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nation, could it be supposed, that a Sardinian commander would tamely submit to be stopped by an English force? The result, therefore, would have been, that the Sardinian frigate might have been sunk, and then the Sardinian people, though feeble in comparison with this great nation, but still possessing a high military spirit, would have sought reparation, and the peace of Europe been disturbed. Now, this state of things was entirely, he thought, to be attributed to the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Minto). He had seen reports in the public papers of her Majesty's Government having given orders to stop the approach of Sardinian frigates to the Spanish coast; but he did not believe it possible, that as had been stated by his noble and learned Friend (Lord Lyndhurst), on concluding his speech some time ago, this had been the case, and that it was matter of good fortune that this country was not now at war. And what had the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Minto) said since? Why, that if the instructions did not exist, yet that if such a state of things had arisen as to call for their being issued, he should immediately have issued such an order. The noble Earl had then asked if the knowledge of those instructions had not been acquired through a breach of confidence on the part of an individual. Did not that inquiry prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that such instructions did really exist? And now to-night the noble Earl said, that not only would he have issued them, but that this country was bound under the articles of the treaty, which it was said could not be deviated from. It had been said, that this motion was injurious to the policy the Government were pursuing, but he thought that after what had taken place the House and the country had a right to know what the course of the Government was. Was it war or not? They might flatter themselves that they could exercise a domineering spirit over weak powers, such as : of Sardinia and Don Miguel, and 'feeble States; but what would be on the opinions of other and werful nations? He, however, hoped suH to see Sardinia attached to Austria, a circumstance of the highest possible importance to this country. The noble Marquess opposite had opposed the motion ns injurious to the public interests. Hut how ha4 the question orifen? Why,
if the noble Earl who presided over the Admiralty had taken no notice of the remarks of the noble and learned Baron (Lord Lyndhurst) the other night, the subject would have passed by as a mere rumour. But it had been otherwise, and hence this discussion. The noble Marquess also had appealed to the noble Duke near him (the Duke of Wellington), and asked how, upon the suspicion of any supposed encroachments by Russia, he would feel if asked the course he would pursue upon such and such contingencies. But that was an hypothetical case, not at all resembling the present. Here the fact was not only created, but still existed—not only existed but the noble Earl stated, that he had been bound to create this state of things under the treaty. His noble Friend (the Duke of Wellington) might justly, therefore have declined to give information as to what he might intend to do; here the case was different, for the act was done, and had been promulgated by the noble Earl himself. He, the noble Earl, praised the act done but he complained of its having been found out; and that made him desire accurate information to enable the House and the country to know the situation in which it stood. It was too much for the noble Earl and his colleagues to bring the country into jeopardy, and then tell the House they ought not to interfere. But if any one of the noble Lords opposite would get up and state that these supposed instructions were of non existence, the matter would be at an end. Failing that, he thought they were bound to the House and the country to state the condition to which their policy, as they called it, had brought the country. Whilst he (the Earl of Aberdeen) protested against the spirit of the quadruple treaty, still he wished to see its letter honestly carried out, and not extended to suit the caprice, the passion, or the prejudices of any noble Lord. The King of the French had interpreted it as a wise and honest man ought, and yet the noble Lords opposite, who had taken credit for limiting the extent of interference in the affairs of Spain, now availed themselves of the vagueness of the treaty to extend to any degree the nature of their interference. But, according to the interpretation of the noble Earl opposite (Minto), the second article wag a treaty of defence; defence against whom? The Queen of Spain wai no enemy, it Hm
true Don Carlos had not been recognised as an independent state, and most undoubtedly this treaty, so far from being defensive, was offensive against all the world. He was one of the first to say, that he thought the noble Lord opposite did right to recognise the Queen of Spain; but still it was a question of great doubt even to the Spanish nation, and what was there to prevent other nations from taking a different view, and under that view to assist the rival claimant of the Crown? Nay, some time ago the noble Secretary for Foreign Affairs admitted, that other powers had a right, not only to acknowledge Don Carlos, but to assist him. That might, perhaps, be done without bringing us into collision with those Powers which took a different part from ourselves, but it was a state of things which could not long exist. The treaty, then, was really an offensive treaty with the Queen of Spain against the whole world; but the King of the French was much too wise to put such an interpretation upon it. The engagements of such a treaty appeared to be all on one side. The Queen of Spain was to endeavour to govern Spain pacifically, and that was all. But if this treaty was binding in the way the noble Lords opposite interpreted it, then it would bind us to interminable interference with the affairs of Spain so long as any cause of trouble or dispute remained, because the preamble set forth that the pacification of Spain was the object of the treaty. The noble Lord opposite said the first treaty was completed by the expulsion of the two princes from Portugal. But this treaty proposed, not the expulsion of Don Carlos, but the pacification of Spain; and, therefore, it could have no termination. It appeared to him, that the interests of this country required that it should come to an end. He had not looked at the treaty with all the attention he should have looked at it if he were obliged to interpret it as the noble Lords, and still more as the noble Earl at the head of the Admiralty had interpreted it. He thought, that if those noble Lords would examine the treaty more closely, they would not find any difficulty in bringing it to an end. He should support the motion, because it would enable their Lordships to understand precisely the position in which the country stood in relation to this subject. The Marquess of Londonderry said,
amidst repeated cries of " Question," that the noble Earl had himself only to thank for a motion which it was his duty to support.
The Duke of Wellington could not permit the House to come to a division on this subject without addressing a few words to their Lordships, in consequence of what had fallen from the noble Marquess opposite, who had stated, that this was a question of policy upon which addresses had been moved which were very improper and very inconvenient to the public service. But this was a question of treaty. The noble Earl at the Admiralty had stated it to be so. The noble Lords opposite ought to make themselves clearly understood on this point; and he entreated them not to send the House away with the notion that they were calling for papers which it would be inconvenient for the Government to make public. They ought to explain what they meant by the obligations of the treaty. If there was a defensive treaty, as stated by the noble Lords, let it be shown to be so. Were they, by words or by implication, to be involved in a treaty either offensive or defensive, and have no power to ask the question as to the obligation of the treaty, let what would happen? In the case of a quarrel between the Queen of Spain and the King of Sardinia, we might be bound to go to war. The noble and learned Lord had given sufficient notice of his motion, and of the very terms of his motion, and the noble Lords opposite ought to be prepared with an answer. They ought to say something which would make the House avoid putting the Government to any inconvenience, and to explain what was the meaning of this treaty with respect to this paragraph, of which the noble Earl had thought proper to give something.
The Earl of Minto wished, in explanation, to prevent any misunderstanding arising in the mind of the noble Duke as to what his opinion was with regard lo the obligations of the treaty. In the first place he begged to observe that in stating what he had said, and what he now repeated, he was delivering not the deliberate opinion of the Government, collected after consultation, but his own individual opinion. Now let their lordships permit him to state what was his own opinion, whether it was upheld by others or not. The obligations of this treaty went to this; that if any power—not if any power had a. quarrell with llic Queen of Spain, that we were to make war, as the noble Duke had supposed—but if any powers combined with Don Carlos in warlike operations, he did hold,'that the obligations of the treaty were to be strictly enforced. He did not understand that this treaty would apply to any other case except that which might arise in the contest between the Queen of Spain and Don Carlos.
The Duke of Wellington said, the noble Earl was at the head of the Admiralty, but he could not have given his instructions without (irst receiving them from the Secretary of State. The noble Lord might come down to the House and give what version he pleased with respect to the obligations of the treaty; but when he came to the instructions, he ought to look twice at the subject, for he must be quite sure that he had received them from the Secretary of State before he gave them.
Viscount Melbourne said, he wished to say a few words after what had passed. In the observations he had advanced before, he had studiously avoided discussing any of the matters which had been brought forward by the noble and learned Lord, because, notwithstanding the powers, the eloquence, and the talents of that noble and learned Lord, he had so much confidence in the patriotism, and wisdom, and experience of their Lordships, that he flattered himself that in a few sentences he could convince them that it was in the highest degree imprudent to enter into such a discussion. In that hope he had to a certain degree been disappointed, and it was not now his intention to depart from that resolution which he had made before, and to go into any parts of the'question for the purpose of considering what had been done, or what was supposed to have been done, or what should yet be done or whether what was done was demanded by the treaty, or was beyond.its boundaries, aud entirely removed from its meaning and not authorized by it. He would not enter into that, because he should be departing from the rule which he had laid down. If this question ought to be discu&scd at all, it ought to be discussed futtjV^he whole case ought to be investigated, afid the discussion should be carried on with an accurate knowledge of the whole case. With respect to the treaty, he entirely agreed with the noble Duke in the interpretation he had put upon it. He
agreed that a naval force should be employed to cany into effect the objects of the treaty, as they were to be collected from the preamble, and that it was not in any respect a treaty of alliance, offensive or defensive, with the Queen of Spain against the rest of the world. He agreed with the noble Earl opposite with respect to the opinion of his noble Friend, the Secretary for Foreign affairs, delivered in another place, that any power had a right to assist Don Carlos. But whether that would lead to a war was another question. With respect to the instructions, he had considered that matter was set at rest, because those instructions were confidential, and the question of their having been carried into effect not having arisen. He still held the opinion which he had held at the commencement of the debate, that the production of those instructions would be most inconvenient, and tend to embarrass the policy of the Government; it would encourage those who were opposed to that policy, and discourage those who were inclined to assist it.
Lord Brougham said, amid loud cries of "Question," he would not detain the House a moment. He defied the oldest individual in the world to find in the history of Administrations down to the present time, a parallel case to that of the present Administration. Could any mortal man have thought to see such a display as they had made of themselves? Could it have been expected that such a display would have been made by the First Lord of the Admiralty? The very thing which that noble Lord had used against him, as an argumentum ad hominem, the noble Viscount in a moment of extreme pressure, in the utmost exigency, had got up in a second speech to disavow. But when the noble Lord at the head of the Admiralty said it was not disavowed, he was supported and cheered by two Members of the Cabinet. Now the noble Viscount disavowed it and would go no further than to say, that we were bound to give naval assistance to the Queeu of Spain. Whether the treaty was offensive or defensive, one thing was clear—her Majesty's Ministers were thrown into a defenceless situation—in fact, they were in a most awkward position, in a most helpless condition. The noble Viscount's speech was entirely destitute of argument from the beginning to the end; it had not a single rag to cover its nakedness. The Government felt they were in an awkward situation; but they said to themselves, after some hours' debate, "This is a troublesome business! If we had only happened to have thought of the suggestion of the noble Duke which he has thrown out as a plank to save us, like many others which he has thrown out to us in a moment of difficulty, we might have avoided all this." T!ie noble Viscount had appealed to the patriotism, and prudence, and love of justice of their Lordships, but he ought to have added, that he trusted to their Lordships' gullibility. For the noble Lord must have thought, that he was addressing the weakest, and feeblest, and most gullible of all gullible minds, if he hoped to persuade their Lordships not to vote for this motion without assigning any just reason or convincing proof that they ought to reject it. He hoped their Lordships would not abstain from voting for the motion, and thereby doing their utmost to undo all the mischief that had been done.
The Duke of Wellington said, that after what the noble and learned Lord bad said, it was impossible for him not to address a few words to their Lordships before they came to a vote on the motion of the noble and learned Lord, which was founded on the question of blockade.
Lord Brougham: It really was not founded on the question of blockade. The noble Duke has mistaken my argument. I said, that even had there been a blockade, it would have been illegal; but there was no blockade.
The Duke of Wellington resumed: The noble Lord had stated, that the instructions were founded on the treaty, and he had said, that it was impossible that they should not call for the papers to see whether the instructions were connected with, or founded on, the treaty, and whether, in fact, we were bound by the treaty. The noble Viscount had since stated, that he did not concur in that view of the case; that the noble Viscount considered the view which he and bis noble Friend near him bad taken of the nature of the treaty, to be a correct view; and that the Government was not bound by the terms of that treaty to issue such instructions as those adverted to. The noble Viscount had declared, that it would be detrimental to the public service to produce those instructions. Now he did not approve of
the policy of those instructions; and, except what he had heard in the debates of that House, he knew nothing of those instructions; but, as far as he understood, they never had been acted on, and be thought it most likely that they never would be. Under these circumstances, he confessed, that he felt induced to ask their Lordships not to call for the instructions which the noble Viscount had declared, would be detrimental and inconvenient to the public service to produce.
Lord Brougham said, he was not at all surprised at this. He had somehow, from the first moment he had entered the House, thought the case was so strong and irresistible, and though the noble Viscount's speech proved it ten times stronger, still he had some suspicion that the saviour of her Majesty's Government, the saviour of the present Ministry over and over again, the true friend, indeed, because the friend in need, he whose friendship rose in generosity exactly in proportion as their necessities pressed upon them, that he would once more be more or less encouraging, and more or less intelligible or unintelligible, and come down with his powerful assistance to defeat the motion, and undo the good which that motion would do. But let not the noble Duke go away laying the flattering unction to his soul that this treaty had not been acted on. It had been acted on to a certain extent; that had been bragged of, and the noble Lord at the Admiralty could not help letting it out.
The Earl of Mansfield said, it had not been his intention to say any thing on the present occasion, but the noble Duke had made a recommendation to the House in which he could not concur. He should not make any observations that he would not have made in the presence of the noble Duke,—[the Duke of Wellington had left the House] —who had been obliged to retire on account of another engagement. He had heard with great pain, though not with surprise, the statements and recommendation of the noble Duke; but grieved as he was to hear them, he did justice upon this, as he had done upon every other occasion, to the purity of the noble Duke's motives. Not only did he believe in the purity of the noble Duke's motives, but paid all deference to his judgment, the superiority of which could never be sufficiently extolled or appredated by those who had held frequent intercourse with him. The noble Viscount and the noble Earl had different opinions on this subject, and it was rather strange that they were not yet in possession of the opinion of the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. It might be fairly inferred, he thought, that the noble Lord was of the same opinion as the First Lord of the Admiralty. He should support the motion.
Lord Ellc.nborough said, he should certainly vote with the noble Earl who had spoken last, in consequence of the speech of the noble Karl at the head of the Admiralty. It was clear to him that the noble Karl's understanding of this treaty was incorrect, and that his instructions founded on that incorrect view, might lend us into n situation in which we should not be able to avoid a war. Therefore, lie considered it to bo the duty of their Lordships to cnll for the production of the papers, in order to ascertain what wore our obligations in reference to Spain, ami how far any misinterpretation of the treaty might run us into danger.
The Karl of llarcwood said, his decision as to whether he should vote for the motion for the production of these papers was contingent upon this one circumstance. If any onu of her Majesty's Government would get up in his place now, and state that those orders, or supposed orders, or interpretations of the treaty, as given by some of the noble Lords belonging to her Majesty's Government, would not only not be acted on, but that those orders would be withdrawn, in that case he Hiiouui not vote for the motion. If, on the other hand, no such declaration was made, ho should feel it his duty to vote for it.
Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 57 ', Not-Contents, 57.
List of the Contents.