HC Deb 15 July 1845 vol 82 cc530-611
Viscount Palmerston

rose to bring forward the Motion of which he had given notice. He said: The subject I am about to bring under the notice of the House is one of much importance both to the honour and the interests of the kingdom. It is of importance to its honour, inasmuch as it relates to the question whether Treaties and engagements entered into by the Crown, have or have not been faithfully fulfilled; and it bears upon the interests of the country, because it raises the question, whether commercial privileges and advantages which were secured to this country by ancient Treaties have or have not been want only rejected, and heedlessly thrown away. The question arises in consequence of the correspondence between the Spanish Minister at this Court and the British Government, copies of which were recently laid on the Table by command of Her Majesty. That correspondence relates to a claim made by the Government of Spain, that the sugars of Cuba and Porto Rico, the produce of slave labour, shall be admitted into this country at the same duties which are levied upon the sugars of other countries the produce of free labour, and upon the sugars of Venezuela and of the United States, the produce, like that of Cuba, of slave labour. This claim has been refused by Her Majesty's Government, and upon that refusal I think it necessary to make this Motion, because it is my opinion that the engagements of the Crown have not in this case been fulfilled; and being also of opinion that a great and unnecessary injury has been thereby done to the commercial interests of the country, I feel it my duty to ask the House, if it should concur with me in the views I have taken of this matter, to address the Crown, praying that a different course on this question may be pursued. Now, in order to bring the question in the clearest and most distinct manner under the attention of the House, I will shortly recapitulate the circumstances which have preceded and have led to this correspondence. It is fresh in the memory of everybody whom I have now the honour of addressing, that in 1841 Her Majesty's late Government thought it their duty to propose an alteration in the then existing scale of the Sugar Duties, believing that the change which they proposed to Parliament would tend to increase the Revenue—to give additional development to our commerce — and, by the increased supply, to reduce the price of what has become almost a necessary of life, and, consequently, to add to the comforts of the poorer classes of the people. The party then in opposition deemed that proposal of ours to be a fit occasion on which to make with us a trial of strength. They were confident in their increasing numbers in this House, and they believed that if they could raise a cry throughout the country in support of what they considered to be their majority in Parliament, they might succeed in driving us from power, and in occupying our places. Well, then, in order to raise this cry, they endeavoured to stigmatize our measure as calculated to give an additional encouragement to slavery and the Slave Trade. They said that, by opening a larger door for the admission of sugar produced by slave labour in the Colonies of foreign countries, we should raise the price of slave-labour sugar in the general market of the world, and that we should thereby give additional encouragement to the employment of slaves, and consequently to the Slave Trade. They succeeded in their attempt; we were defeated, and ultimately resigned our offices; and those who sat on the other side of the House succeeded to power. But they had not been long in power, before they came to the same conclusion at which we had arrived, namely, that a change in the Sugar Duties was expedient—that it would be for the interests of England to increase the quantity of sugar brought into this country for consumption by the people; and I am quite satisfied that if they had been free agents—if they had been fettered by no pledges either expressed or understood, towards those classes of men whom they had enlisted in their support in the battle they gave us on the Sugar Duties — if they had been embarrassed by no assertions made in debates as to the effect of a change of the Sugar Duties on slavery and the Slave Trade, I am convinced, in my own mind, judging from the very liberal free-trade doctrines which have lately been put forth by Members of the Government, whenever this question and other commercial matters have been discussed in this House—I am persuaded, I say, that if they had been entirely free agents, they would have proposed some measure very similar indeed in principle to that which we failed in recommending for the adoption of Parliament. But they were fettered by engagements—embarrassed by the doctrines they had laid down, and they were, therefore, obliged to tax their ingenuity to discover some measure which should, on the one hand, afford some relief to the consumer, by increasing the supply of foreign sugar; while, on the other hand, it should not too greatly alarm their West India supporters, and should not be too manifestly at variance with the principles they had laid down in objecting to the plan that we had proposed. They bethought themselves of a most notable expedient; they did not produce any measure which even pretended to have the effect of increasing the revenue, which ours would have done; but they proposed a measure which, while it should add a little to the supply of foreign sugar, should not add so much as to give just cause of alarm to the West Indian monopolists, or much encouragement to slavery and the Slave Trade. Their plan was to admit at a very low duty foreign sugar the produce of free labour, and to place a very high, and practically a prohibitory, duty on sugar the produce of slave labour; and they seemed to think this measure would accomplish every object which they professed, as a Government, to have in view. They were told that their measure would fail; and that it was founded on erroneous principles — on a total mistake. They were told that it was ridiculous to suppose that if we took, say 40,000 or 50,000 tons of sugar annually out of the general market of the world, where hitherto it had been consumed, we should not raise the price of the sugar which remained in the market, just the same whether the sugar so taken out by us was produced by free labour or by slave labour, and that as the measure thus tended to increase the price of sugar in the general market of the world, it was open to just the same objection—(as far as that objection was good for anything)—which they had made to our measure, namely, that, pro tanto, it would afford encouragement to the additional employment of slave labour. They were told that it would be just as absurd to maintain the contrary, as to assert that by taking out water from one end of a pond, you would not lower the level of the water at the other end of the pond. They were told that their measure was founded on a childish absurdity, and that it could not be practically executed. They were told that slave sugar would be brought into consumption here under the character of free-labour sugar, and that all their regulations and certificates would utterly fail to enforce the distinction which they wished to establish, and to prevent the evasion of their law. But they were told, moreover, that their measure would inevitably break down from another cause, the effects of which could not be avoided. They were warned that there were Foreign Powers which had with this country Treaties of commerce, whereby the subjects of those Powers were entitled, in their commercial dealings with this country, to enjoy all the privileges with respect to goods and duties which we might grant to the most favoured nation; and that if the sugar of any country was to be admitted at a lower rate of duty on account of its being produced by free labour, those Treaties would compel us to admit the slave-labour sugar of other countries on a footing equally advantageous. I remember pressing this point upon their consideration generally; and my right hon. Friend the late Chancellor of the Exchequer more especially brought it under their attention in reference to the Treaty between this country and Denmark. The point, however, was treated very lightly by hon. Gentlemen opposite; and I remember especially that one of them, answered what I had said with arguments and statements which seemed quite satisfactory to him, but which, as far as I could understand them—which I cannot say I was able to do very clearly, did not seem to me at all to meet the case. In spite of all these objections, they passed their measure. What followed? Soon after their measure was passed, the State of Venezuela, having a Treaty with us by which it was entitled to be placed on the footing of the most favoured nation in its trade with this country, demanded that the sugar of Venezuela should be admitted to consumption in this country on the same footing as the sugars of Manilla, Java, and other free-labour countries. The Government took that claim into consideration; they found, on looking into the Treaty, that the claim was irresistible; it was accordingly admitted, and the slave-labour sugar of Venezuela was placed on the same footing of advantage as the free-labour sugars of Java and Manilla. Next came the United States. The United States have a Treaty with us, by which they are entitled, in their commerce with England, to be placed on the footing of the most favoured nation. They claimed similar privileges for the admission of their sugars. That claim was taken into consideration. The Treaties were examined: the claim was found to be unanswerable; and the slave-labour sugars of the United States were admitted into the market of this country on the same footing with the sugars of Venezuela, Java, and Manilla. Here were two great holes made in the system of the Government. Look! in this place ran Cassius' dagger through; See what a rent the envious Casca made. But at that time the "well-beloved Brutus" had not "dealt his deadly stab;" but the well-beloved Brutus did not long delay his fatal blow; and speedily after the concession to the United States, the well-beloved Brutus, in the person of General Narvaez, came with a demand that Spanish Colonial sugar, the slave-grown sugar of Cuba and Porto Rico, should be placed on the same footing, and should have the same advantages conceded to it in this country, as the sugar of the most favoured nations. This demand was made in a note from the Duke of Sotomayor, which cannot, I think, receive any sufficient and satisfactory answer. But some answer it was necessary to give; and as it would have been too ludicrous for the Government to have their whole measure torn to tatters, rag by rag, they determined to find some pretence or other for refusing this claim. Accordingly, not the Foreign Office—for I acquit the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office of having invented the note which was sent in reply: I differ from that noble Lord on most points of foreign policy, but I respect him individually too highly to believe that he could have invented the arguments contained in the note to which he has put his name; and I only regret that the over-easiness of disposition which I find fault with in his transactions with Foreign Powers, should have led him in this case to put his name to arguments which his better judgment must repudiate. Accordingly, I say, from Her Majesty's Government there came an answer rejecting the demand of the Duke de Sotomayor. I think that answer full of fallacies—I will not say palpable fallacies, because, that fallacies should be palpable, the arguments on which they rest should be plain and easy to be understood; whereas I defy any man to comprehend the drift, and scope, and meaning of the arguments in this note, without reading it over and over again three or four times with the utmost intensity of attention. I have myself done so, and having thus arrived at what I consider to be an understanding of the document, I am prepared to state that it is not only full of fallacies, but that it is a curious and remarkable illustration of what has been called by some legerdemain logic, which consists in this—that in the course of an argument one of the parties, arguing skilfully, slips in some new word, some new phrase or expression, nearly, to all outward appearance, resembling that from which the argument started, but which, nevertheless, differs from it in some point essential to the right solution of the original question; and, making this exchange while his adversary's attention is engaged by the chain of argument, founds his superstructure on the substituted expression, and comes thereby to a conclusion at which he could not possibly have arrived by means of the premises from which he set out. I shall be able, I think, to convince the House that this is strictly the character of the document of which I am speaking. First, let us look at the note of the Duke of Sotomayor. The Duke of Sotomayor demands that the sugars of Cuba and Porto Rico, though the produce of slave labour, shall be admitted into this country at the same duty as that paid by the sugar of the most favoured nation. He founds that demand on ancient Treaties, formally contracted between the two countries, and especially on the Treaties of 1667 and 1713. The terms of the Treaties to which he thus more particularly alludes, are certainly as strong as well can be; and though it is tedious to the House to hear documents of this kind read, yet I must ask permission to read those portions of the Treaties on which the Duke de Sotomayor founds his demand. It is essential to the case that I should do so. And, first, let me refer to the Treaty of 1667. The Thirty-eighth Article of that Treaty runs thus:— It is agreed and concluded, that the people and subjects of the King of Great Britain and of the King of Spain, shall have and enjoy in the respective lands, seas, ports, havens, roads, and territories of the one or the other, and in all places whatsoever, the same privileges, securities, liberties, and immunities, whether they concern their persons or trade, with all the beneficial clauses and circumstances which have been granted, or shall be hereafter granted, by either of the said Kings, to the Most Christian King, the States-General of the United Provinces, the Hanse Towns, or any other Kingdom or State whatsoever, in as full, ample, and beneficial a manner as if the same were particularly mentioned and inserted in his Treaty. Thus far the Treaty of 1667. Next comes the Treaty of 1713, which the Duke relies upon in making out his claim. There were two Treaties with Spain in 1713, both signed at Utrecht, the first in July, and the second in December; and both of these distinctly sanction, beyond, as it seems to me, a possibility of doubt, the demand made by the Spanish Minister. The Ninth Article of the first of these Treaties is in these terms:— It is further agreed and concluded as a general rule, that all and singular the subjects of each kingdom shall, in all countries and places on both sides, have and enjoy at least the same privileges, liberties, and immunities as to all duties, impositions, or customs whatsoever, relating to persons, goods, and merchandises, ships, freight, seamen, navigation, and commerce, and shall have the like favour in all things as the subjects of France or any other foreign nation the most favoured have, possess, and enjoy, or at any time hereafter may have, possess, or enjoy. By the Treaty of December following, the Treaty of peace, commerce, and alliance concluded with Spain is ratified and confirmed; and "for the greater strengthening and confirmation of the same," that Article was inserted word for word. But, as if that were not enough, the Second Article of the Treaty is in these words:— The subjects of their Majesties, trading respectively in the dominions of their said Majesties, shall not be bound to pay greater duties or other imposts whatsoever, for their imports or exports, than shall be exacted of, and paid by, the subjects of the most favoured nation; and if it shall happen in time to come that any diminution of duties, or other advantages, shall be granted by either side to any foreign nation, the subjects of each Crown shall reciprocally and fully enjoy the same. And as it has been agreed, as is above-mentioned, concerning the rates of duties, so it is ordained as a general rule between their Majesties, that all and every one of their subjects shall, in all lands and places subject to the command of their respective Majesties, use and enjoy at least the same privileges, liberties, and immunities, concerning all imposts or duties whatsoever, which relate to persons, wares, merchandise, ships, freighting, mariners, navigation, and commerce, and enjoy the same favour in all things (as well in the courts of justice as in all those things which relate to trade, or any other right whatsoever) as the most favoured nation uses and enjoys, or may use and enjoy for the future, as is explained more at large in the Thirty-eighth Article of the Treaty of 1667, which is specially inserted in the foregoing Article. Now, I must own, that if I had been set to draw up Articles which were in the most full and comprehensive manner possible to secure to the subjects of two countries, in their trade with each other, the privileges and advantages of the most favoured nation, I should have been at a loss to have devised words more full and more comprehensive than those which I have quoted—more clear, more distinct, more unmistakable. Proceeding in his argument, the Duke anticipates two objections which might be offered by the Government of Great Britain. And, first, he foresees the possibility that some distinction might be set up between the Colonies of Spain and the mother country, and this possible distinction he meets thus:— You cannot make use of that objection, because you have admitted on the terms set forth the produce of our Colonies of the Philippine Islands, by exempting the sugars of those islands specifically from the high duties which are the object of the present application, and therefore it is not because Cuba is a Colony that you can resist my demand. The other objection contemplated by the Duke is this:— You may, perhaps, tell us, that your recent laws make a distinction between sugar manufactured by slaves, and sugar the produce of free labour. But," replies the Duke, "on the part of my Government I deny that a difference in the mode of manufacture constitutes any valid ground on which you can take your stand in maintaining a difference of duty. The Treaty admits of no such difference on any such ground. I think the Duke's reply to the anticipated objection quite unanswerable, while it is borne out by the practices of this country. The Duke says— You cannot set aside the provisions of long-established Treaties made by both countries by an enactment unilateral, made by one party without the consent of the other; you cannot thus establish a practice which is fatal to a claim founded on Treaties made by mutual consent. But the practice of England itself affords an answer to the supposed argument thus met by the Duke; for I ask, have not we ourselves, over and over again, maintained the same principle as that asserted in the Duke's note? We have contended that the process by which an article is manufactured is not a just ground for making a distinction with respect to duties to be levied upon it. We have maintained this frequently. We have said that the perfection or imperfection of an article is a fair and just ground of making such a distinction; but that the particular process of manufacture was not. In 1816, for example, when the United States of America imposed a heavier duty upon bars and bolts of iron manufactured by the process of rolling, than that which was imposed upon bars and bolts manufactured by hammering, we instructed Sir Charles Bagot, then our Minister at Washington, to object to that duty, and to say that bars and bolts of iron were, to all intents and purposes, like articles, whether hammered or rolled, and that they ought to be taxed in a like degree, and that the distinction which the United States sought to make was at variance with their Treaties with this country. The result of this representation was, that the United States did not persist in maintaining a heavier duty on iron bars and bolts which were rolled, than on those which were subjected to the process of hammering; and consequently, made the duties which were paid on the bars and bolts of iron manufactured in this country, the same as upon the same articles exported from Sweden and Russia. The argument by which the Government now defend their differential duly is, indeed, palpably erroneous. But if it were otherwise—if it were well founded, then I ask, why was it not used when the Government was regulating the Sugar Duties with the United States and Venezuela? Why did they not then say, that there ought to be a higher duty on sugar manufactured in one way, than on that which was manufactured in another way, but which was of the same quality? If there be any force in the argument, it ought to have been urged when the United States were pressing their claims; and the Government of this country should then have said that the slave-grown sugar of the United States was not a like commodity with the free-grown sugar of other countries, and, therefore, their claim must be rejected. The Government of this country did not, however, at that period, treat the subject in so off-hand a manner as they do now with respect to Spain; and accordingly they admitted sugar which was the produce of slave labour, as a like article to that which, being of the same quality, was the produce of free labour. This decision, in reference to the sugar of the United States and Venezuela, has been urged on the part of Spain. She has quoted the Treaties that we formerly made with her—and of which I have read extracts, and she has demanded that her sugar should be admitted on the same favourable terms as the sugar of other countries. Then comes the answer of the Government; and, in adverting to it, I must admit that they are placed in a very embarrassing situation; for it cannot be denied that if they are to admit the claim of Spain, and allow her sugar to come in upon the same terms as the sugar of the United States, their doctrines and distinctions would be blown to shivers, and there would be an end of their vaunted measure with respect to sugar and the Slave Trade. The only peg would be gone upon which they can hang the last remnant of their political consistency: they would then be, perhaps, exposed to a little laughter—to a joke—or a taunt across the Table—to a newspaper skit—to a taunt on the hustings—things painful enough, I admit, to the feelings of public men, but which ought not for a moment to stand in the way when the honour or the interest of the country is concerned. To such things they must submit, rather than sacrifice the character of the country. These are my views of the course which they ought to have taken; and I do not hesitate to say, that if I were in their place it would be the course which I should take. There is a point, however, beyond which the most elastic vapour cannot be condensed, and there is also a point beyond which even this Government cannot go in concession. They said, "We have been foiled by Venezuela and by the United States, but we must take our stand on the case of Spain, and refuse her the rights we have acknowledged to belong to the others." They accordingly gave an answer and a refusal; and who they called to their aid on that occasion Heaven only knows! but I do not envy them their adviser. I admit, however, that there was some ingenuity in their answer, as I shall presently show. The first point on which that answer was founded was an admission of the full effect, in commercial matters, of the Treaties of 1667 and 1713 (which they dispute in a subsequent part of their statement, apparently for the sake of argument), and an admission of the full effect which Spain claimed for the Treaties of 1667 and 1713; but they follow up that admission by a statement that a Treaty between this country and Spain, which was made in 1670—a Treaty intermediate between those of 1667 and 1713, and confirmed by subsequent Treaties, even by that of 1814—prevented the application of the two Treaties of which Spain claims the fulfilment; and in the manner in which this portion of the question is treated in their answer, we have a very ingenious instance of that species of legerdemain in argument which I have already described. They state that the Treaties of 1667 and 1713 do not apply to the West India trade. Here is a convenient generality of expression, which conceals from the eyes of the observer the inapplicability of the Treaty of 1670 to the question; and this affords another instance to show how parties can in such arguments arrive, by making changes in succession of terms, at a higher point of assertion than that with which they began. They first say that the Treaty of 1670 "excepts" the West India Colonies of both countries from the privileges which are secured by the Treaty of 1667 for the mother countries—Spain and Great Britain. They then go further in their assertion as they proceed, and say, the Treaty (1670) "expressly excludes" the West India Colonies; and lower down they go further still, and say, that the Treaty (1670) contains a "special exclusion" of the West India Colonies of both countries. Now, I say, that this is an entirely false assertion, and wholly at variance with the intention and the words of the Treaty of 1670. What is the claim of Spain? Spain claims that Spanish subjects residing in Cuba may be allowed to bring their sugars into the United Kingdom, and that those sugars may be admitted at as low a rate of duty as the sugars of the most favoured nation. Is there a single word in the Treaty of 1670, on which the answer which has been given to Spain so strongly relies, which goes to prevent Spain from enjoying that advantage which she claims from this country? [[Mr. Gladstone: Read the 8th Article of the Treaty.] I am going to read it, but before I do so I will ask, is that Treaty of 1670 a Commercial Treaty? No such thing. It is a Political Treaty, entered into for the purpose of putting an end to the hostilities which then prevailed between the Colonies of Spain and Great Britain in the West Indies and America, whilst the mother countries were at peace. What was the title of the Treaty. Was it— a Treaty between the kingdom of Spain and Great Britain, for the purpose of excluding the Colonies of the two countries from the commercial advantages which were secured to the Mother Countries under the Treaty of 1667? No such thing. The Treaty recites the depredations which had taken place in the West Indies and America, and it proceeds to establish peace in America between the two nations. What is the preamble of the Treaty? Let me remark, that preambles to Treaties explain, in a great measure, the intention and object of the Treaties; and therefore, if the object of the Treaty was that which the Government, in their answer to Spain, imply, its preamble ought to be: "That whereas, according to the Treaty of 1667, between Spain and Great Britain, each nation was to give to the other the privileges of the most favoured nation, and whereas it has become necessary to exclude the West Indian and American possessions of both countries from these benefits, be it declared so and so." But what is the preamble? The preamble sets forth that— Inasmuch as the good feeling between Great Britain and Spain had been interrupted in America, this Treaty was intended to reestablish the good understanding which before existed between Spain and Great Britain," &c. The First Article in the Treaty confirms the Treaty of 1667, so far as it does not conflict with the Articles of the Treaty of 1670; and then we come to the Second Article, which is of considerable importance, it is to this effect:— That there shall be a universal peace, true and sincere amity in America, as in the other parts of the world, between the Most Serene Kings of Great Britain and Spain, their heirs and successors, and between the kingdoms, states, plantations, colonies, forts, cities, islands, and dominions, without any distinction of place, belonging unto either of them; and between the people and inhabitants, under their respective obedience, which shall endure from this day for ever, and be observed inviolably, as well by land as by sea and fresh waters, so as to promote each the welfare and advantage of the other, and favour and assist one another with mutual love; and that everywhere, as well in those remoter countries as in those that are nearer, the faithful offices of good neighbourhood and friendship may be exercised and increased between them. This Article shows that the object of the Treaty was the termination of hostilities, and not restrictions of commerce. Then comes the Eighth Article, on which the Government so much rely, and it declares that— The subjects and inhabitants, captains, masters of ships, mariners of the kingdoms, provinces, and dominions of each confederate respectively, shall abstain and forbear to sail and trade in the ports and havens which have fortifications, castles, magazines or warehouses, and in all other places whatsoever, possessed by the other party in the West Indies; to wit, natives of Great Britain shall not sail unto, and trade in, the havens and places which the Catholic King holdeth in the said Indies; nor in like manner shall the subjects of the King of Spain sail unto, or trade in, those places which are possessed there by the King of Great Britain. What does that Article mean? It means plainly this, and only this, that British subjects were not to traffic and navigate to the Colonial possessions of Spain, and that, in like manner, Spanish subjects were not to traffic with or navigate to the Colonial possessions of Great Britain; but there is not a word in any of these Articles which says that the inhabitants of the Colonial possessions of Spain may not navigate to the ports of the United Kingdom, or that the inhabitants of the Colonial possessions of Great Britain may not navigate to the ports of Spain, without obstacle. There is not a word in that Treaty which goes to prevent the inhabitants of the Colonial possessions of either country from sailing or navigating to the European territory of the other; and so clearly was this understood on both sides, that for a long time there has been an extensive and direct trade with Spain in fish and other articles, from our Colonies in North America. There is nothing in the Treaty of 1670 which, if it were now in full force, would militate against the demands of Spain—those demands being, not that British subjects should trade to the Colonies of Spain, but that the Colonies of Spain should be permitted to trade with the United Kingdom. It has been contended, forsooth, as a proof of the restrictive effect of the Treaty, that this traffic has not existed. True; but why? Was it prevented by the Treaty of 1670? No, the navigation of inhabitants of the Spanish Colonists to this country was not prevented by that Treaty. It was prevented by our own navigation laws, and by the Colonial laws of Spain—it was prevented by laws of the two countries which were not founded on commercial doctrines, but on other principles—laws, the object of which, on our side, was to preserve a nursery for British seamen; and, on the part of Spain, by political jealousies and other causes; but the Treaty of 1670 did not, and could not, prevent, if it were now in force, the inhabitants of Spanish Colonial possessions from trading to the United Kingdom. I admit, at once, that if our old navigation law were still in force, that might be given as an answer to Spain, if she demanded what she could not demand under the Treaty of 1670—if she demanded to send the produce in question from Spanish ports to the ports of the United Kingdom. ["No, no."] Then, I am to understand that, if she demanded to send her Colonial sugars from Corunna and Bilbao, she might import them hither. [Mr. Gladstone: She could not make such a claim.] That is the ground upon which I base this argument. I say, that if Spain claimed that right, the answer to which I have adverted, founded on our navigation laws, might be given to her. But it is contended by the Government, that the Treaty of 1670 prevented any traffic from the West Indian possessions of Spain to Great Britain; and I say, that it is impossible the Treaty could have any such interpretation. But even if there were anything in the Treaty of 1670 to prevent such a traffic, is that Treaty still in force? I say it is not, for this reason, namely, that the two parties reserved to themselves the right to make any change which they might feel necessary with respect to the commercial interests of both countries; and there was a short Treaty made in 1809, or, I believe, in 1810, establishing peace between the two countries of Spain and England, to which Treaty there was an additional Article, stating that if a greater latitude of commercial freedom were, after that Treaty to be given by Spain to any foreign country, the same latitude should be extended to England. What did the King of Spain do in 1822? In 1822, he issued a Decree on the subject of the commerce of foreign countries with his American dominions, and the First Article of that Decree stated— A direct commerce shall be maintained in my American dominions with the subjects of countries who are the friends of Spain, and they shall be admitted to trade there in the same manner as in the ports of Spain. Now, from that time the Treaty of 1670 was annulled, so far as this Decree places the trade of foreign nations with the Colonies of Spain on the same footing as in Spain itself. Then we issued the Orders in Council, which have been so much discussed in the Government note; and here I do not profess to understand the argument of the Government, but it either says this, that the Order in Council of 1828 did not give Spain, in regard to the trade with our West Indian Colonies, all that Spain had given us with regard to her American Colonies — that is one interpretation; and if the Government adhere to that interpretation, then I say, their argument is no argument against the claim of Spain; for the fooling of the most favoured nation is not the footing of reciprocity between contracting parties. Those two conditions of intercourse are quite different things; and Spain claims, in this case, the footing of the most favoured nation, and not the footing of reciprocity. But, secondly, the Government argument may mean that the Order in Council did not give all the advantages to Spain that we gave to any other country. That is the other interpretation; and that, I think, is not a well-founded asssertion, because I am not aware that we had given to any other countries more than we gave to Spain; but I take the argument of the Government to be, that because Spain has acquiesced in being placed, by that Order in Council, in a less advantageous position than some other conntries, she is, therefore, bound by her own acquiescence, and cannot now demand the footing of the most favoured nation. But this is an argument which cannot be maintained; for there have often been circumstances in which nations have submitted to put up with a less advantageous state of things than they were strictly entitled to insist upon, owing to temporary causes; but that cannot divest them of their rights, according to the faith that prevails among nations. It may happen that a Government, by inadvertence, may for a time submit to receive less advantage from a Treaty than she ought to get, but that inadvertence could not be considered as permanently binding; and if afterwards she took advantage of the Treaty, and, for the maintenance of her rights, claimed a more favourable construction of the Treaty, it would not be just to bind her by an occasional acquiescence in the less favourable construction, in order to deprive her of the advantage to which she might, by the true letter of the Treaty, be entitled. If any British Government, for instance, in the weakness of the moment, had foregone rights to which this country was entitled with relation to a foreign country, Parliament would not listen for an instant to the suggestion that we were to be deprived of our Treaty rights by that temporary acquiescence. Then I say, that the argument founded on the assumed acquiescence of Spain in our Order of Council utterly fails. I have already shown that the argument founded on the assumption that the Treaty of 1670 deprived the West Indian possessions of Spain of the advantages which Spain claims for them under the Treaties of 1667 and 1713, is totally at variance with the object and terms of that Treaty. It did not exclude the Colonies of Spain or England from trading to the mother country of the other coneracting party; it deprived England of the advantage of trading in her own vessels to the Spanish Colonies directly, and Spain of the advantage of trading directly to the British Colonies in her own vessels; but it did not prevent the inhabitants of the Colonies from trading directly to the mother country on either side. That is the answer to the first objection put forward by the Government; and I now come to another example of the dexterous substitution of one word for another in the course of the argument. By the Treaty of 1814, an engagement was entered into that bound the King of Spain to prevent his subjects from carrying on the Slave Trade, except for the purpose of supplying slaves to be employed in his own Colonies; and by the same Treaty the King of Great Britain was bound to take the most effectual measures to prevent his subjects from supplying arms, ammunition, or warlike stores to the revolted subjects of Spain in America; and in reference to that Treaty the note of our Government says, that— The engagement in the Treaty of 1814 was concluded in the expectation that the troubles and disturbances which then prevailed in the Spanish-American provinces would cease, and that the subjects of those provinces would return to their allegiance to the lawful Sovereign; and the note says that His Britannic Majesty engaged, under that expectation, to take —"the most effectual measures for preventing his subjects from furnishing arms, ammunition, or any other warlike article, to the revolted States in America. Now, it is right, when words are quoted, that they should be quoted correctly; and therefore I must state that there is no such word as "expectation" mentioned, on the part of His Britannic Majesty, in 1814, with respect to the termination of the disturbances in Spanish America. The Treaty states that His Britannic Majesty was "anxious" that the subjects of the King of Spain should return to their allegiance; but there was no expression of expectation that such a result would take place. It is a very different thing to say that His Britannic Majesty was "anxious" that the subjects of the King of Spain in South America should return to their allegiance, and to say that he "expected" that result. The distinction is very important; for the word "expectation" would lead to the idea that Spain had taken us in by holding out to us at that time the expectation that she could keep all her Colonial possessions, whereas, in fact, she had been able only to keep Cuba. I deny, then, that the Treaty of 1670 is a bar to the claim of Spain; and I now come to the argument which the Government applies to the Treaties of 1667 and 1713, namely, that they give the advantage claimed by Spain for the produce of her West Indian possessions, to "persons" only, and do not confer them on Spain as regards her "productions." This argument has been the subject of much animadversion; and every man with whom I have talked upon the subject, has expressed his astonishment that an argument so like the shift of a pettifogging village attorney should have been introduced into an official document of the British Government. But the first argument founded on the Treaty of 1670 was so weak that it was indefensible; and, therefore, the Government was obliged to seek another argument on which they might rest their case; and as their first argument was rotten and unsound, this pettifogging quibble, about "persons," and "productions," was really essential to their case; and from the offhand way in which it is played off, people not accustomed to consider the meaning of the language of Treaties, might think there was something in it. Why, certainly, the word "productions" is not to be found in the Treaties of 1667 and 1713; but will any man of candour and plain sense read the Articles of those Treaties, and say their meaning is not perfectly clear and palpable? The Treaties give to each of the two countries the advantages which are to be given to the most favoured nation in matters of trade and commerce, in regard to duties, wares, commodities, and all other things; and I ask any man to read those words, and say, if in plain and honest dealing between nation and nation, between man and man, there exists the least ground for the assertion, that not productions, but persons only, are meant to be included in the advantages agreed to be given by each nation to the other. What is the construction which the Government put upon these words? They say that Spain has Treaties with this country by which we agreed that she should not pay higher duties on her imports into this country than those which shall be paid by the most favoured nation, but that those Treaties do not state what imports we were to permit Spain so to send. That argument reminds me of what happened to a friend of mine at an election. He canvassed an elector, and the man promised him his vote, but when the day of election came, the elector voted against him. He was astonished at this conduct, and he said to the man—"You voted against me." "Yes, I did," said the elector. "But you promised that you would vote for me." "Yes," answered the elector, "I did; but I did not say when." That is the argument which the Government use towards Spain. They admit that, according to Treaties, Spain has a right to claim that her imports into this country should be placed in regard to duty on the same footing as the imports of the most favoured nation; but, say they, the Treaties do not specify what those imports are to consist of, and therefore the right is to be of no use to Spain. They say that the Treaties do not specify the productions of Spain. Do they, then, mean to say that it applies to the produce of other countries to be imported by Spain into this country? Their language, then, to Spain is, "Your Treaties entitle you to pay upon your imports those duties only which are paid by the most favoured nation on their imports; but your Treaties do not say what your imports are to be. We are at liberty to decide that, and we therefore tell you that you may import the sugars of Venezuela and of the United States on the same terms on which those nations import their own sugar; but there is nothing in your bond which enables you to import your own sugar on those terms." Such an argument is a disgrace to us, and a mockery of the meaning of those Treaties. When Spain says she is entitled to the same favours as other nations, the answer is, that we did not give these advantages to the United States as a favour, but as a right. That answer cannot be sufficient, for we promised the same rights as the most favoured nation in all things whatever regarding duties, wares, merchandises; and yet, in the face of all this, in defiance of words which are as plain as language can be, you turn round and say that the terms apply to persons, and not to productions. I think I have shown that the answer which was given by the Government to this demand on the part of the Government of Spain, is at variance with the plain and simple meaning which any man of common sense would attach to the terms of the Treaty; and if I am told that this matter has been referred to the Crown lawyers, I say that their opinion upon such a question is not of greater value than the opinion of any other man. It is not a question of law, but a question of honesty. It does not turn on the equivocal construction of a point of law, or on the value of a precedent—it turns on the ordinary meaning of the plain words in which the Treaties are framed. We are, however, to understand from the answer of the Government to Spain, that the Treaties between Spain and England, in virtue of which Spain claims those rights, apply to persons and not to productions; and that it would be consistent with those Treaties to impose heavier duties on sugar which was a Spanish production, than on sugar which was the produce of other countries. It is contended that, under the Treaties with Spain, we are entitled to impose heavier duties on produce imported from the possessions of Spain, than upon the like articles the produce of other countries. Does the Government and does this House see the full bearing of that interpretation? The Spanish Government, in a note to this Government, demands at our hands the proper fulfilment of our engagement, that neither country will tax the imports of the other any higher than the imports of the most favoured nation. We reject that claim. We say that each party is at liberty, under the Treaties of 1667 and 1713, to impose what duties it pleases on the imports of the other. If that doctrine had been laid down by Spain, and we had been unable to gainsay it according to the fair construction of Treaties, the Spanish Government might have inflicted a great injury on our commerce; but, as it was the result of a Treaty, we should have been bound to submit to it. But that this Government, which affects to be so favourable to commerce, should, of its own accord, put forward such a doctrine, is strange indeed. That it should come from those who were always attacking me in my office for not being sufficiently attentive to and watchful of the interests of British commerce—that they should deliberately force upon Spain a construction so pregnant with evil to British commerce on these Treaties, is indeed a matter of astonishment. You have by this doctrine untied the hands of Spain. You have torn to pieces the Treaties of 1667, and of 1713. Is there no danger in that? Why, Sir, these very Papers, which have been delivered to us only at three o'clock in the afternoon of this day, and which one has scarcely had time to read through, shows that there is a question now pending between this country and Spain, arising from an attempt on the part of Spain to levy heavier duties on the commerce of Great Britain than on that of other nations; that she has attempted to levy a heavier duty on the linens of Great Britain than on the linens of Belgium, and on our ships than on the ships of France. I lay my life, that if the Government interpretation of these Treaties stands good, we shall have the influence of other countries exerted in Spain to put our trade under ban as far as they can exert it; and we shall lose our trade with Spain, as we are now losing it with Brazil, in consequence of the absurd tariff and mischievous policy of our Government. There has always been much difficulty in our commercial relations with Spain. There has been a constant struggle going on there between English commerce and the commerce of France and of other countries. But we have always stood upon our right to equality, and that was our security. Already do we labour under disadvantages with regard to Spain, incident to our geographical position; for, from the numerous prohibitions which enter into the commercial policy of Spain, smuggling is carried on to a large extent, and the nations nearest to Spain are the best able to smuggle across her frontier. In addition to this, we shall now have prohibitions placed upon our goods, whilst lower duties will be put upon the goods of other countries. Whatever may be the value of the trade of Spain—and I hold it to be extremely valuable, and susceptible of a great increase under a good understanding between the two countries—whatever may be the value of that trade, it may be truly affirmed that, as far as our interpretation of diplomatic engagement goes, we have materially crippled, if not destroyed it. My objection to the course which the Government has thought fit to pursue, rests upon these considerations. We have broken faith with Spain, and broken faith, too, without even that poor but too common excuse, which may sometimes be pleaded with effect in popular assemblies, namely, that it was the interest of the country to do so. We have broken faith for the mere pleasure of so doing. We have, besides, set an example which will assuredly be productive of evil to us, even beyond our relations with Spain. Hitherto, England has preached to all other countries freedom of commerce and equality of privilege. "All we want," we have said, "is a fair stage and no favour. Put us on only a footing of equality. We ask for no peculiar privileges; all we require is, that you will not distinguish between us and others to our disadvantage; and that you will put us on the footing of the most favoured nation." Here we are now actually rejecting the footing of the most favoured nation; and with what face can we now go to any other country which puts us on a footing of inferiority, and propose to them that they should, with reference to us, pursue a course the very reverse of that which we ourselves have followed? The right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) stated, I think, a short time after he came into office, that the great motive which animated himself and his Colleagues in going through the labours they had to perform, was the hope of posthumous fame. Posthumous fame they will assuredly have; but it will not be the fame of the early Cæsars, who carried to the confines of the habitable portion of the globe the arms, and arts, and civilization of the Roman empire—but the less enviable fame of their degenerate successors, under whose feeble and impotent sway the god Terminus was driven back, step by step, till he took refuge under the walls of the imperial city. They might have secured to themselves the honourable fame of having extended the comforts and increased the prosperity of the people whom they have been appointed to govern. But what have they been doing during the four years they have been in office? Why, they have been busily employed in sacrificing more great national interests than, I think, it has ever yet fallen to the lot of any Government to abandon during an equal period of the administration of the affairs of this country. They began by sacrificing the territorial rights of the country in North America. They surrendered, in that quarter of the world, territories, our right to which had been successfully maintained in argument by all former Governments, and which had, I venture to say, been practically proved by their immediate predecessors, by a survey of the country itself. By this sacrifice they commenced their career of inglorious and mischievous concession; and they made it upon impressions utterly unfounded, and impelled by fears utterly unworthy of a British Government. They have sacrificed the commercial interests of the country in the Brazilian trade, in the Spanish trade, and, I fear, also in other quarters about to follow, and all for the purpose of maintaining a favourite crotchet, based upon hypocritical pretences. They have sacrificed, too, that mutual Right of Search with France, for the suppression of the Slave Trade, which former Governments had laboured in vain to accomplish; and which had at last been obtained by their immediate predecessors as the best reward and acknowledgment which England asked for services of some value, which she had been able to render to France. They have sacrificed that natural right merely to give to a Ministry in France a temporary prop, which is no longer wanted; and it was a right which they might so well have maintained, for it was not liable to the invidious imputation, that it was a pretence for securing any advantage, military or commercial, to this country. There was no interest but the interest of humanity, which led us to attach the slightest value to that right. That right is now surrendered; and the interests of humanity, the dictates of justice, the laws of God, and the duties of man, have been forgotten, because it was convenient to the British Government, and to the French Ministry. But the Government has reserved for the last a sacrifice of interests purely English; and on the present occasion they have sacrificed the good name, the faith, and character of this country—that good name, that faith, and that character which had hitherto outlived all the storms through which England has had to pass, and all the difficulties which she has had to encounter; for whether her arms were defeated or triumphant—whether her diplomatists, at the termination of hostilities, were, as some have alleged, in the habit of losing by the pen what had previously been gained by the sword—or whether they were successful in maintaining the advantages which had been acquired in war, the good faith and high honour of England have never before been justly called in question. I remember that Mr. Wilberforce, in discussing our relations with Foreign Powers, stated that the reason why, in his opinion, we did not come successfully out of our negotiations with them was this, that we were too honest to deal with the Governments of the Continent. If Mr. Wilberforce had lived until this day, he would, in the first place, have retracted the imputation which that saying cast upon the Governments of Europe; but if he had read this note, he would most assuredly have looked for some other reason than that assigned by him to account for any disadvantage under which we might labour in our diplomatic intercourse wish foreign Governments. In this instance, the Government have given a bad reason for a bad course. They have broken those Treaties, and the relations consequent thereupon, which it was the country's interest and their own duty to have maintained. They have set an example which, if followed up by other countries, will be productive of incalculable injury to England. They have given up the securities which, for nearly two centuries, the trade and commerce of this country enjoyed in its relations with Spain; and they have done this for no purpose on earth except to afford to the Government a hollow pretence for maintaining a distinction founded on no intelligible ground, not even successful for the purpose for which it was established. They would have done far better if they had abandoned this distinction, even though they by so doing might have exposed themselves to temporary difficulties; because, by giving it up, they would have maintained the good faith of the country, and have upheld its commercial interests; and whatever might have been the sneers to which, for a moment, they might have been exposed, the satisfaction of their own consciences, and the approbation of the country, would have been their sufficient reward. Thinking, then, that the answer given to the demand of the Spanish Minister, and that the decision come to by the Government, are not founded on the true interpretation of the Treaties which bear upon the question, and being of opinion that the course which the Government have taken, is one which is highly detrimental to the commercial interests of this country, I call upon the House to concur with me in addressing the Crown to take, in this matter, an opposite and a different course. The noble Lord concluded by submitting the following Motion:— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, stating that this House have taken into their consideration the Papers which, by Her Majesty's gracious Command, have lately been laid before them, containing Copies of a Correspondence which has recently taken place between the Spanish Minister at Her Majesty's Court and Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, on the subject of a claim made by the Spanish Government, in virtue of the Treaties subsisting between the Crowns of Great Britain and of Spain; and praying Her Majesty to direct that the subjects of the Queen of Spain should be permitted to import into the United Kingdom all the productions of the Territories or Possessions of the Spanish Crown, paying thereupon no higher Duties of Customs than are paid by the subjects or citizens of the most favoured Nations, on the importation of like articles being the production of the Territories or Possessions of such Nations.

Mr. Gladstone

hoped the House would not consider him guilty of officious presumption in rising at that period of the debate to state those arguments which appeared to him conclusive against the Motion of the noble Lord (Palmerston); for although the House would properly look to the Government for a defence against the serious charges which the noble Lord had preferred against them, and although he had not now the honour of being a Member of the Government, yet he was conscious of his share of the responsibility which attached to the measure of the Government with respect to the Sugar Duties; and he freely and at once admitted that the responsibility of having joined in their recommendation involved him in a share of the responsibility which now attached to the refusal on the part of the Government of the demand of Spain. Conscious as he was of that responsibility, he had no disposition whatever to shrink from it. He assented freely to the doctrine of the noble Lord, when he declared that the engagements of this country should be construed in an honourable spirit, and that advantage should not be taken of mere verbal accidents to escape the plain and obvious effect of Treaties. He would not now follow the noble Lord in much that he had addressed to the House. While he professed he was surprised at the paucity of the facts adduced by the noble Lord, compared with the immense field which he had to traverse, he found that although the noble Lord had not had time to examine many matters which threw great light upon this subject, the noble Lord had found time to collect and discuss matter on which he founded two attacks upon the Government; one an historical record of all that had taken place in respect of these matters since the present Government came into office, and the other a dissertation upon the subject of the Right of Search, upon the Ashburton Treaty, and upon a variety of other matters totally unconnected with the merits of this question, except in the mind of the noble Lord, who, urged by his tenacious animosity against the Government, against the sense of even those around him, could not help advancing again and again these often refuted charges. He thought the noble Lord would have approached the present subject under circumstances of greater advantage had the noble Lord for once been content (though it would have been a severe sacrifice for the noble Lord to make) to abstain from these party discussions, and confine himself to the great question before the House. The noble Lord said that Her Majesty's Government had broken faith with the Crown of Spain, and broken faith without even the wretched apology which a breach of faith might receive from the circumstance that it seemed to secure some great commercial advantage; that they had broken faith, in fact, in opposition to the palpable and obvious interests of their own country. These measures had never been defended on the ground of convenience to the commercial interests of the country; but the noble Lord, in insisting on the injurious or inconvenient effects of them upon commerce, left it to be collected that they were advocated on the ground of their tending to promote commerce, and not upon the ground of different and higher obligations. The noble Lord might have assumed that the very obviousness of some of the inconveniences he complained of, must have led to a more searching examination of them than he chose to give Ministers credit for, had they been founded on commercial principles. But the House had to examine a subject which was affected by no less than twelve separate commercial Treaties—Treaties which were illustrative of our commercial history, practice, and law for a period extending over 200 years. After stating this, he should endeavour, without one word, if he could avoid it, of party bitterness or retort on the noble Lord, to toil patiently through all the circumstances with which he was acquainted, and which appeared to throw any light upon the subject. Before laying down his propositions, however, he ought to state that he himself was alone responsible for them—that he manifestly could not be authorized to state the case of the Government—that he presented his arguments, simply as arguments drawn according to his own personal view and judgment, from materials and documents which were before the House, or accessible to it. In that light he hoped they would be received and judged of by the House, and by them as arguments, he for one, at least, was ready to abide. He should undertake to prove to the House three propositions: propositions quite independent of one another. He believed that he should prove each and all of them incontestably: but even if his argument failed in any one, it would in no degree weaken either of the other two conclusions. He would prove, firstly, that the Treaties on which the claim of Spain was founded, were not in absolute and unqualified operation. Secondly, that if they were, still they did not bind either country to admit the produce of the other upon the terms of the most favoured nation. Thirdly, that whether they did or did not contain this stipulation generally, it did not extend to the Colonial possessions to which the present discussion related. The first of his propositions, then, was this: he was ready to contend that it certainly was unwarrantable, perhaps extravagant, to state that the Treaties on which the noble Lord had founded the case of Spain, were, at this moment, fully and unconditionally in operation. He would not undertake to say—very far from it—that they were altogether annulled; he would not undertake to state to what precise degree they still had force or a binding effect; but he would show certain circumstances which made it plain that whatever these Treaties might be, they were distinguished in very important respects, as regarded the universality and stringency of their application, from the generality of the Treaties which stood upon the list of our national engagements. The noble Lord had stated the case of those Treaties very clearly. He had gone to the authentic source, and read from he Treaties themselves the most important of the Articles upon which the claim of Spain was founded. He would not so far trouble the House as to particularize each and every one of the Treaties by which the earlier Treaties were confirmed; but he believed that, for one cause or another, he should be obliged to refer to most of them in the course of his argument; for the present it was enough for him to say, that, up to 1763, they stood as a complete code, each Treaty confirming, generally, the provisions of former ones, and likewise adding, more or less, of new matter to them. They were confirmed afresh in 1763 in the most absolute form—namely, by the recital in extenso of the Treaty of 1687, which was the most important of them all. Then he came to 1783; and the Treaty of that year contained a new confirmation, which, although it was much less formal and precise than the confirmation of 1763—for it did not recite the instrument, nor refer to all the details and particulars, yet it did state that the former Treaties were to be taken as the basis of that Treaty, and that they were to be "religiously (he believed that was the expression) observed." But now he came to the commencement of the circumstances that began to establish the difference for which he contended. In the Treaty of 1783, there was an engagement between the two parties that they should forthwith name commissaries of note to treat concerning their interests; and the Ninth Article of the Treaty of Versailles, in which this engagement was embodied, was founded upon the basis of reciprocity and mutual convenience. If that were taken alone, it had but little effect upon the obligatory character of the previous Treaties, because they were confirmed; but accompanying this Treaty were two simultaneous declarations of the negotiators of the two parties. Now to these two declarations the noble Lord made no allusion whatever. He did not pretend to be learned in the law of nations; but he thought that the terms and tenor of the declarations, the circumstance that they proceeded not from one but both parties, and that they were simultaneous with the conclusion of the Treaty itself, would show to the House that they were documents of considerable importance, and had a bearing upon the force to be assigned to the main instruments themselves. For instance, with regard to the British declaration, that drew a clear distinction between the different classes of provisions contained in all the former Treaties. It divided them into the classes, first, of personal privileges, secondly, of commercial regulations, and declared expressly, that, whilst the personal privileges ought to be unalterable, the commercial regulations ought to be subject to alteration from time to time, and that it was only with regard to commercial regulations that the then Sovereign of Great Britain would consent to an alteration of the Treaties. He now turned to the Spanish declaration, and he found that that was evidently meant to cover a state of things in which those old Treaties were habitually set aside—and set aside according to both their spirit and their letter. He would not say universally, but "set aside" both in spirit and letter, with regard to the great commercial regulations which the noble Lord had brought under the consideration of the House to-night, if their letter or their spirit in any degree possessed the character which the noble Lord had assigned to them, on which he should have more to say presently, or, indeed, according to any reasonable construction of them. The Spanish declaration stated— The intention of His Catholic Majesty is not in any manner to cancel all the stipulations contained in the above-mentioned Treaties. He declares, on the contrary, from henceforth, that he is disposed to maintain all the privileges, facilities, and advantages expressed in the old Treaties, as far as they shall be reciprocal, or compensated by equivalent advantages. The Spanish negotiator pointed to reciprocal advantages, as the basis of the commercial part of the Treaties. The noble Lord had justly stated, that what was called the most favoured nation clause, was something essentially distinct from the reciprocity Treaties. The old Treaties with Spain were not treaties of reciprocity. There was no reference whatever in them to the question of equality of imposts, as between the subjects of the one country, and those of the other. What was stipulated for was, that the subjects of each country should be treated by the other in a manner as favourable as the subjects of any other Power. Spain, however, proposed in 1783 to negotiate no longer upon the old footing of the most favoured nation, but upon the footing of reciprocity, by which she evidently meant to establish in form an existing and recognised practice. Spain had referred to previous negotiation; and he was perfectly right in saying, that she had at the same moment also referred to the existing and established practice between the two countries. The established practice, was not the practice of one or two years, nor that which might be attempted to be imposed by a powerful upon a weak State; nor was it one of those questionable examples which, he would add with the noble Lord, it was unjust and improper to draw into precedents. It was a practice on her side of at least twenty-two years' duration, agreed upon between equal and independent Powers. In 1761 the Family Compact was formed; and in that year, Spain, France, and Naples agreed to place one another mutually upon the same footing, not of the most favoured nation out of that circle, but on a footing of absolute equality, each with the other two. The practice of Spain for twenty-two years previously, had been upon this basis of reciprocity with France and Naples, while it was perfectly plain that, according to the most favoured nation clause, she was bound to have admitted us also to that equality. The intentions of Spain in 1783 were, that at length she should legalize what had been her practice for twenty-two years, by embodying it in the provisions of the Treaty. He had now shown what was the practice of Spain; and he would proceed to show the House something like an acknowledgment of it on the part of England. In 1786, this country framed an admirable Commercial Treaty with France; and in that Treaty there was the most favoured nation clause. But the most favoured nation clause contained an exception. On the side of England, France permitted England to introduce an exception in favour of the Methuen Treaty; and, on the side of France, England permitted France to introduce an exception in favour of the Family Compact with Spain. He, therefore, insisted that Mr. Pitt, when he permitted France to fulfil, in regard to Spain, the conditions of the Family Compact, recognised, by the most formal, public, and solemn act, the validity of that compact; and that compact which, as he had shown the House, had established an exclusive equality in Spain between French, and Neapolitan, and Spanish subjects; and that, too, in the face of Treaties with this country which placed us, according to the apparent meaning, on the footing of the most favoured nation. When they came down to 1809, they found that the first thing done was to make an engagement between the two Powers to negotiate a new Treaty; and it was clear that those who signed this instrument could not well have been of opinion that the whole of the provisions of the old Treaties were in force at that time. True, the war put an end to these arrangements; but, in 1814, he found several provisions introduced that were very material to be considered. The engagement of 1809, to proceed forthwith to negotiate, was then renewed. And what was the provision then made? He would not now refer to the provision then agreed upon as to the Colonies; but would point out that the persuasion of those who then negotiated was, that they had not, in the old Treaties, a security for the treatment of their respective countries, upon the footing of the most favoured nations, or they would have been satisfied with the existing engagements; and in the interim—and this was most important, because it was, in point of fact, the provision under which our present relations with Spain were governed—it was agreed by an additional Article, signed at Madrid on the 28th of August, 1824, that, pending the negotiation of the new Treaty, Great Britain should be admitted to trade with Spain on the same conditions which existed previous to the year 1796. Great Britain was to be allowed to trade with Spain according to the terms under which she traded with Spain antecedent to 1796. He had already shown them, that on the part of Spain, the terms on which trade was carried on antecedent to that period admitted of the Family Compact, allowed Spain to grant to France and to Naples exclusive privileges, and admitted also of Mr. Pitt's recognising the right of Spain to grant the exemptions which she had exclusively granted to France and Naples. That was the state of things prior to 1796, and that was the state of things which was re-established in 1814, and under which our relations with Spain still existed. He would quote the declaration of the Spanish Minister on this subject, which he found in Sir Henry Wellesley's despatch of April 21, 1817. The Spanish Minister asserted to Sir H. Wellesley that— Although the Treaty of 1814 re-enacted the Treaties which existed prior to 1796, it did not expressly specify which Treaties, nor what Articles of them, which were necessary, there being great contradiction in the stipulations of those Treaties, some of them had provided for a reciprocity which did not exist; and that the Treaty of 1814 could therefore be understood only as renewing good understanding, harmony, and mercantile relations in general between the two countries. The Spanish Minister also said that the Articles of the Treaty of 1783, which stipulated that commercial arrangements should be entered into between the two Powers on the basis of reciprocity and mutual convenience, was as much in force then as any Article of the new Treaty; thus intending to set off that Article as relaxing and qualifying the obligation of the old Treaties. What he had quoted was a reply to the question whether these ancient Treaties retained their obligatory power, even if affected by any subsequent transaction. He would now quote some other works, which he granted were susceptible of a double interpretation, but either way was sufficient for his purpose. The first was a document of 1786, and was a Report of the Board of Trade in answer to a reference made to it by Mr. Pitt, with the draft of the Treaty of Commerce with France, requesting its opinion. The Board of Trade appeared to have had its attention called to the question, whether, if low and favourable duties were established with France, as Mr. Pitt proposed, we were likely in consequence to be subjected to differential duties in Spain. The Report of the Board of Trade showed that in the opinion of that Department, there was no doubt as to the right of Spain to impose those differential duties on British merchants. That Report, in point of fact, argued principally, if not entirely, the question whether or not it were probable that we should be subjected to differential duties in Spain, in consequence of the low duties imposed by us in regard to France, and by way of retaliation on the part of Spain; but it never insinuated the slightest doubt of the right of Spain to establish such differential duties. He admitted there were two ways of explaining this; it might be said that the Board of Trade had so reported, either because they considered the old Treaties abrogated, or because the old Treaties did not meet the case. If they were abrogated at that time, there was an end of any claim founded on them; and if the old Treaties did not meet the case, the argument on that ground was equally fatal to the noble Lord's Motion; for if they did not meet the case contended for by the noble Lord at the time they were entered into, they could not since that time have acquired any new or more extended construction. He would now proceed to draw the noble Lord's attention to several facts in connexion with those Treaties, which the noble Lord would find capable of explanation, either by supposing that the Treaties themselves were null, or by the pettifogging attorney's argument he spoke of; but which could not be explained away upon any sound reasoning nor any intelligible supposition. In the debates upon the French Treaty, Mr. Fox, in arguing against it, contended that Spain would claim the benefit of the relaxations therein stipulated in favour of France; and Mr. Sheridan, who followed him in the debate, used the same argument, that Spain had the right to demand to be placed upon the same footing; but Mr. Pitt did not agree to that argument, and refused to admit the right advanced as regarded Spain. Mr. Pitt said (though he gave no opinion as to the constructions of those Treaties) that the rights accruing to Spain out of the Treaties between her and Great Britain were under discussion. He thought, therefore, that he was justified in saying that if those rights were then under discussion, they were not so clearly defined by the Treaties in the opinion of either party as the noble Lord opposite seemed to suppose. He had reminded the House of the Family Compact between Spain, France, and Naples; and he would now tell them of something equivalent on the part of England. Now, Mr. Pitt's Treaty with France established a low tariff of duties in favour of France, but Spain never had the benefit of that low tariff. The Treaty establishing that low tariff was in force from the period of agreeing to it till the commencement of the war; yet Spain never until now claimed to be placed on the same footing, on the ground that the Treaties with Great Britain gave her the right to be placed on the footing of the most favoured nations. He thought, therefore, that in this instance the low pettifogging attorney's argument adverted to by the noble Lord might, perhaps, have found favour with both Powers, and that even Mr. Pitt might fall within the scope of the noble Lord's condemnation. The Treaties with Spain stipulated for certain advantages to the subjects of Spain, to Spanish merchants; but Mr. Pitt's Treaty with France referred to the merchandise of the country, however brought, and not to the merchandise of any particular merchants. Though he could understand, therefore, how Mr. Pitt became liable to the animadversions of the noble Lord, for according to France a lower rate of duties than to Spain, he could not see how Spain had acquired the right now to call upon this country to give her produce the benefit of the present low rate of duties. Perhaps the noble Lord who said that the faith of this country had been kept untainted until it was sacrificed by the present Government, would explain that Treaty with France, and would show that Spain had had the benefit of the low rate of duties—that she had considered herself entitled to them—or that she had complained of being excluded from them. He referred to these matters to show not that the two contracting Powers had all along violated the Treaties, but that they had understood the object and force of the Treaties, and understood them in a sense different from that for which the noble Lord now contended. He now came to what was called the Colonial Clause of the Treaty of 1814. How did the noble Lord, upon the principle of which he was now the advocate, account for the introduction of that clause? In that Treaty there was this somewhat one-sided stipulation:— In the event of the commerce of the Spanish American possessions being open to foreign nations, His Catholic Majesty promises that Great Britain shall be admitted to trade with those possessions as the most favoured nations. But according to the noble Lord's argument, we had all these advantages before the ancient Treaties; and any who differed from him in that respect were set down by the noble Lord as men who used the arguments of low pettifogging village attorneys. But if all these advantages were secured to us by the ancient Treaties, which he admitted remained, as to their extent, the same after the Treaty of 1814 as they were before 1796; how did the noble Lord account for the introduction of this provision? According to the noble Lord's argument it must be worse than surplusage, for it gave us nothing that we had not already, and by giving it us in a particular quarter, led to the inference that we did not possess it universally. He contended that this clause, which opened to Great Britain the trade of the Spanish American Colonies, when other nations should be permitted to carry on trade with those Colonies, proved that we were not entitled, before that Article was written, to claim from Spain that advantage which that Treaty secured to us. But this Article did not purport to be intended to clear up doubts that might have arisen, or to be a declaratory Article; but it stipulated de novo that certain privileges should be conceded to Great Britain which, according to the noble Lord opposite, she already possessed; but which it appeared to him much more rational to suppose she was not thought by her own statesmen to possess. But the noble Lord was in office in the year 1822, and unless he recanted some of his present opinions he would have to answer for a serious catalogue of his own misdeeds. In 1819, the reciprocity principle was introduced into our Treaties; and for seventeen or eighteen years after that period we placed other countries, with which we had Treaties of reciprocity, in the same position as our own with regard to ships and goods in our ports. Spain, however, did not obtain the benefit of these reciprocity Treaties; she continued to pay differential duties; and while ships of other nations were admitted, and had been for nearly thirty years admitted, into English ports on payment of the lowest dues, the highest dues had been exacted from Spanish vessels. It was an easy thing for the noble Lord to declaim against the policy of Her Majesty's Government; but he must remind the noble Lord that, during nearly the whole period to which he referred, the noble Lord had been in office, and for a considerable period was Secretary of State for the Foreign Department. He called upon the noble Lord to dispose of this argument, and to explain how it was, if Spain was, as he now said, entitled unconditionally to be placed on the footing of the most favoured nations, the ships of Spain had, during the space of twenty-five or thirty years, paid dues in British ports from which one nation after another had been exempt, and from which almost every other nation now was exempt. But the noble Lord would say, perhaps, this was the result of reciprocity Treaties concluded with other nations. [Viscount Palmerston: Hear!] But was that the only answer? He should be happy to hear that it was. The noble Lord knew well that these old Treaties with Spain had nothing to do with reciprocity. In our reciprocating Treaties, the reciprocity stipulation was distinctly set forth. In the Treaty with America, America said, your subjects the subjects of Great Britain, shall pay in our ports only the same dues as are paid by the subjects of the most favoured nations, provided our subjects pay the same dues in your ports as are paid by the subjects of the most favoured nations. But these old Spanish Treaties made no exception with regard to favours granted by either Power to third countries on the score of reciprocity—they merely contracted, that let Great Britain contract what it might with the subjects of another Power, the subjects of Spain should be entitled to the same privileges as were conceded to the subjects of that third Power. If, therefore, there had been a stipulation for the reciprocal admission of the general produce of the two countries, and for the terms of the most favoured nation, in the sense which the noble Lord maintained, we could not have declined extending the advantages of the reciprocity Treaties to Spain upon the ground that the privileges which they granted were given in exchange for equivalents. Under the clause of the most favoured nation, equivalents have nothing to do with the matter. What did we say to America last year, in regard to the Treaty between the United States and the States of the Zollverein—or rather, what were we prepared to say if the call had arisen? The States of the Zollverein were prepared to make a Treaty with the United States, providing for certain remissions of duty on the productions of the United States entering the ports of the Zollverein, in return for certain reductions in the duties charged on the products of the Zollverein in the ports of the United States; but everybody said here, "let America grant these reductions to the Zollverein, and we shall have the benefit of them." Was there any doubt of that? Did the noble Lord doubt it—or did anybody doubt it? That was, we had a contract with America which stipulated that the produce of Great Britain should be admitted into the ports of the United States on the same terms upon which the produce of the most favoured nations was admitted; and also that Great Britain should extend the same advantages to the produce of America. No man, therefore, could doubt that we had a right to demand from America that she should admit our produce on the same terms as she received the produce of the Zollverein, though the Zollverein gave an equivalent, and we gave no equivalent. This was what was called an unconditional reciprocity; but nothing of the kind was to be found in our Treaties with Spain. Then, if the noble Lord's construction of those Treaties was the correct one—if, as he said, the good name of the country had been sacrificed by the present Government in regard to these Treaties, he must recollect that it was not the first time that that sacrifice had been made. That good name, if sacrificed at all, had been equally sacrificed by former Governments, of which the noble Lord was himself a member, inasmuch as, from the year 1819 onwards until now, Spain paid a higher rate of duties upon vessels, and in some instances upon produce coming into this country, than the produce and vessels of other nations paid, and never before demanded any relaxation of those higher duties, though it was known that those other nations had their products admitted at the lower rate of duty under reciprocity Treaties. It appeared to him, also, that the noble Lord had himself, when in office, acted in direct contradiction to the doctrine he now laid down. Let the House not forget the instructions sent out to Spain by the noble Lord himself when he held the seals of the Foreign Department. The noble Lord addressed a despatch to Lord Clarendon, then the British Ambassador at the Court of Madrid, authorizing and desiring him to negotiate a Treaty, the object of which would be to place this country in its intercourse with Spain upon the footing of the most favoured nation. He was entitled to say then, that in 1835, the noble Lord himself was not of opinion that the produce of Spain or her Colonies was entitled to come into this country upon the footing of that of the most favoured nation, or that we had a right to demand the introduction of our produce into Spain on those terms; for he in that year urged upon Spain the justice and expediency of agreeing to a new Treaty with us as the most favoured nation; while he and his Government, in the mean time, very properly withheld the same advantages from Spain, and while the ships of Spain were paying the higher rate of duties in our ports. He said, then, that it was never before supposed that Spain had the right which was now contended for. And although last year a new claim was started in regard to the ships of Denmark, up to that time, and long after, no question had arisen in reference to the ships of Spain. The noble Lord told them that the successive Governments to which he belonged had struggled hard; had maintained a constant struggle with Spain for the commercial rights of England. The noble Lord assured the House that the rights of Great Britain had been during his Administration at all times maintained, with great ingenuity of argument: still the country made no advance, we never got further. Possibly once a year or so a letter was written, or a remonstrance made, or a formal visit paid; but every one knew that no real progress was effected, and the merchants of this country had still to suffer their grievance, while the noble Lord was making from year to year most ingenious arguments in their favour. In 1841, the noble Lord instructed Mr. Aston to claim of Spain, on behalf of our goods, that they should be received in her ports on the footing of the products of the most favoured nations. The noble Lord said, there had been a constant struggle between the two countries on this subject. He was aware that there had been a constant passing of diplomatic notes and negotiations; but there had never been any recognition on the part of Spain of this equality. They never had led to any practical benefits. The noble Lord had demanded, amongst other things, that the linen of Great Britain should be admitted into Spain on the footing of that of the most favoured nations. But was it done? No such thing. It was done afterwards to all nations at once; but certainly it could not have been the object of the noble Lord to obtain that privilege for Belgium. [Viscount Palmerston: It was done by Treaty.] He begged pardon of the noble Lord. It was done by Treaty for Belgium, but it was not done by Treaty for us; but Spain then granted to us that advantage, at the same time that she gave it all other nations, and not till then. Mr. Bulwer, he was well aware, had demanded under the present Administration, that the ships of Great Britain should be admitted into Spanish ports, especially into the port of Barcelona, upon the same footing as French ships were admitted. But had that demand been conceded? No it had not been granted even up to this very hour. So that, in point of fact, during the whole time that the noble Lord was himself in power, England had continued to levy a differential duty on Spanish ships, while Spain pursued the same practice in reference to British ships; and when Great Britain demanded to be placed on the footing of the most favoured nations, those demands were refused, if not in word, yet in act, by Spain. He did not refer to this to show that both parties had failed to comply with their engagements to each other, but to show that those engagements were not what the noble Lord now stated them to be; and even if they bore the interpretation of the noble Lord, his accusations ought not to be made exclusively against the present Government. He had now done with that portion of the argument which went to show that the Treaties were not in full force. He conceived it had appeared clearly, both from the language and documents, as well as from the acts of the two Powers, that the ancient Treaties which continued in their full force to the year 1763, were not in full force after the war of the French Revolution, and were not in full force now, as the Treaty of 1814 only revived them to the full extent, and for the same purposes, as they existed previous to the Revolutionary War. He said, those old Treaties were not now in full force; but supposing that they were now in as full force as they were in 1763, when they received confirmation as to their objects and intentions; still, he contended, they did not stipulate for a minimum rate of duty on the produce of Spain imported into Great Britain, but merely placed the subjects of Spain, and all that belonged to those subjects, on the footing of the subjects of the most favoured nations; and in speaking of subjects, of course it would be understood that those who were specifically meant were merchants—those engaged in trade. He would proceed to demonstrate—first, by the plain ostensible meaning of the words of the Treaties themselves; secondly, by the evidence of facts; and, lastly, by the absurd consequence which would follow an opposite construction — that the construction which he put upon those Treaties was the correct one. First, as to the plain meaning of the words, he objected to the principle of admitting any departure from the letter of a Treaty, for the purpose of carrying out what any particular person might understand to be its spirit, unless under particular circumstances, and upon the strongest evidence. As a general principle, it was dangerous to invoke the spirit of a Treaty against its letter. He did not mean to say that such a course was never to be justified; but what he said was, it could only be justified by the strongest evidence. For what was the object of a Treaty? It was to put the stipulations contracted for between two or more Powers beyond any doubt, and not to leave it in the power of any one of the parties at a future period to put upon the Treaty a different meaning from that intended. The words of the Treaty spoke for themselves, and in estimating the intention of the contracting parties, it was to those words they were to look. The feeling in the mind of the noble Lord, as to those Treaties, had, no doubt, arisen from the fact, that he measured the circumstances of the time when those Treaties were entered into, two hundred years ago, by a reference to the totally altered circumstances of the course of trade in the present day, to which they had no legitimate reference, and with which they had no connexion. Now, as to the letter of the Treaty there was no doubt—it stipulated for nothing but in reference to that which belonged to the subjects of Spain—not in reference to the produce of Spain generally. It might be said by the noble Lord, that that was absurd or unfair, and that to interpret those stipulations literally, would be to put too narrow a construction upon them—that you must put a gloss upon them, to make them more in accordance with justice and common sense. But he was prepared to show, from the circumstances of the time, that the literal meaning was the true meaning, and, at the same time, the rational meaning, and that the noble Lord's construction was neither the true one nor the rational one. On this point he was sure the House would agree with him, that it was a most unsafe doctrine to affirm generally that Treaties must change according to the circumstances of the time. If circumstances changed, the discretion of the parties revived, and though they were, no doubt, bound to carry out the spirit of the earlier Treaties, they were not entitled to make any inference from the circumstances of those earlier times, as compared with the present, and apply them as of compulsory obligation against the obvious meaning of the instruments themselves. He doubted not he could show that the rational meaning of the Treaty was opposed to the doctrine of the noble Lord; and the first step he should take for that purpose would be to refer them to what was called the Great Statute, which was well known in commercial law, as they would find it in "Foster's Digest," edition of 1727. In that Statute, the 12th Charles II., cap. 4, it would be found that two descriptions of customs' duties were granted by the Commons to the Crown; and the Statute proceeded to point out (that which had obviously escaped the notice of the noble Lord) that the mode then was to tax the same articles in a variety of different ways: sometimes they were taxed as particular commodities raised in particular countries—sometimes as particular commodities imported from particular countries—sometimes as particular commodities brought into particular ports—and sometimes they were taxed, and most commonly so, according to the country of the ships in which, and the parties by whom, they were imported. Now he wished the noble Lord to look well to these facts; for they were most important, as bearing upon his argument. The Great Statute of Charles II., which remained in force for a long series of years, and formed the basis of our customs' laws until a recent period, granted tonnage duties upon French wines imported into the port of London by British subjects of 4l. 10s., and of 6l., if imported by aliens; upon the like wines at our out ports of 3l., if imported by British subjects, and of 4l. 10s. by aliens; upon Spanish wines imported into London by British subjects, 2l. 5s.; by aliens, 3l.; Spanish wines imported into any out port by British subjects, 2l. 5s.; by aliens 3l.; upon Rhenish wine, into whatever port, if imported by British subjects, 1l.; if by aliens, 1l. 5s. There was also another tax imposed by the same measure upon exports, called poundage, which differed in like manner according as the exports were made by aliens or British subjects, between whom the House could not fail to observe there was throughout a desire to establish a distinction. Now, be felt convinced, that the interpretation he put upon the Treaties with Spain, viz., that they were intended only to secure, the interests of the subjects of the two countries respectively, was the correct one, and that the noble Lord's interpretation, which extended it to the produce of the two countries generally, was not the correct one. It was stipulated by England, that the goods of Spanish subjects should be treated in all respects the same as goods belonging to the subjects of the most favoured nation; but if the noble Lord's construction were the correct one, foreigners, who were the subjects of neither country, might import Spanish produce into England upon the same terms as could be imported by the subjects of Spain. The spirit of commercial legislation of that age generally, was to keep a monopoly of the trade of each country in the hands of its own subjects; therefore it was not likely that the King of Spain would stipulate that Spanish produce should be received by Great Britain from foreigners of whatsoever country, upon the footing of the most favoured nation; but what he stipulated for, no doubt, was, that Spanish produce belonging to Spanish subjects should be received on the footing of the most favoured nation. The spirit as well as the letter of the Treaty was in favour of that construction which the noble Lord treated so contemptuously. The noble Lord might urge that if his construction of the Treaty were too wide, it were better to err on the liberal side, and rather to put a construction too wide than too narrow upon any Treaty; but he would meet this argument by proceeding to show that if the noble Lord's construction of the Treaty was too wide as to imports, it was too narrow as to exports. How, for example, could it answer the purpose of the Spanish exporter of woollen cloth, that there should be a relaxation of the duties on the import of Spanish goods? Such a Treaty as we had with Venezuela would not be sufficient to answer the conditions under which trade was formerly carried on. It would not have met the enactment of the law by which the alien was taxed; and if the stipulations were interpreted in the sense of the noble Lord, they would, so far, be useless for Spanish subjects residing in England. He contended, then, that the rational construction of the Treaty was as much in favour of his views, and against that of the noble Lord, as was the literal one. Again, he would show that the distinction he had attempted to draw between the subjects of a country and its produce was not a mere fanciful one, but was supported by history. It was well known, he believed, that the Treaty with Portugal — the Methuen Treaty, had never been made the subject of evasion, and had never failed to cover those cases in regard to Portugal which it was now alleged the Spanish Treaties did not cover in reference to Spain. It had been effective for all its purposes. That Treaty provided that the wine of Portugal should pay a less customs' duty than was charged upon the wine of France. If this Methuen Treaty had been framed in the same terms as the Spanish Treaty, he admitted that would be a strong point in the noble Lord's favour; but if he could show that in that Treaty a form of expression altogether different was adopted, that was a strong though a negative argument in favour of the interpretation for which he (Mr. Gladstone) contended. By the second Methuen Treaty we were bound to admit the wines of Portugal—not of the subjects of Portugal, be it observed, into Great Britain at a rate of duty one-third below that which was charged upon French wines; and the Treaty further stipulated, that at no time and under no circumstances, whether there were peace or war between the kingdoms of Great Britain and France, should a higher rate of duty be demanded upon such wines, (not from such subjects, remember,) either as customs' duties or otherwise, and whether imported in pipes, hogsheads, bottles, or in any other way. The House would observe, then, that when the object was to secure a minimum duty on the produce of a country, a form of expression was adopted differing from that which was to be found in the Spanish Treaties. Again, the Treaty entered into in 1787, by Mr. Pitt with France; that was a Treaty for the benefit of the subjects of Great Britain and France as to the duties charged in respect to their goods, on the produce of either country, and the form of expression varied accordingly. He was going to quote another authority, to which he begged to call the attention of the noble Lord, because he was going to quote the noble Lord himself. He would show as plainly as possible, that in the Treaties concluded by the noble Lord, he recognised the distinction which he had called on the House that night to repudiate. He would take the Treaty which the noble Lord had concluded with the Netherlands in 1837, and which was to be found in the 5th volume of Hertslet. In this Treaty it was provided that "in matters of commerce and navigation," (and he had observed the triumph of the noble Lord when he noticed the word "commerce" in Spanish Treaties; that term, the noble Lord said, was so large, it covered every thing,) there should be hereafter granted to the subjects of the respective Sovereigns the same privileges which were granted to the subjects of the most favoured nations. The following was the Article:— There shall be reciprocal liberty of commerce and navigation between and amongst the subjects of the two high contracting parties; and the subjects of the two Sovereigns respectively, shall not pay in the ports, harbours, roads, cities, towns, or places whatsoever in either kingdom, any other or higher duties, taxes, or imposts, under whatsoever names designated or included, than those which are there paid by the subjects of the most favoured nation; and the subjects of each of the high contracting parties shall enjoy the same rights, privileges, liberties, favours, immunities, and exemptions, in matters of commerce and navigation, that are granted, or may hereafter be granted, in either kingdom, to the subjects of the most favoured nation. If that Article had stood alone, no doubt some plausible and able ex-Minister, 200 years hence, might argue that all articles the produce of that country, ought to be admitted into Great Britain on equal terms with those of the most favoured nation, and would be supported by the noble Lord's argument of to-night. But was that the view of the noble Lord in 1837? No such thing. Another clause was inserted with regard to produce. The noble Lord, wishing to provide for the produce of the two countries, did it by a distinct stipulation properly framed for the purpose, which he would proceed to quote:— No duty of customs or other impost shall be charged upon any goods the produce of one country, upon importation, by sea or by land, from such country into the other, higher than the duty or impost charged upon goods of the same kind the produce of or imported from any other country; and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and His Majesty the King of the Netherlands, do hereby bind and engage themselves, not to grant any favour, privilege, or immunity, in matters of commerce and navigation, to the subjects of any other State, which shall not be also, and at the same time, extended to the subjects of the other high contracting party, gratuitously, if the concession in favour of the other State shall have been gratuitous; and on giving as nearly as possible the same compensation or equivalent, in case the concession shall have been conditional. The First Clause was intended only to protect the persons of those subjects against demands; but not to protect the produce irrespective of ownership. He (Mr. Gladstone) had shown, therefore, that after the noble Lord had provided in 1837, in the largest terms, for the privileges of subjects, so sensible was he then that this provision would not cover the produce of the country, that he inserted another clause, having that end in view. The "village attorney" distinction was also recognised in the Treaty of Turkey of 1838. The First Article of the Treaty differed from the Article of the Treaty of the Netherlands in this respect, that it gave the privileges of the most favoured nation, not only to subjects, but to ships:— All rights, privileges, and immunities which have been conferred on the subjects or ships of Great Britain by the existing Capitulations and Treaties, are confirmed now and for ever, except in as far as they may be specifically altered by the present Convention; and it is moreover expressly stipulated, that all rights, privileges, or immunities which the Sublime Porte now grants, or may hereafter grant, to the ships and subjects of any other Foreign Power, or which it may suffer the ships and subjects of any other Foreign Power to enjoy, shall be equally granted to, and exercised and enjoyed by, the subjects and ships of Great Britain. The very pointing out of "ships" made it clear what was the object of the contracting parties. The Articles also contained a stipulation that if hereafter better terms were granted to any other countries, Great Britain should have the benefit of them. But, notwithstanding that, although the Treaty was signed, he found a separate document added to the Treaty, under the name of "Additional Articles." There was an Article providing that the produce of Great Britain should be admitted at the lowest duty of the most favoured nation. Its being appended to the Treaty in a separate instrument, showed more distinctly that the necessity for it was felt, and that it could not be treated as surplusage. Now the lowest duty paid by other nations was 3 per cent.; and on referring to the fifth volume of Hertslet, it would be seen that the Article provided that— All articles being the growth, produce, or manufacture of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and its dependencies, and all merchandise, of whatsoever description, embarked in British vessels, and being the properly of British subjects, or being brought overland, or by sea, from other countries by the same, shall be admitted, as heretofore, into all parts of the Ottoman dominions, without exception, on the payment of 3 per cent. duty, calculated upon the value of such articles. They would observe that the Article stipulated not only for the produce of British subjects, but also for all produce owned by British subjects; therefore the object of the negotiators must have been to prevent its being supposed that the former Article was sufficient to carry all the stipulations in favour of "commerce." He had now illustrated the broad distinction of phraseology, which corresponded with the not less broad distinction of rights which the phraseology conveyed. He must now go to the evidence of facts; and again he entreated the attention of those who might be disposed, at first sight, to adopt the view of the noble Lord. He did not know how the noble Lord was to get over the facts he should adduce. He hoped they should have specific answers to them, and not generalities. The first of the Acts to which he would refer, was framed before 1667, and it gave a privilege to the wines of Madeira and of particular countries, which was not extended to Spain. That exceptional privilege was in force when the Treaty of 1667 was made, and they who put the construction of the noble Lord on that Treaty must show that that privilege was abrogated. In 1668, the very first year after the formation of the Treaty with Spain, they would find in Anderson's History of Commerce, that a differential duty was laid on Spanish wine, as compared with French wine. Anderson said, that— A duty of 4d. was imposed on every quart of French wine retailed, and of 6d. on every quart of Spanish or other wine. That might be intended to operate as a discouragement upon Spanish wine, and to tax it according to its strength. It might be said that it was a duty of excise; but in its bearing upon the Treaty, he wanted to know how they could reconcile it with their construction, if the stipulations extended to Spanish wines. That Treaty, made in 1667, was, according to the noble Lord, broken in 1668. That breach, if such it were, was not remonstrated against, and the Treaty was renewed very quietly in 1670. He had another example, and with respect to examples there might be hundreds of them. He had picked out such as he could find by very limited inquiry; they must not suppose it probable that these constituted the whole. In the first year of James II.—he had given a case before the Treaty, and he had given a case a year after the Treaty; he would now give one fifteen years after the Treaty—in the first of James II., in 1685, when we came into the most dishonourably close relations with France, there was a disposition to form a differential taxation in her favour; and a duty was imposed upon French wine of 8l. a tun, whilst upon all other wines, Spanish wines included, a duty of 12l. a tun was imposed. How did the noble Lord get over that circumstance? He wished that the noble Lord had read the history and the facts of the case, before he had made his ingenious speech. It was not a small differential duty. Here was a distinction of 4l. a tun on the wine; 8l. a tun on French wine at the time when these Treaties of the noble Lord were in full vigour, and 12l. a tun imposed on Spanish wine, and that without the smallest intention of going against the Treaty on our part, or the smallest complaint on the part of Spain. He would now take the case of Snuff. By the 12th George I.— Snuff, if imported in British ships, is rated to pay 2s. 6d. in the pound from the plantations in America and the Spanish West Indies, and 5s. if imported from Italy, Spain, Portugal, and all other parts, except France. This as it stood appeared to give a favour to France not enjoyed by other countries; but as he was not certain that he was in possession of the whole case, he would not greatly rely on it, and only quoted it as an apparent instance in his favour. In 1784 Spanish wines paid a small sum more duty than Portuguese wines. According to M'Culloch, Spanish wine paid 4s. 10d. per gallon, and Portuguese 4s.d., Spanish wine paying 1¼d. more. In 1787, they came to Mr. Pitt's tariff, which imposed a number of differential duties, operating, of course, against Spain, as compared with France. He would show them that after America had become independent, and while these Treaties were in full vigour, Spanish tobacco was liable to pay, and did pay, a higher duty than American tobacco. In a table which he held in his hand the following duties appeared:—

Duty on American Tobacco. Duty on Spanish or Portuguese Tobacco.
s. d. s. d.
1789 1 3 3 0
1790 1 3 3 6
1796 1 7 4 6
1806 2 2 13–20ths. 5 4 19–20ths
1815 3 2 5
1819 4 0 6 0
1825 3 0 5 0
They would observe that he had now shown them an immense number of differential duties and privileges, reaching from 1663 to 1825. It might be said that was a good arrangement for us to act upon with the United States; but what came of the construction of the noble Lord with respect to tobacco? He had shown them that in many things, from a long continued stream of precedents to this hour, we laid on particular articles of Spanish produce a very much higher duty than we placed on the same articles coming from other dominions, which were, therefore, mere favoured nations with respect to this produce. [Mr. Ward: Was the tobacco in the same state?] In the same state. He had wearied the House with these instances; because he had shown a series of laws embodying from time to time provisions that perhaps could only be justified by what the noble Lord called "the village attorney's argument." He had told them that at this day they were charging differential duties on the ships of Spain, and that they were also at this day charging differential duties on certain goods. With regard to the differential duties on Spanish ships in different ports, at seventy-one ports in Great Britain there were charges made on Spanish vessels over and above those made on British vessels. They were most unequal at different ports; but at Belfast, for instance, on a ship of 600 tons and upwards, the charge on a Spanish vessel was 6l.; on a British vessel, or on a French or a Swedish vessel, not a steamer, 2l. 10s. At Hull, again, the difference of duty was as great as at Belfast. And, again, as respected goods, we had in exports all that distinction which attached on the nationality of the vessel. While a Turkish ship was allowed, not by Treaty, but by discretion, to carry coals free, a Spanish ship paid 4s. a ton, and no Power had questioned our right to levy that sum. There was also a trifling difference with respect to refined sugar. The bounty on the exportation of refined loaf sugar in British ships was 1l. 4s. per cwt.; in a Spanish ship, it was 1s. less. Therefore he had shown, with respect both to ships and to produce, proof that restrictive Acts were constantly passed by the Legislature in the case of Spain, with the perfect consent of Spain, and without the smallest taint on our honour. The produce of Spain, and even the ships of Spain, were taxed from time to time, according to the good will and pleasure of the British Parliament, which was not limited by any stipulations of Treaties, which were clearly shown to be irrelevant with reference to this subject. It might be said that the precedents he had shown were more on the side of England than of Spain. It might be said, that for a period of 200 years they had misconstrued the Treaty on the side of England. But he had already reminded the House of the Family Compact which had been entered into, by which Spain put the same construction on the Treaty that they had. They would admit that these Treaties had bound Spain to give to England the same footing as that of the most favoured nations; but the Family Compact said "no," France and Naples would be entitled to protest against it; and of the Family Compact he must observe, that it was undoubtedly at variance with the Treaties. The personal privileges which, as he contended, they guaranteed upon the footing of the most favoured nation, were the very privileges in which it granted peculiar and exclusive favour to Naples and to France. With regard, then, to those privileges, there was considerable reason to think that the Family Compact was at complete variance with the noble Lord's construction of those Treaties. By the consent of both parties, these Treaties were allowed to go out of force; and if so, it could not now be contended that they could bring them into force again without the consent of both parties; and even if it were so argued, he had shown that they would be utterly worthless, so far as supporting the noble Lord's position—namely, equality of taxation. There was one Article of these Treaties that was remarkable, by reason of the solemn and peculiar language by which it was characterized in respect to its being made a provision for all times to come, by which it declared that the subjects of Great Britain should not be liable to pay any higher duties in Spain, than those they were liable to pay in the reign of Charles II. of Spain. In the Treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, there was this singular expression—"His Catholic Majesty ordains now and in future, as an inviolable law," &c. In the Treaty of Madrid, in 1750, the same expressions were used as to the inviolability of the law. With regard, however, to this so-called inviolable law, these duties of Charles II. of Spain ceased to be in force long before the war commenced between Great Britain and France, or France and Spain. These Treaties were incompatible with the construction put upon them by the noble Lord. In one place, this Treaty seemed to be equivalent to a limit of 10 per cent. duty on the imports and exports of Spain. He was amused when he heard the noble Lord say, "Don't force a construction of the Treaty like this upon Spain;" as if the noble Lord's construction could be enforced! Did the noble Lord think that the construction which he put upon the Treaties, granted that minimum duty which he argued in favour of, in respect to British produce in Spain? Now, he asked him, did he think that this country would be justified in forcing the observance of his construction at the point of the sword, and in the face of these Acts? [Lord J. Russell: Spain seeks for it.] Yes; Spain seeks for it from us, but refuses it to us. It was only lately that, in consequence of events which had passed in this country, Spain thought that there was a point to be raised—an opening for her to take advantage of—and she immediately propounded a doctrine diametrically in opposition, not only to her own law and practice as it had subsisted for 200 years, but as it stood at the present day. Let it be remembered that Spain was levying duties upon English ships which she did not impose upon the vessels of France, even at the moment when her Envoy had presented the letter then upon the Table of the House. He should certainly shrink from the responsibility of trying to force upon Spain such a construction of those Treaties as that for which the noble Lord had contended, in opposition to the continued acts and the innumerable declarations of the organs of Government of both countries. He should now proceed to examine what the results of the noble Lord's views would lead to; and he thought he should be able to show that the arguments urged by the noble Lord involved so much absurdity that they were actually fatal to his own interpretation of the Treaties. It was a rule in international law, long laid down, and always acted upon, that if a peculiar construction of a Treaty involved an absurdity, that the very fact militated against the justice of such construction. Now, he was prepared to show two consequences which must of necessity follow, if the interpretation put by the noble Lord upon the Treaties with Spain were to be adopted and acted upon. The first of these results was the undoubted one, that every reciprocity Treaty subsisting between England and any other country would be immediately cancelled and rendered needless, or else there must be a change made in the fundamental rules upon which reciprocity Treaties were at present based. The rule heretofore adopted as the basis of reciprocity had been, that inasmuch as a British shipowner could not employ his ships under the heavy fines to which they were liable on entering foreign ports, it was therefore absolutely essential, in order that he might so employ them, that a reciprocal Treaty should be entered into with those Foreign Powers, whereby those double duties were withdrawn. In all cases, therefore, when reciprocity Treaties were entered into, Great Britain granted to the ships of the Powers so treating, the same privileges in her ports as were enjoyed by her own ships, and received in return equal advantages. But under the noble Lord's construction of the Treaty with Spain, Denmark, which had Treaties corresponding, as he inclined to think, in substance with those of Spain, would obtain all the advantages of these reciprocity Treaties on her side, without granting any in return, as he would show. Supposing the doctrine of the noble Lord held good, namely, that Spain, and therefore, Denmark, was entitled to be placed in all respects upon the same footing as the most favoured nations, would not the immediate consequence have been that it would have been utterly impossible to enter into a reciprocity Treaty with Denmark? For would not Denmark be in a condition to say that she was entitled to send her ships into the ports of England upon an equality with English ships, immediately that we had granted the privilege of equality to Prussia or any other power? Whereas she was under no necessity whatever of granting any exemptions in favour of English merchant bottoms, which she would accordingly retain the right of placing under double or any other charges; and Denmark having the cheapest and most economical mercantile navy in Europe, she would be enabled to sail to all the English ports with her ships at half the cost of the ships of this country. Spain would stand in precisely the same situation; and, the duties on English vessels in Spanish ports being extremely heavy, the whole of the carrying trade must of necessity be diverted into another channel. Now, if the principle upon which Mr. Huskisson proceeded in entering into reciprocity Treaties with Foreign States was looked at, it would be found to consist simply in the determination on his part to grant to those countries precisely the same advantages that they accorded to England; and therefore it was that he asserted it to be impossible to admit the noble Lord's construction of the Spanish Treaties to be correct, seeing that if adopted, it would take it out of the power of this country to exclude Denmark from the benefit arising from those reciprocity Treaties, without herself being under any obligation to grant any such advantages as her ships enjoyed to the vessels of Great Britain. The noble Lord appeared to feel the force of the argument he (Mr. Gladstone) was then urging, and to have framed the prayer of his Address to the Crown accordingly; for he did not pray that the Crown would be pleased to give directions to admit the sugars of Cuba at the same rate of duty as those from Java; but he prayed that— The subjects of the Queen of Spain should be permuted to import into the United Kingdom all the productions of the territories or possessions of the Spanish Crown, paying thereupon no higher duties of customs than are paid by the subjects or citizens of the most favoured nations on the importation of like articles, being the production of the territories or possessions of such nations. If such a regulation were to be adopted and enforced, what would necessarily follow? Whenever a cask of Havana sugar was imported, they would be obliged to inquire into its ownership. When they had ascertained who was the owner, they would have to ascertain his nationality, and then his denizenship — they would have to do all this—for all that the noble Lord could contend was, that the Treaties were absolute with regard to produce in the hands of Spanish subjects, and that they could not lay higher duties upon it in the hands of Spanish subjects, than they could impose upon the same produce imported from other countries. Such a course of proceeding would require a system so glaringly at variance with the whole course and tendency of the present commercial legislation of this country as to amount to an absurdity, springing, of course always, from the noble Lord's construction of the Treaties. He would soon approach the consideration of that part of the case which, he was quite ready to admit, was the weakest and least satisfactory portion of it. He (Mr. Gladstone) had endeavoured to show that the construction put upon the Treaties with Spain by the noble Lord, was contradicted and refuted by the practices of both countries, during a period extending over nearly 200 years; he (Mr. Gladstone) was ready to grant so much to the noble Lord as to admit that, according to the then course of trade, the Articles of the Treaties referred to were intended to have an effect nearly analogous to that which, under present circumstances, would be sought for through a most favoured nation clause, for the produce of the two countries. ["Hear, hear," from the Opposition.] He repeated, an effect analogous, but yet very far from being the same—so far from being the same, as to be quite incapable of being transferred, bodily as it were, in the way the noble Lord proposed, to circumstances and a course of legislation so materially different—even without any reference to the proof he had given, that the force of the Treaties in question was not the same as it originally was. But, adverting in part, to the true construction of the Treaties as he had explained it—in part to the fact, that in some degree those Treaties had been set aside by both parties, their effect was—as he had in a preceding part of his observations contended—to assert generally, the principles of amity and of fair and equitable dealing between the two countries, and to impose upon both, as he thought, an honourable obligation to proceed to the formation of a new engagement, founded upon principles of reciprocity and equality in all points; unless when there might be urgent cause for introducing any special exception. He would not enter upon the question of policy. He would deal simply with the arguments affecting the construction and the vitality of the Treaties, leaving it to others to enter upon the policy of the question. Besides what he had already conceded, he would grant also, (and this he regarded as the weakest part of the case,) that it was true, that upon several occasions this country had demanded of Spain the recognition of our right to be treated on the footing of the most favoured nation. Such a demand was made by Mr. Bulwer perhaps, certainly by Mr. Aston. Mr. Bulwer made a demand on the Court of Spain that British ships should be placed on an equality with the vessels of France. But be considered with reference to the present question, precisely in the same light as produce. There could be no British ships which were the property of other than British subjects. The law required that such should be the condition of being admitted to British registry. But when it was attempted to demand the equality of British ships with those of the most favoured nations in Spanish ports, it was quite clear to him that such a demand could not be enforced under any existing Treaty with Spain; and he must say, he thought the instructions given by the noble Lord in this respect were most extraordinary to be issued by a Foreign Secretary, who must, of necessity, have known that there were differential duties established in England, and at that moment levied on the vessels of Spain, and on all foreign vessels which did not enjoy some peculiar exemption, by Treaty or otherwise. But neither the demand made by Mr. Aston, nor that put forward by Mr. Bulwer, was granted by the Spanish Court, nor had it ever been conceded since; indeed, he might say, it had never since been repeated. But, because the British Government thought proper in the year 1837, or 1840, to deviate from its own invariable line of conduct, adhered to during a period of nearly 200 years, and made a claim which ought not to have been made, and which could not be justified under the existing Treaties—was that circumstance to overrule and to render null such facts and such arguments as he had advanced? Was it, he asked, to be said, that one party to a Treaty was to be permitted to refuse everything stipulated for under that Treaty up to the year 1845, and then to be at liberty to enforce those stipulations in a sense quite opposed to the construction which they had always previously held? It was true, Mr. Bulwer did not peremptorily claim to have his demands conceded. He simply made a request to have British ships put upon the same footing with French vessels; but what he (Mr. Gladstone) contended for was, that whatever his recent demand might have been, and however erroneously made, if made upon the supposed ground of a right under Treaty, it was utterly impossible to set aside the facts to which he had referred; whereby it was clearly and completely shown that both parties had acted upon the same construction of the Treaties in third proposition, that the produce of the Spanish Colonies could not fall within the scope of the Treaties for the purposes of this Motion. The noble Lord had argued, that the policy of Spain had been to secure for her colonists a privilege, or, at least, to exempt them from a prohibition, affecting the subjects of Spain in the mother country; that the Treaty did not prevent the subjects of Spain from sailing from Cuba to England. [Viscount Palmerston: I said they were included in the general admission of the Treaty of 1667, and not excluded by that of 1670.] Now, if the noble Lord referred to the Eighth Article of the Treaty, he would find that the West Indian Colonies were excluded, though rather in an indirect way. As to the Treaty of 1670, the noble Lord quoted an Article from it as to the exclusion of the West Indian Colonies. Now, he confessed that he was not prepared, in his own individual judgment to maintain Lord Aberdeen's position, precisely as he found it in the letter to the Duke of Sotomayor. The noble Lord said— While, therefore, the Treaty of 1667 gave generally to the subjects of Great Britain and Spain, respectively, the privileges of the most favoured nation, the trade belonging to the West Indian Colonies of the two countries was expressly excluded from the enjoyment of the privileges so conferred. Subsequently to the conclusion of the Treaty of 1670, all trade with the West Indian Colonies of Great Britain was prohibited to the subjects of Spain, nor could the produce of Cuba and Porto Rico have found admission into English ports, inasmuch as the Navigation Law then in force would have prevented its importation in any other than British ships; while the Treaty of 1670 prevented its conveyance from Cuba by those British ships which alone could legally import it. Hence it follows that, admitting that the Treaty of 1667 conferred upon the subjects of Spain the position of the most favoured nation in British ports, yet that privilege could not, subsequently to 1670, have belonged to Spanish West India trade, because, under the terms of the Treaty of 1670, such trade could not have been carried on with British ports. He confessed that, when Lord Aberdeen argued that that was conclusive, it did not quite satisfy him; because, supposing there was no dispute as to the question of "subject or produce," and supposing, for argument' sake, our navigation laws were abolished in favour of Holland, and that Java sugar came to us from Amsterdam, it was very questionable whether Spain would not be entitled to ask that her Cuba produce should be admissible from Cadiz. But with regard to the noble Lord's interpretation, it tilled him with astonishment; for surely nothing could be more distinct than the Eighth Article of the Treaty:— The subjects and inhabitants, captains, masters of ships, mariners of the kingdoms, provinces and dominions of each confederate respectively, shall abstain and forbear to sail and trade in the ports and havens which have fortifications, castles, magazines, or warehouses; and in all other places whatsoever possessed by the other party in the West Indies, to wit, the King of Great Britain shall not sail unto, and trade in, the havens and places which the Catholic King holdeth in the said Indies; nor in like manner shall the subjects of the King of Spain sail unto, or trade in, those places which are possessed there by the King of Great Britain. The noble Lord's argument was, that the inhabitants of the Spanish West Indies had the power, under the Treaty, of coming here. Did he mean to contend that the inhabitants of Cuba should enjoy an advantage not possessed by the mother country? But his argument was, that however they disposed of the questions of subjects and commerce, and whether it were true or not that Spain had a fair claim to ask for the admission of Cuba sugar through Cadiz, supposing we admitted Java sugar through Amsterdam, still an absolute and unfettered control over the trade and commerce between England and the Spanish West Indies was reserved by the Treaty of 1670, which the noble Lord forgot or omitted to refer to. By the Ninth Article of the Treaty of 1670 it was provided— That if at any time thereafter, either King should think fit to grant to the subjects of the other any general or particular license or privileges of navigating to, and trading in, any places under his obedience, the said navigation and trade should be exercised and maintained according to the form, tenour, and effect of the said permissions or privileges to be allowed and given. Giving any construction to the question of "subjects," and allowing "subjects" to involve "produce," it was impossible to deny that the control of the trade between Cuba and England included that produce of Cuba which formed the whole subject-matter of the trade. Here was an absolute control with respect to the conditions on which each Power might think fit to grant to the other a right to trade with its Colonies: and we had it in our discretion alone to grant to Spain just as much and as little of that Colonial trade as we pleased, and to fix any duties we pleased. The noble Lord must have overlooked this Article; otherwise it was so material that he would have seen it was not perfectly straightforward to omit it. The Eighth Article was not left to stand alone; but, to obviate mistake, it was followed by another which added, with respect to the Colonial trade—which was interdicted for the present—that if at any time it should be given, it should be under such laws as each Power in its free discretion should think fit to assign. The sugars brought from Cuba to England could not be separated from the trade between Cuba and England; and the power to regulate the trade between them must enable us to determine what duty should be paid. But the noble Lord said, that the navigation laws prevented all trade with Cuba at that time: that, however, was not the case; the produce might have come in British ships. The plain language, however, defied misconstruction, either at the hands of a pettifogging village attorney, or (which was much more formidable) an ex-Foreign Secretary. In the Treaty of 1814, the two Powers again came in contact; and Spain yielded to England, then her liberator, he apprehended, on account of the peculiar relative position of the two countries, a valuable privilege without an equivalent. She undertook, that if at any time the American Colonies should be opened to other countries, England should have as great benefit therefrom as any other Power. That was perfectly a one-sided engagement. And here he must say he could not concur in the optimising views of the noble Lord as to England's rejection of any exclusive advantages. He could not take credit for the moderation of England, when he often saw she engrossed great advantages. But it was impossible to think that she preferred a request which, according to the noble Lord's argument, was mere surplusage. Now he maintained that, according to every rational supposition, and according to the Treaty of 1670, Great Britain was not, as to her Colonial trade, put on the footing of the most favoured nation until 1814; and it followed that Spain had no claim to have her Colonies so treated up to the present moment. Now he came to one of the last proofs which he should adduce. The noble Lord said, it devolved on his side to prove that Spain was now treated on the footing of the most favoured nations. In the first place, the privilege as to Colonies was granted to us in 1824; we did not give similar privileges until 1828. Did they suppose it took four years to determine whether we should allow Spanish ships to trade to our Colonies? No; we granted the privilege, not as an obligation imposed by Treaty, but as an independent act of our own discretion, as an act of fairness and equity. By the Order in Council it was apparent that this privilege was not granted to Spain alone, but to her in common with other nations; for in the recital it was said that our Colonies should be opened to those countries which had opened theirs to our traders. The Order in Council, dated April the 28th, 1828, ran as follows:— Whereas the conditions mentioned and referred to in the said Acts of Parliament have not in all respects been fulfilled by the Government of His Most Catholic Majesty the King of Spain; and, therefore, the privileges so granted as aforesaid by the Law of Navigation of foreign ships cannot lawfully be exercised or enjoyed by the ships of Spain, unless His Majesty, by his Order in Council, shall grant the whole or any of such privileges to such Spanish ships. And whereas His Majesty, by and with the advice, &c., doth deem it expedient to grant the privileges aforesaid, in certain cases, to ships of the dominions of His Most Catholic Majesty the King of Spain, His Majesty doth therefore, by the advice aforesaid, and in pursuance, &c., declare and grant that it shall and may be lawful for Spanish ships to import into any of the British possessions abroad, from the Colonies and foreign plantations of His Most Catholic Majesty, goods, the produce of those Colonies and possessions, and to export goods from such British possessions abroad, to be carried to any foreign country whatever. This had no reference to obligation or Treaties; and the privilege conceded was not a general privilege to Spanish ships to sail to British Colonies, but only from the Colonies and foreign possessions of Spain. But at that time there were in existence Orders in Council, granting to other European Powers the privilege of sailing from Europe to the British Colonies, and carrying on the European trade with them. There was such an order in the case of Prussia, issued in 1826; and orders had been issued since, even under the noble Lord's Administration, granting to other countries greater privileges with regard to the Colonial trade than Spain ever had, or now possessed: for instance, to Hamburgh, to Denmark, to Sweden, to Austria, was granted the privilege of trading with our Colonies from Europe. Upon the whole, here was a mass of circumstantial evidence which must remove any primâ facie impression to the contrary, which might arise, and which, he was free to confess, in his mind had arisen upon his first cursory examination of the Treaties. The obligation of these Treaties—and he wished that obligation to be estimated, not as it might stand with a political party, for its own purposes, but as it would stand before a solemn tribunal of jurists—could no longer be deemed so fresh and so entire as to justify the one Power in making absolute demands upon the other, in respect of each and every provision that they contained; and though demands had been made by ourselves (and he thought improperly), they had not been granted by Spain, nor had we enforced them, But even if they were as much alive as on the day when they were reduced to writing, they did not contain what the noble Lord supposed; and he had shown by laws and Treaties of every form and age, spreading over the whole stream of history, and applicable to both Powers, that the noble Lord's construction was contradicted by practice, while it would also have been irrational with reference to the course of legislation and of trade. And, lastly, notwithstanding the disadvantage occasioned by the demand made by the noble Lord (which the acts of his Government were all the time contradicting), the stipulations could not be shown to have the smallest reference to the trade which might be carried on between Great Britain and the West Indian possessions of the Spanish Crown, because over that trade an entire discretion was preserved; and though it was a good rule to resolve against ourselves any doubt which might arise, and if, consequently the foregoing arguments should be waved, the question of the trade with the Colonies, and of the produce when it went to constitute that trade, was clearly and entirely under our control. He had not knowingly passed by any fact bearing upon the case; and he now commended that case to the judgment of the House, with confidence that whatever might be the first appearance of this matter to those who were content to look at some passage quoted in the public journals, yet if he could only secure a deliberate attention to all the particulars which entered into the material of a just judgment, there was not the slightest cause to fear the issue at which the judgment of the British House of Commons would arrive; and that national faith, for which the noble Lord was so tenderly considerate, would be seen to be as safe, with reference to the question now before that House, in the hands of Her Majesty's Government, as it had been at any former period of our history.

Mr. Labouchere

When the right hon. Gentleman promised to speak at length on such a subject as that, it was impossible, from his known character, not to anticipate a speech of ingenuity and ability; but he must be permitted to say, that if the right hon. Gentleman had had greater confidence in the strength of his case, he would have considerably shortened his speech. At all events, he should illustrate the soundness of his views, by making a much shorter speech. And he could not believe that to come to a just decision on a question of this kind, it was necessary to dwell on the nice and intricate points which the right hon. Gentleman had discussed. He must remind the right hon. Gentleman of the declaration which he made towards the close of his speech, that any plain man reading the terms of those Treaties (which Lord Aberdeen and his Colleagues admitted to be valid once, and as regulating the commerce of Spain), must say, that the claim of Spain was founded in justice. [Mr. Gladstone: I said a plain man might in ignorance so construe it.] It certainly took you a long time to combat the "plain man's" conclusion. It would, indeed, be an unfortunate thing for nations if their meaning could not be interpreted from their communications with each other, unless distilled through the mass of historical references through which the right hon. Gentleman had waded. But the right hon. Gentleman said, if they consulted history, the meaning of these Treaties would be found very different from what it appeared. He should not go back even to Mr. Pitt's time; but he asked, what was the nature of the Treaties approved of by the Government of which the right hon. Gentleman held the office of President of the Board of Trade? He referred to the demand made in July, 1842, by this country, founded on the Treaty of 1667, to be put on the footing of the most favoured nation in the ports of Spain. He would read the letter of Mr. Aston to the Spanish Minister on the subject, and the expression of approval by the Earl of Aberdeen, and the House might then judge what construction had been put by Her Majesty's Government on this very Treaty, so late as the year 1842, and how it was to be reconciled with the interpretation they at present advocated. On the 3rd of July, in that year, Mr. Aston addressed the following despatch to Count Almodovar, the Spanish Minister:—

"Madrid, July 3, 1842.

"Sir—In pursuance of instructions from my Government, I addressed two representations to the Spanish Government, the first on the 29th of April, 1841, the second on the 2nd of January, 1842, respecting the injurious effect produced upon the British linen trade by the high rate of duties imposed upon that article in the Spanish Tariff, which amount almost to a prohibition of the importation of British linen into Spain. To these representations I have not, hitherto, received a definitive answer.

"I consider it the more necessary to call your Excellency's attention to this subject, since it appears probable that the Spanish Government will shortly obtain from the Cortes the necessary authority for the revision of the existing Tariff; and it is my duty to state to your Excellency, that in any reduction which may be in contemplation of the actual duties upon foreign linens, Her Majesty's Government will justly expect that British linen shall be treated as favourably as the same article, the manufacture of any other country.—I have, &c.

(Signed) "ARTHUR ASTON."

Mr. Gladstone

I did not say that that demand was made under the Treaty, but that the demand which the noble Lord made through Mr. Aston on the Spanish Government was made under the Treaty.

Mr. Labouchere

scarcely supposed the right hon. Gentleman would resort to an unworthy ambiguity. When the British Minister at Madrid was instructed to press this demand on the Spanish Government, it must have been founded on the existing Commercial Treaty between the two Governments. Lord Aberdeen's letter was as follows:—

"Foreign Office, Aug. 15, 1842.

"Sir—With reference to your despatch of the 16th ult., I have to acquaint you that Her Majesty's Government have approved the note which you addressed to the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, stating that if the Spanish Government should reduce the duty upon any foreign linens, Her Majesty's Government will expect that the same reduction shall apply to British linens.—I am, &c.

(Signed) "ABERDEEN."

He thought these despatches offered sufficient proof to the House that when it was convenient, and suited the purposes of the Government of this country, to put a more strict interpretation on these Treaties, they were not considered to be so confused, so obsolete, such a mass of rubbish, that there was no making anything of them; but Government found in them a distinct principle, importing that England had a right to be treated, with respect to duties on goods, on the footing of the most favoured nation. The right hon. Gentleman, in the course of his speech, made an admission which he (Mr. Labouchere) thought was one of great importance, that if you looked not to the strict letter of those Treaties, nor to particular infractions of them which had taken place since they were formed, but to the analogy of the case, and the spirit of the contracting parties when the Treaties were made, and applied it to the present state of things, this was more hard to defend than any other part of the subject. That was exactly what he contended for; that we ought to look at those Treaties, not in a spirit of cavil, but with a view to see what was their true spirit and intention. If they were to be carried into effect at the present day in the same spirit in which they were framed, we must give to Spain those advantages which we concede to every other foreign country, as far as could be practically effected. Doubtless these Treaties were full of confusion as applied to the circumstances of the day; the whole trade of the world had been changed in its course—but still the principle held good. There were some facts, notorious to all the world, which the right hon. Gentleman had omitted to mention, which showed that the two Governments had been inclined to carry that principle into effect. Spain was long anxious to exclude all nations from her Colonies—it was a capital principle of the old Spanish policy, which had such fatal effects on her prosperity and greatness—but there was one exception, that of the Asiento Contract, which opened to England a direct trade in slaves to the Spanish Colonies; and, indirectly, a large smuggling trade. By the Treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, this Assiento, which before had only been enjoyed, he believed, by the subjects of France, was granted to the subjects of England. The right hon. Gentleman had fallen into the fallacy which he thought too much pervaded the letter of Lord Aberdeen, of treating those rights too much as if they were specific and absolute rights given to the subjects of each country, and not relative rights of being placed on a footing of equality with any other foreign nation whatever. There was one part of the subject, to his mind, infinitely more important than the whole technical construction of those Treaties, of which the right hon. Gentleman had deprecated the discussion, but which the House would ill discharge its duty to the public, if they were not to consider on the present occasion; he meant, not merely the strict technical right which Government might or might not have had to refuse the claims of Spain, on which he admitted there might possibly be a difference of opinion; but that on which he thought there could be no difference of opinion, the policy and propriety of the part Government had acted in this matter. On this view of the subject he must say that he had never listened to any speech in that House with such painful feelings as to that of the right hon. Gentleman. The feeling which rose in his mind was, what an opportunity you have thrown away. There was Spain, not urging you at the point of the sword, as the right hon. Gentleman supposed, but by diplomatic and friendly methods, to form those very commercial engagements with you to which you should have been anxious to urge her. Spain asked you to convert those commercial stipulations which you complained of as difficult and unintelligible, into clear and advantageous commercial compacts, by which both countries might profit. Then as to the sacrifices we were making to carry out this policy of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman said, do not discuss this subject; but discussed it would be in that House so long as the monstrous policy of the Government was continued. Self-imposed sacrifices for great objects were respectable things; but to make great sacrifices for no object, or one so flimsy that the boldest of the supporters of Ministers, who would swell their majority to-night, could not think of the pretence without a smile, was ridiculous. With what object were we to make the sacrifice consequent on a disturbed state of our commercial relations with Spain? As his noble Friend had remarked, by this interpretation they had completely untied the hands of Spain. What right had we to complain if she tomorrow imposed discriminating duties adverse to our manufactures, and favourable to those of France or any other country? Do not let us deceive ourselves with the idea that Spain will not have it in her power to inflict a very heavy blow. He admitted that foreign trade with that country was almost entirely a smuggling trade, and that the duties were merely nominal; but Spain might adopt a system of reasonable duties, and if she accompanied that by discriminating duties unfavourable to us, we could not complain of the retaliation. He would not dwell on the consequences produced by a similar policy in Brazil. Not a post which did not bring accounts of the position in which our merchants were placed, in consequence of the all but stoppage of our commercial relations with that country, of the vexations to which they were exposed, of the hostility generated in the Legislature and people of that country by our conduct. By the last accounts it was daily expected — if the thing had not already happened — that the Brazilian Chambers would actually adopt differential duties against British manufactures. We were told that these sacrifices were made for an object dear to the British people—for the sake of discouraging slavery and the Slave Trade. He would defy any man who had looked into the subject, to say that the consequence of the policy Ministers pursued, was to prevent a single slave the less from being carried across the Atlantic, or to discourage, even in the slightest degree, slavery, as contrasted with free labour, in the cultivation of foreign sugar. When the Ministerial measure of last Session was proposed, they (the Opposition) had foretold that it would be vain for the purpose Ministers professed to have in view; and these predictions had been fulfilled. They were then told, that as the price of free-labour sugar must rise, from the increased demand for it, the sugars of Cuba and Brazil would be brought concurrently into the Continental markets, and supply the vacuum caused by the increased consumption of free-labour sugar. If they had at all succeeded in their object of encouraging free-labour sugar, of course this would be shown by the price. What had been the fact? He asserted that there never had been, since that Act passed, any appreciable difference between the prices of certificated foreign and free-labour sugar in bond in this country; and the price of sugar, the produce of Brazil or Cuba, of the same quality equally in bond in this country. If that were so, really the bubble had burst. The man who would contend, that by their present policy they were, even in the slightest degree, discouraging slavery, or encouraging free labour, must be prepared to contend that Euclid was a book replete with fallacies and falsehoods. It was most mortifying to witness the spectacle of a British Ministry, and one, too, who plumed themselves on the encouragement of commerce, calling on the merchants of this country to submit to the greatest sacrifices; first, from the suspension and loss of the Brazilian trade; next, from the contingencies of the commercial warfare into which we were entering with Spain, and all for no object in the world. He said for no object; but he was afraid there was one: he had lately met with a paragraph in one of the leading Colonial journals, the Jamaica Morning Journal, which proved that the colonists were beginning to see through this transparent delusion. It was as follows:— A law is passed, which, although it affects to confine the competition to the produce of free labour, merely alters the destination of slave-grown sugar in some cases, and in others brings it into immediate competition with the free-grown sugar from the Colonies. After the admission of American slave-grown sugar into the home market, we can perceive no valid reason why that of Spain or the Brazils should be excluded. Indeed, it is manifest that having thrown principle overboard, the Government only exclude these sugars for the purpose of securing all the advantages they can from those countries in a commercial point of view. It is not from any desire to serve the Colonies that Brazilian sugar is not now admitted in the same manner and on the like terms as the sugar of Louisiana. He believed the motive assigned in this passage paid infinitely too high a compliment to the wisdom of Her Majesty's Government; the truth was, that all those difficulties and embarrassments were the price they were called upon to pay for the course which the present Ministers, when in opposition, found it convenient to pursue with a view to their own party ends. He thought it most unfortunate that a Government which had shown no very great inflexibility of purpose with respect to most subjects, and discarded, one after another, most of the instruments they had made use of to obtain the seats of power, should have selected this one, the most feeble of all the weapons they employed, and certainly the most indefensible in argument of all the courses they had pursued, and have clung to it with such desperate fidelity. Although agreeing generally with his noble Friend, that the spirit of the Treaty would require us to accede to the demand of the Spanish Government; yet, at the same time, he had no earnest desire to rest his vote on that view. Even if he entertained a doubt on that subject, he should still think that, in the present state of affairs, it was the duty of that House to interfere; and, after the experience they had had of the consequences which the Ministerial policy had produced on our commerce with Brazil and Spain, to insist on the necessity of their adopting a course more in consonance with the commercial interests of this country, and with the principles of justice and common sense. He could not help thinking highly enough of the patriotic principles of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite to believe that they would not be unwilling to have a little gentle compulsion put upon them by the House, and to be told that the policy they had recommended having proved a complete and palpable failure as to the discouragement of slavery and the Slave Trade, it was time to restore us to our former footing in our relations with Brazil, and especially to embrace the opportunity now thrown out of placing our commercial relations with Spain on a sound and intelligible footing.

The Attorney General

said, when the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, had risen after the right hon. Member for Newark, he supposed he was proceeding to discuss the matter under consideration of the House. He understood that they had been invited by the noble Lord who opened this debate to consider the interpretation of the Treaties existing between this country and Spain, on which it was said this claim was put forward. The right hon. Member for Newark had discussed the questions arising out of the Treaty point by point; but the right hon. Gentleman opposite entirely abandoned this ground, and, flying off from the true issue, endeavoured to divert the attention of the House to questions of policy and expediency. He must be permitted to assume that the arguments of the right hon. Member for Newark were unanswerable; because if any answer could have been given, it would have been afforded by the right hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the House. They were not there to inquire into the questions opened by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, but to inquire as to the construction of Treaties and the interpretation of compacts between this country and Spain. The latter country, it had been shown, had not regarded those Treaties in the light contended for on the other side. She only sought now, by this peculiar mode of interpretation, to secure the admission of sugar from her own Colonies of Cuba and Porto Rico, on the footing of the most favoured nation. He should confine himself strictly to the question before the House, whether the Foreign Office had put the correct construction on the Treaties with Spain. There were no rules of interpretation applicable to a private agreement between individuals, which did not also apply to the case before them. The only difference was, that in the case of a private agreement, they could not pray in aid other agreement, for the purpose of establishing the interpretation, but most construe it by itself. With respect to Treaties, however, which were matters of public notoriety, and were frequently made the basis of new Conventions, other agreements might be referred to, in order to arrive at the true interpretation. In explaining the Treaties of 1667 and 1713, it would not do to look only to the words, and to overlook all that had occurred in the intervening period. He admitted, with his right hon. Friend, that if any well-meaning ignorant man were to look only at the words, he might be disposed to put on them the interpretation contended for by Gentlemen opposite; but they must look at the circumstances under which the Treaties were made, the state of commerce at that day, the conduct of the parties after the Treaty was made, in order to be in a proper condition to come at a true interpretation. The distinction between persons and produce was clear and intelligible; it was made the ground of the construction for which he contended; it was founded on the state of trade and commerce as explained by his right hon. Friend; it was a construction on which the parties themselves had acted. The Second Article of the Treaty of Utrecht referred to persons, subjects of any of the two States, resorting or trading to th ports of the other, not to persons residing within the dominions of either Power, and being producers or manufacturers there. It referred to the persons, not to their produce. He said this was not a narrow and technical construction, but a legitimate one, accommodated to the circumstances of the time, and borne out by Treaties contemporaneous or subsequent in date. Provisions affecting subjects, but not extending to produce, had been inserted, for example, in the Treaty of Munster between the Netherlands and Spain, to which reference was made in the Treaty of 1667. He would beg to call the attention of the House to the Treaty between the Netherlands and Spain, executed in June 1740. They would find that the words of that Treaty were precisely identical with the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht, made in 1713, on which the question which had been brought before the House arose. The argument of the noble Lord was, that that Treaty of Utrecht referred to produce as well as to subjects. Now, he begged to deny the accuracy of that construction altogether; and he would rely on the Treaty of 1740, to which he had just alluded, as a proof that these Powers, namely, the Netherlands and Spain, regarded the Treaty in the light in which he viewed it, although, as he had already mentioned, it contained the very terms of the Treaty of 1713. If the argument of the noble Lord were well founded, the subjects of the Netherlands could not be liable to pay greater duties in respect to their goods imported into Spain, than the Spanish merchant paid for the goods which he imported; but that would evidently imply an absurdity. The object of the Treaty, as he apprehended, was, that the subjects of both these States should not be liable to pay higher duties within the particular countries, than the subjects of those countries. But he would show them that in a Treaty, almost contemporaneous with the one which they were called upon to construe, a distinction was made between subjects and goods. By the Tenth Article of the Treaty with France, it was provided that the duties on tobacco imported into France shall be reduced to the same moderate rate as the duty on the said tobacco which would be paid on importation to any other country in America or Europe. He alluded to this fact to show, that even at that time the distinction between persons and goods or merchandise was fully understood. He might be permitted to add to these instances the Treaty with Portugal of 1810, which had been quoted by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone), by the Third Article of which the same rights, immunities, and privileges were secured to the subjects of each nation, that were or might be hereafter granted to the subjects of the most favoured nations. Any one comparing that Article with the corresponding Treaty of Utrecht would find that the terms were just as large in the one as in the other; and yet, in the Treaty of 1810, were the words considered to be sufficient to cover produce of these States? Certainly not. The House would find that by the Nineteenth Article of the Treaty, express provision was distinctly made with respect to the duties to be paid on the produce of the two countries reciprocally, irrespective of the provisions of the Third Article; which were meant to refer to persons only. That Article said— His Britannic Majesty does, on his part, and in his own name, and in that of his heirs and successors, promise and engage that all goods, merchandise, and articles whatsoever, of the produce, manufacture, industry, or invention of the dominions or subjects of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent of Portugal, shall be received and admitted into all and singular the ports and dominions of His Britannic Majesty, on paying generally and only the same duties that are paid upon similar articles by the subjects of the most favoured nation. This would show the legitimate interpretation of the Treaty of Utrecht, when a separate Article was considered necessary in favour of the produce of the countries, after a very strong clause had been previously inserted in favour of the subjects. All these facts went to prove most strongly, according to his judgment, that there was a distinction perfectly well understood and recognised between States as to the separate interests of subjects and of goods. But it was said that they were inconsistent in their conduct as regarded the construction of these Treaties with Spain—that they admitted the slave-grown sugars of the United States and of Venezuela, while they refused to admit the produce of the Spanish Colonies, though the latter were entitled to be placed upon the same footing as the most favoured nations, according to the same construction of the Treaties. He entirely denied that the Treaties with Spain were to be regarded in the same light as those between this country and the United States and Venezuela, and also as the Treaties with Columbia and Mexico. These four Treaties were all in precisely the same terms, and were very different in their provisions from the Spanish Treaties. If the House would permit him, he would wish to call their attention to the Treaties between Great Britain and the United States, which had been made the model for the other Treaties to which he had alluded. By the Second Article of the Treaty of 1815, it was provided that— No higher duty or other duties shall be imposed on the importation into the territories of His Britannic Majesty in Europe of any articles, the growth, produce, or manufacture of the United States, and no higher or other duties shall be imposed on the importation into the United States of any articles the growth, produce, or manufacture of His Britannic Majesty's territories in Europe, than are, or shall be, payable on the like articles, being the growth, produce, or manufacture of any other country; nor shall any higher or other duties or charges be imposed in either of the two countries on the exportation of any articles to His Britannic Majesty's territories in Europe, or to the United States, respectively, than such as are payable on the exportation of the like articles to any other foreign country; nor shall any prohibition be imposed upon the exportation or importation of any articles, the growth, produce, or manufacture of the United States or of His Britannic Majesty's territories in Europe, to or from the said territories of His Britannic Majesty in Europe, or to or from the said United States, which shall not equally extend to all other nations. Now, if the House would permit him, he would take leave to refer back for a moment to the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht. The Article of that Treaty was as follows:— The subjects of their Majesties, trading respectively in the dominions of their said Majesties, shall not be bound to pay greater duties, or other imposts whatsoever, for their imports or exports, than shall be exacted of, and paid by, the subjects of the most favoured nation; and if it shall happen in time to come, that any diminution of duties or other advantages shall be granted by either side to any foreign nation, the subjects of each Crown shall reciprocally and fully enjoy the same. And it has been agreed, as is above-mentioned, concerning the rates of duties, so it is ordained as a general rule between their Majesties, that all and every one of their subjects shall, in all lands and places subject to the command of their respective Majesties, use and enjoy at least the same privileges, liberties, and immunities, concerning all imposts or duties whatsoever, which relate to persons, wares, merchandise, ships, freighting, mariners, navigation, and commerce, and enjoy the same favour in all things, as well in the courts of justice as in all those things which relate to trade, or any other trade whatsoever as the most favoured nation uses and enjoys, or may use and enjoy for the future, as is explained more at large in the Thirty-eighth Article of the Treaty of 1667, which is specially inserted in the foregoing Article. He had no hesitation in saying that if he were to look only to the construction that was to be put upon the words of these two Treaties, he would come to precisely the same conclusion to which the Foreign Office had arrived, and that, too, without reference to the conduct of the parties, or to any other circumstances whatever. But without going that length, he would maintain that having regard to the conduct of the parties, it was not at any time understood that the produce of those countries was to be put upon the same footing as that of the most favoured nation under these Treaties. He wished incidentally to allude to what his right hon. Friend had stated of the Treaties being probably not now on the same footing as they had formerly been. Whether they regarded the conduct of the countries, the construction that might have been put upon the Treaties, or some violation of their integrity, it was quite possible that the Treaties might net now be considered as subsisting in their full force. He made this allusion out of deference to the argument of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone); but at the same time he did not think it it all necessary to rely upon that point on coming to a decision on the question before the House. The Treaties of 1667 and 1670 were confirmed by the Treaty of 1713, and these were all confirmed by the Treaties of 1763 and 1783. In the Treaty of 1814 the commercial relations between the two countries were to be established; and in reference to it, the previous Treaties might fairly, he thought, be considered as still existing, and might be properly looked to in interpreting the nature of these relations. He would endeavour to deal, very shortly indeed, with the question of the Colonies; and here he had to express his regret, that his right hon. Friend had not taken the same view which he was disposed to adopt. In his opinion the Colonial trade was entirely struck out of the Treaty of Utrecht. He considered the object of the Eighth Article of the Treaty of 1670 to be to prohibit entirely the trade with the Colonies. That trade was excluded, not only by the Eighth, but also by the Ninth Article of the Treaty, and was, in his opinion, thus intended to be kept entirely in the hands of the Sovereigns of the two States. In the Treaty of Peace of 1713 there was an express prohibition of any guarantee to France to trade with the Colonies. Therefore, taking all the Articles of all the Treaties together, the construction which he was disposed to place on them was, that the Colonial trade was, as it were, struck out of the Treaties, and was intended to remain entirely and exclusively attached to the mother country. Now, by the Fourth Article of the Treaty of 1814, it was provided that in the event of the commerce of the Spanish Colonies being opened, the subjects of His Britannic Majesty were to be permitted to trade to them on the terms of the most favoured nation. He would admit that there was no reciprocity in that arrangement, as it conferred a benefit only on one side; but on that very ground he considered it as strengthening his construction of the prior Treaties. In construing Treaties, they should have regard to the conduct of the parties; and in this view also his argument was borne out by the fact. In the year 1824, when the trade with the Spanish Colonies was opened, the advantage was not conferred on Great Britain alone, but on all nations indiscriminately, and without reference to any particular Treaty; though, according to the argument of the noble Lord, Great Britain would have had a right to challenge the opening of that trade to her commerce by virtue of existing Treaties. He had endeavoured to compress his arguments within the narrowest possible compass; and he trusted he had not trespassed too far upon the indulgence of the House. He would admit, that in construing Treaties with other countries, they should have regard to good faith, and should observe a true and just interpretation of their provisions; but it appeared to him that they would violate all the fair rules of construction, if they came to the decision for which the noble Lord contended.

Mr. F. T. Baring

said, he felt strongly the inconvenience of trespassing upon the House at that late hour; but he could not so far forget his character as to appear to be influenced in the vote which he was about to give by mere party purposes. He agreed with the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down, that no question of policy should persuade them to give up the real and just construction of the Treaty. But he also thought that when Spain called upon them to adopt her construction of the Treaties, it was worth their while to consider whether that construction was a fair one towards themselves. He thought that when the subject became a question for a long State Paper, it should become a consideration whether Spain was not offering to them what they should be of all things in the world most anxious to receive from her. He admitted the talent of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, who indeed never spoke without manifesting great ability; but he set aside entirely the whole argument of Lord Aberdeen. The argument of the right hon. Gentleman was altogether contrary to the argument of Lord Aberdeen. The right hon. Gentleman indeed said, that he did not adopt the argument as put in Lord Aberdeen's letter; and the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down differed from the right hon. Gentleman, and he also did not adopt the argument of Lord Aberdeen. The right hon. Gentleman wished to show that the ancient Treaties with Spain had ceased to exist. If they did not exist, what then was the use of inquiry about them? Now, Lord Aberbeen said that they did exist. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that there was a severe strain on his argument by these Treaties; he therefore denied that they now existed. He subsequently added that they did not exist to the extent of the terms, and therefore they were entitled to this interpretation of them. The only limit to this, then, was the law of the strong man, who said that he would fix his own interpretation on them. The right hon. Gentleman, when he came to the conclusion of his speech, said that the Treaties did not exist entirely. He added that he did not know what had been done away with, and what had not; it therefore was hardly possible to meet him on the point. It was very well for the right hon. Gentleman to say that they did not exist; but the matter, as between nations, must be determined by Lord Aberdeen's letter. Lord Aberdeen admitted that the Treaties existed, and did not venture to say that they had been abrogated; therefore the whole language of the right hon. Gentleman, on this point, was immaterial. In the main question, Lord Aberdeen said, that there were two grounds involved in the question—the Colonial ground, the argument with respect to which was well known; and the next ground was the difference between persons and produce. And upon this point, he was surprised to find that the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just spoken, and who had been the organ of the Government in this debate, had taken a different ground from that adopted by Lord Aberdeen. Lord Aberdeen made the admission, that the Treaty of 1667, was a general Treaty; this the hon. and learned Member did not admit, or that it involved anything respecting the most favoured nation clause. He would now read the words of the letter:— Admitting that the Treaty of 1667 conferred upon the subjects of Spain, the position of the most favoured nation in British ports, yet that privilege could not, subsequently to 1670, have belonged to Spanish West India trade, because, under the terms of the Treaty of 1670, such trade could not have been carried on with British ports. Again, Lord Aberdeen stated— While, therefore, the Treaty of 1667 gave generally to the subjects of Great Britain and Spain respectively the privileges of the most favoured nation, the trade belonging to the West Indian Colonies of the two countries was expressly excluded from the enjoyment of the privileges so conferred. Lord Aberdeen, therefore, admitted that the Treaty contained a full and general clause; but that the effect of the Treaty of 1670 was to draw both countries from mutual Colonial trade. Therefore, he started with the proposition that all depended on the legal interpretation of the Treaties; and as to how far the Treaty of 1670 affected that of 1667, the subsequent passage read— As far as not repugnant with the Articles in the latter Treaty. The prohibitory clause prevented all trade with the West Indies, and gave powers for the purpose of future regulations. This was perfectly consistent with the principle that this negotiation should be subordinate to the principle of the most favoured nation. There was nothing repugnant in giving this power to Spain, or inconsistent with the clause in the former Treaty. By the most favoured nation clause they did not say a nation must create a trade; but if it did, the trade should be put in the construction of the clause. It was consistent with this that the whole of the West Indies might be excluded. So far, then, as they kept up the prohibition in the Colonies from trading with all foreign countries, they persisted in adhering to the most favoured nation clause. It gave the power to England and Spain reciprocally to regulate the trade, always subservient to this principle. He would show, however, that the Government admitted the most favoured nation clause. They did so by the Treaty of 1814, by which they admitted that— In the event of the commerce of the Spanish American possessions being opened to foreign nations, His Catholic Majesty promises that Great Britain shall be admitted to trade with those possessions as the most favoured nation. Now, within a month afterwards, it appeared that the old Treaties were not in force, although Lord Aberdeen seemed to think that they were. Within two months of the former Treaty, additional Articles were agreed to, by which all the old Treaties were renewed, by which Spain admitted that we should be put on the same footing as the most favoured nation. The whole question depended upon the fact, as to whether the regulating power was opposed to, and inconsistent with the principle of the most favoured nation clause. This was the argument, and yet they had signed a Treaty in which both co-existed. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Colonies were taken out of the operation of the Treaty. But to consider this, they should look to the practical effect of the trade carried on in that time. Formerly, there was no trade there; for, as far as the West Indies were concerned, they might be considered out of the map. They renewed the old Treaties at the Peace of 1814, and when the right hon. Gentleman admitted that they were in force; and by this Act, at that time, the most favoured nation clause was renewed, and part of that Treaty contemplated that at some future time the trade to the whole Spanish West Indies might be opened to this country. There was no doubt, however, that from 1810 to the time of the Treaty, in the return of the Bourbons, the trade between the Spanish Colonies and England had been opened. The right hon. Gentleman could hardly doubt this. He held in his hand a passage from a despatch of Mr. Canning, of the date of 1823, in which he stated that the trade had been opened, and the prohibitory clause had been practically repealed. This had occurred in consequence of an English vessel having been seized under the prohibitory law. In 1814, the old Treaties had been renewed, containing the most favoured nation clause, with the full knowledge that the Colonies must be opened; and they could not now pretend to say that the trade was not to be opened. But supposing that the case of the Government was admitted, and the argument was allowed; suppose, also, that the navigation laws continued still in force, and that on the part of Spain the most strict laws were still in force, still it was perfectly clear that it was in the power of a Spaniard, as far as the laws of this country were concerned, to import Spanish sugar in a British vessel. He therefore said, that at the time of the attempt to do what they now did, a Spaniard might have introduced sugar through Spain, provided it was brought in a British vessel, and he might call upon you to give him the full benefit of the most favoured nation clause. But what was Lord Aberdeen's argument? He stated that some things existed which were inconsistent with this trade, and he confessed that he was somewhat puzzled at the argument used. The Article alluded to was not signed at the time, but was an additional Article to the Treaty of 1814. The right hon. Gentleman would find that the object of this Treaty was a separate Article, and not a secret Article to prevent the renewal of the Family Compact between France and Spain. Subsequently they renewed all the former Treaties, and with a larger construction. The next argument of Lord Aberdeen was, that in 1824, when a reciprocity power was granted to other nations, and when Spain opened her Colonies to foreign nations, it was in 1828 only that such power was given to Spain in return. He would not attempt to conceal a difficulty he had always felt on this subject. He felt the greatest doubt whether, under the reciprocity Treaties with the most favoured nations, they always gave the reciprocity to England. He knew that the strongest doubts remained on this point; and as far as the argument went in this case, the Government did not admit this to be the case. The right hon. Gentleman upset Lord Aberdeen's argument in his letter, and the hon. and learned Gentleman upset the law of the right hon. Gentleman. In the earlier part of our commercial negotiations, we did through persons what we now did through things, and certainly the latter was much more effective in manner than the former. According to the strict Article of the Treaty, Spanish subjects might introduce Cuba sugar into this country the same as sugar from Venezuela. If this was the case, there was little difficulty in the objection. The right hon. Gentleman threw overboard entirely the arguments of his noble Friend on this part of the subject, as if they had never been uttered. In the Treaty of 1715, the Treaty of 1667 was regarded, not merely as a Treaty giving personal rights, but as a Treaty for two nations, and that the commerce between the subjects of each should be carried on on an equal footing. In the 5th Clause it stated— And the said subjects shall be used in Spain in the same manner as the most favoured nation, and consequently all nations shall pay the same duties on wool and other merchandise, which shall be brought into or carried out of these kingdoms by land, as the said subjects pay on the same goods which they shall import or export by sea. The object of this was to prevent the goods of France getting into Spain at a lower duty than when imported by sea. He should be glad to hear how this consequence of the Treaty of 1667 followed, unless it had in view, not the interest of parties, but of the general commerce of both countries. He would not trouble the House further than to observe, that the personal question as regarded a Spaniard was on the same footing as regarded a Swede or any other foreigner. Now, how did the case work, and how did the Government fulfil the Treaty in dealing with Spain as with the most favoured nation? A Venezuelan could bring his slave-grown sugar into England in a Venezuelan ship. A Spaniard proposed to bring his slave-grown sugar into England. He carried his sugar to Venezuela, and changed it for Venezuelan sugar; and brought it to England. The reply then was, that this was not Spanish sugar; the objection, in the first place, was not to the produce but to the person; but when it was taken to Venezuela, the objection was to the produce and not to the person.

Sir G. Clerk

rose amidst loud cries of "Divide," which continued throughout the whole of the right hon. Gentleman's address to the House. He denied that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Labouchere) was justified in charging the Government with not having kept faith with Spain. What construction had the Parliament of England in 1668 put upon the Treaty of 1667? It was obvious what the construction was which they put upon it, from the fact that they imposed a differential duty on Spanish wine. Though that was done so recently after the Treaty, Spain made no remonstrance. In 1686 again, a differential duty of 50 per cent. was laid upon Spanish wine. It was not until 1828 that we opened our Colonies to Spanish vessels. Did Spain, during all that time, even think of the Treaty of 1713? No, nor did she act upon it herself. In 1814, Spain levied upon American ships entering the port of Havana, a duty of one dollar; while upon British vessels she imposed a duty of a dollar and a half. Mr. Canning, on our part, remonstrated, and threatened to resort to retaliatory measures. The answer of Spain was, that she was acting on a principle of reciprocity with America. She made no allusion to the Treaty of 1713. Nothing could be so absurd as the supposition that Great Britain could enter into any such Treaty as that assumed by the noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman. There were abundant authorities in favour of the course adopted on this occasion by the Government, from Mr. Pitt down to the right hon. Gentleman opposite, whose attempted Commercial Treaty with France was a distinct proof that Spain was not considered as one of the most favoured nations. The noble Lord and his Colleagues, in 1841, were quite ready to conclude that Treaty with France on this basis. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by opposing the Motion.

Mr. Barclay

moved the adjournment of the debate.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

thought the subject had been sufficiently debated, and that adjournment was not necessary. ["Divide," "Go on."]

Mr. Barclay

resumed. He differed from the Attorney General in his view of the case. It presented two points. One, the conduct of the Spanish Government; the other, the policy of Her Majesty's Government on the Sugar question. The noble Lord attacked one point as a feint to cover his assault on the other. Whatever were the correct interpretation of the Treaties with Spain, it was clear by that of 1670 that the Colonies of that country had no claim on Great Britain. At the same time, he thought it would be better to concede the same right to Spain as was granted to other countries. It was absurd to talk of the honour of Spain, a country which had violated all her obligations to this country on the subject of the Slave Trade—all her officers being engaged in that traffic. If the sugars of Cuba and Porto Rico were to be admitted, they should be admitted on the ground of self-interest, not on the ground of right or of honour. He maintained the inexpediency of allowing slave-grown sugar in the British market, on the ground of religion and humanity, though he admitted the discriminating clause was an innovation on the commercial code of this country. It was no argument to urge that coffee and cotton were slave-grown in favour of sugar; but they were not so destructive of human life. There was no inconsistency greater than that of the noble Lord in the course of that night in respect to the Slave Trade. It would be impossible to suppress that trade while the demand for slave-grown sugar was promoted by such notions as that of the noble Lord. [Cries of "Divide."] He did not attach such importance to the discriminatory principle as regarded sugar, as did the West Indian interest; but he considered that it checked very much the cultivation of slave-grown sugar.

Viscount Palmerston

Sir, after the able speeches of my two right hon. Friends, it would be presumptuous on my part to attempt to add anything to the answers which they had given to the speeches of the hon. Gentlemen who have addressed the House on this subject on the other side. The right hon. Gentleman the late President of the Board of Trade, as he has always done, in an able and ingenious speech, showing deep research and great knowledge, addressed himself to the question; but I must say that it is not always the best symptom of the goodness of a cause, that such a long and ingenious defence is required to support it. A great portion of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman I shall dispense with any reference to, as it went to show that the old Treaties with Spain were no longer in existence; for I will take my stand, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth has done, on the allegation of Lord Aberdeen, which shows that he considers them distinctly in force at the present moment. The point, then, for us to consider, is, what the meaning of those Treaties is? The Treaties give to Spain the advantages, with regard to imports into this country, which would be conceded to the most favoured nation; it is said, however, by hon. Gentlemen opposite, that these advantages did not apply to the productions of Spain, but to persons. The right hon. Gentleman the late President of the Board of Trade, however, gave up that argument; and I must remark that what between his admissions and the difference between his opinions and those of the Attorney General, if the plus and minus were set against each other, very little would remain in favour of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, who deny that these Treaties give to Spain the privileges of the most favoured nation. If it is said that the advantages apply to persons, I ask what does that mean? If a Spanish subject comes from Cuba to England with the produce of Cuba, he is entitled to the introduction of that produce according to the terms which would be granted to the most favoured nation. The right hon. Gentleman, however, states that such a construction would lead to an absurdity, as that a Spanish subject might bring in Cuba sugar at a low duty; whereas the same sugar brought in by an English merchant, or the property of an English merchant, would be liable to the higher duty. If that be the interpretation, then can you not take measures to escape the absurdity of your own law? If you admit that such is the interpretation of the Treaty, you ought to alter the law which produces such an absurdity. If, by the Treaties, a Spanish subject is entitled to the privileges of the most favoured nation, but that you are not bound to extend it to others bringing in the same produce, and that you would thus have conflicting duties, then alter those conflicting duties, and get rid of the absurdity by changing the law. With respect to the Article of the Treaty with Spain in 1814, I will remind the right hon. Gentleman opposite of what he seemed to forget, and what seemed to have been forgotten by the writer of the note also, namely, that at the time, in July, when the Article was signed, the ancient Treaties had not been re-established; and it was not until the following month of August that the ancient Treaties were re-established. I was about to refer to the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman (the Attorney General) namely, that those who had taken upon themselves the defence of the Government on this occasion—none of them, however, having the responsibility of a Cabinet Minister, for we have not heard from a Cabinet Minister himself any defence of this measure—but none of those who have spoken on the part of the Government, had anything at all to do with the policy of the question. It was simply a question of Treaties. I must beg leave to say that, even if the point as to the construction of the Treaties were given up, and if it were admitted that there was a doubt in regard to these Treaties, I still think it was incumbent on the Government to show that in point of policy the measure was right. I do not admit that the defence of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, and who certainly has shown great courage and perseverance in advancing his opinions—I do not admit that his defence of the policy ought to satisfy the House. He spoke with strong feeling in defence of the West Indian interest, and naturally enough defended the measure as being one beneficial to the West Indians. But the defence of the measure which I require is one having reference to the country at large, to the whole commercial interests of this united Empire; and I contend that in that respect the observations of the hon. Gentleman, however, able they may have been, do not apply to the general policy of the measure; by which I mean the policy of rejecting the overture made on the part of a Power like Spain, for giving you a great mercantile advantage which you have not possessed before in relation to that country, by placing her and her Colonies on the footing of, and conferring on her and them the privileges enjoyed by, the most favoured nation.

The House divided; Ayes 87; Noes 175; Majority 88.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Horsman, E.
Ainsworth, P. Howick, Visct.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Hume, J.
Hutt, W.
Baine, W. Labouchere, rt. hn. H.
Baring, rt. hn. F. T. Lemon, Sir C.
Barnard, E. G. Leveson, Lord
Berkeley, hon. C. Macaulay, rt. hn. T. B.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Marjoribanks, S.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Marshall, W.
Bowes, J. Martin, J.
Bowring, Dr. Mitcalfe, H.
Bright, J. Mitchell, T. A.
Brotherton, J. Moffat, G.
Browne, hon. W. Morris, D.
Clay, Sir W. O'Connell, M. J.
Colborne, hn. W. N. R. Ogle, S. C. H.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Oswald, J.
Craig, W. G. Palmerston, Visct.
Dalmeny, Lord Pattison, J.
Denison, W. J. Pechell, Capt.
Dennistoun, J. Plumridge, Capt.
Duff, J. Ponsonby, hn. C. F. C.
Duke, Sir J. Protheroe, E.
Duncan, Visct. Pulsford, R.
Dundas, Adm. Ross, D. R.
Dundas, F. Russell, Lord J.
Ebrington, Visct. Sheridan, R. B.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Smith, J. A.
Evans, W. Smith, rt. hn. R. V.
Ewart, W. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Stuart, Lord J.
Fitzroy, Lord C. Strutt, E.
Fitzwilliam, hn. G. W. Towneley, J.
Forster, M. Vane, Lord H.
Gibson, T. M. Villiers, hon. C.
Gill, T. Walker, R.
Gore, hon. R. Warburton, H.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Wawn, J. T.
Hallyburton, Ld. J. G. Williams, W.
Hastie, A. Wilshere, W.
Hawes, B. Yorke, H. R.
Hayter, W. G.
Heathcoat, J. TELLERS.
Hindley, C. Hill, Lord M.
Holland, R. Tufnell, H.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Baillie, Col.
A'Court, Capt. Baillie, H. J.
Acton, Col. Baird, W.
Alford, Visct. Baldwin, B.
Allix, J. P. Barkly, H.
Antrobus, E. Baring, T.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Baring, rt. hon. W. B.
Arkwright, G. Barrington, Visct.
Ashley, Lord Benbow, J.
Astell, W. Bennett, P.
Beresford, Major Hampden, R.
Bernard, Visct. Harcourt, G. G.
Blackburne, J. I. Henley, J. W.
Boldero, H. G. Hervey, Lord A.
Borthwick, P. Hodgson, F.
Botfield, B. Hogg, J. W.
Bowles, Adm. Hope, hon. C.
Bramston, T. W. Hope, G. W.
Brisco, M. Hotham, Lord
Broadley, H. Houldsworth, T.
Broadwood, H. Hughes, W. B.
Bruce, Lord E. Hussey, A.
Buck, L. W. Hussey, T.
Buckley, E. Irton, S.
Buller, Sir J. Y. James, Sir W. C.
Bunbury, T. Jermyn, Earl
Cardwell, E. Jocelyn, Visct.
Chelsea, Visct. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Cholmondeley, hn. H. Jones, Capt.
Chute, W. L. W. Kemble, H.
Clayton, R. R. Lennox, Lord A.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Lincoln, Earl of
Clifton, J. T. Lockhart, W.
Cockburn, rt. hn. Sir G. Loftus, Visct.
Codrington, Sir W. Lopes, Sir R.
Cole, hon. H. A. Lowther, Sir J. H.
Collett, W. R. Lowther, hon. Col.
Compton, H. C. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Corry, rt. hn. H. Mackenzie, T.
Cripps, W. Mackenzie, W. F.
Damer, hon. Col. Maclean, D.
Dickinson, F. H. McNeill, D.
Douglas, Sir H. Manners, Lord C. S.
Douglas, J. D. S. Martin, C. W.
Duncombe, hon. A. Masterman, J.
Duncombe, hon. O. Meynell, Capt.
Eastnor, Visct. Morgan, O.
Egerton, W. T. Mundy, E. M.
Entwisle, W. Neeld, J.
Escott, B. Neeld, J.
Farnham, E. B. Newdegate, C. N.
Feilden, W. Nicholl, rt. hn. J.
Fellowes, E. Norreys, Lord
Filmer, Sir E. Ossulston, Lord
Fitzroy, hon. H. Packe, C. W.
Flower, Sir J. Pakington, J. S.
Forman, T. S. Palmer, R.
Fox, S. L. Palmer, G.
Fremantle, rt. hn. Sir T. Peel, rt. hn. Sir R.
Fuller, A. E. Peel, J.
Gaskell, J. Milnes Pennant, hon. Col.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Pringle, A.
Gladstone, Capt. Rashleigh, W.
Gordon, hon. Capt. Repton, G. W. J.
Gore, M. Richards, R.
Goulburn, rt. hn. H. Rolleston, Col.
Graham, rt. hn. Sir J. Round, C. G.
Granby, Marq. of Round, J.
Greenall, P. Rous, hon. Capt.
Greene, T. Russell, C.
Grogan, E. Ryder, hon. G. D.
Hale, R. B. Sandon, Visct.
Halford, Sir H. Scott, hon. F.
Hamilton, C. J. B. Seymour, Sir H. B.
Hamilton, J. H. Sibthorp, Col.
Hamilton, G. A. Smith, A.
Hamilton, Lord C. Smith, rt. hn. T. B. C.
Smollett, A. Tollemache, J.
Sotheron, T. H. S. Trench, Sir F. W.
Spooner, R. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Spry, Sir S. T. Waddington, H. S.
Stewart, J. Wellesley, Lord C.
Stuart, H. Wodehouse, E.
Sturt, H. C. Wood, Col.
Sutton, hon. H. M. Wood, Col. T.
Tennent, J. E. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Thesiger, Sir F. TELLERS.
Thornhill, G. Young, J.
Tollemache, hn. F. J. Baring, H.
Paired Off.
Archdall, Capt. M. French, F.
Bateson, Capt. Rawdon, Col.
Balfour, J. M. Ellice, E. jun.
Berkeley, hon. G. Howard, Capt.
Bell, M. Standish, C.
Bentinck, Lord G. Etwall, R.
Blakemore, R. Phillpotts, J.
Burroughes, H. N. Ord, W.
Brownrigg, J. S. Elphinstone, H.
Bruges, W. L. Hobhouse, Sir J.
Carew, W. H. P. Clements, Lord
Charteris, F. Worsley, Lord
Chapman, A. Humphery, J.
Copeland, Ald. Matheson, J.
Campbell, Sir H. Bannerman, A.
Cochrane, A. B. O'Brien, C.
Coote, Sir C. Redington, T. N.
Courtenay, Lord Seymour, Lord
Cole, hon. H. Hallyburton, Ld. F. G.
Darby, G. Curteis, H.
Douro, Marq. Byng, G.
Denison, E. B. Fox, Col.
Drummond, H. Traill, G.
Dodd, G. Clive, E. B.
Emlyn, Lord Muntz, G. F.
Estcourt, T. G. Ward, H. J.
Grimsditch, T. Philips, M.
Grimston, Lord Duncombe, T.
Gore, O. jun. Bellew, R. M.
Harris, Capt. Troubridge, Sir T.
Heathcote, Sir W. Ramsbottom, J.
Hamilton, W. Buller, C.
Hepburn, Sir T. Gisborne, T.
Houldsworth, T. Collett, J.
Henniker, Lord Morrison, Gen.
Holmes, hn. W. A. Rice, E. R.
Hodgson, R. White, S.
Hope, Sir J. Napier, Sir C.
Hornby, J. Ferguson, Col.
Irving, J. Pendarves, E. W.
Knight, F. W. Busfeild, W.
Knight, H. G. Cayley, E. S.
Knightley, Sir C. Archbold, R.
Lyall, G. Philips, G. R.
Lefroy, A. Blake, M.
Lindsay, H. H. Bell, J.
Maxwell, hon. J. Loch, J.
Maunsell, T. P. Cavendish, hon. G.
Marton, G.
Milnes, R. M. Listowel, Lord
Mackinnon, W. H. Crawford, W. S.
Morgan, C. Dundas, W.
Northland, Visct. Ricardo, L.
Oswald, A. Dalrymple, J.
Patten, J. W. Stewart, P. M.
Sanderson, R. Scrope, P.
Somerton, Lord Anson, Col.
Stanley, E. Murray, A.
Thompson, Ald. O'Conor Don
Trotter, J. Christie, W. D.
Vesey, hon. T. Wall, C. B.
Vivian, J. E. Grey, Sir G.
Villiers, Lord Byng, G. S.

House adjourned at half-past two o'clock.