HC Deb 04 May 1871 vol 206 cc153-4

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether there is any truth in the report that the Government have in contemplation to make over the Colony of the River Gambia to the French; whether he has considered that the Colony is the nearest to this Country of our African dependencies, with a river navigable for 300 miles by ships drawing 10 feet of water, and of which the mouth may be entered at all times by ships drawing 25 feet; and, whether he is aware that the river leads to a healthy country, well adapted to the growth of tropical productions?


, in reply, said, he hoped his hon. Friend would forgive him if he left unanswered the latter part of his Question, because, without either admitting or denying his facts, he could not enter upon the considerations he mentioned without following a practice which was very inconvenient—namely, that of making a speech of some length in answering a Question. With respect to the actual question as to the cession of the Colony of the River Gambia to the French, he could only refer his hon. Friend to the Papers already presented to Parliament, and inform him that the negotiations relative to such cession were broken off upon the commencement of the Continental War, and that there was no probability—certainly no present probability—of their being resumed.