HL Deb 26 March 1841 vol 57 cc609-10
Viscount Strangford

would take that opportunity of asking the noble Viscount a question on a subject of considerable importance to the commercial interests of this country. It was notorious that for some time past negotiations had been going on for a treaty of commerce between this country and France. Under less favourable auspices than the present those negotiations might have been interrupted, but he wished to know whether they had been renewed, and whether they were likely to be brought to a satisfactory termination. He was convinced that nothing could tend more to heal past wounds, and prevent the infliction of them for the future, than the establishment of a wise system of commercial intercourse between the two countries.

Viscount Melbourne

said, that it was perfectly true that negotiations had taken place in the course of the last year, and been brought to such a state as afforded the prospect of a speedy and satisfactory issue; but they had been interrupted by the events which took place at the close of last year, and had not been since renewed. There was, however, on the part of her Majesty's Government a most anxious desire for their resumption; for he entirely concurred in the belief that nothing could tend more to confirm the good understanding which had, and he trusted did exist, between the two countries, and which was now clearly the desire, not of one party or one set of men, but of every party and all sets of men—than a free system of commercial intercourse.