HC Deb 06 February 1833 vol 15 cc218-9
Mr. O'Connell

said, he hoped it would not be inconvenient to the noble Lord, if he was permitted to ask the right hon. Baronet, the Secretary at War, a question of the highest importance, affecting a most meritorious class of British subjects serving in the Array in India, and of the Roman Catholic faith. Grievous complaints had reached him (Mr. O'Connell), on authority which could not be questioned, that the men were suffering much mental torture in consequence of being deprived of the comforts of religion. The Government had made no provision for the religious instruction of persons professing that faith, though they were very numerous, and were necessarily obliged to remain in the country in which they were serving for long periods of time. He wished to know from the right hon. Baronet, whether there existed any intention of remedying this evil.

Sir John Hobhouse

said, that he was not aware that any complaint in this respect had been made by the Roman Catholics serving in India, though there had been complaints with regard to the want of religious instruction in the military hospitals at home. He thought some provision as to this ought to be made, but as the Secretary at War only acted in this regard under the terms of a Treasury minute of the year 1828, he had no power to interfere.