The latest arrival from Europe is to the 26th ultimo.
Great Britain--debate in Parliament — the times on the peace conference.In the House of Lords, February 21, Lord Lynden drew attention to the official report of Colonel Jervois on the defences of Canada, by which it appeared that this province is almost destitute of the means of resisting any attack from the American States. It was useless to say there existed no danger of such an attack. There could be no doubt that the feeling against Great Britain was very strong in America. During the last four years it had been increasing, and recently more importance than ever had been attached to what was called the Monroe doctrine. He then alluded to the late events on the Canadian and American frontier and the hostile order issued by General by General Dix, the commander of the State of New York. It was fortunate that this order was cancelled by the President, but it indicated the existence of feelings that might at any time produce hostilities. It was a matter for the serious consideration of the Government, which he hoped would avoid a doubtful and ambiguous course in dealing with the question. He concluded by asking what measures were intended to be taken with regard to the defences of the province. Lords De Grey and Ripon admitted the importance of the question; but as to the report of Colonel Jervois, it really contained nothing that was not perfectly well known to all who had taken any interest in the subject. In producing the report he denied that he had been guilty of any official indiscretion. Earl De Grey and Lord Ripon admitted the importance of the subject, but regretted that any doubt should be expressed of the conciliatory intentions of the American Government. They explained that the measures proposed by the Government would ask a vote of £50,000 for the Quebec defences, while the Canadians would undertake the defences of Montreal and westward. The Earl of Derby thought the position of the Government was humiliating, when the question of peace of war depended on an excitable populace, with strong prejudices against England, and strongly censured the Government for having so long delayed its defences, and ridiculed the smallness of the amount asked. Earl Granville thought Lord Derby's views exaggerated, but as long as Canada took a fair share, he thought England was bound to assist her colonies. Lords Malmesbury and Ellenborough complained of the small sum asked for. Lord Russell defended the Government from the charge of having neglected the defences of Canada for many years, by stating that if the House of Commons had been asked a few years ago for a vote of money for the purpose, the necessity of the works would have been questioned; and if asked whether Canada itself was disposed to join in the cost of such defences, the Government must have answered in the negative. As to spending the money required in a quiet and secret manner, where could such a sum as two hundred thousand pounds be found without the knowledge of the House of Commons? He excused the feeling that had been excited in America by the depredations of the Confederate cruisers on Federal commerce, though legally the Americans had no claim on England on account of those losses; and he rejoiced, though the abolition of slavery was not the object of the civil war, that the recent vote of the Federal Congress had sanctioned the abolition. Lord Derby asked whether any measures had been taken to meet the increase of the American armed force on the lakes? The Duke of Somerset said the increase was notified to the Government only in November, and since that time the navigation of the St. Lawrence had been closed by ice. After some brief conversation, the subject dropped. The debate caused a depression in the funds and a fall in consols. The Daily News credits Lords Lyreden and Derby with having raised a most mischievous debate. The Times questions the policy of defences. The Owl says probably the Government will take no measures for a naval force on the lakes, the Washington Government having explained its action to be entirely of a temporary character. Field Marshal Lord Combermere is dead. The Army and Navy Gazette says the Confederate Government has countermanded large orders for torpedoes. The London Times has an editorial on the official accounts of the recent conference, and points significantly to Secretary Seward's admission that the proposition for a combined effort at some extrinsic policy or scheme was deliberately considered, and concedes that the North came best out of the affair. It says the arbitrament of war is accepted afresh with most desperate determination. "We deplore the result," it adds, "but it must be more evident than ever that neutrality, if we are but allowed to maintain it, is the only policy for England."
French Corps Legislative, says France