The Marquess of Londonderry
wished to have an answer to the questions of which he had given notice last night, in order to enable 1084 him to bring the whole subject of the Bergara convention before the House in a substantive shape immediately after the holy-days. The questions he had to put to the noble Viscount were the following: — 1. Lord John Hay is stated in No. 4 despatch from Colonel Wylde to Lord Palmerston, to have first sought the Carlist General Maroto. Had he any instructions for such proceedings as early as July, 1839, to authorize his being the bearer of communications between Maroto and the Duke of Vittoria? 2. It appears in Lord John Hay's letter to the Earl of Minto, No. 22, that the Christino Government, in whose cause the war was carried on, did not approve or sanction the raising of the Muniagorri standard of Paz y Fueros.' Had Lord John Hay instructions to act independently of the Christino Government in aiding the views of that chief in a plan which terminated in disgrace, and who was so despicable a character, that no Basque had the slightest confidence in him, although he represented himself as being patronized by the agents of our Government? 3. In consequence of the part her Britannic Majesty's Government have borne in the negotiations carried on between Maroto and Espartero, is it their determination to urge on the Spanish Government that the Fueros should be fully accorded to the Basque provinces? It appears that in the opinion of her Britannic Majesty's Government the local privileges of the Basques and their institutions should be preserved as far as they are compatible with the representative system of Government, which has been adopted for the whole of Spain, and as far as they are consistent with the unity of the Spanish monarchy. Were these, then, the grounds and principles on which Lord John Hay supported Muniagorri's standard of 'Paz y Fueros,' and were no further hopes than these held out?"
§ Viscount Melbourne
had to state, in reference to the first question, that Lord John Hay had no precise instructions, but acted on the general knowledge he had of the views, intentions, and wishes of her Majesty's Government. His conduct in that respect had been subsequently entirely approved of. As to the affair of Muniagorri, the whole of the facts had already been laid on the table. Lord John Hay, in that instance, also acted without precise instructions, and solely on his 1085 acquaintance with the general views of the Government, and the purposes of the service on which he was employed. With respect to the other question, whether we were bound to see the treaty of Bergara executed, he begged leave to state, that the British Government had not been guarantees of that treaty; they had been no party to it, and although they were anxious that the Spanish Government should fulfil its stipulations, and indeed entertained no doubt that it would strictly and faithfully execute the treaty, yet the British Government were in no respect bound to see it carried into effect. The Marquess of Londonderry thought it could be proved by the papers which had been laid on the table, that the British authorities had so directly interfered throughout the whole arrangement, that they must be considered pledged to see the terms of the convention carried into effect.— Subject at an end.