HL Deb 15 March 1858 vol 149 cc166-7

My Lords, I beg leave to lay on your Lordships' table the correspondence which has taken place between the Government of Her Majesty and the Government of his Imperial Majesty the Emperor of the French since Her Majesty's late Ministers resigned their offices. I am happy, my Lords, to state that that correspondence puts an end to all the misapprehensions which unfortunately existed for a short time between the two countries. And it would be unfair in me if I were not to add, that that desirable consummation has been facilitated by the frank and handsome manner in which Count Walewski came forward after the House of Commons had expressed, on the 19th of February, its opinion upon, and disapprobation of, his despatch. I repeat, my Lords, that Count Walewski expressed to Lord Cowley his regret that he had been misunderstood, and frankly gave to Lord Cowley a most satisfactory explanation of the expressions which in his despatch had been misinterpreted. I think that your Lordships, when you read the correspondence, will see that this matter has been concluded with all honour and good feeling on the part of both Governments. I have nothing more to say upon the question than that Her Majesty's Government place the highest value upon that alliance, which has been of so much consequence to the happiness of Europe, and, I must say, of the world, for the last five years; and that they have the most thorough conviction that the same feeling is entertained by the Emperor of the French, whoso sentiments, through his Minister, your Lordships will find clearly and satisfactorily expressed in those despatches. That I may not alter a word of his expression, I beg leave to read an extract from one of them. We are convinced, my Lords, as the Emperor of the French says he is convinced, that— The reconciliation of the great nations, after centuries of antagonism, could be sincere and lasting only on one condition—namely, that the honour of the one shall never be sacrificed to the honour of the other. Correspondence presented (by command) and ordered to lie on the table.