HC Deb 28 March 1849 vol 103 cc1442-3

said, that he was desirous of asking a question on the subject of the late proceedings in Ceylon. From the papers laid upon the table of the House, explanatory of the transactions in that island, it appeared, in a despatch of Lord Torrington, dated the 14th of October, that the courts-martial which had been sitting in four different places in Ceylon, had terminated their sittings, that twenty persons had been sentenced to transportation, and eighteen had been condemned to death, sixteen of whom had been shot immediately. In the papers which had been laid upon the table, no account whatever of any of the proceedings at these courts-martial, or any of the transactions attending them, had been given to the House. He wished, therefore, to know from the right hon. Gentleman the Judge-Advocate General, or the hon. Member the Under Secretary for the Colonies, whether any copies of the proceedings at these courts-martial, alluded to in the public despatches of Lord Torrington, had been sent home to England. It was impossible to proceed satisfactorily with the inquiry upstairs unless these documents were produced.


said, that no copies of the proceedings of any of the courts-martial which had been held under the proclamation of martial law in Ceylon had been received at the office of the Judge-Advocate General. He apprehended that copies of such proceedings would not be transmitted to that department, inasmuch as the proceedings of the courts-martial would have reference to persons who were subjects of Her Majesty not subject to the Mutiny Act or the Articles of War. If any such proceedings were sent to his office, it would be his duty to transmit them to the office of the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies. He was not aware that copies of any such proceedings had been received at the Colonial Office.


said, he could confidently state that all the papers relating to the proceedings taken under martial law in Ceylon had been already printed and laid before the House. No other documents were in possession of the Colonial Office.

Subject dropped.

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