HC Deb 20 August 1839 vol 50 cc438-9
The Chancellor of the Exchequer

took that opportunity of stating, that, in consequence of the early hour at which the House rose last night, they had not yet on their Table a bill which, he understood, had passed the Lords, with amendments. It was, nevertheless, of the greatest possible importance to the public service that the bill in question—he meant the Slave-trade Suppression Bill—should pass with as little delay as possible. There was every reason to believe it would be on the Table of the House by their usual time of meeting, five o'clock; he begged, therefore, to give notice that he should, at that hour, propose to agree to the amendments.

Mr. O'Connell

would take the same opportunity to call the attention of the House and the public to a fact which he had seen stated in the newspapers this morning—he meant the conspiracy elsewhere distinctly stated to exist between the Portuguese Slave-traders to make such arrangements, by having a pipe of poisoned nine on the deck, and also by poisoning the water on board, as should cause the death of the British crews who chanced, on capturing a vessel, to partake of the one or the other. It was impossible sufficiently to express indignation at such diabolical atrocity. But he apprehended that the Government, having received information to that effect, were bound, not only to inform the public of the discovery, but to apply to the Court of Portugal to prosecute those who were guilty of so infamous a conspiracy. It was impossible any country could be so barbaric in its code as not to have some means of prosecuting the miscreants who could be guilty of such a crime. He was sure he expressed the sentiments of the whole country, when he confidently anticipated that the Government would call upon Portugal to put the facts in a train of investigation, and adopt the most prompt and decisive measures for bringing to punishment those who were guilty of so horrible a conspiracy.

Notice given, and amendments to be considered at a later period.

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