said, that the papers which had been laid on the table had certainly given great satisfaction; the French ministers must be well satisfied with them; his majesty's ministers were satisfied with them; and the satisfaction of the public must be extreme, for every body laughed at them. What he now wished to know was, the expense at which all this satisfaction had been obtained. He had read the whole of the papers, and be though with a noble earl near him, that his majesty's ministers had been completely doped. They appeared, indeed, to have all that prostration of the mind and will so pleasing to divines, but so unprofitable to diplomatists. Looking at the whole of the transactions, he was firmly persuaded, that the French ministry must have known, that the noble earl opposite would be pleased at being duped. What he now wished was, to know what had been the expense of this extraordinary diplomacy. Every man must expect to be duped once in his life, and if it were done by a person who had before borne an ordinary good character, there was not much in it; but, after the previous character of the house of Bourbon, to be duped by them, was most extraordinary. The noble lord concluded by moving, for an account of the extraordinary expenses of foreign missions between the 1st Sept. and 31st Dec. 1822.
wished to ask the noble earl opposite, whether there was any treaty, or stipulation in any treaty, between this country and France, or any other country, by which it was provided that the kingdoms of France and Spain should never be united under one head? He also wished to be informed if ministers 1060 had any knowledge of a stipulation be between Russia and France, by which Russia was to land a large body of troops at Toulon, in case of a war between France and Spain. He also wished to know in what capacity the duke of Wellington, had attended the congress at Verona.
The Earl of Liverpool
had no hesitation in saying, that, looking at all the treaties, they amounted to an obligation that the crown of France and Spain should not be united under one head. As to the second question he could only say, that he believed no such stipulation was in existence. With regard to the third question, the duke of Wellington had majesty's plenipotentiary, and was entitled to take part in all the points which might be brought under discussion.
§ Earl Grey
said, he looked through the treaties in vain for any stipulation by which the union of the crowns of France and Spain was precluded. The answer of the noble earl was not satisfactory; be cause a danger so formidable to the independence of Europe ought to be the subject of a distinct stipulation, and not be left to be gathered from construction. Having said so much on the first question, he would proceed to other points. The first observation he should make was the scanty nature of the extract from the dispatch of Mr. Canning to the duke of Wellington, dated Sept. 27, 1822: this contained the first notice of his majesty's minister respecting the design of France to interfere in the affairs of Spain; but he thought it did not contain all the information which it ought upon that point. It also appeared to him most extraordinary, that appeared to him most extraordinary, that no expectation should have been entertained that the affairs of Spain would become the subject of discussion at Verona.
The Earl of Liverpool
said, that what he had stated, was, that it was not expected the affairs of Spain would be the prominent subject of discussion at Verona. He had also stated, that the instructions under which the noble duke went out, were the same instructions which were prepared for a late noble friend, and contained a distinct instruction on the subject.
§ Earl Grey
said, that whether there was and expectation of any discussion, prominent or otherwise, appeared to him to make very little difference. In the circular of the allies respecting the assembling of the congress at Verona, it was stated 1061 to be for the affairs of Italy. Whether that was the fact, made no difference in his view of the case. Their lordships would recollect, that in the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, it was stipulated that a special congress should not take place, respecting the affairs of states not being parties to the alliance, except on the invitation of those states. What he wished to know was, whether there was any instruction to our negotiator upon that point. He was assured the noble earl would not argue, that this was not a "special" congress as regarded Spain, because it was held for the affairs of Italy, or for Turkey. He wished to know whether the duke of Wellington had been instructed to observe on that article; and if not, on what ground the noble duke attended at the congress on the affairs of Spain?—He now came to the three cases put forward hypothetically for the decision of the allies. And it appeared somewhat singular, that, up to that moment, the duke of Wellington appeared in complete ignorance of their intentions with respect to Spain. This appeared most extraordinary, because, from April, 1820, his majesty's government had "communicated to his allies every instruction which he had sent to his minister at Madrid, and all the communications made by his majesty's commands to the minister of Spain, residing in London—all in the same spirit of good will to the king of Spain, and to the Spanish nation." Here, therefore, we were communicating every thing to France, and France communicating nothing in return, leaving us in profound ignorance of her intentions; and all this communicated in the same despatch. He believed that so singular a state of negotiations, threatening to end in war, was never laid by any British minister before a British parliament. But, to what purpose were those communications made to the French government, except his majesty's ministers knew something of the intended course of proceeding of France? Indeed, in the first despatch or memorandum of the duke of Wellington, from Verona, he states that, "Since the month of April 1820, the British government have availed themselves of every opportunity of recommending to his majesty's allies to abstain from all interference in the internal affairs of Spain;" and yet it was pretended that we had no intimation of the intentions against Spain! But it did not rest there. The memorandum of the duke of Wellington 1062 speaks of results of the consultation of the congress. And, was it possible to suppose that at the previous conferences nothing of the objects were stated, of which we were apparently in such complete ignorance? The duke of Montmorency says, "Spain, by the nature of her revolution, has excited the apprehensions of several great powers. England participated in these apprehensions: for even in the year 1820, she foresaw cases, in which it would be impossible to preserve with Spain relations of peace and good understanding." This was conclusive as to the fact, that the affairs of Spain had been under discussion before. The despatch of viscount de Chateaubriand confirmed the statement of the duke of Montmorency, that these objects had been the subject of discussion at the congress of Verona. He therefore wished to know from the noble earl, whether he would be willing to give the House some statement of what passed at those conferences; at least as far as related to the interference of France with the internal concerns of Spain. The duke of Wellington writes on the 12th of Nov. 1822, from Verona—"I have little to report as having occurred on the Spanish question, since I wrote to you on the 5th instant." The despatch thus alluded to, was not amongst the papers on the table; and as it would contain the conferences when the Spanish question came under discussion, must be most important. These were the two points on which he wished that farther information should be afforded.—The next point was of still greater importance. The principle on which France was now at war with Spain, was, to compel Spain to alter or to modify her institutions. That was a principle which had been condemned by his majesty's ministers, both in that and the other House of Parliament; and he was particularly interested by the statement of the noble earl the other night, that a representation had been made against that principle, as being inconsistent with the rights and liberties of independent nations. He (earl Grey) knew, that in consequence of what passed at Laybach (where the right of interfering in the affairs of other countries was first put forth), a paper had been issued by the late secretary for foreign affairs, in which that principle was disclaimed. But that paper was not satisfactory to him (earl Grey) at the time; for it appeared to him, that the mere disclaimer of a prin- 1063 ciple accompanied by exceptions to that principle, destroyed all the value of the asserition—of the general principle. Something like this, he thought, had been the conduct on the present occasion; because, in the despatch of the secretary for foreign affairs, there was a naked disclaimer of the principle only. Whether it was not our duty to do something more than that, it was not his business now to inquire; but he must say, as he said in the cases of Naples; and Piedmont, that the value of that disclaimer was much abridged, and particularly when he found that the same secretary of state was then instructing his majesty's ministers at Madrid and Paris, advising and recommending that Spain should adopt some modifications of her government, at the dictation of France, without any pretence of right or justice. But, the value of the admission was still more diminished when he looked to the papers, and found that not a single representation had been made by his majesty's ministers at Verona, Madrid, or Paris, to the French government, in direct condemnation of their principle of interference. [The noble earl here read the despatch of the duke of Wellington, dated Verona, 20th Nov. 1822]. He could not here find any word of protest against the principle. Did they say that it would be an attack on the rights of independent nations? No, but that it would be an "unnecessary assumption of responsibility;" not that they were proceeding in violation of all right, but that it might be dangerous to the king of Spain himself. He must say, that nothing appeared in that despatch to warrant the assertion which the noble earl had made on the former night—that there had been a protest made against the principle. But there was something worse than this in the memorandum of the duke of Wellington, dated Verona, 12th of Nov. 1822, there was these words—"In the course of the discussions Which had taken place upon this occasion, a marked difference of opinion as to the mode of action has appeared between the continental courts on the one hand, and England on the other. The minister of the latter power has recommended that France and the powers which should interfere in this case, should confine themselves to what may properly be called the external quarrel between France and Spain; should not menace: and above all should not approach Spain in the form of enemies, bound in a treaty of 1064 defensive alliance against her." Still, no protest appeared against the principle!—Here the noble earl read several other passages from the printed papers, to show that the arguments used by the British plenipotentiary at congress were suggested, on the ground of expediency, and that he had never urged the right which every independent nation had to regulate her own internal institutions. This had disappointed him; and he trusted, for the honour of the country, that if there were; any other representations, the noble earl would communicate them to the House.—The noble earl opposite, had stated, that, up to the latest period, he continued to receive assurances of the desire of peace on the part of France. Now, so far from any intention of that kind exhibited by France, he found, in a despatch of the French ministry to the secretary for reign affairs, the assertion of the monarchical principle in plain terms—that principle by which the people of the fairest countries of Europe had been reduced to chains and slavery—that principle which denied them any right to any measure of relief, but such as the good pleasure of the vereign might deign to accord them. That principle was distinctly avowed by the French minister; and no hopes of peace had he ever expressed, except by the submission of Spain to that principle. How, after such a declaration, ministers could entertain any expectation that France was desirous to preserve peace he could not imagine. M. de Chateaubriand concluded his note by a declaration, that if the intentions of the French government were not acted upon by Spain, war must be the result. When the French minister said, that his government had "struggled too long against public opinion," he wished it to be understood, that the people of France were hostile to the existing government of Spain. He trusted to God that M. de Chateaubriand would find that not to be the case—he trusted to God that the French people would feel that their own dignity and honour, and their dearest interests, required them note to support their government in the unjust and infamous war which it had undertaken On the heads of those detestable men who had raised war in Europe, let the consequences of their own baseness and injustice fall! After having carefully examined the papers, it appeared to him that they contained no assurances which ought to have deceived ministers with re- 1065 spect to the intentions of the French government.
The Earl of Liverpool
complained, that under pretence of asking for information, the noble earl had made a speech, in which he had entered into some of the most important parts of the great question which it was understood was to be discussed on another day. He felt himself, therefore, placed in an embarrassing situation. He must say, however, that the noble earl had given a very unfair representation of the first part of the negotiations at Verona, when he had inferred, from the questions put by the French plenipotentiary, that there had been previous conferences in which the principle of non-interference had been discussed, and had asked, whether the documents relative to those conferences would be produced? The communications on that subject were far anterior, and the view of his majesty's government had been clearly explained in a state paper drawn up by a noble marquis, now no more, in May, 1820. The noble earl next said, that it was strange we should have communicated to France all that passed between us and Spain, whilst France communicated nothing to us in return. But the government of this country made no mystery of its intentions with respect to Spain. It had nothing which it would shrink from avowing. The question of interference had not originally been raised by France, but by a paper published in 1820 by the emperor of Russia, and addressed to all the European powers. It was that document, and not any step on the part of France, which had called for the first expression of the sentiments of this country. She held no mysterious course, and her proceedings were so little matter of secrecy, that there was no step which his majesty's government took relative to Spain, that was not communicated, not only to France, but to all the other powers. They did not anticipated, however, that the affairs of Spain would become the prominent object of discussion at Verona. The noble earl thought it extraordinary that his noble friend should not, on the first starting of the question of armed interference in the concerns of Spain, have made a stronger remonstrance than he had done. But he contended, that the very first paragraph of his noble friend's note contained as strong a remonstrance as could be made. It must also be recollected that in the questions submitted by France to 1066 the congress, there was not one word about interference by force of arms. All the cases put were defensive and conditional. It might justly be said, that the measure of withdrawing the allied ministers from Madrid was an improper one, but yet it was neither armed interference not war; and if their lordships' took this view of the subject, they would find that his noble friend had alluded to the principle, even more than he was called upon to do by the occasion. The noble earl had asked to know what had taken place in the conferences which had preceded the presentation of the three questions by the French plenipotentiary. The fact was, that those questions had been put in the very first conference, and when his noble friend had objected to the principle of interference, it was not to the interference of war—for it was not then thought of—but to that which threatened to withdraw the allied ministers from Spain. His noble friend had expressly stated in his note, that even to animadvert on the internal transactions of independent states, was inconsistent with the principles on which his majesty had always acted towards other nations. Here, then, was a protest made, not only against interference by force of arms, when it was not anticipated, but against mere animadversion on the internal transactions of Spain. The noble earl, had been put in possession of the fullest information upon all subjects; and he was ready to meet the noble earl on the question, that every thing had been done which could and ought to be done, with respect to the principle of noninterference. The noble earl it seemed, supposed him to have said, on a previous night, that ministers had received particular assurances of pacific intentions on the part of the French government. What he had said, was, that up to a late period the French government had stated, on every occasion, that it was desirous of avoiding war, if it could do so consistently with its honour and character. But he had never said, that he had any confidence in the preservation of peace. Upon this point he could appeal to his own words. He would produce an instance of that on the present occasion. He recollected well that on the first day of the session, he had, said, that he did not consider "the door to be closed against an amicable adjustment of the differences existing between France and Spain." Did it appear from that expression that he felt confident that 1067 war would be prevented? The inference to be drawn from it was, that the hope of preserving peace was slender; but even then he clung to it, and he would have caught at a feather for the same purpose. Even after the speech of the king of France, he did not quite despair of seeing the tranquillity of Europe remain undisturbed. Sir C. Stuart, in his despatch from Paris, had stated, that there was a disposition on the part of the French minister to explain away the speech of his sovereign. He certainly had never expressed in that House, or elsewhere, any confidence in the preservation of peace; particularly after the speech of the king of France, in which he talked of marching 100,000 men into Spain. But he would state—and he hoped it would not be supposed that he meant to blame Spain by doing so—that to the present hour he felt convinced, that if there had been any pretext given to the French government to eat its words—to recede from the position which it had taken up—peace might have been preserved.—The noble earl had called for the production of two papers. But before he could state his determination, with respect to them, he must take a few hours to consider. The noble earl had contended, that, according to the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, the British government ought to have insisted that the king of Spain should be invited to attend the congress at Verona. That in his opinion, would have been a very unwise measure. In the despatches which the allied powers sent to their ministers at Madrid, the strong part of their case was, that the king of Spain was a prisoner. If the British government had done as the noble earl wished it to do, it must have led to a declaration that the king was in duresse. By protesting against any interference at all in the internal affairs of Spain, the British government kept the ground clearer than they could have done by bringing the Spanish government to the congress.
could not help declaring, that the noble earl had given a most unsatisfactory answer to all the questions which were put by his noble friend. The first question which had been put to the noble earl was, how it had happened, that we had communicated to France every thing we had done with regard to Spain, whilst France communicated, nothing to us upon the same subject? Now, what answer did the noble earl give upon this 1068 point? He said, that we did not communicate our transactions with Spain to France alone, but that we also let the emperors of Russia and Austria and the king of Prussia into the secret. He must say, that such a proceeding was the wildest and most impracticable course of policy ever pursued by men in power. Upon the second point of inquiry; namely, why; the British government had not protested more strongly against the principle of interference in the internal concerns, of Spain, reference had been made to a despatch of the noble duke opposite. He could assure that noble duke, without intending an idle compliment to him, that whenever he found his name attached to any document of which he could not approve, he felt pain and humiliation; but he felt it his duty to declare, that papers more unbecoming a British minister than those which had proceeded from the pen of the noble duke, he had never had the misfortune to peruse. All that the noble duke had applied himself to, was, the question of expediency. He had uniformly expressed more commiseration for the party about to commit the crime, than for the party against whom it was about to be committed. Let their lordships look at the language of the noble duke. Speaking of the proposed interference with Spain, in his answer to the three questions proposed by the French government, he said, "such an interference always appeared to the British government an unnecessary assumption of responsibility, which, considering all the circumstances, must expose the king of Spain to danger, and the power or powers which should interfere, to obloquy, certain risks, and possible disasters—to enormous expenses, and final disappointment in producing any result." This was the way in which the noble duke spoke of the greatest crime which men in possession of power could commit. The explanation which the noble earl had given of the early proceedings at Verona, was most extraordinary. Could the noble duke mean seriously to declare, that after the declaration which Russia had issued, in order to drive on an aggression against Spain, he believed that the three questions which had been so frequently alluded to, had been put to him in contemplation of an aggression on the part of Spain against France? ["Hear," from, the duke of Wellington]. Well, if the noble duke after what had passed respecting Naples, 1069 and after the perusal of the proclamations of Russia, would say, that he, in the simplicity of his heart, thought those questions were proposed in contemplation of an aggression on the part of Spain against France, he (lord H.) was bound to believe him; but he would pray, that the affairs of this country might never again be conducted by men who, like the noble duke and his colleagues, however, honest they might be themselves, were so little aware of the dishonesty of others. The noble earl had said, that he supposed the answer which he would give to the question which he (lord H.) had put to him, namely, whether this country was bound by treaty to prevent the union of the crowns of Spain and France, would prove the same as the reply which he had given on a former occasion. It certainly was not the same answer as that to which the noble earl had alluded; but it was quite as unsatisfactory. On the former occasion, the noble earl had declared, that the union of the two crowns was provided against by the treaty of Seville. And how? Why, because the treaty of Seville contained an article by which we guaranteed to the Spanish monarchy the integrity of their possessions; and it was supposed that this was tantamount to a stipulation that the king of Spain should never succeed to any new possessions. The noble ear], on the present occasion, stated, that he had no doubt that the general spirit of treaties which he and his colleagues had been negotiating for the last seven years, was in opposition to the union of the two monarchies. It should be recollected, however, that the basis of all those treaties was legitimacy, or what, in plain English, was called divine right. Upon the death of the duke d'Angoulême, and Monsieur, and the young duke de Bordeaux, the principle of divine right placed the crown of France upon the head of Ferdinand 7th. Coupling that fact with the events now going on in the world, and with the insatiable ambition which had always characterized the Bourbons of France, he thought it was not difficult to perceive the real intentions of the French government. After stating it as his conviction, that if it could have been anticipated at the time the Spanish constitution was framed, that the Bourbons would recover the possession of the throne of France, an article would have been introduced to prevent the union of the two monarchies, and expressing a hope that such an article might 1070 yet be introduced, the noble lord concluded by saying, that he should move for sundry papers on a future day.
§ The Duke of Wellington
observed, in reference to the observations which had been made upon his conduct, that in his answer to the questions of the French government he had referred to the principle laid down by the late secretary of state in a document dated May, 1820, of non-interference in the internal concerns of other states. It was impossible to deny that that was the intention of the second paragraph of the answer commencing in the following words:—"Without adverting to those principles which his majesty's government must always consider the rule of their conduct, in relation to the internal affairs of other countries," &c. The principle was carried still farther in the answer which he had given, upon receiving-the despatches which the allied sovereigns had resolved to send to their minister at Madrid. He had there declared, that to animadvert upon the internal transactions of an independent state, unless such transactions affect the essential interests of his majesty's subjects, is inconsistent with those principles on which his majesty has invariably acted on all questions relating to the internal concerns of other countries," &c. Now, he really did not know how he could have expressed the opinions of his government in stronger terms than those which he had made use of.
gave notice, that he would on that day week submit a motion, which would afford their lordships an opportunity of expressing their opinion upon the conduct of ministers, in the late negotiations.