HC Deb 31 March 1862 vol 166 cc253-4

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he will lay on the table of the House the Papers relating to the Negotiations between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the Queen of Spain, respecting the alleged persecution of Protestants?


Sir, I am afraid I cannot give the Papers which the hon. Gentleman asks for, and for the best of all reasons, that I do not think any such Papers really exist. There has been no official correspondence or negotiation between the English and Spanish Governments on the subject. The British Minister has from time to time had unofficial conversations with the Spanish Ministers with reference to the matter; but I am sure my hon. Friend and the House will understand that reports of these unofficial conversations are not matters proper to be laid before the public. I can only repeat what I have said before, that Her Majesty's Minister at Madrid has been instructed to take advantage of every favourable opportunity—without giving offence to the Spanish Government—to express the interest which the British nation feels in regard to those unfortunate people who have been condemned to severe punishment on account of their religious opinions.