HL Deb 05 March 1860 vol 156 cc2215-6

said, it would be probably a convenience to their Lordships that he should state the course which Her Majesty's Government intend to take with respect to a Vote of this House in reference to the Treaty of Commerce with France, Their Lordships would recollect that his noble Friend the President of the Council stated that as soon as the different Votes on Customs and Excise duties passed the House of Commons, a Resolution for an Address to the Crown would be moved there, according to the precedent set by Mr. Pitt. That Address would be moved in the House of Commons to-day, and, in the event of its passing this evening, and being brought up to this House to-morrow, he would venture to propose to fix Friday as the day on which the Address would be taken into consideration. His noble Friend behind him would give notice of a Motion as soon as the Address of the House of Commons was brought up; of course it would be impossible to give a formal notice earlier. It was not absolutely certain that the discussion would take place on Friday, because, in the event of there being an adjourned debate in the House of Commons, the Resolution could not come up until Thursday, and the next day would be too short a notice for proceeding upon a matter of such importance. If the Address did not come up until Thursday his noble Friend would name Monday instead. But if the more definite day were preferred, he would name Monday in either case, although some noble Peers, he believed, would prefer Friday, if possible.


said, he would throw no obstacle in the way of the Government bringing the question forward when they deemed it most convenient. It did, however, happen that it would be more convenient to him if the discussion was on Friday rather than Monday; but that was a matter that was not for a moment to be considered. He could only say that what- ever day the Government might fix upon for the discussion, he would endeavour to be in attendance. He should certainly throw no obstacle in the way of the subject being fully considered. It was most important that the whole subject should be considered, commercially and politically.


said, that while he concurred with the noble Earl in not wishing to throw any obstacle in the execution of the Treaty, he felt so strongly on the subject that he did not join in any Address which would express the approbation of their Lordships' House to it. He apprehended that the assent of the House to the Address was not essential to the operation of the Treaty, and that being so, he should not concur in an Address which he held to be unnecessary, and which would make the House partly responsible for the Treaty.


said, that if the Address were brought up to-morrow, his noble Friend would give notice to move a similar Address on Friday. If it were not brought up tomorrow, he would give notice on Thursday for Monday.