HC Deb 09 June 1845 vol 81 cc240-1
Viscount Palmerston

said, that the right hon. Gentleman had stated that the evidence taken before the Mixed Commission was partly that of French officers, and disclosed the means used by the slavers to escape our cruisers, and that public inconvenience would result from laying it upon the Table of the House; but surely the slave traders were too well acquainted with their own practices to receive any information from these Papers. This evidence was the foundation upon which the two Governments had agreed to abandon the Right of Search; and he put it to the right hon. Baronet whether it were not essential, to enable the House to judge whether the Right of Search had been properly abandoned or not, that they should be in possession of the evidence of officers relating to the use made of the Right of Search, and whether it was or was not necessary for the suppression of the Slave Trade? If the right hon. Baronet would not lay the whole of the evidence on the Table, would he object to producing a part? If there were any delicacy regarding the testimony of the French officers, perhaps he would furnish that of the English officers. He would also take this opportunity of asking the right hon. Baronet if there was any objection to lay on the Table the continuation of the correspondence produced in 1843, relating to the exertions of the British Government to put an end to the disturbances between the two great parties in Syria, the Druses and the Maronites, and also the papers relating to the claims of the Emir Beschir?

Sir R. Peel

had no objection to lay on the Table a continuation of the Papers relative to the state of Syria; but as a considerable time had elapsed since the last correspondence was produced, some little delay would take place in the publication of some portions of that correspondence. He, however, could lay on the Table at an early period, that portion of it, which related to the Emir Beschir, and the noble Lord would probably have an opportunity of seeing it in the course of a few days. With respect to the other question put by the noble Lord, he thought considerable inconvenience might result to the public from the publication of the evidence referred to; and, therefore, he could not consent to its production.

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