HC Deb 25 April 1853 vol 126 cc451-3

I wish, Sir, to ask the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Homo Department a question in reference to what he stated on a former night on the subject of the seizure in a dwelling-house—which, however, now turns out to be not a dwelling-house, but a manufactory—at Rotherhithe, of certain implements of war and gunpowder. The noble Lord stated on that occasion that there had been a considerable number of war rockets, in various stages of preparation, seized at this place; that there were seized also 2,000 shells, and a considerable quantity of the composition with which rockets were filled, and 500lb. of gunpowder. The noble Lord, drawing a distinction between the composition with which rockets are filled and gunpowder, on that occasion I took the liberty to say, on the authority of Mr. Hale's son, that there was not an ounce of gunpowder found on the premises. I now ask the noble Lord whether he was not in error when he stated that 500lb. of gunpowder were found, in addition to the rocket composition, which might or might not be gunpowder, but that was hereafter to be decided by another tribunal.


I must say, Sir, in reply to my hon. Friend's question, I have been misinformed in regard to the matter. In respect to that part of my statement my information has been erroneous. I was informed that 500lb. of gunpowder, in addition to a certain quantity of what is called rocket composition, together with other materials, were seized; but it appears by the report of what took place at Bow Street on Saturday, that the total quantity discovered has been 260lb. of that substance, in regard to which it still remains to be determined on Thursday whe- ther it is of the nature of gunpowder. I do not venture to anticipate the decision that will be arrived at; but I certainly was wrong in saying that 500lb. of gunpowder were found, in addition to a quantity of the composition with which rockets are filled.


said, he would now give notice that he should on Thursday next move for copies of all the correspondence in the custody of the Ordnance Office on the subject of Mr. Hale's inventions in regard to rockets.


said, he wished to say a few words in reference to the question of the hon. Member for Fins-bury (Mr. Duncombe). The noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) had frankly and promptly recalled the statement he made the other night relative to the seizure of certain munitions or preparations of war. As the matter had been commented upon by the public press, and connected with the character of an illustrious exile, who had taken refuge from his oppressors in this country, and as it had been imputed to M. Kossuth that warlike stores were found in the house of Mr. Hale for his use—it was right that the true facts should be publicly known. He knew that many people in this country thought there was some foundation for the charge against M. Kossuth. He had heard people say if M. Kossuth knew nothing about the stores, why does he not take moans explicitly to deny the charge. He had now to state, that as soon as M. Kossuth was informed of what had taken place in that House, he, on the day when the charge was made, did him the honour to address a letter to him which he received late at night. He would, with the permission of the House, read the letter, as it was short:— Alpha Road, St. John's Wood, April 15, 1853. My Lord—In answer to your kind note, I have the honour to say that all the accusations in the Times of to-day about a house in my occupation having been searched, and a store of war materials belonging to me been discovered and seized, are entirely unfounded. Not only in no house in my occupation, but also nowhere else in England, could have been any store of war materials belonging to mo discovered and seized, from the simple reason that I have no store of war materials whatever in England. But while I give this plain and flat denial to the alleged charge, I desire explicitly to be understood that I do not disavow my hostility to the oppressors of my country, but rather avow openly my determination to free my country from them. To this, my aim, I shall and will devote all my life and all my activity, and to this activity I never will recognise any other limit but honour, morality, and the laws of that country where I hap- pen to reside; and as it is not contrary to honour and morality to have stores of war materials to be used when required in the service of my country, I declare that such I have, but I have them in such countries where it is lawful for me to have them even with those intentions which I openly avow. But in England I have them not, because I have been told that some doubts may be entertained about the legality of such an act. With this explanation I repeat, no store of any war materials of mine could have been seized, because I do not possess, either directly or indirectly, anything of the kind in this country. I remain with high regards and particular consideration, my Lord, your's respectfully, (Signed) "L. KOSSUTH. Lord Dudley Stuart, M.P. Subject dropped.