HC Deb 08 March 1839 vol 46 cc145-6
Sir R. Inglis

wished to ask a question of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. It would be in the recollection of the House that last Session they had unanimously adopted an Address to her Majesty, with three different objects; the first was to obtain the concurrence of Portugal in such measures as might be necessary for the abolition of the Slave Trade. He would ask, therefore, whether the treaty with Portugal had been ratified, and if not, whether the noble Lord was prepared to act on the declaration which he had made on a former occasion in the event of its not being ratified.

Viscount Palmerston

was sorry to inform the House, in reply to the question of the hon. Baronet, that the negotiations in which this country had been engaged with Portugal, for nearly four years, for the sake of obtaining a treaty on the subject of the Slave Trade, had not been satisfactory; and that within the last week he had received a dispatch from the British Minister at Lisbon, stating that there was no chance of obtaining the consent of the Portuguese Government to that treaty. It was his intention, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, to lay before the House the papers showing what had passed between the two Governments; and it was then the intention of Ministers to propose to Parliament a legislative measure, for the purpose of giving to our cruisers and commissioners the same power and authority with regard to slave-trading ships, south of the line, which they now exercised with regard to Portuguese slave-trading ships, north of the line.

Subject dropped.

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