HL Deb 19 July 1867 vol 188 cc1709-11

who had given notice to moveThat an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty expressing the Condolence of this House with Her Majesty on the afflicting Death of Her Majesty's near Relation the Emperor Maximilian, and their deep indignant Sense of the Violence done to Humanity and the Usage of civilized Nations by the barbarous Execution of that most unfortunate and heroic Prince, rose to bring forward his Motion.


interposed, and appealed to the noble Viscount not to postpone his Motion only, but to allow it to drop altogether. The noble Earl said he was sure that no argument would be necessary to induce their Lordships to express their sorrow for the tragical event which had occurred to one whose conduct—whatever might be thought of its prudence—had been influenced only by the noblest motives, and whose private character would have dignified any public position Nor would it be necessary that their Lordships should formally express the sentiments of extreme regret and abhorrence with which they witnessed the cruel system of retaliation which for many years has characterized the revolutions in Mexico, culminating at length in the unjustifiable judicial murder of the unfortunate Prince. He doubted very much whether it would be expedient for their Lordships formally to express their opinion, not of a foreign Government, but of one of the parties engaged in this sanguinary civil war. If there were any organized Government in Mexico with which Her Majesty was in diplomatic relations which had sanctioned this proceeding, it might be proper for their Lordships to address Her Majesty to direct that a representation should be made to that Government on the subject. But, as their Lordships were aware, Her Majesty's Government had no relations of the kind with Mexico—the Minister whom we last sent to that country was accredited to the late Emperor. There was at present no organized Government in Mexico which could be held responsible, and to whom any representation on the part of the Sovereign of this country could be made. It would be quite unprecedented, therefore, that their Lordships, under such circumstances, should sanction the proposal for an Address. It would also be undesirable to enter into a discussion which might re-open the whole Mexican question. He hoped, therefore, the noble Viscount would allow the matter to drop.


wished to add his voice to that of the noble Earl in requesting the noble Viscount not to persevere with the Motion. It would not be possible to do so without entering into the whole question of the civil war in Mexico, and the barbarous cruelties which had been practised there. Under present circumstances he thought that it would not be at all advisable to proceed with the Motion.


said, that appealed to as he had been by the Leaders on both sides, he could have no hesitation in adopting the course which had been recommended. His original, motive for bringing the subject forward was that it had not been taken up by Her Majesty's Government; and he was not aware at the time that there was any well-grounded objection to making it a matter of discussion in their Lordships' House. But what had passed in "another place," and other circumstances connected with the subject which had been more recently brought to his knowledge, led him to the conclusion that it would be more advisable in the interests of the question itself not to persevere with the proposed Motion. It appeared to him that both sides of the House had, as far as circumstances would admit, done justice to the character of the illustrious, but unfortunate Prince, whose cruel fete was so justly to be deplored. He had now nothing further to state except that circumstances over which he could exer- cise no control had caused several postponements of the matter, and that so much time had elapsed since he first brought it forward, that much of what would have been appropriate at the time had since ceased to be so. Taking into account all these considerations, he concluded that he should only be meeting the general wish of the House if he gave way to the representations made by the noble Earl at the head of the Government and the noble Earl the Leader of the Opposition, and, therefore, he should not hesitate to withdraw, with their Lordships' permission, the Notice he had given.