HC Deb 21 March 1848 vol 97 c849

said, he wished, in pursuance of the notice which he had given to the noble Lord opposite, to ask whether there was any truth in the statement which had appeared a few days since, to the effect that the negotiations between Lord Howden and the Government of Rio Janeiro had been brought to an unfavourable conclusion, and that notice had been given by the Brazilian Government of their intention still farther to raise the tariff against this country?


I have to state, in reply to the question of my noble Friend, that the last despatch which we received from Lord Howden contained information exactly of the nature which my noble Friend has mentioned, namely, that the result of his communications with the Brazilian Government had led him to despair, for the present, of concluding a commercial treaty, or a treaty for the suppression of the slave trade, between this country and Brazil; but just at the moment of the packet sailing, he wrote a few lines to let me know that he thought it was possible that a change of opinion might take place on the part of the Brazilian Government on this subject. At the same time, I cannot hold out to the House any confident expectation that, in the present state of the Brazils, it is likely that any commercial treaty with this country can take place, as the Brazilians are averse to any avoidable treaties with foreign countries, and as they have a notion that we look upon their trade as so valuable that we are willing to carry on the commerce with them on almost any terms they choose to fix.