HC Deb 17 February 1863 vol 169 c410

said, he rose to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether the Government are in possession of any official information on the subject of the reported defeat by the Confederates of the blockading squadron at the mouth of the Charleston river; and, if so, whether that information is of a character to raise the question of the legality of the future blockade of that port?


Her Majesty's Government have no information with regard to that transaction, other than that which has been conveyed by the telegrams which have been received, and are known to everybody. Those telegrams simply state that the blockade was raised on the morning of one day and re-imposed on the succeeding day. [An hon. MEMBER: On the same day.] The same information states the raising of the blockade and its renewal. With regard to the application of the general law of nations to a transaction of that kind I shall abstain from giving any opinion, because the application of that law depends so much upon the circumstances of the case, that till that which has really happened is well known, it would be improper for Her Majesty's Government to commit themselves to any binding opinion as to the effect which those transactions may have.