asked the Secretary of State whether he is able to corroborate from information in his Department the statement 184 contained on page 663 of the fifth edition of Hall's International Law that shipments of rice were entirely stopped by fear of capture during the war between France and China in 1885; and how long did the period of hostilities last?
§ Sir E. GREY
I have no information which conflicts with Mr. Hall's statement. I have information that the announcement that the French Admiral had been instructed to seize all cargoes of rice after 26th February, 1885, exercised a deterrent effect, for various foreign shipowning firms had contracted to carry large quantities of rice (about 70,000 tons), from Shanghai to Tientsin, and, in view of the French declaration, they decided not to incur avoidable risk. In the case of at least one ship reported to the Foreign Office the shipment of rice was stopped. An armistice was concluded on 4th April, and peace was signed on 9th June, 1885.
Has the right hon. Gentleman any evidence besides the statement of Sir Harry Parks to the effect that some of these ships were stopped by fear of being captured?
§ Sir E. GREY
I do not know where the Foreign Office got the evidence I have given to the House. Naturally we should only take notice of such cases as were reported there. If the hon. Member asks me where we receive the information from I will enquire.