HC Deb 01 July 1859 vol 154 cc548-50

said, he rose to put a question to the late Secretary for India relative to the recent Indian loan. It would be in the recollection of the House that during the last Session an Act was passed by which the late Government obtained power to raise a loan of £7,000,000 for the purposes of India. Advertisements were issued calling for tenders, and Thursday, the 21st of April last, at 12 o'clock, was fixed for their reception. Upon that day many persons appeared, and were informed that a minimum price of ninety-five had been fixed, below which no tender would be received. The tenders were then opened, and out of 443, representing an aggregate of nearly £7,000,000, 310 for a total of more than £5,077,000 were accepted. Immediately after that transaction, the scrip bore a small nominal premium in the market, but in the course of the afternoon, the fact of the Austrian ultimatum having been sent to Turin was made known, and a kind of panic ensued. The script for this particular loan on the following Saturday fell to l½discount, and in the course of a week went to 4 or 5 discount, being, in fact, unsaleable. Under these circumstances it was natural that the public should wish to know whether the Government, at the time the tenders were accepted, were in possession of that intelligence, which was certain to affect the prices of all stock. In putting this question he did not wish to imply more than the words of his notice conveyed. He did not intend to suggest that there had been any unfairness on the part of the Government, but merely wished to elicit the facts which he hoped would be satisfactory to the public mind. It appeared from the papers recently printed, that intelligence of the Austrian ultimatum arrived in London on the evening of Wednesday, April 20, from Vienna, and the fact was communicated on the following morning by his Excellency the French Ambassador to the Earl of Malmesbury. It was simply with a view to ascertain the real facts that he now asked the late Secretary of State for India whether he was aware, when he proceeded, on Thursday, the 21st day of April last, to receive and adjudicate upon the tenders invited to be sent in for the Indian Loan, of the fact that the Austrian ultimatum to Sardinia had been made known to Her Majesty's Government on the previous evening by a telegram from Vienna, and also by a written communication from his excellency the French Ambassador to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.


said, nothing could be fairer than the manner in which the question had been put by the he n. Member for London. It was a question which he could have answered on the previous evening, when notice of it was given, but he thought that probably the he n. Member would wish to accompany it by some remarks. It was not the fact that either he or any other person connected with the negotiations for the loan or with the Indian Department was cognizant of the news to which the he n. Member referred at the time when the tenders for the loan ware received and adjudicated on. He did not know at what hour of the night or of the morning the intelligence in question was received by his noble Friend, the Earl of Malmesbury; but the intelligence in question was not received by him (Lord Stanley) up to four o'clock in the afternoon of the 21st of April, and the tenders for the loan wore finally adjudicated upon between twelve and one o'clock. A considerable time elapsed between the period when the then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs received this intelligence and the time when it became known to the Indian Department, but the fact was that immediately on receiving it his noble Friend proceeded, as was natural, to summon a Cabinet Council, in order that deliberations might take place upon it; and it so happened that the Earl of Derby was in attendance on the Queen at Windsor, so that the Cabinet Council could not be held up to four o'clock in the afternoon. The first intimation he (Lord Stanley) received of the intelligence was at four o'clock in the afternoon, which was between three and four hours after the time when the transaction connected with the loan took place.


said, that the noble Lord's explanation would be considered perfectly satisfactory.