HC Deb 06 March 1840 vol 52 c978
Sir James Graham,

not seeing the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department, or any hon. Member connected with the Admiralty, in his place, begged to ask the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies a question relative to the Chinese papers which were laid on the table at a late hour last night. He did not find in those papers any account of some most important transactions mentioned in the last accounts received in England as to the port of Canton being declared in a state of blockade by Captain Elliott, a remonstrance having been made on the part of certain American merchants against the blockade of the port of Canton and also an action said to have taken place between certain Chinese vessels of war and some of her Majesty's fleet. He wished to know whether her Majesty's Government were in possession of any information with respect to the blockade or the action to which he alluded; and if so, whether it was their intention to lay it upon the table?

Lord John Russell

No official account has been received of the naval action, or of the transaction to which the right hon. Gentleman has alluded. Private letters have reached this country from Captain Elliott and Captain Smith, and when official accounts are received there will be no objection to lay them before the House.

Sir James Graham

had been informed, that there was a letter addressed by Captain Elliott to the late Admiral Maitland, giving an account of the blockade, and that that letter was transmitted by the late Admiral Maitland to the Admiralty. Surely that was an official communication to the Government, and he presumed her Majesty's Government would not object to lay that document before the House.

Lord J. Russell

said, there were letters of that kind, but they were not letters, that contained any narrative of the transaction; and he did not think that they were letters that could be laid before the House, however, he would not give a positive answer without referring to the letters themselves.

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