HC Deb 19 April 1861 vol 162 cc800-1

said, he wished to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he has any objection to state to the House the nature of the Communications which have passed between Sir A. Buchanan and the Spanish Government with reference to the present persecutions in Spain?


said, that Communications had passed between Her Majesty's Government and that of Spain, but that they more particularly related to the treatment of British subjects in that country. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Justice in Spain had both declared that they desired to do everything in their power to enable British subjects to exercise their just rights within the Spanish dominions. There were, he might add, further communications of rather an unofficial character with respect to those persons in Spain who had been condemned to endure severe punishments for professing and exercising worship in conformity with the Protestant faith; and, with respect to those persons, the Spanish Government said that, whatever they might be disposed to do—and they were, he believed, inclined to recommend a pardon—they were, however, very much embarrassed in their action in the matter by the fact that the discovery had been made that secret societies existed in Spain which were in their nature of a socialist and republican tendency, and whose object was supposed to be to promote revolution. It appeared, moreover, that the Spanish bishops and clergy had in consequence expressed great alarm, and that the Government felt bound to do nothing at the present moment which would be likely to foster the spirit by which that alarm was occasioned.