HL Deb 18 July 1839 vol 49 cc436-7
Earl Stanhope

presented a petition, signed by seventy-two British subjects, late of Melleraie, in France, but now of Mount Melleraie, in Ireland, complaining of having been "dragged out of their domicile, evicted out of their property, incarcerated, and transported," and praying for the production of the documents, and for the adoption of measures to obtain compensation for indemnity and damages. The noble Earl wished to know, whether there would be any objection to the production of the documents the petitioners prayed for.

Viscount Melbourne

said, that his noble Friend had incorrectly described the petitioners. He believed, that they were originally settled at Lowther, and in consequence of an arrangement with the government of France, in 1817, the inmates of this convent left this country and passed over to De Melleraie, in Brittany, where they settled. Soon after the revolution, by which the present dynasty was seated on the throne of France, namely, early in 1831, it was wished by the Legislature of that country, that certain monastic institutions should be abolished, and this convent came within the description. The inmates were unwilling to leave it, and appealed to the English Government, which took the subject into consideration, and a lengthened corres- pondence took place on the subject. The inmates of the convent were at present in the south of Ireland. The opinion of Sir Herbert Jenner had been taken on this subject, and he stated, that what had been done was in conformity with the law of France, and that it appeared, that no unnecessary violence had been used to eject these persons from the monastery; and, under all circumstances, there was no ground for the Government of this country calling for satisfaction from the Government of France for the treatment these persons had experienced. He was not aware, that there was any objection to the production of the documents alluded to by his noble Friend.

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