HC Deb 17 February 1843 vol 66 cc768-9
Viscount Palmerston

was desirous of putting a question to the right hon. Baronet at the head of her Majesty's Government, relative to the Indian despatches. At page 223 there was a letter from Mr. Maddock to Major-general Nott, dated Benares, the 19th of April, directing him to evacuate Candahar, and take up a new position at Quettah. No answer to this letter appeared in any part of the papers, and he (Viscount Palmerston) wished to know whether the Government were not in possession of any such answer? At page 252, there was a despatch from the Governor-general to Sir Jasper Nicholls, dated Allahabad, the 14th of May, in which mention was made of a letter from Mr. Clarke, that did not appear in the papers. Were her Majesty's Government in possession of that letter? At page 296 there was a despatch from Major general Pollock to Mr. Maddock, dated Jellalabad, the 20th of May, in which reference is made to a preceding letter in these terms:—"I have already in my letter dated the 13th instant, entered on the subject, and must receive a reply before I shall be able to move." This letter of the 13th of May did not appear among the papers.

Sir R. Peel

was prepared to ans w these questions, though he had received no notice of the noble Lord's intention to put them. The noble Lord had asked him three questions. He did not recollect the order in which the noble Lord had put them, but he would give the answers as they occurred to him. First, with respect to the supposed omission of a letter from General Nott addressed to Mr. Maddock referring to the receipt of an order from Lord Ellenborough, dated the 19th of March, 1842. That letter would be found in page 309 of the printed volume, numbered 371. That letter must be the one the noble Lord referred to, and the noble Lord was therefore under a misapprehension when he supposed that the acknowledgment of the order was not given. The second question was, whether or not certain letters, referred to in a communication from Lord Ellenborough, addressed to Sir Jasper Nicoils, and numbered 300 in the printed papers, had been received, and, if received, why they had not been produced? Certainly they had not been produced, but he held them in his hand, and now laid them on the Table. With them also was a letter from General Pollock, which the noble Lord had not inquired for, but which he (Sir R. Peel) would take this opportunity of also laying on the Table. With respect to the third question, as to the letter from General Pollock, of the 13th May, 1842, mentioned in the letter of the 20th May, the Government had no traces whatever of any such letter. They had sent this morning to the India House, to inquire whether it had been received there, but there also no letter of that date could be discovered. To what the disappearance of the letter might have been owing it was impossible to say; all he could say was, that the Government had never received any such letter, that no trace of it could be discovered, either at the Board of Control or the India House; and never having received it, of course he could not produce it.