The Marquess of Londonderry
would take this opportunity of asking, whether the noble Viscount (Viscount Melbourne) would object to produce the letter written by his noble colleague at the head of Foreign Affairs to the Government of the Queen of Spain, relative to the twenty-seven prisoners of whom he had spoken on a former evening, and the answer received thereto? This would enable him to see if the noble Secretary for Foreign Affairs was sincere in his professions of anxiety to obtain the release of the unfortunate men he had referred to. He would also ask if the refusal on the part of the Queen of Spain's Government had prevented the noble Viscount's colleague from taking any further steps? He was anxious to press this point, for last Session, with the assistance of his noble; Friend behind him, he had, by repeatedly adverting to the unjust imprisonment of Captain Campbell by the Portuguese Government, succeeded in obtaining the liberation of that gallant officer, and he was sure that if their Lordships felt as he did the hardship of the case of these twenty-seven unfortunate prisoners, who were made captives against the law of nations and against all precedent, they 531 would unite with him in calling upon his Majesty's Government to use such strong and decided language to the Spanish Government, as would, doubtless, insure their immediate liberation.
§ Viscount Melbourne
had no objection to produce the papers. The persons in question were removed from Santander to Corunna for this reason—that at the former place their lives were in danger. He saw no reason why the refusal that had been given should prevent his noble colleague from persevering in his efforts to procure their entire liberation. At the same time he did not admit the statement of the noble Marquess, that those prisoners were taken against the law of nations, or the rules of war.
§ Papers to be moved for to-morrow.