HC Deb 01 June 1860 vol 158 cc1888-9

said, he would beg to ask the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, if the Government have been informed by the Governor of Hong-Kong of the trial, at the Supreme Court, of Captain Saunders, of the British barque Chin-Chin, for the murder of one of the crew of the Custom-house Boats in the Port of Swatow, and if there is any objection to lay the despatch upon the Table of the House? At the solicitation of Lord Elgin, Englishmen were appointed foreign Inspectors at some of the Chinese ports. At the port of Swatow Mr. Lane acted in that capacity, and held a commission from Commissioner How. The barque Clan-Chin was lying in the port, and in the middle of the night some of the Customhouse officers demanded to be admitted on board. Captain Saunders, thinking that the parties demanding admission might in reality be pirates, refused their request; and told them that if they persisted in boarding, he should resist. They did so; he resisted, and one of the Chinese officers was killed. Captain Saunders was tried on the charge of murder, but was acquitted; but the owners of the vessel had taken an action against Mr. Lane, the Chinese Commissioner, for the damage done to the barque. This showed the inconvenience of having Englishmen to act in such a capacity. He might add, that he thought that if the noble Lord had given more consideration to the question he had ventured to put to him on a former evening, he would not have given the answer he did.