HC Deb 20 February 1850 vol 108 cc1113-4

wished to ask the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies a question upon a subject which had been noticed already in another place, and of which he had given the hon. Gentleman notice. He had that morning sent a paper to the hon. Gentleman, which he had received from New South Wales, in which details were set forth of the most disgusting nature, regarding certain conduct of men and officers, which had taken place on board the barque Indian. The colonial officials had properly taken measures to bring the offenders to punishment, and from the proceedings it appeared that the owners had certainly placed a most dissolute set of officers on board their vessel. What he wanted to ask the hon. Gentleman was, whether he was aware of the circumstances that had taken place? And whether, in the event of the statement turning out to be true, such directions would be given to the Emigration Commissioners as would induce them to put forth to the fullest extent the powers vested in them to punish the owners of the ship, as well as the guilty parties? There was a vast number of persons about to go to the colonies. But they had become so alarmed at the account of this misconduct, that they had great doubts whether they could venture to proceed to their several destinations; and it was most important that they should receive some assurance to allay their fears.


said, that in answer to the question, which was one to which he attached very considerable importance, and which he did not at all regret the hon. Gentleman had brought under the consideration of the House, he should reply that the Government had as yet received no official account of the conduct of the officers of the barque Indian. But he was bound to state that if the ex parte statement which had been made should be proved, it would justify the infliction of the severest penalties which the law provided, as soon as the conviction should have been obtained. And he would undertake to promise his hon. Friend that the subject should be closely attended to, because he had already called the attention of the Emigration Commissioners to it, and they would be instructed to enforce the severest penalties which the law enabled them to inflict, if the facts should be proved.


said, that the reply of his hon. Friend would give general satisfaction throughout the country.