HL Deb 14 February 1859 vol 152 cc314-29

said, that in asking the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the question of which he had given notice as to the recent correspondence between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States respect- ing the Right of Search, he trusted he might be allowed to explain why he thought this Correspondence should be laid upon the Table of the House at this early period of the Session, instead of their Lordships having to wait for it until the usual time when the Slave Trade Correspondence would be placed before them. It would, no doubt, be in the recollection of their Lordships that during last Session serious discussions arose between the Government of Her Majesty and the Government of the United States in respect to the right of search generally, and with reference in particular to certain proceedings of British cruisers on the coast of Cuba, of which the American Government complained. Towards the close of the Session the noble Earl the Secretary for Foreign Affairs stated to the House that the right of search had been given up by Her Majesty's Government, but that a correspondence was going on with the Government of the United States with the view of fixing upon some definite arrangement whereby, for the future, the right of vessels to carry a particular flag might be verified. He (Lord Wodehouse) could not understand the proposition that the right of search had been abandoned, because the right of search could only be exercised as a belligerent right, or under the stipulations of treaties, and neither of those cases applied to the United States. As negotiations between the two Governments were proceeding at that time, the matter had stood over; but during the recess a correspondence was presented by the President of the United States Government, to the American Congress, and had been reprinted in the English newspapers. In that Correspondence—which, in some respects, was of a very remarkable character—it appeared that the question on this subject was still in a very uncertain and most unsatisfactory condition. There was a despatch of the American Minister in this country, which gave a somewhat surprising example of the celerity with which the noble Earl transacted business, for it appeared that the noble Earl had not only changed his opinions in twenty-four hours, but that at the end of that time he had drawn up a complete account of international law, which he handed to the American Minister, as an authoritative acknowledgment of the doctrine held by Her Majesty's Government. The noble Earl appeared to have adopted the principles of General Cass, and no doubt General Cass felt highly delighted; but as to the question of what was to be done in order to verify the flag of a merchant vessel in time of peace, General Cass was not only unwilling to propose any arrangement, but he thought that in no case should such verification be permitted. Every one must admit the right of search by an armed cruiser was quite a different thing from the right of verifying the title of a merchant vessel to carry the flag of a particular nation. The difference was important, because if it was to be laid down that in no case should a visit be made to a merchant vessel to ascertain her right to carry a particular flag, pirates would be allowed to occupy the seas with impunity, as the hoisting of a different flag to that under which the cruiser sailed would insure inviolability. The same would be the case with slavers, who would hoist any flag that would be most convenient for the moment. He had only made those few remarks in order that their Lordships might know how the matter stood, and, as he thought it was important that they should have the correspondence before them, he begged to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he would lay on the table of the House copies of the recent Correspondence between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States respecting the right of search.


My Lords, I have not the least objection to lay this correspondence before your Lordships. I am afraid, however, as my noble Friend has read that portion of it which has been published in America, he will find little of novelty or amusement in the papers which will be produced here. I think, however, the noble Lord would have consulted the convenience of the House if he had waited until the Correspondence was laid upon the table before he indulged in the remarks he has made, as I expect but few of your Lordships have seen that portion which has been published. My noble Friend appears to be surprised, and not unnaturally, considering the account which has appeared of the conversation which I had with the American Minister, and which that Minister reported to his Government, and infers that within twenty-four hours I had entirely changed my opinions. But that is easily explained. Upon the first day on which the Minister of the United States called upon me, and asked my opinion upon certain points of international law relating to the right of search, I gave him what is commonly called an evasive answer, as the subject was then under the consideration of the law officers of the Crown, whose opinions I received shortly afterwards. When I got that opinion I had no difficulty the next day in giving a definite reply to the United States' Minister when he came again, as was agreed. Therefore your Lordships will see there was nothing extraordinary in the decision at which, apparently, I had suddenly arrived. My noble Friend seems to think that we have given up some great British right or privilege of vital consequence to this country. But if I understand international law at all. which has not changed in our days, what is right now must have been right fifty years ago, and what was wrong then is wrong now. Forty-five years ago, circumstances were very different to what they are now. We were then at the close of a very long and serious contest, by which all nations were more or less exhausted, and at the end of which no nation but England possessed any thing like a navy. The French navy had almost entirely disappeared. The American navy was very small, having lost many of their ships; and the British navy was riding triumphantly over the ocean, being the only one in a condition to preserve the police of the sea, and to carry out those points of maritime policy which the circumstances of the time rendered necessary. But it must be recollected that at that time the feeling in this country respecting the slave trade was extremely strong, and in fact the English navy was the only one capable of exercising an effective control over that odious traffic. We could not then expect assistance from other nations, and we treated matters rather with a high hand; we were masters of the sea, and we claimed that which, although it was for the benefit of all, must be admitted to have been more than we had a right to. Your Lordships are aware that the slave trade is a perfectly legal traffic, except where treaties exist with other Powers for its suppression, and there is no law whatever that gives us or any one else a right to visit a ship or seize her, even if full of slaves, provided she is sailing under an independent flag, unless we have a treaty right right to that effect with the nation to which that particular flag belongs. As peace endured and nations flourished, those who had lost their navies were enabled to reconstruct them, and those who had had none began to create them. Feelings grew up among them with respect to their navies similar to those which we entertained in regard to our own, and naturally they began to dispute a claim which they had never submitted to with any good grace; and they therefore thought it desirable to enforce their claims, and to reassume all the rights which international war gave them. Such was the case with France. She had a slave trade treaty with us, and she said, "We are an independent nation, with a navy of our own, and we consider it an insult to be thought unable to fulfil our own engagements, and to maintain the police of the sea, as far as our own flag is concerned. We are able to do it, and we do not desire you to meddle with our ships, but to leave them to us to look after." Such, too, was the language of the United States, as their naval power and spirit of independence increased. I am not fond of expressing opinions upon the acts of my predecessors in office, but I must say I think they held out too long, considering all the circumstances, for the extreme exercise of the power we claimed, and which international law, strictly interpreted, could not bear us out in demanding. As my noble Friend has stated, during last year this practice of visiting all ships (the slave trade having much increased in consequence of the Russian war) created a great amount of ill blood in the United States, and I felt that the time was come when, instead of carrying it with a high hand, as we had done thirty-one years before, it was better, that great country having a powerful navy, and able if they chose to prevent acts which we had so justly deprecated, that we should show our confidence in them, and rely upon their uniting with us to put a stop to the slave trade. The, American Government, in their language, wont as far into one extreme as we had formerly done in the other. They at that time declared that no right of search whatever should be allowed. But on the 10th of April, last year, General Cass forwarded me a note, with respect to what I then stated—an opinion by which I am still prepared to abide—that it was written in a fair and candid spirit, and which I believed contained a just interpretation of international law. He did not in that note deprecate the exercise of the right of search under all circumstances. What he did state was that, although a nation might, upon particular occasions, and under certain circumstances, be justi- fied in resorting to it, yet that such a course should, in accordance with the principles of international law, be taken at the risk of the officer by whom it was pursued, adding that if there were sufficient grounds of suspicion to justify the proceeding of the officer, he was of opinion no Government would be disposed to find fault with its adoption. Now, being aware of the spirit by which the American Government was animated upon this subject, what I proposed to do was this:—That we should establish, in conjunction with that Government, for the sake of maintaining the police of the sea, a code of instructions for the commanders of both countries which should be identical, and which should guarantee any officer acting within their scope against being open to blame. I was, moreover, of opinion, paying regard to the natural feelings of the people of America upon this question, that it would not be unwise to invite the French Government to join us in pursuing the same course as that which I have just mentioned. It seemed to me that any code of instructions which should be agreed upon by the French Government and our own, must be of such a nature as not to give rise to the suspicion on the part of America, that in assenting to it she was surrendering one particle of her notional honour. It was, however, as your Lordships must be perfectly well aware more easy to propose such a scheme than to put it into execution. A considerable time, therefore, has elapsed, during which the highest authorities of the French navy, as well as of our own, have been employed in considering this matter; but the result, I am happy to say, has been that the Governments of both countries have agreed upon a code of instructions which are identical, and that that code has been submitted to the American Cabinet, with an invitation to them to join with us in its adoption. Such, my Lords, is the course which we have taken, nor can I regret that we have followed it, And although I may appear at first to have surrendered a right—an extreme, an exaggerated right—in favour of which so much has been spoken and written—yet I thought, as I said before, that the time was come when it was better to place entire confidence in the proper feeling of the American people than to prolong an agitation which, in point of fact, rendered them indisposed to aid us in our endeavours to put down the slave trade. The best proof, my Lords, that I was not mistaken as to the wisdom of that policy is to be found in the spirit which has since been evinced by the American Government both in its language and its acts. From that Government I have received the strongest assurances that it will use its best efforts to put down the slave trade in American ships. It has even gone as far as to make "officiously," but not "officially," a suggestion, in the expediency of acting upon which I entirely concur. It is that the treaty into which we have entered with the United States and which binds us, with a view to the suppression of the slave trade, to have 80 guns on the West Coast of Africa should be so modified that, instead of our being obliged to have 80 guns in that quarter, and America being enabled to fulfil her part of the stipulation by maintaining there two old sailing frigates of 40 guns, which are perfectly useless in the suppression of the slave trade, we should keep up a certain number of steam-vessels. Ten steam-gunboats, mounting two guns a-piece, would constitute a much more effectual force than two sailing frigates, with 40 guns each, which have hitherto been employed. The Government of the United States has, moreover, intimated that inasmuch as the slave trade on the coast of Cuba continues on the increase it is its intention to send a larger number of vessels to that coast for the purpose of suppressing the traffic. Such has been the spontaneous result upon the part of the American Government of the action of Her Majesty's Ministers towards it upon this subject. What I have contented myself with doing has been to forward to the Government of America the accounts given by our commanders upon the African Coast of the atrocious desecration of the American flag in the prosecution of the slave trade, and no language, I am happy to say, could be stronger than that which Lord Napier informs me was used by General Cass when he heard those reports, unaccompanied as they were by any comment on the part of Her Majesty's Government. And, my Lords, while upon this subject I cannot refrain from expressing my satisfaction at another change which has taken place in reference to the question of the slave trade. Your Lordships are well aware of the complaints which have lately been made in consequence of the adoption of the French scheme of negro emigration to the French colonies, and you cannot have faded to learn with satisfaction that the French Government has, within the last fortnight or three weeks, abolished that system on the east coast of Africa, where it had led to greater complications than in any other quarter. You have also been made acquainted, by a paragraph in the Speech from the Throne, that we are carrying on negotiations with the Government of France, at their invitation, with the view of arriving at some agreement by which the entire abolition of that system of negro slavery might be accomplished, and through which we may be able, under proper regulations—in fact, under the same regulations which prevail in our own case—to supply France with really free labour from the East Indies. Nothing, I am happy to think, now seems wanting to enable us to bring all nations—each acting for itself, but at the same time acting in unison with others—to the resolution to concur with us in the suppression of the slave trade, and to abandon a plan from which the well known horrors of the traffic but too often result. But one thing is wanted to consummate this good end, and that one thing is peace. When the Russian war began, the slave trade had all but died away. Its complete abolition was checked by that event; but, if we should only be fortunate enough to enjoy for some years to come the blessing of peace, the trade will, I feel assured, be completely extinguished. That blessing we have now every reason to hope awaits us. The Speech which was recently spontaneously delivered by the able and powerful ruler of France, to the French Chambers, tells us so upon the best authority, inasmuch as he from whose lips it fell is all powerful either for peace or war. We have his assurance that tranquillity will be maintained; and we have no reason to doubt his word, inasmuch as no man has more faithfully kept those treaties which, when he ascended the Throne in 1852, he promised to observe. I have, therefore, my Lords, the strongest confidence in the continuance of peace, and the existence of that blessing is all, I feel assured, that is required in order to put an end to a traffic odious in itself, and which this country has made so many and such great sacrifices to abolish.


—I think, my Lords, that my noble Friend has done good service to the public, and good service to the noble Earl also, in affording him the opportunity of explaining to the House the course which he has taken in reference to this important subject, and also of setting right public opinion with respect to certain concessions which he is supposed to have made to the Government of the United States. The community at large have had no means of acquiring information upon such transactions except through the medium of the press or the papers which have been laid before Congress; to one of which—the despatch of Mr. Dallas, which was alluded to by my noble Friend behind me, and which 1 must say is one of the most graphic and interesting documents I ever read in my life—I would particularly refer. It presents such a picture of "an interior" as is rarely given. It describes how much my noble Friend opposite talked; how well he listened, and dilates upon the admiration which he expressed for the despatch of General Cass. But it would seem that when my noble Friend asked Mr. Dallas to report to his own Government the conversation which had taken place, the reply was that it was so long and so multifarious that it was completely out of his power to comply with the request. Mr. Dallas, however, it seems, suggested that my noble Friend should himself undertake the office of preparing a minute of the conversation as regards the questions of international law involved; and accordingly the noble Earl went to his desk and with the utmost readiness wrote down that minute of all that passed of which your Lordships have heard, and which is certainly a most important document, binding as it does Her Majesty's Government to take a definite line of conduct on a subject of great importance. I for one—possessing some slight experience of such matters—could not help envying the self-confidence displayed by the noble Earl in sitting down to compose in a few hours such a document; although my surprise is somewhat diminished by the explanation which he has just given, to the effect that he had previously held communication upon the subject under discussion with the law officers of the Crown. I should not, however, have troubled your Lordships upon this occasion were it not for what has fallen from my noble Friend with respect to the course which he says was pursued by his predecessors in office, in having asserted certain principles on a certain mode of dealing with the police of the seas—practices which he says we carried out with a high hand and maintained too long. It would appear that the noble Earl considers we claimed a right of search, which could be exercised only by belli- gerents, and to exercise which, in time of peace, would be contrary to international law. We, however, never claimed or exercised any such right. The state of the law, as well as our practice towards other countries, was laid down with the utmost distinctness by my noble Friend above me (the Earl of Aberdeen), in language which commanded the assent of the Minister who, at the same time filled the office of Secretary for Foreign Affairs in the United States. It was merely provided that we should have the means of ascertaining the nationality of a ship, when there was any reasonable ground for suspecting that she was sailing under false colours, and of learning whether she was in reality entitled to carry the colours which she bore. It was understood that this course should always be pursued with great caution and discretion, and on the responsibility of the officers in command; and it was provided at the same time that no vessel entitled to fly the American colours should be meddled with, nor should the British officers meddle with such a vessel, even though it absolutely had a cargo of slaves on board. Now, it may be that through the over-zeal of some of our officers on the coast of Cuba, acts may have been committed which can hardly be justified—though we do not even know the truth of that. It is perfectly true that mail after mail brought over a catalogue of British outrages, some of which were manifest exaggerations, and of course such instances demand strict inquiry. In due time, I suppose, we shall receive reports of that inquiry. But I believe that, except perhaps on the coast of Cuba, the steps we have taken to ascertain the nationality of suspected vessels have been exercised with great care and discretion by our officers, and, so far from the American Government having cause for displeasure, I think they should be obliged to us for having rescued their flag when borne under such illegal and disreputable circumstances. I believe, at all events, that the Parliament and the Ministry of this country would be much obliged to any other Power which rescued the English flag from similar disgrace. But, in reality, the right of search, so understood, did work well. It was always confined to the African coast; it very rarely interfered with the legitimate course of commerce; and the result to both Governments appeared perfectly satisfactory. If, however, as the result of my noble Friend's altered arrangements there is to be no inquiry of this sort as to the nationality of a vessel, and if that nationality is to be assumed from the colours which she chooses to fly, and we are to leave to each country the duty of ascertaining the true character of the vessel which bears its flag, there is an end of all precautionary measures.


—I may not have made myself thoroughly understood, and perhaps your Lordships will allow me to explain. If the course just suggested by the noble Earl were persued, what would be the use of the identical instructions? Those instructions are intended to give our cruisers the right of challenging only, so as to put an end to the anomalies which arose in the practice of different commanders, and to prevent the disputes which have hitherto taken place between the two countries. I do not give up the right, which, on the contrary, is a well established right; but at the same time we have thought it desirable to fix the responsibility upon the officers exercising it.


Not having seen the instructions, I cannot give an opinion respecting them; but I do not clearly understand even now how these identical instructions will enable a British officer to institute inquiry as to the nationality of an American vessel. At all events, we must have the same sets of rules and regulations for all nations. We cannot have one code for a powerful, and another for a weak nation: if we are not to inquire into the nationality of a vessel which, under suspicious circumstances, carries the American flag, we must exercise the same forbearance, the same abstinence from inquiry, in respect to every flag; so that the flag of Monaco must be allowed by British cruisers to pass as unnoticed as that of America. But I believe the American Government are quite as desirous as our own honestly to put down the slave trade, and are just as unwilling as ourselves that the national flag should be prostituted by shielding this abominable traffic. I can only hope that the new regulations adopted and these identical instructions will be successful; but to be succesful they must be adopted by other Powers than by France and England, for otherwise they might be easily eluded by adopting the flag of the country which has not subscribed to them, and they would thus become wholly inoperative.


—My Lords, it should be remembered that the right of search is by no means inseparably mixed up with the slave trade, and is only con- nected with it incidentally. The noble Earl (the Earl of Malmesbury) talks of our claims having been enforced with a high hand down to a recent period. But when I had the honour of filling the office of Foreign Secretary in the year 1841, I laid down the limits within which the right could be exercised in terms which were entirely satisfactory to the American Government, and which has since worked perfectly well, and without ally interference with the due course of trade. On the 13th of October of that year, I addressed a despatch to Mr. Stevenson, which contained the following passages:— The undersigned renounces all pretensions on the part of the British Government to visit and search American vessels in time of peace. Nor is it as American that such vessels are ever visited, but it has been the invariable practice of the British navy, and, as the undersigned believes, of all the navies in the world, to ascertain by visit the real nationality of merchant vessels met with on the high seas, if there be good reason to apprehend their illegal character. In certain latitudes, and for a particular object, the vessels referred to are visited, not as American, but either as British vessels engaged in an unlawful traffic and carrying the flag of the United States for a criminal purpose, or as belonging to States which have by treaty conceded to Great Britain the right of search, and which right it is attempted to defeat by fraudulently bearing the protecting flag of the Union; or, finally, they are visited as piratical outlaws, possessing no claim to any flag or nationality whatever. Now, it can scarcely be maintained by Mr. Stevenson that Great Britain should be bound to permit her own subjects, with British vessels and British capital, to carry on before the eyes of British officers this detestable traffic in human beings, which the law has declared to be piracy, merely because they had the audacity to commit an additional offence by fraudulently usurping the American flag. Neither could Mr. Stevenson with more reason affirm that the subjects of States which have granted to Great Britain the right of search should be enabled to violate the obligation of their treaties by displaying the flag of the Union, contrary to the will and in defiance of the American Government itself; still less would Mr. Stevenson pretend to claim immunity for piratical adventurers who should endeavour to shelter their lawless proceedings under the ensign of the United States. The code of instructions which was at that time issued to our cruisers was drawn up with the greatest care by Dr. Lushington and other most competent authorities, and has ever since remained in force; and if the new regulations spoken of by the noble Earl prove as effectual as they have, he will accomplish more than I expect, for I believe no code of instructions on this subject could be clearer or more advantageous to commerce than that drawn up about 1841 by Dr. Lushington and others. But it now appears that the American Minister has been congratulating his country on some concession made by the noble Earl, and the President in his annual message has also referred to this concession as though it were something quite new. Now, I venture to say that twenty years ago everything which it was possible for the Americans to demand or for us to grant had been granted. I will just read, however, a qualification which was then laid down, and which it may be useful to remember:— The President may be assured that Great Britain will always respect the just claims of the United States. We make no pretensions to interfere in any manner whatever, either by detention, visit or search, with vessels of the United States, known or believed to be such. But we still maintain, and will exercise when necessary, our right to ascertain the genuineness of any flag which a suspected vessel may bear. If in the exercise of this right, either from involuntary error or in spite of every precaution, loss or injury should be sustained, a prompt reparation will be afforded; but that we should entertain for a single instant the notion of abandoning the right itself would be quite impossible. I maintain still that it is quite impossible to abandon the right laid down and qualified in that passage. If the noble Earl reserves that right, he does all that I ever pretended to do; if he gives up snore than that, the result, I cannot but thiok, will be that it will become impossible to maintain the police of the seas.


—My Lords, I hope that the principle so forcibly proclaimed in the extract just real by say noble Friend will not be departed front in the policy of this country, unless we are assured of very palpable advantages from the adoption of some other scheme. I believe I am correct in stating that the principle just enounced is the identical one always acted upon until the accessions of the present Government. The adoption of the new code referred to by the noble Earl (the Earl of Malmesbury), and to which I heartily wish all possible success, will, I trust, be determined on at the earliest possible moment; for until something is resolved upon respecting it, the high seas will be left with absolutely no protection whatever.


—My Lords, there seems to me, in point of fact, to be only an imaginary difference between the views expressed on both sides of the House. Nobody contends for a single moment that this country or any other has a right to board and to visit the ships of another nation. On the other hand, nobody denies that this country or any other has a right, upon well-founded suspicion, to ascertain the nationality of a vessel carrying a particular flag. The question is, however, in what manner is that right to be exercised, and what proceedings are to be taken in pursuance of it? Now, as long as there is no definition as to the course to be taken in such cases, you are always liable for the errors or indiscretion of the particular officer engaged; and in point of fact, although he may have ascertained that there were plausible grounds for suspecting the nationality of the vessel, and visits it for the purpose of making inquiry, it is quite clear he has committed an infraction of international law should that suspicion turn out to be ill founded. Nevertheless, it is admitted that, under such circumstances, where there exists reasonable ground of suspicion, and proceedings are taken accordingly, that is an infraction of the law which no country would think of resenting. But the object of my noble Friend—and I hope he will succeed in effecting it—it is to bring about a distinct understanding between the French and the American Government and the Government of this country for the purpose of avoiding any cause of difference for the future arising out of a visit paid by the commander of a cruiser in order to ascertain and to verify the nationality of a vessel. That is the sole object my noble Friend has in view; but he has neither abandoned any right which this country could claim, nor has he asserted any right to which we were not previously entitled.


said, he had heard with very great satisfaction the statement of his noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that negotiations were in progress between the Governments of France and of this country, which there was reason to hope would have the effect of extinguishing the slave trade now in part repressed on the Western coast of Africa. He had also heard with satisfaction from his noble Friend that a code of instructions had been submitted to the French and American Governments which was likely to lead to a satisfactory solution of the difficulties that had arisen with respect to the right of inquiry or the right of visit—which ever it might be called—and that, in all probability, the question would be placed on a satisfactory footing by an agreement between the three Powers. He quite agreed with his noble Friend below him, who was formerly at the head of the Foreign Department (the Earl of Aberdeen), that the question with regard to search was not of necessity connected with the question of the slave trade. It was a question which applied to common piracy as well as to that which he (Lord Brougham), certainly thought as bad as any piracy, and much worse than ordinary piracy—the slave trade. He asked their Lordships what would be the consequence if the principle occasionally contended for on the part of France and the United States were laid down—that no cruiser had a right to stop a vessel upon the high seas for the purpose of making a search and ascertaining that the flag hoisted by such vessel was one which it was entitled to use? He must say that he thought the absurdities and inconsistencies to which so extravagant a doctrine would lead had been rather understated by his noble Friend behind him (Lord Wodehouse). Suppose a vessel—say a common pirate—hoisted a national flag; according to the doctrine contended for, no cruiser, except a cruiser of the country whose flag she hoisted, had a right to stop her and institute an inquiry. The consequence would be that such a ship would take care to hoist the flag of a country which had no cruiser at all, and she would, therefore, be certain of escape. His noble Friend near him (Lord Clarendon) had put the case of Monaco, and many similar instances might be mentioned. For example, San Marino, with its 1,500 inhabitants might acquire half an acre of land on the coast, and then, although having a flag, might have no cruiser; and consequently the San Marino flag might be used with absolute and inevitable impunity, not only by slave traders, but to cover any other nefarious transactions. The difficulty was undoubtedly this—to arrange the means by which these inquiries could be made, and to make a distinction between visitation, which included the right of boarding and searching, and mere inquiry in order to ascertain the nationality of a vessel. But unless we settled some rules for the visit, he did not think such inquiry could be instituted without the risk of great inconvenience and of possible collision between different countries; for much would depend upon the temper, prudence, and sagacity of the officers—possibly very young men—who were intrusted with the duty of ascertaining that vessels were entitled to hoist the flags under which they were sailing. He believed the only way of preventing such collisions would be by adopting some code, or set of instructions, which might be agreed to by the United States and all other countries. It must be remembered that by the law of nations, which it was now the fashion to call "international law," there was no distinction between one country and another; and the little States of Monaco and San Marino had just the same right to appeal to the law of nations, and to demand the scrupulous observance of its provisions as France, America, England, or any other Power. He had heard with great gratification the statement of his noble Friend opposite, that he entertained no doubt, from the aspect of affairs on both sides the Channel, that peace was likely to be maintained. He (Lord Brougham) earnestly hoped—he devoutly prayed—that his noble Friend might be right in that expectation, and that his hopes were not too sanguine. Knowing, as he (Lord Brougham) did, the strong, the unanimous, and the heartfelt opinion and feeling of all men on the other side of the Channel as on this side, against any breach of the peace, and whatever tended towards it, and after a long and uninterrupted continuance of that inestimable blessing, he would have been better satisfied, and have felt the more sanguine in his hopes, if there were in other countries, as there was in this, the means of a constant, legitimate, and regular expression of public opinion and of public feeling derived from possessing the unspeakable advantage of a Parliament.

House adjourned at halt-past Six o'clock, till To-morrow, half past Ten o'clock.