HC Deb 05 September 1844 vol 76 cc2000-1
Sir C. Napier

wished to ask a question of the hon. Baronet opposite, which he hoped his sense of public duty would enable him to answer so as to quiet the excited state of public feeling, which had now existed for some time. About two months ago, the right hon. Baronet declared in that House, in a bold, manly manner, becoming the character of the Prime Minister of the country, that he had demanded reparation from the French Government, for the gross outrages which had been committed on the person of our Consul at Tahiti. Since that time we had received information from Tahiti, which showed, that instead of Queen Pomare asking the French to become her protectors, the protectorate had been established contrary to her wishes. Events of great importance had also taken place in various other parts. A French squadron had been sent to Tangier, and had bombarded that almost defenceless place. The French had not taken possession of Tangier, but another squadron had proceeded to Mogador, which, to use the expression of the Prince de Joinville, had been ecrasè, and the island of Mogador taken possession of. In addition to all this, another squadron had been sent to Tunis, and the French were making other warlike preparations, by the arming of a new class of gun-boats. At the same time, since the first attack on the coast of Africa, we had paid off an efficient three-decker and a guard-ship, and commissioned only one with a crew of a third-rate; we had also paid off two frigates. The question he wished to ask was, whether France had made the reparation for the gross outrage, which the right hon. Baronet had demanded; and if not, whether the Navy was to be left in the neglected state it had been in so long? The Admiralty, when at Portsmouth the other day, had made a beginning, no doubt, in the right spirit. He was not surprised when the First Lord saw the dilapidated condition of things in Portsmouth, that the noble Lord had been taken alarmingly ill.

Sir R. Peel

I think I shall best perform my duty to the House and to the public by making as brief an answer as possible to the questions put by the gallant Officer. I must state that Her Majesty's Government have no reason to doubt, that the assurances they have received relative to the proceedings taken by the French in Morocco and on the African coast, will be strictly fulfilled. As to the other events to which the gallant Officer has referred, I have to state, that discussions have taken place between this Government and the Government of the King of the French, with regard to events, the occurrence of which was calculated to disturb the friendly relations between the two countries. I have the satisfaction of stating, that those discussions have been brought to an amicable and satisfactory termination. The communications that have passed between the two Governments will, of course, at a future period, be laid before this House and the country, and I trust I shall not be pressed at the present time for any farther statement on that subject.

Mr. Hindley

wished to know the opinion entertained by the right hon. Baronet relative to the conduct of Mr. Pritchard. That gentleman, now in this country, had had his conduct maligned; he was charged with having acted most imprudently; and it would be but fair that the right hon. Baronet should state his impression as to the course he had pursued.

Sir R. Peel

I have already stated that the discussions which have been for some time past pending, have been brought to an amicable and a satisfactory termination—satisfactory to both countries and I do hope that I shall not be pressed to make any farther statement at the present moment. When I say "satisfactory termination," of course I mean one perfectly consistent both with the interest and honour of this country.

Subject at an end.

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