HC Deb 21 July 1853 vol 129 cc543-4

said, he begged to ask the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, as it had been stated by the Government that a great number of British merchant ships are detained in the Danube in consequence of the state of that river, which had been produced by the neglect of the Government of Russia to discharge that which had been described by a Minister of the Crown as a great duty owed by Russia to Europe; and, as great loss must be occasioned to British merchants by the detention of those ships, whether Government would demand from the Czar compensation to those merchants for the loss inflicted upon them by the culpable neglect of the Russian Government; also, as it had been stated by the Government that repeated representations have been made to the Government of Russia respecting the interruption of the navigation of the Danube, whether the noble Lord would have any objection to lay upon the table of the House copies of the correspondence on the subject?


said, he doubted whether merchants would have any claim for compensation on the ground stated by the noble Lord, because, although the Russian Government had not taken proper precautions respecting the navigation of the Danube—which we had a right to expect from it—yet natural causes had very much tended to obstruct the navigation of that river. An accumulation of mud had accrued at the mouth of the river, which had caused the waters to overflow the banks and inundate the country for several miles round. According to the latest accounts, it appeared that the obstruction had been to some extent removed, and there were now several feet more water at the mouth of the river. In answer to the second question, he could state that the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department had directed the correspondence to be examined, with the view of ascertaining whether any portion of it could be laid before Parliament.