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Questions

Volume 203: debated on Monday 11 July 1870

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said, he would beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether there is any foundation for the report which has appeared in certain Spanish journals, "that England has expressed herself favourable to the selection of a member of the House of Hohenzollern to fill the throne of Spain?"

said, he wished to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether Her Majesty's Government is aware that the Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern Sigmaringen has been accepted by the Government of Spain as a candidate for the throne of that country, and the Government of the King of Prussia has in any way signified its approval of such candidature; whether it be true, as publicly alleged, that the Government of the Emperor of the French has declared that the election by the Spanish people of the Prince Leopold as King of Spain would be regarded by it as an act inconsistent with the Peace of Europe; and, whether Her Majesty's Government do not consider it highly important to exert all the influence of this country with Foreign Powers to prevent any such disturbance of the European Peace?

Sir, it was on Tuesday evening last, I think, that the Government, to their no small surprise, received the intelligence on the subject to which my right hon. Friend has called attention. The intelligence we received was to the effect that Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern Sigmaringen had been accepted by the Government of Spain as a candidate for the throne of that country; and it was also to the effect that the Government of the Emperor of the French had declared that the accession of this Prince to the Spanish throne would not be tolerated by France, but would be regarded by them admitting of and requiring as a case a resort to extremities. The Government are not aware that the Government of the King of Prussia has committed itself or bound itself to any approval of such candidature. Finally, the Government have exercised, and will exercise, all the legitimate and friendly influence they may be supposed to possess—with a due regard to the dignity and self-respect of every Foreign Power—for the purpose of preventing an event so calamitous and so deplorable as that a great European conflagration and bloodshed should arise out of circumstances of the character referred to in the Question of my right hon. Friend.