§ MR. HENNESSY
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he will lay upon the table of the House the note of the Russian Ambassador communicating the desire of the Grand Duke Constantine, Lieutenant Governor of Poland, that some of the Metropolitan Police Force should be sent to Poland; whether, at the date of that application by the Russian Ambassador, Her Majesty's Government were aware that a state of siege was in force in Poland; whether Her Majesty's Government had received any information (prior to the date of the Russian application) that political disturbances and arrests of political prisoners had taken place in Warsaw; whether the Metropolitan Police Officers despatched by the Government to Poland received any instructions or made any reports; and whether such instructions and reports will be laid upon the table of the House?
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
—I was asked on Monday last whether I would produce the letter dated 31st July last, addressed to me by the Russian Ambassador in this country. I stated that that letter was marked "confidential," and that I did not feel myself justified in producing it without the concurrence of the Ambassador. The attention of the Russian Ambassador having been attracted to the question of the hon. Member, in this House, he has informed me that he has not the slightest objection to the production of the letter, and the letter has this day been laid on the table of the House. With regard to the second Question, I have to state that at the date I received that letter Her Majesty's Government were aware of the state of siege which existed in Poland, but they were not aware, nor am I aware now, that shortly before the receipt of that application the execution of political prisoners had taken place in Warsaw. The letter itself stated the object of the application to be that the English police might, by the information they could give, assist the Grand Duke Constantiue to put an end, at the earliest 1330 possible period, to martial law, and to restore the country to its ordinary civil administration. The state of siege in Poland was proclaimed in October, 1861, and, so far as Her Majesty's Government are informed, it still continues, subject, however, to some modifications. A Despatch was received from Acting Consul White in December last, stating in detail what those modifications are; and as that Despatch has also been laid on the table, it will inform the House better than I can tell it the nature of those modifications. With regard to the third Question, whether Her Majesty's Government had received any information, prior to the date of the application, that political disturbances and arrests of political prisoners had taken place in Warsaw, I may state that the Government had not received, and they have not now received, any information that political disturbances had then recently taken place. I find, however, that of which I was not aware when I received Baron Brunow's letter, and of which I scarcely could be aware, as the date was so recent—namely, that a Despatch was received at the Foreign Office from Colonel Stoddart, on the 28th July last, written at Warsaw, on the general affairs of Poland, in which he referred to certain arrests which had been made at Warsaw and the adjoining districts. An extract from that Despatch, containing all the information given on that subject, is among the papers laid on the table of the House. With regard to the last Question, I stated the other evening that the two police officers did not receive any written instructions from the Chief Commissioner. The instructions were given to them verbally by Sir Richard Mayne, but I have called upon him to state in writing to me the substance of those instructions, and his letter containing those instructions is also laid on the table of the House. He also informs me that one written report, and one only, was received from the two officers; and though that document belongs to a class usually considered strictly confidential, and not communicated to Parliament for obvious reasons, yet as the circumstances in this case are unusual, and as I am anxious there should be no mystery about the matter, but that every suspicion should be removed from the mind of the hon. Gentleman as to the object of sending those officers to Warsaw, that report is included in the papers laid on the table of the House.