§ Sir James Graham
, seeing the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs in his place, wished to ask him two questions. The first question was, with respect to Opium. It appeared that a certain quantity of opium had been delivered up by the Superintendent at Canton, under certificate. There was reason to believe that a further quantity of opium had been purchased by the superintendent, and had been delivered up to the Chinese authorities, in order to make up the quantity mentioned in the certificate; no such transaction appeared from the papers which had been laid upon the table. He wished to ask the noble Lord whether such a transaction had taken place, and if there would be any objection to produce the papers relating to it? The second question he wished to ask related to the supposed destruction of the opium surrendered to and destroyed by the Chinese authorities. From those papers it did of appear that the destruction of the opium ad taken place; the only mention made of it seemed to show that it had been transmitted to Pekin for the use of the Chinese Government He asked the noble Lord whether he had any other information upon the subject, showing that it had been destroyed or so sent to Pekin, and if so, whether there would be any objection to its production?
§ Viscount Palmerston
said, with respect to the first question, what happened was this—the parties in Canton having agreed to deliver up the opium in their or their agents' hands, each house made out a statement of the quantity they had in China, and the aggregate amount was given to the Chinese commissioner. One of the ships containing the opium disobeyed the orders of the superintendent, and sailed away; 1222 the consequence was, that there was a deficiency to the amount that ship contained. Captain Elliott purchased a quantity which had subsequently arrived, in order to make up the aggregate quantity. He was not aware that there were any other papers in the office, but if there were, of course they would be produced. With regard to the destruction of the opium, he had no other accounts than those contained in the papers which had been presented. Of course he had seen accounts in the newspapers, but he knew nothing farther officially than that contained in the papers.
§ Sir James Graham
saw by the instructions to the superintendent in 1833, reference was made to an order in council for regulating the trade with the port of China. He wished to ask the noble Lord if he had any objection to the production of that order in council? His second question was, whether the noble Lord had received and was ready to produce the remonstrance said to have been made by certain American merchants at Canton against the blockade?
§ Viscount Palmerston
said, with respect to these papers, he produced every thing that appeared to him necessary to elucidate the matter, and he had not the least objection to the production of those to which the right hon. Baronet alluded. With regard to the second question, he had not received any report of the remonstrance said to have have been made by the American merchants at Canton.
§ Mr. J. A. Smith
observed, that the warlike preparations going on in India being now a matter of public notoriety, and as great anxiety existed on the subject, he wished to ask the noble Lord whether he had any objection to state the object of the expedition, and when it was likely to take place?
§ Lord J. Russell
said, in answer to the hon. Gentleman's question, he begged to refer him to the answer he had given on a former occasion to a question put to him by a noble Lord on the other side of the House. He had then been asked whether a declaration of war had not been made by the Governor-general of India against China, and his reply was, that the Government had received no official information on the subject, and could not believe, that report to be well founded, but that it probably arose from the order sent out by the Government to make certain preparations. What he had then stated had turned out to be the fact, as had been proved by the recent arrival of official despatches. The orders 1223 sent out were to make preparations to have a certain naval and military force in readiness. The hon. Gentleman now asked him what was the object of these preparations, and he could only state very generally what they were. In the first place, they were to obtain reparation for the insults and injuries offered to her Majesty's superintendent, and her Majesty's subjects by the Chinese government; and, in the second place, they were to obtain for the merchants trading with China an indemnification for the loss of their property, incurred by threats of violence offered by persons under the direction of the Chinese government; and, in the last place, they were to obtain security that the persons and property of those trading with China, should in future be protected from insult or injury.