HL Deb 11 July 1856 vol 143 cc640-1

said, he had put a question to the noble Lord the Secretary for War, on a previous evening, the answer to which was not satisfactory. The Report of the Chelsea Commissioners, to which he had referred, had been, he believed, placed in the hands of Her Majesty on Monday last, although the noble Lord on Tuesday stated that he was not aware whether it had been presented or not. If, however, it had been presented to Her Majesty, he wished to know why it had not already been laid upon the table of the House. The noble Lord had led the House to believe that there was something still to be done before the Report could be published; that at some subsequent stage after receiving Her Majesty's approval it would have to receive the sanction of the Government. He (the Earl of Lucan) thought it was only right and just to himself and other officers that the Report should be placed upon the table and published to the country at the earliest possible moment. He wished to ask the Secretary of State for the War Department, When Her Majesty's Government would lay before Parliament the Report of the Chelsea Board of General Officers?


agreed with the noble Earl that it was only an act of justice towards those officers whose conduct had been impugned, and at whose instance the Board of Inquiry had been constituted, that the Report of the Board should be made public at the earliest possible moment. The noble Earl had asked him a question upon the subject on Tuesday last, at which time he (Lord Panmure) was not aware that the Report had been presented to Her Majesty, and he answered accordingly. However, it appeared the noble Earl was better acquainted with what passed between Her Majesty and the Commander-in-Chief than himself, for it proved to be a fact that on Monday last the Commander-in-Chief did present the Report, and was in the act of explaining some portion of it to Her Majsty, when he was seized with the illness under which he still laboured. That Report was presented in manuscript, and was unaccompanied by the evidence upon which it was based, and to which it constantly referred. The evidence was now added; but Her Majesty, being anxious to make herself acquainted with that Report, had not yet sent it to him (Lord Panmure), and therefore, up to the present moment, the Government was not in possession of it. The course which the Government proposed to follow in regard to the Report was based upon the precedent of the inquiry which resulted from the Convention of Cintra. The Commissioners reported to the Commander-in-Chief, and, through him, to the Sovereign, who then referred the Report to Her Ministers for any advice thereupon which they might deem it their duty to submit. That was the course which the Judge-Advocate had pronounced to be regular and according to precedent, and which the Government intended to adopt. When the Report should be sent to the Government they would take it into consideration, so far as it was their duty to do so, before they gave any advice to the Sovereign upon the subject.


said, that from what had fallen from the noble Lord he did not see the slightest prospect of justice being done to those officers at whose instance the inquiry was instituted; therefore he should give notice that he would move an Address to Her Majesty on Tuesday next for the papers.

House adjourned to Monday next.