HC Deb 20 March 1860 vol 157 c934

said, he would now beg to ask the Secretary of State for India, Whether his attention has been drawn to a very painful account of the state of the Soldiers, or discharged Soldiers, on board the hired transport, The Great Tasmania, lately arrived from India. He was sure his right hon. Friend had not only paid attention to the subject, but would be glad of the opportunity of making a statement in regard to it?


said, he hoped that the right hon. Baronet would at the same time state whether the Stores had been supplied by the Government or by the owners of the vessel.


said, his attention had certainly been called to the melancholy circumstances to which his hon. and gallant Friend alluded. His hon. Friend the Under Secretary for India (Mr. T. G. Baring) had his attention called to the matter by a telegram which reached London on Saturday afternoon, and he immediately put himself into the train and went down to Liverpool the same evening. On Sunday morning he saw the agent of the vessel and the local authorities, and he found that they had shown every possible attention to the sick men, and that nothing had been omitted that could contribute to their comfort or health. His hon. Friend visited the vessel next day, and looked himself into the stores, which he found in such a state that he felt it necessary to direct that a survey should be made of thorn. He also saw the officer in charge of the troops and the Coroner, and he directed that every facility should be given to the most searching inquiry into all the circumstances of the case. That inquiry was now going on before the Coroner; and that being so. He thought it better that he should abstain from expressing or even indicating any opinion as to the persons whose conduct was implicated in these transactions. In answer to the question of the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. J. C. Ewart), he might state that some of the provisions were put on board by the Government and some by the owners of the ship; and he would only add that by the activity and zeal of his hon. Friend the Under Secretary for India nothing was omitted to be done that could contribute either to the comfort of the sick or to a discovery of the persons on whom the responsibility of these disasters might rest.