HC Deb 19 December 1837 vol 39 c1332
Sir H. Hardinge

said, there was a question which, upon the grounds of common humanity, he wished to put to the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department. He wished to be informed if the noble Lord had heard any thing of a statement published in the newspapers of an order having been signed by the Spanish minister of war by which the officers and men of the British Legion were compelled to embark for England. There was also published an order signed by Brigadier-General O'Connell, in command of the Legion, in which he stated, that in consequence of the orders of the Spanish authorities, the Legion was disembodied, and must lay down their arms. They had done so, and since then it appeared the Legion were in a state of great suffering and danger. Now, he (Sir H. Hardinge) wished to know from the noble Lord, whether any and what steps had been taken in order that these unfortunate men might be brought home to their own country.

Viscount Palmerston

replied, that he had been informed, but not officially, that in consequence of some difference between Brigadier-General O'Connell, commanding the Legion, and General O'Donnell, the Spanish General commanding at St. Sebastian, the infantry of the Legion had given up their arms, and were no longer soldiers in the Spanish service. If that were so, of course they must be brought home, and he could assure the right hon. and gallant Officer opposite, that no time should be lost in taking steps to bring them home to this country.