HC Deb 06 September 1886 vol 308 cc1313-4
DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether he has yet received the official report of the Captain of H.M.S. Diamond, with reference to reprisals inflicted by her towards the close of last year upon the natives of Normanby Island, Hoopiron Bay, Mullport Bay, Norana Island, and other places in the Western Pacific, concerning which questions were addressed in this House to the then Under Secretary for the Colonies and Secretary to the Admiralty, on the 15th of March and 20th of May last respectively; and, whether, if received, he will lay the report upon the Table of the House?

MR. RICHARD (Merthyr Tydvil)

said, he desired, before that Question was answered, to put another relating to the same subject. He wished to know whether the noble Lord was aware that in 1869 Lord Clarendon addressed a despatch to Sir Rutherford Alcock stating that Her Majesty could not allow her naval officers or Consuls to demand reparation for wrongs done, nor to determine whether coercion should be applied by blockade, reprisals, or landing armed men? His Lordship pointed out that all such proceedings bore the character of acts of war, and that Her Majesty's Government could not delegate to Her Majesty's servants in foreign places the power of involving their country in war. He also wished to know whether Lord Granville, writing in 1880, to our Consul on the West Coast of Africa, said— I have to observe that Her Majesty's Government will deeply deplore"—


AS far as I can gather the terms of the Question they rather exceed the limits of ordinary Questions.


I must ask the hon. Gentleman to postpone that Question, in order that I may have some time to obtain information on the subject. In reply to the hon. Member for Glasgow, I have to state that the Report in question was forwarded by the Commander-in-Chief on the Australian Station in his letter of April 2 last, received at the Admiralty on May 24, and a copy was furnished to the Secretary of State for the Colonies on June 3. There will be no objection to give the Report in question.