HC Deb 18 May 1854 vol 133 cc536-7

said, he wished to put a question to the right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Admiralty, whether any, and, if so, what instructions had been given to Her Majesty's vessels on the East India or other stations, for the protection of British whalers on the coast of Japan and Timor, against Russian war vessels now believed to be in those seas. There was great difficulty in effecting insurances except at very high premiums, in consequence of that belief, and he would suggest that some steps should be taken to relieve the owners from the additional expense thus incurred.


said, it was not quite regular for the Government to effect the insurance of merchant vessels, but he had reason to believe that a very moderate premium would be taken. Owing to the perfect and good understanding between the French and English Governments, the naval forces of the two Powers on every foreign station, and on the China station in particular, were combined for the protection of the trade of both countries. He might further add that the Russian force in those seas was, as compared with that of either France or England, extremely small, and that from the accounts which had been received it appeared that the Russian ships were running about from one neutral port to another—now at Manilla and now at some other place—seeking shelter, orders having been given to keep a close watch upon them, which would undoubtedly be carried out.