said, it would be in the recollection of the House that he had given notice of a motion for the production of copies of any official communications relative to a negotiation between the French government and that of Buenos Ayres for the establishment of a Bourbon dynasty in South America. It appeared to him to be of very considerable importance, that those documents should be laid upon the table of the House. The documents alluded to respected a correspondence which had taken place thirteen months ago. Since he had given his notice, he had had time for reflection on the subject, and he was fully satisfied in his own mind that it was his duty not to postpone his motion, late as the period of the session was. If he could suppose that his motion would embarrass negotiations with foreign powers, he should be extremely sorry, however strong his political bias might be, to agitate any question that might prove detrimental to his country. The subject to which he alluded was an extraodinary production, originating with the secretary for foreign affairs in the French government, in May 1849. At the conclusion of the session of parliament, we had been assured from the throne, that the most amicable relations were maintained with foreign powers. Yet at that very time was one foreign government devising a plan of the most insidious and unwarrantable nature, which if it would not subvert, would materially injure our commercial prosperity. At the very time when we were assured of the continuance of amicable relations with foreign powers was the secretary for foreign affairs in 377 France, De Cazes [Mr. Canning here expressed dissent across the table]—whoever it was, some one who had the authority of the French government—proposing that a Bourbon should obtain a throne in South America. The prince selected for this purpose was the prince of Lucca, nephew of Ferdinand 7th. The arguments by which the French minister recommended this proposition to the acceptance of the envoy from Buenos Ayres were most extraordinary. It was first stated that opposition might be expected from England, and that, therefore, all the arrangements must be held back, and kept perfectly secret from her. But all the other European powers, particularly Austria and Russia, were to be reconciled to this project by means of France. He did not wish to overstate the case, or to say that the other powers of Europe were actually parties to this project; but it was obvious that France could not have promised the assent of the other powers, especially of the illustrious sovereign of the Russian empire, if there had been no previous communication on the subject. France would not have presumed to act so, if she had not been conscious of the other powers being in unison with her. France must therefore have had their previous consent, including Spain. Then there was an assurance given that naval forces, and such land troops as might be required, should be sent to support the prince of Lucca, and to resist any forces that might be opposed to him. Now what state but Great Britain was there whose interference could be apprehended? It would be a waste of words to show that no other state could give any resistance. The envoy of Buenos-Ayres stated some objections so strongly, that France advanced further propositions as inducements to enter into this project. Among these were the marriage of the prince of Lucca to one of the princesses of Brazil, and the cession of the territory of Banda Oriental to Buenos Ayres. Great Britain, whatever might be her merits or demerits, was surely the last to deserve conduct like this from the French government. The document further stated the possibility of Great Britain wishing to place a British prince upon the throne of Buenos Ayres, and commented upon the evils and calamities which would result to South America from such an event. It contained an appeal to the religious feelings of the South Americans, and a long tirade upon the injury which 378 the Catholic religion would receive from British interposition. He was glad to state, that the envoy for Buenos Ayres declined entering into any treaty to which the consent and approbation of Great Britain should not be a preliminary, because it was one of the many circumstances which proved the earnest desire on the part of the government of that province to conciliate the good wishes of this county. If the document to which he had alluded, and some others for which he should not now move, were laid upon the table of the House, he trusted he should be able to convince the House and the country that this government was imperiously called upon to acknowledge the independence of the states of South America. No European State, except France and Spain, had a right to interfere with the conduct which Great Britain might chuse to pursue as to the recognition of South American independence. Austria could have no right to make representations in such a case; and as he was satisfied that Russia was in the projected secret, she had forfeited all right of interference as to any proposition which regarded the recognition of the independence of the South American states. With respect to Spain herself, he really doubted—or, if he were to speak his own decided conviction, he should rather say he had no doubt—that she must have had some secret understanding with France on the subject of this proposed monarchy; for it was hardly to be supposed that the Bourbons would have ventured to enter into such a project without having previously sounded the feelings of that country. But be this as it might, even if Spain was a party to the negotiation, that circumstance was not to fetter the British government. How did the case at present stand with regard to the independence of South America? The subject had never been directly brought under the cognizance of parliament, though it had been incidentally mentioned when the Foreign Enlistment bill was discussed. He should therefore be glad to hear from those hon. gentlemen who had directed their consideration to this question, what their opinion was as to the obligations of other governments to recognize the independence of those South American provinces which had emancipated themselves from the yoke of the mother country. His own opinion en the subject was, that when colonies had once acquired independ- 379 ence for themselves, it was at the option of other governments either to acknowledge their independence or not, according to the views of policy which they might entertain. It was indeed a matter of pure necessity to make such an acknowledgment, on account of the great inconvenience and injustice that would otherwise attend the existence of an unsettled and unrecognized state. If it had not been for this principle, the independence of the States of Holland and of the United States of America would still have remained unacknowledged. How was it possible to carry on diplomatic negotiations or commercial arrangements with a government till its independence had been acknowledged? It was true that we had appointed a consul at Buenos Ayres, and that mercantile concerns were conducted as if we had recognised the independence of South America; but while treating the government of Buenos Ayres with this respect, while we had an accredited consul residing in that country, and while we maintained with them all the relations of trade and commerce, we were obliged to treat them also as pirates. So true was this, that at the present moment there was a proceeding going forward in one of our courts of justice, at the instigation of the king of Spain, the object of which was, to take from the independent cruisers the property they had captured, on the ground that they were pirates. He presumed there was no member of that House who, in point of political feeling, would not rejoice at the final success of South American independence; and if that were the case, and if neither the general principles of justice, which regulated the conduct of nations, nor any particular policy affecting this country, forbade us to acknowledge that independence, it remained to inquire if there was any treaty between Spain and England which bound us to abstain from making such a recognition. The only treaty of which he was aware, that could be said to have such an effect, was that of 1814, to which an additional article was annexed stipulating that we should not assist the South Americans with men, arms, ammunition, or warlike stores. He was happy to say however, that after all the consideration which he had given to the stipulations of this treaty, he was convinced that it bound this country to nothing but what its previously existing laws would have been sufficient to enforce: it did not bind Great Britain to 380 pursue any line of conduct which would not have been equally imperative if no such treaty had been in existence. He had thus endeavoured to prove that neither the laws of nations, nor any peculiar relations between England and Spain, withheld us from recognizing the independence of South America, and he hoped he had said enough to show that both justice and policy dictated the propriety of making such an acknowledgment. The imbecility of Spain having come to that height that she was no longer able to govern her colonies, we were not bound to consult her wishes and interests, in violation both of justice and policy. In such a case, we were not to lie by till a more ambitious rival should step in, and secure those benefits which it was in our power to enjoy. If a prince of the House of Bourbon were placed on the throne of Buenos Ayres, could it be doubted that rigid commercial laws, injurious to the interests of Great Britain, would be the first and dearest object of the new dynasty? It was a curious circumstance that this negotiation was avowed to spring from the principles of the holy alliance. The basis of that alliance was the extinction of all the republics in Europe. The republics of Holland, Venice and Genoa were already extinct; and in the same spirit the continental courts had resolved to do away with the remains or rather the buds of freedom which now existed in South America. This was a proceeding which ought to excite the utmost watchfulness of ministers; and he was sure the)' would have cause to regret their conduct if they had ever approved of it. Upon the conduct of France it was scarcely possible to express. himself in language which was too strong. After the waste of so much British blood and treasure, after the unparalleled exertions which this country had made to place the House of Bourbon upon the throne of France, scarcely was the signature of the treaty dry, which restored a second time to their feeble hands the sceptre which they had neither the wisdom to hold, nor the courage to fight for, when they turned round upon their benefactor, and inflicted an injury upon the country to which they were bound by every tie of gratitude. Britain had been a benefactor to the Bourbons; and though he did not say that they should on that account make any saorifice of the interests of France, yet he would affirm that they were bound strictly 381 to observe all the obligations of honour and good faith in their dealings towards or in relation to Britain. We had a right to demand a conduct from the Bourbons completely the reverse of that which it appeared they had pursued in this transaction—a transaction in which the French government had acted treacherously and perfidiously towards England. But there still remained a few considerations to which it was necessary to advert. The United States of America were on the watch at the present moment; they showed no supineness, or neglect of their own interests, in the great transaction that was going on. They had sent persons into most of the provinces of South America, who had laid before the government of the United States all the information which they had been able to collect, both with regard to the political situation of the provinces, and to those points which related to commercial intercourse. The United States had two objects in view—the first, to obtain the Floridas from Spain; and the other, to cultivate a friendly intercourse with the South American government. Accordingly, no sooner had the first of these objects been secured, than a bill passed through the House of Congress, the object of which was to carry into effect the recognition of the independence of South America. On the motion of Mr. Clay, the lower House of Congress had voted a sum of money for the purpose of sending a minister to South America, and this measure had been declared to be only preliminary to a more formal acknowledgment of independence. Was it wise, he would ask, to allow the United States thus to have the start of us in establishing friendly relations and cultivating commercial intercourse with the government of South America? If we allowed this advantage to be gained over us at first, we should find it extremely difficult afterwards to introduce our commerce into the markets of that country. This was, indeed, one of the considerations that had induced him to bring forward his motion at the present moment, because in such a case delay was ruinous, and there was no reason why we should not take advantage of the opportunity which fortune placed in our hands. It was not his purpose to enter into a detail of the advantages which. would result from introducing our manufactures into that country on a better footing than at present existed. It was sufikient to state, that the population 382 of the South American provinces amounted, at a moderate computation, to 20 millions of inhabitants, and that when the ports of Chili were opened, British manufactures had at once been introduced. It appeared from the report of Judge Bland, one of the commissioners employed by the United States, that silver utensils were commonly used, not from choice, but from the want of other metals, and that, on the opening of the ports of Chili, British hardware and cutlery had been eagerly purchased, and substituted for articles of the same description made of silver. What a field was here opened for our manufactures, at a time too when the capital of the country was lying dead for want of employment! He did not say that this would open an unbounded mart for our wares; and nothing could be farther from his mind than to encourage that overtrading which had already been productive of much evil. But it was clear that this market might become a gradual and constant outlet for the produce of our industry; and that such a trade would be one of the best description, since it would promote the mutual interest of both countries. He should now conclude by expressing an earnest hope that whether the papers should be laid on the table or not, his majesty's ministers would take the subject into their most serious consideration; that in strict conformity with the Jaw of nations, and the best interests of this country, they would at last indulge that feeling which was common to every generous and liberal mind; and that, by acknowledging the independence of South America, they would add the consummation to that triumph which a brave people had already achieved by their own arms; and enjoy the honour and glory of being the first power to recognize the restoration to freedom, and the emancipation from tyranny and despotism, of so large a portion of the world.—He then moved, "That an Address be presented to his Majesty for the production of Copies of all Official Communications received by his majesty's government relative to a Negotiation between the French government and that of Buenos Ayres, or its agents, relative to the establishment of a Bourbon Dynasty in South America."
objected to the motion, on the ground that the information alluded to by the learned gentleman had not reached government in such a shape that it could be laid on the table; and ob- 383 served, that he would not be dragged by the example of the hon. and learned gentleman into an abstract discussion on assumed facts, which could only lead to great misconceptions both at home and abroad. Certainly the bringing forward of such a subject, at such a time, and under such a form, was calculated to occasion a degree of embarrassment to his majesty's ministers, who neither could enter, nor ought to be required to, enter into an explanation, when they were not in possession of the facts to be explained. Neither was this the mode in which a subject of such inconceivable importance was to be lightly submitted to the House. At so late a period of the session it was rot to be supposed that government would feel themselves authorized to entertain such a question but upon strong and formal grounds. The House would allow him to observe, that it was one which had before attracted their attention. Having been on a former night asked a question relative to these papers by an hon. and gallant general, he had distinctly answered that the state of information, or rather the want of information in which the government was placed was such that he could not give any satisfactory reply on the subject, and that the information was of such a nature, that on no principle of propriety or justice could it be laid on the table—if placed there, it would scarcely be intelligible to the House, and could not enable it to form a judgment on the transactions to which it related. He entreated that the House would not be carried away by that dangerous sensibility, on the present occasion, which any topic of this character, involving national interests, was likely to excite. As to the official documents mentioned in the motion of the hon. and learned gentleman, they were in fact no other than a number of papers and letters, which had been transmitted by the naval officer upon the river Plata station to his majesty's government, and which contained a statement and specification of some of the charges now bringing forward against the members of a late government which had been established in those distant regions, and which stood at present impeached. The learned gentleman must know that we were not officially connected with the government in question, nor was it possible that informal documents, relative to any part of its conduct, should be submitted by his majesty's ministers to par- 384 liament. It was not, however, on this account, that he meant to resist the production of any such papers as might be got at, connected with the subject of the learned gentleman's motion. He was sure that hon. and learned member must now be aware that the objects of his own motion would not be gained by those papers for which he moved alone; but that a great many others would he necessary, in order to enable the House to form its judgment upon the merits of the case. He must express his entire dissent from the opinions advanced by the hon. and learned gentleman as to the propriety of our taking an early opportunity of recognizing some South American government of a local character. He must be permitted to say, that having assumed some general propositions as truths, the hon. and learned gentleman had gone on to argue them in a form equally general; and, without confining himself to the particular transaction in point, appeared disposed to make his present motion only the stepping-stone to an entire review of the whole policy which this country had adopted towards South America. He was sure that on a subject of such immense importance, the House would not wish to see him dragged into any precipitate or premature expression of his opinions, especially as great misunderstanding already existed in that House, in the country, and abroad. Supposing the required information, however, were produced, it must remain a dead letter upon their table, and the House would be unable to enter into any proceeding upon it. He would submit also, without going further into tire subject, that up to that moment no real ground whatever had been laid for the adoption of this motion; and he would really beg the hon. and learned gentleman to reconsider and remodel it; in which case he might the better ask his majesty's government for the explanation he was desirous of obtaining. He would, before he sat down, call upon the hon. and learned gentleman not to raise, by any expressions of his, presumptions unfavourable to the character of foreign powers, and likely to prove hostile to the relations at present subsisting between them and ourselves. With regard to the relations between ourselves and France, there was a feeling in this country, which, once excited, was too apt to take fire, and which existed because people were disposed to think that the interests of that 385 state were in rivality with our own. With regard to what was called "the Holy Alliance," he believed he had had as many opportunities of observing what were the real feelings of foreign powers as the hon. and learned gentleman, and he really could not find any ground for imputing to them that distrust, jealousy, and suspicion of our policy and interests, which had been charged against them, or any studied disregard of the measures originated in the parliament of this country. If he felt inclined to enter upon so wide and serious a subject, he thought that he should be able to satisfy the mind of the hon. and learned gentleman on all these points. He was at a loss, in the mean time, to account for the imputations which had been directed against one of those great powers in particular—he meant Russia. In the very papers wherein a wish was expressed that the insurgent states should be governed by a monarchical rather than a republican form of government, Russia and Austria were included in the same paragraph. He was confident that the feeling upon the part of the great powers was no other than an anxious desire to secure the peace of the world; that the general tranquillity was their greatest object; and he would venture to say that the honour of every individual power who was a party to that holy alliance of which mention had been made by the hon. and learned gentleman, was untainted. If there was any thing in this transaction discreditable to the powers engaged in it, it was the first instance which had come to his knowledge since the restoration of tranquillity to Europe, of any deviation on the part of any of those powers from their sincerely pacific dispositions. He hoped that for the present the House would suspend its judgment on the whole of the case, and, indeed, he was convinced that they would consider the information was not called for, or that, if produced, it would prove to be useless.
§ Sir James Mackintosh
was sure that honourable gentlemen would be disposed to concur with him in thinking it a matter of profound regret, that a subject of such immense importance should have only been able to command so thin an attendance of members, and so languid an interest, as it seemed likely to excite. He did not know what might be the exact cause of so unfortunate a difference in the opinions of members of that House upon 386 such a topic; but he should be sorry that foreign powers, or even the majority of the country, should suppose that the attention of the House of Commons was so entirely absorbed in the domestic calamity to which its anxious consideration had been so long directed, that its attention was called away from the protection and welfare of its foreign relations. He should grieve if it were likely to be imagined that this country had forgotten on that account her national powers or her national interests; or that a minister of the Crown should rise in that House, and successfully warn them against indulging that sensibility to national honour which it used to be the boast of our ancestors ardently to cherish-—that jealous sensibility of our forefathers, without which this country would be best prepared for the imposition of a foreign yoke. He hoped that this was not the lesson which was to be taught to the empire—that this was not the spirit by which it was to be animated, that this was not the language which the House of Commons was to hold to foreign powers. He hoped that House was not to say to them—"You may enter into a secret correspondence hostile to our interests; you may endeavour to supplant us in remote, but flourishing, regions; you may attack, by treachery, our commerce and our connexions; but, such is the state of this country, that we must shut our eyes to all your proceedings; for to agitate a question upon them would be a measure highly prejudicial to the peace and welfare of the country." He knew that, under particular circumstances, ministers had frequently found the discussions of that House a serious inconvenience and obstruction to their views, when they were contrary to those entertained by a large body of the community; but he should imagine also that they as frequently found that House to be their great and powerful seconder; and never so much so as when they manifested a jealous sense of the honour and a vigilant zeal for the interests of the country, and exerted themselves to protect her against foreign encroachments, if not of a treacherous, at least, of a very equivocal nature. The noble lord had not, in fact, denied that government were in possession of documents which he believed to be substantially authentic. The noble lord had therefore admitted, in effect, a case for inquiry. On his own showing, it was a case for the interposition of the House; and 387 he should contend that his learned friend was entitled to the object of his motion, which was, that the House should be put in possession of those papers, however wanting in point of form, or however irregular they might be, that were already in the hands of government. One thing had very forcibly struck him in the perspicuous statement of his honourable and learned friend. It appeared, in the course of that statement, that the negotiation which had been entered into for the purpose of placing a prince of the house of Bourbon upon the throne of one of the most extensive regions of America was opened at Paris in the month of May, 1819. It was curious to observe how differently the two states immediately concerned in the question before the House were at that time occupied; the singularity of the coincidence was instructive. At that time this House was employed in passing a bill which was in fact a declaration in favour of Old Spain—a measure framed and projected to gratify the vain and illusory hopes which Old Spain entertained of recovering her domination in America. So that, at the very moment when the great powers of France, Russia, Austria, Prussia, and perhaps Spain herself, sensible of the impossibility of re-establishing her corrupt empire and feeble authority in her immense and distant colonies, were engaged in a project for the substitution of another government in their stead, which should be as adverse and as inimical to the interests of Great Britain as possible, we were busy in passing a measure intended, by the voluntary sacrifice of our own interests, to gratify the desires of the Spanish court. Now if the noble lord intended to say that this singular and dangerous negotiation—carried on by agents whose inexpert-ness and want of experience were not likely to make them the most sacred depositories in the world—was in existence without his majesty's ministers ever hearing of it till very recently, then he must say that a stronger instance of culpable negligence, as to the obtaining of proper and necessary information upon matters of vital importance to the country, he had never heard of. But if, on the other hand, his majesty's ministers had been sufficiently vigilant, and had obtained that intelligence on the earliest opportunity, then they had engaged, he must say, in a series of discussions, for the purpose of inducing, of gulling parliament into the adoption of a measure, to which undoubtedly it never 388 could have been brought to consent, had it possessed any knowledge of the existence of such a negotiation. He did not mean to say that at the present moment, it would be proper for the House to address the Crown with its advice as to the policy to be pursued with respect to South America; neither did he say that upon the information in question, it could do so. This, however, he would say, that it would be extremely proper for them to accede to the motion of his hon. and learned friend, the effect of which would be, in the first place, that the House would then have the same information as the government was in possession of; and, in the second, to demonstrate to foreign powers that we were not yet so indifferent to national honour or to national interests, as to overlook or disregard such a project as that in which the government of France appeared to have been engaged. He could really conceive no milder nor any more proper way of effecting these objects than that which was offered by the motion of his hon. and learned friend; by the adoption of which, indeed, the House would do no more than express those feelings which he was very sure it mutt entertain. It would moreover strengthen the hands of his majesty's ministers whenever any future negotiation or proceeding upon the subject should occur. He was the last person in the world, he begged to say, who would venture at present to express an opinion as to what ought to be the policy that should be adopted towards Spain and America, because he admitted that those countries were in a very peculiar situation; and he would admit also that he remembered no state of things, at any former period of their history, which in any degree approached to that now subsisting between the two countries. The recent memorable transactions in Spain had, he thought, completely changed the whole state of the previous relations between her and America. When the question was, whether or not America should be compelled to return under a detestable yoke, he had, during the discussions upon the Foreign Enlistment bill, endeavoured to mark, as strongly as possible, his reprehension and detestation of the proposition. But now, when the state of moral and political existence had sustained so material an alteration in consequence of recent occurrences in Europe, he would confess that the opinions which he then expressed had in some degree changed. 389 To return under the yoke of an odious and execrable despotism was one thing; the union of Spaniards and Americans upon a principle of common freedom was another. If that union were sincerely desired, and likely to be a happy one, no other nation had a right to say any thing against it. It was to be remembered that the representatives of the Spanish nation were at that moment engaged in the settlement of all those important relations. No man could anticipate the result of their deliberations; but if it were possible, as he sincerely hoped, that they had relinquished their demand of empire over these boundless colonies, and if it were really desired to restore to South America her independence and her freedom, he trusted that any such contract, would be conducted upon fair and equal terms to both parties. Of so fortunate an event he acknowledged that he was not very sanguine, although he well knew that popular assemblies were generally pervaded by a feeling friendly to the accomplishment of so desirable an object. The Cortes of Spain, the parliament of England, and every other popular assembly possessing influence and power, had shown as great a spirit of national freedom, as strong a jealousy of national honour, as the world had ever witnessed; and he could not deny that these feelings were always desirable in such assemblies beyond all others, however in their excess they might be evils. Although he would not be precipitated into the expression of any premature opinion as to the result of that great assembly's deliberations, he begged to say a few words upon the subject. He might be allowed to observe, that Spain had already conferred two of the greatest benefits upon mankind that a people had ever possessed an opportunity of conferring. The first of these was the expulsion of a powerful foreign invader from her shores by the virtuous and generous energies of her population, backed by little aid from regular military force; an event affording the best example that had ever been afforded to Europe of the successful assertion of national independence. Whatever designs of ambition might be entertained by any future conqueror, Spain would be the last country which he would venture to approach [He was sorry to observe, by the smiles of the gentlemen opposite, that they were thinking of party questions, which he could assure them did not at all mingle with his view of the subject]. An- 390 other great service which Spain had done to the cause of mankind was, that she had established her liberties by a revolution, hitherto unstained by crimes or blood. This service, not inferior in importance to the first, she had, however, yet to complete by still more difficult steps. For himself, he trusted, that the spirit of political reform had become too powerful to be resisted. It had crushed all its open adversaries. He firmly believed that the only danger to which it was exposed, arose from the passions or errors of popular leaders. Nothing else could defeat or retard the progress of the spirit of improvement; and he firmly believed that every government that engaged in a struggle with that spirit would be destroyed. The Spanish nation had formerly evinced great virtues and wisdom; and he trusted they would profit by the experience which the world had had on the subject of liberty. He trusted they would discover from that experience, that nothing was so easy as to overshoot liberty; and that a free constitution was naturally surrounded by various kinds of tyrannies, into some one of which, if pushed too far, it must inevitably be precipitated. He trusted that they would engraft their reformation on the ancient principles of their constitution—that they would connect their new liberties with all the classes into which society was divided—that they would attach every great body of people in the state to the preservation of those liberties—and that they would not add another to the unfortunate list of nations who, in the first delirium of their joy on emancipation from thraldom, had inflicted wounds on freedom which ages could not cure.
§ Mr. Canning
opposed the motion as quite unusual under the circumstances of the case. It was for papers which in fact were already in the possession of both sides of the House; but as yet it could not be said whether the information stated in them was or was not correct, and this he thought sufficient to show that it could not be acceded to. His hon. and learned friend seemed to impute to his majesty's ministers a total want of all that sensibility to the national honour for which he gave himself and his hon. friend, the mover, credit. On the hypothesis of the validity of the document in question, government might be disposed to feel as strongly as the hon. mover and his hon. and learned friend; but although it might be perfectly harmless, or even beneficial. 391 for the hon. and learned gentleman to reason on such an hypothesis, it could scarcely be expected that ministers, as such, would take up the subject hypothetically, and talk of the indignation which they might feel against Austria, or Russia, or France, or Spain, if such and such alleged facts should turn out to be true. With respect to the coincidence pointed out by his hon. and learned friend in the passing of the Foreign Intercourse bill and the commencement of the alleged negotiation, it was remarkable; but if true, he should still rejoice that we had discharged our duty; for in public as in private life "honesty was the best policy." Adverting to the change which his hon. and learned friend had avowed to have taken place in his sentiments respecting the connection between Spain and Spanish America, he observed that it was now apparent that his hon. and learned friend's opposition to the bill of last session was founded, not in love to the latter, but in hatred to the former. His hon. and learned friend's object, it was now evident, had been, not to benefit the one, but to wound the other. This was an additional proof that those who spoke most loudly of liberty, were seldom so really attached to it as more moderate assertors of its value. He was an enemy to prophecy, and therefore he would not pretend to predict what effect the measures of the popular assembly in Spain would have on the Spanish provinces; but looking back on history, he would confidently assert that whatever benefits a metropolitan district might derive from a popular assembly, the state of provinces under such an assembly had always been one of suffering. Any one therefore who was animated by an ardent solicitude for the cause of South America, should be so far from retracting any opinion he had entertained on the subject during the existence of the late government in Spain, that the democratic change in that government ought to induce him to assert that opinion with tenfold vehemence. His hon. and learned friend had talked of the expulsion of the French from Spain by the mere energy of the people, with "little" aid of regular military force. His hon. and learned friend was not in parliament at the commencement of the Spanish contest. He could tell him, that only ten years ago, the man who had ventured to predict that Spain would be released from the yoke of France, would have been laughed to scorn. The 392 Spanish people were at that time called weak bigots, incapable of raising an arm in their own defence, and he would have been considered a visionary madman who should have anticipated the actual result. It was true that the Spanish people had subsequently made great efforts; but when his hon. and learned friend talked of their having only "little" regular military aid, he wished to ask whether the history of the victories of Salamanca, of Vittoria, of Talavera, of the Pyrenees, with all the other glorious achievements of the illustrious Wellington, was so vague and remote, that his hon. and learned friend could call the assistance which England had rendered to Spain a "little" military aid? Left to itself, the cause of Spain must have been hopeless. Nothing could have saved her but the celebrated march of our illustrious commander. Now, however, all this was to be called a "little" military aid, and was to be sunk, because Spain had had a revolution, and the benefits of a revolution must be talked of.—She who, so short a time since, was declared incapable, supine and nerveless, was now held up as her own great emancipator. At the same time it was a matter of sincere congratulation that what 10 years since was looked upon as madness, was now matter of enthusiastic and indubitable history. He trusted as much as his hon. and learned friend that the march of freedom (to use the cant usually employed) would be uninterrupted; though he earnestly hoped that it would not be at the expense of such convulsions as had been witnessed in South America. He was as warm a friend for the extension of liberty and of liberal institutions throughout the world as his hon. and learned friend; but he never was disposed to prefer new institutions because they were new, and to detest established institutions because they were established. He retained the same wishes with respect to South America as formerly; but he must oppose the hon. and learned gentleman's motion, considering it to be altogether without ground.
§ Sir J. Mackintosh,
in explanation, complained that his right hon. friend had strangely misrepresented him. In the first place, in speaking of aid from military force, he had distinctly said, that the Spanish people had delivered themselves with little aid from regular military force of their own; it was far from his intention in that expression to allude to the British army, of whom he had always spoken as 393 he felt, and who had undoubtedly rendered the greatest service to Spain ever rendered to any country by a foreign army. In the second place, in speaking of the possible reconciliation of the European and American Spaniards, he had given no opinion about the expediency or probability of such a transaction; he had said only, that the union of those two free nations was a perfectly different transaction from the reduction of South America under the yoke of an absolute monarchy; and that it might be fit to delay any decisive step until it should be seen whether the Cortes would offer liberal and equal terms, and whether the American Spaniards were disposed to listen to any proposals of union. As to the general imputations thrown out or insinuated against him, he left the House to judge, from his language on this as well as on all former occasions, whether he was justly described as an enemy of established institutions, merely as such, or as supporting innovations from a general passion for novelty.
§ Mr. Ellice
implored government to bestow its most anxious attention on the British interests in South America. At that moment an interposition in behalf of our trade might be attended with the utmost advantage. The magnitude of that trade at present was very great; in fact, from Mexico to Cape Horn, all were supplied with British manufactures by British traders, and not only was that trade very great, but there was a new branch opened between the west coast of America and England direct, which he had no doubt would, if the East India restrictions were done away with, arrive at a very great height. He derived great consolation from the earnest tone assumed by the noble lord, and by the right hon. gentleman; and he was sure that the States of America would require protection in any negotiation with Spain, for maintaining the freedom they had acquired. If any improvement was to be expected in the trade of this country; if relief was to be looked for in any quarter for our desponding manufacturers, it must principally be by extending our commerce with South America.
replied, and said, he was-not, under all the circumstances, inclined to press his motion, and would therefore, with the permission of the House, withdraw it.
§ The motion was withdrawn.