HC Deb 23 May 1864 vol 175 cc604-5

moved an address for a Copy of the Award made by the Senate of Hamburgh in the case of Captain Melville White. Captain White was a gentleman who had distinguished himself for his gallantry in every country he had visited. He had saved the lives of the English and French Consuls in the Red Sea, and, in addition to that, he had succoured a great number of vessels in a sinking state; and on the breaking out of the mutiny in India he went out there at his own expense, and did his country great service. This gentleman had occasion to enter the republic of Peru, when he was seized without cause, imprisoned, and most brutally treated—so treated, in fact, that the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs declared that it was one of the worst cases that had ever come under his observation; and the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary declared that it was a case which demanded reparation, and must be enforced by the whole power of England. The officers of the Government, on inquiry into the case, considered that £4,500 should be demanded from the Government of Peru as a requital for his sufferings. Captain White, however, considered that a disproportionate sum, and it was proposed that the decision should be left to the Senate of Hamburgh; but Captain While claimed that it should be placed under the arbitration of the Emperor of the French. The Government would not accede to his views, and the arbitration was left to the Senate of Hamburgh. They were ready to enforce the demand of £4,500, but they declined to make a demand for some £100,000, as wished by Captain White. The matter was, however, referred to the Senate of Hamburgh, who, after considerable delay, decided that Captain White was not entitled to any compensation whatever. The question, however, referred to the arbitration was between £4,500 and a larger sum. He therefore asked for a copy of the award, in order that he might be in a position to bring the subject before the House.


said, there was no objection to the production of the award, but the difficulty of getting a reliable translation of a German document of eighty pages full of technical phrases would occasion some little delay. The case of Captain White was well known. Her Majesty's Government were under the impression that Captain White's treatment was not justified, and a demand was made for compensation. A certain sum was offered; but Captain White declined to accept it, and it was proposed to refer it to the I Senate of Hamburgh for their mediation. That was accordingly done. They went through the matter most carefully, and they ultimately came to a decision ad- I verse to Captain White. He was at a loss I to know what course Her Majesty's Government could take. Captain White had submitted to the arbitration of the Senate of Hamburgh, and of course must be bound by their award.

Motion agreed to.

Address for "Copy of the Award made by the Senate of Hamburgh in the ease of Captain Melville White." — (Colonell French.)