§ MR. STAPLETON
said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is in receipt of intelligence to the effect that a Spanish Governor of Fernando Po has issued a Proclamation forbidding schools and prohibiting any person from going to any church or chapel except a Roman Catholic one; and further, whether Fernando Po, which was an English Military Station from 1827 to 1834, is now recognized by England as part of the dominions of the Crown of Spain.
MR. SEYMOUR FITZGERALD
said, that he would, in the first instance, reply to the latter part of the hon. Gentleman's question. Fernando Po was not an English military station from 1827 to 1834. It had never belonged to England, nor did England Claim any jurisdiction or authority 2274 there. It was in 1778 ceded by Portugal to Spain, and had since been recognized as a Spanish possession by Lord Palmerston and the Earl of Aberdeen, both of whom had been in treaty with Spain for the purchase of it, considering that its possession by this country would be desirable in reference to our operations against the Slave Trade. With respect to the first question, Her Majesty's Government had received intelligence that on the 27th May last the newly appointed Spanish Governor of Fernando Po issued a Proclamation stating that the religion of the colony was that of the Roman Catholic Church; and that no other religion would be tolerated or allowed but that taught by the missionaries of the Roman Catholic Church, nor any schools but Roman Catholic Schools; and that persons who professed any other religion but the Roman Catholic should confine their religious worship and practices to their own houses. That Proclamation was under the consideration of her Majesty's Government, as it appeared to them to be contrary to a Proclamation issued in 1843 by a former Governor, by which security to liberty in person, property, and religion was accorded to all who obeyed the laws of the colony.