HL Deb 23 July 1839 vol 49 cc659-86
The Marquess of Londonderry

rose to put some questions to the Government relative to the correspondence which had been laid upon the table in regard to the affairs of Spain. He had moved for those papers at an early period of last Session, but the delay which had taken place in their production had, he feared, prevented those who were less interested in the affairs of Spain than he was from wandering through these documents. They fully proved the bad effects of the course of policy which had been pursued by the Government, and he was persuaded, that if they had not departed from the line of policy which had been recommended by his noble Friend (the Duke of Wellington), if they had not put forward the Auxiliary Legion, and if they had adhered to a neutral line of policy, they would, in such a case, have been heard with respect and deference by both parties engaged in the Spanish contest, and it would have been unnecessary to call for the interference of the great Powers of Europe to put an end to those atrocities which disgraced the war in Spain. But they had departed from a neutral line of policy, they had taken a side in the war, and they were now disregarded by both parties. And what was the result of that departure from the only line of policy which was consistent with the honour and dignity of a great nation? After the Legion had returned, disgraced, and when nothing had been accomplished, they were obliged, at the eleventh hour, to go to the great Powers, and to demand the exercise of their moral influence to put an end to the atrocities which had marked the war in Spain, and to enter into a convention to secure that desirable object. If that course had been adopted five years ago—if it had been adopted when it was recommended by his noble Friend, these massacres would never have disgraced civilized Europe. He ventured to say, that the truth of that assertion was fully borne out by the papers which bad been laid upon the Table, and for himself, he desired no other means for the condemnation of the conduct of the Government, than the correspondence which the Government had itself produced. He thought, however, that there was much ground for complaint as to the manner in which the correspondence had been laid before their Lordships. The papers had been produced in a manner so unsatisfactory, that it appeared to him as if a disposition had existed to evade the order which the House had made upon the subject. On the first page there was an extraordinary statement, to which he wished to call their Lordships' attention. He had last year moved for these papers, in order to snow what aid had been furnished by the Government either in money, arms, or stores, to Muniagorri, a new chief who had been favoured by the Government, and he was anxious to know the nature of his correspondence with Lord John Hay, and what stores had been furnished to this chief. At the bottom of the first page of the correspondence, however, there was a memorandum, stating—"There is nothing to show that any articles were specifically furnished to Muniagorri, the Spanish chief:" but if they turned to the end, they would find it stated, that no communication on this subject had been received at the Foreign-office from Lord John Hay, while it was certain that arms and ammunition had been sent. But if no communication had been received, and if stores had been sent to Muniagorri, why had not the Foreign-office called upon Lord John Hay to furnish a specific return? The agents of the British Government seemed to him to have taken the truth of whatever communications were made to them for granted, without examination and without any proof of their accuracy. He found it stated in one of the letters, that a great number of prisoners had been murdered by General Cabrera since the 1st of October, 1838, and these returns had been forwarded by Colonel Lacy, a British officer, but there was no means of knowing, nor was there any evidence to show, that these statements were correct. In fact, if they looked through the correspondence they would find that Cabrera denied the truth of the charges which had been made against him by Colonel Lacy, and he should like to know, whether the official despatches of the Spanish General were not as much to be relied upon as the communication of this British officer. In a letter, also, which had appeared in all the newspapers, from Cabrera, he stated distinctly, that the statement of Colonel Lacy was not true when he said that he had given no quar- ter—that the charge was wholly false: and he showed, further, in that letter that 3,000 prisoners had been spared. Government, therefore, had founded their representations to the great Powers on statements which did not rest upon facts, and it manifested great partiality on the part of Ministers, thus to lay the blame of these atrocities on the Carlists alone, when it was well known that the Christinos were at least equally guilty. Yet it was upon this one-sided evidence that the Secretary for Foreign Affairs called upon the Ministers of the great Powers to exercise their influence to put an end to such disgraceful proceedings. But, in fact, the whole of the statements contained in the correspondence seemed to have been made from taking a false view. If these charges against Cabrera were false, in the representations which had been made by the Foreign Secretary to the foreign Courts, it was clear that the whole blame ought not to have been thrown on one party exclusively; and if Cabrera was denounced as a monster, the noble Lord should have considered whether there were not monsters also on the other side. These partial representations had been sent to the Ministers of the great Powers, and Lord William Russell had written a letter in consequence, in which Cabrera was denounced as a monster. That was a term which ought not to have been applied, and such language in the mouth of a Minister was certainly highly improper. Ministers had been obliged to ask the aid of other powers, to put an end to the atrocities which had marked the Spanish contest, and when that aid had been obtained, they then turned round upon those powers, and tried to induce them to withhold their support from a cause which they considered just. That, he must say, was most unbecoming a great nation, and it was not the direct and manly course of policy which England ought to pursue. But what were the principles upon which this convention had been formed? It clearly seemed, that when the efforts of the present Government failed, and that when they had an object to carry, they were obliged to resort to the great principles which had been acted on by the noble Duke near him. Ministers had, for eight years, tried to settle the affairs of Belgium and Holland, and in the end they had been obliged to apply for the assistance of the great Powers, They had long tried to settle the contest in Spain, and yet, in the end, they had been obliged to ask the aid of the great Powers to accomplish an arrangement for an exchange of prisoners. He had, therefore, on looking for any final arrangement, had his attention directed to the great treaty to which he had alluded, and what did he find the terms of that treaty were? It was stated, that the great objects, and the leading principles of that treaty were, to maintain the peace of Europe, and that in the attainment of that object, the general policy of Europe should be consulted. Russia had asked, when the consent of that power had been obtained, to aid in terminating the atrocities of the Spanish contest, whether there were not good grounds for putting an end to the war altogether? And what had followed? The Foreign Secretary wrote to Lord Clanricarde to ascertain what the views of Russia were, and whether that power would consent to measures for terminating the war in Spain. Now, that was certainly a most extraordinary course. It was certainly an extraordinary course for the Goverment to call on one individual power to express its views on this subject, and the Foreign Secretary must have been young indeed in his office, if he expected that Russia would consent to explain itself in answer to such a proposition. The noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department had stated, that there were particular circumstances which placed this country and France in a different position from that occupied by other great Powers. Now, what were the different circumstances which affected our position in what regarded the pacification of Spain? What grounds were there for for supposing that when a general measure was proposed, which was consonant with humanity, the quadruple treaty placed us in a different position from other powers? He did not argue that the attempt must necessarily succeed, but he did argue that it was very probable, as one party was too powerful to allow the other to put it down, and both parties had been reduced to a state of comparative inaction. He believed that the people of Spain were now generally brought to the belief, that it would be wise and expedient to terminate the war, and he did not see why the great Powers should not bring about an arrangement. An armistice might be proclaimed pending the negotiations, which would of itself tend to allay the animosities which had been excited. But the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department, had stated two reasons for declining to act upon the suggestion of Count Nesselrode. One was, that this country and France had different obligations imposed upon them from the other great powers; the second was, that the proposition having been made by Russia, and declared by England to be inadmissible, if it contemplated measures not in accordance with the quadruple treaty, the matter had dropped on the part of Russia. But this was not the case, for the very last letter which Lord Clanricarde wrote, stated distinctly, that Count Nesselrode proposed, that the five plenipotentiaries should meet, professing himself unable to state precisely what were his ideas upon the subject, but urging the propriety of coming to some arrangement. He said, then, that if Russia had stated this, it was surely becoming in us to meet them on the other side. There was, on the other side of the House, a noble Lord, who had lately returned from his embassy in Spain, who would, perhaps, be able to give their Lordships some information on the subject. Another point on which he wished to ask a question of the noble Viscount, related to the conduct of the Spanish Government towards the British Auxiliary Legion. He had urged their claims upon the noble Viscount on a former evening, but he was sorry to see that the Government were powerless, and that they could do nothing either at home or abroad. Let the commission act in a little more generous way, by allowing them interest upon the sums on the race of the certificate. When he brought this subject before the House the other day, he showed that the document had neither date nor interest. That very day Colonel Ellice, who was left by Colonel de Lacy Evans in charge of the rear-guard, and who, he believed, was the very last man to leave Spain, had called on him, and produced a certificate, from which it appeared that no less a sum than 850l. was due to this individual. Colonel Ellice said, that he had a wife and children dependent upon him, but that he could not get any money from the Spanish Government. He entreated the noble Viscount to see if he could not do justice to the British officers and soldiers by calling on the Spanish Government to allow them interest upon these certificates. There was another point to, which he wished to call the attention of the noble Viscount, which related to the Eliot Convention. The excuse which had been offered for not extending the provisions of that treaty to all parts of Spain, was, that a number of marauders and robbers might get the benefit of the Convention, and get themselves exchanged as prisoners of war. Now, surely, this was complete subterfuge. He wished to ask the noble Viscount, in the first place, whether there were any engagements in the opinion of her Majesty's Government, under the treaty of the Quadruple Alliance, which would prevent Great Britain from entering into negotiations with the other great Powers for the avowed purpose of bringing about the pacification of Spain? Secondly, he wished to know why, if England and France did not stand in the same position as the other great powers, overtures were made on the 27th of November; and whether it were understood that England and France were to monopolize the affairs of Spain? Thirdly, he would ask, whether it was the intention of her Majesty's Government to forego the extension of the benefits of the Eliot Convention to the whole of Spain? And, lastly, whether the Government intended to take more decisive measures, in order to induce the Spanish Government to liquidate the claims of the British Legion, or at least to grant certificates bearing a date, and bearing interest.

The Earl of Clarendon

My Lords; I am sensible that much apology is due on my part to your Lordships for venturing at this moment to claim your Lordships' attention for a short time, and to the noble Marquess (Londonderry) who has just sat down, I feel that particular apology is due for being about to adopt a course which is, I fear, irregular, and not waiting to address your Lordships till my noble Friend on the left had replied to the questions of the noble Marquess; but, my Lords, as the noble Marquess has so pointedly adverted to me, and as I have no doubt that the answer of my noble Friend will be satisfactory to the noble Marquess, and that your Lordships will, consequently, be unwilling to prolong this discussion, I am anxious first to offer a few remarks upon the speech of the noble Marquess, and I trust that that indulgence, which I have never yet seen solicited in vain from your Lordships, will be extended to me, connected as my name is with the correspondence on your Lordships' table, which has given rise to the questions of the noble Marquess, and having had the honour to be the Minister of this country in Spain since the commencement of the civil war in 1833. My Lords, the noble Marquess has informed your Lordships of the grounds upon which he has thought it his duty to call the attention of your Lordships to the correspondence now on the table, but as the object sought by her Majesty's Government in mitigating the horrors of the war appears by the papers themselves to have been fully achieved, and as the answer to the question he has put to her Majesty's Government is to be found in the correspondence itself, and that several weeks have now elapsed since these papers were presented to the House, without the noble Marquess' sense of duty having moved him to make them a subject of discussion, I am rather inclined to believe that some other motive than that which the noble Marquess has avowed, must have led to the course he has now taken, and that he considers the cause he has so long protected in Spain stands at this moment in peculiar need of his assistance—that the noble Marquess, therefore, has come to the rescue less out of desire to see a termination put to the horrors of a civil war, which afflict a portion of the Peninsula, than from the fear he may entertain that if the mediation which he is so anxious to bring about be too long deferred it may arrive too late. My Lords, I know that the subject of Spanish affairs is one which must be irksome to your Lordships, and that few among your Lordships can be inclined to read what is connected with them in the public papers. I shall, therefore, take the liberty of informing your Lordships, that in the newspapers there has lately been published, by the authority of the Spanish government, some intercepted correspondence between Don Carlos, and Cabrera, and the exiled ministers of that Prince, by which it appears that Don Carlos is carrying on an intrigue against his General, Maroto, in whom he pretends to confide, but whom in his heart he detests. My Lords, as it probably will not be in your Lordship's memory, how that General came to occupy his present post, I shall briefly state the facts as they are illustrative of the position in which Don Carlos must now find himself. Maroto shot—without trial, or the form even of accusation or condemnation, six of his brother Generals, whom he looked upon as personal rivals, for which he was proclaimed to be a traitor by Don Carlos. Maroto (in order, probably, to prove that he was neither), then marched Ms army against his king, and Don Carlos, upon his approach, issued another proclamation, recalling the first, and ordering it to be burnt in every town and village (and when a noxious document is ordered to be burned in Spain, it is so by the common hangman), and Don Carlos further expressed his anxious hope that this would be received as a satisfaction by his faithful subject Maroto, whose loyalty nothing but the calumnies of perfidious advisers could for a moment have induced him to doubt. Maroto accepted the apology, which for ever degraded Don Carlos, and made himself supreme. He banished all the confidential advisers of Don Carlos, appointed his own ministers, and has since that time virtually been sovereign in that part of the country. Since that time, however, Don Carlos, in order to recover his lost power, has not ceased to intrigue against him; and, as the intercepted correspondence goes on to show, there is now so much disunion amongst the Carlists, the want of means is so great, and the discontent so general, that the cause never was considered to be in so disastrous a plight. I know this to be the opinion of some of the most influential Carlists both in and out of Spain; and as their fears have, in all probability, been caught by the noble Marquess, he may have thought, by the course he has this day adopted, to throw his shield over Don Carlos, and to hide his protege's distress by placing him on the same footing with the Queen of Spain, and invoking the mediation of the great Powers of Europe, as if the belligerent parties were on terms of equality. By the papers on your Lordships' table, your Lordships will see that her Majesty's Government, complying with the request of the Spanish government, addressed itself to the three Northern Courts, and asked their intervention with Don Carlos, to cause a stop to be put to the revolting atrocities, committed by his Generals, which rendered retaliation on the part of the Queen's Generals a matter of melancholy, but unavoidable, necessity. The courts of Russia, Prussia, and Austria responded to the invitation thus made to them in a manner which did them infinite honour; and Count Nesselrode, going still further, suggested in his dispatch to Count Pozzo di Borgo, and his note to Lord Clanricarde, that some means should be adopted for putting an end to the war. The noble Viscount at the head of the Foreign Department, was, I know, ready and most anxious to avail himself of the indication, for I can call it nothing else, of the Russian Minister, but it was necessary for him first to ascertain upon what basis Russia and the other Powers would join with England and France in any negociations, as it was clear that England and France, having recognised the Queen of Spain, and being bound to her by the Quadruple Treaty, would not secede from the obligations that those acts imposed: and I will ask the noble Marquess, and ask it fearlessly, would he, if he had at that time been conducting the foreign affairs of this country—would he have acted differently? Would he have disregarded the solemn compact by which this country is bound to the Queen of Spain? Would he have admitted Don Carlos, whatever may be his opinion of that Prince's rights, or respect for his character, to treat upon terms with the Queen? Would he have considered the Government of England to be in the same position as that of Russia, which had recognised neither the Queen nor Don Carlos? I feel sure he would not. I feel sure that he must know too well the value of a treaty to have acted differently from the noble Secretary for Foreign Affairs—and that, like him, he would have felt no further steps could be taken in the matter, while Count Nesselrede, replying to his enquiries, said, that for his part he had no suggestions to make. I will also ask the noble Marquess if he is aware of the existence of a protocol, agreed to by the principal Powers of Europe, and signed at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818, by which it is specifically agreed that if in future the interference of these Powers should become desirable for the arrangement of the internal affairs of any other nation, such interference should never take place except at the express desire of that nation whose representative should always assist at the deliberations of the Congress, which might in consequence be assembled. How then, my Lords, in the teeth of this most just and politic compact between the Sovereigns of Europe, could a Congress have been assembled for the settlement of the affairs of Spain, unasked for by Spain? and what representative of Spain could have attended such a Congress? It is clear that England and France must have insisted that a Plenipotentiary of the Queen should attend, and only the Queen's Plenipotentiary, because, having acknowledged the Queen's rights, they could not have permitted the claims of a pretender to the throne to be represented at the Congress. But would the Northern Powers have been satisfied with having Spain so represented, as they have not acknowledged the Queen? and would they have had any right to insist upon the presence of an agent from Don Carlos, when they have not recognised either? But the noble Marquess now appears to think, or rather he says, that future steps ought to have been taken, and that if the three Powers had been agreed the Spaniards must have yielded. But here let me remark, that in this question of agreement lies the whole difficulty, and prevents the case of Belgium from being a parallel case. All the Powers were agreed upon the recognition of Belgium; and that, and that alone, rendered their joint co-operation possible. Would it have been possible, if England and France had recognized the independence of Belgium, as they were bound to do, and that the Northern Powers had asserted the right of the King of Holland to the throne of Belgium—would a Congress, meeting upon such a basis, have led to any good result? And in the same way could England and France have consented to a Congress at which the claims of Don Carlos to the throne of Spain were to be supported; and if such claims were not brought forward, and the rights of the Queen recognized, the Congress would be unnecessary; for were the Northern Powers to withdraw their support and aid from Don Carlos, the war would soon be at an end. But let me ask the noble Marquess upon what grounds he says the Spaniards would have yielded? Does he draw his deductions upon that point from history, or experience, or his knowledge of Spanish character? He must have strangely confused them if he thinks what he says; for I can tell him that neither threats nor protocols of Foreign Powers would have any more influence upon Spaniards than they would upon Englishmen, and their only result would be to unite all classes of Spaniards in one bond of resistence to the Powers by which their nationality was menaced. True it is that the combined armies of Europe might march into Spain, and establish there any system of Government that a Congress of Sovereigns might think fit to decree; but is the noble Marquess prepared to resort to such an expedient—or if he were, does he think the Powers of Europe would be prepared to march with him—or if they were, does he think that the Government they had set up in Spain would endure one hour after the last foreign soldier had recrossed the frontier? I have some experience of that country, and the noble Marquess may take my word, that the unsolicited intervention of foreigners in the political institutions of Spaniards, will al ways be a miserable failure; and so it ought to be, and greatly it redounds to the honour of Spaniards that it should be so. The noble Marquess will, I trust, see therefore all the circumstances which rendered unpopular, the accomplishment of what he desired, and which would, if practicable, have, I am convinced, been allowed by her Majesty's Government with as much readiness and satisfaction as the noble Marquess himself would have displayed. I believe, however, the noble Marquess will admit that the papers on your Lordship's table prove that British agency was well directed and productive of good results, as regards the mitigation of the civil war in Lower Arragon, and that through our means much human suffering was diminished and many lives were spared; and thus, through the intervention of her Majesty's Government, a state of things has been brought about, quite as important and quite as much called for as that which the Eliot Convention established. The noble Marquess blames my noble Friend at the head of foreign affairs, because the Eliot treaty was not made to extend throughout the whole of Spain. My Lords it was impossible. I wish to heaven it had been; but those who talk on the subject, as the noble Marquess has done, are really not aware of the facts. At all times of political disturbance in Spain there are never wanting bands of robbers and malefactors, who start up in every quarter, and raise a standard of revolt in their own particular district for the mere purposes of crime, and to have made the Eliot Convention appliccable to such men would have been sufficient of itself to have quadrupled, aye, and far more than quadrupled, their numbers, by offering beforehand impunity for their offences. It would have led to every class of bad consequences, and never would have been carried into effect but in the Basque Provinces, where two armies were in the presence of each other, depots of prisoners and a regular cartel for their exchange would be established. The treaty was practicable—it proved a real blessing, added another item to the immense debt of gratitude which the Spanish nation owes to the noble Duke opposite, a debt which I must say is always cheerfully and cordially acknowledged. Much praise is likewise due to my noble Friend Lord Eliot who displayed great ability and tact in negotiating the treaty; but I am also in justice bound to say that the Spanish government met the proposal of the noble Duke in precisely the same spirit in which it was made to them as on every other occasion the Government and Generals of the Queen manifested a desire (of which they have omitted no occasion to prove the sincerity) that the war should be carried on according to the usages of civilized nations and here, my Lords, I must beg to say in answer to the unwarrantable remarks of the noble Marquess, and with reference to the evidence to be found in the papers now on your Lordships' table, that when officers such as Colonel Wylde, and Colonel Lacy, and Colonel Alderson, men of high and unimpeachable honour, who are bound by honour, as well as duty, carefully to collect and faithfully to report to her Majesty's Government every thing that occurs in the different corps to which they are attached; when such men bear evidence to the humane conduct of the Queen's Generals, and to their unceasing efforts to secure the war being carried on with humanity; and when I myself declare upon my honour that I have found the same feelings to exist in all the different Ministers and Generals with whom I have been in official relation, and who have invariably acted upon every suggestion of mine that had for its object the mitigation of the war, I say, my Lords, it is most hard, it is most unjust, to confound such men, and their intentions, and their acts, with the hordes of banditti who spring up on all sides, and are invested with authority, by Don Carlos, in order to carry devastation through the country, to pillage the inhabitants, and to strike terror among the loyal subjects of the Queen—conduct which is only natural, after all, for these men spring from the dregs of the people, and their existence and power depend upon their atrocities—it is shameful, my Lords, to confound such men with the Ministers and Generals of the Queen, men of education and enlightenment, and humanity. The outrage is deeply felt by them, and they cannot but be indignant that such opinions should be current in England, and more particularly among Foreign Powers, and their Represtatives at the different Courts of Europe, who have doubtless their own particular purposes to serve in representing the two parties now contending in Spain as not only equal in power but rivals in barbarity. And, my Lords, while talking of Foreign Powers and their Representatives, I may be permitted to advert to the scheme which is, I know, most in vogue with them, and which they are constantly urging as the only means of arranging the affairs of Spain, but which, if it were not absolutely impracticable, would be of all others the most disastrous, namely, the marriage of Don Carlos' son with the Queen. My Lords, upon this I have, in the first place, to observe that it would be the surrender of rights on both sides, which it is utterly hopeless to expect, for all who know any thing about that Prince, or the fanatical party in whose hands he is a mere puppet, are aware that nothing short of his being absolute, despotic King of Spain will satisfy him; he, therefore, never would consent to abdicate his claims in favour of his son. Then, as to the Queen Regent, even supposing she would disregard every political consideration, and abandon the party by which she has hitherto been supported, can any one expect that she, a mother as well as a Regent, should devote her daughter to the life of misery that such a marriage would render inevitable, and permit to be enacted over again in Spain the farce that was attempted in Portugal by the marriage of Don Miguel with Donna Maria, which proved, as might have been foreseen, a miserable failure. But even were all difficulties of this kind overcome, a plan for placing the representatives of two antagonist principles upon the same throne, and for ensuring the co-existence of two rival and exasperated parties incapable of compromising their difficulties, can only be considered a plan for sowing the seeds of eternal civil war. My Lords, it is only the fear of wearying your Lordships prevents my pointing out the countless evils to which this project for tranquilizing Spain must give rise. My Lords, in my opinion, the Spanish question has not been rightly understood in England, either in its general character or in its details. Nor is this to be wondered at, for Spain differs in many essential points from every European country? and as the Spanish question is generally viewed and argued upon according to our experience, and by the analogies drawn from the history and character of other countries, the question becomes embarrassed rather than illustrated by discussion. I am far from regretting, however, that such difficulties have not deterred the noble Marquess from constantly bringing the affairs of Spain under the consideration of your Lordships; indeed, I think, that any Member of Parliament who promotes discussion upon foreign affairs does a great public good, for it is astonishing, and at the same time lamentable, how great an apathy exists in England with regard to our relations with foreign countries, and how much indifference there is as to whether our interests in every part of the world are properly protected—whether the reciprocal obligations of treaties are properly observed—whether every thing that is good in the laws, institutions, and practices of a foreign country, is carefully collected and sent home—and, above all, whether every opportunity is turned to account for extending our commercial relations; for these, my Lords, I apprehend in the present times are the real duties of diplomacy. It is always, therefore, with satisfaction that I see any subject connected with our foreign relations discussed in Parliament, in order that the country may have an opportunity of learning its true position with regard to other nations. I would certainly have wished that the noble Marquess had been somewhat more accurate in his statements with reference to Spain, and I hope your Lordships will so far extend your indulgence to me as to allow of my making a few remarks upon the last speech of the noble Marquess upon this subject; for he has in that so much misrepresented the real state of things in Spain, unintentionally I am quite sure, that he has laboured under the difficulty which all more or less experience, in arriving at accurate information upon Spain; but from his speech this evening, I see no reason to think that his opinions have undergone any variation. My Lords, in that speech of the noble Marquess, delivered I think on the 18th of June last year, the noble Marquess was pleased to speak of me in terms of a very unflattering description. I shall now only reply by admitting his or any other persons complete right to canvass the public conduct of a public servant, and to assure the noble Marquess that as I differ with him upon every point connected with Spain, I cannot say that I expected to merit his approbation, neither, indeed, can I say that I was ambitious of it. I shall not think it necessary to allude to the noble Marquess's reflections and predictions on the steady increase of Don Carlos' force, further than to beg your Lordships to re- member that the whole of Gallicia, the Asturias, Leon, Estremadura, Andalusia, Upper Arragon, and the two Castiles, are as peaceable as they ever were at any period of Spanish history, and as completely attached to their lawful sovereign; and that the civil war only exists, where it has so long been confined, in the Basque Provinces, in a portion of Lower Arragon and Valencia, and in a small district of Catalonia, the whole of which is mountainous and of most difficult access. And I will then ask your Lordships what is to be thought of the increasing power of Don Carlos, and whether it is best, or politic, or likely to serve any practical object, to place him upon a footing of equality with the Queen? In the parts of the country I have just named, the war still exists, and may continue to do so for some time, and while it lasts the Government must be feeble, and the whole country must suffer for the portion of it which is so afflicted. That peace has not been restored there can only be accounted for by the fact, that Spaniards make war now in precisely the same manner that they used to do—in the manner which must be familiar to us all through the despatches of the noble Duke opposite. My Lords, upon those despatches, which have, if it be possible, placed the noble Duke's fame upon a still more imperishable basis than it stood before, I feel it is next akin to presumption in me to offer even the humblest tribute of admiration. My only excuse is, the six years I have passed in Spain, during the whole of which time the country has been in war; and, my Lords, it requires to have lived in Spain, under such circumstances, to appreciate those despatches at their full worth—to understand the enormous difficulties with which the noble Duke had to contend, and his unrivalled merit in overcoming them. My Lords, there is hardly one of those despatches in which a man having a thorough knowledge of Spain and Spaniards would not fill up some hiatus and supply omissions which would redound to the glory of the noble Duke, and prove the unassuming character of true greatness. My Lords, I feel I ought to apologize to your Lordships, and especially to the noble Duke, for having thus yielded to the temptation of expressing the feelings I have entertained ever since I had the satisfaction of reading those despatches, and I shall now only offer a few remarks upon that portion of the noble Marquess' speech last year, in which he casts a great and undeserved slur upon Spaniards, by assuming that they feel disgust at the free institutions endeavoured to be forced upon them. The noble Marquess, from the whole tenor of his speech, means to convey the idea—the absolutely erroneous idea—that the attempt to force these institutions upon Spaniards was made by her Majesty's Government, and as so much has been said respecting Spain, and so little that is really accurate is known, it may be matter of interest, if not of importance, to the people of this country to know what these institutions were likely to effect for Spaniards, what their feeling is towards them, and what interest England has in the success of the Queen's cause. My Lords, there is no greater error than to suppose that Spaniards are unfit for freedom or averse to a liberal form of Government; their own municipal institutions are the freest and most popular in the world; they existed in Spain when the feudal system obtained in the rest of Europe; although we have heard much lately in this House respecting municipal institutions—and certainly they are not here spoken of with much veneration—I consider them as the best trainers for freedom, and the system which renders men the most fit to be entrusted with liberty. It is certainly true, that Spain has for centuries been under the double yoke of a kingly and a priestly despotism, with all the train of degradation and corruption that they bring with them; but it is true that she has seized the first opportunity of emancipating herself, and the sacrifices to which that nation now submits, and all the horrors of civil war which Spaniards now endure, are proofs of their conviction that the objects which they have in view more than outweigh the difficulties with which their attainment is surrounded; but the contest they are engaged in is not sterile, they have already gained, and gained much; they have made such despotism as they before endured, in future impossible. Were Don Carlos on the throne he could not restore it. He would try. The bloody and fanatical party in whose hands he must always be a blind and wretched, though not unwilling instrument, would try it; they would confiscate, and banish, and gibbet, but they would fail, and I am convinced, that if Don Carlos were upon the throne he would, in the course of one twelvemonths, do more to injure the monarchical system, and to render monarchy abominable than all the revolutions and constitutions that can be conceived would effect in a century. It is true I am convinced that the northern Powers of Europe would perceive their error in having supported a cause without being fully acquainted with its objects, and a man who must render order and good government in Spain impossible, and I am sure that order and good government, by whatever means established, is all that those Powers in reality desire; they can have no other object and no other interest; but Spaniards of the present day have rendered any return to the despotism of former times impossible, and I say that in thus setting aside all feelings of philanthropy, we have cause for satisfaction, and that it is for our interest that events should take the turn they are now doing in Spain. Let any man compare the system—the brutal, barbarous system which existed under Ferdinand, when the priests exercised their tyranny and their vengeance without control—when correspondence with a relation exiled for his political opinion was punishable by death—when every domestic tie was loosened by the vilest system of espionage—when knowledge was criminal, and the universities were closed, and colleges for bull-fighters opened—let any one compare such a system with the one which prevails now, imperfect as it is in many points. But it has produced popular representation, free discussion, and a free press. They have produced what was impossible before—public opinion; and that has in a great measure corrected what was inevitable under the government of Ferdinand—corruption. The consequences of these are, that life and property (except in those parts afflicted by the civil war) are more secure, that the revenues of Spain are more than one half greater than they were ever known to be before—that an enormous class of proprietors has been created by the sale of national property—that capital flows into more wholesale and useful channels—that education makes rapid advances, and agriculture is advancing—and, notwithstanding all the horrors of war, Spain is at this moment laying a foundation for future prosperity incalculably more solid than at the time when, for her misfortune, she discovered America, and lost all stimulus to future exertion. My Lords, I am aware that this account may appear to be exaggerated, but I say nothing but what I know, and I say it under all the responsibility that should attach to any statement deliberately made to your Lordships. Such is the state of things now in Spain, and I think it requires no extraordinary degree of intelligence to discover how that state is likely to become advantageous to us, and whether it is not probable we shall gain more from Spain liberalised than under the absolute government of Ferdinand. The noble Marquess in his speech to which I have alluded, inquires what commercial advantages we have gained in return for our alliance? My Lords, it is the first time I have ever heard the alliance of Great Britain treated as a marketable commodity, and I think that the feeling of this country is of too noble and generous a character to wish to turn the temporary distress of an ally to a selfish account, however desirable it may be to establish commercial relations with them upon a more liberal footing. And it would be but a short-sighted policy, for every commercial arrangement, in order to be permanent, should be based upon reciprocal commercial advantage; and if Spaniards involved in war are a little slow to comprehend the benefits of free trade, and have not yet perceived the necessity of an unrestricted interchange of productions with England (although the question is daily making progress), let us, my Lords, remark, that Spain is an agricultural country—that agricultural produce is all she has to give in exchange for our manufactures. Let us remember our own Corn-laws, and the debates which not later than this year have taken place upon them in Parliament, and I think that even the noble Marquess himself will he inclined to give the Spaniards a little further time for distinguishing more clearly the point at which monopoly and private interest should yield before the general good. Before we talk lightly of other nations, to measure them by our own standard is but just towards them, and it may afterwards be useful to ourselves. Liberty in Spain is, to be sure, but in its dawn, and struggling for existence, while ours, thank God, is upon an imperishable basis; but, my Lords, before we look down with contempt upon Spaniards, from the height to which we have gloriously, but not without labour, ascended since our own civil wars, let us see in what manner they have hitherto used the liberty they have gained. I have already adverted to the good effects which the creation of public opinion have produced, and I can aasure your Lordships that both the people and their representatives have already given abundant proof that they understand and value a constitutional form of Government. The elections excite the greatest interest—every class of opinion is fairly represented in the Cortes, and the debates are conducted in the Chambers in a manner, and with a decorum, my Lords, which are not unworthy even of our own consideration. I have been in the constant habit of attending the debates in the Cortes, and I can assure your Lordships that I never saw more than one deputy or senator speaking at the same time, nor did I ever see the Chamber justly exposed to being charged by its own members with habitual disorder in its proceedings. I have heard from Catholic Prelates in those Chambers, sentiments breathing as pure a spirit of Christian piety and religious toleration as those which emanate from the right rev. Prelates in this House. I have never failed to see the Government in those Chambers meet with the vigorous and constitutional opposition which every Government under a representative system ought to meet with, but I have also seen that opposition, whenever danger was imminent, lay aside all party spirit, and so far from endeavouring factiously to embarrass the Government, rally round it and be united as one man against the common danger by which the country was threatened. I say then, my Lords, that Spaniards know how to appreciate the value and to enter into the spirit of representative Government. Then in Spain the press is as free and unshackled as in England—the conduct of the Government and of every public functionary is canvassed with the utmost severity and juries are as unwilling to check the liberty or it may be the licentiousness, of the press in Spain as they are in England; and, my Lords, I may here be permitted to advert to a most remarkable fact as connected with the press. In Spain there is a Queen, and during her minority the Government is administered by the Queen Regent, and with regard to that august personage, I have never known any other language used by the press than that of respect and devotion. In times of trouble, and excitement, and civil war, the passions of Spaniards have never hurried them into expressions of disrespect towards their sovereign. All the good that befell the nation was attributed to her, and the blame of every ill was laid upon her Ministers, and I only remember one instance of a foul libel upon the Queen Regent having been published, and I shall not easily forget the burst of public indignation with which it was received by all classes of Spaniards at Madrid. A jury was not then found wanting to do its duty, and the author of the libel was condemned to the greatest punishment which the law permitted. There was not a man who did not appear to think that an attempt to lower the dignity of the Crown was a national insult—an insult replete with evil and danger; and that publicly to calumniate a woman, and that woman the Queen was a national degradation. I say then, my Lards, that if such is the use that Spaniards make of their new institutions—and I repeat that the fairest mode of trying their merit in so doing, is by comparison with ourselves—the noble Marquess is no more justified in saying that Spaniards have a disgust for their institutions, than he has to charge her Majesty's Ministers with having promoted political changes in that country, or to say that our policy in Spain led to the Canadian revolt, and the occupation of Algiers by the French, fur such are the some what startling assertions to be found in the noble Marquess' speech of last year. My Lords, I opine that we have never, directly or indirectly, interfered with the political changes that have taken place in Spain; but I do say that it is natural that our sympathies and good wishes should be enlisted on the side of a country struggling to rescue itself from oppression and degradation, and to recover its lost place among the nations of Europe. It is not only our sympathies, however, that should be enlisted in behalf of Spain, for I believe that a nation ought not to have sympathies, but should be guided by its interests; and I say we have an enormous interest in the triumph of the Queen's cause—first, because it is by that triumph alone that the Peninsula can ever be tranquil, and enjoy and impart the blessings that tranquility brings into it; next, because it is to Spain, under liberal institutions, and not under an absolute form of Government, that we must look for a useful ally—that we may expect to find a wealthy customer for our productions, and new markets for our manufactures, and a friend instead of an enemy in our political relations with the rest of Europe; and in the present state of these relations neither friends nor enemies are to be despised. My Lords, I have not the presumption to expect that I can in any way influence the opinions of the noble Marquess respecting Spain; but I cannot conceive that those opinions are held in common with many of your Lordships, for I am sure that whoever has read the history of Europe rightly, as connected with Spain, and more especially for the last 150 years, must ackowledge that their power, prosperity, and above all, in the independence of Spain we are deeply interested. Her Majesty's Government having taken this view, this, in my opinion, most just and proper view of the interests of Great Britain have, during the last six years, rendered very important services to Spain, for which that country, whatever the noble Marquess may think to the contrary, is profoundly grateful, and for my own part I only regret that that debt of gratitude should not be greater, and that circumstances should have prevented her Majesty's Government from more effectually assisting the Queen of Spain. I regret that the restoration of Spain to that rank among nations which she is beyond all question destined again to occupy, should not have been more exclusively owing to the aid which in her hour of difficulty she received from this country. My Lords, I have only now to thank your Lordships sincerely for the attention with which you have been pleased to listen to me, and again to apologize for having obtruded myself upon your notice; but, my Lords, connected as I have been with Spain, and knowing as I do how sensitively alive Spaniards are to the good opinion of Englishmen, and how deeply mortified they have been at the misrepresentations which have been current respecting them in England, I was anxious to avail myself of the only opportunity that can occur during the present Session of Parliament to record (although I may have done it in a feeble and ineffectual manner) the opinion which, by close observation, I have conscientiously formed of that brave and generous, (but in this country), much misrepresented people.

Viscount Melbourne

After the speech made by his noble Friend who had just sat down, who was so much better acquainted with the subject than he was, and who had been so much engaged in the transactions of that country to which the questions of the noble Marquess related, would confine himself exclusively to answering those questions. At the same time, he must say, that considering the general nature of the observations of the noble Marquess, and the very wide manner in which he had entered into the whole question of Spain, it was extremely natural that his noble Friend should have stated his opinion on a subject of so much importance. The noble Marquess had asked, whether, in the opinion of her Majesty's Government, there was any engagement under the treaty of Quadruple Al- liance, which prevented Great Britain from entering into a negotiation with other powers for the avowed purpose of the pacification of Spain. There certainly was no engagement in the treaty of Quadruple Alliance which prevented England from entering into negotiations with the other powers for the pacification of Spain; but when the noble Marquess asked why communications should be made with the Northern Powers asking for their assistance in putting down the atrocities in Spain, without stating the engagements her Majesty's Government were under by the treaty of Quadruple Alliance, he must say, that the Quadruple Alliance was perfectly well known to all the powers of Europe: it had been published, communicated to them, and laid on the Table of both Houses of Parliament. At the same time, although there was nothing in it which should prevent her Majesty's Government from concurring with other powers in settling the affairs of Spain, yet the terms of that treaty, as had been stated in another place by his noble Friend, the Secretary of State for the Foreign Department, placed us in a different position with respect to Spain and those powers; and, having acknowledged the Queen of Spain, it was natural, when we were asked, whether we could enter into an alliance of that kind, that we should wish to know what were the general grounds on which we were to enter into that negociation; but he entirely denied that the overtures which had been made by Count Nesselrode to her Majesty's Government were not met in the fairest spirit, and with the most anxious desire, to embrace every opportunity for bringing the unfortunate state of affairs in Spain to a favourable termination. His noble Friend had alluded to time fact of the conference at Aix-la-Chapelle; and, unquestionably, it was very natural, if not necessary, that the Government should know, before they gave their assent to that proposition, what were the precise grounds and means by which it was proposed to bring about that end which they all desired. The noble Marquess had referred to the case of Belgium; but that was begun by the three powers interested, and terminated by them with the concurrence of the other powers of Europe. The noble Lord had asked him, whether Great Britain and France did not stand now in exactly the same situation as to Spain in which the three other powers were placed in regard to Belgium. The question of the noble Lord was, why, if Great Britain and France did not stand in the same position as the other powers, the overtures of the 27th of November had been made, and whether it were understood that England and France were to monopolize the affairs of Spain; and to this he could say that France and England stood in no other different relation as to this question, except so far as the treaty of Quadruple Alliance was concerned, by the provisions of which they had been placed in a different position with respect to Spain, from that in which the other powers of Europe were placed who had not been parties to that treaty, and who had not recognized the Government of the Queen of Spain. The next question was, "did her Majesty's Government intend to forego their efforts for extending the benefit of the Eliot convention to the whole of Spain?" It was not his intention to enter into the question as to the atrocities that had been committed in Spain during this war, but he hoped that under the last convention between General Maroto and General Cabrera there would be an entire cessation of such atrocities. He was sorry to say, that by accounts which had been recently received, that although with regard to the main armies that convention had been observed, yet in other parts of the provinces where the parties were small there had been much violence displayed; but he thought, after reading the papers to which the noble Marquess had referred, after reading the testimony of Colonel Wylde, it was impossible to doubt with which party had begun and been carried on those atrocities and cruelties, and with whom in fact rested the crimes that had been committed. That, however, was a question on which it was unnecessary to say anything more; but he earnestly hoped that such might be the effect of this arrangement between the commanding officers of both armies, that those atrocities might be put an end to. The reason why the Eliot convention had not been extended was, that at the time when it was proposed Don Carlos had no forces in the other parts of Spain. The other question of the noble Marquess was, "whether the Government intended to take any decisive measures to induce the Government of Spain to liquidate the claims of the Auxliary Legion, or to cause certificates to bear date and also to bear interest." Every one knew the great debt under which the Spanish Government was labouring, but he earnestly hoped that the engagements undertaken by this commission might be fulfilled, and no exertions on the part of her Majesty's Government should be wanting to induce the Spanish Government to do justice. The noble Lord had made a most violent attack on her Majesty's Government in introducing this subject, as he said without the least expectation of doing any good, but merely for the purpose of showing that there were individuals who thought rightly and justly on this subject. Whether those statements were entitled to any weight or influence it was for others to decide.

The Duke of Wellington

was happy to be able to congratulate their Lordships that at last they had reason to hope, from the statements of these papers, that there would be an end put to this disastrous and disgraceful system of warfare; and he should have here ended what he had to say to their Lordships on this subject, if his transactions and his name had not been referred to; and as he thought that some erroneous opinions were entertained, and had been stated by her Majesty's Government, and by the noble Earl opposite, who had made a most able speech on some points, he thought it his duty to notice them. He had frequently stated to their Lordships, in discussing this subject, that the attitude which it was essential that this country should assume in order to be able to attain the object which it appeared from these papers had been at last attained, was its neutral attitude, under the quadruple treaty, and not the character of a belligerent. He had always said, that if her Majesty's Government had assumed the position in which she really stood by the quadruple treaty, that of an ally of the Queen of Spain, if their Lordships pleased—that of a power who had acknowledged the rights of the Queen of Spain to the throne, if they chose—that of a power bound by a certain treaty to give specified assistance, and giving that assistance, but at the same time doing no more, and being strictly neutral in all matters for carrying on the war, except under the circumstances specified in the treaty—he did say, and he had said so all along, that her Majesty's Government must have had influence enough to be able to put an end to the system of warfare which had so long shocked all mankind. The truth and justice of this opinion was founded on a due knowledge of the nature of the war, and of the two powers by whom it was carried on; and if at the very first suggestion that there should be a strict neutrality between those two powers, her Majesty's Government had made a proposition of that kind to the Austrian Government, that object would have been attained which had remained to be done; and they had to do nothing more than to carry into execution all the details of that treaty as early as they could. He said that when the Government in 1834 took upon themselves the real position which belonged to them, and when their interference produced what was called the Eliot treaty, the operation of that treaty would have continued, and the influence of this Government in the contests between the belligerents in Spain would have continued in the same beneficial course, if the same line of policy and conduct had been pursued from the commencement. It was impossible to say what, at this period, would have been the consequence with respect to the relations between the two belligerents at the present moment of such course of conduct, and he certainly hoped that it might have been attended by the best of all consequences—the pacification of Spain, and the establishment of Government, and the enjoyment of peace and happiness by all the worthy, for he must call them worthy, inhabitants of that country. He now came to another part of the subject which, in his opinion, was entirely mis-stated by the noble Lord opposite, and also by the noble Viscount, and not understood by her Majesty's Government, and that was the situation in which they stood in respect to the great alliances of Europe in consequence of the quadruple treaty. The noble Earl said, "Oh, we could not enter into a treaty with the great Powers, because we were parties to the quadruple treaty." The noble Earl said so, and the noble Viscount repeated the idea. That was not fact; the fact was this—they could not enter into a conference with the other three allies, because Great Britain was belligerent; the other three allies not only did not acknowledge the Queen, he believed they bad not formally recognised her, although they might be disposed to do so, but they were neutral in the con- test; but England stood in another position, that of belligerent. Why, it was obvious that there could be no concert between the parties. He admitted that that would have been impossible, not on account of the quadruple treaty, but of the belligerent position which this Government had thought proper to take under the quadruple treaty. If they had confined themselves to the quadruple treaty, they might have entered into conferences with the other powers for the pacification of Spain. It would not have succeeded, perhaps, and he should hope it never would on the basis alluded to by the noble Earl. But there were other means by which a conference might be successful, or by which our mediation might have been used, and which would have been infinitely more valuable than the aid of a few companies of marines. The moral influence of this country might have been used with great advantage for the pacification of Spain, and it would have been far more effectual than any they had used. That was the course which he had always contended should have been taken. He did not ask them to break any treaty. On the contrary, he thought they ought to walk in it to the very letter in support of the queen of Spain, but not to put themselves in the position of belligerents, and still less of belligerents carrying on a little war. He had inculcated this course over and over again on her Majesty's Ministers, and the papers now on their Lordships' table showed that from the beginning he was right. After all the blood that had been shed in this barbarous warfare, the Government now called a neutral power to aid them in the pacification of that interesting country, and the papers on the table would show that it was not otherwise in their power to produce those effects so eloquently described by the noble Earl. He was glad, however, that recourse had at last been had to negotiation, and he hoped the Government would now persevere in that course, which was likely to be so beneficial in Spain.

Lord Brougham

said, he had heard with great satisfaction the statements made by his noble Friend the noble Earl (Clarendon), and he concurred with him in regretting that so little attention was paid in this country to the state of our foreign relations. It was not his intention to enter into any discussion as to the affairs of Spain, he would say that he had very great doubts not only of the expediency, but also of the lawfulness of this country allowing its subjects to engage in the wars carried on by other countries. He did not say that cases might not arise in which, without the commands of the civil magistrate, the subjects of one state might take a part in the wars of another, or in a war carried on between two states to neither of which he belonged; but he thought it required a very strong case to make out a justification of that course. He thought that we could not without deep regret, and with any feeling but that of satisfaction, look at the number of our countrymen who had been engaged in a contest which in its progress had exhibited scenes of horrid murders and assassinations on a large scale, not in the heat of battle, but sometimes in cold blood, after battle, or where no battle had taken place, but where parties had been taken by surprise, and sometimes—and this was the most hideous shape which those murders could assume—under the forms of courts of justice, where all the substance of justice was abandoned. He grieved to say that Englishmen had, he would not say been guilty of those murders, but had continued afterwards associated in arms with those parties by whom they were perpetrated—nay, that some Englishmen had sat as members of courts for the trial of Englishmen, and where the trials were followed by sentence and immediate execution. He thought that such conduct on the part of subjects of another state, having no necessary connexion with the parties at war, was unlawful, and was directly at variance with the doctrine of Christianity. If anything could make war lawful, it must be defensive, and then only by the command of the civil magistrate. It was therefore unlawful to engage in a war carried on between two powers, of neither of which the party aiding was a subject; but the act was still worse when the aid was given to one of two parties engaged in civil war. He mentioned this because he had on a former occasion spoken of the force going from this country to aid the cause of Donna Maria, and on that occasion he wished those parties success in their undertaking. He then spoke in the warmth of debate, and much more had been made of his remarks than the thing warranted. He would not retract those remarks, but he would admit that he had then spoken without sufficient qualifica- tion. If any one had any doubts on the subject of the inexpediency and the unlawfulness of joining in civil contests such as those of Spain by parties not subjects of that country, his eyes would be unsealed by the revolting, disgusting, and abominable atrocities which had been perpetrated on both sides.

Subject dropped.