HC Deb 29 April 1847 vol 92 cc127-8

seeing the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in his place, rose to inquire of that right hon. Gentleman, if the American Government had taken the guns out of a vessel of war called the Jamestown, and placed her, as well as another vessel of war, at the disposal of a certain number of American gentlemen, citizens of the United States, who had formed themselves into a committee for the purpose of affording relief to the suffering population of Ireland. He wished to know whether those vessels or either of them had yet reached any of the Irish ports?


thought that, previously to answering the question which had just been put to him, and of which the hon. Gentleman had given him notice, he should do well to read to the House an extract of a letter which he held in his hand. The writer of the letter was Mr. Everett, whom they all remembered for many years as Ambassador in this country accredited by the Government of the United States. The letter was in the following words:— Cambridge, March 26, 1847.—I address you this letter for the purpose of commending to your protection and good offices the commander of the Jamestown, R. Bennett Forbes, Esq.. This vessel will sail to-morrow for Cork from Boston, with a full cargo of provisions for the relief of the sufferers by famine in Ireland, and another equal quantity will soon follow. The funds for these supplies have been raised by voluntary subscriptions, about one-half in Boston, and the other half in the interior towns and villages in New England, to the amount in the whole of about 100,000 dollars. Large supplies, not included in this estimate, have been sent, and are on their way, from New York, and other places further south. The Jamestown is a vessel of war of the United States. Her armament has been taken out for this voyage, and she has been placed by the Secretary of the Navy at the disposal of the Boston relief committee. Mr. Forbes, who takes command of her, and who will have the honour of delivering to you this letter, or its duplicate, is a merchant of great worth and public spirit; a gentleman of high consideration in the community, who has volunteered his services for this occasion. The officers associated with him in navigating the vessel, are also volunteers—substantial citizens of great respectability. The cargo is placed under Mr. Forbes's exclusive control; and he and his brother officers have gratuitously devoted themselves to this benevolent service at considerable personal inconvenience, from the sole motive of appropriating the supplies in the most economical and effectual manner. The Jamestown, after performing that important service at Cork, and having deposited her cargo in that city, took her departure, and was now on her way to the United States. The other vessel also had arrived and landed her cargo in Ireland. But even the large supplies brought by both those vessels, formed only a small portion of the contributions—the spontaneous and voluntary contributions—which the people of Ireland bad derived from the benevolence of the people of the United States.

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