§ Mr. Borthwick
said, he would take the opportunity, on reading the Order of the Day for the Committee on the Sugar 421 Duties Bill, of putting a few questions to the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) of which he had given him notice. The question he would first put was, whether any proposition had been submitted to Her Majesty's Government on behalf of Don Carlos, having far its object the tranquillization of Spain, by the marriage of his son to the Spanish Queen? Whether the proposition did not include an expressed willingness on the part of Don Carlos to consent to make important personal sacrifices? He would also ask, whether that proposition had not been communicated by Her Majesty's Government to that of Spain, whether the British Government had offered any opinion on it, or recommended it in any way to the Government of Spain, and what had been the answer, if any, of the Spanish Government with respect to it?
§ Sir Robert Peel
, in answer to the question, said, that a communication had been made to the British Government on the part of Don Carlos. The communication was made in an indirect and informal manner, but perhaps that was the necessary result of the position of Don Carlos. The hon. Member asked if the object of the proposition was the tranquillization of Spain? That might have been the object or Don Carlos in making the communication, but the Government of this country were not of opinion that the probable effect of carrying the proposal into operation would necessarily be the tranquillization of Spain. The communication contained a proposition for a union between the eldest son of Don Carlos and the Queen of Spain, but the sacrifices which Don Carlos was ready to make, in order to effect that union were not very clearly or distinctly stated. It was not stated, for instance, whether Don Carlos was ready on his own behalf and on the part of his son to relinquish all claim to the throne of Spain. The course which the Government took on the receipt of that communication was to make the Government of Spain acquainted with the proposal of Don Carlos, on the principle that the Spanish people, represented by the Spanish Government, were competent alone to decide on the matter. A communication was at the same time made to the Government of France on the subject, but the Government of this country did not press upon the adoption of the Spanish Government the proposal which had been 422 on behalf of Don Carlos, for they were of opinion that the differences in Spain were not merely differences relating to the personal claims of different competitors, but had rather a reference to the principles of the Government. They were of opinion that the great question in Spain was not merely one of succession to the throne, but of great constitutional principles. The Government of this country, did not, therefore, undertake to press the proposition, not being sure that it would satisfy the people of Spain, and they left it to the Government of that country, as the guardians of the interests of the people of Spain to decide upon it. The proposition was now in the hands of the Spanish Government.
§ Viscount Palmerston
said, if he understood the right hon. Baronet, the opinion of the Government was, that the arrangement proposed was not calculated to effect the object which it professed to aim at, namely, the tranquillization of Spain. He wished to ask the right hon. Baronet if the British Government, in making that communication, had expressed their opinion that the effect of the tranquillization of Spain would not be likely to result from it; or whether they simply made themselves the channel of communication with the Spanish Government.
§ Sir Robert Peel
said, the communication proposed a marriage between the son of Don Carlos and the Queen of Spain, but what concessions Don Carlos was disposed to make in order to effect that arrangement were not stated expressly or distinctly; for example, it was not stated whether or not Don Carlos would consent to waive on his own behalf, and on that of his son, any claim by right of succession to the throne of Spain. It was not made in a regular form or through an official channel. The proposal was indirect, but that was, perhaps, the necessary consequence of Don Carlos having no representative at our Court. The Government of this country contented themselves with communicating that proposal to the Spanish Government, but they did not express any opinion in favour of the acceptance of the proposal, because they did not think that it was likely to effect the tranquillization of Spain. It appeared to this Government that the differences existing in Spain were not differences with regard to questions of succession, but differences with regard to the principles of government. This Go- 423 vernment had not used any means to defeat the proposal or to support it.
§ Viscount Palmerston
agreed with the right hon. Baronet as to his views with respect to the proposition, but he should remark that the mere fact of the British Government transmitting the proposal to the Court of Spain, to which it was not bound to send it, would seem primâ facie to bear the appearance that the proposal was regarded favourably by the British Government. He wished, therefore, to know if the British Government had given any indication of the unfavourable light in which they viewed the proposal in order that they might not mislead the Government of Spain.
§ Sir R. Peel
said, they thought it their duty, as a friendly Government, to send the communication to Spain, but it was quite impossible that the Spanish Government could suppose the British Government recommended its adoption, or that they entertained the opinion that carrying it into effect would produce the tranquillization of Spain.
§ Lord J. Manners
wished the right hon. Baronet to state if there was any ambiguity in the proposal.
§ Sir R. Peel
said, no direct statement was made on the part of Don Carlos that he would waive any personal claim to the throne, but even if he were to waive his personal claim, and not the claim on the part of his eldest son, that would, he apprehended, be no waiver to the claims of hereditary right to the throne. There was, therefore, no distinct statement that conditionally on the marriage he would waive any claim on his own part, or that of the Prince of Asturias.