HL Deb 24 July 1838 vol 44 cc550-1
The Marquess of Londonderry

seeing the noble Viscount (Melbourne) in his place, wished to call his attention to something which fell from him the other night. He was quite sure that the noble Viscount had no intention or desire to convey a wrong impression, but the noble Viscount had stated, in answer to his question whether he had any information respecting any arrangement for the liquidation of the claims of the unfortunate officers and soldiers of the British Legion—that the commission for that purpose was in active operation. [Viscount Melbourne, constituted.] He had looked into all the reports, and found that the import of all was the same. But, however that might be, he had since received a letter from Colonel Shaw, which he begged leave to read to their Lordships:—

"Colonel Shaw begs to inform Lord Londonderry that on Tuesday last he had a conversation with Capt. Hay respecting the commission to settle the claims of the Legion; that gentleman informed Colonel Shaw that the commission had not yet assembled, nor did he know when it would; and that Mr. Ximenes had informed him that he (Mr. Ximenes) was the only commissioner appointed by the Spanish government, which had not the means of paying the claims even were they investigated."

He was quite convinced that the noble Viscount could not have stated, that the commission was in active operation, had he been aware of the real state of the case, it appeared now that this M. Ximenes, who was the only Spanish commissioner, had declared that there was no intention of assembling that commission. Under these circumstances he should be glad to understand from the Noble Viscount, whether he would have any objection to produce any correspondence which might have passed between her Majesty's Government, Sir G. De Lacy Evans, and those gentlemen respecting the assembling of that commission. It appeared to him quite clear that it was the intention of the Spanish government if possible, to protract and delay the investigation until after Parliament had been liberated; and then, during the recess, those unfortunate men would be left without any hope of escaping from their present distress. The noble Viscount had stated that the commission was proceeding to settle their claims; and he (the Marquess of Londonderry) had positive evidence that it had not yet assembled. He wished, therefore, that the matter should be explained.

Viscount Melbourne

knew not what the correspondence was, to which the noble Marquess had alluded, but of course if it were any part of the papers which had been laid before the other House, there could be no objection to its production in that House. With regard to what had fallen from him the other night, he did not know that he had answered for the activity of the operations of that commission. He certainly had stated that two commissioners had arrived in London, and that he therefore considered that the commission had been constituted; but how they were going on of course he could not know.

Subject dropped.

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