HL Deb 21 June 1852 vol 122 cc994-5

presented a petition from the Occupiers of Land in the county of Devon, praying that measures may be taken to afford greater facilities in procuring supplies of Guano from the two Islands of Lobos. The noble Earl asked a question of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, which was not audible.


admitted that this was a question of great importance to all persons engaged in agriculture. These islands, however, had not been correctly described by the petitioners as never having been claimed by the Peruvian Government until the demand for the guano in which they abounded had arisen; on the contrary, the islands had been claimed by Peru as long ago as 1833, and their claims were admitted by the Queen's Advocate. The Peruvian Government, moreover, had evidently a primâ facie case to the possession of them; and Her Majesty's Government felt that it would not be justified in interfering for the protection of British vessels going to them under the idea that the guano deposited on them was a property which belonged to the first party who had seized on it. Having said thus much, it would be understood that Her Majesty's Government could not interfere to protect vessels going there, except under such regulation as the Government of Peru had established. Her Majesty's Government had, however, given instructions to the commanders of our cruisers in different parts of the world to take observations of all places wherein they might find deposits of guano; and he had little doubt that so many deposits of it would be found in Patagonia, Polynesia, and other countries, as would compel the Peruvian Government to lower their rates of prices for an article of commerce of which they had obtained a monopoly in combination with a mercantile house in that metropolis. He would have laid upon the table that day the papers which had been laid already on the table of the House of Commons in connexion with this subject, but, unfortunately, a sufficient number of them had not yet been printed.

Petition read, and ordered to lie on the table.

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