HC Deb 02 December 1867 vol 190 cc518-9

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If his attention has been directed to the destruction of the Bubulina war steamer in the Mersey, on the eve of her departure for Greece, occasioning a great loss of life: Also, if his attention had been directed to the circumstance of the Greek Government having purchased, fitted up with warlike stores, and filled with munitions of war, two steamers which had formerly been employed as Confederate blockade runners, the Bubulina and the Amphitryte: And, if it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to make any inquiry from the Greek Government as to the destination of these vessels, and if they were intended to be used against a Foreign Power with whom we are on terms of friendship and alliance?


Sir, I have seen the account in the newspapers, as probably we all have, of the destruction of the Bubulina in the Mersey, and I understand that she and another steamer were bought and fitted up for the Government of Greece. That Government not being a belligerent, but being at peace with all nations, has a legal right to purchase and fit out ships of war in an English port or anywhere else. They are the best judges of the amount of naval force which they deem necessary for the protection of their coasts and their trade, and the British Government do not desire to interfere in such a matter. No doubt, if we thought the Greek Government intended to engage in a war with Turkey or any other Power with which we are in relations of friendship, we should remonstrate; but we are not at present in a position to think that any such intention exists on the part of the Greek Government.