HC Deb 26 July 1869 vol 198 cc682-3

said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, What steps Her Majesty's Government have taken on the complaint of the exaction of an unauthorized fee from the master of the ship "Tyne," of South Shields, by the British Consular Agent at Huelva, with a view to the prevention of similar complaints in the future; and if he has any objection to lay upon the Table of the House, the Correspondence which has taken place between the Foreign Office and the British Consular authorities in Spain on the subject?

MR. OTWAY, in reply, said, it appeared that the consular officer at Huelva, who was unpaid, had hitherto been in the habit of charging fees under three heads—namely, the registration of ships' papers, request of clearance, and attestation of seal and signature. These charges on a vessel amounted to about 9s. 3d. It had been decided that one of the fees was improperly levied, and the vice consul had accordingly been directed to re-fund the sum of 4s. 3d., which had been paid to the Spanish Consul at Cadiz. he informed the hon. Member some time ago by letter that this sum was procurable at the Foreign Office any time he chose to send for it. With respect to the presentation of Papers, he was quite willing to show them to the hon. Member; but he thought it would not be right to put the public to the expense of printing Papers so very unimportant in their character.