HC Deb 08 March 1842 vol 61 cc220-81
Mr. D'Israeli,

in submitting to the House the resolution of which he had given notice, would at once express the reason which had induced him at this moment to propose it for their adoption. At a period when the commercial interests of this country engrossed their consideration, and when the principal object of their deliberations was to devise methods by which they might preserve, and if possible promote the relations of our trade with foreign countries, it seemed neither inexpedient, nor inopportune, to call the attention of the House to the establishments which we maintained in foreign countries, for the purpose of maintaining, and, if possible, encouraging our foreign commerce. It was unnecessary to remind the House that our relations with foreign countries were carried on by two classes of public servants, the diplomatic and the consular. This division of public duty had originated in an assumed difference between political and commercial interests. It would at the first blush appear that a division of duty which ranged one class of public interests in an inferior order, and entrusted their superintendence to an avowedly inferior service, must have the necessary effect, that public opinion should associate with the inferior class of interests, an inferior importance. Whether it were politic for any state to acknowledge that any section of its public interests possessed an inferior character might be a subject for argument; but that such an avowal should be made by the first commercial nation of the world with respect to its commercial interests was not a subject for argument, but for surprise and astonishment. He believed that this distinction between political and commercial interests had no foundation; that it was fanciful and arbitrary; incapable of definition, and defying analysis. A political interest, if it meant anything, was a public interest, and in a country where commerce was one of the principal sources of the public wealth, and the avowed foundation of the public revenue, a commercial interest was a public interest of the highest class. But it was unnecessary to dwell on this point, since in practice it was found impossible to draw the line of demarcation. The one set of duties constantly and necessarily blended with the other. There was a sort of fusion in the nature of the two services, and thus they very frequently saw political duties transacted by consuls, whilst the trading interests of the country were conducted by a minister plenipotentiary. To show that in what he said he was not referring to any isolated instances, but was rather dealing with the general state of the question, he would refer to the conduct of our consular establishment in the two quarters of the world where it was settled on the broadest and most costly basis. He would first refer to the Turkish empire, where our consular arrangements had been long permanently adjusted; and secondly, to the Spanish American republics, where these arrangements were comparatively recent. In the Turkish empire —of course, he spoke of the Turkish empire proper—from Lemnos to Alexandria, our consular staff was of the most costly description. We were represented by no less than three consuls-general, twelve consuls of the first class, and fifteen vice-consuls on salaries, making altogether thirty consular servants, who were paid, independently of the fees they received, at the rate of 12,000l. per annum. Now, at no time had the duties of the Levantine consuls been peculiarly onerous. The commercial duties of Turkey were characterised by that simplicity which naturally resulted from direct taxation. Yet he did not at all mean to assert that the offices of those consuls were sinecures. On the contrary, there was evidence to prove that they were extensively engaged. He might refer to the three volumes of diplomatic correspondence laid upon the Table—the last official tribute of the noble Viscount the late Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs—to show that the duties of those consuls had occasionally been of a very active character. The House would find, that a considerable portion of that correspondence had been furnished by consuls—that it contained communications from the consul-general of Egypt, Mr. Hodges, from Mr. Consul Moore, from Mr. Consul Werry, and from other consuls and vice-consuls. Nor did their communications treat of commercial topics. They referred to, and expressed opinions upon treaties—they had reference to the operation of armies and to the movements of fleets—they speculated on the prospects of war, and, indeed, referred to all those subjects which had hitherto been considered the province of ministers plenipotentiary. But he might adduce still stronger evidence. He might ask who was the first originator of the expedition to Syria? Who first visited the inland districts? Who first counselled the plans? Who communicated with the native princes? Who formed treaties of the highest character, such as ministers plenipotentiary only formed, and who did that which no minister plenipotentiary dared do,—break those treaties after they had been formed? He need scarcely say, that he referred to Mr. Wood, a gentleman bearing an English name, though that name was not borne, he believed, by an English subject, and who filled the office of British consul at Beyrout. He begged it to be understood, that he was not calling in question the conduct of that gentleman in anything he had done. He was only referring to it as an illustration of the principle he was laying down. But let them cross the Atlantic, and look at the state of our consular establishment in Spanish America. The House would recollect, that when ' Mr. Canning called the new world into existence, his preliminary operation had been to appoint consuls on the most extensive scale in all the towns of Spanish America, and at the principal ports on the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Shortly subsequent, the diplomatic establishments in those parts were placed on a similar footing to those of other countries, and it thus occurred that ministers plenipotentiary and secretaries of legation were found acting in the same places with consuls-general and vice-consuls. Now the diplomatic communications in these states were not very complicated, They nearly all partook of a commercial character. But, as there really was not sufficient public business for the occupation of both bodies, the result was, that the diplomatists, feeling that if they were not employed, the Parliament, or the Government would speedily abolish their offices, monopolised all the public business of those countries, and performed duties which would have naturally devolved upon the consular body. He might refer to a circumstance which occurred during one of the transatlantic blockades in proof of this position. It happened that during the blockade of the coast of Mexico, the Real del Monte Mining Company were anxious to land a quantity of machinery they had sent out for the prosecution of their works. As this machinery would not pay any duty to the Treasury, it was thought that the blockading parties might have agreed to allow it to be landed. In consequence the Real del Monte Company communicated with their commissioner in Mexico, an individual whose office was analogous to that of a foreign correspondent of a commercial house, and that gentleman made an application on the subject to Mr. Pakenham, our Mexican Minister Plenipotentiary. This communication led to a correspondence, laid before Parliament, and in which no member of the consular body took any part. Knowing that we had regular consular agents of a high class in Mexico, he (Mr. D'Israeli) had inquired of a gentleman well known to the noble Vis count opposite (Viscount Palmerston), why the reference was not made to the consul in the first instance, instead of to Mr. Pakenham. The answer he had received was, that in Mexico diplomatic questions seldom arose; there were no such nice matters as a boundary question requiring diplomatic agency; and that, consequently, it had become the habit of the merchants always to refer to the chief minister, who, in fact, had little or nothing else to do, than to attend to them there. An authority in support of his views on this question was Mr. Henderson, who, in a pamphlet he had published, had declared it to be ridiculous to keep up both agencies, and had definitively expressed himself that the double service was entirely unnecessary. But, after all, the best authority he could quote was the noble Viscount (Viscount Palmerston) himself. In 1830, when anxious to subscribe his quota towards the general reductions then projected in every branch of the public service, the noble Viscount had laid his finger on this double service, and had made many judicious arrangements for its alteration. Perhaps it was to be regretted that the noble Viscount had not done more; but, viewing the alterations in the system as mere economical arrangements, he could not but agree that they were in every way judicious and proper. He would beg very particularly to call the attention of the House to what the noble Viscount had done in that matter, because it very forcibly illustrated his views. The noble Viscount opposite made considerable reductions in the establishment of consuls in South America, which never would have been found necessary if Mr. Canning had had proper acquaintance with the circumstances of those countries. Convinced of the impropriety of the existing arrangements, the noble Viscount commenced by reducing the corps in Mexico, destroying the offices of consul-general and vice-consul, but leaving the minister plenipotentiary, the secretary of legation, and a consul existent. Perhaps it might be deemed unnecessary that the consul should have been left; but if they recollected that there were great mining interests to be protected in Mexico, perhaps they might agree that the noble Viscount was justified in leaving this office intact. His next alteration regarded the double service in the state of Colombia. The noble Viscount had very properly thought that the existence of a consul-general and a vice-consul at Bogota, the capital of Colombia, which was entirely an inland town, was exceedingly ridiculous. The noble Viscount put an end to the consul-generalship at Bogota; but, because there were political causes in Colombia which rendered necessary the presence of a diplomatic agent, therefore the minister plenipotentiary and secretary of legation were left at Bogota. The noble Viscount, with this exception, very properly terminated all the diplomatic missions in the South American republics, converted the consuls-general into chargés d'affaires, and recognised the principle for which he (Mr. D'Israeli) was contending—that the union of the two services was expedient for the benefit of the public. That Was an accurate statement of what the noble Viscount did in the South American republics, in illustration of the principle he was anxious to enforce. It might be said, in referring to the Turkish empire and the republics of Spanish America, he was speaking of states of society which, though one was ancient, and the other, with respect to diplomatic relations, novel, were both in extraordinary circumstances. In one there was the anarchy which attended the decomposition of an ancient empire, and in the other the disorder which must accompany societies that were not maturely arranged. He, therefore, would remind the House that in a quarter of Europe which was, perhaps, one of the best ordered of existing communities, one of its most ancient and civilised societies, we had a gentleman who was a consul-general and at the same time an accredited diplomatic minister. He alluded to the Hanse Towns, our consul in which was minister to the princes of the Lower Circle of Saxony. He would refer also to the conduct we had pursued with respect to the Turkish regencies. In Algiers and the Barbary States we had consuls-general, who were also chargés d'affaires. He would turn to other parts of the Turkish empire. We had in Servia and Wallachia gentlemen holding the same office, charged with the double duty of attending to commercial and diplomatic affairs. He might refer also to the evidence of an individual who must be considered as the highest authority on such a subject-he meant that of the superintendent of the consular department of the Foreign-office —Mr. Bidwell. That gentleman in his evidence maintained, that it was necessary to have a consul-general at Buchorest, because it was a political appointment. That gentleman said, also, with reference to the consul-generalship of the Austrian dominions, which, it was observed, was placed in a city where there was no commerce, that it was absolutely necessary to have a political agent in Lombardy. That was the ground on which Mr. Bidwell defended the appointment of a consul-general at Milan. The same principle was also alleged by Mr. Bid-well with respect to the consulship at Warsaw. That consulship was defended by Mr. Bidwell because it was a political appointment, and the duties were described by him, the superintendant of the consular service, as diplomatic. The name of Warsaw reminded him of a city where certainly we had not a consul. Perhaps it was rather on the nan. lucendo principle to remind the noble Viscount of Cracow, but he could assure the noble Viscount that it was not his intention at present to enter into any discussion of the merits or demerits of his conduct on that occasion. He had no wish to criticise the conduct of the then Administration, or to notice the interposition of the House of Commons; but he must say this, that no one could read the debates which had occurred on the subject without feeling that there was a general understanding, both on the part of the people of Cracow, on the part of the great powers, and on the part of the Government at home and both Houses of Parliament,—for the subject gave rise to discussion in both Houses,—that, the individual who was to be sent with the title of consul was to be really invested with a political character. What was the language [of the noble Viscount the Member for Tiverton, on that occasion? The noble Viscount came forward and declared that the evil was great, the violation of treaties flagrant, "and therefore," said the noble Viscount, indignantly determined to vindicate the honour of his country and the interests of his fellow-subjects, "I will send a consul." This appeared to him (Mr. D'Israeli) a curious mode of vindicating the political dignity of a country, to send thither merely a commercial agent. He thought it clear, however, that there was a general understanding that the person to be sent as consul, should be, in fact, a person to be invested with a political character and diplomatic duties. He (Mr. D'Israeli) could adduce a variety of proofs, were they necessary, in support of that position. But he was rather afraid that the noble Viscount and hon. Gentlemen might turn round on him, and instead of charging him with a defect of proof, might think he was proving too much. The noble Viscount might say, "You are asking us by a resolution to declare abstractedly that which you yourself demonstrate is practically in operation." He felt the force of that observation to a limited extent, but it was to be deprecated, that when we were convinced that any public establishment or public service was founded on a vicious principle, we should allow our selves to be diverted from the inevitable results of that vicious principle by some partial results of beneficial operation, which were a violation of the very principle on which the establishment was founded. This brought him to the heart of the question. He could show to the House, not by mere arguments, in which he would not indulge, but by facts, which must be admitted, that the system established, if considered in a political point of view, had occasioned great inconvenience and injury to this country, while, at the same time, in a commercial point of view, adopting that fanciful view of the duties of the functionaries to whom he referred, the justice of which, however, he could not acknowledge, the system had been utterly inefficient, useless, or mischievous. It would be his first object, in substantiating this proposition, to bring before the House the position of British consuls placed in circumstances in which they were called upon to exercise the highest political functions, and he must for a moment advert to that country which had occupied so much of our consideration, and exercised so great an influence of late years. He begged the House to look at the position of Egypt at the time when the noble Viscount opposite succeeded to office. At that time our only public functionary residing in Egypt was a consul-general. This individual might be taken as a very fair specimen of the Levantine consuls of that time. The House perhaps was not aware of the circumstances under which in the good old days gentlemen were appointed consuls-general for Egypt. The consul-general immediately preceding the gentleman in question, had been travelling tutor to a nobleman. The nobleman returned, and exercised his influence; his travelling tutor became consul-general, and enjoyed an opportunity of sending to his patron some choice specimens of Egyptian antiquities. The next consul-general had been a consul of the old Levant Company. A gentleman who was once a Member of that House, and a person of great influence, had received from him that hospitality which in remote regions was so grateful. The moment he returned, and learned that there was a vacancy, he took care that the old consul of the Levant Company should be promoted to be consul-general in Egypt. He was not mentioning this as invidious either to the person promoted, or the person promoting. It was the necessary consequence of a system, the evils of which he wished to point out to the House. In 1831, the situation of Egypt was of the most delicate and critical nature. The ruler of Egypt was at that time negotiating at Constantinople for the recognition of his independence by the Porte, when he would have accepted terms similar to those which had recently been forced on him. While the negotiation was proceeding, a vast force was assembling at Alexandria, slowly, but gradually and regularly, until the largest army almost that had appeared in the East in modern times was collected there, consisting of 100,000 disciplined infantry, 6,000 cavalry, and a great body of artillery; while the pasha, at the same time, menaced Syria. He could prove, if necessary, to the House, that if we had had at that time, any public functionary in Egypt of any political influence or character, the invasion of Syria would not have taken place. It was, of course, impossible for him to know what the consul-general communicated to the noble Viscount, if he did make any communication, or what the noble Viscount communicated to the consul-general. All he could state was, the fact that no representation reprobating the invasion of Syria was made on the part of the British Government to the Pasha. He stated from the highest conceivable authority that no such representations had been made, and if they had been made, he was convinced that the invasion of Syria never would have taken place. The old consul of the Levant Company was a man with whom the ruler of Egypt held no communication. He certainly bore an English name, but he had lived all his life in Syria, married into a Syrian family, and exercised not the slightest influence over the mind of the Pasha. The noble Viscount succeeded to power in the midst of a domestic revolution, with a civil war raging in Spain, with riots in Paris, the kingdom of the Netherlands separated, and the coast of Holland blockaded. It was not very likely that the noble Viscount would have attended to representations, even if made to him from the highest authority, and if he had been aware of their importance. Conceive, at such a moment, a Levantine consul communicating about Syria with a Secretary of State! Why, though the consul had the privilege of communicating, the Secretary of State might not condescend to notice his letters. Political interests were superintended by Ministers who were Earls or Viscounts at the least; but for the commercial interests there was a superintendant of the consular establishment who was a clerk in the Foreign-office. He asked the House for a moment to reflect what were the consequences of the invasion of Syria. That they were very great, all must admit; that they might have broken the peace of Europe, that they led to the disturbance of those amicable relations between countries which it ought to be the object of all statesmen to cultivate, was matter of notoriety; and that the effects of that invasion had not yet disappeared was incontestible. He would now give another instance of a consul-general invested with a political character; he referred to the late Member for Haddington. It was the necessary result of the motion he had to make that he should investigate particular cases, but he did not wish to travel into personalities. He was so convinced of the soundness of the principle of his resolution, that he did not feel it necessary to resort to personal details. For example, he should not raise any argument for the re-construction of the consular service from the improper appointments which had lately taken place, though he thought that course would be perfectly legitimate. If there had been a continual succession of appointments of unfit and unworthy persons, he thought he had a right to found an argument on those instances, and ask the House to interfere. But, whatever individual instances he might refer to, he should do so only to illustrate the principle for which he con tended. He could assure hon. Gentlemen on both sides that he would be perfectly ready to give into their hands the papers in his possession, and then both sides could judge of the degree of self-restraint he exerted in taking this course. He would call the attention of the House to the new consul-general at Bogota. The House would, perhaps, recollect that this office had been abolished by the noble Viscount in 1832, but circumstances occurred during the year 1841 which rendered it necessary that those who had great personal claims on the Government of the day should he immediately attended to. He perfectly acknowledged the claims of the late Member for Haddington on the Government, and he was sure he spoke the feelings of all on that (the Ministerial) side of the House, when he said they would be gratified that the hon. Member should have a good place, provided the public interests did not suffer. He wished the House to remark this case, as amply illustrative of the character of the two services, one possessing a definite character-like diplomacy, the other being indefinite, like that of the consular office, which opened at once its portals as a wide refuge for the destitute. The noble Viscount recalled the minister plenipotentiary from Colombia, with that felicitous dexterity which distinguished him, revived the consul-generalship at Bogota, and appointed a new consul, with 1600l. per annum, who was also to be chargé d'affaires, at a guinea a day, a salary altogether scarcely inferior to that of the minister plenipotentiary. Another political partisan, Mr. Rainsforth, was also sent out as vice-consul. He begged the House to look to the consequences of this conduct. The House was perhaps aware that a few years back the republic of Colombia had separated into the three republics of New Granada, Venezuela, and Ecuador. The citizens of New Grenada were divided into two parties, so equally balanced that neither was strong enough to put down the other, and they therefore resolved to submit their differences to the arbitration of the British minister. Mr. Stewart was, therefore, called in to settle their disputes, and here was an instance of a consul suddenly required to arbitrate on the highest diplomatic questions. The new consul then on his arrival was informed that the deputies of the two parties were anxious to communicate with him. They were introduced and stated their case, but the consul, not speaking a single word of Spanish, was unable to understand what they had to say. The deputies finding that the consul could not, naturally thought that the vice-consul could, and therefore addressed themselves to Mr. Rainsforth, but found themselves equally at a loss, as he could speak no more than his principal. What was the result? The consul-general of Bogota, at ' which place he had never arrived, was obliged to engage an interpreter. The character of the dragoman tribe was much the same in all countries, but, bad as they might be in Turkey, they were worse in the South American states, for there any man who happened to speak English, however unprincipled a person he might be, was immediately engaged, and would hold completely in his mouth the interests of the two nations. He had the highest authority for saying that the dragoman of this consul-general was a person who ought not to be intrusted with political duties. This was the consequence of appointing a consul-general and vice-consul who had no single qualification for their office. He appealed to the hon. Member for Manchester (he did not know whether the hon. Member were present or not), whether it were for the interest of his constituents that there should be civil war in Colombia? Here, then, was an instance in which to provide for a political partisan, the noble Viscount had not only revived an office which he had previously declared to be useless, but in which the direct and immediate consequences of such a step were proved to be most mischievous, by the inability of the person appointed to fulfil the duties which devolved upon him. As he was now in the neighbourhood of Venezuela, he would remind the noble Viscount of a most extraordinary proceeding which occurred under his administration in that quarter. Perhaps there was none of the states of Spanish America in which England ultimately would be so interested as in venezuela. Its vast Atlantic coast, its contiguity to our colonies, the immense importance it must be to us in the event of an American war, were circumstances of peculiar weight, which must at once present themselves to the mind of every one who at all considered the subject. The country, be sides, was exceedingly rich, sugar and barley growing in the same field almost at the waterside; and, what was most remarkable, in no state of Spanish America was the feeling so much in favour of England as in Venezuela. How, then, had British interests been managed in Venezuela, and what had been the consequences? Mr.Canning had appointed a consul-general at Caraccas, the capital of the state. Sir Robert Ker Porter was consul-general at Caraccas; there was also a full consul at Porto Cabello. He understood that Sir Robert Ker Porter some years ago had quitted Venezuela on leave of absence, that he had gone to St. Petersburgh, and that he never meant to return; but he supposed British interests were attended to in his absence by the consul at Porto Cabello. But he had seen an announcement in a newspaper of the death of this consul at Liverpool in 1839. Thus there was the consul-general of Venezuela living in St. Petersburgh, and the consul of Porto Cabello in the same republic, dying at Liverpool. Sir R. Ker Porter being still absent from Caraccas, and the consul at Porto Cabello being dead, it was not till September, 1841, that memorable period when they were favoured with a batch of baronets, and privy councillors, that a batch of consuls stole into notice, whose appointments were signed, sealed, and delivered in the last gasp of the noble Viscount's political existence. Then it was that a consul was appointed to Porto Cabello; and who was he? Mr. Florence O'Leary. He had made some inquiry with respect to the history of that functionary, and he found that he was a naturalized subject of Venezuela, a general in the service, and still receiving the pay of that state. He had heard that Mr. O'Leary had used very, potent parliamentary influence to be appointed consul, but the noble Viscount had refused the application. The noble Viscount generally took the right course at first; but when he had no less than nine consuls to make at the last gasp he got reckless, and in most instances appointed the very persons he had formerly refused. We now, therefore, had as British consul at Venezuela a gentleman who was a Venezuelan subject and a general officer in the pay of that state. What had happened? Venezuela was just that part of the world in which what were called political interests existed, and diplomatic questions were likely to arise, and for this substantial reason—in connection with our province of New Guiana we had a boundary question with the. republic of Venezuela. An important tract of land contiguous to the Oronoko was claimed by both governments; and our interests with respect to that boundary were to be represented and maintained by a general officer and subject of Venezuela. Perhaps some would be found to look with indifference on a boundary question between this country and Venezuela, but only fifty years ago they had signed a scrambling ignorant treaty with America another republic. Some, no doubt, had at the time looked with indifference on that treaty also, but what were the consequences of neglecting the boundary of Maine? They were now compelled to send a special envoy of the highest character, and one of the principal objects of his mission was to define that boundary— to determine whether the mountains were to be found which the other party alleged did not exist, and whether certain waters were the waters of a river or of the ocean. Circumstances of a similar character might again arise with respect to the Venezuela boundary, and the interests of England would be represented by General Florence O'Leary. He would give another instance illustrative of that happy system of the public service which perpetually pressed consuls into plenipotentiaries. In 1838 there was a gentleman of the name of Hodges, an officer in the British army, who had strong claims on the noble Viscount, and, there being no consulship vacant at the time, one was conveniently created for him in Servia? And what was the consequence? When he arrived he found his consular duties slight; but events were stirring of the greatest importance, and he threw himself into the heat of every political intrigue, so that in the course of eighteen months he had produced such a complication of circumstances as would take two ambassadors extraordinary to resolve. The noble Viscount did not recall him, and for this sufficient reason Colonel Hodges was driven out, by the inhabitants, the prince he had supported lost his throne, the house of Colonel Hodges was burnt, and he fled to Vienna. Such was the consequence of sending him to Servia. No consul was appointed for Servia for a year; and he really thought the noble Viscount had profited by experience, so that the person sent out would at least be a man of ability, of diplomatic experience, and political character, to exercise some influence over those with whom he had to deal. But in the memorable month of September, 1841, the Servian consulship was again filled up by a gentleman whom the noble Viscount had recalled years ago—Mr. De Fonblanque—and whose explanations did not seem to have been at the time very satisfactory to the noble Viscount. He had been sent off' to Servia, but had not yet arrived. He was sorry to trespass so long on the indulgence of the House, but he would now direct their attention to the second department of his subject, and endeavour to show that in a commercial point of view our consular establishments were the most ineffective and useless service that now existed; and here too he should have to summon the noble Viscount as a witness. He must again recall the attention of the House to a country which he had already noticed, and which had exercised so great an influence, over modern politics, that it was impossible to enter upon investigations of this nature without adverting to it. The noble Viscount having his time fully occupied with France and Belgium could, of course, pay little attention to the Levant, in order to prevent the invasion of Syria. But the noble Viscount having made a sort of settlement in Europe, displayed the most determined energy in order to extricate himself from the consequences of his previous want of foresight. He was perpetually trying to do away with the evil effects of that fatal event—the invasion of Syria. He said, he could not settle the eastern question without a recourse to arms, and therefore he must have an accurate statistical report of Egypt, information as to her population, her resources, her productions, agricultural and manufacturing, her revenues and expenditure, her system of commerce, her power to maintain armies, and all such information. That report was made, laid on the Table, printed, and was now in the possession of every Member of Parliament. But that report was not prepared by a consul. We had a consul-general in Egypt at a salary of 1,600l. per annum; another consul at Alexandria, at 450l., with a vice-consul, at 300l., and one at Cairo, at 300l.; making in all for our consular establishment in Egypt an expense of 2,650l.; yet, after all, the consul-general, with all his consuls and vice-consuls, did not supply the noble Viscount with the information he wanted respecting Egypt. The noble Viscount wished to have an idea of the character and resources not only of Egypt but also of Syria; he wished to have a similar report, statistical and commercial, with respect to the invaded country. In Syria we had a magnificent consular establishment, one full consul at Damascus, another at Beyrout, another at Aleppo, and vice consuls at Tarsus, and Alexandretta. The report in question had been made, laid on the Table of the House, printed, and distributed j but it also was not supplied by the consular service. There was another country which bore the most intimate relations with Egypt—he meant the island of Candia. The noble Viscount took an enlarged and comprehensive view of the Eastern question; he said it was not only necessary to be perfectly acquainted with the commerce and resources of Egypt and Syria, but he desired a report to be furnished of the island of Candia. A report was made, laid on the Table, and printed, of which he would read the first sentence, as the most wonderful that had ever been written by any person who made a report. I have not been able," (said the learned commissioner on that occasion), "I have not been able to visit the island of Candia, but though I did not land in Candia I had the pleasure of some interviews with the pasha of that island in Syria. Was not this an incontestable argument in favour of his proposition? They had a consul in Candia, but the noble Viscount actually preferred a report on the island by a person who had never visited it. Surely it was the most flattering compliment ever paid to a public man, that Government should have such confidence in him as to request him to prepare a report of a country he had never visited; it was more flattering still, that Parliament should order that report to be printed; but it was most flattering of all that a report thus ordered by the Government, and thus printed by the House of Commons, should have been paid for by the public. There was another island contiguous to Candia where we had a consular establishment, part of a kingdom, where indeed the effect of the double service, diplomatic and consular, was seen in perfection. The envoy, to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies had a salary of 2,400l. per annum, and the secretary of legation 2,000l. There were also three consuls at large salaries, and three vice-consuls; so that in that little kingdom they had two services, which cost nearly 6,000l. a year. He would call the attention of the House to one remarkable circumstance illustrative of the value of such an establishment, and the manner in which the public interests were attended to. It appeared that a new treaty of commerce was about to be prepared, and questions relating to the sulphur monopoly arose. He supposed the circumstances to be investigated were so complicated, or that the public business in the fervid clime of Naples, did not go on so freely as could be wished, but it became necessary to send over an extraordinary agent, with the title of her Majesty's Commissioner to manage the affairs. He must now read to the House a short extract from the official correspondence. Mr. Macgregor, on arriving at Naples with the commercial treaty in petto, and the sulphur question in a state of the most complicated difficulty, wrote thus:— I confess that the statements made to me relative to the sulphur monopoly startled my confidence in them—it approached hardihood to assert that the operations of the sulphur monopoly had cut off the navigation of more than 300 ships of from 150 to 350 tons bur den, "&c." Under these circumstances I considered it would be necessary for me to visit the island of Sicily and ascertain the facts, that I might state them confidently as such to the Prince de Cassaro and to his Sicilian majesty, and then report the whole statistically to your Lordship. Is it possible, then, that neither class of public servants, diplomatic or consular, could ascertain these facts? Mr. Macgregor then states,— I, however, soon discovered, that notwithstanding the undoubted sincerity of the Prince of Cassaro, and the intentions of the king, intrigue and corruption were actively at work to frustrate the power of the prince, and promise expressed by his majesty. They artfully repre sented," &c. Again, Mr. Macgregor stated,— Of his majesty's sincere intentions I had no reasons to doubt, but in the minister of the interior I knew that no confidence could be placed; and with his influence at court, and especially over his majesty's confessor," &c. And in another place the name of the Duchess de Berri appeared. Now, he asked if this was not diplomatic correspondence, what was? Here was a man, having interviews with prime ministers, and audiences with sovereigns, and obliged to use his endeavours to frustrate intrigue and corruption, to combat the designs of the minister of the interior, exercising influence over the ling's confessor; while in the background, a royal duchess was introduced, pulling the strings of the puppets. Why, then, were there a minister plenipotentiary and a secretary of legation at the Two Sicilies? Surely no person would pretend that Mr. Macgregor was sent out as a mere agent of the Board of Trade, when he told you that he was obliged to counteract intrigue and corruption? He believed that the transactions which had taken place with respect to the commercial treaty with Naples the sulphur question would, when they became known, as they must, produce a deep impression on the public mind. Though not an aristocrat, he would be the last person to indulge in anti-aristocratic invectives. Such ebullitions as often perhaps cloaked a feeling of mortified vanity, as they expressed the conviction of an enlightened philosophy. He was quite sure, that, when the noble Viscount acceded to power in 1830, carrying with him, as he did, great experience, recognised ability, and, perhaps, unequalled powers for public business, it was no disadvantage to the noble Viscount, that he, in addition to all those considerable qualifications, bore an historic name. On the contrary, that was a great recommendation to the noble Viscount, for whatever effect reform or revolution might have, the people of this country were deeply attached to their old families. He observed, in a popular history the other day, that the public were congratulated that the conqueror of Napoleon was not a mere soldier, but also the younger son of an Irish Peer. In fact, a person in office, exercising patronage in favour of his near relatives, was never looked upon with an invidious eye, provided the persons appointed were qualified for their situations, for this exercise of patronage might be his dearest reward for all his official services. But, in proportion as the feelings of the people were attached to their old families, in proportion as they were glad to see the aristocratic scions of the country preferred to office so a feeling of disgust was excited when they saw them thrust into stations merely on account of their connections. What had transpired in respect to all the transactions connected with Sicily must produce a great effect on the public mind. It was clear, that if such a system continued to be pursued individually, it must tend to political disaster, and if persisted in generally, must lead to public ruin. Proceeding to the Pontifical states, was there not, he asked, a consul at Ancona who might have been intrusted with the task of affording statistical information respecting Rome? The late Government were so anxiously influenced by a laudable desire for information, that even little Lucca did not escape, but had its paid report and paid commissioner. A statistical report on Lucca! Surely some attaché of the Florentine Legation might have given us this; cantered over the duchy, drank the waters, sent his statistical report in a letter to a lady, who could have taken the opportunity of reading it to the noble Viscount opposite at the first assembly where they met. This was his idea of the character of a statistical report on Lucca. However, it was thought necessary to send a special envoy there; and, above all, a learned doctor. There was scarcely a dignus nodus. The divinity was too capacious for such a slight solution. With regard to Tuscany, the case was most extraordinary. There we had a diplomatic minister, a secretary of legation, and a consul, with salaries amounting to 3,082l. a-year. Well, a report was required on the trade and navigation of the port of Leghorn; the report consisted of fifty pages only, and yet it proceeded from no one connected with the diplomatic or consular establishments. In Lombardy we had a consul-general with 1,000l. a-year, and no business; and a vice-consul with 350l. a-year; yet a report on the trade and navigation of Trieste was entrusted to neither of them. There was scarcely a single spot which had not been enquired into, through the laudable efforts of the late Government to obtain statistical information; but the most curious thing was, that in procuring this information they con demned their own servants, for they could not trust their diplomatic or consular officers. They wanted a report on the manufactures of Switzerland, and what was the course of proceeding? No instance he could adduce was so flagrant—so annihilating to the reputation of our foreign service as this. In Switzerland they had a minister plenipotentiary with 2,000l. a-year. He was an old consul-general; and therefore it might be presumed, that though a diplomatist, he would condescend to furnish the information. On the contrary. There was a report, it was true, but the minister did not supply the information. In France there was a diplomatic establishment with salaries amounting to 11,000l., and a consular establishment (consisting of fifteen consuls) with salaries amounting to 4,000l. In the year 1831 there was a consul-general with a salary of 1,000l. a-year. The Government of the country were then desirous that a mission should be sent to France to ascertain the way in which the system of book-keeping was carried on there (in the Government offices,) which was considered so very superior to the mode adopted in this country, though eminent for its commercial transactions. None of the diplomatic or consular agents could supply this information. And now he would call the attention of the House to a single paragraph in the report on the French finance of 1831, explanatory of this system of book keeping. It was there observed— It is only by the presentation of tables re sembling one another, and, in fact, emanating all from a common original model, that the completeness and efficiency of the machinery can be shown. This course is made inevitable at every step; every one recorded fact has an immediate and necessary connexion with every other, and an unbroken reference to a general result. M. Laffitte assured me, and the authority of the minister of finance is doubly valuable from his previous experience as a man of business, that he believed the present system was scarcely susceptible of amelioration; that he had found the machinery complete, and its working both easy and efficient. It had provided perfect security against all malversation. Again, in another part of the report it was stated,— No accounts were ever subjected before to a scrutiny so complete as that which is constantly operating in France, and all —" by the introduction of well-devised forms, emanating from one central point, all harmonizing with one another, and with their common source. He thought the Government were perfectly justified, on understanding that there was this perfect system of book-keeping in France, in instituting an inquiry into the subject; and, of course, if they had no diplomatic or consular agent they could trust to acquire the necessary information, they must, of course, send a special envoy. It was possible that the consular body were not of the same opinion as M. Laffitte, who Believed the system to be scarcely susceptible of melioration; and to provide a perfect security against fraud. It was certainly a very remarkable fact that a voluminous parliamentary report was made on the subject by a special commission, that the report was printed and distributed, and M. Kesner, the French accountant-general, immediately after decamped, leaving a deficit of 20,000,000f The same British commissioner proceeded to the Netherlands: though there were British consuls in that country, they, it appeared, were unable to furnish the information required by the Government, and it was a curious fact, that whenever a commercial treaty was wanted neither; diplomatic nor consular agents were in trusted with the negotiations, but an extraordinary mission was always had re course to. In 1831 there were two missions of this kind. One went to Paris; and in 1832 it was, he believed, that the noble Viscount opposite (Viscount Palmerston) informed the House that the treaty was to be laid on the Table. It had not, however, been laid on the Table yet. It was maturing, he supposed. He was glad to observe, that in the recent negotiations the secretary of embassy at Paris had taken a part j and it was with satisfaction he took this opportunity of congratulating the House that the late change of Government had not deprived the country of the services of this intelligent functionary. Though he differed from the Gentleman in question on politics, he was not blind to his great ability, his talents and his studies equally adapted him for the profession he pursued, the duties of which no one more clearly comprehended. He was glad that the valuable services of Mr. Bulwer were still preserved to this country; and if ever the present treaty should be completed, it would be mainly owing to his great exertions. The next subject which attracted the attention of the Government was the state of art and artisans abroad. They wanted to know how the artisans fed and lived in Switzerland, Belgium, France, and Austria. It appeared that the Government could not squeeze a drop of information out of their consular agents. This was the case in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. At last they sent to Austria. He would remind the House that, besides the salaried members of our embassy there were a variety of unpaid attachés, who, having independent means of living, were studying the profession of diplomatists. Now, how could those Gentlemen be better employed than in gaining information for the country? If the country required information respecting the state of artisans abroad, could it not trust a single member of the diplomatic or consular establishments to make the inquiries? He need not remind the House of the existence of the Zollverein. The district in which the toll union existed comprehended five principal diplomatic missions — those of Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria, Frankfort, and Wurtemburg; and the united salaries of the functionaries amounted to 20,000l. At Leipsic there was a British consul; and when the place became vacant, he watched, know- ing something of Leipsic, to see how the appointment would be filled up; for there was hardly a place where a man possessing sufficient capacity, might perform more essential service to his country than in that city. It was the great centre of German commerce. A consul at Leipsic would be enabled to watch the development of the Zollverein and give the most valuable information to the Government. The noble Viscount opposite (Viscount Pal merston) appointed as consul at Leipsic Mr. J. Hart: and if the noble Viscount had searched all England over, he could not have selected a more unfit person for the office. ' He did not inquire what were his original pursuits, what his relations were with the noble Viscount or with those who had recommended him. He simply stated and he had no fear of being enabled to substantiate his observation, that, taking everything into consideration, the appointment was disgraceful to the person who made it. And this was a specimen of the consular system; but he must, injustice, say, he believed another Minister might have made such an appointment. The consular establishment was considered a refuge for the destitute. All who were broken in fortune or reputation were made consuls. There was in many families one member who would do nothing, and for whom anything was thought to be good enough; invariably his relatives, endeavoured to procure for him the situation of consul. This showed the influence of the proceedings of Government on public manners. The consular establishment had been made the means of continual jobbing. Every species of jobbing which the spirit of faction could invent would be found to exist in the consular system. In the district of the Zollverein there existed British diplomatic establishments drawing an annual income of 20,000l. Was there, then, anything in the stirring streets of Stutgard or the bustling squares of Munich which made it impossible for our public servants to spare some attention to the Zollverein duties? Yet a special envoy was sent abroad to report on this subject, and the report had been laid on the Table of the House. He would be impartial, and would now turn to an appointment made by the right hon. Baronet near him. The right hon. Baronet had come into power after having had every opportunity of maturing his measures; and there was no doubt that when he acceded to power his policy was determined. But this was a matter of fact country, and there must he details for the public. All the information re quired by the right hon. Baronet might have been found in the archives of the Government; and if he needed fresher, he might have got it by return of post. But the right hon. Baronet, in reference to the corn question, which was exciting great excitement throughout Europe, found it necessary to engage Mr. Meek, and send him on a scrambling, rambling, expedition for six weeks. So low was the public confidence in the established public servants! He thought he had now brought before the House and the public the case of every country between the Nile and the Elbe, in respect to our consular arrangements. There was one country, however, to which he had not alluded, and that country had, by recent events, acquired an immense importance. In that instance, to use the language of the noble lord, an individual had been invested with the title of a superintendent and the duties of a consul. He felt certain he could not have instanced a place in which the principle he had laid down as to the injurious effects of the double service and the necessity of uniting them could have met with a more complete illustration. He alluded to the case of China. As to the appointment of Captain Elliot, he wished to say nothing. Doubtless, much of the misfortune which had attended the official transactions of that functionary resulted from the peculiar nature of the character with which the British Government had invested him. Although in some rare instances the very indefiniteness of instructions, and the unexpected position in which individuals had been placed, had proved the very means of developing their genius, and such was the case with Lord Clive, yet these instances were rare; and consequently he ascribed much of the evil which had befallen Captain Elliot's mission to the difficult position in which the home Government had placed him. Few men were equal to the discharge of duties such as those which Captain Elliot had to perform; and doubtless it was owing to this anomalous position, that he was so often found vacillating between the commercial and political interests which were confided to his care. This distinction between interests in which there was no difference, had brought the country into the fatal error into which it had fallen. Both in the case of China, as also in the case of Syria, this false principle had produced the political disasters and fiscal misfortunes from which the nation was at present suffering. The home Government was no doubt touched with pity at the mistakes into which they had themselves brought Captain Elliot by the imperfect instructions with which he had been sent out. They, therefore, recalled him. But when Captain Elliot was re-recalled, the next question was, what was to be done with him. One thing only was left, "We must make him a consul!" and Captain Elliot was appointed to the consulship of Texas. The very last act almost of the late Government was the appointment of Captain Elliot. In September, 1841, the same Gazette which announced the appointments of General O'Leary and of Mr. De Fonblanque contained also the appointment of Captain Elliot to the consulship of Texas. He had now detailed to the House certain facts illustrative of the system on which consular appointments were at present made. He had already shown that an arbitrary distinction in the public service, between political and commercial duties, had been the plea by which incapable individuals had been improperly appointed to public situations in which they had been called upon to fulfil political functions of a high order, and were incapable of performing commercial duties of a very inferior degree. There was another point which he must not omit to notice. It was said, that a consul must be possessed of commercial knowledge; that there was no similarity or kindred feeling between political and commercial topics; and on this account it was alleged, that different individuals must be appointed to discharge consular and purely diplomatic functions. Some individuals in the House paid great regard to tradition, and the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Ward) had given notice of a motion for a return of the peculiar burdens borne by the agricultural interests. Now, he should very much like to be put in possession of the peculiar duties borne by the consular interest. The powers of a consul were so limited, that by the Consular Act those functionaries could demand to see neither the manifests of cargoes nor the registers of ships. Mr. Macgregor had observed, that the duties of consuls were originally, among other things, to clear the ships' cargoes. But all this had past. The duties of consuls had, by change of circumstances, altogether changed. A consul had certainly authority to interfere wherever the interests of the cargoes of our ships were concerned. An ambassador had the same authority. Therefore, it was manifest that the distinction between the character of anambassador and of a consul was merely one of degree. The fact was, that the consular system was wholly adapted to a former age. It had sprung up under circumstances which were no longer in existence. In the case of consuls in the Levant the office was invested with judicial authority, and he thought such authority was most improperly held by those consuls. In former times the consuls were in the habit of receiving the goods which were Sent to the port at which they were stationed, but since the practice had been adopted of merchants having their own consignees at the ports to which they made their shipments, the discharge of this part of the consular office had fallen totally into disuse. Then, again, the emergencies which once called for the aid of these functionaries now no longer existed. They were no longer needed to soften Ottoman pride, or to assist the rude civilisation of feudal simplicity. But though their offices were obsolete, the officers were retained, because it was known that every country must be well informed respecting foreign subjects. Every Minister now knew, that without intelligence the Government of the country could not be carried on. Accurate information was the spring of all success. As long as a minister was supplied with sound information, the country would not be plunged into difficulties by rash expeditions and ignorant treaties. He should pro pose, that in whatever metropolis a diplomatic mission might exist, the commercial interest should be placed under such mission; that wherever consuls of the first class were, the duties of attachés should be combined with those at present discharged; but that consuls paid only by fees should not enter the diplomatic service. He felt conscious that he had trespassed much on the patience of the House, and he thanked the House for the courtesy with which they had heard him. Many points he knew had been omitted, which bore on this important subject. In asking the House to agree to the proposition he now submitted, he was not asking them to sanction any wild experiment, or any fanciful theory. He only asked them to fix their seal and stamp to what practice had already proved useful, and experience had already sanctioned. If the House assented to his proposition he anticipated the most beneficial results. He expected a new era would commence in the foreign affairs of this country. If our foreign service were filled by a well-educated, well-organised, and a well-superintended corps, all working together for one common intelligible end, he augured that the most important results would ensue, alike con- ducive to the honour of the Sovereign, and the welfare of the country. The hon. Member concluded by moving the following resolution. That it appears to this House, that great inconvenience and injury to the public welfare have arisen from the civil affairs of her Majesty in foreign countries being carried on by two distinct services; and that, with a view of advancing those commercial interests which at this moment so much occupy our consideration, it is expedient that measures should be forthwith taken to blend the consular with the diplomatic body.

Lord C. Hamilton

rose to second the motion of his hon. Friend. He would avoid all unnecessary details, and all personalities. He would also avoid making allusion as much as possible to particular appointments and to private characters, because he thought that they bore but little on the question before the House. Much higher and more important interests were involved in it. He felt that no apology was due for the introduction of this subject to the attention of the House. Considering that the House represented mercantile interests of the greatest magnitude, considering the sums which were invested in mercantile operations, the amount of talent, energy, and skill which were employed in the direction of them, he did think the House would not refuse its earnest attention to a subject which was most intimately connected with those important interests. Protection to our merchants, and the acquisition of correct statistical returns, were the objects proposed by the motion of his hon. Friend; and in seconding this motion he hoped to be allowed to offer a few observations, however inadequate his support might be. He begged in the first place, to guard against being supposed to entertain any apprehensions as to the conduct of the noble Lord at present presiding at the Foreign-office. He felt; asssured that the noble Lord would make no appointments which would be prejudicial to British interests. With respect to the way in which the consular system was organised, he thought the House must have felt some surprise at the facts which had been laid before them; and he considered that it was wonderful that while the commercial interests intrusted to the consuls was so extensive, the frame work of the consular system was so defective, and so totally different from what prevailed in every other profession. The consuls had hitherto no privileges; they might have the most weighty charges laid against them without being able to make any defence. When it was known what important services were rendered by our consuls; that in the various difficulties in which they might be placed no advice was to be had; that there was always a necessity for prompt decision, while no code was in existence by which that decision might be regulated—he did think the House would deem the matter worthy of their immediate attention. The commercial transactions of this country he believed exceeded those of all the rest of Europe, and yet in a profession which had such especial reference to those important interests there was nothing in the frame work of the profession calculated to pro mote the advancement of individuals connected with it. There was no scope for merit to meet its due reward. Astonishing as the defect appeared, it was rendered even more extraordinary by the fact that other countries had long seen the necessity of a code of laws by which the judgment of their consuls might be directed. These codes entered into details, and were compiled with a view to meet as much as possible each individual case which might arise. The French consular code possessed especial merit, and in the absence of any code of our own, the British consuls had been in the habit of referring to it. And the chief part of its contents were most just and sensible. Was it not strange then, that while France had found the necessity of such a code, England had never had recourse to so simple an expedient to relieve the consuls of their great responsibility. He was aware that some indistinct laws were in existence, but they were found to be altogether insufficient for the purposes for which they were designed. The House was doubtless aware that when Mr. Canning filled the office of Foreign Secretary a great alteration was made in the composition of the consular body. Formerly the merchants trading to the different ports had been in the habit of recommending a person to fill the office of consul, and the minister had usually followed the recommendation of the merchants. The body of merchants, having been allowed to nominate this officer, undertook to pay him themselves; and these consuls were allowed to prosecute the trade in which they were engaged. This arrangement was, however, found to be inexpedient, since they were frequently obliged to decide in cases in which their own interests were involved. This disadvantage became so evident, that the practice then existing was done away with, and hence arose the present system of consuls, Unfortunately in appointing these Gentlemen, there had been an utter disregard of all previous qualification for the consular office. There was no ac quaintance with the commerce of the countries whereto they were sent, or with the peculiar manners and feelings of the inhabitants. In short, there seemed never to be any preparation made for these high and responsible situations. Another great evil connected with the present system was the arbitrary nature of the appointments, which, of course, involved dismissals as arbitrary. The impression appeared to be, that it would be superfluous in any man to give himself any trouble, or devote any attention to acquiring proper qualifications; the fact being, indeed, that the consular situations were too often filled up by the broken-down and disappointed of other professions—-by those who had failed In other pursuits, and had reached a period of life wherein there was little facility of acquisition, and less disposition to the labour of acquirement. The consequences of the system might easily be imagined to be such as had in fact been pointed out. Most justly, for example, had his hon. Friend alluded to the undeniable fact, that whenever the Government wished particularly valuable and useful statistical information, special agents had to be appointed for the purpose of collecting it, as in a recent case; the consuls who were paid handsomely by the country, ostensibly for this very purpose of procuring required information, being unable to furnish it when demanded. Could there be a stronger self-condemnation of the existing system? The appointment of special agents for the procuring of peculiar information, entailed, of course, additional expense. Under such a system as the present, no persons of respectability, education, and talent, were at all likely to devote time and attention to the attainment of the numerous qualifications indispensable for a due discharge) of the diverse duties attaching to the consular-office. Yet how exceedingly desirable was it that young men of character and ability should thus dedicate themselves to a course of preparation for duties so multifarious, so important, and so difficult. How could this be expected, when the appointments and the dismissals alike were arbitrary, and with no reference to real fitness and qualification? This was calculated effectually to depress that laudable zeal, and discourage that application, which were essential to the well working of our consular system. There was no code of instruction—no digest of duties—no scale of promotion—no incentives to exertion—no premium for talent, but under such a system there was a sum of 100,000l. per annum, distributed among about 170 persons: and so injudicious, so injurious were the arrangements, that it frequently happened that appointments were given to such as were least capable of filling the consular-office, with efficiency, to such as had no knowledge of and had acquired no experience in the high, the onerous duties of their intended stations. In adverting to some particular instances of incongruous, but important duties, performed by some of our consuls, he must mention that one gentleman had been employed during the late affairs in Syria to head troops and conduct warfare, and had been intrusted actually with power to create Emirs by the Porte, and had exercised the powers of deposition. He was quite prepared to be told that such cases as these were extreme instances and singular in their nature. To this he would reply, that such cases should be provided for in a peculiar manner, and not embarrass and confuse the whole consular system. So it was, however, that unquestionably the more distant and difficult the scene of duty, the more dangerous, diverse, and delicate the duties to be discharged, the less defined were the powers, the less clear were the instructions, the less distinguished was the functionary. He might advert more particularly to the peculiarly motley character of the consular office in the Levant, where our consuls acted occasionally as magistrates, notaries, commissioners of health, &c, and where, just as the duties were the most multifarious and embarrassing, the instructions were the least luminous, and the functions the least defined. Their situation was most important, standing, as they did, between our subjects on the one side, and the foreign jurisdictions on the other, and having the delicate part to fulfil of repressing the irregularities of the former, while restraining the encroachments of the latter. Curious instances might be given of the extraordinary diverse duties they were constantly called on to fulfil, having sometimes to take recognizances, sometimes to quell disturbances; and it was very easy to see how embarrassing must be their situation in cases of dispute between British and foreign subjects. They might control their own countrymen, who would naturally refrain from contemning consular authority, in order not to lose the benefit of consular protection; but as to the foreigner, how. limited their power, how imperfect their knowledge, how ineffectual their means of obtaining justice! Those who were at all acquainted with the subject—on which a report in the year 1835 threw great light—would well know the diversity of foreign usages respecting civil jurisdiction; but the main evil, the chief difficulty, was in regard to criminal jurisdiction, respecting which, too often, the attempt to administer justice, was necessarily either a mockery or an aggravation. Now, was this a system which ought to prevail? He hoped, that he had said enough to show that the subject was one worthy of the attention of the House, and he thought he had also succeeded in showing that the present was a state of things which had gone on too long, and ought not to be permitted to continue. As an instance of the injustice, and he might fairly say, the cruelty, to which the present system gave rise, he might refer to the case of Mr. Larking, the gentleman who was consul at Alexandria during the late important events in Syria. He need hardly remind the House, that at that period great alarm prevailed amongst the British residents in that part of the world. The noble Lord opposite had acknowledged the zeal, the talents, and the high character of the late British consul at Alexandria; but, as might have been expected, considering the climate and the weight of the functions which he had to discharge, the health of Mr. Larking sank under the arduous duties which devolved upon him. Under those circumstances, he naturally solicited leave of absence, and took occasion, in making that request, to express a hope that no reduction would be made in his salary. To this very natural, and, as it might be considered, just application, he received from the noble Lord, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the following reply:— I take this opportunity to acquaint you, that in the particular state of affairs in Egypt, her Majesty's Government deem it essential for the public service, that the consular duties at Alexandria should be performed by persons wholly unconnected with the mercantile interests of the place, and the Queen has, therefore, been pleased to cancel your appointment as consul at Alexandria, and to appoint Mr. Stoddart to be your successor. I have, however, to express to you my approval of your services during the time you have been consul at Alexandria. Immediately on the receipt of this letter, Mr. Larking took steps to undeceive the noble Lord with respect to his supposed connexion with commercial pursuits. Mr. Larking, in a letter which he addressed to the British residents in Egypt, expressed himself in these terms:— I lost no time in pointing out to his Lord ship, that the motive alleged for my removal was without foundation, and must have resulted either from wilful misrepresentation, or in a supposition on the part of his Lordship, that I had availed myself of the privilege of trading granted me by the consular regulations, having never, during my residence in Egypt, been engaged in mercantile pursuits. In confirmation of this assertion I appealed to the British residents of Alexandria, and strengthened that appeal by referring his Lord ship to Mr. Bidwell, the superintendent of the Consular Department, to whom shortly after my arrival in England I had pointed out the propriety of withdrawing from consuls at Alexandria the privilege of trading. I mentioned to his Lordship in the strongest terms the disappointment and mortification I felt on being thus abruptly and unexpectedly dismissed from a post, in the possession of which I had considered myself secure, so long as I continued faithfully and zealously to discharge the duties assigned to it; but that having received repeated intimations both officially and otherwise of his Lordship's approbation of my conduct, I felt confident that so soon as his Lordship was made aware that the determination he had come to was based upon erroneous grounds, he would not hesitate in recommending my reinstatement. To the representations of Mr. Larking the noble Lord replied in terms which showed that the charge of trading being distinctly denied, he thought it expedient to shift his ground and take exception to Mr. Larking, for being, not a trader or agriculturist, but for being connected by marriage with those who were. These were the terms in which the noble Lord wrote upon that subject:— I have received your two letters, dated the 14th and 16th inst., in which you urge, as a reason why you should be reinstated as her Majesty's consul at Alexandria, that during the whole period of your residence in Egypt you have never directly nor indirectly engaged in mercantile pursuits; and that you had latterly been occupied in preparing a report upon the necessity of introducing changes upon the consular department at Alexandria, and especially the propriety of withdrawing from the consul at that place the power to trade. In reply, I have to observe, that I believe you have been engaged in Egypt in superintending some large commercial and agricultural concerns of your near connexion by marriage, Mr. Thurburn? but whatever may have been the precise degree in which you yourself have been interested in the commercial pursuits and engagements of your family connexions in Egypt, I am convinced the arrangement which I have advised the Queen to make is for the advantage of the public service, and I cannot reverse it. When Mr. Larking had thus received the confirmation of his dismissal, the fact became known to the British residents in Egypt, and they lost no time in addressing a letter to their late consul to this effect:— We hasten to express our great concern at your abrupt removal from the situation of consul at Alexandria. During your residence amongst us you had acquired our esteem by the attention you gave to our representations, and the zealous manner in which you advocated our interests when called upon to do so. We fully admit the wisdom of the principle assumed by her Majesty's Secretary of State, by which a consul in Alexandria should not be permitted to trade; but you never were, to our knowledge, engaged in the trade of the place at all; and had such been the case, rival interests would have detected it. We shall be happy if this testimony destroys the false impression which occasioned your dismissal. The case of which he had thus reminded the House, was one which merited in no small degree an attentive consideration, for it showed in a clear and practical manner how the system worked. He thought, from the statements made by his hon. Friend, and from the facts which could not fail to be known to Members of the House generally, that this position had at least been made out, that if the consular establishment were to be kept up, it ought to be recognised, and united with, or made to resemble, our diplomatic establishments. He hoped that the object of his observations would not be misunderstood. He had addressed the House with the view of inducing them to pay attention to a subject of great importance—of great moment as regarded our commercial interests, and of no trifling weight even in a political point of view. For the reasons he had stated, it was to be hoped that something like an incorporation of the two bodies—the consular and the diplomatic— would be effected. Such an arrangement might possibly tend to diminish the patronage of the Foreign Secretary, but he was sure that her Majesty's Government would allow no such consideration to influence them, but on the contrary, would rather seek an opportunity of more completely protecting our interests abroad than the present system afforded. The noble Lord concluded by seconding the motion.

Dr. Bowring

could not avoid feeling some surprise at not observing that the responsible advisers of the Crown had thought proper to express any opinion on a subject of so much importance, and one, too, brought under the consideration of the House by two of their hon. supporters. But as the Government remained silent, he hoped that he might, without intrusion or irrelevance, venture to make a few observations. He apprehended, that amongst those who possessed anything like sound information on the subject, there did not exist any difference of opinion; indeed, he believed there was not to be found a second opinion amongst intelligent and impartial persons. Although he agreed in many respects with the hon. Mover and Seconder, yet was be bound to say, that they had not touched the root of the evil; they had not adverted, for example, to the fact that the persons sent out as British consuls were not qualified by education or by previous habits for the tasks assigned them. If there be any department of Government which requires the previous training of men for the fit discharge of its sometimes onerous and complicated duties, it was the consular service. It should be made the subject of special education, and before any individual was nominated to the post, a thorough investigation of his aptitude should take place. Men advanced in life often received those appointments— men whose character and habits had been wholly formed, and who were then incapable of qualifying themselves for the discharge of functions of great importance and gravity. It was well known that this country was, in various parts of the world, very inefficiently represented. There were some who thought when they went out as consuls it was not necessary to be acquainted even with the language of the countries they were called to inhabit, and others who supposed that if they possessed a knowledge of the language of the country to which they were going it was quite sufficient, never once imagining that knowledge of the laws, manners, usages, customs, and commercial relations of the state in which they were to reside, was necessary to the protection of English subjects—for the assertion of their rights and the redress of their grievances. So far from England being worthily represented by her consuls, he thought that, with some honourable exceptions, she was very unworthily represented: but for this he did not hold the Queen's Government to be responsible any more than he did their predecessors. The system was the thing of which he complained, and in the present state of affairs, there were no means of rendering the system effective. Parliamentary influence in this, as in other cases, had exercised an injurious influence, and had led to the appointment, as well as to the continuance in office, of men wholly unfit to be consuls. But even if fit men were appointed their services were turned to small account, for the use of Parliament and the public. A voluminous correspondence was regularly forwarded home. That correspondence often contained important suggestions for the extension of our commercial relations, and valuable information on many important topics—but it remained useless in the Foreign Office, except in those rare instances in which some portion of it might be called for by a vote of that House. He conceived that every part of that correspondence, capable of furnishing useful information and not containing any matters which required secrecy, ought to be regularly laid on the Table of the House. Something had been said with respect to our consuls in the Levant. In that part of the world our consuls were charged with very important functions. They were magistrates,—and judges, having the power of fine and imprisonment, and often called to decide in cases of great delicacy and pecuniary importance! An ignorant and untrained man was surely not competent to settle the differences in which our merchants were occasionally involved. There was no code of laws to which consuls could refer for their guidance, and the consequence was, that they were frequently guilty of arbitrary and irregular acts that subjected them afterwards to serious consequences. There was a gentleman, now an exile from this country, to which he dared not return in consequence of having illegally arrested a man in Egypt. At various ports they were in the habit of deciding quarrels between masters of ships and their crews, and taking upon themselves the responsibility of throwing men into prison, frequently calculating upon the ignorance of the persons they illegally committed, to escape the consequences to which their illegal and despotic acts rendered them liable. One consequence of the ignorance of a consul was known to him in which the party lost his life in consequence of not being able to make himself understood by his own servant. The hon. Gentleman had alluded to his report on the Island of Candia. He said, that the consul had furnished the information. This was most true. He (Dr. Bowring) had not visited the Island of Candia, but he received a very valuable report on the commerce of that island. He had an opportunity of ascertaining the value of the document from the governor, Mustapha Pasha, a very remarkable man, who had been continued in authority by the Porte, and he had inserted that document, stating from whom he received it. The hon. Gentleman had spoken somewhat less scornfully that night than on a former occasion, of some of his reports, but he seemed to censure those relating to Tuscany and Lucca; now those reports had been translated into Italian, under the licence of the Tuscan Government, and he had received from the authorities of those countries high testimonies of their value. It was not for him to justify the conduct of the Government which he had been called upon to serve, though he was bound to say, that he had felt exceedingly flattered by the appointments they conferred upon him. Possibly he had received them because there was some difficulty in finding persons who would undertake those ambulatory duties; and the right hon. Baronet knew that it had been very much the practice in modern times to select one individual to attend to particular pursuits, because their exertions being confined to a definite subject, their services were likely to be more effective, and their information more correct, than those of parties engaged in other matters. The hon. Gentleman had referred to the system of French accountancy in a manner that made it appear worthless; but it had many advantages which he had overlooked, and many of its improvements had been adopted by our own authorities. There were securities for the public revenue which our practice had not sanctioned, and it was through the neglect of their own authorities that Kesner's fraud had been committed. But a man in Kesner's position would in this country have been enabled to practice far more extensive frauds than he had done in France. Every person through whose hands the public money passed ought to deposit an equal sum to that under his control in the hands of the Receiver-general, and had the system been fully carried out, the loss by the defalcations of M. Kesner would have been less. The hon. Gentleman had alluded to the exertions of an hon. Friend now in the upper House, and himself, during the early negotiations relating to the French tariff. Some progress was made even at that time; for when the Earl of Clarendon and himself first became commissioners, the annual value of British manufactures exported to France was less than 400.000l. a year, but by the modifications they introduced they were fortunate enough to treble that amount. It was not for those who were opposed to the principles of free trade to complain of the protective systems of other countries, but he was sure that liberality at home would necessarily lead to corresponding liberality abroad.

Sir R. Peel

had a very few words to address to the House upon this subject. As much of the speech of the hon. Member for Shrewsbury, who had brought for ward the motion, referred to the cases of particular appointments which were made during the period when he was entirely unconnected with the control of public affairs, of course he was unable to speak either of the motives which led to those appointments or of the qualifications of the gentlemen upon whom they were conferred. He must therefore confine himself to the general question involved in the motion before the House. He looked upon that motion as implying a direct opinion, and as requiring the House to affirm that opinion,— That great inconvenience and injury to the public welfare have arisen from the civil affairs—(meaning the diplomatic and commercial affairs)—" of her Majesty in foreign countries being carried on by two distinct services; and that with a view of advancing those commercial interests which at this moment so much occupy our consideration, it is expedient that measures should be forth- with taken to blend the consular with the diplomatic body. That was to say that the House was to express an opinion, without qualification or reserve, that the diplomatic and consular functions ought to be united in the same person. He was not prepared to give his assent to that proposition. He was not prepared to affirm, without qualification or reserve, that in all cases diplomatic and consular functions must necessarily be united in the same individual. On a question of this kind one might naturally be induced to refer to authorities; but no authority could be found showing that the union of those functions was necessary, except the speech of the hon. Gentleman, because in the year 1825, this very question occupied the attention of two men, eminently qualified in their respective departments to form an opinion upon it. Had he then been asked to name two men who were most competent to give judgment on this question—whether it was desirable or not, that the diplomatic and commercial functions should be united in the same person, he should certainly have named Mr. Canning and Mr. Huskisson. Yet he found that a bill had been brought in, which immediately regulated the performance of the consular functions, under the auspices of those two eminent and competent men, and who must therefore have had the question under their peculiar consideration; and it was quite clear from that circumstance that their opinion was, that the consular and diplomatic functions might with advantage to the country be disunited. Some years elapsed and a committee was appointed to consider the state of the consular functions, and in the list of that committee were the names of individuals perfectly qualified for the task. There were the names of Viscount Palmerston, Viscount Lowther, Sir J. Graham, Viscount Sandon, Sir H. Vivian, and Mr. P. Thomp son, and many names of men connected with trade and commerce—namely, Mr. Hutt, Mr. Warburton, Mr. Crawford, Mr. Stuart M'Kenzie, Dr. Bowring, Mr. C. Fergusson, Sir S. Canning, &c. The committee sat and received evidence upon the subject, and in the course of their proceedings the question was discussed, whether it was necessary to unite the diplomatic and consular functions; but the committee in their report expressed no opinion in favour of that proposition. On the contrary, the consideration of the committee was directed to the question, whether or no the consuls should correspond directly with the Board of Trade, and whether they should be placed under the superintendence of that board, or whether they should continue under the superintendence of the foreign department. The opinion of the committee was against any change, for it was felt to be of the greatest importance that the consuls should continue under the superintendence of the Foreign Department; and although the question of uniting the two functions in one person was discussed in that committee, composed of men perfectly qualified to give a decision upon it, they abstained from expressing any opinion what ever thereon. As far then as authority went, the authority of the House of Commons appointing a portion of their body to consider the subject, there was nothing in favour of the motion of the hon. Member. And he (Sir R. Peel) thought the House of Commons ought to pause before, in a matter of this kind, they affirmed the abstract proposition submitted to them by the hon Member. True, there might be men in the consular department well qualified for their duties, who, under some circumstances, might be employed in diplomatic affairs; and at the same time men might be employed in diplomatic negotiations to whom it would be unsafe to intrust commercial interests. Upon that ground, then, he was not prepared to assent to the proposition. It appeared that in France there were consuls at the following places: — Calais, Boulogne, Havre, Brest, Nantes, Charente, Bordeaux, Bayonne, Marseilles, Toulon, Cette, &c. Now, it did not seem to be absolutely necessary for our commercial interest that there should be consuls or vice-consuls at all these places for diplomatic purposes, but he could understand why they should be required for commercial purposes in every one of those ports, assuming, of course, each individual to be qualified for the performance of his duties. But he should tell any one of those persons, that he was overstepping his province if he attempted to interfere in diplomatic matters; nor would it follow, that because he might think it necessary to have in thirteen or fourteen trading ports British consuls watching over British commerce, he must therefore have them there for diplomatic purposes also. Both with re- gard to America and France, he might show the necessity of having consular establishments for commercial advantages without at all involving the union of diplomatic functions. So with regard to Warsaw, Archangel, Memel, Dantzic, Konigs berg, Odessa, Taganrog, Riga, Libau, or other places where there might be diplomatic functionaries, who, according to the hon. Gentleman, ought to be made con suls, and exercise the powers of both offices, he (Sir R. Peel) must still contend that they ought to be kept separate and distinct. At the same time he was not prepared to contend for the opposite principle, that in no case should the consular and diplomatic functions be united. There were cases in which they were blended, and in which they might be, and ought to be, so blended, when it could be done with propriety and with saving of the public charges: but it was impossible to lay down any general rule. In some cases, as in Egypt and Syria, for instance, they discharged diplomatic functions very properly; but it must left to the Foreign Department to determine in what cases the two functions should be separated, and in what they should be united. In every case in which they could be united they ought to be, provided it produced a saving in the public expenditure. He did not at all conceal from himself, nor would he wish to conceal from the House, the importance of this subject; and he could not deny the statement of the hon. Gentle man, that there was a tendency in persons who were disqualified for other appointments, in consequence of there being no express conditions laid down, to apply for consular appointments. He, therefore, must say, considering how important it was to the merchants and trading community of this country that persons should be appointed to these consular offices who were fitted to perform the duties of those offices, he could only express a general opinion in favour of the adoption of the principle in particular cases, and state, on the part of the Government, that the union of the consular and diplomatic functions should be inquired into and well considered; and that where that union could, with effect, take place it should be allowed. He was glad, also, to make this public advertisement to those who might hereafter apply to him—that he would not interfere on political grounds with any consular apointment whatever; and, more- over, he publicly declared, that there was too great a disposition on the part of those who were disqualified for public situations, to expect consular appointments, and that he thought the disqualifications of all applicants for such offices ought to be inquired into and scrutinized, and that no appointment ought to be made, unless it could be vindicated on the ground of the commercial knowledge and ability of the parties. He hoped this announcement would be taken as his answer to all the applications he had hitherto received and had not answered, and if it should operate as a preventive against the repetition of similar applications, he should consider himself most amply compensated for his trouble. He would leave the noble Viscount to deal with the personal part of the question, and should he think himself called upon to do so, to justify his appointments while acting as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; it was not in his power to assist the noble Viscount. As far as he could he would secure a full consideration, as the appointments fell in, of the propriety of uniting both functions, the opportunity of doing which he believed could not be of frequent occurrence. In conclusion, he hoped the hon. Gentleman would not call upon the House to confirm his abstract proposition; for it was not a motion for inquiry, or for referring the matter for consideration, but calling for a declaratory opinion. If, therefore, the hon. Gentle man pressed his motion to a division, he should consider it his duty, with the full conviction that he was pursuing a sound constitutional course, to offer his negative to the proposition.

Viscount Palmerston

had been anxious that some Member of the Government should express his views upon the subject, before he addressed to the House the few observations he had to offer, because the speech of the hon. Gentleman, although it was principally intended as an attack upon the course which he (Visct. Palmerston) had pursued when he held the office of Foreign Secretary, yet it ostensibly aimed at change in an establishment for which he (Visct. Palmerston) was no longer responsible. He agreed with the right hon. Baronet that no grounds whatever had been laid by the hon. Member for the proposition he had made. Indeed he (Visct. Palmerston) must say that he had never heard a speech so little supported even by assertion, far less by proof, than that which had been delivered by the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member had told the House, that for a length of time he had had his attention steadily fixed upon Gazette after Gazette, and that the whole of his attention had been directed to the appointment of consuls. But, however extensive the information to be derived from newspapers, the study of Gazettes is not equally profitable with a view to the enlargement of the mind and the improvement of the understanding. If the right hon. Gentleman had taken the trouble to study the writers on the law of nations, and had gathered together proper materials for throwing a light upon the subject, instead of watching with such sedulous attention the appointments of consuls as they appeared in the Gazette, he might possibly, with the ingenuity and talent lie possessed, have furnished himself with better grounds for arriving at a full understanding of the subject to which his motion related. The object of the hon. Gentleman was to transfer the consular duties to diplomatic agents; and yet he told the House—and the impression appeared strongly fixed upon his mind throughout his speech—that the consuls had performed their duties well. The hon. Gentleman's speech went to approve the talent, zeal, and ability of the consuls, and he cast reflections upon what he was pleased to consider the incompetence of the diplomatic body; yet the object of his motion was to take the consular duties from a set of men who, according to his own account, had performed them well, and confer them upon a set of men who, according to his representation, were not capable of performing them. It was not necessary to enter into the general question, because it was plain that the proposition and motion were put forward merely to enable the hon. Gentle man to enter upon a detailed criticism upon certain appointments made by him, and in which he had not been so fortunate as to obtain the approbation of the hon. Gentleman. It was quite true, as had been stated by the right hon. Baronet, that every man thought he would make a good consul. He could fully confirm what had been stated by the right hon. Gentleman, that every man, whether he had been in the army or in the navy, or in private life —whether his pursuits had been mercantile or legal or simply those of amusement— seemed to think his former course of life exactly qualified [him to become a consul. The applications for such appointments which he received when in office exceeded in number anything hon. Members could suppose. But this fact should induce Gentlemen to look with a little caution and suspicion upon complaints as to the appointments which had taken place, because when there was a great number of candidates, many of whom were necessarily disappointed, it naturally enough followed that the unsuccessful looked with jealousy upon their more fortunate competitors; and hence arose unjust and undeserved criticism upon those who succeeded in obtaining appointments. With regard to the proposition itself, he wondered that any one who had paid any attention to the subject should not perceive that from the nature of things it was impossible to carry it into effect. The proposition stated in the concluding part of the hon. Gentleman's speech was, that ambassadors and ministers should perform, at the courts to which they were attached, whatever consular duties belonged to that spot— that there should be, at all ports where there were consular duties to be performed consuls who should be converted into chargés d'affaires, and vice-consuls, who should be made diplomatic attachés. The proposal showed how little the hon. Gentleman understood the elemental principles of the duties of consuls. The character of consular duty differed in every respect from that of the duty of a diplomatic agent. Part of the duty of a consul applied to vessels coming into the port where he resided. He had to settle the disputes arising between the masters of those ships and their crews, and he had also to attend to complaints made by British subjects coming into port against the local authorities of the place. He was also, by law, charged with the duty of relieving distressed British subjects, and of making advances to enable them to return home. All these were not by their nature diplomatic duties. To diplomacy belonged the intercourse between nation and nation, and between the government of one country and the government of another. Consular duties relate to the intercourse between the subjects of one country and the local authorities of another. The two things were essentially distinct. It was quite true that in places at a distance from the residence of a minister, or in remote countries, in the capital of which there was no diplomatic functionary, the consul would often have to perform duties of a political nature. Therefore, it might be said, that the duties of the consul were in some special cases of a diplomatic character, but the great bulk of their duties was not of a political, but of a commercial nature, diplomatic agents being stationed where the government of each country resides are comparatively few in number, consuls being posted at all sea ports where much commerce is carried on are proportionably numerous. Hence the adoption of the hon. Gentleman's proposal would lead to the appointment of some chargés d'affaires; at every commercial sea port with which we trade, and was it to be supposed that any foreign government say that of France would like such an arrangement? But of course such a practice if introduced by us must be reciprocal, and would it be tolerated by us that every foreign country should so multiply in England diplomatic agents who were not removable as consuls were? [Sir Robert Peel: France wished that in 1803.] It was true, as the right hon. Gentleman had said, that after the peace of Amiens the government of Bonaparte wanted to send a number of military persons in a mixed diplomatic and commercial character to the outports of this country, but the English Government viewing the proposal with suspicion, and as a departure from international usage, would not permit the arrangement to be carried into effect. The diplomatic agent acts by letters which accredits him to the government with which he communicated: he remains at the pleasure of the government which sent him, and nothing but the interruption of friendly intercourse between the two countries could justify sending him away. But the authority of consuls was very different, for they act, not only by the authority of their own Government, but in virtue of an exequatur of the government of the country in which they are stationed, and which exequatur might at any time be withdrawn. The object of this was to prevent consuls from engaging in objectionable transactions, and to place them in some degree under the control of the government of the country where they reside. The hon. Gentleman however would convert all consuls into chargé d'affaires. Now, in the first place, there was no such thing as a chargé d'affaires in a country where there was a minister. The chargé d'affaires was a substitute, who acted for the minister in his absence, and the co-existence of the two at the same time and at the same court, or in the same country was incompatible. The hon. Gentleman, however, would not only make that incompatibility exist, but he would give some twenty or thirty chargés d'affaires to places where they could have no opportunity of communication with those whom they ought to communicate with. The plan proposed by the hon. Gentleman was founded on so perfect an unacquaintance with the elements and principles of diplomacy and of the consular service, that if the hon. Member had bestowed even upon the report of the committee which had sat to inquire into the subject a few years ago the same attention which he had lavished upon the Gazettes, he would have obtained sufficient information upon the question, to have convinced him that the two services were totally different. At the same time, it was right to say, that there were cases, as the hon. Gentleman had admitted, in which the two functions were combined. The first was the case of a country in which we had no separate diplomatic agent, and in which, from motives of economy, the consul resident there was invested with a diplomatic character. Another case was, where a consular agent was appointed in the remote provinces of a larger country, and where questions arose with the local authorities, and time did not permit a reference to the minister in the capital, and where consuls were, consequently, often called upon in cases of emergency to perform duties of a diplomatic nature. Such was the case in Syria, Servia, and other places holding relations with the Turkish empire. The executive Government had not been inattentive to the general principle advocated by the hon, Gentleman, when it could be carried out compatibly with the nature of things, and the Government had, from motives of economy, where it was possible, invested with a diplomatic character the commercial agent who fulfilled the consular duties; but in all these cases the practical application of the hon. Gentleman's principle of combination was exactly the reverse of that which he now proposed; for whereas he wanted to transfer consular duties to diplomatic agents, diplomatic duties had, in all these cases, been imposed upon consular agents. The hon. Gentleman had rendered a deserved tribute to the consular agents in the Levant, for the manner in which they had performed duties of a superior character to those which properly belonged to them, but their example only made against the hon. Gentleman's present proposal. He must here state, that he did not admit the ground taken at the onset by the hon. Member. The hon. Member said there were two species of duly—the commercial duty, which was considered inferior, and therefore performed by inferior agents; and the diplomatic duty, which was superior, and performed by superior agents— to this distribution the hon. Member had objected, saying, that he could not admit, that the interests of commerce were inferior in importance to the transactions of diplomacy. It might be an entertaining question for the hon. Gentleman to discuss, which of the two was the greater interest; but he would only say, that there was this distinction between the two duties—that upon diplomacy depended the intercourse between nations and the settlement of questions involving the vast consideration of peace or war; whereas in commercial intercourse those graver issues did not arise, and any dispute that might spring up upon commercial matters must become the subject of diplomatic communications before war was decided upon. With regard, however, to the Levant consuls, nothing was left for him to do but to confirm the statement of the hon. Member himself, that they had performed in a highly creditable manner those mixed duties, which the hon. Gentleman wished to take wholly away from consuls, and to impose upon diplomatic agents. The hon. Gentleman had admitted, in the case of America, that the Government had carried out his principle as far as it could do so with propriety. In 1831 and 1832, the hon. Gentleman ad mitted—though he was not quite right in his fact, for it was not at that period the arrangement was made—that the Government had appointed, in the South American States, consuls with the character of chargeé d'affaires, instead of diplomatic agents. That had been done from motives of economy. In South America, it was true, our political interests were secondary to our commercial, and most of the questions which arose had reference to the commercial intercourse of our subjects with the inhabitants and governments of those states. Therefore he had not felt, with respect to South America, that there was a paramount necessity for having purely diplomatic agents or ministers there; and he had conceived it would be well to consult economy by giving a diplomatic character to the consuls. But the hon. Gentleman found himself not quite right in the information he had received relative to the course pursued by him, when he said that he had begun upon that system, and had afterwards changed it, that he had first appointed consuls-general, then recalled them and appointed ministers; and then recalled the ministers, and appointed consuls-general for the purpose of obliging political friends. The hon. Gentleman had indeed affirmed the general principle, that political adherents ought to be rewarded by appointments, and he regreted to observe an exception to that rule in the person of the hon. Member himself. After the proof, however, of talent and ability, which the hon. Gentleman had afforded, although, perhaps, not of great industry in getting up the details of his case, he trusted, that before the end of the Session, the Government would overlook the slight want of industry for the sake of the talent, and that the House would see the maxim of the hon. Member practically applied to his own case. With respect to Colombia, it was formerly one united state; but as the hon. Gentleman well knew, it had since been divided into three smaller states, namely, New Granada, Venezuela, and the Equator. A minister to the old state had been appointed by one of his predecessors in in office, and upon the division of the state into three, he did not appoint any new minister to the two new states, because he thought, that circumstances did not warrant him in incurring the expense, and because he considered, that in those states a combination of the diplomatic with the consular duties would be sufficient. The same principle had been adopted in the cases of Peru and Chili. He had left the minister he had found in office at Bogota, the capital of New Granada, because he had confidence in him; but that minister came home upon leave, and after he had been here about two years he intimated his wish in consequence of ill-health, not to return to his post, but to retire upon a pension. He had retired upon his pension, and the fact was not, as stated by the hon. Gentleman, that he had brought him home for the purpose of dismissing him. At the same time, however, he had taken advantage of that gentleman's retirement to apply to New Granada the same principle which had been adopted in Chili and Peru, and to abolish the mission, and to substitute for the minister a consul-general with the rank of chargé d'affaires. There had been a secretary of legation there also, and he was transferred in the same capacity to another mission, so that gentleman was provided for without expense to the public. With respect to what had been said by the hon. Gentle man relative to the gentleman who had been appointed consul-general and chargà d'affaires at Bogota, he would say, that gentleman was perfectly fitted by his talents and industry to fill the post. He was without fear or apprehension as to the result of that appointment, and he was convinced the duties of the office would be performed in a manner that would win the approbation even of those who had no share in the selection of that gentleman. As to the allegation of his not understanding the Spanish language, he must say, that with regard to those countries the language of which was not much cultivated here, if no persons were to be appointed who did not understand the tongue, the choice would be so limited that the public would often lose the benefit of those talents and habits of business which were of more importance than the previous knowledge of language. Languages might be easily acquired, especially Spanish, which might be readily learned by those who, like the gentleman appointed to Bogota, understood French, and Italian, and Latin. In the case of South America, he had adopted the principle of the hon. Gentleman, be cause there diplomatic duties might be combined with the consular; but he had inverted the proposition, for he had not given consular duties to persons previously established as diplomatists, but had confided diplomatic duties to consular agents. It was well known that considerable saving of expense was effected by that arrangement. The hon. Gentleman, flying from time to time with the rapidity of thought, and from region to region, in every one of which it had been his misfor- tune to incur the disapprobation of the hon. Gentleman, got at last into Egypt, and mentioned the name of a worthy gentleman, Mr. Barker, for whose appointment he was not responsible. With regard to Colonel Campbell and Colonel Hodges, were consuls-general at Alexandria after Mr. Barker, those were appointments upon which he prided himself, so far from thinking it necessary to offer any excuse. The hon. Gentleman had said, that Colonel Hodges began his career in Portugal. He had done so; he had served with great distinction in that war which had placed Donna Maria upon the throne, and he was yet to learn, that the display of great energy of character, firmness, and gallantry, together with qualities that earned for him the esteem and affection of the troops under his command, rendered that gallant Gentleman unfit for the duties which had been entrusted to him. The hon. Gentleman was misinformed relative to the course of affairs in Servia, and he felt it his duty to contradict the assertion, that the dissensions and convulsions there had been fomented by the British consular agent. He said, then, that the appointment of Colonel Hodges to the consular office in Egypt, was one upon which he took some pride to himself; and so far from feeling that he had any thing to apologise for in regard to that appointment, he was satisfied in his own mind, that he had only done that which was good and proper for the public service. The able manner in which Colonel Hodges performed his duties in Egypt, led him to transfer him afterwards, when a vacancy arose, to the mixed diplomatic and consular office at Hamburg. This was another case in which the House would perceive, that the late Government had virtually pursued the system recommended by the hon. Member. They had done so in many instances where they felt that such a course could be adopted without disadvantage to the public service. Hamburg being a limited state, it was thought, not indeed by him, but by those who went before him in the same office, that the diplomatic interests of Great Britain in that state might well and safely be placed in the same hands as those which directed the consular service. With regard to Mr. Wood, another person who had fallen under the animadversion of the hon. Member, he was at loss to understand whether the hon. Member praised or blamed him. He fancied, however, that he praised him. [Mr. D'Israeli: No]. Oh ! the hon. Member blamed him. [Mr. D'Iraeli: No]. Well, at all events the hon. Member mentioned Mr. Wood at some length, and seemed to think that he had exceeded the line of his duty. Now the fact was, that Mr. Wood was not consul when he first went to Syria; he was dragoman at the Porte, and went to Syria entrusted with a mission from the Turkish government. The services he performed there, were very important to the cause in which he was engaged. Whether the hon. Member regretted the expulsion of the Egyptians from Syria he knew not, but those who thought that the system of policy which led to that result was a good one, and that the object aimed at was one that conduced to the interest of this country, would be of opinion that Mr. Wood had rendered very useful and very important service towards the accomplishment of the end in view. Again, the hon. Member spoke in terms which he thought might well have been spared with regard to the appointment of the British consul at Leipsic. The terms which the hon. Member applied to that appointment were not usual in that House, and he thought that the hon. Member's good taste might have led him to abstain from the use of them, unless, indeed, he had the strongest grounds to justify him in employing them. He knew that the consul had had some differences with some of the local authorities at Leipsic. How far those differences were attributable to any fault of the consul he could not tell, but this he could say of him, that he had given very full and very useful statistical information with regard to the commercial interests of this country in relation to the district in which he was stationed. The hon. Gentleman then went into a general condemnation of the system which had been pursued by the late Government (and pursued, be it remembered, also by the present Government) of sending, for special purposes, special commissioners to inquire into and report upon important matters connected with statistics and commerce. Upon that point, he could only say that, upon the fullest consideration and reflection, he was perfectly satisfied that that practice was a useful and a proper one. It was all very well to say," You have a consul here, and a minister there, and an attaché at another place; and if these gentlemen are not fit to send home to the Government such accounts as may be wanted relative to trade and commerce in the countries in which they are stationed, they are not fit to be employed." It was all very well for an hon. Member to get up in that House and make such an assertion; but he denied its correctness. He maintained that a man might be a prudent and excellent minister, a prudent and excellent consul, or a well-deserving and promising attaché, and yet not have that particular knowledge connected with the detailed arrangements of our manufacturing and commercial system which would fit him to acquire information that would be useful to the Government at home. It was not mere industry that enabled a man to acquire useful information. The hon. Member had that evening made a speech exhibiting considerable industry on some points, but a lamentable want of such information as would enable him to support his motion. He contended, that when a person like his hon. Friend (Dr. Bowring) was sent upon such missions, being, as his hon. Friend was, intimately acquainted with the details of our manufacturing system, and with the arrangements of our commerce, and having no other duty to perform than that upon which he was specially engaged, not being tied to one spot, as a consul or diplomatic agent necessarily was, but enabled to go from point to point to acquire the information for which he sought—he contended that such a person was far more likely to collect valuable information than one whose duties fixed him to the capital or to one of the sea-ports of the country in which he resided, and who therefore had never by habit or occupation been led to bestow attention to the matters which the Government for a particular purpose might require him to report upon. Were we the only people who took this course? Was the Government of England singular in appointing these special commissions? Far from it. Take the mission of his hon. Friend to Prussia, to make inquiries and acquire information with regard to the commercial league in which that country was engaged. Was England the only country that sent persons specially to Prussia for the same purpose? Did not the United States of America and the government of France, both send special commissioners to acquire the same information which the Government of England was desirous of possessing. Those coun- tries both sent special commissioners, although they had at the time very able ministers resident at Berlin. The United States bad there as minister a most eminent man—a man whose name was known all over the world—Mr. Wheaton. France had an able minister resident there, in the person of M. Bresson. Again, some years ago the Government of England sent special commissioners to Paris to inquire into the mode of keeping public accounts in France. France returned the compliment, and sent a special commission over to this country to investigate our system of customs. That commission was composed of very able men, and they furnished their government with a valuable report. The United States of America also sent commissioners to more than one country in Europe to obtain information with regard to the post-office system. Therefore, if the late Government of England was wrong in this respect, it was at least wrong in good company. It was wrong in company with the right hon. Baronet, and with the governments of France and of the United States of America. And he maintained that such a system, so far from casting any imputation or reflection, as the hon. Member intimated, upon the capacity of our foreign ministers, diplomatic functionaries, or consular officers, was only a proof of the desire of the Government to obtain the best and most accurate information by all the means which they had at their command. But the House would be very much deceived if, it thought—as seemed to be implied by the speech of the hon. Member— that the consuls did not periodically report to the Government at home important information, statistical and commercial; for it was the duty of every consul at the end of the year to send home a full report of everything connected with the trade, commerce, manufactures, agriculture, and general resources of the district with which he was officially connected; and there was not one of the mistakes made in the speech of the hon. Member greater than that by which he seemed to suppose that these reports of consuls were not read by the Secretary of State. He, for one, could assure the hon. Member, that during the time he had the honour of being at the head of the Foreign Department, he had read every report, every letter, and every despatch received from these officers abroad from the most elaborate report of the highest consul-general, down to the least important letter of the lowest vice-consul. Very laborious reading it was—reading that took up a great many hours of his time— but, scattered through the voluminous papers that thus came under his eye, he found many very important matters, with which it was his duty to be acquainted; and he further assured the hon. Member and the House, that there was no greater mistake in the world than to suppose, that because there was a person in the Foreign Office denominated the superintendent of the consular department, whose duty it was to receive, register, and arrange these reports and despatches—to send them to the Secretary of State—to receive his directions in reference to them, and to see those directions properly executed, there was, he said, no greater mistake than to suppose, that because such an officer existed, the Secretary of State himself did not give the same minute, detailed, and uninterrupted attention to these matters as to the other duties of his office. He really believed he might say, that the consular correspondence amounted to one-half of the whole correspondence of the Foreign Department. It went into matters of every sort and kind—matters relating to statistics and commerce, private claims, questions between the consuls and the local authorities, political events, matters, in short, of the most various interest, and which it was impossible for the Secretary of State not to attend to with minuteness. The hon. Gentleman thought that it was wholly unnecessary to send the person who was deputed to the court at Naples, for the purpose of investigating and settling the changes which were at one time to be made in the tariffs of that country and of England; and he was pleased to speak rather slightingly of our present minister at Naples, who had the misfortune, in the hon. Member's opinion, of being related to him. Putting the relationship out of view, and speaking of the British minister at the court of Naples, as he would speak of any other person engaged in the public service of the country, and especially in that department of it over which he had had the honour for some years to preside, he would not hesitate to say that that minister had always performed his duties with ability and zeal upon every occasion upon which he had been called upon to act. He hoped he need not assure the House that he should not say this unless he really thought it, and his official duties had given him the means of judging. The hon. Member's censure in this instance had been totally misplaced. The minister at the court of Naples happened to be at home on leave of absence, after five years residence abroad. At the time when Mr. M'Gregor was sent to Naples, there was then a chargé d'affaires at Naples who officiated during the absence of the minister. What was Mr. M'Gregor sent for? Really it would save the hon. Member and those who had listened to him and had to answer him, a great deal of very valuable time if the hon. Member would make himself better acquainted with facts before he entered into the discussion of questions of this nature. There was a question about a commercial treaty between Naples and this country, and preliminary negotiations had been entered into with the Neapolitan government for the conclusion of the treaty. One article of the preliminary negotiation went to this, that a certain tariff for the Neapolitan customs should be agreed upon, and annexed to the treaty, and should not afterwards be changeable except upon a mutual understanding between the governments of the two countries. Mr. M'Gregor was sent out to settle with the minister at Naples what the changes in the Neapolitan tariff should be; and the English Government certainly thought that they could not employ a better person for that purpose than one who was connected with the Board of Trade, and who had a practical knowledge at his fingers' ends of the whole of the details of our own tariff, with which that of Naples must necessarily, in such a negotiation, be much connected. It was impossible to suppose that the chargé d'affaires or the consul in Sicily could have been so minutely, so accurately, and so thoroughly informed of the details of the English tariff, and the bearing of the Neapolitan tariff upon that of England, as to be able with an equal chance of success to conduct the negotiation, and conclude the arrangement to be effected between the two governments upon this point. Mr. M'Gregor performed his duty, but afterwards went on to discuss questions connected with the treaty itself, which he was not authorised to do, and for which he had no instructions. Therefore, as might be expected, some of the arrangements proposed by him to the Go- vernment at home on his return, and which were inconsistent with the instructions meanwhile sent out to the diplomatic agent who had the conduct of the negotiation, did not receive the sanction of her Majesty's Ministers, and, consequently, fell to the ground. Other difficulties afterwards arose with regard to the sulphur monopoly, and thus the treaty, he believed, had not, to that day, been concluded. Then, said the hon. Member, "Why send Mr. M'Gregor to Sicily? Would not our consul there have given all the information that was required." [Interruption. ] He was not at all surprised that details of this sort should not attract the attention of the House; but a very dry, a very irksome path had been chalked out for him by the hon. Member (Mr. D'Israeli), and he must pursue it. He was saying that the Government having sent out Mr. M'Gregor, in order to revise the Neapolitan tariff, naturally expected to receive from him on his return, a more detailed account by verbal information about the sulphur question than could be well given in written despatches. It was therefore the duty of Mr. M'Gregor to go to Sicily to inquire minutely into all the circumstances of the sulphur trade, in order to enable the Government at home to judge more accurately of the claims of British subjects upon the Neapolitan government. He believed that those claims were now settled, and that most of them, in consequence of the information obtained by the Government agent, were reduced to a much more moderate amount than the original demand. The hon. Member found fault with all these appointments. He could only say, that while it was his duty to submit the names of persons to the approbation of the Crown for the appointment of consul, he had always chosen those whom he thought upon the whole most competent to perform the duties of the office. There was no particular education for a consul. There could not, by possibility, be any specific education for such an office; because the duties varied according to the place and the country in which the consul had to act, and from time to time, according to the circumstances under which he might be placed; but, upon all occasions, he had chosen, in each separate case, the person whom he thought best fitted to perform the particular duties of the post to which he was to be attached. And he now felt it to be his duty, in justice to the consular body which had been so much censured that evening, and which it was too much the fashion to censure in that House, whenever their appointments were referred to—to say, that as far as his experience went, they had always acquitted themselves well, and had faithfully executed the duties imposed upon them. Nothing was so easy as for an hon. Member to get up in that House and say, that the consular body or the diplomatic body was ignorant and ill-informed. These things were only said by Gentlemen who were themselves totally ignorant of the whole matter upon which they were talking. He (Viscount Palmerston) felt it to be his duty to say, that although a person here or a person there might be less able or less competent than others, yet that taking the consular body as a whole, there was not a more able or efficient body in the service of any country in Europe. Personally he had felt greatly obliged to them for the assistance which they afforded to him whilst he had the honour of holding office under the Crown, and he thought that they had rendered, and were still rendering, very important and very valuable services to the country. As to the Government of this country being ill informed upon matters going on abroad, he could only say— speaking with some knowledge of the fact —that he was convinced, taking the consular and diplomatic bodies together, that the Government of England had, during the time that he had the honour of being connected with it, been better informed than the government of any country in the world. That assertion was perhaps a bold one; but he made it as expressing his deliberate and decided opinion. The motion of the hon. Member being, as he believed it to be, only an occasion upon which he might retail all the lamentations and complaints which the hundreds of disappointed candidates for consulships went about venting, to the disparagement of their more successful competitors, it might have been sufficient for him to have gone through the list of charges made directly against himself, without even reverting to the motion which the hon. Member could never have entertained an expectation that her Majesty's Government would support. He thought he had shown that that part of the system which gave to consular agents, where it was possible with Any propriety, diplomatic functions, had been followed out by the late Government with great advantage to the country in point of economy. He had shown also he thought, that in regard to the motion itself, it would not be possible to adopt it consistently with international usage; that it could never be carried into effect, unless the whole world could be persuaded to alter long-established customs; and that even then it would be attended with inconveniences of which the hon. Member could hardly be aware. But it came across him that there were two persons whom the hon. Member had particularly criticised, and in reference to whom it was, therefore, necessary that he should say a few words. The hon. Member said, that we had, indeed, a consul-general appointed at Venezuela, but some cause having arisen to require his services, it was discovered that the consul-general was living at St. Petersburg, and the vice-consul dying at Liverpool. What was the fact? The consul-general at Venezuela, Sir Ker Porter, had been, for several years, resident in that; country; he applied for leave of absence, which was granted; but Sir Ker Porter abstained from availing himself of it until he had concluded a treaty in which he was engaged, for the suppression of the slave-trade. That treaty concluded, he availed himself of the leave of absence which had previously been granted him. "But then," says the hon. Member, "he is living in St. Petersburg." No doubt of it—for it happened that the members of his family whom he was most anxious to see, and for the sake of seeing whom after so many years of separation, he had asked for his leave of absence, were residing at St. Petersburg, whither he at once repaired, instead of remaining in this country. Sir Ker Porter was a most able and valuable public officer, and had been longer at his post than most other public servants. The consul at Porto Cabello, as had been stated, died at Liverpool. Who had since been appointed? Mr. O'Leary! a gentleman whom the hon. Member described as a naturalized subject of a South American state, one who spoke the language of the country to which he was appointed, and had an intimate acquaintance with its people. "How," said the hon. Member, "could you appoint a man who speaks Spanish, who knows by long residence a good deal of the country, a good deal of {the people, and a good deal of the interests he has to protect." Why, really he must ask the hon. Member to give up either his complaint against the consul at Bogota, who knew nothing of the language, nothing of the people of the country in which he was appointed to reside, or else his condemnation of the consul at Porto Cabello, who was thoroughly informed on all these points. He gave the hon. Member his choice—one or the other he must throw over. The facts connected with the two cases were so contradictory, as to render it impossible for them to be combined, as the hon. Member would combine the two distinct and different offices of diplomatic agent and consular agent. The hon. Member must consent to a separation of the two cases; his argument could not perform double duty? Who was Mr. O'Leary? A British subject, who, by long residence in America, had acquired the privileges of a South American subject—privileges not difficult of attainment; because, in some of the states of South America they were actually forced upon any person who had resided two years in the country. A quarrel between some of those states and France, in which England had in some degree participated, had arisen upon this very point—that they not only allowed, but compelled foreigners, after two years' residence amongst them, to assume the privileges of citizenship. It was therefore, no great matter that Mr. O'Leary should have obtained these privileges. It was true, however, that he had obtained them, together with great distinction, and high rank in the Colombian army, which, how-ever, he has for some time ceased to belong to. He understood that Mr. O'Leary, or General O'Leary, as his Colombian rank would entitle him to be called, was eminently well fitted to take care of British interests at Porto Cabello; and he would give the hon. Member a piece of information which, with all his industry, he did not seem to have acquired (but which would have told wonderfully in his speech), namely, that this gentleman, knowing the language of the country, and having an intimate acquaintance with the people, was actually doing duty as consul-general in the room of Sir Ker Porter during his absence. He should not trouble the House any further. He thought he had gone through the list of those whom the hon. Member meant to make the victims of the evening's debate. He hoped the House would judge of those whom he had omitted by the defence he had made of those whom he had mentioned. He remembered nobody else to whom the hon. Member had referred; and he had only another word to add. It was perfectly fair, as political warfare was carried on in that House, for gentlemen on one side to attack those on the other. Anything personal to himself the hon. Member was fully entitled to urge, and to urge with any degree of antithesis, or epigram, or force, that he might think proper. As the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel) had said, although now out of office he was as fully bound to defend what he did whilst a minister of the Crown, as if he still held a seat in the Government. That was perfectly true, and he was undoubtedly a fair object of attack; but he must say that he thought it not a very generous, and certainly not a very becoming course for gentlemen in that House, for the purpose of attacking a political opponent, to draw into the discussion, and mark with their censure, the names of men who had. no connection with the party conflicts which were carried on within the walls of Parliament—men sensitive about their character, more than Members of that House might suppose—men whose weight and influence in supporting the interests of their country abroad, depended very much upon the estimation in which they should appear to be held at home. He would have hon. Gentle men reflect, that in making attacks upon such persons, they were inflicting deep wounds upon the feelings of men whom they could have no motive to attack; and were really doing an injury to the public service, by attempting to lower the character of persons who had most important public duties to perform abroad. Therefore, continued the noble Viscount, I would say to the hon. Member, that in future I beg he will turn his steel upon me. Here am I who did it. Let him attack me as much as he pleases. But let him permit me to entreat, on the part of those who are serving the public in official situations abroad, that he will be as sparing as possible of their feelings; and if in any case he should feel it his duty to embark in a crusade against any of them, that he will at least take pains to be quite sure that the information upon which he founds his charge is thoroughly correct before he says that which, going forth to the public, must inflict pain upon those who deserved no censure, and must hazard a material in- jury to their efficiency as servants of the public.

Mr. Smythe

begged to allude to the high praise which had been bestowed upon the consular body of this country. The observations made by the noble Viscount were confirmed by those of Mr. M'Culloch, who spoke in high terms of our consuls. He thought, however, that more pains might be bestowed upon these departments, which would render them of greater service to the country they represented. If proper attention had been paid to the consular establishments of this kingdom, the hon. Member for Bolton might have received an appointment— O, fortunatam natam me consule Romam. He agreed so far with the hon. Member for Shrewsbury in thinking, that a great improvement might be introduced into this body. The noble Viscount opposite might well seem surprised at the numerous faults which had been found with this body by the hon. Member for Shrewsbury. It appeared to him, however, to be something like a new edition of a very entertaining work, which was very well known by the title of "Captain Bobadillo." He must say, that much of the retrospection of the hon. Member who had brought forward this motion was very old. That hon. Member had alluded to the case of the appointment of Colonel Hodges, at Alexandria. Why, he thought, that the hon. Member might as well have alluded to the case of Caligula's horse. Some hon. Members had spoken in terms of disparagement with respect to the Syrian expedition; but he certainly conceived, that the treaty of London redounded as much to the honour of Lord Palmerston, as did that of Nimeguen to one of his predecessors. He might observe with reference to the appointment of consuls, that at Venice where the consul had time to bestow upon trade, permission was refused him to engage in any business; while at Trieste, where the engagements of the consul were numerous and pressing, he was allowed to enter into trade. This, he conceived, was a state of affairs which required alteration. It had been said, that the object of our consular establishments was, that the consuls might gain commercial information relative to the places where they were stationed, which might prove beneficial to this country. He thought it was injudicious to permit a consul to engage in trade, for the authorities in the state to which he was accredited, might feel considerable delicacy in communicating to him information which might be used for his own private advantage. A person placed in such a position might also possibly become a bankrupt, or be involved in other misfortunes; and it was most desirable, that we should avoid the possibility of suffering the representative of such a country as this to be placed in so unfortunate a situation. He thought persons who were appointed to act as consuls should have as little connection as possible with the trade of the country in which they were stationed.

Mr. W. Williams

wished to suggest to the Government the propriety of appointing a consular representative at Cracow. Austria, Russia, and Prussia had consuls at that place; and he thought, if we had had a consul there, its occupation by foreign troops, a few years back, might have been avoided. If such a measure were adopted, it would be regarded by the people of Poland as a manifestation of interest, on our part, in their favour.

Sir W. Somerville

could not forbear saying a single word on the subject of the unworthy attack which had been made by the hon. Member opposite upon a gentleman who now held the office of Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of the Two Sicilies, and which had been alluded to by his noble Friend below him in a manner, and with a delicacy, which he could well appreciate, but which did not sufficiently confute the statement of the hon. Member. He had had the honour of serving in a subordinate capacity with the gentleman alluded to, and he could bear witness to the zealous and talented manner in which he discharged his official duties. The hon. Member sought to convey to the House the impression, that the gentleman to whom he referred had been appointed to the diplomatic station he held, in consequence of his relationship to the noble Viscount. He would ask if that was really the case? The gentleman in question was one of the oldest diplomatic servants of this country; he had risen from the humble position of an attaché to the office he now held; and he thought he was fully entitled to the post which had been assigned to him.

Mr. Ward

expressed a hope, that some practical benefit might result from this discussion, though he feared such would not be the case. He thought it most desirable, that endeavours should be made to promote the efficiency, as well as the economical management, of the consular service. He conceived, that the suggestions which had been made to-night, might be so far acted upon, that in places where there was a diplomatic mission, as well as a resident consul, the latter officer might be dispensed with, except at outports, where the commercial interests required great attention. The hon. Member for Shrewsbury (Mr. D'Israeli) had alluded to the ignorance of some consular officers of the language of the countries in which they were stationed; but he need scarcely say, that that was no uncommon occurrence. Lord Heytesbury, who was sent to Spain in 1822, at a time when our relations with that country were in a somewhat critical position, was unacquainted with the Spanish language; but was he prevented, by that circumstance, from accomplishing satisfactorily the objects of his mission? The facility of communication which was required might be readily obtained by means of trustworthy interpreters. It might be desirable, that some system of diplomatic education should be adopted, which might enable parties to acquire a knowledge of the language of countries to which they were sent out; but that was, he feared, an object which could not be attained. Diplomacy could not be made a profession to which persons who had a possibility of attaining eminence in other professions would devote their attention. The party in power found it necessary to appoint persons who were in their own interest to represent them at foreign courts; and, consequently, persons exercising diplomatic functions were also liable to be replaced by others, and could entertain slight hope of ever attaining to high distinction. He would not allude to any of the personal attacks which had been made by the hon. Member who had introduced this question; but he would merely add, that if the motion were pressed to a division, he would feel it his duty to vote against it.

Mr. Labouchere

said, with reference to the remarks as to the inexpediency of maintaining a consul-general and a diplomatic minister at the same place, he might state, that it had been the rule of his noble Friend (Viscount Palmerston) to abolish, when practicable, the offices of consuls-general at all places where a diplomatic minister was resident. This had been done at Paris, at Madrid, at Mexico, and at Buenos Ayres. At several places, however, where British Ministers were resident, consuls-general were still stationed, in consequence of peculiar-circum stances; as, for instance, at St. Peters-burgh, where our extensive mercantile interests absolutely required the superintendence of such an officer.

Captain Plumridge

was understood to express a wish, that the consuls at foreign ports were invested with a larger extent of power than they at present possessed.

Mr. D'Israeli

in reply, said, that he must offer his acknowledgments to the noble Viscount for his courteous aspirations for his political promotion. Such aspirations from such a quarter must be looked upon as auspicious. The noble Viscount was a consummate master of the subject; and if the noble Viscount would only impart to him the secret by which he had himself contrived to retain office during seven successive administrations, the present debate would certainly not be without a result. He had felt some surprise to hear the noble Viscount lay down, a position which was certainly new in parliamentary debate, that it was not allowable, under any circumstances, to question the personal merits or demerits of a person appointed by Government to exercise official functions. This doctrine was certainly novel. It had not been his wish to enter into personal details, or he might have adduced many cases in addition to those to which he had alluded; he had only referred to such cases in illustration of the principle for which he had contended. The noble Viscount had regretted his want of knowledge on this subject, and had recommended him to study the law of nations. If a study of the law of nations were only to teach him that a consul required an exequatur, the result would not be considerable. The observations of the noble Viscount had been virtually favourable to the principle to which he was desirous to obtain the sanction of the House. Indeed, every hon. Member who had addressed the House on this subject had admitted, in a greater or less degree, the propriety of that principle. The noble Viscount seemed to think that he had placed him in a dilemma in his two consul-generals, and the Spanish language; but the point of the noble Viscount's remarks was, that the Government were justified in appointing an alien to a consulship, provided he could only speak Spanish. He begged to remind the House that though he had mentioned in detail eight or tea cases, not one of the state- ments he had made had been questioned by any hon. Member, or even by the noble Viscount. On the contrary, the noble Viscount had admitted the correctness of all his representations. He was unable to ascertain, from the observations of the right hon. Gentleman who had opposed his proposition, where the line of distinction was to be drawn between consular duties and diplomatic functions. It had been said, that the duties of a consul were to arbitrate in such cases as those between captains of vessels and their crews. Now a consul had no power to do any such thing. The principle for which he contended had been admitted by nearly all the speakers. All hon. Members agreed that this discussion had been of service. He would not trouble the House to divide.

Motion negatived.