HL Deb 20 July 1876 vol 230 cc1617-8

who had a Notice on the Paper to call attention to the Correspondence lately presented by the Government respecting Extradition, asked the noble Earl the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, At what time the Papers which had been so long promised would be in the hands of their Lordships?


We have done all in our power to hasten the printing of the Papers to which the noble Earl refers. I understand that a certain number of copies will be ready in the course of to-morrow; but it will not be possible to circulate them generally for a day or two. There is some delay caused in the binding and putting together of so large a number of Papers; but a few copies will be ready to-morrow. I wish to add a few words on this subject—and it is with considerable reluctance I do so, because of the per- sonal inconvenience which is certain to ensue. Within the last two hours I have received a confidential communication the nature of which I am not able to put before your Lordships, but I have explained it unreservedly to the noble Earl. The effect of that communication is to lead me to the conclusion that considerable inconvenience—I do not moan inconvenience to the Government, but to the public interests involved—would arise if we proceeded to a discussion to-night. In these circumstances, I have to ask the noble Earl whether he will object to postpone for a period of not more than two or three days his Motion on this subject?


With regard to the statement of the noble Earl, I have to remind the House that I gave Notice a long time ago of my intention to call attention to the Papers with the view of bringing the subject under the notice of Parliament. I have postponed that Motion from time to time on account of certain Papers not having been produced—and I am aware that this postponement has inconvenienced some of your Lordships. On the other hand, I never can undertake the responsibility of bringing forward at a certain time a Motion on Foreign Affairs when the Foreign Secretary declares that in his opinion it is unadvisable for the public interest should be brought on. The noble Earl has referred to a communication made to me. Upon my own judgment, I should not act on that communication, because I do not think anything I should say or anything my noble Friends near me might say would be an impediment to any future negotiations with the United States; but if the noble Earl takes upon himself this—that he has information which he thinks makes it desirable that the Motion should not come on to-day, I should, with great alacrity, yield to his opinion. I think it will therefore be convenient if I put down the Notice for Monday.