HL Deb 26 July 1836 vol 35 cc572-3
Viscount Melbourne

, in moving the second reading of the Ottoman Dominions Bill, stated, that the nature of the Bill was explained by its preamble. It was to provide for establishing and defining the authority of the ambassadors, consuls, and other officers sent from this country to the Turkish dominions in Europe, Asia, and Africa, with a view to the protection of British subjects and their trade in those dominions. To show the necessity of such a measure, the noble Viscount read an extract of a letter dated January 7, 1836, from the merchants trading to the Levant, showing the imperfection of the existing system. The first clause granted to the Crown the power of issuing directions from time to time, touching the rights and duties, jurisdiction and authority, criminal as well as civil, over his Majesty's subjects residing in, or resorting to the Turkish dominions, to be exercised by British ambassadors, consuls, &c. The second clause gave his Majesty authority to, issue directions and regulations for the guidance of his ambassadors, consuls, &c, in case of disputes which might arise between British subjects and the subjects of any Christian power within the Turkish dominions.

The Duke of Wellington

had no objection to the first clause. The second clause, however, went to give to British consuls the power of interfering in disputes between British subjects and foreigners in the Ottoman dominions. Now he could not see how an act of the British Parliament could confer any such authority.

Viscount Melbourne

said, the subject should be considered before going into Committee.

Bill read a second time.