HC Deb 03 May 1842 vol 63 c13
Mr. French

asked what had been the result of the mixed commission appointed to inquire into the claims of the British subjects who had been engaged in what was termed the war of liberation in Portugal in 1833.

Sir R. Peel

said, that a commission was appointed by the noble Lord the late Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, for the purpose of receiving and deciding upon the claims of British officers and soldiers who had served in Portugal, and who had rendered important services to that country. That commission had been receiving claims since the 10th of July last year; 2,065 claims had been rendered before that commission, 1,000 of which had been adjudicated upon. In 693 cases, there had been an award made, or at least a judgment delivered, that a certain sum was due. He believed the amount due in those 693 cases was 50,000l. In January last, the British Government made a strong representation to the Portuguese government as to the policy and justice of making some immediate arrangement for the liquidation of those claims; and certainly, the British Government had some reason to believe, that immediate measures would have been taken for adjusting this long-pending question. But just at the time when this adjustment was about to take place, the Charter was proclaimed in that country, and a change of government took place. The new government of Portugal, like other new governments, required time to consider the matter. But the British Government had urged upon the new government of Portugal the necessity of coming to some speedy arrangement; and as far as assurances could go, nothing could be more satisfactory than the assurances they had received that some definitive arrangement would soon be made. He had every reason to believe, that the new government of Portugal, as well as the old, admitted the perfect justice of those claims with respect to which awards had already been made; and he could assure the hon. Member that no exertion should be spared on the part of the Government of thus country for the purpose of obtaining redress for these claimants.