queen of Spain had not obtained that success in a year which circumstances induced him to hope for. He was perfectly willing to admit, that the question before the House ought to be discussed in the most calm and dispassionate manner. Whatever might be the result of the discussion, the decision was one in which he conceived that our national character for consistency and honour was deeply involved. There was a great difference of opinion on the subject of our policy with regard to the Quadruple Alliance, and the hon. Baronet who had just sat down had expressed his opinion against that treaty. Many thought that that Act was unwise, unstatesmanlike, and uncalled for by the circumstances of Europe; but others thought, and he was one of them, that it was a wise, a statesmanlike, and a necessary Act, and one that was imperatively called for by the peculiar circumstances of this country. Whatever the opinions of individuals might be of the Obligations of that Act, or of the narrowed and restricted sense in which it was sought to be interpreted, his opinion was, that this question ought not to be entertained at all by the House of Commons, unless upon grounds clear and conclusive, exempt from anything that partook of party spirit, and such as would leave no doubt on any reasonable mind, as to the motives which influenced the right hon. Gentleman in bringing forward this motion. It was with great pain and 1422 regret that he saw a question involving the highest national considerations mixed up in parts of the speech of the hon. and gallant Mover with matters of a merely personal nature, which were calculated to work upon feelings which ought not to be allowed to influence the opinion of the House. He wished this question to be argued in the calmest and most dispassionate tone. It must be admitted that it was not upon the treatment which the British Legion had met with, or the degree of success which had attended its operations against the Carlists, that the decision of the question should rest. It rested, as a national question, upon the nature of the obligations which we had entered into, and upon the question whether Great Britain was not bound to realises the hopes she held out to Spain, whether we could with honour or consistency, at this most critical period of the contest withdraw from our pledge of co-operation? The amount and extent of this co-operation depended on the terms of the Quadruple Treaty. To many of the articles of that treaty a very different interpretation had been given; but if the House would allow him he would state shortly what he conceived to be the true objects of the treaty. The preamble of the treaty which was signed in 1834, stated the object of the treaty to be to compel Don Carlos and Don Miguel to withdraw from the Portuguese dominions, where, at that time, the infant Don Carlos had taken refuge, and where he formed a nucleus of a party combined against the authority of the recognised Queen of Spain. The preamble stated the motives which induced England to concur in the line of operation there pointed out; it was stated to be "in consideration of the interest which this country had always taken in the security of the Spanish monarchy, and our anxious desire to assist in the establishment of peace in the Peninsula and the rest of Europe." He would read the whole of the treaty if the hon. Gentleman opposite wished. It went on to state," "considering also the special obligations arising out of our ancient treaties with Portugal." This had nothing to do with Don Carlos. Don Carlos was now dangerous to the order of things recognised in Spain, as Don Miguel was at that time in Portugal. They were both included in the same article. In pursuance of this treaty, the Spanish troops under General Rodil were sent into 1423 the Portuguese territories; they drove Don Carlos to the shores of the ocean, and compelled him to seek refuge on board of a British man-of-war. He thought that it was a great want of prudence and foresight that they did not bind Don Carlos by express stipulations before they gave him refuge. As it was, he believed that no engagement was entered into with him before he was received on board of the British vessel: he took refuge in this country, and after passing a fortnight here he took the shortest road to the Basque provinces to renew his endeavours to shake the Thrones of Spain and Portugal. Under these circumstances, there was an additional article agreed to. The preamble to the additional articles stated, that the "contracting parties having taken into their serious consideration the recent events (that was the passing of Don Carlos into Spain), and being deeply impressed with the conviction, that in this new state of things new means were thought necessary for effecting the objects of the treaty, they therefore included them in these additional articles." The additional articles were known to everybody, they were more recent, and had been more canvassed, and were in the hands of every Member; and the only question was, whether the construction put by the Government on the words "naval force" was or was not the correct interpretation. What was their position at this moment? The Queen of Spain was recognised by this country—her title was admitted last night to be incontestible by the hon. Baronet, (Sir S. Canning). That honourable Baronet had the best possible means of ascertaining what were the feelings of the majority of the people of Spain. The Queen of Spain was supported by nine-tenths of the Spanish people and by the Cortes, and the only party by whom she was opposed was the remaining tenth, at the head of whom was Don Carlos. The hon. Baronet asked whether we were at war with Don Carlos or not? We could not be at war with Don Carlos, because he was merely a pretender. But we were bound by the treaty to co-operate with the Queen of Spain against him as if he were actually at war with this country. It was just as much as if Don Carlos was actually an independent sovereign, and as if he had declared war against this country. In his view of the case, the Quadruple Treaty 1424 pledged us as distinctly and positively to the exclusion of Don Carlos from the Basque provinces as from the territory of Portugal. It might not do so in exact words, but it did in spirit. He would ask whether it did not exclude Don Carlos from the Throne of Spain, and whether it did not render it incumbent on us to put a stop to the civil war in that country. It seemed to him that the hon. Members opposite were anxious to put this question to the test of success. He admitted that success was essential; it influenced men's judgments, whether it influenced their consciences or not; and there could not be a better proof of this than the conduct of the party opposite on this very question. He asked them, why was not the policy of the Government with regard to Spain made the subject of complaint during the present Session till now? He asked, in what material point the line of policy pursued in consequence of the Quadruple Alliance was changed, so as to cause the present motion. There were precisely the same grounds for the motion. They had been threatened with it during the whole of the recess; they had heard nothing but denunciations of the policy of the noble Lord from every organ of the Conservatives. They had been told up to the first day of the Session of the expensive mode of intervention, of the neglect of British interests, and of the incapacity of the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. What was the result of all this? It happened, that three days before the meeting of Parliament intelligence was received of a victory gained by the combined forces of the Queen of Spain and the British Legion. And so great was the re-action which attended the receipt of this intelligence, and so great was the interest excited in the public mind by the gallantry of our fellow-countrymen in Spain, that the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, feeling that the moment was very unpropitious for such a discussion, quelled some little symptoms of insubordination, and availed himself of the very first opportunity that the forms of the House allowed to express his admiration of the conduct and gallantry of the brave men who had successfully defended Bilboa. The hon. Member for Sandwich (Mr. Grove Price) and the hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Mr. Maclean), of whose devotion to the cause of absolutism there could not be 1425 the least doubt, submitted in silence to the course pursued by the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth. He would ask, what prevented the right hon. and gallant Officer from bringing forward this motion on that occasion, and what encouraged him to do so now? The simple fact was, that success no longer beamed so decisively on the cause of liberty in the Peninsula. This was the first time that he had heard in the British House of Parliament that a fair ground for abandoning an ally was, that he was unfortunate. He had heard often the opposite argument used. He had heard the misfortunes of those with whom we were in alliance stated and never unsuccessfully, as a plea for additional struggles and exertion on our part. It was reserved for the right hon. and gallant officer (Sir H. Hardinge) to reverse this, and to make the want of success a plea for shamefully abandoning the engagements to which we were solemnly bound by treaty. But he begged to ask what this want of success consisted of? He might ask whether such a defeat had been sustained by the Legion as to disable them from taking part in the contest. [Sir H. Hardinge "Yes"]? The hon. and gallant Officer said "yes;" he doubted this. After three days' hard fighting — after most gallantly carrying a position, defended by, he admitted, gallant men likewise—after carrying this position, they found that from the want of co-operation on the part of General Saarsfield, which they were entitled to expect, and when the Carlists brought overwhelming numbers to bear on them, he begged to repeat, after sustaining a conflict of three days, they were compelled to retire. He did not dispute that the loss on both sides was nearly equal. But he would ask whether General Evans himself had attempted to disguise his losses? Had he not in the most candid manner revealed the whole state of the case to the country. And yet was it not this very moment that an old brother Officer in arms had chosen to throw impediments in his way, and to cast the weight of his authority in military matters in the scale against him? The right hon. and gallant officer opposite, he thought, could not deny that he had—in measured terms, he admitted—thrown the weight of his name and opinion in the scale against General Evans, and pronounced to the country that the Legion could not be successful, and that nothing but 1426 disgrace and defeat attended them. When stating his reasons why British honour would not allow of the continuance of our co-operation in Spain, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman referred to the atrocities which had been committed in the course of the present disastrous warfare. He deeply regretted those atrocities; he wished from his heart that they had been avoided; but, at the same time, he must remind the House that he had the authority of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman himself for stating, that the guilt of such proceedings was almost equal on both sides. This being the case, he would ask, in common fairness, why appeal to the massacres which had been committed as arguments against one of the parties in this contest, when such arguments would apply with at least equal force against the other? If Cabrera's mother were murdered, had not her son revenged her death upon thirty innocent females, who expiated with their blood that atrocious murder? Were not instances of a like kind before them in abundance? And if so, what justice was there, when the guilt was equally shared between the two parties in stigmatising the one in order to bespeak favour for the other? With respect to the claims of Don Carlos, and the manner in which he vindicated them, let it be borne in mind that he had never once dared to openly face the Legion. In this, for he knew something of Don Carlos, that individual had only pursued the line of policy which had ever marked his career. In the time of the late King of Spain he believed that Don Carlos had secretly countenanced and fomented every plot which had manifested itself against the reigning Sovereign, though he kept himself in the back ground, in order to shrink from the public avowal and consequences of his sedition. For the future, he believed that if Don Carlos were to succeed to-morrow, the first act of his home policy would be to re-establish the Inquisition, and of his foreign policy to give to Russia such an ascendancy in the Peninsula as must prove very formidable to this country, coupled with that which Russia had already acquired in other parts of Europe. Now, this was a result which he did not wish to see brought about, and therefore it was, that he believed that England would be best consulting her own interests, as well as the dictates of humanity, by persevering in the 1427 line of conduct she had already taken up. The hon. Member for Oxford wanted Government to withdraw the Legion, and to leave the two contending parties to fight out their disputes without any assistance from this country. Did the hon. Members think that in such a course they would be promoting the cause of humanity? He really could not understand how the hon. Member could make out that position to the satisfaction of the House, and he wished he would explain his views upon the subject a little clearer than they appeared to him at present. The hon. Member afterwards went on to deprecate the fatal system of reprisals which had been carried on between the two contending parties. These reprisals he sincerely deprecated, but he would ask whether they were without precedent in the history even of our own country? Let them look at our own conduct in the civil contest which was carried on during the latter part of the last century, and he feared that they would find but too completes parallel for the atrocities committed in Spain at the present moment in the proceedings of the Irish rebellion. If he were not mistaken, also, the Duke of Wellington himself in the early part of the Peninsular war held a correspondence with Marshal Soult, in which he threatened reprisals upon the French in consequence of the barbarous massacres which were perpetrated by the latter upon their prisoners ["No, no"]. He thought he was not mistaken in what he stated, but however that might be, he made the statement not with any view to disparage the high character of that great commander; on the contrary, he did not think it at all derogatory to his honour, he thought it might be justified by the necessity of the case, and he only adduced the fact as an evidence how difficult it was, under certain circumstances, to avoid apparent cruelties of this sort. He believed that the only hope which there was of terminating these atrocities, and with them the contest now waging in Spain, was to continue our present policy. He believed, moreover, that it was for the true interests of England that a strong and stable Government should be established in Spain, and such a government he was convinced could only be based upon liberal principles. The hon. Gentleman opposite inquired for what they were contending in Spain? He answered, for British interests in the 1428 Peninsula, and for the promotion of our trade there, by restoring that great country once more to the position which she was entitled to hold in Europe. Upon these grounds he should give his most cordial support to his Majesty's Government in resisting the present motion.
§ Lord Mahon
spoke as follows:*—On several former occasions, when I thought it my duty to bring forward Spanish affairs, I avoided taking the sense of the House upon them. I felt unwilling to call for a decision on a subject on which the interest of the House and of the country was not yet thoroughly awakened. But, Sir, this forbearance has now attained its utmost limit. When we see defeat and disaster stare us in the face,—when the fate so long reserved to our enemies has at length overtaken British soldiers,—when the term of "British fugitives," hitherto almost a contradiction in terms, may be truly applied,— then, Sir, it becomes our duty to ascertain whether this House will really sanction, by a vote, a repetition of this nefarious policy and deplorable result. I rejoice, therefore, to hear that, on the present occasion, the subject will be pushed to a division. I rejoice, also, to see the manner in which the question has been brought forward by my right hon. and gallant Friend (Sir H. Hardinge). We have here an officer, foremost in the ranks of his profession, — whose life has been so often hazarded in his country's service—whose conduct has contributed to the gaining of glorious battles,—come forward, with the same zeal as he displayed at Albuero and at Waterloo, to vindicate his country's honour, and clear his country's standard from the foul stain that now rests upon it. He was seconded by a right hon. Gentleman (Sir Stratford Canning), whose public services and diplomatic experience must give the greatest weight to his opinion on foreign affairs, and whose words come recommended by a name that once could awaken the warmest sympathy of the House,—the name of Canning. That was a name to which the noble Lord opposite was, at one time, at least, not indifferent. Does the House wish to hear the opinion of Mr. Canning on the point before it? Does it not wish to hear the policy that he approved with reference to this very subject? In his speech in reply, on the 12th* From a corrected report.1429 of December, 1826, Mr. Canning spoke as follows: and I would ask the House if it do not most accurately describe the circumstances of the present case?—It has been suggested, Sir, that we should, at once, ship off the Spanish refugees in this country to Spain; and that we should, by the repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, let loose into the contest all the ardent and irregular spirits of the country. Sir, this is the very suggestion which I have anticipated with apprehension in the present unquiet state of men's minds in Europe. All such expedients I disclaim, and I deplore and dread the employment of them.These were the words of Mr. Canning. Oh, Sir, if it had pleased Providence to prolong the life of that gifted man, with what feelings would he have contemplated the proceedings of the present day! How rejoiced would he have been to see his policy worthily maintained by his own relative! but what pain would also have been his, to find the noble Lord, who was once his follower in public, and his friend in private, life, now acting against almost every one of his maxims of either foreign or domestic policy!
The hon. Member for Mary-le-bone has asked my right hon. and gallant Friend, why he brought forward this motion now? —why he did not wait till the 10th of June, when the soldiers of the British Legion would be here, and, if it were desired, could give their testimony upon the matter? Now, can it be possible, that the hon. Member for Mary-le-bone, when he made this remark, had even heard the motion of my right hon. and gallant Friend? Why, the precise object of the motion is to give the House an opportunity of seeing the officers and soldiers of the Legion on the 10th of June; and, to effect that, it has been moved, that the Order in Council, permitting their engagement in the Spanish service, shall not be renewed. If the motion had not been made, there is no doubt but that the suspension of the Foreign Enlistment Act would be continued; and then, instead of returning home on the 10th of June, we should pot, perhaps, see them for the next ten years. Without any disrespect for the hon. Member, I must say, that I did not expect to hear an observation so utterly without point or meaning, fall from a Gentleman of his abilities.
The first part of the motion before us is against the renewal of the Order in Council for the Auxiliary Legion. I have 1430 always considered the employment of such a force as the Auxiliary Legion discreditable to this country, had it even been conducted with skill, and attended with success. Such a force has always appeared to me a renewal of the system of mercenaries. I distinctly explained at the time I first used that phrase, and I repeat it now, that I do not mean, by the title of "mercenaries," that the soldiers enlist from mercenary motives, I most readily admit, that the motives of the officers and soldiers are honourable: love of enterprise, and zeal for action, are praiseworthy in soldiers; a desire of promotion is also natural and laudable, and it must be very agreeable to some lieutenant or ensign in his Majesty's service to find himself at once made a general or so in the Auxiliary Legion. It is very natural to accept the advantage, if offered. I made no attack upon the soldiers when present, and I should be still more sorry to do so in their absence. But I do say, that the position in which his Majesty has placed them, is that of soldiers enlisting in a body in a foreign service, as practised in the dark ages, and known at that time by the name of mercenary bands. Now, Sir, of this system, I say that it is utterly unworthy of a civilised or a Christian country. I admit, that precedents may be drawn for it from darker ages, when valour and prowess were considered the only avenues to honour,—when bloodshed was thought—not, as now, a necessary evil, but—the only glorious employment. War was then considered so good a thing, that it could not come amiss in any shape; and when one's own country did not afford it, a body of men would enlist under any other banner, and go abroad in quest of plunder. Such was the feeling of the lime. But it is precisely in the progress of humanity, that we so greatly surpass our forefathers. Are we to revive this system? Why, Sir, I should just as soon expect to see the laws against witchcraft, the thumb-screw and the rack, the forest laws, or the old penal code, revived, as a system which, in my opinion, is not at all inferior in barbarity to any of those I have named. How does this renewal stand in contrast with the advance of Christian principles amongst those who should be imbued with its mild and merciful spirit! How should we repudiate that system of warfare which reckons the blood of foreigners as of no weight in the scale, and which sends forth all those 1431 "ardent and irregular spirits," as Mr. Canning called them, to enlist and fight under the banners of strangers on any shore!
But further, Sir, I deny that, as the noble Lord told us on a former occasion, precedents are to be found for this system in what is justly called the glorious reign of Queen Elizabeth. It was then a question of fair and open war. For the greater part of that reign, Philip of Spain was her deadly enemy. An armada against us was for many years concerting in his councils or equipping in his harbours. Wherever, therefore, that enemy could be found, it was our duty and interest to strike him. And the Englishmen who enlisted in the service of the Dutch were still fighting in the cause of England. The English who fought in the Dutch ranks at Zutphen were as much engaged in the service of their country as Drake, when he rifled the galleons, or Effingham, when he arrested the armada. But is this the case now? Have we any quarrel with Don Carlos and his claims, or with Biscay and her freedom? Away, then, with such pretences; nor let the glorious reign of Elizabeth be sullied with cloaking over the misdeeds of the present time!
The hon. Member, the Secretary to the Admiralty, has instanced the case of Nelson at Corsica, and of Sir Sydney Smith at Acre, as forming precedents; but, on both occasions, this country was actually and avowedly at war, while, in the present instance, that fact is wanting. I may say, that the whole affair strongly reminds me of the story of the play of Hamlet, with the part of Hamlet omitted, "by particular desire!" In the same manner, in the proceedings of Government, war has been enacted, the rather important part of declaration of war being left out. The only remaining question now before the House, therefore, is this—whether the course which his Majesty's Government have pursued in regard to Spanish affairs is justified by the Treaty of Quadruple Alliance? If it be so justified, then I admit that it would be unfair for us to find fault with his Majesty's Ministers for what they have done, or interfere, in any way, for the purpose of preventing the fulfilment of that treaty. But, in order to consider this, the House must recollect the circumstance under which that treaty was concluded. It is well known that, at that time, Don Miguel and Don Carlos were in arms together; the first against that go- 1432 vernment of Portugal which we had recognised, and the other as his friend, confederate, and ally. Under these circumstances, it was the course of his Majesty's Government, considering the relation in which Portugal stood, bound with this country by treaty, to interfere for the purpose of putting an end to the civil war—and then were enacted the provisions of the Quadruple Alliance, stipulating the removal of Don Miguel and Don Carlos from Portugal. From Portugal, be it remembered, and not from the Peninsula; for I contend, that the Quadruple Treaty referred to Portugal only: it is only in the preamble that any mention at all of Spain is made. Well, the treaty was signed and ratified; and I wish the House to observe this important consequence,—a fact which the hon. Member for St. Alban's ought not to have overlooked,—that that treaty received its completion, and was crowned with the fullest success., long before the additional articles were signed. In consequence of the interference of England, Don Miguel went to Italy, and Don Carlos came to this country, and the objects which the treaty had in view were thus completely realised. But, in the meanwhile, some important changes had taken place in the administration of this country. Lord Grey's government was dissolved, and new principles were adopted by the Cabinet which succeeded it. Additional articles to the Quadruple Treaty were then prepared, and in the August following they were signed. Now, it will be found, that all the proceedings of the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, have been founded on the additional articles, and not on the Treaty of Quadruple Alliance. I wish the House, therefore, to observe, that all the steps that we are now taking, are founded on the additional articles, and not on the Quadruple Treaty itself. These articles impose on us the obligation of affording naval co-operation to the Queen of Spain, if necessary. But what was the object of that stipulation? The object was twofold,—first, that if Don Carlos had a fleet, or should acquire one, it should be opposed by a naval force from England;— secondly, to prevent, by sea, supplies from reaching the camp of the Pretender. But Don Carlos had no fleet, and, therefore, the assistance the treaty imposed upon the Government of this country was confined to the second object; that is, to 1433 prevent the landing of any supplies or succours for the service of Don Carlos. The King of the French engaged, in the same articles, and in the same spirit, to stop supplies reaching Don Carlos by land; and his Majesty the King of England engaged, on his part, that succours should not be supplied to him by sea. Just so much as the King of the French was bound to assist by land, so much, and no more, was the King of England bound, by the treaty, to assist by sea: this, I contend, is the true interpretation of the treaty. I hope it will be admitted, that I do not speak without sufficient grounds for making such an assertion, when I say, that this was the meaning which the Duke of Wellington, when he was in office in 1835, put upon the additional articles. This was the sense in which he understood this treaty, and the sense in which he was ready to carry the additional articles into execution. I repeat, that it was in this sense, and in no other, that the Duke of "Wellington and the Foreign Office acted, and were prepared to act, with reference to the provisions of the Quadruple Treaty.
Now, Sir, if this be the true interpretation of the treaty,—if the co-operation of England was to be limited to an attack upon the fleet of Don Carlos, if at any time he should acquire a naval force, or any other Powers should supply him with one,— if the co-operation of England was limited to this species of intervention—of course I do not mean now to refer to the supply of stores—if this was to be the whole extent of naval co-operation, I will appeal to the House to say how far the additional articles have been stretched and distorted. Now, if it be so agreeable to the country to continue spending its wealth in Spain, or to send out men to hazard their lives in this bellum plusquam civile—I would say, go on; but if it be asserted that we do this because the treaty compels us,—if the advocates of the policy of his Majesty's Government say, "We are very sorry, but we are obliged to continue this contest; we find it very expensive, and the loss of life unquestionably very great, but the treaty positively binds us;"—if this be the excuse put forward, I must say, that it is high time to examine whether the Quadruple Treaty does compel us to act in this manner. I, for one, distinctly maintain that it does not. If it be contended that it is of such importance to England to continue this career of sa- 1434 crifices—that it is of so much importance to the interests of the country that fresh men should be sent out to Spain, and another half million of money squandered, that is an argument which I can understand; but let it not be said, that the necessity of this interference is forced upon us. The hon. Members who sit on this side of the House, have always shown a most anxious desire to adhere to any treaties which this country may have entered into with any foreign power. I do not deny that this treaty is binding upon the country, far from it; but I am not willing to attach to it that interpretation which the noble Lord has given to it, and which, in my opinion, far exceeds its fair construction. I ask the noble Lord, can he show me one word in the treaty to justify the employment of 10,000 British soldiers in Spain? What is there in the treaty to justify the loss we have now to deplore? I took the liberty, on a former occasion, of putting a question to the noble Lord, to which, however, the noble Lord—owing, no doubt, to the multiplicity of points stirred in that debate—returned no answer. I will, therefore, again ask the noble Lord, what is his interpretation of the additional articles with regard to these two points—time and expense? If the war were to continue for twenty years, are we to be bound by the stipulations of the Quadruple Treaty to furnish stores; or suppose that the Queen of Spain required stores, not to the amount of half a million, of money, but of 20,000,000l., are we bound by the treaty to supply them? In short, is the treaty limited or unlimited? This is a point which I think deserves the consideration of the House. Let hon. Members reflect on the immense national interests which are confided to their vigilance, and whether the treaty and its interpretation are to depend upon the single opinion of the noble Lord?
I have now stated to the House the view I take of this treaty, which was also the view of the Duke of Wellington upon this subject. Granting that the treaty was binding upon the Government of this country, and that it was drawn in the strongest possible terms, it does not follow that it was binding upon us to that extent and that degree upon which the noble Lord insists. I wish that the honest intention of the treaty should be acted up to; and it is far from my wish that this country should shrink from any contract 1435 into which she has, however improvidently, entered; but I cannot see that the extent of co-operation, which his Majesty's Government has afforded, was at all borne out, or justified, by the treaty.
The House will, perhaps, now allow me to say a few words on the military part of the question. The hon. Member For St. Alban's (Mr. Ward) stated, that he believed that the Duke of Wellington, in the beginning of the Peninsular war, had sent a letter, threatening to shoot the French prisoner if the French general did not adopt a particular course of proceeding. Now, I believe that the case intended to be referred to is that of the ordinanza of Portugal, who acted as a sort of militia, but whom the French treated with the utmost barbarity, as insurgents and peasants in arms, putting many of them to death in cold blood. The Duke of Wellington maintained that they ought to be treated like soldiers, which they undoubtedly were; and, in order to secure this result, he, wrote to Marshal Soult, desiring that they might be treated according to civilised warfare: but I believe I can. positively affirm, that the letter of the Duke of Wellington contained no threat of any kind; and, therefore, the hon. Member for St. Alban's was quite erroneous in his statement. So far from that being the case, the Duke of Wellington offered rewards, by proclamation, for such French soldiers as had their lives preserved by the Portuguese peasantry, and were brought to his head-quarters. Such was the conduct of the Duke of Wellington. I must here remark, that the observations of the hon. Member for Marylebone (Mr. Bulwer), were not warranted in ascribing any degree of asperity to the observations which have been made on this side of the House, as to the military capacity or incapacity of General Evans. I feel bound to say that, on the contrary, the most honourable forbearance has been manifested, in his absence, by Members on this side of the House, throughput the whole of the debate. I am far from saying that his late disasters and failure are owing to his fault; but I must at the same time, declare, that the late defeat of the Legion is an event which all men must deplore, as a stain upon the British arms; and I fear that this fact will be quoted against us for many years to come. The people of Biscay will not make nice distinctions respecting the par- 1436 ticular conditions under which foreign troops are arrayed in arms against them on their own soil; they will not consider whether the Legion came out to Spain under the Order in Council; or with the sanction of the King of England; they will not inquire if the General commanding them was appointed in Madrid or in London: they will only say, "They were Englishmen, and we defeated them." If we look to the details of the action, which were transmitted to Madrid by the Spanish commissioner, Lujas, it will be found that there is a confession of very considerable loss; and this admission is of no small importance, for the House will remember, that it is no slight cause which ever calls upon Spaniards to admit a loss. I remember a remarkable instance of this, in reference to one of the victories gained by the Carlists,—I think it was the second battle of Vittoria, when the Queen's troops were driven back with the loss of baggage and artillery. I had the curiosity to refer to the Spanish official report of this battle; and, notwithstanding the result was notorious to every one, I was surprised to find that the official accounts did not even admit the least repulse, but stated that the Queen's troops had "immortalised themselves by a most glorious retreat!" But, "as the distance was very long, and the roads very rough, they had left behind them all their artillery and baggage;" and, as far as I can recollect, the official report went on to say, that "this circumstance would happily afford the troops an opportunity of moving forward with increased celerity and freedom from incumbrance, which they would doubtless exhibit upon the next grand combined attack," which was promised—positively promised—for the last time, as they say upon the stage, to be made from Vittoria. I lament the policy of the noble Lord, for in it I see nothing but British disgrace; disgrace in that very country which has produced the brightest laurels that British hands have ever gathered, or British brows have ever worn. I will not enter into the character and liberties of the Basque people, for that has been already spoken of by my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford, this evening. But it appears that there are two objects for which the Basques are now contending. For one of them, I must express my sympathy. One is the establishment of Don Carlos on the throne of Spain,—for that I feel no sym- 1437 pathy; the other, the maintenance of their own liberties,—for which I entertain the strongest interest: and I must say, that a warm interest in their liberties is perfectly consistent with an utter absence of feeling for Don Carlos. There is another argument which has been employed by the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny (Mr. O'Connell). If, said the hon. and learned Gentleman, you disclaim all sympathy with Don Carlos, and yet support this Motion, you will vote with some Gentlemen who have expressed strong feelings in his favour. Now, I would remind the hon. and learned Gentleman, that my object, on this occasion, is to check the effusion of blood. Why, then, are we not to obtain the assistance, for that object, of those who entertain different views from ours with respect to the claim of Don Carlos? But, moreover, I think that, of all men whom we might have expected to urge such an objection, the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny is the very last. Are there not hon. Members who have declared, that they would risk even a civil war, rather than grant the repeal of the union with Ireland? And are there hot many, now closely confederated with them, who have openly declared, that they would never renounce urging and pressing that repeal? Is it not strange, then, that the hon. and learned Member, whose whole political position ought constantly to remind him of this fact, should be the first to taunt hon. Members on this side of the House with differences of opinion? But we do not rest our vindication on this ground: we have a better defence than recrimination. We blame the conduct of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite for their unnatural alliance: and as for us, we declare that, having no sympathy with Don Carlos, but hoping to put an end to the exasperation of war, we do not see why the whole House might not, on that point, come to the same decision.
I do not know that I have any other observations with which I need trouble the House, especially as, on a recent occasion, I entered so fully into the subject; but I will say that, if ever there was an opportunity on which I should imagine that men of all parties might meet together with common views, for the purpose of combining their endeavours to slop the effusion of blood, and the wanton waste of human life, this is that occasion. No part of the duty of a legislator can be 1438 more advantageous to the public, or so delightful to himself. It is on this principle that I hope to co-operate with the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department, in mitigating the severity of the penal code; it is on this principle that I support the cause of the factory children; it is on this principle I formerly had the honour to bear my part in the Convention of Lord Eliot; and it is on this principle that I how call upon the House to guard the lives of our brave soldiers and marines, until those lives are required for the service of their own country; and I entreat the House, by their vote this evening, to, guard the British name from being tarnished, and the British blood from being shed.
§ Mr. Ward
rose to explain, in consequence of some of the arguments which had fallen from the noble Lord opposite. He begged to recal the attention of the House to what he had said. He had not cast any imputation on the Duke Of Wellington. He had said, indeed, that even in civilised warfare there might be cases in which the lex talionis was justifiable, find that it had been pressed upon the Duke of Wellington in the course of the Peninsular war, in order to compel the French marshals to recognise certain principles of honourable warfare. He meant to cast no sort of reflection whatever on his conduct.
observed, that the right hon. Gentleman opposite had maintained that our interference in the cause of the Queen and Constitution of Spain Was not authorised in any way by the Quadruple Treaty. He rose to address a few words to the House, because they might be induced, by the arguments of the right hon. and gallant Officer, and of the noble Lord, to believe that the interpretation which had been put Upon that treaty had not been such as was consistent with the true spirit and just construction of that treaty. He felt some surprise when the noble Lord stated, that the Duke Of Wellington had put the narrowest construction upon the terms of that treaty, but he was not aware that his Grace, to whose opinion he paid the greatest deference, had given that opinion upon a cool consideration of the treaty, nor was he aware that his Grace had ever given art opinion that the treaty would not bear any Other interpretation. He admitted that it was to the additional articles that more particular 1439 attention ought to be paid; but there were some passages in the treaty itself which it was important well to weigh and consider, for the purpose of obtaining a clear and satisfactory exposition of the additional articles. They could not read the preamble without perceiving that the contracting parties to that treaty had fully before their eyes the particular facts of the case, and more especially the circumstance that Don Carlos attracted to himself the rebellious and disaffected subjects of Spain. That treaty was not entered into merely for the purpose of tranquillizing Portugal, but in consequence of the general state of political affairs in the Peninsula, and in consequence of the peculiar relations in which Spain was then placed with regard to Portugal. For all these objects the treaty was framed, and also for the additional and corroborative, but not the sole, reason, that former treaties had closely connected England and Portugal. Let the House mark the object and the circumstances of this treaty: at the very time Don Carlos and Don Miguel were within the Portuguese territory, and it was to expel them that that treaty and the additional articles were framed; but the leading motive was to establish peace in both Spain and Portugal. In order to attain that object, it was specially provided that Great Britain should co-operate with the armies of Spain and Portugal with a naval force. Mark, then, the intent of the treaty, and see what construction it bore. The object was to prevent Don Carlos from acquiring supreme power in Spain. Then came the article which was called by a mistake the corresponding article, applicable to France. They were told that the best mode of interpretation was to refer to the article of France, but he trusted he should be able to overthrow this argument. If the intention had been the blockade of the coasts merely, why was not that fact expressed by the contracting parties? Now, so far from the two articles which regarded England and France being corresponding articles, they were wholly different in their terms and application. In the one case, France was bound to prevent the transport of stores, &c., across her frontier into Spain; in the other, England was bound to prevent Carlos from seizing the throne of Spain, by sending into her ports such arms, ammunition, &c., as might be desired by the Queen. 1440 In the one case there was an active obligation on the part of Great Britain, and a passive obligation on the kingdom of France. Then followed the obligation of England to assist, if necessary, with a naval force. Then the doubt was raised as to the extent of operations of the naval force. He would ask, how were they to try the feeling of the contracting parties as to their intent?—because by the intent the treaty ought to be construed and fulfilled. He humbly apprehended that one thing was clear, that the parties did not mean that the British fleet was likely to meet that of Don Carlos—that they did not mean to carry on war on the high seas. That was not the object; but the object was, a naval warfare along the coast. Was it, or was it not, the universal custom of Great Britain, in all such cases, to resort to naval warfare? He would ask, what was to be the criterion of the assistance to be given, but that which was used when they conducted a naval force along a line of coast in co-operation with a land force? If they fell short of it, in what respect were they to fall short of it? But he would say it was precisely the same as if they were acting with a military force in Spain in concert with our navy. It was vain to talk of precedents, and he defied any one to produce a single case in which a British force had been employed on a coast in which they were not similarly exercised. It was said, that there had not, indeed, been a declaration of war made in The Gazette. Nor was there. But let the House see what was the bearing of the question. Was it not just as much an act of war to blockade the ports of Spain and to prevent supplies entering them, as to land troops and assail the town? Was not this just as much an act of war as any that could be conceived? Of all the fanciful mistakes that had ever yet been made, was that made by those who said that they were to assist the Queen of Spain with a naval force. If they were to assist by a naval force, it meant nothing more nor less than that a naval force should do that which it had ever done and been accustomed to do. Now he would take leave of this argument with one observation, namely, that without reference to the policy of the question, Great Britain was bound to do no more than to perform those solemn obligations which honour and honesty called upon her to regard; and to do this according to 1441 the true meaning of the contracting parties, and to adopt that course which she was asked to do. He would say, that if, on the contrary, they should withdraw their force, under the pretence of having exceeded the obligations of the treaty, let them recollect that they had made a solemn compact with an ally, by which they were bound to the terms of the treaty. But he would say, they would not perform the solemn compact made with France, Spain, and Portugal, not by openly overcoming that compact by an avowed act, but they would be guilty of a base, a pitiful, a disgraceful abandonment of the most solemn obligations. It was his humble hope, that whether these treaties had been entered into by this country in conformity with the just views of policy or not, still it must ever be the policy of this country, as it ought to be and was its proudest boast, to observe those treaties fully. Instead of confining herself to narrow limits, it would be her boast honestly to effect the great object for which the treaty was intended. England was bound to put a large construction on the treaty, because it was a treaty by which Great Britain undertook to perform a certain compact. The universal law of nations demanded that we should carry the treaty to its fullest extent. The right hon. and gallant Officer who had introduced this motion, had submitted to the consideration of the House the propriety of desiring his Majesty not to renew the Order in Council by the provisions of which British troops were serving in Spain, and were exempted from the operations of the whole of the provisions contained in the Foreign Enlistment Act. The Enlistment of persons into foreign service had been common amongst Englishmen at all times, and there were few instances of persons being prosecuted for serving foreign countries. Down to the time of Charles 2nd, there were two precedents; subsequently to that period came certain statutes of George 2nd; then came the Foreign Enlistment Bill. Now that Act ought not to be thrown entirely out of consideration. The Foreign Enlistment Act, however, was not of the character which had been stated. Four articles were introduced into it in 1814, as applicable to the case of Spain, which were such as to deserve the severest opprobrium. Within three or four years after this period, proclamations were issued in 1442 South America, calling upon the inhabitants to resist the power of Spain. In 1819, the Parliament declared it to be fitting that his Majesty's subjects should be permitted to serve in the South American States. So far as the principle went the Foreign Enlistment Bill had been recognised, but it had been found extremely difficult to carry it into effect. The House of Commons had twice consented to repeal it, but the House of Lords would not agree, and it consequently still remained the law of the land; but certainly no government had hitherto ventured to take such steps as Don Carlos had done, with respect to troops employed on foreign service. It was well understood, and would be readily allowed by those who had had experience in these cases, that no one thing should be imagined so impossible, as to carry into full effect the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act. It had been universally allowed by all who, in their professional capacities, had been compelled to turn their attention to these questions, that it was always matter of the utmost difficulty to deal with cases in which it was meant to apply the provisions of that statute. It so happened, for example, that, in the last war with the United States of America, one of our frigates, which had been most gallantly defended, by all that skill and courage could do, was compelled to strike to an enemy's ship of superior force. On board of the frigate by which she was captured, there were found between seventy and eighty sailors, who in former years had been of the number of those who had manned the fleets of Great Britain. On a subsequent occasion, some of these men were taken prisoners of war in a successful action against the enemy, by one of our ships; they had been entered by their names, as runaways, on the books of the Admiralty. It also happened that their case was brought under the consideration of the Government of that day, and that Government never entertained the remotest notion that they could bring these men to the scaffold, on account of their, having entered the American service. Undoubtedly, however, if they could have done so, they would have proceeded to that extremity, and would have been justified in doing so, on account of these men having been engaged in the cause of a power with which we were at war. With regard to the question, what was to be done with 1443 the troops of the British Legion when they left Spain, he would say, let them be lodged in the hospital at Plymouth, and they would be taken care of. Another argument was, it was impolitic and cruel to expose British subjects to such barbarity in a foreign country, and that care should have been taken to prevent such scenes as had occurred. And who had been the author of these barbarities? Don Carlos, who had declared that when a British force arrived on the confines of Spain every one that fell into his hands should be destroyed. The best way, however, to counteract that, was to send such a force to that country as would be able to prevent him carrying his threats into execution. Success would have consecrated such a step as a precedent. The British Government had the power to prevent the execution of such threats, and it ought to have said to Don Carlos, yield you must to our determination, because we have the power to carry it into effect. He considered the existence of the present Government depended on the rejection or adoption of the motion by a reformed Parliament of Great Britain. He did not suppose a reformed Parliament would abandon the great principles on which they had hitherto acted. He would say, if a reformed Parliament of Great Britain, who had hitherto advocated the cause of freedom and liberty, should abandon their position, and no longer stand first and foremost in encouraging an example of resistance to despots and tyrants, and of spreading in every direction these blessings to other nations that were willing to accept them, then they would hear, on the announcement of the news, that bonfires were lighted up at St. Petersburg, in the capital of the despot almost equally opposed by all parties in the 'House, and who had hitherto been prevented from extending his gigantic power only by the union of the western free states to resist him and his brother allies. But the right hon. and gallant Gentleman said, the feelings of the people of England were opposed to such interference, because they did not wish to see the blood of England shed in a cause foreign to their feelings. Now, he could say safely that he had twenty constituents to one as compared with those of the gallant Officer; and so far from fearing to face his constituents on account of the course he had pursued that night, he would glory in the declaration; 1444 and he had undoubted confidence that so far from his constituents not sanctioning that course, they felt deeply as he felt, and they felt honestly, too, that Great Britain was the great bulwark in the cause of freedom over the world; and if they deserted that cause which they had hitherto gallantly defended, they would give way to tyrants, and yield, as the King of the French had done, to the Holy Alliance. In conclusion, he would say, that by all the ties which they were bound to encourage the spread of liberty and free institutions, they were bound to oppose the motion, and that on the success of the operations in Spain against Don Carlos depended the freedom, peace, and happiness of the world.
Mr. G. Price
said, that his opinions with respect to the Spanish question were well known, as he had never shrunk from avowing them. In anything that he intended to offer with respect to the present motion, it was not his intention to enter into any argument touching the respective merits or claims of the conflicting parties who were now contending for the Throne of Spain. Neither did he intend to enter into any recital or comparison of the atrocities that were countenanced or committed on either side. It was not his intention to enter into any part of this question, which more particularly interested the conflicting parties themselves. He had not to deal with the present question as a Spanish question, but as a British question—as a question which concerned the honour, the character, and the interests of the British empire—he would treat this question upon broad and comprehensive grounds. He did not want or wish to enter into any criticism upon the military operations carried on by the British Auxiliary force. It was not his intention to discuss whether the commander of that force had displayed the talents that ought to distinguish a military commander, or whether he had committed mistakes. He was neither capable nor inclined to discuss any question of individual conduct with respect to the operations in Spain, and he had no disposition to say anything of the conduct of an hon. Member who was absent. It had always been his wish to avoid speaking of an absent Member, and he had never done so in any instance when he saw a prospect of being afforded the opportunity of meeting him front to front. The question, as he 1445 had stated, he wished to consider in a far wider and more extensive point of view than anything that related to the affairs of individuals. The principle on which the noble Lord interfered in this contest was a principle borrowed from the semi-barbarous policy of the middle ages. In the advances that civilization and improvement had made, there was nothing so gratifying to the man of humanity, to the philosopher, to the philanthropist, and the statesman, as to observe the progress which, during the last two centuries, civilization had made in mitigating the horrors of war. They ought not to now recur to the practices of semi-barbarous times, nor attempt to act upon principles which ought to be excluded from the better and wiser systems of modern times. History had sent forth its fiat, and whatever might be the skill and valour of military commanders, the devastations and ravages they committed, and the human sufferings they created, were followed by the execrations of mankind. He contended that the interference that had taken place by the sending of men from this country to engage in military operations in Spain, and against the people of that country was inexpedient, unadvisable, and indefensible. In a moral and religious point of view, those who had concurred in that interference were responsible for the evils that it had produced. But, passing by the moral considerations that the case involved, he contended that, both for the sake of the Spanish people, as well as for the sake of the credit, and honour, and character of this country such interference was most pernicious and impolitic. Would the noble Lord opposite be able to point out any instances illustrative of the policy of such a measure as that which the noble Lord had adopted? Would he point out any instance in which tranquillity had been established, or peace restored, to any country by the interference of foreign weapons? The history of Spain was open to the noble Lord, and was there any history which could better illustrate the impolicy of such interference? Would he point out a single instance in which the employment of foreign bayonets where the people were contending amongst themselves was ever attended with salutary or beneficial effects? On the contrary, the usual result where foreign troops were pinterosed was, not that they produced 1446 peace or tranquillity, but that they usually embitered the quarrel they were sent to allay. They envenomed the temper of the nation—they, in fact, uniformly made the quarrel worse than it was before, and so far as they were themselves concerned, they were, from t e beginning, objects of dislike to the people amongst whom they were intruded, and finally and uniformly the objects of the ingratitude of those whose cause they went to serve. He contended that in no view was such an interference justifiable. But, moreover, there were other considerations with which this country was intimately concerned. Was it advisable to send a large body of our countrymen on such slight pretences to mix themselves up in such scenes of horror as those which had been described? Would they become by these means better men or better subjects? Would their morals be improved, or their characters rendered better, by having been mixed up in such scenes? It might be contended that there was a wide distinction between the feelings of men inured to military pursuits and those who pursued the civil occupations of life—men for the sake of acquiring honour and reputation — and many from a view to the benefit of their fellow men, engaged in rash and dangerous and disastrous enterprises; but they were responsible for the consequences. In a moral point of view they were responsible for all the evil that they might produce; and however there might possibly exist a disposition to undervalue the obligations of moral duty and responsibility, they were important, and in the discussion of any question ought not to be overlooked. He considered, also, that, with respect to the employment of our countrymen in the service of foreign countries, such a practice was not calculated to raise the credit or advance the character of this country. Let them, for instance, look at the Swiss. It was the practice of Switzerland to send her troops for hire into foreign services; but what was the effect upon the character of that country? The valour of the Swiss troops was undisputed; the skill of their commanders was undoubted; they were brave in the field, and patient of privations. But what was the effect of all those qualities? They were mercenary troops, and the consequence was, that Switzerland was infamous throughout Europe, as the common shambles from which the monarchs of Europe procured 1447 hired mercenaries to assist them either in resisting foreign aggression or trampling on their subjects at home. There were, also, the Hessians, who were accustomed to be employed as mercenary troops. He would remind the House of a debate which took place in the British Parliament when this country employed the Hessian troops to assist in controlling our revolted subjects in America; and if he wanted an eloquent and powerful denunciation of the evil of employing foreign troops in an intestine quarrel he need only refer to that debate. But this interference of foreign troops was always remembered with bitterness by the people against whom they were employed; and to this hour, in America the employment of these mercenary troops was remembered with bitterness, and the term "Hessian," was employed as a term of reproach and contumely. Surely these were not examples which this country ought to be disposed to imitate. It was no wish of his to make any reference to the conduct of those individuals engaged in Spain, but to protest against the permitting the subjects of this country to enter into the service of any foreign countries. In referring to precedents to sanction this interference in the contest now waging in the Peninsula, it had been attempted on the other side of the House to justify it by precedents, drawn from the times of Elizabeth and James 1st. Now, with respect to the troops which were sent to the Netherlands by Queen Elizabeth, was the noble Lord opposite aware, that not one single soldier was sent by Elizabeth to assist the Netherlands until two years after the intrigues of the Duke of Alva, and until he had published his Ecclesiastical bull. The soldiers that were sent were recalled within six months afterwards, so unwilling was Queen Elizabeth to sanction that course of policy and interference under which, as a precedent, the noble Lord opposite now sought to shelter. For five years after this, not a single soldier was embarked, until Don John of Austria, raised an army, and, with the assistance of Spain sent an expedition to the Netherlands. Elizabeth then thought it time to interfere, and she did not do so in any indirect or equivocal manner, but she interfered as became her character and the dignity of the country which she ruled. There was a curious dissimilarity in the terms under which the 1448 troops of Elizabeth were embarked, and those under which the foreign enlistment of British subjects was lately sanctioned. In the order under which the troops of Elizabeth embarked, it was distinctly stated that they went to assist the people of the Netherlands to recover and maintain those ancient laws and privileges which their Sovereign had torn from them. The hon. and learned Gentleman then proceeded to refer to other cases of interference, particularly in the reign of James 1st, and contended that they were not at all cases in point, but that even though the facts might be similar, which they were not, yet that the improved spirit of the times forbad a recurrence to such a system of policy. With respect to the Quadruple Treaty, he perfectly agreed in one opinion that had been expressed, that the faith of this country ought not to depend on the mere circumstance of a change in the Administration. If that was the case, the faith of the country would be liable to continual changes. But he objected to the Quadruple Treaty itself, as a violation of every principle by which the foreign policy of this country ought to be regulated. It was an act of interference in the quarrels of a people with whom we had no connexion—with whom we had no quarrel— towards whom we had no hostility—who had invaded no rights nor interfered with any interests of this country. The effect of such a policy after years would decide. They had sown the seeds of a state of things which it would require many years of persevering wisdom to correct. He believed that the conduct of his Majesty's Government with respect to the Quadruple Treaty and the interference in Spain was calculated to produce the most lamentable and most mischievous results. The measures of the noble Lord were calculated, more than any other circumstance, to produce in Europe that war of opinion which Mr. Canning so much deprecated — a war which when it once commenced it would be too late and impossible to check, and for the evils of which it would take many years of wisdom to compensate. He trusted that, while there was time, he noble Lord would retrace his steps, and that the House would concur in the motion now before it.
I hope the hon. and learned Member will permit me without giving him offence, to say, that if he had been born in 1449 Spain, he ought to have been returned to the Cortes as representative of La Mancha. What a strange anomaly will enthusiasm produce in even an accomplished mind! Despite his habitual horror for Popery, he has a profound reverence for his Catholic Majesty—he regards the Inquisition as a venerable Conservative institution, and I question whether in the event of the triumph of Don Carlos he would not gladly journey across the Pyrenees, in order to witness the burning of the Quadruple Treaty in splendid auto da fê. The military and political character of the gallant Member by whom this motion was brought- forward gives it a peculiar interest. As a soldier his opinions, when unbiassed, are of the highest value. And the part he plays as a politician is so conspicuous, that it is not unreasonable to conjecture that this motion is part of a combined plan of operations, by which a very important position is to be carried by the gallant Officer. The motion was seconded by a profound, but unemployed, diplomatist. An eminent negociator, once in the confidence of the Whigs, and now not undeserving Tory trust. There s a practical antithesis in the right hon. Gentleman, for while for the Emperor Nicholas he has no strong personal relish, he is not without some propensity to the adoption of a Sclavonic policy at Madrid. I like to do justice, and I should think that the right hon. Gentleman must have laboured under a very strong and painful sense of public duty when he took a part so prominent in assailing the measures of his noble, and I believe that he has found in him his Faithful, friend. There is another view in which this motion is most important; it is an announcement of the policy intended to be pursued by the Tories upon their anticipated advent to power. The hon. Member for Tamworth has recently intimated that he will, although with great reluctance, submit to the infliction of power, and give the House of Commons an opportunity of atoning for that parricidal blow by which his official existence was suddenly abridged. It is as well, therefore, that we should know that in the event of the Whigs resigning, of Lord Melbourne departing from his pledge, and of the House of Lords appointing the Cabinet, it is as well that we should be apprised that the victory of Conservatism in St. James's will be followed by the triumph of Conservatism at Madrid. The 1450 decision of the House, Sir, upon this question must turn upon the proper construction of the Quadruple Treaty and the course pursued by the Government. Let me examine both. What standard shall we adopt in interpreting the treaty? Not a mere literal one—not a mere verbal, special pleader test. We are not to play the part of Scaligers in politics—of "word-hunters, that live on syllables," but we are to consider the circumstances under which the treaty was entered into, its objects, and the means by which they are best to be accomplished. It may be asked at the outset what concern have we with Spain? I answer by asking what concern has Russia with Spain? What have Austria and Prussia to do with Spain?—and if despots feel their interests so deeply involved in the form of Government which she assumes, shall it be said that the people of this free country ought to be indifferent to the extension of the principles from which our glory, our power, and our virtue are derived? But putting considerations aside which may be regarded as vague and indefinite, let us look back a little at events which have happened within a few years, and we shall see how material it is to sustain British interest in the Peninsula, in order to countervail the great northern confederacy which is leagued against us. We shall see the consequences of neglecting liberty in Spain. In 1820, the constitution was proclaimed—at the Council of Verona it was determined by Russia that it should be crushed. In 1823, under the influence, and swayed by the councils of the Autocrat, the Duke d'Angoulême marched into Spain. He obtained possession of Spain as the trustee for Alexander, and was a mere instrument in the hands of the Czar. The ascendancy of Russia was established, and she took advantage of her predominance over France; being sure that her dependent, bribed by the gift of Spain into acquiescence, would not join us, she fell on Turkey, crossed the Balkan, extorted the treaty of Adrianople, and laid the Sultan so prostrate that England, however disposed, could not lift him into independence and dignity again. This is the simple narrative of incidents of which we yet feel the results; the transactions in the East were beyond doubt influenced by our original supineness with regard to the Peninsula, through which France might have been swayed; and it is the duty of 1451 British Ministers to endeavour to repair these errors, and to regain an influence through liberal institutions in the Peninsula. Thus it is that I account for the policy by which the Quadruple Treaty was dictated, and with a view to which it ought to be interpreted and enforced. Now, let us look at the more immediate circumstances under which it was framed. Don Carlos and Don Miguel were both in Portugal in April, 1834. If Don Carlos should recover the throne of Spain it was obvious that Don Miguel would recover that of Portugal. We were bound under treaties to protect Portugal, and thus it was that the entire Peninsula was embraced in the treaty. Instead, then, of wasting time in cavils about particular passages in the treaty, let us see what was doing and what ought to have been done under the treaty. The Duke of Wellington gave it a complete ratification. He ordered 50,000 muskets to be sent to the Basque provinces. For what purpose? I call on the gentlemen opposite, who cry out so vehemently for justice to Navarre, and have very little regard for justice to Ireland—I call on those who tell us that the Basques are fighting for their immemorial rights, and who protest that we ought not to interfere in the struggle, to tell me for what purpose the Duke of Wellington sent 50,000 bayonets to Spain. And if it was no violation of the treaty, nor inconsistent with our political obligations to employ bayonets against the Basques, how have the Government offended against the principles by which British statesmen ought to be swayed in allowing British subjects to use the weapons which it is admitted the Duke of Wellington transmitted to the Peninsula? There is no distinction between the transmission of arms and the authorisation of British subjects to enter the service of Spain; and they indulge in mere factitious sensibility who contend that the Basques, after having associated their cause with an avowed despot, are engaged in a struggle which entitles them to the sympathies of Great Britain. The constitution gives the Basques the same privileges as are awarded to other Spaniards; it places all Spaniards upon a level; and the Basques are not contending for a participation in the rights of citizens, but for an exemption from their liabilities. I now come to the order in council. Let it not be supposed that our Government volun- 1452 teered in granting permission to British subjects to enter into the Spanish service. On the 7th of May the Spanish ministry applied to us for co-operation. It was feared that direct intervention would alarm the sensitiveness of Castilian pride. In 1819, the Foreign Enlistment Act was passed; but a power was reserved to the Crown to suspend its operation. It was clear that circumstances were anticipated under which it might be deemed judicious that foreign enlistment should be allowed. It was thought in 1823 by the Whigs, that though circumstances had arisen at that juncture, and that a good moral effect would be produced by repealing the Act, and thus signifying the interest we took in the liberties of Spain—(I may incidentally observe that the noble Lord, the member for Lancashire, voted for the repeal of the Act, how he will vote tonight it is not for me to anticipate)—the application to which I have referred having been made to the Whig Government for assistance, it was thought that the wisest course would be, to issue the order in council. Let us now see how far that proceeding, which was, beyond all doubt, in conformity with the spirit of the treaty, has been justified in point of policy by events. Three charges have been brought against the Legion; and insubordination, inhumanity, and want of disciplined intrepidity in action, have been attributed to them. With respect to disorganization, it existed to a considerable extent, but it ought to be recollected that even in the best armies it will, under peculiar circumstances, unfortunately arise. Was not the retreat of the Duke of Wellington after his defeat at Burgos attended with a lamentable loss of discipline, for which the Duke of Wellington is not in the slightest degree responsible? And how can it be wondered at, that such levies as composed the Auxiliary Legion should in the midst of hardships, certainly not occasioned by themselves, have been deficient in subordination? With respect to the excesses into which the Legion had been betrayed, let it be remembered that, although they were not justifiable, they were not unprovoked. They gave no quarter, and they received none; to the merciless they showed no mercy; and I question whether the gallant Officer opposite at the head of the best troops in the service, could, notwithstanding all his habits 1453 of control, restrain his men from vengeance if they saw their fellow-soldiers lying butchered and mutilated with every incident of the most degrading ignominy before them. But from every participation in these offences against humanity, General Evans is entirely free. No order of a vindictive character was ever issued by him. And if a single officer, under the influence of excited passion, let his feelings burst forth in an ebullition of reprehensible resentment, and the fact is only stated in an anonymous publication, how unjust is it to charge the entire British Legion with that want of humanity which has been imputed to them. But while the gallant Officer is thus at once vehement and pathetic in reprobating the excesses of retaliation, what will he say of the atrocious Durango decree, by which murder in cold blood was enjoined by Don Carlos? 'The Tories will of course condemn him, but while they condemn him, they recommend measures of which the effect will be to plant the crown of Spain upon his head. With respect to the last charge—the want of valour— it cannot be denied that a portion of our troops, in a most discreditable manner gave way. But I believe that most troops, excepting those which have acquired a veteran stability, are occasionally subject in a moment of surprise to such moral disasters as in: the instance referred to befel the Auxiliary Legion. Haying candidly admitted the occurrence of this deplorable incident, give me leave to ask whether it is not in some degree countervailed by those examples of high courage which in many other instances the Legion have furnished? And was it, let me ask, quite legitimate to expatiate with so much force upon a single calamity, and to omit the mention of those achievements, for which the Legion deserve no ordinary praise? The Spanish Cortes and Government thanked General Evans for the battle of St. Sebastian; the French General expressed his warmest commendations; and I shall, I hope, be pardoned for suggesting that an incident which to a French soldier afforded matter for congratulation, ought, in the mind of the gallant Officer opposite, to have in some sort counterbalanced the unfortunate transaction upon which the gallant Officer has so strongly dilated? I pass now to the second branch of the motion of the gallant Officer. Nothing can be worse, it seems, 1454 than the failure of the Legion, excepting the success of the marines. The gallant Officer would withdraw the Legion because, as he erroneously conceives, they have failed; and would withhold the assistance of the marines because they have succeeded! This is exceedingly anomalous. Let it be observed that it is not upon any large ground of public policy that the gallant Officer recommends that the marines should be removed from the field in which they have won laurels that have borne precious fruit. The gallant Officer dwells entirely upon the nature of the service to which he conceives that these fine troops ought to be confined, and insists that it is only upon the ocean they should be permitted to serve their country. I answer the gallant Officer by a simple reference to their motto. "Per mare per terram", sets all: discussion upon this part of the question at rest. Read the treaty with a view to the interests of your country, and not to speculations of your party, and you will rid yourselves of miserable dissertations on mere; words and phrases, and arrive at the just and lofty sense of this great quadruple compact. It is alleged that the measures of the Government have not produced any good results. Try that allegation by this test. If those measures had not been adopted—if the Auxiliary Legion and the marines had not given their co-operation, what would have befallen the Spanish people? Would not Bilboa have been taken by assault? and would not the British seamen see from afar upon the main the standard of Don Carlos floating from the castle of St. Sebastian. Take another teat, if it please you. Let me suppose this motion carried. The courier that will convey the intelligence will Convey tidings of great joy to St. Petersburgh, to Vienna, and to Berlin, and he will convey tidings of great dismay wherever men value the possession of freedom, or pant for its enjoyment. It will palsy the arm of liberty in Spain. It will fill her heart with despair. A terrible revulsion will be produced; from Calpe to the Pyrenees the cry "We are betrayed by England!" will be heard; and over that nation which you will indeed have betrayed, Don Carlos will march without an obstacle to Madrid. [Cheers from the Opposition.] You cheer me, do you? Who are you that cheer me? Not your leaders—not the men who are placed conspicuously before me. They know 1455 they feel, the impolicy of these rash manifestations. They profess horror at the atrocities of Don Carlos, and deprecate his triumph; but you that cheer me disclose your hearts, and exhibit the wishes by which your political conduct is determined. Cheer on—yes, exult in the anticipated victories of despotism in Spain, and with your purpose let the people of England be made well acquainted. But, turning from you, I call upon the rest of the House, and to the British people beyond the House, to reflect upon the events which must follow the triumph of Don Carlos. Do you not know him? Do you stand in need of any illustrations of his character? What was it that befel Spain when the constitution was suppressed in 1823? Do you not think that Don Carlos will improve upon Ferdinand's example, and recollect what model was held out to him? Have we forgotten the massacre at Cadiz? Is Riego's blood effaced from our memories? Do you doubt that the same terrible career of remorseless, relentless vengeance will be pursued by the marble-hearted despot by whom such horrors have been already perpetrated? With whom, attended with what companionship, encompassed by what councillors, did Don Carlos land in England? Did he not dare to set his foot upon our shores with Moreno the murderer of Boyd and Torrijos beside him? But what further evidence of his character and his propensities do we want, than his terrible Durango ordinance? I have heard it asked whether it be befitting that in Spain, the theatre of so many of those exploits whose memory will be everlasting, the British flag should be lowered in discomfiture, and before the mountain peasants British soldiers should give way? I feel the force of that question. But there is another which I venture to put to every man who hears me, and, among all those that hear me, above all to the gallant Officer by whom this motion has been made. I invoke the same recollections—I appeal to the same glorious remembrances; and in the name of those scenes of which the gallant Officer was not only a witness, but bore in them a part, of which he bears an honorable attestation about him, I ask whether it be befitting, that in Spain—that in the country whose freedom was achieved by such prodigies of English valour, where so many of your fellow-soldiers who fell beside you he buried—is it, I ask, befitting, 1456 that in that land, consecrated as it is in the annals of England's glory, a terrible, remorseless, relentless, inexorable despotism should be established, and that the throne which England saved should be filled by the purple tyrant whose arms have been steeped to the shoulders in the blood of your countrymen—not in the fields of honourable combat slain, but when the heat of battle had passed, and its sweat had been wiped away—savagely and deliberately murdered? Their bones are bleaching on the Pyrenean snow—their blood cries out; and shall we, intrusted as we are by the British people with the care of the dignity, the honour, and the just vengeance of our country—shall we, instead of flying at once to arms, facilitate the ascent to the throne of Spain of the guilty man by whom these outrages upon every law, divine and human, have been committed? Never! The people of this country are averse to wanton and unnecessary war; but where the honour of England is at stake there is no consequence which they are not prepared to meet; no hazard which they will not be found prompt to encounter.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
rose to explain:— The House would recollect that in tracing the misfortunes of the Legion to that defeat which they had finally experienced he uniformly attributed that result to the treatment which they received from the Spanish government. He had on various occasions stated not only that General Evans had taken every opportunity of remonstrating against this treatment, but that he had on every occasion conducted himself in the most honourable manner, and as it became a gallant Officer to do. He had also stated, that the men forming the Legion had often maintained the gallantry of their countrymen. But he had also stated, that broken down as the Legion were by misfortune, and latterly disorganised by a mutinous spirit, they no longer constituted a force capable of representing the gallantry of this country. He had also mentioned the fact, that Colonel Churchill had declared, that the cause of his leaving the Legion was the insubordination of the men, solely owing to the want of pay. He would appeal then to the House, and to the country, whether—[Cries of spoke.] He was sure the House would see the position in which he was placed. The hon. and learned Gentleman bad, in the course of his 1457 observations, treated his remarks with great injustice. He should be ready, as a military officer.—[The remainder of the gallant Officer's remarks were lost by cries of order, order, and "spoke."]
§ Mr. Sheil
said, that the only words of the right hon. and gallant Officer which he had caught were, that he (Mr. Sheil) had treated the gallant officer with great injustice. If he had done so he was unconscious of it, and was extremely sorry for it. But he would put it to the House whether he had said more than it was perfectly fair in a political opponent to do? If the right hon. and gallant Gentleman would permit him to say as much, he believed him to be incapable of misrepresenting any man; and he believed that there was not any man in the House actuated by a higher sense of honour than the right hon. and gallant Officer.
§ Sir John Elley
then rose to address the House, but he was very indistinctly heard in the gallery. We understood him to say, that after the eloquent speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman, it was not his intention to trespass long upon the patience of the House. He however, was anxious to take a different view of the subject from that which had hitherto been taken of it by any hon. Member who had preceded him. Owing to an infelicitous combination of circumstances, the services rendered by the British Auxiliary Legion had been of little advantage to the Queen of Spain, and that from the continuance of those services as little advantage might be expected. At the same time he would, however, assert his belief, that General Evans had done as much as, out of the materials which he had to deal with, he could be expected to effect. The hon. and gallant Gentleman then went through a review of the various military operations which have taken place in Spain since the arrival of the British Auxiliary Legion at St. Sebastian; but the hon. and gallant Gentleman spoke in so indistinct a tone, that we were unable to follow him through the details. In continuation the hon. Gentleman observed, that the British Auxiliary Legion was defective in discipline, and possessed none of the attributes of a regular British force. General Evans had not only experienced much ill treatment from the Spaniards, but he had been deserted by some of his friends, even in this country. No general could depend 1458 with any degree of confidence on troops which had retreated, as those of General Evans had done, during the recent action before Hernani; and the best comment on the general effect of the services which had been rendered by the Legion was the fact, that it occupied, at the present time, no more ground in the Spanish territory than it had occupied two years since. What had Spain or England gained by this expedition? Upon our part, we had incurred an expenditure of from 500,000l. to 600,000l. in stores, and certainly no accession of glory. What could we ultimately gain? With such materials as the gallant General had to deal with, nothing permanently advantageous could be effected. He meant no imputation upon the character of General Evans; for with such materials he would defy any general to do more. For the sake of that gallant Gentleman he lamented the result of this expedition, not as tarnishing the lustre of the British arms. The Legion was reduced to a state of demoralization, which totally unfitted them for action. The best proof of this would be found in the fact, that out of twenty or thirty officers of the Legion who had formerly been engaged in the British service, all, with the exception of two or three had retired. It was impossible that any man, however gifted, could exercise any proper degree of power and influence over an army which he could not feed. Discipline, in the absence of regular supplies could not be expected to continue. Whatever might be the courage of individuals, it was discipline alone which would enable a body of troops to show, under all circumstances, a firm front to the enemy. He felt that to renew the order in council with any practical effect would be impossible, now that the eyes of the people of this country were opened to the real state of affairs in Spain. Not another recruit would be found to enlist under that banner beneath which so many had fallen without any beneficial result. Indeed, he believed that the formation of another Legion for similar purposes, would never be attempted. He lamented exceedingly that some members of the Legion should have expressed there determination to bayonet every Carlist that fell into their hands, because if there was one attribute which more than another bespoke the genuine character of the British soldier, it 1459 was the heroism of showing mercy to the Vanquished—the brightest gem in the crown of true valour—the gratifying and delightful proof that all the finer feelings of our nature may be exhibited even amidst the horrors of war. It had been said of the 1460 British army by some of their French opponents, that their heroic magnanimity could not be disputed, because they were brave during the right, and humane when the contest was over.
§ Debate again adjourned.