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[206 was not a declaration of war, was it not a your safety to go now to the assistance of declaration eo termino? Did it not declare, your faithful friend if you think it that it was in the spirit of the treaties of better to carry on a war upon the Pyrenees the Holy Alliance to take up arms against than upon the Tagus-then we are no Spain; that the principles of the new longer called upon to assist you; we Spanish constitution were hostile to the abandon you to your fate-that is, we basis upon which that alliance was built; leave you to be destroyed." And this. and that all supreme governments of what- was the language that we were holdever conformation, were bound to assist ing towards one of our oldest friends! against it, not merely according to the Such language was so abhorrent to his letter, but according to the spirit of those nature, that he should prefer to see Engtreaties on which the peace of Europe land at once breaking the treaties, she had was founded? Let thoue who found fault formed, than thus seeking, upon forms, to with the new constitution of Spain examine get out of the spirit of them. But he wished, whether the main errors of which they upon this point, to ask the noble earl opcomplained were not in the very points posite a question. He was averse to upon which they had adhered to the old hard names, even as applied to those to constitution. There could be no doubt, whose opinions he stood most opposed. that as far as English interests were con- He would not talk, therefore, of traitors cerned, the constitution of Spain could or rebels; but there had been an insurrecnever be too democratic. Perhaps from tion in Portugal against the new constitutheir connexion with France, under the tion of that country. He wished to know, former government-perhaps, from the supposing there to be proof-not strict similarity of the French and Spanish lan- legal proof, but such proof as statesmen guages-perhaps from the circumstance and practical men were accustomed to act of the Spanish literature being in a great upon and be satisfied with-supposing. measure derived from France-from some there to be such reasonable proof, that the cause, certainly, the higher orders of the insurrection in Portugal had been fomentSpaniards were disposed to look towards ed by the aid of French money-would France as an ally. But, among the lower that fact, if Portugal took arms, be held classes, the feeling was directly in an op- sufficient to bring her within our treaty? posite course. The lower we went, the He wished to be satisfied upon that partimore devoted we found the people to cular point. If Amarante joined the English principles and English alliance. French army, would Portugal be able to The very proverb of the country was, say, that war with a country which re"Peace with England, and war with all ceived her insurgents, entitled her to an the world."-He was loth to detain the army from England to her assistance?House, but there was one other point upon The noble earl opposite had put two which he found it impossible to sit down words into the mouth of his noble friend without commenting. Much as he dis- which he had not used. The noble earl approved the pusillanimous, the impolitic, assumed his noble friend to have said, conduct of England towards Spain, the "Something will happen-God knows. cruelty of her conduct to her old and faith-what-and then we shall have war;" and ful ally, Portugal, filled him with still deeper indignation. Here was Portugal, who relied upon us; Portugal, with whom we had been so long in treaty-she had formed for herself a constitution after that of Spain-a constitution upon which she relied for freedom and for happiness. She now saw that very constitution about to form the pretext of an attack upon her by France; for if France succeeded with respect to Spain, no one could doubt that Portugal would be the next victim to her tyranny. And what, under such circumstances, did England say to her? We said "Mind what you are about. If you are attacked, we are bound to support you: but, if you think it essential for

to this the noble earl replied, "I will wait until that something-God knows whatdoes happen." What, then, had nothing happened? He might almost use the language of Demosthenes, and say, was it nothing that the man of Macedon reigned in Greece? Was it nothing that the man of Muscovy was driving on the despot of France to trample down the independence of Europe? Was a war between France and Portugal nothing? Did the noble lord mean to weigh in such nice scales the question of aggression between Portugal and France, as not to admit that France, by attacking Spain, must threaten Portugal? The noble earl asked him and his friends, "Do you mean to go to war ?"

Why, rather than see Spain under the military domination of France, he would go to war. Rather than see Portugal exposed to be overrun by France, he would go to war. Rather than see the whole coast of the Peninsula-the coast opposite to Ireland-filled with fanatics and slaves, he would go to war. And he would rather go to war before all this happened, than after. Nay, he would ask the noble earl opposite, whether, under such circumstances, with the whole of the Peninsula in the occupation of the French army, that army opposite to the Irish coast, ready to make a descent on that part of our empire, with an array of fanatic missionaries, and légions of soldiers of the faith, he was not prepared to go to war also? These were plam questions, and such was the language which it became our representative to hold, not to the French government, but to the allied powers. If that language was considered too strong to be used by the British representative, then we should have withdrawn altogether from the deliberations of Verona. There were two modes of proceeding: either we should not have allowed the attack on Spain at all, or, the moment we understood such an aggression was contemplated, we should have declared our disapprobation practically, by a proof that at such a meeting the minister of England had no business whatever.

Lord Ellenborough observed, that agreeing with the noble earl opposite most fully as to the systematic design of the allied sovereigns, he must still contend that it was impossible not to discover in the French government a spirit, not only of hostility to the liberties of mankind, which it felt in common with the allied sovereigns, but a lust of aggrandisement more particularly opposed to the feelings and interests of this country. It was, therefore, an inconsistency irreconcileable, not only with the conduct of the noble earl in the management of the late war, but irreconcileable with the principles of his whole life, to hear the noble earl make the admissions he had made, and not arrive at the same conclusion with those with whom he (lord E.) concurred. The noble earl need not rest his inferences on the foreign policy of these sovereigns. It was neither at Portugal or Naples, at Verona, Troppau, or Laybach, that such a determination was manifested; it was discoverable in the internal regulations of he respective governments of these mili

tary monarchies. The noble earl might have discovered it in the promised but the denied constitution of Prussia-he might have discovered it in the mock constitution' offered, after such pompous preparations, to Poland-he might have discovered it in the conduct of Austria to Italy-but, if he were yet incredulous, he might have discovered it in the acts of the French government towards Spain; for there he had a proof of the systematic hostility that all these powers entertained against the liberties of mankind and the independence of nations. But, he would go further and ask, what were the real views of the French government as to Spain? Was it not to re-create the French army, to consolidate French power, to bring again under French influence the resources of the Spanish peninsula, to gain for France what its foreign minister, M. Chateaubriand, admitted was an object of French policy, namely, that no hostile frontier should exist on its southern position-but, above all, to prevent those alliances which Spain, as a free state, looking to her constitutional interests, would naturally form with the free states of the world? It was against that spirit of aggrandizement, that destruction of the balance of the power of Europe, that it became the duty of the government of England to interpose. It should have felt, as the noble earl himself admitted, that the designs of the sovereigns of continental Europe were directed against the independence of nations, and that in defence of these great interests, Spain was the vanguard of constitutional freedom. It was argued by the noble earl, that no other course remained to this country but peace or war. But that was not the alternative in discussing the merits of the late negotiation. The first question then was, had ministers done all they could to prevent the war against Spain? The next consideration was, whether if England had put herself in the peril of engaging in war, the result of such a policy would not have prevented war altogether? But the noble earl thought there was no choice. It was acknowledged by all parties, that the moment the French army crossed the Bidassoa, there was a justifiable ground of war. That was undeniable; but, it by no means followed, that, because there existed a just ground of war, therefore war was to be commenced by this country. That decision must depend on many reasons, both of a political and

military nature. "But," said the noble | any citizen, in matters of public dispute, earl, "if you go to war, you must send not to take part with one side or with the an army. That was not a necessary other. He had held, and rightly, that if consequence. Such was not the ancient wise men were the most likely to shun policy of this country, in her continental contention, it was only by mixing up those alliances. Until the late war, it was new, wise men in the quarrel, so that their to send an English army to act in chief precepts and example might correct exin the support of an ally. Taking for travagance in others, that any contest granted his own statement, the noble earl could be brought to a happy termination. argued, that while intestine divisions If it was to be the policy of this country existed-while Spaniard was in array to take no part in the present contest against Spaniard-to send a subsidiary between despotism on the one hand and military force was not to be thought of. rising liberty on the other-if we were to Such a course had never been recom- stand in idle neutrality, and witness the mended. But then said the noble earl, conflict between a government on the "the assistance of a fleet would be per- one part growing out of the will of the fectly nugatory." That he disputed. people, and a government on the other part Would not the presence of a naval force which denied to the will of the people all afford considerable support to the military influence-if England was to be bound to exertions of the Spanish army? He had such a course, it was a course in which no only to appeal to the noble duke opposite, endeavours would long enable her to to prove of what avail, during the last persevere. Before the struggle was over, war, the presence of a small British naval she would be compelled to take a part; armament was to Spanish exertion on the and she would then have lost the advancoast of Catalonia. The two main roads tage which would arise from her doing so on the eastern and western extremity of in the beginning. Spain were actually under the guns of a fleet. Under such circumstances, could naval co-operation be nugatory? The three great military points of Spain were at this moment in the possession of the Spanish army, and capable of being supported by naval co-operation. With these facts before their lordships, could any man deny that the presence of a British fleet would not afford the most effectual support? He still felt that it was mainly in opinion as to the nature of the present contest, that he differed from the noble earl opposite and his colleagues; but still his opinion upon that question Iwas a fixed one. He did not take the war to be a war by France against Spain. He took it to be a war in which France acted with an executive army-an army executive of the views and intentions of the holy alliance. It was a war which touched in principle the liberty of all European states; and above all of England; for, if that alliance were jealous of the efforts for freedom made by Spain, what would it say to England? For himself, he protested against the policy of neutrality, as derogatory to British character and destructive of British interest. The noble earl opposite thought that, standing with folded arms, England would be enabled to moderate the excesses to which either party might be disposed. A law-giver of old had made it treason for VOL. IX.

Lord Calthorpe said, he deprecated war as much as the noble earl opposite could do. He looked at it in no other light than as a resort in case of necessity; but he could not help thinking that that necessity had arrived. The course which ministers had taken was not at all surprising. They knew that war would be against the feelings of the country; and they knew also that, by avoiding it they should gain a momentary triumph. His belief was, that the hope of this triumphand he would call it a delusive triumphhad led them too far. Their wish for peace had been too anxious, and too openly displayed. In the commencement of the late negotiations, a tone not of anger, but of just and firm remonstrance, not of menace towards France, but of friendly expostulation; would have produced beneficial effects. If it had been neglected, England would not have been compelled to go to war. But, it would not have been neglected, if it had been urged with an eye to the condition of France, who was then vacillating between doubt of her own subjects on the one hand, and fear of the consequences of her oppression on the other. The noble lord sat down, with professing his belief, that it would be impossible for England long to remain in anity with states which discovered opposition to every thing in the shape of rational liberty. P

The motion was negatived without a the same care should be taken in condivision.

HOUSE OF COMMONS.

Monday, May 12.

LAW OF PRINCIPAL AND FACTOR PETITION FOR AN ALTERATION THEREOF.] Mr. J. Smith presented a petition from the Merchants and Bankers of London, praying for an Alteration in the existing Law of Lien upon Goods sent on Foreign Ventures. He stated his intention of moving for a select committee to inquire into this subject.

Mr. Scarlett said, that the law, of which this petition sought an alteration, had prevailed ever since the merchant law had been a part of the English code. It did not permit factors to pay their own debts with the produce of goods confided to them by employers in other countries. The learned gentleman proceeded to argue, that this law had been borrowed from the maxims of the civil law, which prevailed all over the continent, and that therefore, as it corresponded with the regulations abroad, there could be no reason for altering it as regarded commercial convenience, and stil less on the score of honesty and good policy. Nothing could be more just than that factors should be restricted from exceeding the authority of their principals, and nothing more likely to prevent frauds. He must object to any alteration in the present law.

fiding goods to agents, as prevailed in the remission of money. If money were remitted, the possession passed from the hands of the principal to the agent, and no lien was created; the same freedom was sought to be established for the cir culation of merchandise. From the very nature of commercial dealings, they could not be without great risk and some inconvenience ; but the question was, whether greater benefit would not arise from a law which should leave merchants free to deal with those persons in whom the possession of the goods should be. This was obviously impossible, if it were necessary, on all occasions to inquire into the instructions of the principal. petition was one of the greatest importance, and he trusted that it would receive from the House the attention it deserved.

The

Mr. Huskisson agreed with the hon. gentleman as to the importance of the subject. He held a petition, which he should present in the course of the evening, from the merchants, and nearly all the persons of capital in the town he had the honour to represent, the prayer of which was similar to that now before the House. They were unanimous in their wish that the existing law should be altered. He trusted that the learned gentleman would, for this reason, not oppose the appointment of a committee. He did not wish that the principle of the law should be altered; because he felt, that whatever good a change of that kind Mr. Baring said, that the effect of the would bring with it, would be greatly law as it at present existed, was to pre- overbalanced by the evil which it would vent the circulation of goods. Its ope- create. The hon. gentleman said, that ration had been a source of complaint the alteration which was proposed would from the earliest period that he could merely have the effect of preventing a recollect any thing of business. British factor from paying his debts with the merchants were not generally thought goods of his principal. If that were all, more fond of encouraging frauds than there would be no necessity for referring the members of his learned friend's pro- the question to a committee. But there fession. The error in his learned friend's were, in fact, other considerations which argument had arisen from his not un- a committee might with propriety inquire derstanding the nature of trade. He had into. Great inconvenience arose from thought that there were two sorts of the present state of the law; and he persons-merchants and factors; but in knew that judges on the bench, when commerce merchants were factors, and deciding on particular cases, had alluded factors were merchants, both purchasing to the injustice which was connected with goods upon commission. The great in-it. But it was not necessary, in removing convenience felt from the present system was, that money could not be raised by the hypothecation of goods, because it was not known to whom they belonged. The object of the proposed alteration would be, to establish the principle, that

these inconveniences, that the principle of the law should be altered. If they considered the subject in a committee up stairs, it would be only necessary to inquire whether the law might not be so altered, as to prevent the frauds which now prevailed under it.

Mr. Scarlett observed, that many merchants received large quantities of goods from foreign consignors, and was it fitting that they should be met by the exclamation, when they sustained a loss-"Oh, you should have taken due caution before you advanced money;" while no such caution was required from a London banker.

Mr. Ricardo said, he would put the case in this way: suppose an individual employed him as an agent, to dispose of goods, and that he was dishonestly inclined, and defrauded his principal; in that case, who ought to be the loser, the man who said, "I will not pay a single penny without the goods are delivered to me;" or the man who did not make any inquiry, but lent his money upon mere representations? It was not desirable that either party should lose; but one must suffer, and the sufferer ought to be the individual who did not use proper

caution.

Mr. J. Martin could see no reason why the same rule should not apply to bills of exchange. He admitted, that persons advancing money had a right to know whether the property really belonged to the individual. But this information could not always be obtained; for he had known many cases where the most solemn assurance was given, that certain property belonged to particular individuals, when, in fact, such was not the

case.

Ordered to lie on the table.

IMPORTATION OF TALLOW-PETITION FOR AN ADDITIONAL DUTY ON.] Sir T. Lethbridge presented a petition from the butchers of Leadenhall-market, complaining of the glut of Russian Tallow in the market, and praying for a further import duty on that article. He should be glad to know from the president of the Board of Trade, whether ministers had it not in their serious consideration to add considerably to the present import duty on tallow? It was quite monstrous that foreigners should be allowed to glut the British market with their produce.

ditional duty, instead of punishing Russia, would have the effect of visiting the people of this country with a greater degree of taxation. Instead of adding to the existing duty, he hoped ministers would take it off.

Mr. Monck condemned the system by which individuals sought to support a system which operated beneficially for them. selves, but was injurious to the country in general. He hoped ministers would turn a deaf ear to petitions of this nature.

Sir 7. Lethbridge argued, that the ad, ditional duty would not fall on the con. sumer.

Lord Milton said, if the additional duty did not fall on the consumer, it was quite clear that the alteration would be of no use to the butchers of Leadenhall-market.

Mr. Ricardo observed, that the principle advocated by the hon. baronet might be applied to every foreign commodity. As the hon. baronet had discovered so easy a way of reducing the national debt, by throwing the burthen of taxation entirely on foreigners, he ought to become chancellor of the exchequer without delay; for he was afraid they had never yet found a chancellor of the exchequer who could impose taxes without inflicting serious burthens on the people.

Ordered to lie on the table.

BEER DUTIES BILL.] Mr. Denison rose to present a petition on a subject which deeply interested the middle classes of society. The petition came from the Table Beer and Ale Brewers of London, a most respectable body, who had embarked millions in the trade. As the law now stood, the brewer paid an excise duty of 2s. per bushel, and from every quarter of malt he brewed six barrels of beer, for which he charged 18s. There was besides an excise duty of 10s. on the beer! The chancellor of the exchequer now proposed the manufacture of an intermediate beer, for which the brewer was to charge 27s. per barrel, and from each quarter of malt he was to brew five barrels instead of six. The brewers did not complain of this intermediate beer; but, by a clause in the bill, they were prohibited from brewing such beer on their present premises. The consequence was, that if they manu

Mr. Huskisson regretted that the chancellor of the exchequer was not present to answer for himself. The hon. baronet must see that the placing an additional duty on tallow was a financial, not a com-factured beer of that kind, they must mercial, measure.

Mr. Hume considered the principle laid down by the hon. baronet as extremely objectionable. The imposition of an ad

erect new brewhouses, at a distance not nearer than 200 yards from their old premises. They had embarked millions in their business, and that property was

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