HC Deb 10 June 1880 vol 252 cc1611-3

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, If he is aware that Mr. Robert Galloway, recently appointed justice of the peace for the borough of Liverpool, was the most prominent of the persons denounced in the House by the late Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs as "wicked men to whom no name could be too bad to apply," who acted as agents for Pierola in the equipment of the steamship "Talisman" for her piratical descent upon Peru; and, whether he will inquire into the matter with a view to Mr. Galloway's removal from the Bench if his complicity in Pierola's piratical designs is proved?


I cannot say that I am aware that Mr. Robert Galloway, recently appointed a Justice of the Peace, Was the most prominent of the persons denounced in the House by the late Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs as 'wicked men to whom no name could be too bad to apply,' who acted as agents for Pierola in the equipment of the steamship Talisman for her piratical descent upon Peru. I think that in the paragraph from which this extract is taken the name Galloway does not appear, and is not mentioned. I may say, however, that I have made some inquiry, and that the case is one of very strong suspicion; but the information I have is not at present sufficiently definite to enable me to come to a final decision upon it. However, I will make further inquiry; and, presuming that I come to any conclusion, I will inform my hon. Friend and the House.


As the Question is immediately directed to an appoint- ment made by me, I wish to say a few words, especially as the right hon. Gentleman the present Chancellor of the Duchy has only just touched upon the subject. I made Mr. Galloway a magistrate upon a requisition from some of the leading men of Liverpool. Mr. Galloway is a member of the Town Council there. He was for many years a member of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. He has been for 22 years an extensive shipowner there, and has always been well spoken of. From all I can gather, he was essentially the sort of person that ought to be upon the Bench of Justices. Since the Question has been put upon the Paper by the hon. Member for Glasgow, I have thought it right to make inquiry into the particular charge mentioned in the Question, and I communicated with Mr. Galloway, whom I had never in my life seen, and he came to London; and I must say that his statements seemed to me satisfactory and straightforward. He has reduced that statement to writing, and it is only just to Mr. Galloway, as the statement is a very short one, that I should crave permission of the House to read it. It is as follows:— When the steamer Talisman was ordered and purchased I did not, nor did any member of my firm, know that she was at any time to be engaged in any illegal enterprise. All South America was at peace at that time. Some time after the steamer was purchased war was proclaimed, and I was informed that arms, ammunition, and military clothing, sanitary and military stores generally, were to shipped for Valparaiso, partly by ships sailing from Liverpool, partly from London, and partly by the Talisman, Considerable stores were shipped by the Pacific steamers; but they refused to take anything in the shape of combustibles, so that a largo portion of the cargo of the Talisman consisted of combustibles. The cargo was shipped openly at Cardiff, a policeman being on board of the ship at the time, and the dock officials superintending the shipment in the usual way. All the dock regulations were complied with, and the cargo was shipped and cleared for Valparaiso. My firm had a large sum of money secured on the ship and insured on the cargo. Valparaiso was the real destination of the ship and cargo; but in consequence of the vessel deviating from her destination, and of an endeavour being made to smuggle the cargo into Peru, the policy of insurance has been forfeited, and my firm have lost altogether a sum of £10,000. I did not know, nor did any member of the firm know, Signor Pierola until the day before the vessel left Cardiff. I did not know Signor Pierola even by name until a few days before the purchase of the vessel was entertained by my firm at the instance of Signor Guardos, who had been known to the firm since 1869, and who was sent by the Peruvian Congress to reform the abuses in the guano-carrying trade, in which we were then largely engaged. I had no reason to doubt that Signor Guardos still represented the Government of Peru. He was supplied with funds to a large amount, and when they were exhausted we agreed to make advances on the ordinary terms. When the advances were made it was understood that the proceeds of the sale of the cargo at Valparaiso would he remitted to us unless our advances had already been repaid. And in November, 1874, six weeks before the period of the vessel's detention, instructions to sell were sent out to Valparaiso. This transaction was an ordinary matter of business with us. All the correspondence has been preserved in the same manner as that which relates to the rest of our business. Signor Guardos did not divulge to us that the ship was destined for any other port than Valparaiso, and we were confirmed in the belief that she was destined for Valparaiso by the West Coast vessels for South America. Had we suspected the vessel at any time of being engaged in any illegal transaction we should not have embarked any money in such business, nor would my firm have had anything to do with it. Having read that letter I see no reason why this Gentleman should not continue to act on the Commission of the Peace.


I shall not attempt to follow the right hon. and gallant Gentleman into the irrelevant matter contained in that long letter. ["Order!"] There is a very interesting statement expected to be made this afternoon by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I should be sorry to interpose between the House and that announcement. I shall not, therefore, conclude, as I might otherwise have done, with a Motion. But I will give Notice that I shall move for Papers which I have placed in the hands of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, on which I rely for proving Mr. Galloway's complicity in the piratical designs of the Talisman.