HL Deb 01 April 1844 vol 73 cc1676-7
The Earl of Aberdeen

My Lords, I beg to lay upon your Lordships' Table, by command of Her Majesty, a copy of a Supplemental Treaty made between Her Majesty and the Emperor of China. This Treaty contains the regulations of trade between England and that country. By it the northern ports of China are now open to British commerce; and, I am happy to say, with every prospect of complete success. It affords me, my Lords, much satisfaction to add, that general goodwill on the part of the population of that nation exists, and the best feeling on the part of Her Majesty's subjects. I trust that the precautions taken will prevent that good feeling from being diminished. I cannot allude to this subject without directing your Lordships' attention to the ability of the very distinguished man, Sir Henry Pottinger, by whom those negotiations have been effected, surrounded as he was by complicated difficulties—your Lordships cannot be aware how great they were—in a country so entirely new; but the great experience which he had previously gained elsewhere, enabled him, in spite of the complicated difficulties, which is not a little matter—to accomplish what he did. By the energy of his character, and the resources of his own mind, he surmounted them all. I will add, that in a country where suspicion and distrust are proverbial, he has contrived to instil a degree of confidence among the people that may be deemed almost insurmountable. My Lords, I do not hesitate to state, that we are mainly indebted to Sir Henry Pottinger for the happy result of the proceedings in China; but I am sure your Lordships will deeply regret that the state of his health requires his immediate return to this country. We are endeavouring to fill his place; and your Lordships may rest assured, that Her Majesty's Ministers are actuated by an earnest desire to forward his views with as little delay as possible.

The Marquess of Lansdowne

concurred cordially in the eulogy which had been passed by the noble Earl upon Sir Henry Pottinger. Every person who had served in the expedition against China, every person who had made himself acquainted with the proceedings which had recently taken place in that part of the world, would be aware of the distinguished and valuable services of that man, whose life had been spent in his country's service. Coming home, as he did, to the regret of Her Majesty's Government and of the country generally, on account of bad health, it might be satisfactory in some degree to know, that he carried out with him, when he was appointed, a fall knowledge of the great risk he incurred—he being at the time subject to a disorder, brought on in the course of previous services, which he knew would be aggravated by the climate to which he was proceeding. It must, however, be peculiarly gratifying to Sir H. Pottinger, and satisfactory to every person in the kingdom, to hear the services of that officer acknowledged in the handsome manner in which the noble Earl had that night acknowledged them, in laying upon their Lordships' Table the Treaties which those services had so much contributed to effect.