HL Deb 23 December 1830 vol 2 cc57-8
Lord Wynford

said, he wished to take advantage of the last opportunity that would be afforded to him before the recess, to ask a question of the noble Earl at the head of his Majesty's Government. It was generally believed, that the duty on foreign barilla had been suspended, or in part removed, by an Order in Council; and what he desired to know was— would the noble Earl have any objection to lay before their Lordships a copy of the Treasury Minute under which that order was made? He had also to ask another question, on a subject of greater importance, relative to the Treaty which had been entered into on the 1st of November, 1815, between the kingdom of the Netherlands and Great Britain on the one hand, and Russia on the other. By that Treaty it was stipulated, that Great Britain and the Netherlands should relieve Russia of a debt of fifty millions of florins, one moiety of which was to be paid by this country, and the other by the Netherlands. It also contained a proviso, that, in case the Netherlands should become at any time separated from the other United Provinces, so much of the debt as remained unprovided for at that period should not be paid by Great Britain or Holland. Now, as he considered that England had quite enough to do in attending to her own difficulties, without volunteering to pay the debts of other nations, and as something like the contingency provided for had occurred, he begged to know if the noble Earl would have any objection to lay before the House an account of the payments that had been hitherto made, and the date of the last payment.

Earl Grey

said, he had no objection to grant either of the returns asked for by the noble and learned Lord. When the papers were produced, it would be full time for the noble Lord to make such observations on them as he thought proper; and it would be then in his power to give such explanations as were desirable; but the noble Lord had made one observation to which he presumed that some reply would be expected. He had assumed, that the period was now arrived, when, under the Treaty of 1815, this country was entitled to consider itself relieved from any further payments. Now he (Earl Grey) had only to say, that when the papers were on their Lordships' Table, it would be the proper period to consider whether actually, or by acknowledgment of both parties, such a separation had taken place between the Netherlands and the other United Provinces as formed a sufficient ground for releasing the two parties to the Treaty from their obligations to the third. When that period arrived, the noble and learned Lord would have the opportunity of pursuing any course which to him appeared expedient, and he (Earl Grey) should be enabled to state what the intentions of his Majesty's Government were. The noble Earl moved, in concluding, that the House, at its rising, do adjourn to Thursday, the 3rd of February.

Lord Wynford

was glad that the noble Earl had no objection to the production of the papers; and he agreed with him that the proper time for discussion was when the returns were in the hands of their Lordships.

Adjourned to Thursday, the 3rd of February.

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