HC Deb 02 May 1843 vol 68 cc1159-238
Mr. Hume

in rising to move a resolution, conveying the thanks of the House to Lord Ashburton, for the manner in which he had conducted the negotiations which led to the recent treaty with the United States, for the settlement, of the north-eastern boundary question, and other matters in dispute between the two countries, said that he was the more induced to do so in consequence of the noble Lord's having been assailed in this House by a noble Lord, who had lately occupied the post of Foreign Secretary, for the manner in which he had settled these differences. He looked at the result of this negotiation as a most fortunate circumstance for this country, and he very much regretted, and highly disapproved of the manner in which the noble Lord had been attacked in some quarters for his conduct in those negotiations, and in which the treaty resulting there from had been complained of. He had come down on the second evening of the debate on the noble Lord's motion, in order to submit a few observations to the House in support of the conduct of Lord Ashburton; but, in consequence of that debate terminating, he was prevented from fulfilling his intention by recording his opinion on this important question. He thought that the noble Lord who conducted these negotiations, was entitled to the thanks of the House and of the country for having, under fair and honourable terms, brought to a conclusion the disputes and put an end to that state of excitement which had so long prevailed between the two nations, and which, though nominally in a state of peace, had placed us in a state of disturbance bordering on warfare, and had pre vented the English and the Americans alike from the advantage of securely colonizing their respective territories. The statement of the noble Lord the late Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in bringing forward his motion of censure upon Lord Ashburton, as far as the history of these transactions up to the period of Lord Ashburton's mission, was very clear and perspicuous; and he believed it to be strictly correct. But further than this he could not go, for he had been obliged, with feelings of deep regret, to differ from the noble Lord in his policy for some years past, which had, he believed, been extremely injurious to the external relations of this country; and he was very sorry that the noble Lord, being out of power, should now have come down to condemn not only the treaty, but the manner in which it had been brought about. He was anxious that the settlement of these long disputed questions should lead to all the benefits that had been expected of it, improving the relations between the two countries, and conducing to the internal advantage of both. He was confident, however, that the manner in which this treaty had been received by this House, would disappoint the country of many of those beneficial results which it had a right to expect from it, and that the mischief thus occasioned could not be got rid of unless some further step were taken by this House. The course which he (Mr. Hume) was now about to adopt might be a novel one, but, at any rate, it could not be open to some objections to which the motion of the noble Lord was liable, which was one partly of challenge and partly of attack between opposite parties; whereas he had consulted no party in this House, and if he committed any error in the proceeding he had adopted, it was his own exclusively. But when he saw votes of thanks so frequently adopted, both in this House and elsewhere, to military commanders, for their conduct in military transactions, he could not think that there was any ground on principle for refusing a similar testimonial to the services of men who had been the agents in successfully adjusting disputes between ourselves and foreign states without the necessity for military operations. As the friend of peace, he thought that the House should more frequently come forward with votes of thanks to those who succeeded in amicably adjusting their differences with foreign states. If the House would look at our enormous national debt, which had been contracted for the purpose of carrying on wars which were generally of a most unjust kind—a debt now amounting to about 1,000,000,000l. sterling, for such was about its present value—and would consider how the weight of this debt cramped our energies as a nation, and impeded the enjoyments of the people, he was sure they would be inclined to agree with him in this proposition. He was a decided advocate for peace. He was no advocate for war as a means of settling disputes; but at the same time he hoped he should never be backward in supporting a recourse to arms, if it should be necessary to defend our country from aggression. In this case, however, there was no such necessity for recourse to arms. The noble Lord, in giving his statement of the history of this affair, had left out a most important particular in the question—namely, that for the last two years, though the two nations had been nominally at peace, they had been actually in a state of war, both in regard to the establishments kept up, and the state of feeling between the two people. Let any one calculate the expence which this boundary dispute had caused to this country, recollecting that 20,000 infantry had been maintained in America to support our claims, besides upwards of twenty men of war cruising about the coasts of North America. It was with a view to calm this disturbed state of feeling, and to avoid this continued outlay for the mere defence of our territories, that the present Government resolved to send out an ambassador to the United States fairly and freely to discuss and settle all existing differences between the two nations. Now, what were the differences existing between the two nations which were to be settled? In the first place, there was the north-eastern boundary question. It was impossible to look to the treaty of 1783, at the maps then existing, and at the information since obtained on the subject, without being satisfied that the grossest ignorance existed, in regard to the high lands, and the course of the river St. Croix, which had led to these unfortunate disputes. He had no hesitation in saying, that he was clearly of opinion that the British, in the views they had taken of their claims, had been perfectly just—it could never have been intended to abandon the territory which was now in dispute; but at the same time, when they came to read the second article of the treaty, which directs that a line should be drawn from the source of the St. Croix, due north, till it met the highlands from whence flowed the waters which fell into the St. Lawrence, it was impossible to believe that the American commissioners ever intended that this should be carried into effect in the manner contended for by the English. In considering the construction of this treaty, he thought, that the Americans were in some degree warranted in what they contended for; whilst the British, in defending their own grounds, had much of reason on their side, and their views had been defended by some able men. Such being the difficulty of the question in dispute, the adoption of a new conventional line of boundary was the only feasible course that could be adopted with any chance of success; and he really was at a loss to understand on what principles of justice or reason the noble Lord and his late Colleagues now objected to this adjustment, for they had once given their consent to the adoption of an arrangement much more disadvantageous to the British Government. The noble Lord said, that the treaty was a bad one—that it abandoned important British rights, and made concessions which were injurious to our interests, and derogatory to our honour. But the noble Lord had not stated what losses we had suffered, what concessions we had made, unless, indeed, some minerals which might by possibility be concealed in the bowels of the mountains in the tracts of land we had conceded; and, with respect to any dishonour we had sustained, he would leave it to the noble Lord to point out any act in which we had suffered dishonour or disgrace in the transactions. For his own part, he admitted that when the appointment of Lord Ashburton was first notified, he thought that it was a bad appointment; he felt bound to say so, because of the commercial relations which were involved, and the apprehension that the negotiation might be made to serve other than the general purposes of the nation. But when he found, that the conduct of the noble Lord in his diplomatic duties was entirely contradictory of these apprehensions, when he found that the noble Lord had conducted these negotiations with equal judgment and integrity, he felt called upon at once to admit the fact, and to give the noble Lord that meet of praise to which he was so fully entitled. The noble Lord, the late Secretary for Foreign Affairs considered that Lord Ashburton's mission had failed. He should be glad to hear from the noble Lord, at his leisure, what grounds of objections he had to allege against the issue of that mission. They had been told, that Lord Ashburton had done little, and amongst other matters that he had left the north-western boundary question un settled. What was the history of this mission? In September, 1841, Lord Aberdeen wrote to Mr. Everett, the American Minister, offering to send a special mission for the purpose of making a full settlement with the American government of all questions in dispute between the two countries. The question of the Oregon territory, though it certainly had once been a subject of discussion between the two Governments, had not lately been mooted between them, and it could not therefore well be included in a negotiation for the adjustment of existing disputes. To show the spirit in which this mission was viewed by the American government, he would refer to a passage in the message of the President in January, 1842, who stated, that He looked upon the mission as one prompted by amicable intentions, and that it should be met with a corresponding feeling. Now, with respect to the questions included in these negotiations. The northeastern boundary question had been in discussion for forty-eight years, and with respect to the terms on which that question had been adjusted, though the noble Lord had made some strong remarks upon the cession of the navigation of the river St. John, he thought that, considering all the facts, the advantages accruing to the Americans were fully countervailed by the advantages which we should experience from this adjustment of a difference, the termination of which had be come of such great importance. With respect to the question of the right of search, no one could read the despatches from the American government on this subject, without feeling assured that the United States meant in good faith to co-operate with us in effecting the suppression of the slave-trade. In 1823, a resolution was carried in the Congress, by a majority of 159, for the putting down of the slave-trade; though, un fortunately, through contrary circum stances, it had not been since carried out to the extent contemplated. But the American government, in pursuance of the resolution adopted, had resolved upon establishing a flotilla of vessels, carrying each, not less than eight guns, for the purpose of co-operating with the British, or otherwise acting, in the suppression of the slave-trade. With respect to the clause in the treaty for the mutual surrender of criminals, he highly approved of it, proving as it did that both nations wished to be on good and amicable terms. If it should happen that this clause would be likely to be made use of to demand the restoration of a slave who had fled from his owner, it would be the duty of Parliament, should a bill be brought before it to give effect to this treaty, to adopt such stringent restrictions as would prevent such a perversion of the intentions of the treaty. With respect to the case of the Caroline, it had been adjusted on much better terms than he had expected, for he must say, that a more daring violation of territory had never been committed by one country upon another than had been committed by Great Britain on this occasion. He would not now open up the details of this question, but in his opinion it involved a violation of territory of which the American government had a right to complain; and he was glad that all the difficulties which had resulted from this act of injury and insult had been adjusted most satisfactorily by Lord Ashburton. He was quite prepared to show that we were the sinners on that occasion; and he must say that he was surprised that the noble Lord (Lord Palmerston), who when he was in office, might so easily have smoothed down the acerbity which had been excited by this circumstance, should have neglected to do so. In 1838 the noble Lord was applied to on the subject by the American Government; but although a civil answer, merely acknowledging the injury and explaining that it was occasioned by a momentary excitement, would have been received as sufficient apology, the noble Lord had not thought proper to return any answer to that communication. This silence and neglect had led to an increase of the excitement, and to all those hostile demonstrations which were so much to be regretted. The last case which had to be adjusted was that of the Creole, which involved many disputed points. They had now, however, been so satisfactorily settled that no American could be ignorant of the fact that any slave on landing in any of our colonies would at once become free. The noble Lord had animadverted upon the concessions which we had made, both of rights and territories. It was true that we had conceded the free navigation of the St. John's; but that was a point which for our own benefit ought to have been con ceded long ago. He for one would wish to see the navigation of every river made free; and he was sure that England would benefit by this concession as much as the Americans. With respect to the division of territory, he should be glad to hear from the noble Lord what grounds of op- position to the treaty he had on this score. The noble Lord, anxious for an amicable arrangement of the point in dispute, offered to give up one half of the disputed territory to the north of the St. John's, and the whole difference between that proposition and the present was 76,000 acres of ground, admitted to be, with few and slight exceptions in the Tallies, utterly worthless. The great object of the British Government was to obtain a clear line of road from New Brunswick to Quebec. This was its object as early as 1783. In 1814, when Lord Gambler and Mr. Adams conducted the negotiations on this subject, they were prepared to lay down such a line of frontier as would secure a clear line of communication between New Brunswick and Quebec. The conventional line proposed by Mr. Jefferson in 1803, and afterwards by Mr. Maddison, was in accordance with this object, and the commissioners who negotiated the treaty of Ghent were recommended to proceed in their deliberations upon a similar view. More recently Sir W. Colebrooke had recommended the same terms, and Mr. Fox had stated to the noble Lord then at the head of the Foreign Department that he believed that Mr. Webster would be prepared to enter upon a negotiation upon such a basis. If the noble Lord had been able to have obtained that concession there was no doubt he would have been satisfied. But it was singular to see what a fatality had attended all the negotiations on this subject from first to last. In the first place, it had not been ascertained which was the river St. Croix, till nine years after the treaty of 1785 had been framed. Which of three rivers was that referred to in the treaty (so imperfect was the map), without further information it was impossible to determine. It became in consequence, necessary to institute a complete inquiry as to which was the St. Croix; and when they looked at the length of time which had passed in these disputes and negotiations, he thought that Lord Ashburton, in bringing all these difficulties to an adjustment satisfactory to both parties, had proved his mission to have been most successful, and was entitled to the thanks of the House. At the close of the late administration the noble Lord, the then Foreign Secretary, intimated to the American government that the terms which were offered were such as he could not accept. The noble Lord, in his estimate of the difficulties attending upon the late negotiations, had not appeared to reckon the proceedings and the state of feeling in the state of Maine. He should have remembered that they had been obliged to send troops to occupy a great portion of the disputed boundary—for the inhabitants of Maine threatened an appeal to arms. Indeed, so imminent was the danger, that in Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, we had an army of 20,000 men ready to act in case of emergency. Let it not be forgotten, too, that it was in consequence of the Ashburton negotiations that Congress enacted a law by which it was settled that any question of international dispute similar to the cases of Mr. M'Leod and the Caroline, should be dealt with by the federal government, removing it from the local tribunals and irritation which might be supposed to exist in the state in which the case had its origin. He was well aware how great had been the excitement in the state of Maine upon the late question, and he thought that the enactment of this law would do more than all that had been until then effected to preserve peaceful relations between Great Britain and America. The States of Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, and Alabama, had each and all of them come to resolutions to support the State of Maine in its claims by force of arms, should it appear necessary. In fact, hostilities were on the eve of commencement at the time when Government determined to send out a plenipotentiary. He had heard people say, who had means of judging, that were the settlement to be attempted over again, it could not now be made; and under these circumstances, they ought to consider themselves fortunate that the disputed matter had been so happily settled. With respect to the cession of Madawaska, he had seen the original grant of the fee. of the settlement, and it certainly was in possession of the Canadian government; but there was no other mode than that of a conventional line, by which any settlement could be come to. The noble Lord, the late Foreign Secretary, might be, strictly speaking, right in his claims; but the question was not whether he were so, but whether it were wise to keep up a state of excitement and irritation, for the sake of mere technicalities, or even for the value of all we could gain from any settlement of the disputed boundary? The settlement made by Lord Ashburton had given the greatest satisfaction to those who were well able to judge of the matter in dispute and the difficulties which were to be encountered. It had given the greatest satisfaction along the northern frontiers of our American possessions. It was approved of in the House of Assembly of Canada, and it received the cordial assent of the newspaper press in that colony. And who were so well able to judge of the value of the settlement which had been effected as those who from their position were naturally most affected by the evils of excitement and uncertainty? There were no two countries between which it was more desirable for their mutual benefit, that strictly amicable relations should be preserved than between Great Britain and America, and he thought that by acceding to the motion which he was about to propose, that they would do much to strengthen the friendly feelings between the two countries. But it had been urged that there existed no precedents in the proceedings of the House to sanction the step which he called upon them to take. Now, so far from such being the case, he found six precedents in favour of his motion. At the time when votes of thanks were passed by this and the other House of Parliament to the commanders and troops in China, the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government had stated that the name of Sir Henry Pottinger was omitted from the vote, in consequence of his being a civil functionary, as it was not usual to confer the thanks of the House in such cases. Now, he had made inquiries, and had drawn up a list of votes of thanks given by Parliament to persons for civil services performed by them. The first precedent occurred in the year 1763, when the thanks of Parliament were voted to the sheriffs of London for having burnt the North Briton. In 1778, thanks were voted to Admiral Keppel on account of his general conduct after he had been tried and acquitted by a court-martial. Again, in 1794, the thanks of the House had been given to the managers of the impeachment of Warren Hastings. In 1805, the Commissioners of Naval Inquiry received the thanks of Parliament. In 180G, the commissioners who managed the impeachment of Lord Melville received a similar honour; and on the 14th of May in the same year, on some charges being brought against Earl St. Vincent, for malversation in his official capacity of First Lord of the Admiralty, the accusations were dismissed, and a rote of thanks tendered to the object of them by the House. Those precedents, but particularly the last, bore upon the case at present in question, as charges had been brought against Lord Ashburton which, he thought, had been disproved. On the whole, then, he thought that the noble Lord fully deserved the honour which he asked the House to bestow on him. The noble Lord, had settled all the matters in dispute, some of which, notwithstanding many efforts, had been litigated for upwards of fifty-eight years, and had removed a very angry feeling which was rapidly growing up between the two countries. They not unfrequently saw the thanks of the House voted to naval and military officers, and surely they ought to bestow a similar honour upon a man like Lord Ashburton, who had carried through negotiations so great and important to so satisfactory a result. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving— That this House, looking to the long-protracted and unsuccessful negotiations for the settlement of the north-eastern boundary between the United States of America and the British North American provinces; and taking into consideration the great importance of re moving the grounds of irritation between the inhabitants of the frontiers, is of opinion that the treaty of Washington, by which that boundary has been defined and settled, is alike honourable and advantageous; and that Lord Ashburton, who conducted the negociations which led to that treaty, deserves, for that service, the thanks of this House.

Dr. Bowring

said, he rose to second briefly the motion of his hon. Friend; and though on most occasions such a motion might be considered a work of Parliamentary supererogation, yet this treaty had been so violently, and in his judgment, so undeservedly attacked, that it appeared to him quite becoming in the Legislature to give it a hearty and an emphatic approval. He had read the correspondence through, and from beginning to end the negotiation had been conducted in a courteous, pacific, and dignified spirit. As became the representative of a country like this, the noble Lord had entered on the controversy in a tone and temper worthy of his important functions—the functions of a negotiator of peace. He might have exasperated the people to whom he was sent—he sought to con ciliate; but not by unworthy concessions. He might have created difficulties by a querulous and quarrelsome jactancy—he rather endeavoured to remove them; but by no sacrifice of the national honour. A great nation can afford to be magnanimous, and so ought a great party, but he thought that justice had not been done to Lord Ashburton by that party which no longer held the reins of power. He for one regretted that it was not the privilege of the late Government to conclude such a treaty as that they were now discussing; with even stronger satisfaction than that he now felt he should have hailed it; but in discussions with other nations, in advocating the interests of our common country, we should raise ourselves above the pettiness of domestic squabbles and present a unanimous sentiment of patriotism; but, inasmuch as a real and a substantial good had been accomplished, could he refuse his meed of humble praise because he who had accomplished it did not in some, or many other questions, agree with him? He had not so learned his public or Parliamentary duty. That duty should not be made subservient to personal or party views. He thought the noble Lord had deserved well of his fellow countrymen, and as one of their representatives he should have his honest praise.

Sir C. Napier

said, that he was not astonished that the noble and learned Lord in the other House of Parliament should have proposed a vote of thanks to the noble Lord who had been engaged in arranging the boundary question with the American government, for that noble and learned Lord bad for some time been coqueting with her Majesty's Government; but he must express his regret that the hon. Member for Montrose, whom he had always considered to be a plain, straightforward, honest, calculating Scotchman, should follow in that noble and learned Lord's footsteps, and bring forward such a motion for the approval of the House. Why did not her Majesty's Government, if they approved of the proceedings of Lord Ashburton, propose a motion of thanks? He had a right to infer, from their silence upon this point, that they disapproved of the conduct of that noble Lord in the negotiations with which he had been intrusted. With regard to the question of the right of search, the President of America had declared that we had abandoned that right. The right hon. Baronet had denied this statement: that denial was followed up by a despatch from the Earl of Aberdeen. He could not see how the Earl of Aberdeen was borne out by that statement, for when he referred to the first despatch, dated the 8th of February, 1842, he alluded to the despatch to Lord Ashburton; that question was mooted, and Lord Ashburton's reply established, that he had received instructions to enter into a treaty on the right of search. Lord Aberdeen in that despatch had to question an important point. It was absurd to say that the right of search was not conceded to America. It was important in every point of view to adhere to this right of search. If this country did not do so, the consequence would be, that the slave-trade would be carried on by vessels bearing two descriptions of flags, which they could hoist whenever they wished to escape detection. That was what the Americans wished to do, and he sincerely hoped that her Majesty's Government would most emphatically declare that nothing upon earth would induce them to surrender their right of search. It will be the object of the slaveholders to make their vessels as like the Americans as possible. He would suppose the case of an English man-of-war falling in with an American vessel on the coast of Africa. Suspecting her to be engaged in the slave-trade, our vessel hails her. The American captain, who, as he (Sir C. Napier) knew, was often a stiff sort of chap replies, "I guess I have instructions from the President not to allow you to visit my vessel." If our captain did his duty he would fire a shot ahead of the vessel. That having no effect he fires another through one of her sails. No notice is taken of this; the English captain fires into the American ship and kills one of the men. The vessel is boarded, and the American again says, "My President says you have no right to search vessels carrying the flag of the United States." The vessel must be conducted into some port, and what, he would ask, would become of her? At the moment he was speaking, the case he had imagined might be taking place. He would like to know why Lord Ashburton, when he had a large force at his disposal, gave up the river of St. John to the Americans, and, in its place, adopted that conventional line which the hon. Member for Montrose so eulogized? Lord Ashburton made no effort to keep that line, but struck another line and gave up to America Rous's Point. The hon. Member for Shrewsbury had amused the House the other evening with a ridiculous story in relation to himself. That hon. Gentle man had stated that he (Sir C. Napier) had been on a visit to Lord Palmerton for the purpose of being crammed, and that his horses had run away and had knocked down an old woman. The story was ridiculous enough, but it would appear still more so when he informed the House that no such occurrence had taken place. He regretted that the hon. Member was not in his place. That hon. Gentleman manifested a great disposition to become a negotiator. If he (Sir C. Na pier) had been disposed to act the part of a spy, he would no doubt have seen, upon that occasion, the hon. Member for Shrewsbury issuing from the American minister's house drenched with French brandy, which, no doubt, must have tended greatly to confuse his vision, or the hon. Member never could have made the remarks he made on Rous's Point, hence we had given up that place. Congress had passed a vote to defray the expense of fortifying it, and in the event of a war between the United States and Great Britain, it would be impossible to prevent that place from being made a great source of annoyance to us. In fact, it was already called "Fort-Blunder." For these reasons he thought it highly improper that the House should entertain such a motion, and he therefore moved as an amendment, that the House do now adjourn.

Captain Berkeley

rose to second the amendment. He observed, that when the hon. Member addressed the House on the subject of the Canada correspondence, he was derisively cheered by those Ministers who, on the present occasion, seemed to adopt him for their leader. He did not blame the hon. Member for making such a motion; on the contrary, he thought that, in so doing, he had acted quite consistently; but he was surprised that her Majesty's Government cheered such sentiments as the House had just heard, and supported the hon. Member's motion. A few more such negotiations as those which Lord Ashburton concluded, and the visions of the hon. Member for Montrose would be realized—the separation from Canada would be complete. He quite agreed with the hon. and gallant Commodore near him, that the name of Fort Blonder and Lord Ashburton would be remembered together; and he thought that this country would have frequent reason to regret the arrangements which that noble Lord had made. No one was more opposed to war than he was, but when he recollected how open to the influence of popular clamour the Americans were, he could not help feeling strong apprehensions that some occasions of dispute would arise. As to the eventual result of a war between this country and the United States, he felt no apprehensions, but even an approach to hostilities ought to be avoided. As the present occasion was one which did not appear to him to call for a vote of thanks, he should certainly support the amendment and vote against the motion of the hon. Member for Montrose.

Mr. Escott

If the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Sir C. Napier) could answer the statements and arguments, instead of harping upon the jocular part of the speech of the hon. Member for Shrewsbury, he would do good service to his party; but that speech had remained unanswered. If the principles of the hon. and gallant Members who proposed and seconded the amendment had been followed by Lord Ashburton, not only would the treaty not be concluded, but we should, in all probability, be at this moment at war with the United States. It was not by cavilling at stray expressions, but by viewing the treaty as a whole, that they could form a fair opinion of the conduct of Lord Ashburton. There were three great questions of retributive justice which had occupied Parliament during the present Session. The first was a vote of thanks to the Indian army; the second was a vote of censure upon the authors of the Indian war; and the third was the motion before the House. The first was carried with little or no opposition; the second would have been carried with quite as little trouble but for the forbearance of the Executive, who had acted on that occasion with as much magnanimity as wisdom. With respect to the motion before the House, there could not be a doubt of its passing, as it was but an act of justice to an individual. He, therefore, felt greatly rejoiced when the hon. Member for Montrose placed his motion on the order-book. The country had already virtually sanctioned it, and it was only for the House to carry the intentions of the country into effect. That was the cause why the motion of the no- ble Lord, the late Foreign Secretary, had fallen through without a division, and if a division had been come to on it, he was perfectly satisfied that it would not alone have been negatived by a very large majority, but the noble Lord and his colleagues would have received the unqualified condemnation of the House and the country. The hon. Member for Montrose had established his right to bring forward this motion in point of precedent; but if he had not, it was but just in the House of Commons to give its meed of approbation to the noble Lord after the motion of the noble Member for Tiverton. Was it or was it not fitting that the House of Commons should declare its opinion on the great question of international policy. He trusted the House would directly negative the amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for Marylebone, and thus express a distinct opinion on the policy of the treaty concluded by Lord Ashburton. The real question at issue between the two parties in the House, the numbers who praised and the few who condemned the treaty under discussion—was the character and conduct of the noble negotiator. The few who opposed the treaty in this country, as well as in America, attacked the noble Lord for his alleged unfitness, while they distinctly stated that the object he should have in view was to draw a conventional line and effect a compromise. But admitting that a compromise was necessary, who could be more fitted to affect it than Lord Ashburton. Of all persons in this country that noble Lord was the first, perhaps the only one, who could have effected a satisfactory settlement of the boundary question; inasmuch as he had acquired, by a long course of excellent conduct, the favour and respect of the American people. The best excuse, indeed, which could be offered for the late government not having settled the question was, that they did not possess in their ranks a negotiator who was likely to succeed. The great object of all negotiation was to effect a voluntary settlement of this question. That Lord Ashburton had done, and on a future day, when party spirit was dead, then would it be recorded in his favour, and that of the government, that they selected the one most likely to carry their objects into effect, and who had moreover, fully effected them. Under these circumstance he should cordially support the motion.

Mr. E. Buller

was understood to say, that he was unacquainted with the motives which had induced the hon. Member for Montrose to bring forward this motion, but he deeply regretted that such a step had been taken. In his opinion the interests of the country required that the treaty of Washington should be made, as little as possible the subject of discussion, and that nothing should be done to disturb the minds of men either here or in America, and to cause either party to suppose that they had obtained an advantage. It was far better that each country should believe that it had made sacrifices, in order to avert the horrors of war. Surprised as he was that the present motion should have been made, he was still more astonished that it should receive the support of the government. He could not consider the proposition in any other light than as a motion of censure upon the administration; for if Lord Ashburton was deserving of thanks, and it was consistent with precedent and public interests, why had the ministers not proposed a vote of thanks to him long ago? It was incumbent on the Government to show that there were circumstances in Lord Ashburton's case which justified a departure from precedent. Before he could assent to the motion, he must be satisfied that Lord Ashburton's conduct had been, in all respects, unexceptionable; but at present the impression of his mind was decidedly adverse to that conclusion. In looking through the correspondence upon the Table of the House, he perceived that Lord Ashburton had, in more than one instance, pledged the honour of the country to a particular course, which he after wards abandoned. Nevertheless, after having considered the question, he was disposed to acquiesce in the terms of the treaty. It was a different question, however, whether he was prepared to say that it was advantageous to the country. In several passages of the correspondence Lord Ashburton himself declared the treaty was advantageous not to this country, but to the United States. Had the state of opinion in this country permitted, the late government would have had no difficulty in settling the question on the same basis as that of the late treaty, but looking at the decided opinions expressed by some of the leading reviews of the country in favour of the full extent of the British claim—by the Quarterly Review, the great organ of the Conservative party, and the Westminster Review, which also possessed considerable influence in this country—it was probable that had such a treaty been made by an ambassador appointed by the late government, a large number of patriots would have been found on the Conservative benches, and also among the Radicals, who would have ousted the [late government on the question. The motion now brought forward was entirely contrary to precedent, and the precedents quoted by the hon. Member for Montrose, who proposed it, had nothing to do with the question. Seeing that it was quite unprecedented, he must give his vote against the motion.

Sir H. Douglas

expressed his cordial approval of the conduct of Lord Ashburton in not having insisted upon the retention of Rouse's Point, which was useless to us as a defensive position against attack from the United States, and only useful for an offensive movement. The gallant Commodore, the Member for Marylebone, had stated, that Rouse's Point ought to have been retained by us, because without the possession of that point, no attack or invasion of the United States could be made by us, in that quarter. The hon. and gallant Member thus admits what he (Sir H. Douglas), stated in a former debate, that the retention of Rouse's Point is not essential to the defence of Canada. He did hope we never should make a hostile inroad into the United States. If there was one thing more than another that he admired in the noble Lord who had been chosen to represent this country, it was, that he conducted the negotiation in a friendly spirit, and scorned to insist on the possession of any point not necessary for the defence and security of the British dominions in America, and willingly relinquished what would only be of use for offensive purposes. He hoped we should always remember Saratoga, and never forget Plattsburg. The maddest of all attempts would be an invasion of the United States, circuitously through Canada, from which we were shut out by climate for five months of the year, and in which every shot that was fired must be at enormous cost, from the difficulty of transport. If ever, unfortunately, which God forbid, war with the United States should be forced upon us, and operations—and he could here distinguish between desultory attacks and regular invasions—be undertaken, let these be carried on within the reach of that great arm of our strength, of which the gallant Commodore is so distinguished a member. The hon. Baronet who spoke last, the Member for Devonshire, has made a great mistake in asserting that, by the Ashburton Treaty, more territory is given to the United States than by the award of the King of Holland, and that by this treaty the United States have acquired possession of the crests of the Highlands, which border on the river St. Lawrence. It is quite the reverse. The award of the King of Holland conceded, in part, this; but Lord Ashburton has procured for Great Britain a much larger portion of that territory, than the King of Holland awarded, and secured to us the crests of the hills to which the hon. Member has alluded. It must be remembered, too, that Rouse's Point was awarded to the United States by the King of Holland's decision. That award was accepted by the noble Lord, the late Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and pressed upon the government of the United States, for adoption, and confirmation,) for several years. With respect to the Madawaska settlement, whence all this sudden sympathy for the separation of that on the south, from the sister settlement on the north bank of the river? It was proposed so to divide those settlements, by the award of the King of Holland: and it does seem strange, and is inconsistent, that the noble Lord should now condemn an arrangement, which formed part of that which the noble Lord accepted, and long pressed upon the acceptance of the government of the United States: and I have already shown that the sovereignty, jurisdiction, and actual possession of the Madawaska settlement were all surrendered, virtually and practically, by the noble Lord when he permitted the United States to erect forts in that part of the disputed territory. With respect to the navigation of the St. John, as an outlet, that was merely a treaty arrangement, granted for a special purpose, and carrying with it no danger or inconvenience. Questions connected with the navigation of rivers, according to different constructions of the law of nations, often caused great embarrassment. In 1824, Mr. Rush, was sent to London, on a special mission, to demand the free navigation of the River St. Lawrence, as a right. Mr. Canning strenuously resisted the demand, and there the question rested. He (Sir H. Douglas) had expressed an opinion to the right hon. Baronet that the question of boundary pending between the two Governments, could not be settled without concession by us, to the United States, of the privilege of using the St. John as an outlet; for what were the Americans of Maine to do with their timber and other productions, if debarred access to the sea; but he had recommended that this should be granted as a special privilege, or boon, and not as a natural or constructive right, so that it could not be drawn into a precedent, and that the Americans might not be enabled to demand, hereafter, the free navigation of the St. Lawrence also; for if that were granted to them, we should be inter navigated in all parts of the upper provinces down to the sea, to the great detriment of British interests. The hon. Member opposite had observed that he acquiesced in the arrangement established by the treaty, though he did not mean to vote for the motion; and defended himself by saying that there was a great difference between acquiescing in an arrangement, and admitting that it was an advantageous one. He would only say that the hon. Member thus, by his own admission, acquiesced in a settlement which he thought disadvantageous, and this was certainly not a very consistent course.

Mr. Vernon Smith

would make but a few observations on what might justly be termed the monstrous proposition of the hon. Member for Montrose. Not that the subject did not offer abundant matter, but he applied that epithet to the motion, because of the total want of precedent as to any similar case, for as to those instances which the hon. Member was pleased to call precedents, they had about as much to do with a vote of thanks to an ambassador extraordinary or to any diplomatic envoy, as with any subject totally foreign from the matter. He was content to take the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman, the First Lord of the Treasury, as to a previous case analogous to the present. These were the words of the right hon. Gentleman when he was asked why Sir H. Pottinger was excluded from the vote of thanks on occasion of peace with China:— I wish it had been consistent with usage to have included the name of Sir Henry Pottinger in the vote; but at the same time I think it of great importance to adhere in these matters strictly to precedent; because if we did not do so—if we did not strictly adhere to those precedents, which I think have been founded upon good sense, every omission that we happened to make in a vote of this nature would imply a censure. We avoid the risk of such an implication by adhering to the established usage.…. I apprehend that there is no instance in which a diplomatic agent of the Government has received the thanks of Parliament for the successful completion of any negotiation, however important, or of any treaty, however advantageous to the interests of this country.…. I certainly think that the precedent of including the names of diplomatic servants in votes of this nature is one that we ought to pause be fore we establish. These were the words of the right hon. Gentleman when appealed to in this very session to acknowledge the services of Sir H. Pottinger and admiring, as he did, and had always done, the taste and discretion of the right hon. Baronet, he had been on a former day very much surprised to hear that the right hon. Baronet intended to support the motion of his hon. Friend. His admiration, however, had returned this evening, for he perceived that, although the right hon. Baronet intended to fulfil his promise of supporting the motion, he had the good taste and discretion to absent himself from hearing a single word of the hon. Member's speech. His hon. Friend, the gallant Commodore near him, had moved that the House do now adjourn; and the hon. Member for Winchester said, what a way of meeting a great question like this. But was not that the parliamentary way of meeting a question which they thought ought not to be discussed at all? He might say that his hon. Friend, in addition to his gallantry, had manifested great knowledge of parliamentary precedents, for a similar motion had been made on two or three previous occasions, and by two noble Lords to whose example he thought the hon. Member would be disposed to pay respect, Lord Chatham and Lord Grey. He was, however, willing to admit, that even in spite of there being no precedents, supposing there was some extraordinary, wonderful, and unforeseen case of success in negotiation, perhaps a deviation from practice might be justifiable. But what was the best that had been said of Lord Ashburton's negotiation? His best friends and warmest advisers only ventured to say that we were well out of the scrape. We did not get all we claimed, all that the Quarterly Review asserted that we were entitled to, using language more open than was employed in Parliament, although when written by a gentleman who was pretty fond of assuming a high and arrogant tone of party exaggeration. We had not obtained all that we had a right to expect, and therefore he said there was no ground for stepping out of the usual line of parliamentary precedents. The hon. Member, in his motion, confined his approbation to the settlement of the boundary question; he called on the House to single out one item of the treaty, and signify their unqualified approbation of that portion. Was it on such a ground that Parliament should be called upon to deviate from the usual course, and set a precedent which would be subversive of the authority of all previous practice? Lord Ashburton was to be thanked for giving up a certain portion of territory. Was this the only point he had conceded, or omitted to enforce? The right of search was said to have been excluded from the field of Lord Ashburton's negotiation; but the papers laid before the House clearly showed that it was one of the questions for the settlement of which the mission had been resolved upon. In a despatch to Lord Ashburton, the Earl of Aberdeen said,— The last subject to which I propose to advert is that which, under the designation of the "right of search," has already created so much excitement in the United States. I am persuaded that this excitement has in great measure been the consequence of misapprehension, and that when the real state of the question at issue shall have been fully explained and understood, it must necessarily subside, Undoubtedly it would be much more agreeable to her Majesty's Government, and, I must be permitted to think, more honourable to the United States, if the cabinet of Washington were now to enter into the league which has been formed by the great Powers of Europe, and by the mutual concession of a duly regulated right of search, to hold out to humanity the cheering prospect of the final extinction of the odious traffic in slaves. Your Lordship will constantly keep this object in view, and will not omit any seasonable opportunity to renew propositions tending to this result. With the example now happily afforded by all Europe. I am unwilling to doubt the ultimate success of our endeavours to include the American continent in these engagements. But whatever objections may exist in the United States to the right of search, properly so called, these are not applicable to the present case under discussion between the two governments.

Mr. Everett

also said, writing to Mr. Webster,— Lord Aberdeen rejoined, that it was more than an overture; that Lord Ashburton would go with full powers to make a definite arrangement on every point in discussion between the two countries. He was aware of the difficulty of some of them, particularly what had incorrectly been called the right of search, which he deemed the most important of all; but he was willing to confine this and all other matters in controversy to Lord Ashburton's discretion. He added, that they should have been quite willing to come to a general arrangement here, but they supposed I had not full powers for such a purpose. From these passages it clearly appeared that Lord Ashburton was directed to pay attention to the right of search, and it was impossible to say that the right of search was not included in the questions which he was sent out to settle. But was the question of the right of search settled? Far from it. It was perfectly notorious that it remained entirely unsettled. If Lord Ashburton had settled it, he might have done something to deserve the gratitude of his country, and made an important step towards the suppression of the slave-trade, an object which every man who had a heart in his bosom earnestly desired. He could not lend any support or countenance to this motion, notwithstanding the feelings with which he viewed other points of the political career of the hon. Member. His hon. Friend had done much, and encountered much; he had been callous to the wit of Canning, and reckless of the ridicule of the right hon. Baronet opposite; nay, even impervious to the insinuations of Mr. Alexander Baring himself; he had achieved what a man more susceptible would not have accomplished. But admirable as an economist, he had no notion of negotiation, and it was, perhaps, not wonderful that his hon. Friend should wish to give thanks of the House to Lord Ashburton for the cessions of territory he had made, inasmuch as he himself had advocated the surrender of the whole of Canada. The course taken by the noble Lord in his negotiation was hardly calculated to obtain much for his Government; he began by saying the matter did not signify, just as the hon. Gentleman himself, when he made a flaw in the king's English, said it did not signify. When the noble Lord arrived in America, he said, I am a plain man; not one of the diplomates, and unaccustomed to artifices; "but he seemed not to have met with the return he expected from Mr. Webster. We had neither obtained the territory which was ours, nor the settlement of the right of search; but it was the low and feeble tone taken by Lord Ashburton throughout the negotiation of which he chiefly complained. He regretted to see that tone taken by a Bri- tish minister, though no doubt it was assumed by Lord Ashburton from the best possible motives, from the sincerity and simplicity of his nature; but he lamented that such a tone should be taken in diplomacy, particularly with a country like the United States. If there was any question agitating this country, upon which Lord Ashburton could not be considered as a representative of the feelings of the people, it was that of slavery. He did not think the noble Lord had gone into that question with the heart and spirit in which the English people had taken it up. He was more likely to view it as a practical man, and not to hold that zealous tone which had been assumed by the people of this country. These were the sentiments he (Mr. Vernon Smith) entertained, but which he hoped at the same time were hot in the least degree inconsistent with the deepest private respect for the noble Lord. What would be the effect if this vote were to pass? Would it not be a precedent for all future negotiators to come to the House and say Lord Ashburton has been thanked? No matter what were the question—no matter whether the vote were that "black was white," according to the doctrine of the hon. Member who was the leader for that night, the majority of the day must thank their partizan. In the Queen's Speech, a negotiation with Russia had been mentioned with great satisfaction, whereas the mission of Lord Ashburton had been only spoken of with trust and hope. Should we thank for what was only hopeful, and neglect what was satisfactory quite? Why had the thanks of the House to Lord Ashburton been so long delayed? He was an ill-used man, to be called to the Bar of the House three months afterwards—to receive the thanks of the House for an able negotiator, when an unable governor-general had been thanked at once. He hoped that if this rote were to pass, there would be a special vote that the thanks should be given by the hon. Member for Montrose himself. The whole affair would then stand as it ought, namely, as something more like an absurdity than a political precedent. Severe comments had been made by the hon. Member for Winchester, on his noble Friend the Member for Tiverton, because his noble Friend, after his speech upon this subject, had concluded with a motion only for papers, and hon. Gentlemen on the other side had asked, why not move a vote of censure? He thought his noble Friend had acted perfectly right, and that the country was much indebted to him for the speech he bad made on that occasion. No couse was more consistent with the duty of one who had filled high official stations than, when seated on the opposition Benches, to state his opinion on the conduct of the Ministry, and there was not a man in the country, but his noble Friend who could have made that speech, and carried on that chain of reasoning, through all the intricacies of the question, some of which were perfectly new to the House. He asserted, that, not alone on account of the ability displayed in the speech in question, but on account of the situation, which for ten years had been held by his noble Friend, that speech was a most useful exhibition to that House, and was it, he would ask, new to conclude a speech of that kind with a motion for papers? What would have been the use of a division? [Cheers.]He thanked hon. Gentleman for that cheer. He well knew, that when an admission was made on one side of the House, it was sure to be hailed by a party cheer from the other. He admitted, of course, that on his side they were in a minority, but were hon. Gentlemen prepared to say, that a minority was of no use? Minorities worked themselves into majorities, especially when their efforts were seconded by energy and abilities, such as those of his noble Friend. The fact was, that the present motion had originated oat of the motion of his noble Friend in rather a curious way. It seemed that the hon. Member for Winchester, and the hon. Member for Montrose, and some other hon. Members had prepared speeches which they wished to deliver, but which they were afterwards prevented from delivering by the turn the affair took. As they had no chance of delivering those speeches in any other way, the hon. Member for Montrose gave notice of a motion of his own for the purpose. And thus it was owing to the fact of the House being counted out on a warm evening, that Lord Ashburton was now indebted for this vote of thanks. In fact, if the hon. Member for Montrose had been able to deliver his speech on the first evening, instead of being obliged to postpone it to the second, there would have been no vote of thanks. That was the happy position in which Lord Ashburton stood, and such was the high position of the House of Commons, and the Government, with regard to him. The Duke of Wellington, speaking of the thanks of Parliament, said they were the noblest honour a military man could receive, and that they animated men to the performance of brilliant exploits. What effect would they have hereafter on the minds of public men if they were thus doled out accidentally—if a vote of thanks by Parliament depended upon the accident of a Member having been unable to deliver himself of a speech on a particular night, and having resorted in revenge to the expedient of making a special motion? In the course he took on this occasion he was acting in the discharge of what he believed to be a public duty. Whatever might be his admiration of the qualities of a public man in his private capacity, a Member of Parliament was bound to express his public opinions on public questions. An opposition to a vote of thanks for the securing of a peace might by some be attributed to a desire for war. No such motive animated him on this occasion: on the contrary, he was most desirous to see peace maintained between us and a nation which he looked on in the light of a connexion, and even of kindred. What he did think was, that the best way of maintaining peace was not by making perpetual concessions, and for that reason, and not because he desired to see this country at war with the United States, did he regret these negotiations, and express a feeling that they might have been with advantage even longer protracted, if by so doing they could have had any reasonable expectation of effecting a better settlement. He said "settlement," because that was the word more generally used with regard to the Ashburton treaty; but he denied that it was a settlement: and when the hon. Member for Montrose looked at it in that light, he would beg to ask him if he had seen from the papers, that the very causes of irritation, which were said to have been allayed by the treaty, were beginning already to be renewed on the frontiers? If the approval of the hon. Member were confined to the expression of his own opinion merely, he (Mr. V. Smith) would not have said one word against such applause. But when the hon. Member called upon the whole House of Commons to vote their thanks to one who had achieved no permanent advantage or honour to the nation, he should refuse his consent to such a motion. At the same time, being called upon by his hon. and gallant Friend to put aside the whole subject, by his motion of the previous question, as unfit for discussion in that House, he should prefer that course, and vote with his hon. and gallant Friend.

Mr. C. Buller

regretted that, upon a subject he regarded with so much interest and upon which he so decidedly differed from many of his hon. Friends on his side of the House he should be prevented by indisposition from addressing the House so fully as he could wish. The House certainly would not be troubled by listening long to him, but he feared he should be obliged to confine himself to the expression of opinions which would have little weight, rather than to the offering to the House facts and arguments which would aid them in their discussion of the question. He was not only going to vote with the hon. Member for Montrose, but he was also glad that the hon. Member had thought proper to bring forward his motion. He would not undervalue precedents, no doubt wisely adopted; but, at the same time, he believed the diplomatic history of this country scarcely afforded an instance of services so important having been rendered: services which consisted, not in securing the greatest advantages from a war in which our arms were successful, nor in merely continuing the ordinary course of negotiation; but which had put an end to a dispute that threatened to a most dangerous extent the relations of this country with that with which of all others it was most desirable, both from feeling and policy, that Great Britain should maintain amicable relations. On these grounds he was disposed to overlook precedent in this instance. But there was another reason why he should be disposed to overlook precedent—it was because he thought the country placed in an unprecedented situation in respect to this treaty of Washington. There had been a debate upon the subject, in which there had been much ability and force of argument on both sides; but yet that debate, in the eyes of the country, had an appearance as if all who spoke on that (the Opposition) side of the House opposed the treaty, and its only supporters were the Ministers by whom it had been effected. It was most desirable that such an impression should be removed, and that the people of this country, and of the world at large, should be made aware that the treaty of Washington was not regarded as a party question. It was, therefore, incumbent on those in opposition who approved of the treaty to express their approbation of the conduct of the negotiator. The simple question then was, whether that treaty was of so advantageous a character as to call for a special vote of thanks of that House. He thought that in order rightly to determine this question, the House should, in the first place, be fully aware of what Lord Ashburton had really achieved. He knew that it had been the habit of those who condemned the treaty to attempt to confine attention to points which Lord Ashburton had not settled, and to overlook the importance of those he had. He now asked the House to view the matter under another aspect. What had been the causes likely to disturb our relations with the United States for the last ten or twelve years?—that long and troubled period when there hardly came a packet from the United States that did not bring news of events that were likely to bring on the horrors of war. There were two causes of irritation. The one sprung out of the Canadian insurrection, the sympathy on the United States frontier, the aid afforded to the Canadian rebels, the hot blood caused by the affair of the Caroline, the arrest of M'Leod, and the disturbances that arose out of that arrest. This was one of the class of causes. The second class of causes comprehended the disputes which had taken place along the whole frontier line from time to time on the question of boundary. There had been, in fact, three boundary disputes which had given rise to collisions. Hon. Gentlemen did not need to be informed of the differences between New Brunswick and the state of Maine; but it was not so generally known, that there had during the whole period been a similar dispute respecting a corner claimed by Lower Canada, and the state of New Hampshire, the consequence of which had been a collision between the New Hampshire Militia and the settlers on the Connecticut river. Then, there was the dispute on the line 45 between Lower Canada and the state of New York, which had led to the affair of Mr. Grogan. These were the great causes of dispute, and when he gave his vote of thanks to Lord Ashburton, it was because he thought he had entirely done away with all those causes of dispute. For the last five years the affair of the Caroline had been the subject of constant and serious alarm. That was settled. Not only was there the affair of the Caroline itself, but there was also the arrest of M'Leod and the hot blood that sprung out of it. These questions had been settled in the only way that was possible. On our part, we had admitted that the taking of the Caroline was contrary to international law, and, under such circumstances, this country could do no less than apologise; he believed, however, it would be admitted that the American government had consented to receive as slight an apology as it well could take. But Lord Ashburton's service was not confined to repairing the wrong committed by this country. He had secured a concession in turn; and the concession made by the United States was not confined to diplomatic records, or the words of negotiators; it was embodied in a deliberate change made by the legislature of the United States, and that, too, in a matter on which the constitutional jealousy of that people was carried to its greatest height. Not only was the affair of the Caroline settled, but a provision was made by which such difficulties as occurred in the case of M'Leod could never occur again. Hereafter justice could not be defeated by the plea of separate jurisdictions; and if a British subject should be brought to trial for an act which his government ordered, it would be by the federal government, responsible to their country, and to the public opinion of the world. This question being settled was a great result of the mission. The other great subject of dispute was that of the disputed territory. With regard to the value of the disputed territory, he must say fairly, that though nothing of that kind was worth the continuance of any dispute between the two countries, although he admitted, that a dishonourable settlement by a concession made in terror of the United States would only have led to fresh insults and demands, and have become the origin of future aggressions, and not of tranquillity and good feeling. But if the House would look to the terms made by Lord Ashburton with respect to the disputed territory, he thought it must decide that as fair terms had been obtained as could have been expected. For this purpose, they must look at the position in which the negotiation stood at the period in which Lord Ashburton took it up; and ask if Lord Ashburton could expect to have got more under the circumstances in which he found the dispute. He contended, that tried by this fair test, Lord Ashburton had got better terms than could have been expected. The whole question, the rights and claims of both parties, and the grounds by which they were supported had been referred to the King of the Netherlands, and he had given a certain award. Now he would take the position in which this award left it, and on that ground try the Ashburton negotiation, and he must contend that the noble Lord had obtained better terms than those contained in the award of the King of the Netherlands. He knew that some contended there was a better claim on our side, established by a letter, and map of Francklin's which the Americans themselves had discovered; but if any Gentleman thought that after twenty-five years controversy conviction would alight on the minds of either party, he must have more confidence in the candour of nations than of individuals. It bad been said, that Lord Ashburton ought to have taken out with him the report of Colonel Mudge, and insisted upon Mr. Webster talking over the line with him; and that it would have been impossible for Mr. Webster to resist the arguments adduced in that report, He believed that had Lord Ashburton done so, the answer of the Americans would have been, we have a Mudge of our own upon whom we rely. The Americans had, on their part, had the territory examined by commissioners of their own who had laid their claims to the whole of the territory as decidedly as our commissioners, and what would have been the result of this conflict between the reports? Would either party have altered their ground, or changed their pretensions, and was it not on the contrary more likely that it would have added to the intricacy of the controversy, and tended to protract it? On these grounds it was impossible to expect a more satisfactory conclusion to the negotiation which the noble Lord, the Member for Tiverton, had carried on for the ten years he was in office. Lord Ashburton seemed to have proceeded on the basis of the award of the King of the Netherlands, and had got better terms than were contained in that award. It had been admitted on both sides, that the value of the territory was not of importance. Now what really was of importance, and injurious to us, in the King of the Netherlands' award was, that it brought the American line nearer to Quebec than was convenient. That was the only military danger to be apprehended, according to the line so drawn out by the King. Now, the only alteration made by Lord Ashburton in the line of the King of the Netherlands was, the keeping the Americans as far from Quebec as if we had the whole of the disputed territory in our possession. That secured the only important point at issue between the two countries. It had been alleged, that the Americans had gained by the concession of the navigation of the St. John. But there had not been a concession of the navigation of the St. John. We had not given the Americans a general right of navigation; we had simply given them the right of floating their timber down the river, and they had no power of bringing their produce up it. Nothing but timber in logs could they float down the river; for though the words of the treaty might give them a power to bring boats or vessels down the river, the falls of the St. John and the Roostook would completely prevent the passage into our territories of any American vessels. But had there been no concessions of a similar nature on the part of the Americans? Hon. Gentlemen seemed to have forgotten the concessions made with respect to the navigation of the St. Lawrence. The navigation of that river was impeded by rapids for a considerable distance near the Long Sault and Barnhart's Islands. By treaty each party had the right to navigate its own side of the river, but it happened that the American side was navigable and the other was not, and, consequently, the St. Lawrence was during the dry season closed against British vessels, or open only by permission of the Americans, Now, setting the navigation of the one river against the navigation of the other, he thought that a perfect equivalent had been obtained on the St. Lawrence for all that had been conceded on the St. John. Taking, therefore, the negotiation as Lord Ashburton found it, he could not by any means concur in the opinion, that the whole advantage was on the side of the United States. On the contrary, it appeared to him, that the concession was on the side of the United States, and the advantage on that of Britain. Much blame had been cast upon the noble Lord for the cession of the Madawaska settlement. He had been blamed for in the first place demanding this settlement and then yielding it. But he thought it had been laid down as a principle that a negotiator ought to begin by asking more than he intended to get. Lord Ashburton proceeding on the award of the King of the Netherlands, which made the St. John's the boundary for a certain extent, had attempted to de- viate from that line, in order that the Madawaska settlement, which consisted of a few houses, scattered about fifty miles along the St. John; and about 1,000 of the people there should be brought within British territory. He must confess that he thought Lord Ashburton's error here had been for asking too much: for he did not think it reasonable to expect, that for purpose of leaving these few settlers within our jurisdiction, the Americans were to give up the whole of the valley of the St. John. We might be right in trying to get as much as we could, but we ought to be satisfied with not having sacrificed anything unreasonable, by having the line of the St. John kept, and these settlements given to the United States, Great blame had been cast upon Lord Ashburton on account of what was considered a want of a proper tone of diplomacy in his negotiations. But looking at the papers which had been laid before the House, he felt no reason to consider that either the interest or the honour of the country had suffered, although the tone of Lord Ashburton's negotiations might not have been so diplomatic as was usually observed. Mr. Webster might, indeed, have on some occasions showed eagerness and adroitness in appearing to catch hold of what he considered certain slips of phraseology on the part of the noble Lord; but it appeared to him, on the whole, that the terms of the noble Lord's negotiations were worthy of the representative of a great nation, knowing its own strength, and not seeking to accomplish more than what justice and right warranted it to demand. The observations which he had felt it his duty to offer on the present occasion had been somewhat long, but he was anxious to express the reasons of his vote, in order that he might defend himself against the charge of viewing the acts of the present Government with too much favour. But this was an occasion on which he hoped every hon. Gentlemen could be entirely free from party feeling. The interests of two great nations were involved in the negotiations; and he hoped that the House and the country would show that they prized the great boon of peace which those negotiations had secured, by endeavouring to take advantage of them to allay all disputes between these two great countries, and to establish such relations between England and the United States, that those mutual differences, which had from time to time estranged them should never again threaten the amity that ought to exist between them, and threaten with that amity the peace of the whole world.

Sir J. Hanmer

attached quite as much value to the treaty as the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard, or any other hon. Member, but he was most strongly opposed to the establishment of such a precedent as the motion of the hon. Member for Montrose would create, if it were agreed to; and the only reason why he felt it necessary to address a few sentences to the House was, lest it might be supposed, that in the vote which he intended to give, he indicated the slightest disrespect or want of esteem for the noble Lord who negotiated the treaty which was the subject of the motion. He could not support the motion of the hon. Member for Montrose, for he did not think that the establishment of such a precedent was a matter to be treated lightly, and he felt curious to know what arguments the Government would advance as inducing them to acquiesce in such a course. He should be inclined to set equal value on other treaties, for example, on a treaty with France, and did it follow, he would ask, in case a treaty were concluded with France, which they might all approve of, that they were in the House of Commons to pass a vote of thanks to the ambassador who negotiated that treaty? If they pursued that course, the effect of it would be to draw distinctions between the relative importance of treaties with different nations, which would be most inadvisable, He was not disposed to enter into the particular merits of the treaty, and he entreated the House to recollect that the advantages gained by it were quite beside the question. He objected to the establishment of the precedent as one which, if adopted, would produce the greatest possible inconvenience; and with that view, he protested against it, although he would yield to no man in the respect which he entertained for Lord Ashburton.

Lord Stanley

had been in hopes that some of those hon. Gentlemen who had on a former occasion been anxious to censure the conduct and proceedings of the noble Lord whose merits in reference to his negotiations with America were now under consideration, would have addressed the House after the able speech of the hon. Member for Liskeard; and that he should have had an opportunity of replying to attacks made in the course of the present evening on the conduct of Lord Ashburton; but, as the hon. Gentlemen did not appear to be disposed to-night to reiterate those censures of which they were so lavish on a recent occasion, when there was no question before the House on which the House could, according to the terms of the motion, decide as to the merits of Lord Ashburton, he felt called upon to say a few words, particularly after the speech of the hon. Member for Hull, in which he adverted to the extraordinary and unprecedented character of the present motion. That it was an extraordinary and an unusual motion, that it was a motion for which, strictly speaking, no precedent could be found, he admitted, and he was willing to admit further, that if nothing else had taken place in the commencement, or early part of this session, her Majesty's Ministers would not have proposed a course like the present, nor have given their sanction and support to a motion departing from ordinary precedent, in voting the thanks of the House to the negotiator of a treaty, in however distinguished and able a manner he might have conducted his negotiations. If the hon. Member for Hull had obliterated from his recollection that which had passed on a previous occasion, the House surely had not forgotten a certain motion which was made, the manner in which it was made, and the speech which was delivered in its support. The House, therefore, would not be surprised to find that those who were anxious for the honour of Lord Ashburton, and still more for the honour of the country and the Crown, were not disposed to suffer such a motion and such a speech, coming from such authority, to pass without reply, and without giving the House an opportunity of expressing its sense as to the value of the services conferred by Lord Ashburton. If Lord Ashburton was indebted to any one more than another for the extraordinary and unprecedented honour of having the thanks of that House given him as the negotiator of a treaty with the United States, the person to whom he was mainly indebted for it was the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, on account of the unfair, and he must say, the ungenerous attack made by that noble Lord on Lord Ashburton. It was to this unjust and unwarrantable attack that Lord Ashburton was indebted for the existence of that public feeling in the country which had induced an hon. Member, not connected with the Government, and actuated only by a sense of justice towards that noble individual, to come forward and, stepping out of the ordinary course, propose a vote of thanks to Lord Ashburton. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton was mistaken in saying that if the House had not been counted out on a former occasion, and the hon. Member for Montrose thereby prevented delivering a speech upon this question, the present motion of a vote of thanks to Lord Ashburton would never have been heard of. Why, before the House was counted out—before that singular proceeding had taken place—before the noble Lord (Lord Palmerston, the Member for Tiverton) had manifested his extraordinary disappointment at that interruption to the proceedings he had originated,—before that time the hon. Member for Montrose had given notice of his intention to move an amendment upon the noble Lord's motion; and, although her Majesty's Government had not declared their intention to move an amendment upon a motion for papers, yet they had told the noble Lord that if instead of moving for papers, some of which were in his own possession, and the rest of which he knew would not be granted, he would submit a vote of censure upon the man on whose course of conduct the noble Lord made an attack by an indirect motion for papers—if instead of that course the noble Lord bad come forward with a decided motion, ay or no, censuring the negociator, her Majesty's government told the noble Lord they would not meet his motion with a simple negative, but would call upon the House to affirm its approbation of the treaty which that negotiator had effected. To that course the noble Lord had now been driven by the motion of this evening, which was a compliment and a course alike due to the steps taken by the noble Lord referred to and to the sense, on the part of the country, of the injustice which otherwise would have been done to a man so attacked, if no opportunity were given to the House to express an opinion of his conduct adverse to that to which on a former evening the noble Lord had given utterance. To-night, however, the House had been told that there was nothing much in the treaty to be found fault with; it had been said that the treaty was not to be applauded, but at the same time it ought not to be rejected. The hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. E. Buller) had said, With regard to the terms of the treaty, I do not find fault with them; I do not praise, but I am ready to accept them. On the whole, I think the arrangement may be good. But what had been stated the other night when this subject was under discussion, by a right hon. Gentleman a late Cabinet Minister, whose observations were therefore received with considerable weight? The right hon. Gentleman had told the House in the course of the attack which he had made upon the noble Lord whose treaty he assailed, and to which attack there had as yet been no opportunity on the part of the Government to give an answer, that there never had been a greater stain cast upon British honour in the whole course of British diplomacy. Were these unmeaning words? Was the treaty bad to which no objections beyond those he had stated was now attempted to be raised? [Mr. Macaulay: I spoke of the despatches, and not of the terms of the treaty.] He was peaking at a distance of three or four weeks since the right hon. Gentleman had addressed the House, and he regretted from the turn the debate had on that occasion taken, he had been deprived of an opportunity of answering at the time some of the observations which the right hon. Gentleman had then made; but he certainly had understood the right hon. Gentleman, rather speaking of the terms of the treaty than the language of the despatches, to have said that a greater stain had never been cast by British diplomacy upon British honour than had been cast upon it by Lord Ashburton's treaty. Now, he contended that these were terms and expressions to which neither Lord Ashburton nor her Majesty's Government ought to submit in silence, and he rejoiced that the hon. Member for Montrose had given the Government an opportunity of answering that attack. Was it the opinion of the House that such a stain had been cast, that such a disgrace had been inflicted, that such a discredit had been thrown upon the conduct of the negotiation for the treaty, or was it the opinion of the House that the treaty and the negotiation redounded alike to the honour and advantage of the country and of the negotiator? That was the issue which the noble Lord (Lord Palmerston) forced the House to try; and then the noble Lord and right hon. Gentleman near him did not rise to oppose the present motion on those grounds, but having on a former occasion made speeches against the treaty and its negotiator, were to-night content to say, that a vote of thanks in such a matter was an unprecedented proceeding. It might be true, that a more signal achievement might have been gained, as on a former occasion—it might be true, though he doubted whether it were that treaties involving more important consequences had been concluded; but this he would venture to say, that no treaty had ever been concluded between two nations with greater mutual harmony or with greater mutual advantage, or with respect to which, if dissensions had arisen, those dissensions would have been more mutually suicidal, than this treaty between this country and the United States of America. [Mr. Macaulay: Mutually suicidal!] The right hon. Gentleman was a great critic. If the expression "mutually suicidal" was not quite correct, at least it would be generally intelligible. If a war could arise between this country and the United States, not a blow could be struck by the one against the other which would not recoil upon itself, and while that blow might inflict an injury upon the foe, it would be productive of an equal injury to the assailant. The expression he had used, did not therefore call for the hypercriticism of the right hon. Gentleman. He repeated, that if there had been more important treaties achieved, there never had been a treaty entered into under circumstances which promised less favourable results; there never had been one beset with greater difficulties, there never had been one in which the negotiator had found prepared for him greater difficulties to surmount, difficulties insuperable. It had been made matter of complaint, that, despite this treaty, there still remained subjects of disputes, and differences between the United States and this country. He trusted, it could hardly be said that was the case; but he asked the House not to look at the geographical advantages to be gained, and the objects mutually satisfactory to the two countries, achieved by the treaty, without leaving any unpleasant or unfriendly feeling behind; but he asked the House to look at the difficulties under which the treaty was entered upon by the negotiator, and at the position in which the noble Lord, (Lord Palmerston) after an effort of ten years' duration, had finally left the relations between this country and the United States. Had the noble Lord advanced a single inch in any of those questions, or indeed any other, at the time he left office? There was the question of the Caroline; there was the question of the right of search: and there was the boundary question; all three questions Were left unfinished, sending some beyond despatches on the subject, by the noble Lord. Now, with regard, in the first place, to the question of boundary. He should not enter upon the question of geographical territory or boundary, because it had from the first been admitted that Lord Ashburton had ultimately with respect to it, obtained better terms than the noble Lord (Lord Palmerston)had been ready to concede, though Lord Ashburton bad been guilty of a departure from that diplomacy by which the noble Lord had so successfully protracted the negotiations without any beneficial effect. It appeared, notwithstanding that want of diplomacy, that somehow or other Lord Ashburton in a few months obtained the assent, not only of the United States, but of the states of Maine and Massachusetts, to terms more favourable, to boundaries more successful, and to limits more satisfactory in a military point of view than the noble Lord opposite had unsuccessfully pressed upon the American Government to accept. A great deal had been said in the course of the debate upon the subject of the surrender of the Madawaska settlement. He regretted as much as any man that it had been found necessary to surrender a settlement containing a population, however small, which desired to remain under the protection of this country. But the noble Lord had forgotten that this settlement lay upon the south side of the St. John, and had even been offered to the Americans by him under the award of the King of Holland, and that he had spent between two and three years in urging, begging, and entreating the United States to take and adopt the award of the King of Holland, Madawaska, and all. To this point, he must shortly advert. The noble Lord had the correspondence, and strongly urged the importance of keeping the Madawaska settlement, and the noble Lord had said it ought not to have been given up, because Mr. Webster declared this country should not have it. But now the noble Lord urged that the recent negotiator ought to have maintained that claim, and that then there would have been something to give up in accordance with the noble Lord's strict rules Of diplomacy. Then, said the noble Lord, the game would have been properly played, and he should have nothing to say against the sense or the skill of the negotiator of the treaty. But the House had been told, that the moment Mr. Webster said, "You must not think about that," whatever Mr. Webster asked, Lord Ashburton at once surrendered. But what was really the case? A proposition with regard to territory had been made by Mr. Webster, and what had been the tone of Lord Ashburton's reply? Was it in that humble and submissive tone which the noble Lord opposite had described? Mr. Webster had told Lord Ashburton that if he departed from the boundary of the St. John's, and surrendered a strip of land, he could enter upon negotiations with him. What had been Lord Ashburton's answer?— This strip I have no power to give up, and I beg to add, that the refusal of my Government is founded simply on their objection to dispose arbitrarily of the persons and property of her Majesty's subjects living by preference under her authority, an objection which you are sensible applies with peculiar force to the inhabitants of this part of New Brunswick. I had hoped that the other equivalents which I had offered, combined with the sense Entertained by the government of the United Slates of the pressing importance of the case, on the ground of humanity, would have been sufficient for the purpose I so anxiously desired; but, perceiving from your note, as well as from personal conversation, that concession on this point is insisted upon, I might be disposed to consider whether my anxious desire to arrive at a friendly settlement would not justify me in yielding however reluctantly, if the latter part of your proposals did not, if finally persevered in, forbid all hope of any settlement whatever. The boundary you propose, supposing the British territory not to come over the St. John, is to run from the north side of that river three miles above its junction with the Madawaska, over an arbitrary line, which my map does not exactly permit me to follow, until it reaches somewhere the St. Francis. 1 need not examine this line in its precise details, because I am obliged frankly to state that it is inadmissible. Was that a surrender? But now among the difficulties which surrounded Lord Ashburton there were some of a peculiar character which ought not to be forgotten or lost sight of. After the award of the king of Holland had been rejected by the United States, the noble Lord opposite had applied for a new boundary line, and Mr. Livingstone, then Secretary of State in the United States, had on the other hand offered to find a line which would not conform to the original terms of the treaty, but which varying from the north to the north-west, should indicate the Highlands described in the treaty. To this the noble Lord had replied:— I cannot concur to your proposal, because that line may go to the north of the St. John's, and because you have told me already, that you cannot accept the award of the king of Holland because it is not according to the terms of the treaty. The noble Lord then had refused the negotiation even for a conventional line of boundary, and the last legacy the noble Lord had left to his successors was the draught of a convention prepared by the noble Lord, a counter draught proposed by the United States, and rejected by the noble Lord; and lastly, a proposition to the United States to appoint a joint commission to explore the already explored territory, for the purpose of accommodating it to the terms of the treaty, which all parties had declared to be unintelligible; and if this commission could not agree, they were to call in the aid of three friendly Sovereigns, who were to appoint three scientific men, which last three were to determine the boundary line—meant by the treaty. That was precisely the state in which the noble Lord, after twelve years of diplomacy, had left the boundary question. To the contentional line it was clear long before, that the states of Maine and Massachusets would not agree, and hence Lord Ashburton bad not been a negotiator with another government only, but the plenipotentiary of this country to the federal government, which required the consent of subordinate states, to every step that was taken in the negotiation; and Lord Ashburton had not only to come to an agreement with the government of the United States, but to obtain the consent of the separate government of Maine and Massachusets. All these difficulties had been aggravated by long delay. The states of Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and others, had at this moment been passing resolutions declaratory of their determination to maintain the rights of Maine and Massachusets against the unjust conduct of the British Government; and it was natural, that in a country so easily excited by popular influence, fresh states were coming in day by day with fresh declarations to maintain the American claims in all their integrity. In this position it was that Lord Ashburton entered upon the negotiation, and in this position it was that he had won a better line of boundary—a territory more extensive and more defensible in respect of military operations, and better adapted for carrying on a communication between Quebec and New Brunswick. Notwithstanding all these difficulties, notwithstanding his want of diplomatic practice, Lord Ashburton in less than six months had concluded a treaty mutually satisfactory to the United States and this country. That it had not not proved satisfactory to all parties he was ready to admit. There were persons in America disposed to take as extreme views as the noble Lord, and Governor Fairfield took as exaggerated views of the American claims as some hon. Gentlemen opposite took of the British. In his message to the legislature of Maine, after the treaty had been concluded, he expressed the deep disappointment, almost indignation, with which he viewed the term of the treaty, terms which he alleged sacrificed the rights of Maine and Massachusets. All, he said, had been given up by the United States, and only fair words and compliments by the British. That was the way in which the Governor of Maine spoke of the treaty; while, on the other hand, the legislatures of Canada and New Brunswick were congratulating their respective governments on the termination of a protracted struggle, and the obtaining of a treaty highly beneficial to their own local interests. Above all, none expressed more strongly, because none felt more strongly the advantages of the treaty, their satisfaction, than the state of New Brunswick. They praised a condition which was stigmatised by hon. Gentlemen opposite, that which permitted the floating of American produce down the St. John, as conferring signal benefits on their commerce. But be would pass from the question of geographical boundary, as an exhausted subject, to other questions not of less importance—not leading to less fear of a rupture of our amicable relations than the question of the boundary itself, although, be it remembered, that during the protracted struggle of the noble Lord, the Americans had step by step, been encroaching until at the time Lord Ashburton went out they had actually built a fort on the disputed territory. He would proceed to more important points, and ask if the noble Lord opposite had left no other questions unsettled. An hon. and gallant Member who had spoken to-night had referred to the right of search and to the right of visit, and had told the House that her Majesty's Government had left those questions unsettled. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the city of Edinburgh (Mr. Macaulay) on a former occasion had said, that the Government had left those questions in a worse than unsettled state, because they had taken precisely that step which was most likely to lead to a sudden rupture between the two countries, when those countries had sent out two fleets to co-operate together in the suppression of the slave-trade, and the noble Lord opposite had very lately declared that that portion of the treaty of Lord Ashburton was a step in retrogression, and so far from an advance was a retreat from the position formerly occupied by this country as to the right of visit. The noble Lord had not always been of that opinion. [Viscount Palmerston: I said it was an abandonment of the treaty of Ghent.] He was not aware that it was so; the stipulation was, that the two Powers should co-operate together. [Viscount Palmerston: Should use their best endeavours.] Should use their joint endeavours for the suppression of the slave-trade, and all their influence to induce other nations to follow their example. He asked the noble Lord if that were an abandonment of the treaty of Ghent, and he should further like to know from the noble Lord what the steps were which he took while in office for the accomplishment of that treaty. Then again, another difficulty in the way of Lord Ashburton arose from the terms in which the noble Lord had couched his despatches—terms which had given great offence in the United States. Indeed, the continued excitement on the question of the slave-trade had been owing to the insulting terms in which the noble Lord had insisted upon rights which in no degree had been abandoned by Lord Ashburton. Lord Aberdeen did not think it necessary to tell the American government in a public despatch that the English Government was not bound to take notice of every bit of bunting sewed into the form of an American flag, thus complicating a question of infinite delicacy by using language calculated to excite strong and jealous feelings on the part of a powerful and sensitive nation. But Lord Aberdeen did address to the American government, within one month after those observations of the noble Lord to which he had just called attention, a statement specifying distinctly how Great Britain claimed, and intended to exercise the right, not of search, but of visit—how Great Britain claimed, not the right of searching American vessels, but the right of visiting, without unnecessary delay or unnecessary and undue detention, and not without reasonable cause of suspicion, vessels professing to be American, but which there was reason to believe were falsely assuming the American flag. That was the claim of Great Britain; a claim which was not, had not been, and would not be abandoned by the British Government—a claim which had been put forward firmly and temperately by Lord Ashburton, with the admission, if they pleased to call it so, in the terms made use of by Mr. Calhoun in the American senate, that the right was one which should be exercised at the peril of the party exercising it; and if by undue detention, if by a detention without a reasonable ground of suspicion, a British vessel stopped or delayed an American trader proceeding upon a legitimate commerce, or proceeding even upon an illegitimate commerce which we had no right to control, Lord Ashburton admitted, and he was sure that House would always be ready to admit, that in that case the American government would have a right to claim, and that we would be ready to make compensation, not for the exercise of the right, but for the abuse of the right which we claimed. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton said, Oh, yes; but I was surprised to find that these were part of the terms upon which Lord Ashburton was desired to negotiate in the instructions he received from Lord Aberdeen. Now when were those instructions given? They were given simultaneously with the instructions contained in the despatch to Mr. Everett, who transmitted that despatch to Mr. Webster, and they had Lord Ashburton's declaration in his place in the House of Lords, that upon entering into the subject with Mr. Webster, Mr. Webster did not hesi- tate to say, that upon that point he had nothing further to do, as Lord Ashburton in his despatch had set the question at rest. That was the admission which put a stop to the necessity for any negotiation on the subject, and so the matter rested. Lord Ashburton's declaration was admitted to be satisfactory, and although the United States did not concede the right, he believed conscientiously that practically there was little or no difference in the interpretation put upon that right by the two countries. The noble Lord thought, that this was a step in the wrong direction. He admitted, that it would be more satisfactory if the United States had frankly said, "we concede to you the right of visit." But, the question stood thus:—The mutual limitations imposed by the two countries had removed all practical differences between them. The United States did not in terms recognise the right; but they agreed, that the "visits" might be exercised subject to certain conditions as to reparation for undue suspicion or detention; but they said,— Although we will not recognise your right we will take steps, which we think most important steps, in the form of endeavours towards realising the object in view—namely, a combined effort for putting down the slave-trade; and, therefore, to avoid a case occurring in which one of your cruisers should stop an American vessel we will ourselves send a fleet to assist your vessels, and in the event of our meeting with a vessel suspected of falsely bearing American colours, on us and not upon you will be the task of satisfying ourselves as to that fact. Now, did the noble Lord really assume, that this was no advance towards the settlement of the question—towards the fulfilment of the treaty of Ghent? If so, the noble Lord was certainly not of that opinion in 1839. Let the House hear what were the directions of the noble Lord in that year, as formally and officially communicated by Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsythe, for the purpose of carrying into effect the treaty of Ghent, and putting an end to the slave-trade on the coast of Africa. Mr. Fox communicated to Mr. Forsythe an extract from the report of the British commissioners of Sierra Leone, in which they say,— We will here only recommend one measure, to which America can offer no reasonable objection. It is, that a small force of brigs, brigantines, or schooners-of-war should be sent on this coast by the American government, each of which should cruise and visit the slave-trading rivers and stations in company with one of our vessels. It was clear from this, that the commissioners had no fear of collision. They continued to say,— Cruising singly would have comparatively little effect, as the same vessel which would show American colours and papers to a British officer might show Portuguese or Spanish papers and colours to an American officer. The crews of such vessels are always composed of Spaniards, with the exception of one American, who in the presence of the British cruiser of his own nation would declare himself a passenger, and would probably produce a passenger's passport from Havannah. Cruising in couples, on the contrary, would remove the possibility of such evasion. If the American flags and pass were assumed by a slaver she would be taken charge of by the one, and if she declared herself, or if she could be proved to be, Spanish, Portuguese, or Brazilian, she would be a prize to the other man-of-war. At present, however, the coast swarms with vessels apparently American, and a rich harvest of prises would follow the arrival of a squadron of American cruisers armed with authority to capture on the ground of equipment. So much for the commissioners. Now Mr. Fox, in pursuance of the noble Lord's instructions, wrote as follows:— The undersigned earnestly invites the attention of the United States government to the remarks and suggestions of her Majesty's commissioners at Sierra Leone above cited. Those gentlemen possess a thorough knowledge of the frauds and devises resorted to by the miscreants who now carry on the illicit slave-trade; and they are the best possible judges of the means which ought to be employed to counteract them. The earnest wish of her Majesty's Government to obtain the concurrence of the government of the United States in an agreement for the exercise of a mutual right of search, under proper regulations, is sufficiently well known. If this concurrence cannot be obtained, the employment along the slave coast of a combined force of British and American cruisers upon the plan above suggested by the British commissioners would no doubt effect a speedy and material diminution of the trade. It was therefore very plain, that in 1839 the noble Lord earnestly directed Mr. Fox to press upon the American Government what, up to the present time, the noble Lord had not been able to obtain, or towards obtaining which he had not been able to make a single step in the right direction; but which had been seemed from the American Government by the treaty of Lord Ashburton, and which, upon being secured, the noble Lord turned round and said, was a step in the wrong direction. Another question of no less importance than the others was that of the Caroline, and the detention, arrest, and trial of Mr. M'Leod. Hon. Gentlemen who were then in the House would recollect the excitement—he would not hesitate to say, the apprehension which that question created in the country—no unworthy apprehension either—for unworthy it could not be in a country which shrunk with horror from the prospect of a war, and especially of a war between countries which were united by so many ties of intimate relation. He did not hesitate to say, that there never was a time when the peace of this country and the United States was more seriously endangered than by the proceedings which were carried on for a period of above twelve months, while the noble Lord held office, owing to the non-settlement for two years and a half of that much disputed question of the Caroline. That question had been put an end to; and he thought he might say satisfactory. Lord Ashburton made a declaration, or if they wished to call it so, an apology, couched in terms to which he considered that no objection could be taken. Lord Ashburton expressed his regret that circumstances of an imperative nature, and the law of self-preservation, had imposed upon England the necessity, from which there was no escaping, of committing an act which he did not hesitate to admit was a violation of the territory of the United States. The violation of the territory of a neutral power must be looked upon with feelings of regret, and as an act which called, at least, for a friendly explanation. In making that explanation, Lord Ashburton vindicated the acts as having been called for by the great and ruling principle of self-preservation. He expressed his regret at the act, and at the same time he justified it. The American government was satisfied with his explanation and apology. For the want of it during two years and a half, the two countries were placed in continual danger of collision, and were always on the point of going to war. They were placed, he might say, in a still worse position, for they were not only on the point of war, but the population on both sides of the frontier were gradually breaking away more and more from the control of their Governments, and the time was fast approaching when that control could no longer be exercised. All this was because the noble Lord had hesitated to do justice, on the one hand, to the gallantry and bravery of his own officers, and, on the other, to make the reparation which was due to the wounded honour and violated territory of the United States. What had followed? In consequence, a British subject had been arrested and brought to trial, and had pleaded in vain as a justification the orders of his own Sovereign and country. The American government had admitted in vain the justice of the plea; before, not the supreme tribunal of the United States, but before a subordinate court of justice, had Mr. M'Leod been brought to trial, and, but that the evidence had failed in substantiating his presence on the occasion, a British subject would have been condemned to death for acting, when war was raging on the frontier, in obedience to the commands of his superior officer and sovereign. That question had been left undetermined by the late Administration. Did Lord Ashburton leave that unsettled? No. And, he must say, a more unfair, or more unwarrantable statement had never been made, than was made by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. V. Smith) in commenting on the tone in which this negotiation had been conducted. He said:— Read Lord Ashburton's language, when imputations were thrown out against the honour of this country by the state of Maine, and see how humbly he takes the imputations cast upon this country. And the right hon. Gentleman quoted this passage from Mr. Webster's statement:— In answer to your Lordship's questions, towards the close of your note, I have to say, that the government of the United States holds itself, not only fully disposed, but fully competent, to carry into practice every principle which it avows or acknowledges, and to fulfil every duty and obligation which it owes to foreign governments, their citizens, or subjects. These words were used by Mr. Webster, but how? Lord Ashburton was calling on him to bring forward a particular remedy for injustice, and he said:— I trust you will excuse my addressing to you an inquiry whether the government of the United States is now in a condition to secure in effect and practice (the principle was never denied in argument) the principle that individuals acting under authority are not personally responsible. In answer, Mr. Webster said:— We are ready, and willing, and able to give effect to law and justice. And he added:— It was a subject of regret that the release of M'Leod Was so long delayed. And told them of legal difficulties that had stood in the way. In such a case the remedy in this country would be easy. But there was no remedy in America, and the case being made out, Mr. Webster had not confined himself to expressions of good will, but the Congress of the United States, at the recommendation of Mr. Webster, had passed a law by which jurisdiction in such cases for the future was taken from the local courts, and vested in the supreme court. These were the points which Lord Ashburton's treaty had obtained. He had obtained a boundary more extensive and more satisfactory in a military point of view than that which the noble Lord had over and over again admitted that be was willing to accept. He had settled in a satisfactory manner, the question of the Caroline; and if any Gentleman asked him (Lord Stanley) what was the feeling which existed in America on this subject, in answer to what the right hon. Gentleman had said, "that Lord Ashburton had left behind him an unfriendly feeling on the part of the United States?" he would give one fact which which was worth a dozen expressions used in the heat of argument—thai the American army had been reduced one-third of its whole number on the conclusion of the treaty. Then Lord Ashburton had led the Government of the United States to cooperate with him in using their endeavours to fulfil the treaty of Ghent, to an extent which the noble Lord had never been able to accomplish; and had obtained an assurance by an act of Congress, that for the future no British subject acting under the authority of his Sovereign, should be handed over for any violation of American law, to the local courts and inferior tribunals of that country. These four great points Lord Ashburton had settled and secured. By securing them he had removed out of the way questions of danger and difficulty which had been gradually becoming more and more embittered under the unsatisfactory diplomacy of the noble Lord, and which at the time of Lord Ashburton's mission threatened the most serious consequences to the peace of this country and of the world. Lord Ashburton had made no concessions disadvantageous to the interests or to the honour of this country; and the reward that Lord Ashburton had met with for having done this and brought this treaty to so satisfactory a conclusion, was a party motion aimed against him—a mere motion, of course, for papers, had been used as a vehicle for heaping upon Lord Ashburton the most unfounded slanders and bitter accusations from the mouths of men who for years had taken a leading part in the councils of the country. He rejoiced that the House and the country would not submit to that injustice being practised upon Lord Ashburton. It was because that injustice had been attempted, that the present course, however unusual, had been taken by her Majesty's Government—a course which her Majesty's Government would not have taken under other circumstances, and the opinion of the House having been invited on Lord Ashburton's conduct, he trusted the House that night, by supporting the motion, would tell this country, and tell America, that they viewed with satisfaction, with no unworthy exultation, but with honest rejoicing, the prospect of continued peace, and gave due honour to the statesman by whose ability as a negotiator these results had been obtained.

Lord J. Russell

I must own, Sir, when I consider the noble Lord's speech, from its commencement to its termination, my surprise is not so great that the noble Lord should vote in favour of the motion for the approval of Lord Ashburton and of his treaty, as that none of the Members of her Majesty's Government should have thought proper to propose a vote so necessary as it would appear for the vindication of Lord Ashburton's honour. "What? Lord Ashburton's honour—your own negotiator—he who has made so successful a treaty, and he who has sacrificed so much to obey your commands, and who has brought so much credit to your Administration, wounded by unfounded slanders, and by men who had held high places in the service of the sovereign, and you never think of making a motion for his defence—of repairing his tarnished honour? You never think of doing away with those unfounded slanders till an hon. Gentleman conies to your help, who is so little disposed himself to maintain the domination and reputation of this country, that he was the intimate correspondent of one of the chief rebels in the Canadas, and was wont in that familiar correspondence to denounce 'the baneful domination of the mother country?' Unless that hon. Member had come to your help, unless he had avowed that the reputation of Lord Ashburton was dearer to him than to you, that it was as dear to him as the reputation of Mr. M'Kenzie himself, and that therefore he thought it necessary to bring forward this motion, you would have left Lord Ashburton with his honour stained, and exposed to all the effects of 'unfounded slanders from persons who lately held high stations in the Government,'" for such is the result and summary of the speech of the noble Lord from its commencement to its end. The noble Lord has not attempted to explain why none of her Majesty's Government have thought it necessary to make any motion of this kind. There have not been on former occasions with regard to ordinary conventions—nor with regard even to conventions of very great importance where a war was threatened, any such proposal made to the House for a vote of approbation, or any opinion called for as is now proposed by the hon. Member for Montrose. But where such has been the case, as in the instance of Nootka Sound, where the Government thought it proper that a vote of approbation should be called for, and where the Opposition did not agree to it, the persons who had brought forward that motion were in the confidence of, and connected with, the Administration of the day, and were manfully supported by the Administration. In the case of Nootka Sound, a Member of this House thought it sufficient to move the adjournment of the House, as an amendment to the motion. My hon. and gallant Friend, the Member for Marylebone, has taken the same course to-night, and to meet the proposition of the hon. Gentleman it seems to me the best course to take. For the hon. Gentleman, when asked for a precedent for the course he took, could find none more apposite than the thanks voted by the House to the sheriffs for the spirit they had shown in burning No. 45 of the North Briton at the Royal Ex- change. And this precedent is that which the House is now called upon to take, in thanking the Government and Lord Ashburton for the very excellent treaty which that noble Lord has concluded, and for the admirable settlement he has made of our differences with the United States. The hon. Member for Montrose has not, I think, been very successful in his researches in the journals of the House for a precedent for this motion, at least we must presume, as none have been brought forward, that the journals do not give any precedent for such a course. Undoubtedly there are other precedents, and some of of those the hon. Member has referred to, though they do not bear out his case, and there are precedents where a motion of censure has been proposed by some party in the House, as in the case of Lord St. Vincent, where the Government have thought it necessary to come forward and vindicate the party attacked by a direct vote of approbation. But in this case no vote of censure has been proposed; all that is complained of by the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) is that my noble Friend (Lord Palmerston) and my right hon. Friend, the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Macaulay) have been audacious enough to make speeches in this House, in which they have commented upon the course taken by Lord Ashburton in respect to the treaty effected by him with the United States. The noble Lord, in thinking those speeches justify the unusual course of a vote of approbation, has paid a high compliment to my noble Friend and my right hon. Friend, the Member for Edinburgh, because he must have felt that the speeches were so full of argument and so unanswerable, that the only way in which he can do away with their effect is to pass resolutions of both Houses of Parliament—resolutions entirely without precedent—approving of the conduct of the noble Lord whose conduct was so commented upon. Now, Sir, with regard to the questions of which Lord Ashburton has made so admirable a settlement. The first of those questions is that relating to the right of visit. The noble Lord (Lord Stanley) tells us that Lord Ashburton acted in accordance with his instructions on this subject, and has made a satisfactory arrangement with the United States in respect to it, and the noble Lord quoted the instructions given by my noble Friend (Lord Palmerston) to Mr. Fox to submit certain propositions to the United States' Government, as a proof that that settlement was also in accordance with the views of the late Government. It is true that Mr. Fox was desired to communicate to the American government the suggestions of the commission at Sierra Leone—viz.; that to prevent any chance of collision in regard to the right of visit, and at the same time to put an effectual check to the slave-trade, that an English and an American squadron should cruise together. That is true; but the noble Lord and the Government of which he is a Member—that Government which so generally adopts our measures—have, in endeavouring to follow us in this instance, not quite understood what it was proposed to do. What my noble Friend proposed through Mr. Fox was perfectly correct, and would have been most useful had it been agreed to by the American government—that was that as a preliminary step an American and an English squadron should cruise together off the coast of Africa; but Lord Ashburton treats directly with regard to the article in the treaty of Ghent for the suppression of the slave-trade, and inserts in a formal treaty an article to the effect that a certain number of English and American cruisers shall cruise together on the coast of Africa. Now does not the noble Lord see the difference of the two positions? What we say is, that if you insert in a treaty like that which Lord Ashburton has concluded an article providing that a certain number of cruisers shall be maintained, you must depend on the annual vote of Congress whether or not that article shall be adhered to, and if Congress should in any year refuse to grant the funds necessary for maintaining these cruisers, then you have to complain of the violation of a treaty. But if the arrangement depend merely upon a mutual agreement between the two Governments that both parties shall do a certain thing so long as both shall agree to do it, then if either party discontinue no breach of friendship occurs, and no risk is incurred of the interruption of peaceful relations. But there is another difference, and a more serious one, between the course pursued by Lord Ashburton and that of my noble Friend. My noble Friend contended and in this he is supported by Lord Aberdeen's instructions to Lord Ashburton, that the best means for putting down the slave-trade was the right of search, and my noble Friend urged that view successfully in the case of France, of Russia, and many of the other great powers of Europe, but not successfully with regard to the United States. They have always declared that they would never allow the right of search to be exercised in respect to American vessels—that they would not allow it even in regard to vessels suspected of being engaged in the slave-trade if sailing under the American flag. So long then as this remained a point of difference it amounted to this, that the American Government would not accept your proposal but when you make a treaty in the fulfilment of the treaty of Ghent, and give up your claim to a right of search as to American ships, you raise an objection in the minds of the powers of Europe with whom you have agreed that the right of search shall be exercised to the exercise of the right. "Why if this article, they may say, is sufficient to secure you against the slave-trade in the case of the United States, why is it not sufficient in our case also?" The noble Lord cannot be ignorant of this difference, for what were the complaints of France at the beginning of this year—what were the arguments which she with great reason urged? "Why are we," said France, "to consent to this right of search according to the treaties of 1831 and 1833, why are we to be bound by those treaties, when you, England, who demanded it, have allowed in the case of the United States, that instead of any such right of search, a squadron of crusiers kept up by that country to prevent the slave-trade will be sufficient?" We are all aware of the great excitement which was created in France on this subject, and that nothing but the great ability and the great prudence of the French minister enabled him to withstand the clamour raised in that country in consequence of this provision of the Ashburton treaty. But have you obtained this right of visit—have you advanced the settlement of that question which the noble Lord says was left incomplete by my noble Friend? Is it in a better condition now than it was then? When my noble Friend was office the right was asserted by England and denied by America. So it is now. Nothing can be more serious as showing the feeling of the United States on the subject than the letter which has appeared in the newspapers on the 23rd of March, from Mr. Webster, in which he state distinctly— That if the claim to the right of search were insisted on by this country it would be considered as a trespass, and when attempted to be carried into execution force would be met by force. And he puts an hypothetical question, Suppose," says he, "a vessel does not choose to be detained, and resists the attempt to visit her, what would be the consequence? If any such right existed condemnation would follow such resistance; but suppose the vessel resists, force is opposed to force, and persons were killed in the conflict, what description of offence would be committed. Now this is a serious question, which it is most painful to see as quoted from a despatch of the Secretary of the United States. We believe their claim to exemption is unfounded, but Lord Ashburton has not advanced us in any way in this respect. And the noble Lord appears to have made himself so little understood, that on the one side he asserts in the British House of Peers that Mr. Webster allows Lord Aberdeen's despatch was conclusive as establishing his position, while on the other hand we see the President of the United States and the. Secretary of the United States declaring publicly in the Senate that they have made no concession whatever on this point. Then the noble Lord refers to the case; of the Caroline, and without admitting that my noble Friend could have done more than he did when the case occurred, still I must say that, the course adopted by the noble Lord (Lord Ashburton) was such as became him as a Minister of this country; but the noble Lord and those who argue with him are always endeavouring to make out that in regard to all questions pending between this country and the United States the difference was so great when the present Government came into office that we were on the very eve of war, and that that danger was dissipated by Lord Ashburton alone. Why, the case of the Caroline had been for some time quiescent. America had asked for nothing and had urged nothing. And as to the case of Mr. M'Leod, did the American government wait for Lord Ashburton to say that they did not permit a trial to take place for an offence committed by an individual, the subject of a nation on terms of amity with the United States, of which offence the government of that nation took upon itself the responsibility? I remember stating, in reply to a question put to me in this House, that Mr. Webster had written to the Attorney-general of the United States, and had laid down doctrines most likely to continue the bonds of peace and amity between the two nations; and stated that the United States government could not allow the party to be brought to trial, but that with regard to his seizure and detention, in the then state of the law of the United States, what had happened could not have been prevented; and the hon. and learned Member for Bath on that occasion illustrated the case by saying, what I believe was perfectly correct, that before wager of battle was abolished in this country by act of Parliament, a similar case might have occurred here as the Crown had it not in its power to grant a pardon when a party was challenged. So with regard to the central government of the United States, it could not, as the law stood, interfere to liberate Mr. M'Leod, but when M'Leod was acquitted, whatever government had been in office, it would have urged upon Congress the necessity of passing soma general law in order that the peace of the United States with foreign countries might not be risked on similar occasions in future. I now come to the question of the boundary, and after all that has been said in respect to that question, I am by no means disposed to enter into all the intricate points connected with it. I must say I agree with much of the statements of my right hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh. I do not know whether or not I adopt his words, but I agree with him that the tone of the negotiations and the manner of them, whether the object to be attained was of much or of little importance, were calculated to lower this country in the eyes of the world, and it my belief that that has been their effect. I believe the mode of negotiation adopted by Lord Ashburton, and the concessions afterwards made by him, have tended to lower the high reputation of this country, and to induce foreign countries to suppose that if in negotiating with us they insist upon concessions being made to them, we either have not the means or the spirit to resist, In conducting negotiations of this kind, you are at liberty to take one of two courses, either that of proposing what you consider reasonable, but in regard to which you are nevertheless ready to concede some- thing for the purpose of arriving at a speedy settlement; or you may take the other course, of at one laying down the terms beyond which you will not go, and propose an ultimatum. The usual mode it that which I first stated, and that might have been adopted in the case of the United States, but the latter mode was that in which with China, a country with which we were at war, Sir H. Pottinger was instructed to conduct his negotiations. He was required to lay down certain terms beyond which he was not to concede; but Lord Ashburton in his negotiations with the United States government has mixed up the two modes together in a manner that does affect the character of the country, because he in the end gives up that which he at the outset professes to be the ultimatum, beyond which the country he represented ought not to concede. In regard to the Madawaska settler meat, in the first instance he says it would be criminal to give it up, and that Great Britain cannot consent to abandon the obvious interests of those who still wish to remain under her Government. If it had been proper to make the proposal, with the view of afterwards abandoning it if necessary, he should not have made it in those terms, or, having proposed it in those terms, he should not have abandoned it. And yet one of the first acts of Lord Ashburton after these terms were stated was to abondon this Madawaska settlement. I argued, on the first night of the present Session, that if he hid abandoned it he should have done so only on the ground that it was obviously necessary to do so for the interests of peace, and that the St. John, being a clear river boundary, should be taken as the boundary between the two countries, to prevent collision between the in habitants of either side, that line being easily understood. But Lord Ashburton said it was necessary for the interests of England to retain this settlement; but, replied Mr. Webster, "That may be, but we must have the river boundary," "I concede that," then says Lord Ashburton, "and we will take the river boundary, and we will neither of us cross it." "But," says Mr. Webster, "we must cross the river in another place; because it is convenient to us that we should do so." And this new demand Lord Ashburton concedes, as he does the other; so that neither in the one position nor the other does Lord Ashburton persevere. He neither preserved the Madawaska settlement nor the line of the river; and in so doing he took care to state the matter in such a way as to involve the character of this country for which he negotiated. No doubt, when first the news of this treaty arrived in this country it was considered an advantage; for the people harassed by these disputes, thought any treaty must be beneficial which settled the boundary question and some other matters in dispute. It was the same sort, of feeling which Mrs. Primrose had when Moses Primrose came back from selling the horse and said he had got 3l. 5s. 2d. for it. "Well," said Mrs. Primrose, "3l. 5s. 2d. is a good sum after all, and no bad day's work;" but when it turned out that Moses had not got the 3l. 5s. 2d., and that he had nothing but the gross of shagreen spectacles, then the whole family thought him a very bad negotiator, and were very much discontented with his bargain. Such, I believe, was the feeling of this country with respect to the negotiation. After long protracted disputes the people were getting impatient for a settlement, but accounts continually arrived, stating that the boundary question was not settled. Therefore some satisfaction was felt when a different report was made; and people were glad to hear that the dispute had been settled in any way, without knowing whether there was a red line, or any other line, or whether it went north-: ward or southward of the St, John's. But it is different when the matter comes to be considered by the House of Commons, which is bound to regard what is for the interests of this country. I must put it to them, whether they will establish the precedent of voting their approbation of a negotiator who made concessions which were not necessary, and left many questions still unsettled that might have been arranged. 1 doubt whether any advantage can arise to this country from such proceedings, particularly if sanctioned by the House, and followed in our negotiations with other countries. No doubt it would be very easy to find a noble Peer to go to Paris and propose to give up the treaties of 1831 and 1833; and that would give satisfaction to the French government and chambers. But the peace of the world is not promoted by unworthy and discreditable concessions. In America, above all countries, although her executive government is reasonable, and the persons at the head of her affairs are generally disposed to be pacific, yet in separate states the democratic spirit urges rather to aggressions upon foreign neighbours than to content with any reasonable proposition. But even the Senate, that wisest of the American bodies, we see that with regard to the Oregon territory, it has passed a bill for the seizure of that territory, which is as violent a proceeding to a legislative body to take as has ever happened in the history of the world. What would have been said with respect to an attempt upon the part of the Houses of Lords and Commons in this country to pass a bill for the seizure of part of Maine, or any other disputed territory, and what would be said if British troops and officers were placed in possession? Would it not have been considered a flagrant violation of all regard for the rights of the United States? But, although I say that the manner in which this negotiation has been carried on does not tend to uphold the character of this nation, yet if there is any part of my Lord Ashburton's conduct which I should feel disposed to view with greater indulgence than another, it is that [part with which my noble Friend has found fault, and justly, technically speaking—namely, when, being a negotiator, he congratulated the people of Boston, and spoke of that place being the cradle of liberty. It certainly was not becoming our ambassador. At the same time I feel that the Americans, if they were actuated by English principles of freedom, and if they had any of the blood of their ancestors in rheir veins, were bound to resist this country in any attempt at domination over them. I feel the greatest pride in seeing so noble a government established in the United States of America. I rejoice to see that country flourish; and although it may want many of the elements by which order is maintained in this country, I believe, with some exertions which are trifling in comparison with the great majority of its advantages, that law and order are the prevalent rules and habits of the United States. I cannot conclude without saying that I trust this country and the United States may long continue in amity, and that whatever little interruptions there may be—whatever disputes there may be from time to time—they may be adjusted, and that we may both of us set an example of freedom and civilization to the rest of the world. I believe, that the mutual respect which is felt by both nations—the respect they feel for us and the respect we feel for them—will lead to the continuance of that peace, and to the cultivation of a good understanding.

Sir R. Peel

Sir, when this question was previously under discussion, I had an opportunity of entering so fully into the subject of the negotiations which were begun and brought to a successful close by Lord Ashburton, that I shall feel myself relieved from the necessity of now going at length into the subject. The noble Lord who spoke last has made the important admission, that when the result of these negotiations first became generally known, there was in this country one feeling of almost universal satisfaction. I apprehend that satisfaction would not have been felt if any undue or discreditable concessions had been made by the Government. It is the character of the British people to be more ready to resent an affront than to tolerate undue acquiescence. But what the noble Lord says is perfectly true. The feeling of satisfaction at the termination of the long protracted discussions between the two countries was almost universal, and it afforded, as 1 conceive, the strongest possible testimony of the merits of the negotiation. The people of England concur in the sentiments expressed by the noble Lord towards the latter part of his speech, deprecating the commencement of hostilities with the country which had set the example of independence—they deprecate war and carnage with a country united to ours by a community of origin—a community of language and a community of religion; and I believe that the noble Lord will now find it a difficult task to persuade the people that they ought not at this time to be satisfied with an arrangement in which, on its first announcement, they were ready and willing to concur. The noble Lord says, and he says correctly, that the vote now proposed to this House is not strictly in conformity with precedents. For that reason I have declined to move the vote of thanks to Sir Henry Pottinger, of which the noble Lord has given notice for this night. Although I fully admit all the noble Lord can urge—although I fully agree that the greatest prudence, the greatest judgment, and the greatest moderation have been shown by that gallant Officer in the conduct of the negotiations entrusted to him; and al- though Government has manifested its confidence in that distinguished person, by requesting him to remain in his present station, yet, because I felt that it would be contrary to precedent for a Minister of the Crown to move such a vote of thanks, I have refrained from submitting to the House the motion the noble Lord intends to propose. But I will ask the noble Lord this question. Was there ever an instance in which three statesmen whose opinions are entitled to such respect as those of the noble Lord who has just spoken, the noble Lord, the late Foreign Secretary, and the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Edinburgh—was there ever such a case in which men who swayed public opinion to such an extent, came forward so decidedly to express an unfavourable opinion as to the result of a negotiation and the conduct of a diplomatist? Was there ever, I ask, a case in which such charges were made, or in which a Government shrank from asking the House of Commons at once to affirm or decidedly to negative such sentiments? The noble Lord has stood in the position of the leader of the House of Commons—the other noble Lord by his side has lately filled the office of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and is generally believed to have more knowledge and experience in these matters than any other man living—of the great talents and abilities of the right hon. Gentleman on his right (Mr. Macaulay) I have had frequent opportunities of expressing my opinion; and, I will ask, is it just, is it equitable, that three such men should attempt to discredit—nay, to ruin—the reputation of a public man who has undertaken a public duty from the purest of all possible motives, and because they conduct their attack according to precedent, those who support and defend him are to have no opportunity of asking for the opinion of the House of Commons—of determining whether or not such discredit is cast upon him with the sanction of the Legislature and the public? One noble Lord has described this negotiation as a capitulation; the right hon. Gentleman has said that it is a stain upon the honour of the country; the other noble Lord Says he entirely agrees in those opinions, and yet they refuse a motion calculated to put their opinions to the test by a vote of the House. I do say, that if the motion is unusual, it flows from a course which is entirely without precedent. But the noble Lord says we are not to judge of the motion by the terms of it. We are to look back, forsooth, to the opinions which the mover once expressed upon some matters relating to Canada. The opinions of a man who spoke upon an entirely different subject, are put forward by the noble Lord as a test by which to try whether the motion is just or unjust. Why, the noble Lord was not always so ready to disclaim the support of the hon. Member on account of his opinions regarding Canada. The time was, when, turning round to his hon. Friend, he could find it convenient to forget his opinions respecting Canada, and could even condescend to receive his vote to support or to rescue him in his hour of difficulty and danger. Why, it would have been as absurd for the noble Lord to have said, "I can't go out into the lobby with you, because of your conduct concerning Canada," as if I said now, "This motion is just; there is no reason for negativing it; but three years ago its mover said something on Canadian affairs of which 1 cannot approve, and, therefore, I shall vote against his proposition." Sir, I think the noble Lord might have found many precedents for insisting upon a distinct vote of the House in cases where a motion of condemnation has been made; ay, and I think, too, that he might have found those precedents in cases where the authors of the motion, were not deterred from going to a division by the fear of being left in a minority. And here, let me again ask, is the course you are pursuing a creditable course? Is it fitting, that entertaining the opinions which you hold—is it for the honour of the House of Commons—is it for the honour of party connections or public men, that after throwing every discredit on a diplomatist by your speeches, you should not have the manliness to come to a vote? That was not the course which Mr. Windham pursued when he brought forward his motion concerning the treaty of peace in 1801. He made a motion condemnatory of the treaty; he stood nearly alone; Mr. Windham, Mr. Elliott, and a few others, were divided from the whole House upon the question; but they did not throw out insinuations right and left, and then shrink from a division; they had the courage and consistency, after stating their opinions fairly, to ask for a vote in the affirmative or negative. On that occasion, Mr. Windham was supported, I believe, by only nine other Members, and yet Lord Hawkesbury, finding what he considered to be a censure moved upon the Government, deemed it to be his duty to move a counter-resolution. After expressing a hope, that the House would not separate without giving an opinion on the subject, he accordingly proceeded to move a resolution in which it was declared— That this House is satisfied, that his Majesty has, on the whole, wisely consulted the interests of his people in having concluded a definitive treaty, founded on the basis of these preliminaries. That was Lord Hawkesbury's course on Mr. Windham's motion. But I will give you another instance. In 1823, when Mr. Macdonald brought forward his motion concerning the negotiations relative to Spain, the mover, towards the close of the debate, found himself supported by so small a minority, that he was anxious to withdraw his proposition. Mr. Canning, however, feeling that the conduct of the Government was questioned, would not allow the withdrawal of the motion, but pressed it to a division, when only twenty Members were found to divide with the mover. Mr. Canning said, on that occasion that he would not have asked for an approval of the policy of the Government, but finding it condemned, he called upon the House to say if they joined in that vote of condemnation! In the same way, I would not have asked for a direct vote of approbation, but finding the conduct of the Government impugned, I now call upon the House to give a distinct vote upon the motion before us with the view of discouraging the practice of disparaging public men without allowing them an opportunity of vindicating themselves. After all, Sir, what miserable cavilling is this about the language used by Lord Ashburton in reference to the Madawaska settlement. Having a point to gain for Great Britain, he made use of the language which he deemed strongest and most likely to achieve it. And is it, then, to be said that he sacrificed the honour of his country, because he did not insist on the letter of that language? It would go hard with negotiators if they were bound by this notion with respect to language used by them in attempting to gain the most favourable terms for the countries by which they are employed. The real ques- tion at issue is not Lord Ashburton's language, but where would you have now been if the Washington treaty had not been concluded? The real discussion does not turn on the Madawaska settlement or on the river St. John. But the great and important question which the good sense of the country will decide is, whether, with respect to a nation with which we have such close connection by trade, affinity, and otherwise, on which our own colonies border for an extent of 1,500 miles, we should remain in a condition of perpetual uneasiness approaching to hostility. The intelligent people of England asked, if it was right that after so protracted a diplomatic conflict, which had been going on for the long period of ten years, without any prospect of its amicable termination—nay, the people of this country had a right to ask, whether this matter could not, without any dishonourable concessions on the part of England, be brought to a satisfactory settlement? Is it not a subject of congratulation that this state of things has terminated with honour to this country? Where would you have been at this moment if this had not taken place? Would you have been in possession of the disputed territory? My hon. and gallant Friend (Sir H. Douglas) who is better acquainted with this matter than any man in this House, has truly stated that this territory had been gradually slipping away from you, that an American citizen had been arrested by his authority on a portion of the territory for committing a trespass, upon which you have permitted the Americans to build a fort without making any remonstrance. Why did you allow this to take place? Is that the way of vindicating the honour of England and maintaining your own boundary? The noble Lord said, "Open another negotiation, based upon the report of our own commissioners." But, however able Messrs. Mudge and Featherstonehaugh may be, I happen to hold in my hand the message of the President of the United States, transmitting a report of the board of commissioners appointed to survey the north eastern boundary, which will show that the probable effect of sending more commissioners to America would only be to excite more contention. The report to which I refer, and which was presented to Congress, was made by Commissioners Renwick, Major Graham, and A. Talcott, and the Americans consider their commissioners enti- tied to as much confidence as we justly place in ours.— That the line of highlands (they say) claimed by the United States is, as the argument on the part of Great Britain has maintained it ought to be, in a mountainous region, while that proposed by Messrs. Featherstonehaugh and Mudge does not possess this character; that it is also, in the sense uniformly maintained by the United States, the height of land, which that of Messrs. Featherstonehaugh and Mudge is not; that it fulfils, in every sense, the conditions of the proclamation of 1763, the Quebec Act of 1774, and the treaty of 1783, which no other line that can possibly be drawn in the territory in question can perform. Sir (continued the right hon. Baronet), this is the construction put upon the report of Messrs. Mudge and Featherstonehaugh, and without expressing any opinion on the correctness of that report, is it probable that the commissioners from Maine and Massachusetts and the Governments of these states, would have acquiesced in the reasoning of our commissioners. I think that such a result was not at all probable. But, again, the noble Lord says that the United States Senate has passed a bill (by a majority of two I believe,) appropriating the Oregon territory as a portion of the possessions of the United States. To that I oppose, in the first place, this circumstance, that the Executive Government of the Union, which has in its hands the conduct of diplomatic negotiations, has acceded to a proposition of the English Government, or rather made one to us, that the question of the Columbia River should be amicably settled between the two Countries. And next I must remind the noble Lord, that the House of Representatives, a popular body, as open as the Senate to the desire of an increase of territory—that the House of Representatives, with all the correspondence before them, still refuse to sanction the bill agreed to by the senate, so that the session passed without anything being done. I may further say, Sir, that I have every hope that, by a prudent and temperate course of proceeding, these difficulties will be amicably arranged. It is to this that the noble Lord refers for the purpose of obtaining a paltry triumph. 1 will not refer to the right of search or visit. What I have on a former occasion stated to the House on this subject is fully borne out by subsequent events. I said, and I say again, that no authority was given to make concessions on this point. We claim no right of search, or detain vessels, if We know them to be American. If we do visit the vessels knowing them to be American, we do it on our own responsibility, at our own risk and peril; and we are liable to be compelled to make compensation should our officers make any mistake. And what has brought this question into its present position, I tell the noble Lord that if he had limited himself to the claim of visiting suspected vessels no angry feeling would have arisen. But the noble Lord captured or authorised the capture of American vessels. In February, 1841, I heard that the noble Lord issued orders to British captains not to capture American vessels—that vessels bona fide American should not be captured. Then from that it is to be inferred that previous to this order such captures must have been made. The noble Lord, I believe, acquiesces. Now, it has been admitted that if an American vessel were evidently equipped for the slave-trade—carrying fetters and provisions sufficient for ten times the number her crew, we have no right whatever to meddle with that vessel. But when it appears that We for some years claimed a right to visit and search vessels, knowing them to be bonâ fide American, it is no wonder that excited feelings were created in the States on the question of the right of visit which made it extremely difficult to come to a satisfactory and amicable arrangement with reference to that subject. The noble Lord says that we have made great concessions to the United States by that article of the treaty which provides for the employment of vessels by both countries on the coast of Africa to suppress the slave-trade. The article in the treaty alluded to is as follows— The parties mutually stipulate, that each shall prepare, equip, and maintain in service, on the coast of Africa, a sufficient and adequate squadron, or naval force of vessels, of suitable numbers and descriptions, to carry in all not less than eighty guns, to enforce separately and respectively, the laws, rights, and obligations of each of the two countries for the suppression of the slave-trade; the said squadrons to be independent of each other, but the two Governments stipulating nevertheless to give such orders to the officers commanding their respective forces, as shall enable them most effectually to act in concert and co-operation, upon mutual consultation, as exigencies may arise, for the attainment of the true object of this article; copies of all such orders to be communicated by each government to the other respectively. I must now remind the House and the noble Lord, of what Mr. Fox asked the American government to do. All along the coast of Africa there were swarms of ships carving the American flag. Mr. Fox pressed upon the American government the importance of acceding to a mutual right of search, and various advantages which were likely to accrue were pointed out, and among others, that of the capture of rich prizes. In 1839 nothing effectual having been done in the suppression of the slave trade, Mr. Fox again urged upon the government of the United States the importance of mutual exertions for the suppression of the slave-trade upon the coast of Africa, but nothing was done. In consequence of the course which has now been pursued, France, it is alleged will say, that it is possible for this country to suppress the slave trade without exercising the right of search. Why was it not just as competent for France to prefer an agreement of this ort, before the treaty was concluded as at present. It has been thought right that an arrangement should be come to which for a time should not be liable to be annulled at the will of popular assemblies, and that for five years, therefore, there should be a joint squadron on the coast of Africa adopting effectual means—and in my belief, they will he effectual—for the suppression of the slave-trade. But you say, that we have effected nothing; that we have left the Oregon treaty all unsettled. Now all this is said for the purpose of possessing the people of this country with the idea, that Lord Ashburton has failed as a negotiator. However, with respect to this, my firm persuasion is, that the two countries will enter shortly upon an amicable settlement of the Columbia question. Then with respect to the boundary question, all the accounts that her Majesty's Government have received from America concur in representing that the boundary slates are animated equally with ourselves by a sincere desire that the line of demarcation should be drawn as soon as possible. They have appointed engineers, they wish that the line of demarcation should be drawn in one year, they are actuated to all appearance by precisely the same feelings as we are. This is what we hear from the United States. With respect to the right of search, the American government has communicated to us their instructions to their officers, but as it is impossible for me to speak of the nature of them at this stage of the proceedings. I can only state it is my firm belief, that they can and will be carried into effect. On the whole, then, my persuasion is, that it will be most desirable to leave the governments of the two countries to settle these questions amicably between themselves; and with the knowledge that they possess of their great reciprocal interests, with the knowledge that any bad feelings which might mutually arise would only recoil on themselves, and notwithstanding the indications of adverse feelings which may be displayed for a time by small bodies, my firm belief is, that it will be found by this treaty concluded by Lord Ashburton we have not only laid the solid foundations of peace, but that we have done that which is most desirable for our common interests, and that as far as negotiations can affect that object these negotiations will issue in establishing permanently amicable relations between the United States and ourselves. If such be the feelings of the House, looking to the motives of our distinguished negotiator, and seeing the many sacrifices he made to accomplish that for which he went out—that he sought no honours nor distinctions, and had no other motive for his exertions than his desire to unite the two countries in relations of permanent peace—looking at the difficulties which he had to encounter, that he had the assent of no fewer than seven commissioners from Maine and Massachusetts, in addition to the assent of the American government, to gain, if revolving all these matters in your minds you should, as I hope you will, think that the conduct of Lord Ashburton demands your approbation, and will justify you, if departing from ordinary precedent, you should consent to vote with the Government and disbelieving the charges that have been brought forward against him, charges made, but immediately after withdrawn, that he was an American citizen or had some pecuniary interest of his own to serve, if you think that he has taken a comprehensive view of the subjects comprised in this treaty in spite of the petty cavilling about the noble Lord's language, and the Madawaska settlement, and done nothing in his conduct of the negotiations but what is right and just, 1 hope that you will give your support to the motion of the noble Lord. I mean the motion of the hon. Gentleman [Laughter], and record your approbation of Lord Ashburton's proceedings. Sir, my noble Friend was compelled in the course of his speech to allude to a little hypercriticism, and Gentlemen do seem a litle fastidious about this little mistake. I am glad however, that I made no greater mistake—and if hon. Gentlemen thought my argument unjust, they would not have fastened on this little error. I willingly yield to this correction and I trust that they will support the motion of the hon. Member for Montrose.

Viscount Palmerston

could not see that the right hon. Baronet had given any answer to the objections which had been urged by his noble Friend to the course which the Government had thought fit to adopt on this occasion, by departing from all former precedents. All the reasons stated, and all the precedents quoted by the right hon. Gentleman went to show that if the Government thought a vote of thanks proper at all, it was their duty to hare brought it forward themselves. The cases of Mr. Canning and of Lord Hawkesbury had been quoted; but each of these was the case of a Minister, who, when his measures were censured by Members of the House, called for a vote of the House in support of those measures. His noble Friend had alluded to certain opinions held by the hon. Member for Montrose, which rendered it peculiarly improper for the Government to follow in his wake on this occasion, and to adopt his motion. The right hon. Baronet asked—What have those opinions to do with the question? What matters it what opinions the hon. Gentleman may happen to have expressed as to the importance or unimportance of Canada to this country, or as to the value or worthlessness of our connection with that colony. But he would maintain that this was a matter bearing directly on the question, for if the hon. Member for Montrose thought the connection between this country and Canada of no value, and if he considered it desirable, on the contrary, to dissolve that connection as soon as possible, he might chance to think that this treaty was a good one, because it tended to accelerate the severance of that connection. He would, therefore, repeat that his noble Friend spoke particularly to the point, when he stated that the opinions entertained by the hon. Member for Montrose increased the surprise with which he viewed the conduct of the Government on this occasion. What was the announcement of the right hon. Baronet, when, answering at the end of the former debate, the speech which he had then made. Let the House remark that now they were told by that right hon. Baronet, and by the noble Secretary for the Colonies, that it was owing to his speech the other day that Lord Ashburton was about to receive the thanks of the House. Was that the language of the right hon. Baronet on that former occasion, after the very speech now referred to, and after the speech then made by his right hon. Friend, which speech, also, the noble Lord and the right hon. Baronet now stated to have afforded grounds for the present proceeding? The right hon. Baronet at that time said, that if a vote of censure had been moved, he (the right hon. Baronet) would have thought it right to move a vote of approbation; but no vote of censure had been moved, and he was, therefore, at a loss to understand what it was that had worked so great a change in the feelings and opinions of the Government, that, having on the former evening declared that only in the event of a vote of censure being moved, should they propose a vote of approbation, they now justified a vote of approbation on the mere speech of a Member of that House. The doctrine laid down by the right hon. Baronet would do much, if admitted, to fetter the freedom of debate, on the part of those who were in opposition in that House. The right hon. Baronet had disputed the propriety of his conduct in moving for papers connected with these negotiations, and in making that motion the occasion for expressing his opinion upon these negotiations, and upon the consequent treaty. The right hon. Baronet laid down as a principle that such a course ought not to be pursued; he said, that a Member of that House, who, knowing that his opinions are shared by only a minority of the House, wants to find fault with Government, or with any negotiations that have been carried on, must take care what he is about, for although he may only move for papers to throw light upon such transactions, yet if, in moving for these papers he should happen to express his own opinion on the subject, the ma- jority will forthwith pass a vote of approbation of the proceeding which he disapproves; and, therefore, if he does not wish to have the formal sanction of the House given to measures which he condemns, let him beware haw he utters any opinion about them at all. For his part, he did not consider it at all necessary for a Member of Parliament, who disapproved of particular transactions, negotiations, or treaties, to propose a formal vote of censure upon them, in order to create an occasion for expressing his disapprobation. Nothing has been more usual in the practice of Parliament than to make a motion for papers in order to discuss a subject. The right hon. Baronet said, that he had moved for papers which had been in part granted. With regard to the granting of portions of these papers, he must say, that it was not the usual course for a Government first to refuse papers when asked for, and then, when a notice is given of a motion for their production, to present a portion of them, with a view of cutting-the ground from under the person who had given such notice But part of those papers were still refused, and it had been his intention to have pressed his motion for them to a division. But this intention could not be carried into effect, when the right hon. Baronet said upon his responsibility as a Minister of the Crown that those papers could not be granted without prejudice to the public service. He must say that he considered the course pursued in regard to the present motion to be without precedent, and liable to great objection. It was not fair to the noble Lord who was the object of this resolution, since the value of a vote of this kind depended, in a great degree, upon its being agreed to unanimously as an acknowledgment by Parliament of some great and eminent service deserving of their thanks. When the service performed was one which no man considered, of public advantage, but at the utmost only a means of avoiding a greater disadvantage, he thought that a motion of this kind, so far from conferring honour on the individual, would place him in a position not at all enviable. What Sheridan said of the treaty of Amiens might be said of this— That it was a treaty of which many persons might be glad, but of which no man could be proud. He had on a recent occasion troubled the House so much at length on the subject of this treaty that he would not now trespass upon them with a repetition of the observations he had already made, and in the course of which he thought he had shown that so far from our having reaped any advantage from this treaty, all the concession was on our part. That we had given up rights which had been proved to be valid and good; that this surrender of our rights had been carried to an extent far beyond what could upon any supposition have been necessary, and that if the negotiation had been better conducted, a very different result might have been obtained. There were one or two points, however, which had been adverted to in the course of the present evening, upon which he would beg to make a few remarks. The hon. Member for Liskeard said, that he (Lord Palmers-ton) was mistaken in considering the free navigation, of the St. John's as an uncompensated concession on our part, inasmuch as there were certain rights of navigation on the St. Lawrence conceded to us in return. But if the hon. Member had read the correspondence on this subject, which had been laid on the Table, he would have seen that the concession on the St. Lawrence made by the American government was in return for lights of navigation granted by us to the Americans in the upper part of the Lakes, and not in return for the privileges granted by us to the Americans in regard to the St. John. It had been said also by the hon. Member for Shrewsbury, not this evening, but on a former occasion, that for the strip of land which we have ceded on 45 parallel of N. Latitude, we had received an equivalent from the United States by the stipulations of this treaty, in another strip of land, stretching along the exploratory due north line from the head of the Saint Croix River, which would by right have belonged to the United States. The hon. Gentleman said he was informed that this exploratory due north line had not been carried in a strictly meridional direction, and that the consequence was that it gave to Great Britain what would properly have belonged to the United States. Now, the fact was entirely the reverse, of this statement. Colonel Graydon of the Royal Engineers, had ascertained by accurate observation that the exploratory north line diverged considerably to the eastward from the true meridional line, and encroached several miles upon the territory of New Brunswick, and therefore by accepting that exploratory north line, as we have done by the treaty, we have ceded a large strip of land which belonged to us, instead of gaining one. Much stress had been laid upon the fact that the late Government of her Majesty had accepted in January, 1831, the award of the King of the Netherlands, and bad urged the government of the United States to consent to it; and upon this fact her Majesty's present advisers endeavoured to justify themselves for having, in 1342, negotiated a treaty between the two governments founded upon that basis, it appeared that her Majesty's present advisers were very fond of following the example of their predecessors, but, as his noble Friend had said, they did do so not always with a right understanding of the principles upon which that conduct was founded, and they were sometimes mistaken in their conception of that which they adopted as a model. What was the fact? The late Government of her Majesty accepted the award of the King of the Netherlands, because they were bound by treaty to do so. The present Government was bound to no such thing. The last Government accepted the award, because, according to the information which they then possessed, they did not think that there was any arguments which could be advanced to obtain by another arbitration a decision more favourable to England than the award of the King of the Netherlands; but since that period commissioners had been specially appointed and sent out to collect information, and the result was that they had collected proofs which he contended established and justified every one of the claims of this country in a way that never had been expected before; their views on some of the most material points had afterwards been confirmed by the surveyors on the part of the American government, and that government, moreover, was in possession of a map drawn by one of the American Plenipotentiaries who concluded the preliminary treaty of 1782, and that line of boundary is acknowledged to be identical with that claimed by Great Britain. The report of Messrs. Mudge and Featherstonehaugh confirmed one of the main points on which the claims of this country rested in opposition to that of the United States and that was, that the line of highlands claimed by the United States as being the highlands of the treaty, does not run to the source of the Connecticut as required by the treaty. The range of hills claimed by the Americans as the Highlands of the treaty are indeed proved to be defective in two essential points, namely, at the beginning and at the end of their course. First, at the beginning of their course, that is to say at the point where the due north line from the bead of the St. Croix, intersects them, they are non-existent. For that due north line, ends not on a ridge of Highlands, but on a swampy flat; and the range of hills does not begin till some fifteen or twenty miles to the westward of the end of the due north line. Then, at the end of their course, instead of running down to the head of the Connecticut as required by the treaty, they stretch away more than twenty-five miles to the westward of the sources of that river, and it is admitted by the report of the American commissioners themselves, that their Highlands are connected with the sources of the Connecticut only by a long tract of undulating country, that is to say, by what is commonly called a plain, and which no human ingenuity can convert into a ridge of Highlands. But as her Majesty's Government seemed so fond of following the example of their predecessors. He regretted, that they did not follow the latest instead of the earliest precedents of those predecessors—that they did not guide themselves by what those predecessors had done when better informed, instead of by what they had done when imperfectly informed. It was true, that in 1831 the late Government had been willing to acquiesce in the award of the King of the Netherlands; but some years later, they had declared to the American government, that they would consent to nothing short of an equal division of the territory in dispute, taking, as a boundary, the St. John, from its southernmost source to the point where it is intersected by the due north line from the St. Croix. With respect to the case of the Caroline, the right hon. Baronet said that he had not found fault with the conduct of Lord Ashburton in that matter. He certainly must admit, that Lord Ashburton had not made any apology, as had been asserted by the government of the United States. In his opinion, the case was one which did not justify any such communication. He considered it purely as a case of justifiable self defence. A violation of territory bad, strictly speak- ing, been committed—but it was territory in possession of no legitimate Government, a territory occupied by a lawless rabble, and under such circumstances could hardly be considered to fall within the strict rules of international practice. It was true that Mr. "Webster had chosen to look upon Lord Ashburton's letter on this subject in the light of an apology, but it was not so in fact, and therefore he could not find fault with it. With regard to the right of visit, the noble Lord said that great excitement had been produced, in the United States, by the letter which he (Lord Palmerston) had written, and which the noble Lord described as being insulting to the American flag, and calculated to create ill feelings on the part of the American nation. He denied that such was the case. He had not called the American flag a piece of bunting, he was describing that which was not the American flag, but the ensign hoisted by those who had no right to use it; and if the noble Lord would furnish him with a better term for that which was the emblem and ensign of the pirate and slave-dealer, he should be very happy to use it the next time he had occasion to write another despatch on the subject. It was a plain expression, and as gentlemen opposite had chosen to praise what they called plain negotiations, they ought not to find fault with the expression, and he altogether repudiated the notion that the use of it could be a cause of irritation. The noble Lord said that American vessels suspected of slave trading, were formerly captured by British foreigners. It was very true, as was stated by the right hon. Baronet, that he had given orders to our cruisers to discontinue the capture of vessels under the American flag on the coast of Africa, and that, therefore the practice previously prevailed. But how did this practice arise? Only because it had been a matter of agreement between Lieutenant Payne the commander of the American naval force on the coast of Africa, and Captain Tucker, the commander of the British squadron. This was clearly shown in a paper which had been laid on the Table of the House, and which had been printed. The stipulations of the agreement were, that Captain Tucker, or any other officer under his orders, on the one part, should stop all suspicious vessels sailing under the American flag, and search them, and if he found them engaged in the slave- trade, they were to be handed over by him to any American officer on the coast. Such an agreement was, in his opinion, most honourable to Lieutenant Payne; but, unfortunately, the arrangement was not approved by his government, as it was not considered consistent with the feelings of the people of the United States. When the British Government found that the agreement was not approved by the American government, they instantly sent out instructions to the commanders of our cruisers to abstain from all captures of vessels under the American flag. He had no doubt that this might have led the noble Lord into the mistake into which he had fallen, for it evidently arose from his overlooking the circumstance of the agreement between the commanders of the British and American squadrons. Several ships sailing under the American flag had been stopped under this agreement, and had been sent to America for adjudication. This fact of United States vessels being sent to American ports for adjudication occasioned a great, deal of excitement in that country, but the noble Lord was evidently not aware that the proceeding arose, not from any assumption of right on our part, but in consequence of an agreement made between the American officer and the British officer commanding the squadrons of their respective nations on the coast of Africa. Lord Ashburton described the first proposition made to him on this subject by the American government as a plan for executing on a larger scale the arrangement made between Captain Tucker and the American Lieutenant Payne; but did it enlarge or even approach to that agreement which was virtually the concession of the right of search. Lord Ashburton was mistaken as to the nature of the proposition made to him, for instead of enlarging the agreement of Lieutenant Payne, it was a total abrogation of it. But the noble Lord observed that the Government had now only entered into a treaty, when there was formerly an agreement. The noble Lord seemed to say that he did not see what was the difference between an agreement and a treaty, but his noble Friend had clearly pointed out that the difference or distinction was great and vital. The late Government had frequently represented to the government of America, that if they would not agree to a mutual right of search, which is the only real and effectual means for putting down the Slave Trade, they ought to send United States cruizers to the coast of Africa to prevent the Slave Trade from being carried on under the United States flag. This had frequently been urged, not only through Mr. Fox, our minister at Washington, but by himself to the various American ministers in this country, and his opinion on this point had been laid on the Table in the correspondence relating to the slave-trade. The commissioners at Sierra Leone also had suggested that if the American government would send a squadron of their ships to the coast of Africa, to sail in couples with British ships; this course could stop slave-trade by any vessels sailing under the British or the American flag, or under that of any nation which had conceded to Great Britain the mutual right of search. But by the treaty entered into by Lord Ashburton, the American government were to send a comparatively small force to the coast of Africa, and it did not follow that any of their vessels would accompany a British cruiser, but each would apparently be left to pursue its own course. If the commander of the British cruiser proposed to sail south for the best cruising ground, the American officer might reply that he chose to sail to the north. Thus you would not have the two vessels sailing together; you would not have them hunting in couples, as the commissioners at Sierra Leone recommended. A slaver might, therefore, show American colours to the British cruiser, and must be allowed to pass; a few hours afterwards, when met by an American cruiser, it would hoist the British flag, and would again be allowed to pass. Therefore he contended that if the cruisers of the two nations did not hunt in couples the proposed maritime police on the coast of Africa would be completely destroyed, and there was nothing in the treaty to show that it was intended that the cruizers should hunt in couples; and indeed the small amount of the force which the American government is to send, seems to render such an arrangement impossible. But it was said, that there is no difference between a private agreement with the United States government, that they should send American cruizers to the coast of Africa to prevent slave-trade from being carried on under the United States flag, and a treaty stipulation, such as that contained in this Washington treaty. The difference, however, is great and essential. In the first place, this stipulation in the treaty as signed by Lord Ashburton will be looked upon in America as having been accepted by us, as a fulfilment of the stipulations of the treaty of Ghent, which provided that the United States would use their best endeavours to put down the slave-trade; and the course now to be adopted by the American government would appear to be admitted by us to be the exertion of their best endeavours. He maintained, however, that this arrangement is not the best endeavour which the United States can make to put an end to the slave-trade, on the contrary, it is infinitely short of their best endeavour; the best endeavour, and the only good endeavour is the concession of the mutual right of search, and till the United States have agreed to that, they never will have fulfilled the engagement which they contracted by the treaty of Ghent. But look to the effect of this proceeding in other countries. The right hon. Baronet said that if a private arrangement had been made with the United States on the subject, the French government would have become acquainted with the fact, and would have claimed equal terms. But the reply in such case would have been easy, and it could have been said, if merely an agreement had been entered into, that the Americans had done that without treaty which the French government were bound to do by treaty. That is to say, had sent cruizers to the coast of Africa to assist in putting down the slave-trade, and France could have founded no claim upon such a fact. The smaller states, such as Sardinia and Naples, although parties to the right of search treaty, were exempted from sending vessels to the coast of Africa; there was in this respect a difference between these states and France, with which also you had a right of search treaty. But France never founded upon the exemption so conceded to those states, a claim for a similar exemption for herself, much less therefore could she have put forth a claim to be released from her mutual right of search treaty, merely because the United States had in compliance with our request sent some cruizers to the coast of Africa to assist in putting down the slave-trade. But the moment that we by this Washington treaty had, to all appearance, formally accepted this inadequate arrangement as a substitute and equivalent for the mutual right of search, that moment the French set up a claim to be placed on a similar footing. Immediately did the leading men in the Chambers, and the public Press in France, contend that what was deemed by us sufficient from the United States, ought also to be deemed by us sufficient from France; and, that as we have been content to accept such a treaty stipulation from the United States as the fulfilment of their engagement in the treaty of Ghent to use their best endeavours to put an end to the slave-trade, we ought at once to rescind the treaties of 1831–1833 with France, and accept in their stead an engagement from France precisely similar to that which has now been entered into by the United States. The House might depend upon it, that this country, after this treaty of Lord Ashburton's, would find it infinitely more difficult than hitherto to enter into treaties relative to the right of search, and he would venture to say, that if a right of search treaty had not been concluded with the republic of Texas before the American treaty had been entered into, it would not now have been obtained at all, and the slave-trade would have been carried on to the greatest extent under the flag of that new country. He thought that the government had pursued a very strange course with respect to the motion of his hon. Friend. If they considered that their noble Friend had been unjustly assailed in the former debate, and that a vote of Parliament was necessary to shield him—it was an unmanly abandonment of their friend that they did not themselves immediately, and on the spur of the moment, propose that vote which they thought necessary to his vindication. Bat if it had not been for the hon. Member for Montrose, who had thought proper to take Lord Ashburton under his protection, his Government would have left him under all the weight of obloquy which they had described as having been heaped upon him. Whatever degree of gratitude the noble Lord might feel towards the Member for Montrose, he did not think that much gratitude was due on his part towards those under whom he had served. It was said, however,, that whether this treaty was disadvantageous or not, at least it had this merit, that by concessions which ought not to be too closely scrutinised, or measured with too critical an eye, or weighed in too nice a balance, that by these concessions to the whims, wants, and desires of America, we bad obtained a peace, valuable at present and likely to be permanent for the future. There were some persons who thought, that peace might be too dearly purchased—that concession was not always the best way to make peace permanent—that more especially, you did not increase your chances of permanent peace by conceding to a neighbouring power a greater means of annoying you in time of war. That opinion had been maintained in this House by one who sometimes carried his love of peace beyond the length to which many would like to go. He meant Mr. Fox, with respect to whom, although some might differ with him in matters of practical politics, all must acknowledge, that no speeches surpassed his in depth of thought, in knowledge of human nature, and in the philosophy of politics. In a debate on the Address in 1782, on a subject connected with the American question, hints were thrown out by the hon. Member, who seconded the Address, that it might be well to conciliate the government of Spain, and create feelings of good will between the countries by giving up Gibraltar. The noble Lord read extracts from Mr. Fox's speech on the day mentioned, to the effect, that he did not think the best way to incline an enemy to make an advantageous peace was to tell them that we were so much reduced that no terms, could be too hard for us to digest. If we were driven to a disadvantageous peace, we should inevitably be tempted to look out for means to make war again with a greater prospect of success. If a country were always to act on the principle of cession to preserve peace, there would be no end to cession, because there would be no end to demands. Mr. Fox argued on the principle, that concessions improperly made, so far from obtaining that peace which they were intended to secure, only had the effect of increasing the desire for encroachment upon the part of the demanding power. But another objection to the vote of thanks now proposed was, that the treaty for which it was to be conferred was not advantageous to the country, and that even if it were advantageous, it would remain to be shown, that the merit belonged to Lord Ashburton, and not to the instructions of the Government under which he had acted. He had asked the right hon. Baronet opposite for copies of these instructions, in order that it might be seen whether this was the case, because it was plain, that even in the case of an advantageous treaty, go merit might be due to the negotiator; inasmuch as he might have merely followed his instructions, or might even have obtained less than a skilful execution of his instructions would have obtained; and in the case of a disadvantageous treaty, it was possible, that merit might be due to the negotiator, for having obtained a better bargain than his Government bad authorised him to accept. These papers had, however, been refused; and so far the right hon. Baronet had put himself out of court with respect to any motion for a vote of thanks to Lord Ashburton. This was a matter of great importance, for they were called upon to establish a new precedent, which would be liable to the greatest possible abuse. Parliament seemed to have systematically avoided votes of thanks to negotiators, and most properly, because a negotiator was a person acting under the instructions of his Government. The Government bad a majority in Parliament, and a vote of thanks to their negotiator was in fact, a vote of thanks to themselves, and it was thought unmanly to take advantage of a majority, to obtain for themselves the thanks of the House, which would alter all only be synonymous to a declaration, that they actually possessed that majority. The right hon. Baronet opposite had stated that principle very clearly when he explained why the name of Sir Henry Pottinger had been omitted from the vote of thanks to the officers and troops in China. Be would say, that Government ought to be careful how they led the House of Commons into the establishment of a bad precedent—of a vote of thanks to a negotiator, and to choose for that precedent the case of a treaty of which no man living could say more in its favour, than that it afforded a chance of eluding difficulties more serious than the disadvantages which it brought in its tram. The Government should take some care of the character of the House of Commons. Already they had made many of their supporters unsay the pledges given by them on the hustings; and they still would have to drag their followers through the dirt, by asking them to support the Government in its refusal to carry into practice the free-trade principles which the Members of that. Government had deliberately and repeatedly in Parliament professed; he thought, therefore, that they should be sparing in demanding the support of their friends for such a vote as this. They would have to expend the character of Parliament sufficiently in other cases, and they might as well husband it in this. But, not only would the carrying of this motion lower the character of the House of Commons in the opinion of the country, it would lower the country in the eyes of the world. Upon that ground bad they singled out this treaty for a vote of thanks? It gave no new possessions to the country—no extension of interests—no new means of defence: it was a treaty of which its best friends could only say, that it was a bad bargain, but that, under the circumstances, any bargain was better than none. What a lowering in the eyes of the world—what a humiliation for the Parliament of Great Britain. They might urge such a consideration against a vote of censure, if it had been proposed, but what would be thought of bestowing a vote of thanks upon a noble Lord for having sawed this country from the wrath of the people of Maine, or even from the chance of collision with the more powerful government of the United States? This was, indeed, a confession of weakness which we never expected from the British House of Commons. This vote then, was against the practice of Parliament. It would add no honour to the individual on whom it was conferred; and it would lower this country in the eyes of every other nation in the world.

The House divided on the question that the House do now adjourn—Ayes 105; Noes 240: Majority 135.

List of the AYES.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of *Duncan, Visct.
Duncan, G.
Barnard, E. G. Duncombe, T.
Berkeley, hon. C. Dundas, Admiral
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Dundas, D.
Blewitt, R. J. Ebrington, Visct.
Brocklehurst, J. Evans, W.
Brotherton, J. Forster, M.
Buller, E. Fox, C. R.
Busfeild, W. French, F.
Byng, right hn. G. S. Gill, T.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Gisborne, T.
Chapman, B. Gore, hon. R.
Chiders, J. W. Hall, Sir B.
Clay, Sir W. Hallyburton, Lord J. F. G.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Collett, J. Hanmer, Sir J.
Cowper, hen, W. F. Hastie, A.
Craig, W. G. Hatton, Capt. V.
Curteis, H. B. Hawes, B.
Dalmeny, Lord Hay, Sir A. L.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Heathcoat, J.
Duff, J. Heneage, E.
Hill, Lord M. Ricardo, J. L.
Hollond, R. Ross, D. R.
Horsman, E. Russell, Lord J.
Howard, hn. C. W. G. Rutherfurd, A.
Howard, hon. J. K. Scrope, G. P.
*Howard, Lord Seale, Sir J. H.
Howard, hon. H. Seymour, Lord
*Howick, Vict. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Hutt, W. Standish, C.
Jervis, J. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Johnson, Gen. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Johnston, A. *Staunton, Sir G. T.
*Langston, J. H. Stuart, W. V.
Leveson, Lord Strickland, Sir G.
Macaulay, rt. hn. T. B. Strutt, E.
Maher, V. Talbot, C. R. M.
Marjoribanks, S. Tancred, H. W.
Matheson, J. Towneley, J.
Mitchell, T. A. Tufnell, H.
Morris, D. *Vane, Lord H.
O'Brien, J. Vivian, hon. Capt.
O'Brien, W. S. *Ward, H. G.
O'Conor Don Watson, W. H.
Paget, Lord A. Wawn, J. T.
Palmerston, Visct. White, S.
Pechell, Capt. *Williams, W.
Pendarves, E. W. W. Wood, G. W.
*Philips, G. R. Wrightson, W. B.
Plumridge, Capt. Wyse, T.
Ponsonby, hon. A. C. TELLERS.
Ponsonby, hon. J. G. Napier, Sir C.
Pulsford, R. Berkeley, Capt.
List of the NOES.
Ackers, J. Buckley, E.
Acland, Sir T. D. Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W.
Acland, T. D. Buller, C.
Acton, Col. Buller, Sir J. Y.
Adderley, C. B. Burrell, Sir C. M.
Antrobus, E. Campbell, Sir H.
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Campbell, A.
Archdall, Capt. M. Cardwell, E.
Arkwright, G. Charteris, hon. F.
Ashley, Lord Chelsea, Visct.
Astell, W. Chetwode, Sir J.
Bagot, hon. W. Cholmondeley, hn. H.
Bailey, J. Christopher, R. A.
Bailey, J. jun. Chute, W. L. W.
Baillie, Col. Clayton, R. R.
Balfour, J. M. Clerk, Sir G.
Baring, H. B. Clive, hon. R. H.
Baskerville, T. B. M. Codrington, Sir W.
Beckett, W. Colville, C. R.
Bell, M. Compton, H. C.
Bernard, Visct. Copeland, Mr. Ald.
Blackburne, J. I. Corry, right hon. H.
Blackstone, W. S. Courtenay, Lord
Bodkin, W. H. Crawford, W. S.
Boldero, H. G. Cresswell, B.
Borthwick, P. Crips, W.
Bramston, T. W. *Damer, hon. Col.
Broadley, H. Darby, G.
Broadwood, H. Davies, D. A. S.
Brownrigg, J. S. Dawnay, hon. W. H.
Bruce, Lord E. Dick, Q.
Buck, L. W. Dickinson, F. H.
Douglas, Sir H. Jocelyn, Visct.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Johnstone, Sir J.
Douglas, J. D. S. Jolliffe, Sir W. G.
Dugdale, W. S. Jones, Capt.
Duncombe, hon. A. Kemble, H.
Duncombe. hon. O. Ker, D. S.
Duncannon, Visct. Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E
Du Pre, C. G. Knight, H. G.
East, J. B. Knight, F. W.
Eastnor, Visct. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Eaton, R. J. Law, hon. C. E.
Egerton, W. T. Lawson, A.
Egerton, Sir P. Legh, G. C.
Eliot, Lord Lennox, Lord A.
Emlyn, Visct. Lincoln, Earl of
Escott, B. Lockhart, W.
Farnham, E. B. Lowther, J. H.
Fellowes, E. Lowther, hon. Col.
Ferrand, W. B. Lyall, G.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Flower, Sir J. Maclean, D.
Follett, Sir W. W. Mc.Geachy, F. A.
Forester, hn. G. C. W. Mahon, Visct.
Fox, S. L. Mainwaring, T.
Freemantle, Sir T. Manners, Lord J.
Fuller, A. E. Marsham, Visct.
Gaskell, J. Milnes Marton, G.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Master, T. W. C.
Gladstone, Capt. Masterman, J.
Glynne, Sir S. R. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Godson, R. Meynell, Capt.
Gordon, hon. Capt. Mildmay, H. St. J.
Gore, M. Miles, P. W. S.
Gore, W. R. O. Miles, W.
Goring, C. Mordaunt, Sir J.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Morgan, O.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Mundy, E. M.
Granby, Marquess of Murray, C. R. S
Greenall, P. Neeld, J.
Greene, T. Neville, R.
Grimsditch, T. Newdigate, C. N.
Grimston, Visct. Newport, Visct.
Grogan, E. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Hale, R. B. Norreys, Lord
Hamilton, W. J. Northland, Visct.
Hamilton, Lord C. O'Brien, A. S.
Hampden, R. Owen, Sir J.
Harcourt, G. G. Packe, C. W.
Hardinge, rt. hon. Sir H. Pakington, J. S.
Hayes, Sir E. Palmer, R.
Heneage, G. H. W. Patten, J. W.
Henley, J. W. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Hepburn, Sir T. B. Peel, J.
Herbert, hon. S. Pennant, hon. Col.
Hervey, Lord A. Plumptre, J. P.
Hillsborough, Earl of Polhill, F.
Hodgson, F. Pollock, Sir F.
Hodgson, R. Powell, Col.
Hogg, J. W. Praed, W. T.
Hope, hon. C. Pringle, A.
Hope, A. Pusey, P.
Hope, G. W. Rashleigh, W.
Hornby, J. Reid, Sir J. R,
Howard, P. H. Repton, G. W. J.
Ingestre, Visct. Richards, R.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Roebuck, J. A.
Jermyn, Earl Round, C. G.
Round, J. Trench, Sir F. W.
*Rumbold, C. E. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Russell, C. Trollope, Sir J.
Russell, J. D. W. Trotter, J.
Ryder, hon. G. D. Turnor, C.
Sanderson, R. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Sandon, Visct. Vernon, G. H.
Scarlett, hon. R. C. Vivian, J. E.
Seymour, Sir H. B. Wall, C. B.
Smith, A. Wellesley, Lord C.
Smith, rt. hon. T. B. C. Wilbraham, hon. R. B.
Somerset, Lord G. Wodehouse, E.
Sotheron, T. H. S. Wood, Col.
Stanley, Lord Wood, Col. T.
Stewart, J. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Sturt, H. C. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Sutton, hon. H. M. Wynn, rt. hn. C. W. W.
Tennent, J. E. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Thesiger, F. Young, J.
Thompson, Mr. Ald.
Tollemache, J. TELLERS.
Tomline, G. Hume, J.
Trelawny, J. S. Bowring, Dr.

The House again divided on Mr. Hume's motion—Ayes 238; Noes 96: Majority 142.

[The names on the second division are the same as those on the first, with the exception of those against which we have placed an asterisk. The Ayes on the first division were the Noes on the second.