, seeing the Secretary of State for the Foreign Department in his place, wished to ask a question relative to the seizure of certain ships belonging to her Majesty's dominions on the coast of Africa. In the month of July, 1831, there were two vessels carrying on trade on the coast of Africa; and he was informed, that two French vessels of war then came down; that they attempted to compel the English vessels to sail from the coast; that they seized the guns that were being put on board, and ultimately seized the British vessels themselves. In the month of February, 1835, a blockade was attempted to be imposed on that coast by the French Government. A vessel called the Eliza, and other vessels in the trade, belonging to her Majesty's subjects, were then seized. The question he wished to ask was, whether or not the Government had preferred a claim against the French government for reparation, and whether there was any immediate prospect of its being brought to a speedy conclusion? Upon the answer he received, would depend whether he might think it necessary to make any motion on that subject.
§ Viscount Palmerston
said, that it was quite true, as stated by the hon. Member, that certain vessels belonging to British subjects had been interrupted in their commerce on the coast he had stated. The first was antecedent to a blockade, and the latter after it. He presumed, that it was not the wish of the learned Gentleman that he (Lord Palmerston) should enter into the details of the transaction, but he could state, that application having been made to the British Govern- 997 ment, they applied to the French Government for compensation. That had been under the consideration of the French Government for some time; a reply was made, which was submitted by him to the claimants; and a short time ago, a communication was made to the English Ambassador at Paris; to that communication he had not yet received any reply communicating the final determination of the French Government, but, at the same time, believing, as he did, that the claim was founded in justice, he could not persuade himself, that the French Government would not give it the consideration to which it was entitled.
would wait a short time to see what the effect of any communication would be; and if it was not as favourable as he expected, he should bring the subject before the House.
§ Subject dropped.