HC Deb 26 May 1873 vol 216 cc433-4

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, if it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to submit the claims of Her Majesty's subjects for losses sustained by the capture of vessels containing British property by the "Alabama" to arbitration?


Sir, Her Majesty's Government have no such intention, and I may say I think the Question of the hon. Baronet, judging from its form, has been put under an entire misapprehension. It appears to be implied that the Government submitted the claims of certain persons, not subjects of Her Majesty, to arbitration. That is altogether a mistake. No claims of individuals have been submitted to arbitration in relation to the "Alabama." What was submitted to arbitration was a question of injury between the two Governments, and had reference entirely to international law.


asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether he has any objection to lay upon the Table the case as submitted to the Law Officers of the Crown, on which they gave the opinion that, notwithstanding the British Government having been found liable for the damage done by the "Alabama" to the subjects of other countries, she was not liable to her own subjects for similar damage similarly inflicted?


It is not usual, Sir, to present to Parliament the communications which pass between the Foreign Office and the Law Officers of the Crown on cases submitted to them, such communications being considered to be of a confidential character, and I could not undertake to make an exception to the custom in the instance just alluded to by the hon. Member.