HC Deb 08 September 1887 vol 320 cc1661-2
MR. KIMBER (Wandsworth)

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he has received any information of a further outrage, committed by Venezuelan authorities, upon British merchants residing in the adjoining Colony of Trinidad; whether a lighter, belonging to Mr. John Cumming, one of the principal British merchants at Port of Spain, Trinidad, despatched with monthly supplies only for his estate and hospital at Cedros, also in Trinidad, driven by squally weather into Venezuelan waters while beating up the coast, and, anchoring there, waiting for turn of tide to get back to the Trinidad shore, was seized by the Venezuelan Revenue boat, and taken, with the crew, as prisoners, to Giuria, where, although proof was given of the innocent nature and facts of the case, the Venezuelan authorities procured judgment to be given against the vessel, gave 48 hours only to appeal, and condemned the captain to three months' imprisonment; whether the former outrages committed by Venezuela by the seizure, ill-treatment, and false imprisonment of the passengers and crews of the Henriettaand Josephine, and their vessels, which outrages were also accompanied by a gross perversion of justice, under the name of a judgment, are still unredressed, and the claims and remonstrances made by Her Majesty's Government therefore are still unheeded; and, whether, in face of the contemptuous indifference shown to these claims and remonstrances, and the further outrages committed and threatened by Venezuela upon British subjects, Her Majesty's Government will take steps to enforce respect to its demands and to protect the Colonists and their property from similar outrages in future, or whether the Colonists must, in case of future assaults upon or seizure of their persons or pro- perty, defend themselves or secure other assistance?


Information has reached Her Majesty's Government of the seizure referred to in the Question, which will receive immediate attention; but there has not yet been time to examine the circumstances of the case. In the meanwhile, one of Her Majesty's ships has arrived at Trinidad, having been summoned by the Governor of the inland. No redress has yet been given by the Venezuelan Government in the cases of the Henrietta and Josephine; but Her Majesty's Government cannot allow matters to remain on that footing.