HC Deb 08 April 1864 vol 174 cc628-9

said, he must beg leave, in asking the Question of which he had given notice, to make a brief statement of facts. Two months ago a gentleman at Kingston-upon-Thames received a letter from his son, dated New York, January 22, in which he expressed himself as extremely well pleased with his ship and his captain, under whom he had served with great comfort for eight years. A few days ago the father received a letter from his son's captain, dated New York, March 11, saying— We arrived at this port on the 20th of January; your son was missing a few days after. He went on shore a little the worse for drink, and has not since returned. I fear he has been kidnapped by some of the runners of this port, and sent to sea… I have forwarded his effects to the Board of Trade, in London.… You will obtain all information about effects, &c., at —, Mark Lane. The wretched father hurried to Mark Lane, where he received a confirmation of the captain's story, the agent adding that New York had become a horrible place hundreds of young men had been kidnapped, and never after heard of. Of his own son's fate this gentleman was still in entire ignorance. He, therefore, begged to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether Her Majesty's Government have received any Reports from Consular Officers in the United States of America, stating that British Subjects have been kidnapped, detained, or otherwise outraged with the object of forcing them to serve as soldiers in the Federal Army?


said, he must beg to state, in answer to his hon. Friend, that Her Majesty's Government had received Reports from our Consuls at Boston, Port- land, and New York, on the subject of the kidnapping of Irishmen who had been induced to go to the United States on various pleas. These Reports agreed in the main with the information which the public had been able to derive from the newspapers. At Portland 7 and at Boston 102 British subjects had, it appeared, been kidnapped. Those persons had been tempted, under various pretences, to leave Ireland, and on arriving in the United States were actually imprisoned for some time, kept without sufficient food, and then plied with whisky. When in a state of intoxication they were prevailed upon to enter the army of the United States. Lord Lyons had already made a Report on the subject to Her Majesty's Government. As soon as the Government received information of what had taken place at New York, instructions were sent to Lord Lyons to make inquiry and to ask for redress; and further, to call on the United States' Government, in future, to protect British subjects who might be induced, under false pretences, to proceed to the United States. He trusted soon to receive from Lord Lyons an account of what he had been able to do in the case of the persons who had been so ill-used at New York.