HC Deb 06 February 1843 vol 66 cc198-9
Viscount Palmerston

I rise to propose a question of which I gave notice on Friday, and to which the right hon. Baronet may return an answer or not, as circumstances may determine him. The question relates to the negotiations now going on with Brazil. In the first place I will ask whether the British Government has acquiesced in the interpretation which her Majesty's late Government put upon the article in the existing treaty with Brazil, which relates to the duration of that treaty? The next question I have to propose is, whether the right hon. Baronet thinks himself at liberty, in the present state of the negotiations now going on, to say whether those negotiations, as far as they have hitherto gone, justify him in entertaining a well-founded hope that they will lead to a satisfactory conclusion, by the ratification of a treaty of commerce with the Brazilian Government? I wish, also, to ask a question relating to another matter, and, although I have not given notice of my intention to propose it, I hope the right hon. Baronet will give an answer to it, either now or on some future day. I beg to ask what is the state of our negotiations with the government of Hanover upon the subject of the Stade duties?

Sir R. Peel

The noble Lord is perfectly aware, and probably a great majority of the House is also aware, that there existed a material difference of opinion between the British Government and the Brazilian Government, relative to the duration of the commercial treaty which was concluded between the two countries some years since. I understand the difference to have been this:—The Brazilian government contended that the treaty expired in the month of November, 1842, whilst the British Government (the late as well as the present) contended that the proper duration of the treaty extended to, at least, November, 1844. The Brazilian government, for some time, strenuously contested our construction of the treaty; but at length acquiesced in it, and the existing treaty, therefore, will continue in force until November, 1844. The British Government has sent a representative on a special mission to Brazil, for the purpose of attempting to negociate a commercial treaty. If this attempt should prove successful, the treaty would not, necessarily, take effect only from the expiration of the present treaty; but it might, possibly, be so arranged as to take effect at an earlier period—of course with the consent of the two contracting parties. It would not be consistent with the present state of the negotiations to hold out any expectations of that nature. The negotiations are not so advanced as to justify me in alluding to what may be their probable result. With respect to the negotiations with Hanover relative to the Stade Duties, I must state, that the propositions made by our Government have not been acquiesced in by the government of Hanover. At present nothing definite has been determined. We maintain the ground which we assumed, and Hanover has not acquiesced in our propositions. I may add that the Elbe States are at present negotiating with Hanover on the subject.

Conversation at an end.