HC Deb 01 August 1836 vol 35 cc734-9

Order of the Day again moved, for the House to resolve itself into a Committee on the Customs Bill.

Captain Boldero

rose to put a question to he noble Lord, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He wished to know whether his Majesty's Royal Marines, acting under Lord John Hay, in the service of the Queen of Spain, had been recalled from that service? He wished to know, also, whether any of them had been taken prisoners, and if so, whether they were liable to the decree of Don Carlos—a decree so contrary to the laws of nations, to the usages of warfare, and to all the feelings of humanity? It would be recollected that this decree was in existence before the British marines were sent out. He should feel obliged to the noble Lord if he would answer this question.

Mr. Charles Wood

thought, that the question might more properly be directed to him. He had no hesitation in saying, that no orders had been sent out to withdraw those marines that were attached to the squadron under the command of Lord John Hay. With regard to the executions that had been committed by the order of Don Carlos, the hon. and gallant Member had justly described them as contrary to the laws of nations, and contrary to all the feelings of humanity; but it was impossible for him to say what had passed under those orders. He was happy to be able to say, that as far as the British marines were concerned, not one of them had suffered this most outrageous and atrocious usage.

Mr. Maclean

, in moving for the papers mentioned in his notice of motion, wished likewise to ask a question—namely, whether it was not usual, in all cases where the King's troops were engaged in a casualty or accident, that there appeared a bulletin or official Gazette, and whether there was any case within recollection where the King's troops had met with so disastrous an issue as in Fontarabia— whether it was not the invariable case, for the satisfaction of the minds of individuals, and of the country, which felt a deep interest in the lives of those engaged in such conflicts, that there should be some official notice taken of any accident or casualty that occurred?

Mr. Charles Wood

could not suppose that the hon. and learned Member was anxious for the papers he had mentioned; for, although he had given notice of his inten- tion to move for them two nights running, the hon. Member had never attended in his place to make his threatened motion. That the papers the hon. Member had moved for were not laid on the table of the House was not his fault; he had had them, ever since the notice of motion, in his possession, and was ready to lay them on the table of the House, as soon as the motion was made. With regard to the question of the hon. and learned Member, he could inform him that it was not usual in all the actions in which part of the naval forces of this country had been engaged—it was not at least without exception, that all the despatches should be laid on the table of that House; it was not usual on all occasions. With respect to the present motion, so far from feeling the slightest objection to lay the papers before the House, he was only waiting to lay them on the table. He would take that opportunity of saying, with regard to the proceedings which the hon. and learned Member had alluded to as disastrous, they appeared to him, from the explanations he had received with respect to the military positions that had been taken, to be perfectly satisfactory. He was far from wishing to withhold any information which the House might wish for, and let the hon. and learned Gentleman only make his motion, and he should have the despatches that had been received from Lord J. Hay on the subject of the proceedings that were carried on in the north of Spain subsequent to the date of his notice, in order that the House might have full information of all the proceedings that had taken place.

Mr. Maclean

was sure that the House would indulge him for a few moments, after the manner in which he had been alluded to. He thought that he had a fair right to complain of the statement of the hon. Gentle-man. He understood from the hon. Gentleman, that he should be put in possession of the returns he was anxious to obtain, and that he should thus be saved the trouble of moving for them. After the hon. Gentleman had acceded to his request in part, it was too much to say, that the hon. Gentleman had been waiting for his motion. The hon. Gentleman had given him all that he required, except what was not absolutely necessary, and for that portion which was refused he was left to make a motion in order to obtain them. The hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well that, as orders of the day took precedence of motions, he should never have an opportunity of making his motion in the present state of the business of the House. He must complain also of the hon. Gentleman not giving a distinct answer to his question. He did not ask whether it was usual in all cases in which the King's armies had been engaged, that there should be laid on the table of that House, a return of the killed and wounded, but what he did ask was this—whether it was not usual, whenever the King's armies were engaged, and when the King's subjects suffered loss of limb or of life, either through casualty or accident, whether it was not invariably the custom that some official notice or Gazette should be published, in order that the minds of those persons who were attached to the sufferers from consanguinity or affection, or the country which took an interest in them, from the effect of their being members of the community, might he relieved from that anxiety which ought not to be continued longer than was absolutely necessary.

Mr. Charles Wood

was sorry to be obliged to trespass on the time of the House. The hon. and learned Member's motion stood for the 26th of July. On that day, on going into the orders of the day, the hon. and learned Member took that opportunity of asking, which was somewhat irregular, whether he (Mr. Wood) was prepared to accede to his motion, and to produce the returns he had given notice he would move for: this in itself was very irregular. He told the hon. and learned Member, that there was a certain part of his motion to which he could not accede, but that he was prepared to give one-half of the papers moved for. No motion was then made on the subject. He found by the notice-paper that the motion was postponed till the 26th of July: the hon. and learned Member, however, had not made his motion. With regard to the question, whether it was usual in all cases to publish a return of the killed and wounded, he would reply most distinctly not. It was not usual on all occasions. It was usual on all great occasions that they should have a list of the killed and wounded. He could, however, repeat, that he had not the slightest objection to publish the return in the present instance. There was the list, and if the hon. and learned Member would only alter the words of his motion, he was ready to lay it upon the table of the House.

The Speaker

said, that the proper course would be to make the motion at the end of the business.

Subject postponed.

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