HC Deb 18 May 1858 vol 150 cc865-7

said, he wished to ask a question relative to a gallant officer that had just been referred to. It was reported that Colonel Franks, who had just returned from Lucknow, understood before his departure that the Proclamation in question had been issued by Viscount Canning in obedience to instructions sent out from this country. He begged to ask the late President of the Board of Control whether that was so or not?


The question is so obviously ridiculous, although it arises from the first reference made to this sub- ject, that it scarcely requires an answer. My answer, however, is, that it was not, because the first intimation that I had of the Proclamation was from the letter, the substance of which I have stated to the House.


I am bound, Sir, by a feeling of justice to Colonel Franks to take some notice of the question that had been asked respecting him. I had yesterday the advantage of a conversation of considerable duration with Colonel Franks. He evinced the utmost possible feeling of delicacy with regard to any communications between himself and Viscount Canning, and any information he had derived during his intercourse with Viscount Canning. He expressed in the warmest and most honourable terms his sense of gratitude for the many favours he had received and the kindness which Viscount Canning had shown him, and his extreme reluctance to be a party to anything in the slightest degree reflecting unfavourably on the conduct of Viscount Canning. While I feel bound to say that Colonel Franks displayed a feeling of delicacy most honourable to himself, yet he gave me a great deal of information which I do think of the greatest importance as bearing upon the question before the House. Colonel Franks expressed to me most honourably a great desire that his name should not be brought forward, but Colonel Franks made a request personally to me that if his name were mentioned in this House, and if any reference were made to him which it was in my power to correct in consequence of this interview, that I would do him the justice to correct that wrong impression. I feel bound, therefore, to say that the bon. Member for the City of London (Mr. Crawford) has been misinformed with regard to what fell from Colonel Franks. Colonel Franks had heard the rumour that he was informed by Viscount Canning that the Proclamation was the result of instructions from home. Colonel Franks assured me that any such impression was altogether erroneous. Viscount Canning did not tell him that he had received any instructions to the effect supposed, and the mistake had probably arisen in consequence of the fact that Colonel Franks did infer, from his conversations with Viscount Canning, that, under all the extraordinary circumstances of the Proclamation, that Proclamation could only have been issued in consequence of in- structions from home. That, however, was only the general inference of Colonel Franks, and he does not for a moment pretend to say that the Proclamation was issued in consequence of instructions from home.