HC Deb 04 March 1839 vol 45 cc1162-4
Viscount Ingestrie

wished to ask a question of the Government, or rather of the hon. Gentleman, the Secretary for the Admiralty, namely, whether any negotiations were pending, or had taken place, between the Government of this country and the Government of France, relative to the late outrage committed against the British flag? This injury had created a great feeling in the country; and he was anxious to know, also, whether any fresh information had been received from Commodore Douglas?—for if there had not, he gave notice that he would move, on an early day, for the production of the letter of Lieutenant Croke.

Mr. C. Wood

replied, that the Government had received no further communication since the noble Lord first asked the question. In answer to that question, he had, in the first instance, said, that on the receipt of the intelligence, Government had determined to make a representation to the French Government; but before this determination could be executed, a dispatch was received from Commodore Douglas, informing the Admiralty, that as soon as he had arrived at Vera Cruz, he had received a satisfactory explanation, but he did not state what that explanation was; and having reason to expect a fuller dispatch, he thought it was better for Government to wait till they were possessed of full knowledge before they took another step.

Mr. S. O'Brien

wished to know, whether any indemnity had been given to the Mexican pilot who was taken from the British vessel?

Viscount Ingestrie

would like to be informed, whether there was any objection to produce the letter of the lieutenant?

Mr. C. Wood

objected to its production till the whole transaction was in a more forward state; and he must say, that he thought the mode in which this subject had been treated by hon. Gentlemen opposite, was not a mode becoming the dignity of that House."

Mr. Goulburn

said, it was a rule that questions were not to be put argumentatively, and he must say that by the same rule answers ought not to be given argumentatively. By so doing, they were giving an unfair advantage to one side of the House.

Captain Pechell

had a question to put, which he thought not beneath the dignity of the House, nor against its rules. It was a question, too, which he did not wish to be mixed up with any negotiations be- tween the French and English Governments. Did the hon. Gentleman, the Secretary of the Admiralty, intend, when he had information not now in his possession, to lay all the information on the Table of the House; and in particular, did he intend to lay on the Table the log-book of the Express packet whilst she lay at Vera Cruz?

Lord John Russell

said, that a reply to the question must depend on a consideration of the intelligence which might arrive. It was impossible for the Government, not having received all the information, to pledge itself beforehand to produce any particulars; but when the information arrived, the opinion of the Board of Admiralty and of the heads of the other departments would be collected upon it.

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