HC Deb 22 July 1839 vol 49 c623
Viscount Sandon

wished to ask the noble Viscount whether any progress had been made in forming a commercial treaty with Spain.

Viscount Palmerston

said, that great efforts had been made by her Majesty's Government to induce the government of Spain to enter into a commercial treaty which would be obviously to the advantage of the Spanish government. Almost all the principal articles of foreign produce prohibited by the Spanish government were invariably obtained by the process of smuggling, by which means the government of Spain lost all the benefit in the shape of taxation which would arise from their regular importation. But there were old interests invested in the maintenance of this system of abuse, interests which it was extremely difficult to overcome. There were also persons in Spain who imagined that Catalonia produced excellent manufactures, the fact being that these so-called domestic manufactures were imported from England and sold for the productions of Spain. The prejudices which subsisted in many parts of Spain were so strong, that he feared, until the civil war came to a close, he could hold out little hope of their concluding this commercial treaty.