HC Deb 26 June 1855 vol 139 c161

I wish, Sir, to put a question to the noble Lord at the head of the Government in reference to the recent operations at Kertch and other places in the Sea of Azoff. Grave charges have been made against the character of Englishmen and English officers, which I do not believe, and which, if not true, ought to receive contradiction from the Ministers of the Crown. I have seen the same statement made in private letters and published in the public journals. It is stated in The Times newspaper, that— When the allies entered Kertch the following morning the population made their submission, and offered bread and salt to the conquerors, in accordance with the Russian custom, and they were assured that they would be protected, and that their lives and property should be spared. The correspondent goes on to say that destruction of property followed; and more than that— Towards evening Turkish stragglers from the camp, and others who had fallen out of the line of march, flocked into the town, and perpetrated the most atrocious crimes. To pillage and wanton devastation they added violation and murder. He further states that, the French patrols endeavoured to preserve order, and in one part of the letter there is this important imputation upon the character of an Englishman; it was, "the Lieutenant General whose apathy or neglect permitted the perpetration of disgraceful excesses." I do not believe this statement, but I ask whether the noble Lord at the head of the Government has received any information on the subject?


Sir, Her Majesty's Government have received no information with regard to the transaction to which my hon. Friend's question relates, but my attention has been called to the statement he has quoted from a newspaper, and my noble Friend at the head of the War Department will, without any delay, call for a report touching these transactions from the officer commanding in the Sea of Azoff.