§ The EARL of HARROWBY
My Lords, previous to the separation of the House for the recess, I gave notice to the noble Marquess on the other side (the Marquess of Lansdowne) of my intention of putting to him some questions with respect to our relations with the countries bordering on the River Plate; but, on looking more maturely into the question, and communicating with one or two other noble Lords who have taken some interest in these matters, I have thought it better to pursue the course which I am now pursuing, namely, that of moving distinctly for copies or extracts of the instructions given to Her Majesty's Envoys for their guidance in the intervention of Great Britain for the pacification of the affairs of the River Plate since the time of Mr. Ousoley, whoso instructions were laid on the table of this House by Lord Aberdeen. My Lords, I may be excused for bringing this subject forward, on account of the deep interest which is felt in it by a number of my former constituents (Liverpool), though perhaps another reason would be sufficient, namely, the great and wide injury which has been inflicted on the commerce of this country. A person who undertakes to deal in any way with this question at the present moment, will soon find himself in a position of embarrassment, which can only be cleared away by agreeing to the Motion which I am about to make—I refer to the embarrassment arising from the circumstance that, since the last authentic information has been laid on the table of either House of Parliament, as to the mode of dealing which this country intends to pursue with respect to the States bordering on the River Plate, which was in 1846, we have no official information whatever of what is going on there. 603 We received at that time, on the part of the noble Lord who was then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, a full and emphatic statement of the whole policy which, under his administration of the foreign affairs of this country, we had pursued and were about to pursue with reference to the River Plate. The noble Earl did not do it altogether unprovoked, because he was called upon in the other House of Parliament by the noble Lord who has since succeeded to the direction of Foreign Affairs—he was called upon by Lord John Russell, and by parties in this House also, to explain distinctly what course of policy he was about to pursue, and what were the means by which it was proposed to carry that policy out. That noble Earl, with the frankness which always distinguished him, came forward, and laid upon the table of the House the whole of the instructions issued by Her Majesty's Government for the guidance of our Envoys. Since that time we have had no less than three formal missions, and two informal communications, to endeavour to negotiate the differences between the Argentine Confederation, represented by its President, Rosas, and the Banda Oriental. We have not the slightest knowledge, except through irregular communications which have reached this country, contained in the messages delivered by the President Rosas to his own legislature, of the policy which the present Government has been pursuing since the year 1846, and of the course of all these negotiations, which have so rapidly succeeded each other as almost to perplex the mind of any one who attempts to deal with the question. In the year 1846, Mr. Ouseley was sent out on the part of this country, and M. Deffandis on the part of the French Government, for the purpose of mediating between the Argentine Confederation, with Rosas at its head, and the Monte Videan Government. Their mission was unsuccessful; but by what means, or in what manner, we have had, as yet, no authentic information. Mr. Hood, formerly our Consul at Monte Video, was then sent out to carry on the negotiations in concert with the French Minister. That mission was also unsuccessful. Subsequently—I think in the following year—Lord Howden was sent out on the part of this country, and Count Walewski on the part of France; but in consequence of the differences which existed between the parties with whom they were to negotiate, that mission also proved unsuccessful. 604 That had been followed by another attempt on the part of Captain Gore, acting for this country, and M. Gros as the representative of France, which had been equally unsuccessful. A minor negotiation by Mr. Thomas Hood, the son of the former Mr. Hood, was attempted with equal want of success. Another Envoy has since been sent, Mr. Southern, who, I suppose, has received instructions to undertake the management of the business; and all that we know at present of his success is, that he has not been admitted as the Minister of this country by the President of the Argentine Confederation, although he has been allowed to reside in a private house, and has personally been treated with courtesy. The result of his appearance in the waters of the Plate has been, so far as we know, to give opportunity to the President of that Confederation to hold language in regard to the Minister of the Crown of England such as I believe was never held before, under any circumstances, to a Minister of the British Crown. I have simply, my Lords, given you the skeleton of what we know by public report. We know nothing officially. Indeed, we know nothing of any person having been sent out, or, if sent out, we know not why sent. We have no official information whatever upon the subject of the instructions under which they have acted, neither do we know why these instructions have not been successful. All we know of this sad and melancholy affair is, that the interference of the two greatest nations of Europe has been treated with ignominy by the President of the Argentine Confederation, and that the Crown of England has received an insult, in the language used towards it by that President in the address delivered to his Parliament, such as it has never received before. We ought surely to have some information upon this subject. It is not fair to the great interests of the country that they should be ignorant of the real course of the present state of things, or of the policy which the present Government has pursued with reference to this subject. Information to enlighten us on these points is the simple and plain object which I propose in bringing this subject before your Lordships. It will not be enough for the noble Marquess opposite to tell us that this information cannot be given, on account of public inconvenience, arising from the circumstances that negotiations are now pending, that Her Majesty's Government are 605 sanguine of success, that they believe the President of the Argentine Confederation will alter his tone, and receive our addresses in a more conciliatory manner than he has hitherto evinced. We shall not be satisfied with assurances of that nature; we shall insist upon having some more authentic information on the subject. The noble Earl lately at the head of the foreign affairs of this country was always anxious to give information on the subject. He had nothing to conceal. He was anxious to show the grounds upon which the two great Powers of Europe had presented themselves as mediators and arbitrators in the affairs of the two States bordering on the waters of the River Plate; that noble Earl was always anxious to appease jealousies and allay discontent; and I am quite convinced of this, that if my noble Friend now filled that office, be would not refuse to give the required information. In regard to a great portion of what I ask, no difficulty can by any possibility exist, inasmuch as the fact is, no negotiations are pending at present. They are completed, and have come to a termination, and, I am sorry to say, an unsuccessful termination. One Minister after another has been sent out: their negotiations have failed, and we know not upon what grounds. We hear, mysteriously, through papers communicated by other Governments to their subjects, of the grounds upon which these transactions have taken place; but what we hear is no doubt very imperfect. We have been told that the Government of Rosas will accept the basis which they call "Hood's basis," with certain modifications; but what those propositions were, and what the modifications, we know nothing. We know not, in point of fact, what at the present moment are the points at issue between the parties, and which appear to make the settlement of this long and protracted dispute interminable. With respect to the conduct of the President of the Argentine Confederation, there is no doubt that he has up to the present year endeavoured to defeat the exertions of England and France to bring about a settlement of these protracted affairs. He has endeavoured for a long time to sow jealousy between those Powers, and that be has done so up to the present time with too great success appears by a document from which we have the best information of the present state of things in that country: it is the message of Rosas to his own legislature, which reached this country a few days ago, and 606 in which he dwells at considerable length upon the state of the negotiations with this country. Hitherto this country and France have acted together with perfect harmony. That harmony was their strength—it was in fact a security to the Argentine Republic that no separate or independent interest was sought by either party. At the present moment that harmony, however, is at an end, and the President of the Argentine Republic is rejoicing in the separation between those parties. He states, in his message, alluding to foreign affairs—The Government solicitously cultivates the good relations of the Confederation with friendly Powers. Those which it was pleased to maintain with the Government of Great Britain and France, have not yet been restored to their former footing.Alluding to the position of the Government with regard to France, the President is anxious to distinguish between it and Great Britain, and says—The Government will persevere in its endeavours to re-establish an honourable peace with France, regard being previously had to the satisfaction and reparations which are due to the Argentine Republic.Surely, my Lords, the people of this country, having been led to suppose that the French and English Government were acting together in harmony in this affair, are entitled to know what were the circumstances which led to that separation. From the imperfect information which we have from other sources, we know that Lord Howden went over to Buenos Ayres, and remained in negotiation with the President for a considerable time. Finding that he was unable to come to any agreement upon a common basis, and being dissatisfied with the reception he met with, he crossed the water and went over to Monte Video. He there communicated with the Argentine Republic, and said, that having failed to negotiate with it, he intended to put himself in communication with the Monte Videan Government. Lord Howden then communicated with General Oribe, who commanded the forces besieging Monte Video, and stated the terms upon which he was prepared to negotiate. Those terms, however, materially modified by Oribe, and acquiesced in by Lord Howden, were submitted to the Monte Videan Government, and upon their rejecting them, as modified by the General, Lord Howden, without any consultation with the Monte Videan Government as to the grounds of their rejection, or even without the common courtesy of answering 607 to Oribe that his mission was at an end, wrote to the commodore commanding our naval forces in the river, desiring him to raise the blockade, which had been mainly relied on by the British Government, for the last two years, as the chief means of enforcing an arrangement on the contending parties. This certainly appears a most extraordinary mode of dealing with the affair. The grounds subsequently announced by Lord Howden for his conduct were, that the Monte Videan Government had rejected his armistice. They had rejected not his armistice, but the armistice as modified by Oribe. In a letter in which he instructed the English commodore cruising in the waters of the Plate to raise the blockade, he asserted that the Government was in the hands not of the natives, but of foreigners. Now, that fact was well known before Lord Howden's arrival, and Monte Video was not, when he left it, more under the influence of foreigners than it was at the previous period during which the French and English Governments had interposed. I should like to know whether, when the blockade was raised, if there had been more foreigners in the place than during the period it was blockaded, that circumstance would have induced the Government to have acted differently? I really do not know how to explain the conduct of Lord Howden. What does it mean? What was his object in going to Rosas? When he did not succeed with him, what was his object in going over to Oribe? What was his object in negotiating for the Monte Videans, if, when he found they did not agree to the armistice, he at once removed from Rosas the engine of pressure which was afforded by the blockade? What is the result of all this? At present, no person trading to that country has the slightest knowledge of the policy which the Government are pursuing. All they know is, that two of the most powerful monarchies of Europe have professed, not only their intention, but also their determination, to put an end to the war raging between Oribe and Rosas, and the Government of Monte Video, and that Rosas has up to the present time defeated every one of the plans which they have adopted for that purpose. Now, my Lords, this step taken by Lord Howden is one which, as far as I can understand. Her Majesty's Government have expressed no opinion upon, different interpretations having been put upon it. I ask them at once to say 608 whether they approve of that nobleman's conduct or not. Rosas says in his message, that "the conduct of Lord Howden, in the discharge of his mission, and of the act by which he had raised the blockade in the ports of the republics of La Plata, on the part of the naval forces of Her Majesty, has received the approbation of Her Majesty's Government." I rather think some expressions of the same kind have been used on this side of the water; but it is very true that this approbation is not so uniformly expressed by all parties. There is a rumour afloat, that when the intelligence arrived of the raising the blockade by the English Minister in the waters of La Plata, without consultation with, or the concurrence of, the French Minister, it created considerable surprise and dissatisfaction on the part of the French Government. It is also reported that that dissatisfaction was very strongly expressed to a Member of Her Majesty's Government; and there is also a report that the despatch addressed to Lord Normanby, containing that remonstrance, was withdrawn, I believe, at the instance of the present Government of Prance. Such being the state of things, I think your Lordships have a right to ask, does Her Majesty's Government, or does it not, approve of the course pursued by Lord Howden? Now, referring to another portion of this case, we find in the message of the President Rosas, that before we can even gain admission for the Minister of Her Majesty, and before he can be allowed to present his credentials, he must admit of "a proposal of pacification founded on the basis of Hood, and the modifications which this Government and its ally, the President of the Oriental State, Brigadier Don Manuel Oribe, have admitted, accommodated to actual circumstances in regard to Great Britain." So far as we can understand what those terms are, they are the very same as those which Lord Howden deemed so unreasonable that he left Buenos Ayres rather than agree to them. These points are, however, the preliminaries upon which alone Her Majesty's Minister may be permitted to present his credentials to the President of the Argentine Republic. Now, are we also to submit to the rebuke contained in the message of Rosas, when he expresses a hope that the views of Her Majesty's Government may be henceforth regulated "by the recognised principles of the law of nations, and explain itself in a manner that may satisfy the justice, the 609 good faith, and the obligations of treaties?" Are we to agree to give a compensation of about three millions sterling for the very grave offences and the very serious damages which our Government, in concert with that of France, has inflicted on Buenos Ayres during the Anglo-French intervention? Are we prepared to give up the Falkland Isles? or to make the whole settlement of affairs in that country dependent upon the good will of General Oribe? For these, it appears, are the only terms upon which President Rosas will deign to receive an accredited Minister from Her Majesty? In what position are our interests now? Those interests are very important. They are no trifles. It may sound somewhat little to talk of the commerce in the waters of La Plata, but the commerce of this country to those parts is of great and increasing importance. In 1842 its amount between this country and Monte Video was upwards of 3,000,000l. sterling; and, considering the great facilities afforded for commercial purposes by the waters of La Plata, if the usual comity of nations were followed with regard to those waters, there is no doubt but that that amount might shortly be doubled. In the year 1845 the value of one convoy alone sent up the river Parana was 1,600,000 dollars. Commerce with those countries would open entirely new sources of wealth to this country, which would flow into Manchester and every other manufacturing and commercial city in the kingdom. The present is, therefore, no trifling matter. But this is not all. The interests of the Brazilian empire are at stake. The original object of the formation of the States on the banks of the La Plata was twofold: it was formed with the view of preventing the whole of the waters of La Plata from being in the hands of one great Power, and that Power notoriously hostile to European States. It was, therefore, thought necessary that there should be some intermediate or interposing Power between the Brazilian Government and the Government of the Argentine Republic. Are these considerations of less importance since Rosas has become the practical dictator of that community? Has he, during the exercise of his power, shown these matters to be of less importance? On the contrary, has he done anything since his accession to power to lead us to think it of less importance or less advantageous to have a Power interposing between the Brazilian Government and the Argentine Confedera- 610 tion? We know that in the difficulties which have arisen with the Brazilian Government in the Rio de la Plata, that Rosas has constantly threatened to give assistance to the mercantile parts of that State. It appears to me, my Lords, most important that this question should not be settled in that way, which is the only one that the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department seems to think of—namely, that of Monte Video simply surrendering, without condition, into the hands of the Argentine Republic. The language held by the Government of Rosas, which was insulting in the highest degree—the course pursued by the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office, in sending out Ministers there, apparently perfectly unprepared with instructions to act upon the very points which he must have anticipated—and other indications on the part of that noble Lord, lead to the conclusion that his opinion is in favour of the unconditional surrender of Monte Video to the Argentine Republic, and the entire destruction of that policy of this country upon which that Republic was founded as an independent State at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata, and on behalf of which principle the late Government of Her Majesty have held pretty strong language, and taken some rather strong steps. I do, therefore, ask your Lordships, for the sake of our mercantile interest, to join with me in calling on Her Majesty's Government for information upon this subject, in order that we may see distinctly what is the course intended to be pursued by them, and what is the destiny awaiting the Republic which we have hitherto supported, as we were bound to do by solemn treaties. I have come forward with this question with no party object, as the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Lansdowne) may he well assured, but simply with the view of compelling Her Majesty's Government to state more explicitly than they have hitherto done what is the course of policy they have adopted, and free themselves thereby from the imputation which lies upon them, at least upon the other side of the Atlantic, that they have abandoned the policy which they have hitherto pursued, and are prepared to hand over to the tender mercies of the Argentine Confederation the hitherto supported Republic of Monte Video. In conclusion, my Lords, I beg to move for copies or extracts of all instructions given to Her Majesty's Envoys in the River Plate for their guidance 611 in the intervention of Great Britain for the pacification of affairs in that river.
§ The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE
My Lords, although I feel compelled to object to the Motion which the noble Earl has made, still I am disposed to give him every information in my power upon a subject which I feel with him to be one of great importance, and one involving very great interests; and which I fully admit ought to receive unceasing attention from Her Majesty's Ministers. The situation in which this country at present stands with respect to the negotiations in the River Plate is entirely different from that in which it was when the noble Earl lately at the head of the Foreign Office communicated to your Lordships the instructions which he had issued upon the subject. It does not follow that because those instructions were very properly communicated at that time, that all the subsequent instructions upon the same subject ought to be laid before your Lordships. I state at once, as forming an insuperable objection to these communications being made, that negotiations are now pending, and proceeding upon terms contained not only in the instructions recently issued, but in the instructions issued by the noble Earl formerly at the head of the Foreign Department to Mr. Hood; and as the noble Earl seems himself to be aware—for he does not appear to be quite so uninformed on the subject as he wishes your Lordships to consider him to be—the basis laid down by Mr. Hood is that upon which the negotiations are now proceeding, and upon which it has recently assumed a very promising aspect, so far as it relates to the probability of the modifications founded upon the basis of Mr. Hood being agreed to. What those modifications are, the noble Earl cannot expect, nor can any one of your Lordships expect, that I should now state. I can only say that those modifications do not go at all to the extent that the noble Earl has assumed Rosas is likely to ask. I will tell your Lordships in what position we now are. The noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) was induced to agree with the French Government to send to that part of the world a specific mission for the purpose of mediating between the conflicting Powers in the River Plate. Mr. Ouseley was sent out, I think, in January, 1845, as Her Majesty's Envoy, with M. Deffandis, on the part of the French Government; and in the month of May those negotiations conducted by Mr. Ouseley were brought to an end. Subse- 612 quently an alteration took place in the policy pursued by these Envoys, in the course of which Mr. Ouseley was induced to carry on the system of operations directed against Rosas, which were of a nature to meet with the disapproval of the noble Earl. That disapprobation of the noble Earl was fully concurred in by my noble Friend now at the head of the Foreign Office. Shortly after—in May, 1846—Mr. Hood was sent out by the noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen); he was not, however, able to bring his mediation to a successful issue, and Mr. Hood returned. An arrangement was then made between the Government of France and this country for the purpose of bringing about peace and good understanding between the different parties who were engaged in carrying on the contest. Count Walewski was sent on the part of the French Government, and Lord Howden on behalf of Her Majesty's Government. They did not succeed in their negotiations, owing to the disposition of Rosas; and the modification proposed to the Monte Videan Government being rejected, Lord Howden felt himself justified in raising the blockade; and although the French Envoy did not raise the French blockade at the same time, yet it was agreed that a case had arisen which had not been provided for in the instructions of either the French or British representatives, and that the French were differently circumstanced in some respects from ourselves. The noble Earl (the Earl of Harrowby) seems to entertain some doubt whether the conduct of Lord Howden was approved by Her Majesty's Government. Lord Howden is not here; I wish he was, in order that he might state to your Lordships the grounds upon which he proceeded when he raised that blockade. He did, however, state reasons for so doing, which were perfectly satisfactory to Her Majesty's Government. I believe that the French Government, as well as the English Government, are of opinion that the particular case that had arisen was not one provided for by the instructions given by the respective Governments, but that it was a case in which the Plenipotentiary of either Government might take different courses, if they deemed such a proceeding advisable. I am of opinion that the statement made by the noble Earl, that the French Government have expressed their disapproval of the conduct of Lord Howden, is without foundation. From whatever authority the noble Earl learned it, I cannot find 613 the slightest trace of any such communication being made by the French Government. On the contrary, I believe the French Minister conceived it was a case in which it was perfectly open to either party to put a different construction on the instructions. What the noble Lord seems to think is an unfortunate result, I think is not an unfortunate result; for I do not consider that a state of blockade (not required by any peremptory considerations) is a state of things that it was wise to prolong. That blockade was raised to the great benefit of Buenos Ayres, and not only of Buenos Ayres but of England; for there is a trade carried on between Buenos Ayres and this country which Government would not be justified in suspending, except a case requiring a strong pressure had arisen. There has been a considerable increase of that trade since the raising of the blockade; but before that a system of smuggling had been carried on by the establishment of a sort of circuitous way the advantages of which, I have no doubt, some of the gentlemen connected with Monte Video were very loth to lose. A direct English trade with Buenos Ayres is a trade that it is important to maintain. The noble Earl describes Rosas as a person disaffected to European connexion; I do not mean to enter into any defence of Rosas; but I say this—for the satisfaction of the noble Earl, and for the satisfaction of those who were desirous that he should bring the subject before the House—that at no time has the trade of this country been more beneficially carried on than with that person, and the people under that person, though he has been described as opposed to European connexion. That trade has been increasing from month to month; and the individual who has arrived from Her Majesty's Government at Buenos Ayres, in describing the desire for English intercourse, under this absolute government of Rosas, declares that there is "a hunger and thirst" for English commodities, and that hunger and thirst is most effectively supplied by one of the most beneficial trades that ever was carried on. That gentleman also states that every facility he had occasion to ask for, that every facility the merchants had occasion to ask for, was most readily conceded by the authorities, and by Rosas himself. It is said, however, that Mr. Southern is not formally received by General Rosas. It is true he is not; but I am not here to state the particular motives that may call for General 614 Rosas' conduct. I believe his opinion is (expressing, at the same time, the utmost anxiety for the event), that the most proper moment to receive him is when the arrangement in contemplation is absolutely concluded. But, in the meantime, there is no sort of personal honour that could be conferred on Mr. Southern—either as to the mode of his reception, or with respect to the manner in which he is lodged, provided for, and communicated with—that has not been shown to him; thus exhibiting the desire of the Government and inhabitants of the country to show the high respect in which they hold the gentleman who is known to be commissioned to attend there by Her Majesty's Government. The noble Earl has referred to a speech lately made by General Rosas. I believe the noble Earl has overrated the importance of that address. It is not from speeches made by General Rosas to his council or to his parliament, whatever the importance of that council or parliament may he, but it is from the direct communication of General Rosas himself, that his intentions are to be judged; and certainly from those communications I have recently received, I cannot but believe there is a desire—I had almost said, an intention—on the part of Rosas to come to a satisfactory arrangement with this country—an arrangement which, most undoubtedly, must include a due regard to the interests of persons on the other side of the river. It will he an additional satisfaction to Her Majesty's Government if, at the same time that be concludes such an arrangement, the French Government, whose case is somewhat different, may be able to conclude theirs. Though the mission of the French Minister may not be successful, at the same time I don't understand it to be entirely at an end. There fortunately exists between the Government of this country and the present Government of France the most cordial understanding, and they entertain a most sincere desire that this matter may be remedied, if not jointly, by communications from Power to Power, at least in that way which shall give to either Power the least reason to complain. Entertaining that expectation, I feel justified in declining to make any communication that may increase the difficulties of effecting that which ought to be a happy conclusion of the negotiation; and on this ground I must oppose the Motion of the noble Earl.
§ LORD BEAUMONT
considered that the Motion of the noble Earl had reference to 615 some of the most strange and complicated events in which this country was ever engaged; and if the noble Earl desired to unravel the threads of this curious web he must go a little further back. He should go back to the commencement of their interference; and if he did not go back, he would see such errors committed that it was a matter of astonishment to him that they were now likely to escape from the difficulties in which they had involved themselves. The commencement of that interference was an error—the continuance of it was a gross job. One of the chief motives of the persons who agitated on this subject was nothing more nor less than to secure until the year 1850 the profits they obtained in consequence of the gross job that took place at Monte Video between certain merchants and the Government. The job was this: the Government of Monte Video wished to raise a loan on the security of the profits of the custom-house, and the whole history of this blockade was to be found in the desire to increase the receipts of the custom-house. The whole object of the small knot of persons that obtained control in the city of Monte Video, and whose correspondents in this country agitated on this subject, was to make profits on the negotiations that took place with regard to the custom-house. The great error committed in the first instance was one which could not be brought too strongly before the House, in consequence of the injury it seemed to inflict upon the interests of this country. It appeared that a different principle was adopted by the same parties in one case from that which they adopted in another. The line of policy acted upon in regard to this hemisphere was abandoned in the western hemisphere, and totally contrary principles were promulgated. The cause of their interference in Monte Video happened to be this—they went and supported the revolutionary party, they put down the original Government; and of whom was the revolutionary party composed? Not of the people of the Banda Oriental, no—but it happened most singularly that they were all foreigners. There were some Italians and some French amongst them, and at the head of that party was one of the men who had so often been denounced by the noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen), at the other side, one whom they would have been pleased to see hanged; it was Garibaldi himself for whom they interfered. He (Lord Beaumont) knew not what Garibaldi 616 might have thought when he afterwards heard himself denounced by the noble Lord and his friends at the other side, who had for so many years, at great risk, placed ships at his command to blockade Buenos Ayres, and even English regiments were landed to support Garibaldi and his friends. It was resolved, as it appeared, to send out Mr. Hood to do away with the whole of the policy of Mr. Ouseley. Mr. Hood was then sent out; and he (Lord Beaumont) thought that what was proposed by Mr. Hood was just and fair, and that everything might have been arranged, had it not been for the unfortunate conduct and policy of Mr. Ouseley, whom, individually, he did not blame, for he had no doubt acted upon the instructions of the noble Earl opposite, and when he condemned him, he really meant to condemn the instructions of the noble Earl. When Mr. Hood went out, he proposed something so different from what was proposed before, that the whole thing would have been arranged in a friendly manner, if it were not for the unfortunate conduct of Mr. Ouseley, in giving a wrong advice to parties at Monte Video to hold on and not to make any terms with Oribe, and perhaps also from the want of the French not acting altogether in the spirit that characterised the instructions of Mr. Hood. It appeared to him that Lord Howden had not only acted well, but in the only manner in which he could have acted. Lord Howden was well received, he obtained a greater influence over Rosas than almost any other person, and Rosas would have granted the terms that Lord Howden proposed. There would be no difficulty in the arrangement, so far as Lord Howden was concerned, were it not, unfortunately, for Count Walewski's proceedings. Again, he could not see how Lord Howden could be blamed, for, although at the time of the first intervention he was appointed to act with Count Walewski, after the difference of opinion between him and Count Walewski with regard to the armistice that had taken place, the whole of their joint intervention was at an end. From what had since taken place, he must say that until he had heard the explanation of the noble Marquess, he had thought we stood in a peculiar situation with regard to Buenos Ayres; but the explanation which had been given appeared to him to be satisfactory, and it was likely the result, as he had before said, would be quite different from what they might have expected.
§ LORD COLCHESTER
said, the great error in all our negotiations in the matter was, that we did not simply look to our own interests, and that of our own countrymen who were in that country. Instead of steadily doing so, we joined with another European Power, whose alliance in European affairs was a matter of great importance to the whole world, but with whom in such a case we ought to have had nothing to do; because France stood with respect to Buenos Ayres in a position which precluded her from acting the part of mediator with any hope of success. He had heard with great delight that we were now about to act separately; had we done so from the first, the whole matter would have been settled years ago. When Lord Howden went out, the President of the Argentine Republic was quite willing to give him all he asked, but he refused to grant the same boon to other parties; and as the noble Lord could not act without the representative of France, the affairs only became more complicated. Another grand error that we committed was, commencing hostilities when there was no state of war; and he was glad that in that affair the conduct of Mr. Ouseley had not received the sanction of the Government.
§ The EARL of HARROWBY
briefly replied: his Lordship was understood to say that he was glad to hear from the noble Marquess that the Government entertained hopes of an amicable adjustment of affairs in the River Plate, and trusted their expectations would not be disappointed. He could only hope that whatever steps might be taken for supporting the independence of the Banda Oriental, would not receive any obstruction or impediment. After the discussion that had taken place, he would not press his Motion, and therefore begged leave to withdraw it.
§ Motion withdrawn.
§ House adjourned till To-morrow.