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Extract from Report on Mendicity _.---- 5£4
For the Year 1815.
Parliamentary Transactions.—Debate relative to delivering up Spaniards from Gibraltar.—Debate on keeping Militia embodied.—Transfer of Genoa to the King of Sardinia.'—Proceedings on the Corn Laws.— Trial by Jury in civil causes in Scotland.—Motion for a Committee of Inquiry respecting the Bank of England.—Continuation of the Bank Restriction Act.—Arrest of lord Cochrane in the House of Commons.
ON Feb. 9th the two houses of parliament met again after their adjournment.
One of the first tonics of discussion by which the public feelings were interested, related to the delivering up, by the lieutenant - governor of Gibraltar, of some Spaniards from Cadiz, who had taken refuge in that fortress from the persecution of the Spanish government. This circumstance was much animadverted upan both in writing and conversation during the last year, and was the subject of a motion in parliament; but the exjwitation
of seeing it brought to a future discussion was the cause that no notice was then taken of it in this work. The following is a brief statement of the case. Don Antonio Puigblanc, Hebrew professor in the university of Alc.iln, having written against the Inquisition, determined, after the resumption of the crown by Ferdinand VII. to seek a refuge in Gibraltar. For this purpose he procured a passport on May 14, 1814, from the governor of Cadiz, which was countersigned by sir James DuiF, the British consul, and by virtue of it, he, with a [B] friend
friend, sailed for Gibraltar, where they arrived and were admitted on the 15th. On the next day Duff sent a letter to Gibraltar pointing out these persons as being objects of suspicion to the Spanish government; and the consequence was, that they were arrested by order of gen. Smith, the lieut.-governor, delivered to a Spanish commandant, and conveyed back, in irons,' to Cadiz. Puigblanc was there tried, and acquitted of the offence with which he was charged, but was informed that he must still be tried before the tribunal of the Inquisition. He, however, effected an escape to England, where he made his case publicly known. The general indignation excited by the circumstance of a British governor's lending his authority in aid of the proceedings of an odious tyranny was partaken by the ministers, and lord Bathurst wrote to gen. Smith and sir J. Duff to inquire into the particulars of the case, and to intimate the impropriety of such an interference. General Smith, as it appears, had only succeede'd to his post temporarily, on the death of general Campbell, and might be supposed little acquainted with its civil duties. Sir James Duff was 80 years of age, and had spent more than half his life in office at Cadiz, where he enjoyed general esteem.
The introduction of this matter into parliament began on Nov. 11, 1814, by a motion from Mr. fVhitbrend for an address to the Prince Regent, that directions might be given for laying before the house copies of all communications by the British consul
at Cadiz to the commandant at Gibraltar in May last, relative to certain Spaniards supposed to have taken refuge in that garrison, with an account of the consequent proceedings; which was carried.. . • t ■
On February 13th Mr. Golbourn moved for an address for copies of a correspondence between earl Bathurst and sir James Duff in reference to the same subject. Mr. Whitbread thereupon ob^ served, that the principal charge against sir James Duff related to an order he had given for examining a British convoy at Cadiz with a view of preventing certain Spaniards from making their escape from persecution. It was answered, that the papers moved for would comprehend every thing required on the subject; and the motion was agreed to.
The papers having been produced, Mr. Ji'hitbread, on March 1st, rose to make a motion, pursuant to notice, respecting the conduct of gen. Smith and sir J. Duff. After an introduction, in which he expressed, with his usual energy, his indignant feelings at any participation of persons acting under the British go-vernment in the detestable tyranny now prevalent in Spain, he moved for an address to the Prince Regent, returning thanks for the Communication of the requested papers; declaring the house's entire disapprobation of the transactions disclosed by those papers, as injurious to the honour of the nation, and cruel to the unhappy objects of them: requesting his Royal Highness to cause to be expressed in the strongest terms to sir James Duff and major-general Smith,