The Marquess of Londonderry
could assure their Lordships, that with great difficulty and much embarrassment he rose to address the House on a subject which, he was free to confess, did not attract the same interest, and invite the same attention, as it had done on previous occasions. He felt that the subject was not of an interesting or a pleasing nature, and this reflection was one of the causes of the embarrassment by which he was oppressed; but, in addition to this, he laboured under another and still greater difficulty. On the present occasion he was deprived of the presence of the noble Duke (Wellington), who was the best acquainted with the foreign policy of this country, and with the affairs of Europe, of all the men in the kingdom, not excepting the noble Viscount at the head of her Majesty's Government, and the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. But yet he was ready to do those noble Lords the justice to acknowledge that they concurred with him in deeply regretting that the illustrious Duke was not in his place, and that they had not now the assistance of his wisdom and discretion, of which their Lordships had so many times experienced the value in discussing the foreign affairs of England. He trusted that amongst their Lordships there was only one prayer, 545 that the illustrious Duke would soon again be amongst them. He confessed that, after all the discussion which had taken place in the course of the present Session, it required some degree of nerve on his part again to address himself to the subject of our relations with Spain, and to our general foreign policy. He felt the greater embarrassment because little interest was excited by such subjects. From what he saw going on in another place, it appeared that the great interest of the country at present was the question of the privileges of the House of Commons, and on the propriety or impropriety of sending Mr. Howard, the attorney, to gaol. Their Lordships also were solely occupied by our domestic concerns, and had been entertained with interludes on the progress of Socialism. All these things showed that the attention of the country was centered on its own internal concerns, and the consequence was that the conduct of affairs abroad was hardly ever alluded to. Their time was taken up with inferior subjects, and their foreign policy was entirely disregarded. He did not, however—he could not—approve of this course, and could not be content with allowing foreign affairs to be of secondary importance, or with giving them only the second place in their attention. They demanded the most urgent consideration, and in this opinion he had with him the weight of the greatest authorities both in this House and in other quarters. He could not but remember that the noble Earl (Grey), the father of the Reform Bill, had stated that he considered the House could never be better employed than in discussing the foreign policy of the country. He likewise remembered that a noble and learned Lord (Brougham), whom he regretted not to see now in his place, because he always illustrated the debates by his eloquence, and elucidated them by his clearness—he remembered hearing that noble and learned Lord say, that the foreign policy of the Government ought continually to be before the country. The Lord Privy Seal likewise had, on a former occasion, stated his anxiety to have the foreign policy of the country discussed. More particularly had he expressed himself anxious to have a field day on the affairs of Spain, in order that he might have an opportunity of justifying the policy which had been pursued in that country. He was not unwilling to give that noble 546 Lord the opportunity of advantageously displaying those abilities which he was one of the first to admit and to honour. Having stated the embarrassments under which he laboured, as incidental to the subject which he was about to bring forward, he begged to be permitted to say one word as regarded himself. Their Lordships might ask why he should take upon himself to bring this subject under their Lordships' notice? To that he would reply that in early life he had been intimately connected with that country—he, perhaps, was the first British officer who had served in Spain. He had accompanied Sir John Moore through the whole of his campaign; and up to the year 1813 or 1814 he had served in that country under his noble and illustrious Friend the Duke of Wellington. He had taken a very great interest in every thing connected with that country from that time; and latterly he had made a tour through that country, and he would say, that the kindness and attention which he had received, both from the Carlists and Christinos, had increased his interest in that most interesting country, and that most magnificent people. He deplored the course which her Majesty's Ministers had pursued in their foreign policy towards that country, and he attributed in a great measure, the misery which Spain had endured for the last six years to that policy. He was free to confess that during the last six months a great change had taken place in the character of the war with Spain. He was free to confess, also, that here had taken place a temporary suspension of that war which for the last six years had been carried on; but how had that suspension been accomplished? That army which, during six years, had sustained the attacks of the noble Viscount's Auxiliary Legion, assisted by the fleets of this country blockading the coast, and by the effective Pyrennean blockade on the other side—he would admit that that army no longer existed; but how had its annihilation been accomplished? Had it been broken up and destroyed in action—had the Duke of Victoria annihilated it by planting his victorious standard on the lines of the Carlists? However great the Duke of Victoria might be, he must say he was not great on the field of battle—he loved not turmoil—he loved a life of repose and quiet, and seemed to be 547 one of those officers described by the noble Viscount the other night who had earned their distinction in other places than the field, and by other means than arduous service. He could not boast that by any great battle he had driven the defeated Carlist legions into the sea by the force, of his arms, neither could he boast that by fair and just negotiation the measure of their destruction had been accomplished. They had now before them the transaction by which this event had been brought about, a transaction the most treasonable and treacherous that had ever been recorded. He confessed that in moving for those papers his great desire was to show that the British character, British officers, and the British Government had no share whatever in this transaction. All Europe had resounded with the treachery, and it would be very satisfactory if the noble Lord could give proof that England had no connection with so shameful a proceeding by documents laid before the House. He knew that it had been said in another place that England had no share in these transactions. That statement might be satisfactory to the Government: but unfortunately Ministers had a false idea that what was satisfactory to them was also satisfactory to the country at large. He thought that this was not the case. It was a singular circumstance that when, on a former evening, he had mentioned the treasons of Maroto, the noble Viscount and the noble Earl the Lord Privy Seal, both wished rather, in their tender sympathy, to commute these abominable treasons into a return to allegiance. If he believed that the noble Viscount could entertain such principles, badly as he already thought of his politics, he should think still worse of their dangerous consequences. He should take the liberty, with respect to this man's conduct, to refer to a publication which had been sent to him as an individual interested in the affairs of Spain, and to which he begged to call the attention of their Lordships; and, until better evidence was produced to the contrary by the noble Viscount and his colleagues, it would be found to bear oat all the accusations on the subject which had been made against the Government, while the individual who had sent him the book staked his honour and veracity for every word in it. It was signed "M. G. Mitchell." In the course of this 548 work he found in two places reference made to Lord J. Hay and Lord Palmerston, and their communications with Maroto, and not only after the date up to which he had moved for papers had communications been made under a flag of truce sent to Bilbao, but after the second communication had taken place, Maroto had issued a proclamation, bearing date the 28th day of July, to which he wished to call their Lordships attention, to show the treachery of the man. Even after these communications he used in his proclamation the following terms:—The King and our holy religion are the sacred objects confided to our defence. If our enemies attempt to disseminate disunion and discord amongst us, let us prove by the loyalty of our conduct that their intrigues can never succeed. Base and vile factions find no response in the hearts of Royalists, armed for the most sacred cause.In another proclamation, dated August 29, 1838, he adopted similar language. It was this:—The God of armies will protect the cause of the best of kings. A sacred obligation imposes upon us the duty to conquer or die.And again in July, 1839, he published the following words in a proclamation:—In vain do inhuman intriguants spread reports of negotiations. There never can exist any between two parties whose principles are so entirely opposed. Let our constant device be—The king and our religion. We must triumph or die—les armes a la main.This was the conduct of a man who was at the very time in actual communication with Lord John Hay and the British Government, as well as with Colonel Wylde and the military authorities on the spot. His conduct was also distinctly set forth in the publication to which he had referred. It said, having mentioned this last proclamation:—Au moment meme ou il publiait cette proclamation, il ecrivait a Lord John Hay, lui promettant de lui livrer D. Carlos et les provinces dans un delai de 15 Jours.This showed that a communication at the same time was passing between this traitor and some of the parties whose conduct was sanctioned by the English Government. The conduct of Maroto was set forth in another passage. It was this:—A son arrivee en Biscaye, Maroto marcha resolument vers le but qu'il s'etait propose 549 depuis long-temps, de livrer D. Carlos et son armee aux Christinos. Sa correspondence avec Espartero recut an surcroit d'activite, et ses demande, furent exorbitantes: les reponses d'Espartero, d'abord evasives, devinrent moins satisfaisantes des que par la prise de Ramales et au tres points il se fut avance en Biscaye. Maroto effraye s'adressa a Lord John Hay, pour le prier de lui obtnir des promesses positives d'Espartero, et s'il etait possible la garantie de l'Angleterre. Lord John Hay y consentit, et s'etant entendu avec Espartero il expedia un officier porteur de depeches a Lord Palmerston. Ce Ministre fuit si enchante des propositions faites par Maroto pour trahir son maitre, que dans sa joie il oublia sa circonspection accoutumee, et fit part de ses esperances; son confident fut probablement indiscret, puisqu'un ami de D. Carlos recut la lettre suivante.After all this, what could be said in favor of such a man? "Maroto's name," would pass to posterity as a landmark of baseness and infamy. Like a Tartuffe for hypocrisy, and Don Quixote for Chivalric folly, he would be followed by the hatred of his victims and the scorn of honest men of every country. Incapable of remorse for having betrayed his king, he might regret his having done it at so inhuman a price. He has received the Grand Cross of Isabel, the mark only of his hideous treason. Hardened in crime as he was, the loyal Castilians would turn blushingly away from him. Maroto had betrayed Don Carlos—the same fate might await Isabella. On these grounds he thought that they should prove to Europe, that the British Government had been no party in those transactions. He also thought it necessary to have it stated whether such a man as Maroto had been countenanced by the noble Lord. If Maroto had betrayed Don Carlos, might he not also prove a traitor to the cause of the Queen? That individual, however, had been decorated with orders as the reward of his treachery. Was it possible that the Spanish Government could have thus encouraged him if its conduct were regulated by the common principles which regulated that of other Governments? He supposed from the honours already bestowed on Maroto, that if he had come over to this country, the noble Viscount opposite would invite him to dinner—or he might possibly have introduced him to Court with Mr. Owen. He trusted, however, that such would not be the case. He hoped that the conduct of this man would be denounced by the Government, 550 and that he would not be held up as an example—that this country, at any rate, would show that treachery was not the road to eminent glory, or the means by which honours and wealth were to be procured. He hoped that the fair fame and spotless reputation of England would, at any rate, not be sullied by any connection with such transactions as he had described, or by any sympathy with, or support of, such a man as every honest heart must detest. He hoped—and he expressed that hope with the strongest assurance and belief in its fulfilment—that the noble Viscount would never uphold such a man as the traitor Maroto. He would now allude to that portion of her Majesty's speech which expressed the satisfaction of her Majesty with the present state of affairs in Spain. The words of the speech were as follow:—I rejoice that the civil war which had so long disturbed and desolated the northern provinces of Spain, has been brought to an end, by an arrangement satisfactory to the Spanish Government, and to the people of those provinces.How far the arrangement was satisfactory to her Majesty's Government, he did not know, but for his own part, he could not see how an arrangement concluded as the one in question had been, could be called satisfactory. With respect to the Basque provinces being satisfied with it, they all knew that those provinces would not be content unless they obtained their privileges. The object of the Queen's Government had been throughout to do away with the privileges in question. Maroto had merely held out a promise that, he would do his utmost to obtain their ratification, but he had given nothing in the shape of a guarantee on which the people of these provinces could rely. The acts of the Spanish Ministers, too, were in direct opposition to the promises which they had given. Their sole object was to get the fortress of Guevera, which was then under the Basques, and to accomplish this object, they cared not what means they adopted—what promises were given—what false expectations were held out. A complete state of dissatisfaction existed in those provinces, and, such being the state of that part of the country, could the noble Lord say that that free and bold people were satisfied with the manner in which the warfare had temporarily ceased? It might be true that 551 those provinces were not at the present moment in arms, and that they had been reduced to a comparative state of repose; but he was afraid, if such were the case, it was the only lull which was the sure forerunner of a still more tremendous, more tempestuous storm. These provinces were anything but settled, and if their Lordships would look into some authorities on the point, they would find such to be the fact. Even the account given by the King of the French was less consolatory and more true than that given by her Majesty in her speech. Louis Philippe's speech from the throne at the opening of the Chambers on the 23d of December was much more specific on the affairs of Spain than that of her Majesty to which he had alluded. The following were his words:—A great change has been effected in the situation of Spain, and if I have to regret not being able to announce to you that the civil war which has so long desolated this kingdom, is entirely at an end, still this war has lost its character of gravity, which would give rise to alarming apprehensions for the stability of the constitutional throne of Isabella the Second. The greatest part of the northern provinces is pacified"—(not as stated by her Majesty, "the war has been brought to an end")—"and we are allowed to hope that those of the south will not be long behind-hand.This important result is owing to the wise conduct of the Government of the Queen Regent, and to the persevering valour of the Spanish army, supported by the assistance which my Government has given them, and that of her Britannic Majesty, by the faithful execution of the treaties of 1834.It was only, then, it would be seen, stated by the King of France that the Basques were momentarily pacified, and that that had been accomplished by the united exertions of France and England. But such even was not the fact. The army of Don Carlos had successfully resisted the united armies of the two countries, and it was at last annihilated by treason. Her Majesty's Government had not stated that the success of the Christinos had arisen from their intervention, and from that of France. They did not like to do that. They did not dare to adopt the course which was pursued by the French King, and boldly state the success of British arms in Spain. They knew full well that it would be condemnatory of their own policy. They knew that the system of attacks which had 552 been adopted by their own men—their own pet Legion—had failed with disgrace. They knew that, almost for the first time on that ground, English troops had been beaten and driven back, and they dared not, therefore, to state the military efforts and success of these men, because they knew that at the same time they would only be giving increased publication to their own disgrace. And now he would boldly ask, how had the annihilation of the Carlist army been accomplished? By treason—by treason alone. But for that treachery which he had that evening narrated, the same civil war would be still raging with its wanted fury and destruction. And despite the treachery which had been used against them, despite the foul means which had been adopted to gain an undeserved and ignoble victory, General Garcia had himself stated that the Carlist army was even now more strong in numbers, better disciplined, better provided with all the great necessities of warfare, better able to resist their enemies, than at any previous time. On the whole affairs of Spain he stated with regret that the policy of her Majesty's Administration had been most unfortunate. The most dire consequences had arisen from it, and an end to the miseries which it produced had not yet come. What was the loss which this country had sustained by this mistaken intervention? What was the loss of money? What, even by consequence, was the loss of life? He would first turn the attention of their Lordships to the former. The following was a list of the
"EXPENSES OF THE WAR IN SPAIN TO ENGLAND FROM 1834, TO JULY 1838. Hire of the Prince Regent and Parmelia transports, for bringing home the men of the British Auxiliary Legion £1,281 7 9 Naval stores, provisions, medical charges, &c, to Spanish Government 3,139 19 3 Medical stores to Spanish Government 572 2 6 Arms to Spanish Government 487,060 0 0 Arms to Auxiliary Legion 68,200 0 0 Arms to Artillery under Lord John Hay 971 0 0 Extra pay to officers and men of the Ordnance Corps 1,000 0 0 Stores to Spanish vessels of war, refitted and repaired in our ports 3,798 14 1
That was the immense outlay of money which had been expended by this course of policy. And now for the loss of life. The following was an account of the number of men sent out, the number of those who never returned, and the cause of their deaths:—British loss—Of 15 or 16,000 men sent out to Spain, 8,000 died by casualties, 1,000 by typhus fever, 50 officers died, 1,700 buried in one churchyard. Now, then, according to these accounts, what had been the effect produced on Great Britain by the policy of the present Government with respect to Spain? According to the returns which he had moved for in the last session, the total amount of expenditure for six years during the war in Spain was 616,000l., say 700,000l. in round numbers; and if they added the amount due to the officers and men, with whose case he had troubled their Lordships last night, the sum of 280,000l. must be added, bringing the total expenditure to near one million. Let the people of England, know this—let them know that one million had been charged upon them by this fatal intervention. It would be difficult for the Government to prove that Spain was in any better condition than when they first entered on the principle of intervention. If they told him that the war had subsided he would ask them why they did not call home the ships which were now blockading the whole line of the Spanish coast? They could find, he would tell them, far more useful occupation, for their ships elsewhere. They would not have been, in his opinion, unemployed if they had been sent to protect our interests at China, and to prevent the total destruction of our trade. He had himself seen one of the 554 finest ships in the British navy, the Tribune, driven ashore in the Bay of Taragona. Such conduct was not conducive either to the interests of the nation or the honour of the Government. It was stated also that the southern provinces were in a state of probable tranquillity. Now, he had lately returned from visiting some of the principal cities in the southern parts of Spain, and he would tell their Lordships what was the state of Morella. It was naturally so strong a place that, with its adjuncts, it would be able to resist almost any enemy during a lengthened siege. It was built on a high rock, something like Gibraltar, and at its bottom a river wound its way round it. And what was the state of the country generally? What were the feelings of the inhabitants? In Catalonia, Arragon, and other provinces the people were as favourable to the Carlists as to the Christinos. What was there, then, to place those portions of the country in anything like a state of tranquillity? He would put as much confidence in one general as another, and by one it was distinctly asserted that the great body of Spain was opposed to the so-called Liberal Government and their "liberal" institutions. The Government of Spain was so impotent that under their Liberal constitution and with their Liberal institutions they had no authority, no power, and were not even able to raise the imposts and taxes. The country throughout was consequently in a state of the greatest confusion. At Madrid, he admitted, the Government went on, but even there party spirit ran to desperate extremes, and the great council of the empire was divided into two great parties—the Exaltados and the Moderados. These were at open war, and acted in defiance of each other, and their violence was not satisfied with deliberation or the making of speeches. This was the condition of the first assembly of the nation—the Chambers. The social happiness of the country was overturned, and its renewal was not in the power of the Government to accomplish. He begged to be allowed to say one word on a subject concerning which the noble Earl had been very severe upon him last night. It was said that he attributed the purchase of assignats to the Spanish agents. Now, he did not exactly do this. He only stated, that he had heard they had been distributed amongst the Jews; and he 555 would now repeat that a report existed that such was the case. He did not charge the Spanish Government with dishonesty. He was sorry to occupy their Lordships time, but he had been accused of charging the Spanish Government with dishonesty, which he really did not do, but, at the same time, he begged leave to say, that many suspicions were afloat not very creditable to the Government, and that many persons already impugned their honesty. And, with regard to this subject, he would relate an anecdote respecting the feelings of the Spanish people themselves on this subject. In the course of his travels in that country, he had made an acquaintance, by accident, with a Spanish gentleman, and in the course of conversation he had asked him what, in his opinion, would be the end of the present state of differences which existed in the country? The answer which he received was this:—"If we could only get six honest Ministers to govern Spain, they might soon set things to right. Now if the Spaniards themselves thought thus of the matter, it was not to be wondered at that such suspicions should be afloat in this country, which had suffered so severely from the late transactions. All he could say was, that matters ought not to be managed in such a manner as to give ground for such serious suspicions. He was sorry to be held up by the noble Earl (Clarendon) as having made unjust statements, and that was the reason for his so long detaining their Lordships on that subject. He would now refer to the speech of the noble Earl—a very able and eloquent speech doubtless it was, and it had produced a very great effect. He had a right to refer to it merely as a matter of history, and he should avail himself of that right, though he did not exactly agree with the noble Earl, who wished that his speech should be the only document on which any one should give their opinion. In that speech the noble Earl said, "that he found a great desire on the part of the Queen's Government to carry his recommendations into effect. They exhibited every wish in Catalonia, Arragon, and other provinces, to carry the convention into effect." But this was not until Cabrera had evinced his determination to make reprisals. The noble Earl painted the matter in the best colours, and omitted the most distressing part, like Mendizabal advertising for a new loan. He continued in his speech 556 also to say, that "life and roperty were more secure, and the revenue more flourishing." Now, this was not the fact. The revenue was one-half less than it had been. The Crown lands were formerly in the hands of the monks, but the Government took possession of them, and the agriculture had in consequence been less productive. He, when in Spain, had entered several nunneries, and found that a grievous state of misery existed. The country, on the whole was in a most deplorable condition. There was no prospect of a cessation of the warfare, and the finance of the nation was most embarrassed. Under these circumstances, would the noble Viscount tell him what principle he was prepared to adopt—what course he was ready to pursue? How did he intend to rescue this country from the disgrace into which it had been brought? Did he intend to carry intervention—their boasted policy—to any extent which that ruined country might demand? What limits did he fix to the pursuit of such policy? In his opinion, that time had already come. The limits ought to be at the present moment, clearly, distinctly, and definitively fixed. Don Carlos was in France. The pretended usurper had been driven from his country—had been banished from the land of his fathers—and would they not now stop? What right had they to carry on their system of intervention now? They had stated in the Queen's speech that the war was at an end—that peace was established—and why did they any longer "intervene?" Surely, they were not afraid of Don Carlos again raising his standard of revolt—of again claiming the rights which more than half of the Spanish people acknowledged. The policy which they had pursued had been most fatal. A million of money had been expended, thousands of lives had been lost, and what was the only result? The provinces of the country, north and south, discontented and unhappy, and still the seat of a war whose flames, subdued for the moment, would again burst out with increased fury, and the capital itself be torn by political strife and the contests of the two great parties—the Exaltados and Moderados. The noble Earl next spoke of the gratitude of the Spanish Government. He should like to see how that gratitude had been shown. He would ask the noble Earl whether he had been able to accomplish a commercial 557 treaty with Spain? Why had he failed to do so? What was the cause? It was this. The great body of the people of Catalonia, who, by the bye, were liberals, were also great manufacturers, and they prevented the conclusion of a treaty with this country. Catalonia was inundated With French goods, but English goods were only carried in by smugglers, who were how about one hundred thousand in number. This, too, was a reason why the noble Earl had failed to conclude a commercial treaty. What had the noble Earl been able to do with reference to the slave trade? We certainly had not given half a million of money to Spain as we did to Portugal; but at Cuba the slave trade was carried on to a very great extent. He would give the noble Earl the information which he possessed on the subject. He saw, in the American courts of Admiralty, a case which showed that the Spanish minister claimed certain slaves, and declared "that it was the duty of the Government of the United States to surrender these men." He would again say, that the noble Earl had not been able to accomplish, in any respect, the abolition of the slave trade by Spain, or anything like it. He trusted the noble Earl would show the House what Spain had done for England, after we had been fighting for six years for the Christino Government, and expended a great deal of money for the same object. Then, in the last part of his speech, the noble Earl said, that the world sympathised with the liberal institutions which had been established in Spain. The noble Earl had lived a long time in Spain, and it was with some reluctance that he would presume to set up his experience in opposition to that of the noble Earl. The noble Earl's residence had chiefly been confined to Madrid, but if the noble Earl had travelled through all the great cities of Spain, he would see that the prevailing feeling was in favour of the old established institutions of the country, and that they would have to live a very long time before they saw that feeling subside. These were his opinions. He felt that he stood nearly alone in that House, but it was some consolation for him to know, that though he might be unsupported there, he had received the approbation of a distinguished friend, who declared that he was right in the course which he was now pursuing— 558
"FROM JULY 1838, TO JUNE 1839. Supplies for service of the Spanish Government 1,905 0 0 Extra charges of our navy 37,302 4 0 Arms, &c, to Spanish Government 6,769 0 0 Arms, &c, to British Auxiliary Legion 1,678 0 0 Intrenching tools, &c, to Royal Sappers and Miners 192 0 0 Extra charge caused by Artillery, Engineers, Sappers, and Miners 530 0 0 Medical and surgical materials 238 3 0 Payments and civil contingencies made to Colonels Wylde and Lacy 2,001 8 0 Total £616,638 17 7Victrix causa diis placuit sed victa Catoni.The noble Marquess concluded by moving that an humble address be presented to her Majesty for copies of any communication from the Foreign Office or the Admiralty, or the authorities on the coast of Spain, from the 1st of May to the present moment, relative to the Bergara convention, together with a copy of that convention.
§ The Earl of Clarendon
was desirous of addressing a few words to their Lordships, in consequence of the observations which had fallen from the noble Marquess. He felt, indeed, that it was totally unnecessary, in reply to the speech of the noble Marquess, to touch upon the various topics which were so numerous as to form almost a budget, which would have been far better to have been opened to the Cortes, than, have been delivered in their Lordship's House. He was anxious, however, to give a different version, another account of what had recently taken place in Spain, than the one advanced by the noble Marquess. He attached considerable importance to that different account, and to its proper consideration; not solely with reference to the interests of Spain herself, nor alone in consequence of the speech of the noble Marquess, but in consequence also of all that had been said and all that had been written upon the subject in this country. When he considered how the officers in her Majesty's service had been maligned in consequence of the supposed part which they had taken in the arrangements which had been made, and when he considered how, in consequence of the supposed part that her Majesty's Government had taken, they had been attacked, he rejoiced that the time had arrived when he could put their Lordships and the country in possession of the real facts of the case. The noble Marquess had alluded to a speech which he had made last year, and had passed upon it some serious comments; but he shrank from nothing which he had at that time asserted; events had more quickly than he had expected, more satisfactorily than he had hoped, proved the correctness of every assertion that he had then made. He should have said thus much long before, as that speech had been alluded to, and as he had been taunted for delivering it, if he had not felt certain that the noble Marquess would bring forward a distinct motion—he had thought, that 559 it would not have been even thus long delayed, considering the prodigious ardour which the noble Marquess had displayed on the very first day of the session. The noble Marquess found that a copy of the convention of Bergara, a convention between two portions of a foreign people, could not be laid upon the table. In order to arrive at transactions with which her Majesty's Government had nothing to do, he would take the necessary proceeding of moving for all documents or communications which might contain any reference to the subject. He Would not follow the noble Marquess through many of the points which he had mentioned—he would not follow him through the French book that he had quoted. He would leave unnoticed the supposed invitation to his table—the travels in Catalonia and Arragon—the commendations of his friend—and all that the noble Marquess did in the nunnery to which he obtained admission. As far as he could glean from the noble Marquess's complaints, it appeared that he considered the arrangement which had been come to neither honourable nor satisfactory, and he blamed her Majesty's Government for having permitted such an arrangement to be completed. In reference to these objections, he would, by permission of the House, refer to a few facts to show the nature of the arrangement, the manner in which it was viewed by the Spanish nation, and the course which had been adopted by her Majesty's Government. And here it might not be irrelevant to take the opportunity of observing that the Spanish government, having determined to make strenuous exertions to bring the war to a close in the early part of the last summer, confided to the hands of Espartero resources which he had never before had placed at his command. Thus was he enabled to act with vigour; he advanced against the enemies of his country—he took possession of some of the most important places—from those places he extended on all sides his operations, and he soon made himself master of nearly the whole of Biscay. The Carlists saw, by these successes, that they had nothing to hope for their cause, and many of the most eminent men in their party saw also that nothing more disastrous could happen to their country than the triumph of a prince who was most unfitted to reign in such a country. That prince was now defeated, and 560 in exile, and he would not, therefore, say all that at any time he should be able to prove; suffice it to say, that the best men who had followed the cause of the Carlists in Spain were convinced that the triumph of the prince was calculated to secure the misery of the country, and that with this certainty the war could no longer be carried on with advantage. This was the spirit in which those negotiations began, and which terminated in the convention of Bergara—those negotiations with the officers who were appointed for the exchange of prisoners, and who discussed among themselves the iniquity and the barbarity of longer postponing the termination of the war. The negotiations went on; they were conducted by the Carlist General Maroto, and he was encouraged in every communication that he made by almost the whole of the chiefs of his party. He had sufficient warning that he could neither delay nor put off the negotiations by the defection of the Biscayan troops, who were in mutiny because they thought that peace, peace on any terms, was in danger of being lost. No sooner had the convention been concluded, and the terms become known, than twenty-one Carlist battalions laid down their arms and joined the Queen's troops with the utmost cordiality. He begged pardon of the House for giving these details, but it was only by the details that the true facts could be known. The arms were piled outside the town; the troops marched into the town unarmed; they received their pay, they marched out again. They were ordered to resume their arms by Espartero, but there was not above forty Biscayans who would do so; the rest returned without arms to their own homes. Of the Castilians, a great part took to the service of the Queen, the remainder went home, but, in fact, the greater part of the arms were returned to the depot. They were brought in by the old men, and by the women, from the villages, to prevent the possibility of the peace, for which they yearned, being once more destroyed. Another remarkable circumstance showed most plainly the disposition of the people of those provinces. Espartero made a progress through them he was everywhere received with enthusiasm by the people. They made every demonstration of joy. He took opportunities of making addresses to the people, and in every place he had three cheers—one for the peace, another 561 for the Queen, and the third for the constitution, which were all responded to with equal fervour. Such was the joy with which the peace was received—such was the enthusiasm—such the gratitude as well of the people as of the soldiers. Such facts required no comment; they demonstrated that the provinces were every way satisfied with the terms of the peace established by the Convention. It was not that Maroto betrayed the provinces to the Queen; there was no magic in his acts; he had no extraordinary power to perform his wishes; the troops were not led into any ambuscade; they were not betrayed by any stratagem into the hands of Espartero; there was nothing to prevent the soldiers from leaving their general; there was nothing to compel them to lay down their arms; whilst, as to the peasantry, Maroto had no power over them; he had exercised, and he had attempted to exercise, no more influence over the people than had the noble Marquess himself. It was manifest, then, that what Maroto did, he did only to give effect to an opinion and to a feeling which had been long known to exist. He had had ample evidence of the conviction of the Carlist chiefs; he had had full proof from the people, that the sacrifices necessary to carry on the war had become unbearable. He was glad that the noble Marquess had not attributed the arrangement to bribery; he was rejoiced that the noble Marquess did not entertain any such preposterous notion—particularly that the noble Marquess did not think that if there had been any the means had come from this country; but he had been that morning looking over some of the public journals of this country, and he had found that her Majesty's Government had been accused of bringing about the arrangement by paying 150,000l. from the secret service money. He was glad that the noble Marquess had not fallen into the views of those journals, for he was convinced that not one shilling had been so expended—he was satisfied that no such outlay was necessary—that it had never been even thought of—and that there had never been any transaction that had been more free from pecuniary or from sordid sacrifices. Not, however, that he would have in any manner blamed Maroto, if he had had the money, and had found the opportunity of using it, not only for the purpose of obtaining the inestimable blessings of 562 peace, but also to give the arrears of pay to his men. Did the noble Marquess ever exclaim at the baseness of Marmont, when he surrendered the capital of his native country to the assembled forces of foreign and hostile powers, and gave the finishing stroke to the fortunes of his master and his benefactor? Was there equal discredit cast upon the inducements which were held out to Bourmont? Did the noble Marquess—did the world blame Bourmont, because he solicited and obtained from Napoleon at Waterloo a command which he deserted the following day? But he had higher authority still for these acts. Had the noble Marquess read the despatches of the noble Duke (Wellington), whose absence from that House he deplored as much and as deeply as any of their Lordships. If the noble Marquess had, he would have found that the noble Duke was urged to avail himself of the mutinous state and of that disposition to revolt which at one time existed among a large portion of the French army: and although the noble Duke with that prudence and with that foresight which were especially distinguishable among his many eminent qualities in the field, hesitated, with his information, to commit himself to the proceeding, yet he was most desirous of doing so. These were questions at issue when the nations were at war; it was a very different thing in a civil contest where countrymen were opposed to countrymen, and where many members of the same family were enlisted on different sides: then these sessions of feelings, then these arrangements could be in no sense viewed with any degree of moral turpitude; then no disgrace attached to what became a mere change of opinion; then many who would shrink from degrading themselves by becoming traitors with a foreign foe, would not hesitate to consent to an arrangement for the contentment of their common country. The noble Marquess might think that this country ought to interfere in such a case, and when one of the parties had expressed a desire for peace, that it should be goaded on to fight; but what would be the course of policy he would himself have pursued, the noble Marquess had failed to explain. He was glad, too, to rectify the mistakes which had been made with respect to the conduct of Lord John Hay and of her Majesty's Government. Her Majesty's Government were bound to the Queen of 563 Spain, as an old ally; by a regard to all those interests promoted by the restoration of the blessings of peace, after the long intestine straggle; they were bound by a regard to all those who had been so long exposed to the cruel privations of the war; and, last of all, they were bound to all those who, thank God, were the largest number in this country, who desired to ameliorate the sufferings which had been endured in Spain—to all those her Majesty's Government were responsible for tendering advice to both sides, if possible to put an end at once to a war which prevailed in its most revolting form. Instructions were therefore sent to Lord John Hay, to Colonel Wylde, and to her Majesty's representative at Madrid, to bring about if they could, by their good offices, an arrangement between the contending parties; and, speaking as an Englishman, he devoutly wished that this good deed had been the exclusive work of her Majesty's servants in Spain. The influence of Lord John Hay and of Colonel Wylde was called for on either side; to both their advice was freely given; but it had been rendered comparatively useless by the intense desire and by the immovable resolve of the people to terminate the war and to settle their own affairs. That termination had been effected in the most satisfactory way. The experience of history had taught them that no civil war had ever ended without making some compromises between the contending parties; and he asserted that no civil war ought to be terminated without a due regard to the interests, nay, even to the prejudices of some of those, whose contentions were to end, if the pacification were sincere, and if the arrangement were intended to be permanent. He knew of no instance were a victorious general, as Espartero unquestionably was, notwithstanding what the noble Marquess had said, occupying a vast territory, whose inhabitants were not actuated by good will towards the sovereign in whose name he possessed it, and knowing the mutinous state in which the people were, while he himself was in a condition to dictate any terms he pleased, he knew of no instance of a similar kind where more prudence and patriotism were exhibited than were displayed by Espartero, who, in the name of his sovereign and of the Cortes, guaranteed rank, honour, and emoluments to every individual who 564 had borne arms against the Queen of Spain, with permission to remain in the service, or to return to his home; at the same time pledging to the people his honour to preserve to them all the privileges they had ever possessed, and of which every preceding sovereign in Spain had endeavoured to deprive them. The Queen and the Cortes were not slow in proving to the world that the general-in-chief had well understood and nobly acted upon that conciliatory spirit which he must say, whenever it had fair scope to display itself, invariably distinguished the constitutional government of Spain. The acts of Espartero received the approval of the Cortes, and they unanimously and spontaneously addressed the crown, promising to redeem the pledge which had been given by the commander-in-chief, while the rest of Spain echoed and re-echoed with enthusiastic acclamations at the accomplishment of an event so long and universally desired. It was only among a certain class of individuals, and with a certain portion of the daily press, that expressions of dissatisfaction were heard, or among and by whom this great measure of conciliation was denounced in terms of unmeasured condemnation; and when their Lordships considered that even in this Christian country, so pre-eminently distinguished above all others for its true spirit of religion and philanthropy, such denunciations were in equally strong terms uttered against the cessation of the shedding of blood, and the horrors of intestine discord and civil war, all feeling of surprise must cease, and the fact itself be only regarded as a fresh proof of the power which party spirit had to obscure the judgment and pervert the feelings of men; for to party spirit alone could be attributed the vituperation which had been poured forth against one of the noblest acts that had marked the career of a victorious general—to disappointment, and to the failure of a cause which Seemed to have been adopted in this country, without any reference whatsoever to British objects, and in extreme ignorance of the true interests of Spain, could such a feeling of hostility alone be ascribed. To the same ignorance might be attributed the fallacy of attempting to maintain monopolies and exclusive privileges in co-existence with free and liberal institutions. Those, indeed, who thought that they might find in Spain, as elsewhere, a tyrannic power 565 that would aid in preserving and maintaining abuses, might be justified in offering resistance to the exertions of a government that was based on a constitutional foundation; but such resistance in reality served only the cause of revolution, while popular institutions tended not only to secure, but to render safe the possession of liberty. No man who reflected could deny that this country had a great interest in the independence and prosperity of Spain. No man who reflected could fail to admit that that independence and prosperity would be greatly promoted, if not secured, by the abolition of the Salic law, and the establishment of liberal institutions in that country. It was, then, most anti-national and most un-English, that any party of men in this country should afford aid to the pretender to the throne of one of her Majesty's allies, and seek to make triumphant a cause, the success of which would not only be mischievous to us, but fatal to the welfare of Spain. And yet this was done at a time when there existed in this country a lamentable degree of religious conflict, and when the cry of "No Popery" was heard throughout the land; It was at this period that it was sought to establish in Spain Catholicism in its purest form, and when cries of lamentation were heard over the fall of the cause of civil despotism and religious enthralment. He knew not that he ought to further trouble their Lordships, but as he had alluded to the two systems which prevailed in Spain—the liberal and the despotic, he would just observe that an opportunity was afforded to any one of comparing the system of 1823 with that of 1839. The contrast between the two systems had been most strikingly exhibited within the last two months. He would ask the noble Marquess, with all the knowledge that he had formerly and lately acquired in Spain, and of all that was within his cognizance, what in his opinion would have been the conduct of Don Carlos if events had been reversed, and if the people had sworn allegiance to him and he had ascended the throne? Did the noble Marquess think that Don Carlos would have acted as the Queen of Spain had done—that he would have redeemed the pledges given in his name by his generals, and have considered the reign of war over and passed; or did the noble Marquess think that be would have imitated the example of his brother Ferdinand, who in 566 1823 broke every promise he gave, violated every pledge that had been given in his name by the Commander-in-chief of 100,000 foreigners who had come to subdue his enemies—proscribed, persecuted, and gibbeted some of the most leading men in the country, in defiance of the remonstrances, and to the indignant shame, of the Duc d'Angouleme, and established a system of religious persecution such as modern ages present no instance of, and which must have required an ingenuity to devise that might be well called infernal? But Don Carlos was even more despotic and bigoted than his brother. He was better acquainted with the disposition of his country, and for that reason he sometimes temporized with his brother's party, and refused occasionally to be the instrument of their system. For that reason he was denounced by them, and was engaged in all the conspiracies that were set on foot to oppose them; so that he could only look for support to the bigotry of the Inquisition, who gave him their adhesion under the supposition that he would have been upon the throne. Thus was Spain exasperated or a period of six years, and all the lamentations of Don Carlos's adherents had since been that they had not shed blood enough. They declared that all their misfortunes were owing to their not having shed blood enough during the ten years preceding the French intervention. The state of desolation into which Spain would now have been, had Don Carlos and this party been successful, would have brought the noble Marquess himself to shame, and he would have learned, when it was too late, the length to which despotism, united with bigotry, would have carried its destructive influence. On the other hand, he would ask the noble Marquess what had been the result of the establishment of the constitution and the Cortes? Could he deny that the conduct of the Cortes had been marked with good faith? Had any person connected with or espousing the cause of Don Carlos been persecuted for his conduct or opinions? The noble Marquesss had been in Spain during the last few months, he must, therefore, know that nothing of that description had taken place; but that, on the contrary, the fidelity with which every engagement of the government had been fulfilled, and the rapidity with which all rancour had 567 subsided, had reflected infinite credit upon the Spanish character. Although he must admit a portion of the noble Marquess's statement to be correct, and that it was true that the war in Spain was not yet at an end, and that much time might elapse before that country which had been so long agitated by a question of life and death should subside in peace, yet notwithstanding this, he saw nothing in all those representations and opinions which the noble Marquess had made and expressed, and which he (Lord Clarendon) could only ascribe to most gross misrepresentations from others, arising either from ignorance or from a state of feeling not to be envied—he saw nothing, he would repeat, in all those representations to cause regret or disappointment at the measures taken towards a settlement of the internal dissensions that had so long afflicted that country. He had nothing more to say than that he was ready to produce the papers which the noble Marquess had moved for, and he trusted that at some time or other he should have an opportunity in that House to show to him how very little they bore out his own statement of affairs.
§ The Earl of Aberdeen
said, it was never without some degree of reluctance that he took part in any discussion with respect to the affairs in Spain. Not that those affairs might not be well deserving of their Lordships' serious deliberation; at the same time, in his opinion, the conduct of both parties in the wretched contest that was going on in that country had beep so atrocious, so abhorrent to every feeling of humanity and civilisation, and so utterly disgraceful to the age in which we lived, that it was very difficult to feel anything of interest in the success of either party, or to look at the result of the contest, except with feelings allied to loathing and disgust. He would stop not to inquire on which side they ought to distribute the greater share of disgust, or on whom to pour out the greatest measure of their indignation; it at least, however, must be admitted, that if there existed in the country any government that was organised, and that possessed the tribunals and institutions of a government, they were entitled to look to that quarter for conduct very different from that which must necessarily come from a court held in a camp, and composed of fugitives. But, without entering into that 568 branch of the question, it appeared to him that the noble Marquess had tonight exhibited a new feature belonging to it, and one not calculated to diminish its deformity. He had disclosed to their Lordships a signal act of treachery in addition to the picture of ferocity they already had before them. The noble Earl had described this act on the part of Maroto as a great measure of pacification, and as being the cause of the restoration of peace; but that which struck him, nevertheless, was this—that however their Lordships might love peace, though obtained by treason, still they execrated the the traitor; and the circumstance to be deplored was, that this act of treason, if not actually effected, had been aided, abetted, and instituted by British councils. He admitted that their Lordships had recently learned a great deal; and that it was possible, therefore, they might be wrong in looking upon this as an immoral and a disgraceful act on the part of the individual concerned: but he confessed he could not view the conduct of that general, who was entrusted by his prince with the management of his affairs, with any other than feelings of the utmost condemnation and disgust. In saying this, he was by no means expressing an approval of the conduct of Don Carlos. He had never in that House maintained the character of that prince to be meritorious or otherwise; and this he must say, that the treachery of his general was quite independent of the character of the prince by whom he was trusted. It was very easy to call Don Carlos a rebel, and to say that his officer in deserting him had only returned to his allegiance; but that was not a fair statement of the case, nor was there any parallel between it and the instances to which the noble Earl had alluded. The contest in Spain involved a question of disputed succession; and not only so, but he would venture to say that it was the most doubtful question of succession that had ever arisen in Europe. The noble Earl must admit that, till within the last few years, the established law in Spain was such as established indisputably the right of Don Carlos to the throne of that country. This, in fact, formed part of the law of Europe even at the present moment. Had not three out of the five powers of Europe hitherto refused to acknowledge the legitimate succession of 569 Queen Isabella? He would repeat, therefore, that it was a question of the utmost doubt; and although the present war might be called a rebellion of the people against their lawful sovereign, yet if Don Carlos had, as he might have, succeeded, what should we have heard then? We knew very well that with equal truth all that the noble Earl had alleged against the followers of Don Carlos would have been heard uttered against those who were now acting with the Queen. But this was a question not for us. It was not within our jurisdiction. We had nothing to do with the legitimacy of the Queen or of Don Carlos. It was a question exclusively Spanish which monarch they would have. He was not one of those who blamed her Majesty's Government for having acknowledged the Queen of Spain. Far from it. A great portion of the nobility, and of the army, with the great mass of the people of Spain, having acknowledged the right of the Queen to the throne, he thought the British government were perfectly justified in acknowledging the succession of the Queen of Spain, and of establishing relations with her Government. But it was a very different case, that of acknowledging her right, and of establishing relations with the Queen of Spain from that of mixing ourselves up in the contest in that country, and taking part in those disputes which prevailed there. The noble Earl had observed, that this country was compelled, or rather authorised to take part in the convention of Bergara—disgraceful or otherwise, and that England was bound by treaty to act in support of the Queen of Spain.
§ The Earl of Clarendon
begged to say, that no such observation had been made by him. What he said was, that her Majesty's Government had, by every means in their power, endeavoured to promote the pacification of Spain by an arrangement that should be agreeable to all parties concerned; but he did not say her Majesty's Government were parties to the convention of Bergara.
§ The Earl of Aberdeen
said, he had not meant to allude to that convention. But what the noble Earl stated was, that the British Government were bound to Spain by treaty, that was to say, the quadruple treaty. Indeed, that was the topic to which he wished to draw the attention of the noble Viscount (Melbourne). He had 570 endeavoured to do so before, but had not had the good fortune of getting an answer. He should like precisely to understand what it was that this country was bound to by the quadruple treaty, and how we were situated at this moment with respect to it. The nature of that treaty was really most extraordinary. He must begin by saying, that he thought it a most impolitic treaty, and one most opposed to the established policy of this country that was ever entered into. However, he now wished to know how we stood at this moment under its obligations. He knew that the noble Viscount had very odd notions as to the manner in which treaties were regarded in this country. He remembered, some years ago, when the noble Viscount was in opposition, his making an enumeration of the treaties England had broken, and the faithless character we had in Europe for the last 150 years, and he held us up as having no regard for treaties. He differed then, as he differed now, from the noble Viscount. He considered this country faithful to treaties; and he remembered saying that her fidelity was perhaps the more remarkable, inasmuch as it was thought that popular governments were in general less observant of treaties than other Governments. But, however that might be, surely it was desirable that they should know what their obligations were. All treaties were either permanent or temporary. Was this quadruple treaty permanent? He himself thought not. The treaty was entered into for a specific purpose; and although he considered it temporary in its character, he had too much reason to fear, that it would be of long endurance. Still its object and purpose were temporary. As far as he could understand the case to exist at the present moment, the treaty had for its object the restoration of the internal peace of Spain. That was its only intelligible object, and the only object that was avowed. It was necessary that their Lordships should see how they had arrived at this position; for they should recollect that this treaty was originally entered into early in 1834, when Don Carlos was in Portugal, and when an invasion of Portugal was expected from Spain. It was recited by the treaty that it was the wish of the contracting parties to restore peace in the Peninsula, and that, in order to do so, it was necessary to procure the ab- 571 sence from the Peninsula of the two princes, Don Carlos and Don Miguel. That was the motive and object of the treaty. Well, the two princes were expelled, and he perfectly recollected both the noble Viscount and the noble Marquess, the President of the Council, congratulating themselves on the perfect success of that treaty, and that it had been limited to the object for which it had been announced. A few months afterwards Don Carlos escaped from this country, and arrived in Spain; and no doubt his presence renewed the war in that country. Well, in August 1834, additional articles were entered into; and what did those articles declare? There was no new object proposed—no new preamble to the treaty. It merely recitedThat whereas in consequence of occurrences that had taken place in Spain, it was necessary to enter into new provisions, and the contracted parties had engaged so and so.Therefore, the object that still remained to be accomplished by the treaty was the restoration of internal peace in Spain. That was not effected by the expulsion of the two princes from the Peninsula: what then remained to be done? The only stipulated measures we contracted to do was to furnish military stores and a naval force, while the king of the French was to prevent supplies being furnished to the opposite party. Still we were bound to restore internal peace in Spain; not strictly by the execution of these additional articles, but by such other means as the spirit of the treaty justified—for instance, by means (inter alia) of this very Bergara convention. Now, this opened a very alarming prospect; because, although this treaty was in its nature temporary, yet, if its object was the restoration of internal peace in Spain, there immediately arose the prospect of a continual intervention on the part of England with the internal affairs of that country. How were we ever to expect to separate ourselves from interfering with the internal conditon of Spain as long as any thing in the shape of disturbance or misgovernment continued to exist there? For their Lordships should remember, that this treaty had nothing necessarily to do with a state of war. The additional article did not contemplate the expulsion Don Carlos from Spain, nor did it even contemplate the cessation of war. It was 572 the internal peace of Spain that it proposed to establish. Now he much feared that there would long prevail great disturbance, great confusion, and great anarchy in that country, without any open war being carried on in any part of it. These were matters perfectly foreign to anything this country, when entering into the treaty, ever contemplated. It was clear that the internal peace of that country must very much depend upon its internal government. If we were to act under this treaty until internal peace was restored to Spain, we must interfere with every act of its internal government which was calculated to disturb that peace, and produce again the wretched condition which had so long continued in Spain. This country had never before entered into such a treaty. It was a most impolitic measure, and one likely to lead to the most mischievous consequences. What had England gained by adopting the treaty? The noble Lord had said, that we had established liberal institutions in Spain, and that we ought to congratulate ourselves at such an event. Why the noble Earl must see that England maintained the closest relations with countries in which there were no such institutions. He (the Earl of Aberdeen) was glad to hear the noble Viscount two or three weeks ago, when his attention was called to the question of preserving the integrity of Turkey, say that as to the institutions, character, and opinions that prevailed in any country, he did not think those points ought to influence our conduct at all. It was what was essential to the interests of England which we ought to look to. He entirely agreed with the noble Viscount; and he believed, generally speaking, that the opinions of the noble Viscount were correct upon these subjects when he followed his own judgment, and not that of others. As to the idea of nations entering into treaties for establishing liberal institutions in other countries, it was absurd. Did the noble Earl think that we could, by treaty, arrest the despotic views of the emperor of the north? Such topics were all very well as matters of declamation in that House, and as subjects for paragraphs in newspapers, but it was not a course of policy for a wise Government to adopt. But the doctrine of the noble Earl was not true, nor did history show that the establishment of free institutions in the nations with which we were 573 allied led to the promotion of the interests and prosperity of the parties concerned. Look at our own connection with Portugal. Portugal had been for one hundred and fifty years so closely connected with England, that it was always called by the other powers of Europe an English colony, and yet Portugal was one of the most arbitrary and one of the most bigoted Governments in Europe. By the bye, he should like to know whether that country was more friendly towards us, now that it had become more liberal. Look, again, at all the great powers of the continent. Which of them had been the most permanently connected with this country? The great Austrian empire; and yet that was a despotic power. But, then, it was a power with which no English interests ever came in collision; and for many years its policy had been essentially pacific. That, indeed, was the great object to be regarded. The aim of this country ought always to be to enter into into those relations which were most likely to continue the preservation of the general peace. It was in this respect, therefore, that he looked upon Austria as the natural friend of this country. It would be preposterous to suppose that any such alliances as those to which the noble Earl had alluded, that of having for their object the spread of liberal institutions in other countries, would ever enter wisely into the policy of this country. With respect to the treaty now under discussion, he (the Earl of Aberdeen) begged to say that one of his great objections to it was, because he thought it had contributed to that state of estrangement and alienation from us which at present existed with the French Government. That treaty, which was to bind England to act in concert with France, had, he most sincerely believed, been in a great degree the cause of the estrangement that existed at the present moment on the part of that country toward us. Why, from the very first, the two Governments had never acted cordially together. There were nothing but mutual complaints as to the manner of carrying the treaty into execution. The noble Earl, who had lately returned from Spain, knew full well that such was the fact. He would say nothing on the subject of the French alliance with this country. He was quite ready to admit the importance of maintaining that alliance. No person was more desirous of cultivating the closest 574 friendship with France than himself; but such a friendship might exist for every salutary purpose, without the formation of an alliance for carrying out a questionable object. The quadruple treaty, in his opinion, had been attended with injurious effects to this country, and, therefore, he wished to know what was the interpretation which the noble Viscount put upon it, and what were the obligations it now imposed upon us? Their Lordships would observe that all the engagements were on one side. It was all unilateral. The Queen of Spain engaged nothing. He supposed it would be taken for granted that she had engaged to govern well, because good government tended to establish internal peace. She also, he presumed, engaged to govern wisely, because that was the way to secure peace. But we were to judge of that. It seemed to him, according to any possible analogy, he he could form in a case which was so unlike any that had ever before occurred, that the quadruple treaty was at this moment at an end. Whenever the noble Viscount should choose to say that, according to his judgment, internal peace was restored in Spain, at that instant the obligations of the treaty would cease. For the Spanish Government was bound with no reciprocal conditions; of course, therefore, the Government of this country was perfectly at liberty to put an end to its own obligations whenever it thought proper. He believed that not only the interpretation of the Bergara convention, but the future progress of the contest, which was far from being concluded in Spain, must be regulated by the manner in which the quadruple treaty should be interpreted. There was one point to which he wished to refer before he sat down—he meant the case of the claims which the noble Marquess brought forward yesterday on the part of the officers and men of the British Legion, and for whom their Lordships must feel that sympathy which their condition so greatly deserved. He must say that the noble Earl appeared during his mission in Spain to have exerted himself laudably on their behalf, though his exertions were not attended with success. Those were no doubt claims of equitable consideration on the part or her Majesty's Government from the encouragement given by the Government to the cause in which the claimants suffered. Still there was no ab- 575 solute obligation; there was no treaty to bind the Government. Now he would call the attention of their Lordships to a certain treaty which he had the honour himself to conclude in 1829, for the indemnity of certain claims which certain British subjects had, in consequence of having suffered from the violence of certain Spanish authorities. A large sum was paid by the Spanish Government in money, and the remainder was paid by the issue of bonds. Those bonds were guaranteed by the British Government, that Government being a party to the treaty which had been effected, and the bonds, when all other Spanish securities were worth almost nothing, obtained their full value in the market, inasmuch as the respected name of Great Britain was security for their payment. If ever there were a case in which a Government was under a deep obligation—if ever there were a case in which a Government was bound to fulfil a contract, this was one. The annual amount of the interest upon these bonds amounted only to about 30,000l., but five or six years' dividends were now due, and remained unpaid. He thought it said but little for her Majesty's Ministers that they had not sufficient influence with the Government of Spain to procure the payment of this small sum annually—a sum upon the payment of which they were bound to insist, not only as supporting the just claims of their countrymen, but to secure their own honour, and to fulfil their own plighted faith. It was no answer to him to say, that representations and remonstrances had been made to the Spanish Government upon the subject. He had no doubt that they had been made; for when he brought this subject forward on a former occasion, the noble Viscount admitted the whole truth of what he had stated, but said that Ministers had remonstrated. But he begged to bring the matter under the noble Viscount's notice in this shape—the claims of the legion were binding only upon the Queen of Spain; but these bonds were contracted under a treaty which was binding, not only upon the Queen, but upon the whole of Spain. If Don Carlos had succeeded in his attempt upon the throne of Spain, the British Government would have exacted the fulfilment of the conditions of the treaty from him, exactly as they were now bound to exact it from the Government of the 576 Queen. If Don Carlos had succeeded, would he have been eight-and-forty hours in possession of the throne before the British Government threatened reprisals, unless he liquidated these claims. However reduced the Spanish finances might be at the present moment, it was preposterous and absurd to say, that they were not capable of paying 30,000l. a-year in fulfilment of a solemn pledge. It was preposterous and absurd to say, that the British Government could not extort 30,000l. a-year from Spain, in fulfilment of their own arrangement; for he was not very certain whether the persons claiming under this treaty would not have a claim against the Treasury of this country for the amount of the sums due to them. He had brought this subject before the House two years ago, and he trusted the noble Viscount would not think him unreasonable if he expressed a hope that he should not have to bring it forward again two years hence.
§ Viscount Melbourne
stated, that considering the various matters which the noble Marquess had mixed up with the treaty of Bergara—namely, the part which the Spanish Government had borne, the part which the British Government had taken, and the share which British officers had had in bringing that treaty to a termination—it was perfectly obvious that their Lordships could discuss those matters with much greater advantage, with much greater facility, and, withal much more satisfactorily, when they were in possession of the information for which the noble Marquess moved, than they could do at the present moment. At the same time, considering the very long speech that had been made by the noble Marquess who brought forward the motion—considering the observations which had often been made upon the treaty in that House, and the animadversions which were continually made upon it by some portions of the public press, he thought that his noble Friend (Lord Clarendon) was perfectly justified in going into some explanation of the circumstances under which the treaty had been concluded, and of the share which British officers and men had had in producing it. His noble Friend, on the opposite side of the House, had gone back to the origin of the whole affair, and had produced many of the selfsame arguments that had over and over again been put forward upon the same subject by the 577 noble Duke. The noble Lord told them that Ministers were wrong at the outset—that they ought never to have interposed in the affairs of Spain—that they were wrong politically, because by interposing they deprived themselves of the opportunity of acting as mediators; and that they were wrong in a military point of view, because they were attaching the fame and fate of a small body of British troops to the uncertain fortune of the soldiery of Spain. That was the often repeated argument of the noble Duke; but he doubted the accuracy of it. He differed from those opinions; but even if the argument were good, and the opinions sound, it was obvious that they came too late. For whatever the original policy or wisdom of the course pursued, at any rate they had engaged in the Spanish struggle—at any rate they had concluded the treaty—at any rate they had acted upon the treaty—at any rate they had engaged, and engaged actively in the military affairs of Spain; and being engaged in that manner when it appeared that the army of the Pretender relaxed its vigour and energy, and evinced a disposition to come over to the Queen; when they found, whether right or wrong—for it was not for them to inquire into the feelings or opinions which governed the conduct of Maroto—and they knew nothing of the relations which existed between him and Don Carlos; when, being engaged in active operations, they found that the enemy's general was desirous of giving up the contest, would they not have been idiots, would they not have acted in a way wholly unworthy of themselves and of the country, if they had not taken advantage of that contingency? Why he might reply to his noble Friend opposite in the language of the Swedish general in the great German play, who, when another important change was said to be negotiated, observed:—What may have beseemed your Highness so to act towards your sovereign liege and emperor, it beseems not me to inquire; but this advantage is in our favour, and all advantages in war are just.In the same way, was it not perfectly the duty of the British Government to take advantage of the defection of the enemy's general, the sooner to bring the contest to a termination. Any other conduct would have been perfectly childish and puerile; and he was satisfied that neither the good 578 sense of the country, nor the wisdom of Parliament, could ever form any other judgment or opinion upon the subject. Whatever might have been the nature of the transactions between Maroto and Don Carlos—whether the former acted with treachery towards the latter or not—whether the conduct of the first was right or wrong—did not appear to him to be in any respect a matter for their Lordships' inquiry. The whole affair resolved itself simply into this: Great Britain was engaged to effect the pacification of Spain, and this was an opportunity which presented itself for carrying her policy into effect. His noble Friend (the Earl of Aberdeen) had asked him what was the interpretation of the quadruple treaty under existing circumstances, and what was the position in which England now stood with respect to Spain? He did not know, that, it was quite fair to call upon him immediately, not having the treaty before him, to state precisely what was his view of its present obligations; but he had no hesitation about the matter. His noble Friend had given, as far as he recollected, a very correct history of the treaty. The first treaty was framed in the beginning of 1834, with the view of procuring the expulsion of Don Miguel and Don Carlos from the Peninsula, and he apprehended that the obligations of that treaty were completely fulfilled when the expulsion of those princes was accomplished. Subsequently, however, Don Carlos, after passing through England, presented himself in the north of Spain, and commenced a course of hostilities against the government of the Queen. The parties to the treaty then entered into fresh articles, and adopted fresh obligations for effecting the pacification of Spain. Those fresh articles were not confined to the expulsion of any prince or any person whatever from the dominions of the Spanish Queen. He apprehended therefore, that the conditions of the treaty were not satisfied by the expulsion of Don Carlos from Spain. Speaking from his recollection upon the subject, he should say that this country was unquestionably bound to give her assistance to Spain as long as any of the hostilities arising out of the attempt of Don Carlos to dethrone the Queen continued to exist. All the hostilities that were now going on in Spain arose out of the appearance of Don Carlos in the northern provinces immediately 579 after he had passed through this country; and he (Lord Melbourne) should say, that England was bound to give her assistance to the Queen's government, until those hostilities were terminated. Beyond that the treaty did not bind the Government of England to any further interference in the affairs of Spain. It did not bind them to interfere in any other difficulties that might arise—it did not bind them to interfere in any such case as was anticipated by the noble Marquess by whom the present motion was brought forward—it did not bind them to interfere in any questions between parties in Spain, nor in any of the internal affairs of that kingdom. But, until the hostilities arising out of the attempt of Don Carlos upon the throne were completely subdued, he thought that the treaty would remain in force, and be binding upon this country. That was the opinion which he should give if called upon to give an opinion now, but before he could state one positively and decidedly it would be necessary that he should consider the actual terms of the treaty. Acting, however, upon its spirit, that was unquestionably the interpretation he should put upon it. His noble Friend (the Earl of Aberdeen) had entered into many other points of consideration of a general nature but all turning upon the Spanish policy of the government. Into those subjects he would not upon that occasion follow him. In the latter part of his speech his noble Friend had called upon him to make some declaration with respect to a matter which he had often pressed upon his attention, namely, the claim of the Spanish bondholders under the treaty of 1829. He was afraid that those claims were not yet satisfied. He could say no more than that strong representations had been made upon the subject. And, perhaps, he might add, that he thought that more allowance and more indulgence ought to be shown towards the Spanish government, in consideration of the great and pressing difficulties by which it had been surrounded, than his noble Friend seemed disposed to allow it. He had no objection to the production of the papers.
§ Lord Ashburton
expressed his abhorrence and disgust of the course pursued by Maroto throughout the whole of these transactions.
The Marquess of Londonderry
having briefly replied, expressed a desire to put another question to the noble Viscount. 580 He wished to know whether the noble Viscount would consider the conditions of the quadruple treaty binding as long as the war should be carried on by Cabrera.
§ Motion agreed to.