HC Deb 12 February 1858 vol 148 cc1275-6

As hostilities are now going on in China, I think it would not be improper that the House of Commons should be made acquainted with the grounds on which those hostilities are proceeding. It is understood that Lord Elgin had certain terms to propose to the Government of China, and that hostilities would be commenced if they were not conceded. I beg, therefore, to inquire of the First Lord of the Treasury, whether he has any objection to lay before the House the instructions given to Lord Elgin on his departure for China, and the terms which were offered and rejected at Canton previously to the late bombardment.


It is quite contrary to rule to produce these instructions at present. As soon, however, as we have received the reply made by the Chinese Authorities to the demand of our Plenipotentiary, the whole of these papers will be laid on the table.


Has no answer been received to the ultimatum of our Plenipotentiary?


We have received from Lord Elgin a copy of the communication which he made to Yeh. Lord Elgin had received Yeh's answer; but there was not time to translate the whole of it before the mail left. We have, however, received its substance.

Motion agreed to; House at its rising to adjourn till Monday next.