HC Deb 17 May 1887 vol 315 cc247-8

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, What notice has been taken of a Petition, dated September, 1883, and presented to Her Majesty by Lord Normanby on his return to England, addressed to Her by the Chiefs of the Island of Tanna, in the New Hebrides, objecting to French annexation, saying, that if the Island is to be annexed by any civilized Power they would prefer it to be to the Australian Colonies?


The hon. Baronet probably refers to a Petition which was received in June, 1884, as an enclosure to a despatch from the acting Governor of Victoria. Lord Norman by does not appear to be concerned with it in any way. The Petition was forwarded at the request of a Mr. Thomas, correspondent of The Melbourne Argus, who seems to have been mainly instrumental in getting it up, and who witnessed the marks attached to it by the Natives of Tanna. The Earl of Derby informed the acting Governor, in reply, that he had laid the Petition before the Queen, but had not been able to advise Her Majesty to take any action in reference to it; and that Her Majesty's Government had no reason to suppose that the French Government had any intention of taking possession of the Island of Tanna.