HC Deb 19 June 1876 vol 230 cc9-11

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether any further steps have been taken by Her Majesty's Government in reference to the case of the "Talisman?"


This case, Sir, has not ceased to occupy the careful and anxious attention of Her Majesty's Government. I mentioned the other day to the House that after the sentence of banishment had been passed upon the captain and mate the captain had appealed against this sentence; that the mate was content to abide by the sentence; that Her Majesty's Minister at Lima was exerting himself to get the mate's case separated from the captain's, in order that the mate should not be prejudiced by the conduct of the captain. Since that we have been informed that the law of Peru will not allow the cases of the two prisoners to be separated, and the mate has been kept in prison as well as the captain. We have been further informed that all sentences of Courts of First Instance must be confirmed by a superior Court. Now, the superior Court has affirmed the sentence in this case; but besides the appeal of Haddock, the captain, an appeal has been made to the Supreme Court by the Attorney General of Peru, who is dissatisfied with the decision. On the 10th of last month the Secretary of State had an interview with Senor Galvez at the Foreign Office. My noble Friend then drew the Minister's attention to the painful sensation which had been caused in this country by the case of the Talisman. On the 7th of June, upon the receipt of further despatches from Mr. St. John, my noble Friend addressed a letter to Senor Galvez recapitulating what had occurred. The despatch of my noble Friend concludes thus— In these circumstances, Monsieur le Ministre, it becomes my duty to remonstrate in the strongest manner, as I now do, in the name of Her Majesty's Government, against the continued detention of King, who has signified his acquiescence in the sentence passed upon him; against the unreasonable protraction of the proceedings in the case, and against the unfriendly conduct of the Peruvian Government in the matter. I have the Honour to request that you will be so good as to forward this remonstrance to your Government, and that you will recommend it to their very serious consideration. Her Majesty's Government have every wish to maintain friendly relations with the Government of Peru; but unless the case of these prisoners is brought to a speedy issue it will be impossible that those relations should continue. To that despatch Senor Galvez, on the 13th of this month, sent a reply which goes over the old ground again, but adds nothing new in information, concluding thus— For these reasons, I doubt not for a moment that my Government will hasten to manifest its constant purpose to maintain friendly relations with your Excellency's Government, as there is neither motive nor feeling for an alteration of them. And I even hope that when all the circumstances connected with the case of the Talisman are finally considered it will be seen that the Peruvian Government, far from having acted with any want of friendliness towards Her Majesty's Government, has done all that was in its power to fulfil the obligations of friendship as well as of consideration which the British Government is entitled to. In these circumstances it appears to Her Majesty's Government that the continued detention of King, the mate, cannot be justified, and that it is their duty to request the Peruvian Government to give immediate orders for his release.