HL Deb 06 August 1840 vol 55 cc1345-6
Lord Lyndhurst

had to present to their Lordships two petitions, the one from the merchants of the city of London, the other from the merchants of the borough of Birmingham, on the subject of the present state of the republic of Cracow, with reference to its commercial relations. He had been in possession of those petitions for a considerable period, and he rejoiced that he had not presented them sooner, because, from circumstances which had recently occurred, he had some reason to hope, that events were in progress that would beneficially alter the situation of the inhabitants of Cracow. He alluded to the sentiments expressed by the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (who must be taken as the representative of the Government) with respect to the conduct that had been observed towards the republic of Cracow. That noble Lord was stated to have described the proceedings adopted with reference to the republic of Cracow as a gross violation of the treaty of Vienna, and so far an injury, and consequently an affront, to the people of this country. The noble Lord further admitted that the pretence on which those proceedings were founded was false in fact, and afforded no justification for them. It was also, he understood, stated by the noble Lord, and he rejoiced in it, that Her Majesty's Ministers took a deep interest in the prosperity and welfare of this republic; and further, that pressing remonstrances had been made, and were still making, to Austria, to induce her to withdraw her troops from the territory of that republic, and to restore it to the situation in which it was placed by the treaty of Vienna. All these facts were admitted by Government; and when he heard that a new alliance had been entered into between this country and the courts of St. Petersburg and Vienna, which must, of course, give so much additional influence to Her Majesty's Government at those courts, he could not but express his extreme regret that the remonstrance made by Her Majesty's Government to those courts, earnest as they might have been, were not attended with success. However, he looked forward with hope to the withdrawal of the Austrian troops from the republic of Cracow at no distant period, and the consequent renewal of that state of commercial as well as political independence which was guaranteed to the republic by the treaty of Vienna. The petitions referred merely to the commercial character of the republic. One of them was signed by merchants of the city of London, the other by merchants and manufacturers of the town of Birmingham; and when he adverted to the names by which the former was signed, when he looked at one name which was affixed to the petition that he then lied in his hand, he confidently expected that the appeal would be successful. The second name appended to the petition was that of a firm supporter—nay, he might add, the guide and director of Her Majesty's Government, and he could not suppose that a petition thus signed would not be attended to. The signature was that of "Daniel O'Connell, a Governor and Director of the National Bank of Ireland, No. 13, Old Broad-street." He knew that some persons were inclined to underrate the commercial importance of the republic of Cracow. but that, he believed, arose from a want of knowledge as to the geographical position of the republic, and a gross misunderstanding as to the spirit and enterprise of the merchants of this country, who were anxious to avail themselves for commercial purposes of that advantageous position.

Petitions laid on the table.