HL Deb 18 April 1836 vol 32 cc1115-6
The Earl of Aberdeen

wished, before the House proceeded with the Orders of the Day, to ask a question of the noble Viscount. A short time since, he moved for copies of the correspondence between his Majesty's Minister in Spain, and the Spanish Government, for the purpose of ascertaining what had been done by the British Government to humanize in some degree the warfare that was carrying on in the Spanish provinces. The noble Viscount, in assenting to that motion, did not give their Lordships reason to expect that any very luminous or extensive correspondence would be produced. But, whatever correspondence might exist, certainly no return had as yet been made. Now, he begged to observe, that the subject was now of far more importance to this country, than when he had asked the question and made the motion to which he had alluded; for his Majesty's Government had thought proper, as it would appear, and without solicitation, to embark his Majesty's navy in this cut-throat system of warfare. In consequence of the support thus given by his Majesty's forces, the honour of this country, and the safety of our fellow subjects were much more deeply called in question than when he made the motion relative to the correspondence. He, therefore, begged to be informed by the noble Viscount, whether he was aware of any reason to prevent the production of those papers, and farther, he would request of the noble Viscount to give directions for their being speedily laid before the House.

Viscount Melbourne

did not know what was the reason of the delay, but he would take care that the papers should be laid before the House immediately. As to the steps which had been taken since the motion of the noble Earl was made, he admitted that they gave additional interest to the subject. With respect to the measures that had been adopted to alter the character of the war in Spain, he was convinced that it would give great satisfaction to the noble Earl when he assured him, that he had this day seen a despatch, which stated, contrary to the observations made in that House, as to the utter inefficiency of the convention to effect the purpose for which it was entered into, that that convention had been beneficially acted on in that part of the country to which it originally had reference, and that it had been extended to Catalonia and other parts not at first contemplated. He was sure that it would be satisfactory to the noble Earl, and to the noble Duke (Wellington), to be informed, not only that the assertion that the convention had not been attended with any good effect, was not in accordance with the fact, but that it had tended, in a great degree, to make the war in Spain more humane, and to save a great number of lives.

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