HC Deb 09 February 1852 vol 119 cc251-2

said, that he wished to put a question to the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government. A noble Duke, in another place, had lately, in speaking of Sir Harry Smith, referred to his conduct in terms of approval, and had spoken highly of his military services. Since then, however, a blue book upon the affairs of the Cape of Good Hope had been circulated [Parliamentary Papers, No. [1428] 1852], in which there appeared a despatch from Earl Grey (dated January 14, 1852), condemning, in twelve different paragraphs, the proceedings of that gallant officer, and recalling him from his post. Now, on Tuesday last the noble Lord at the head of the Government read in that House, for the guidance of Lord Palmerston, a letter from Her Majesty, dated August, 1850, just six weeks after the House of Commons expressed its approval of the policy of that noble Lord. He wished, therefore, to ask whether any similar letter of instructions had been sent to Earl Grey at the Colonial Office; and whether the despatch of June last, condemnatory of Sir Harry Smith, was approved by the Prime Minister, and by him shown to the Sovereign, before it was sent to Sir Harry Smith; and whether the contents of the despatch were communicated to Her Majesty by Earl Grey, as it appears in the sixth paragraph?


said, that, with reference to the first part of this question, he might state that when he entered office he received Her Majesty's directions that all foreign despatches should be sent to Her Majesty; and the letter which he had read on a previous evening was only confirmatory of that instruction. On inquiring of Her Majesty whether colonial despatches also were to be submitted to Her Majesty, Her Majesty was pleased to say that She was desirous to know all important decisions affecting the Colonial Office, but that every particular despatch need not be submitted to Her. What was done with respect to this particular de- spatch he could not say, except that it was transmitted to him, and that he concurred in, and approved it. The decision to recall Sir Harry Smith was the decision of the Cabinet; and the advice given to Her Majesty was that of the Government.

Back to