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Volume 203: debated on Monday 25 July 1870

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said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether, by virtue of the understanding come to among the Powers at Paris in 1856, on the conclusion of the War with Russia, cargoes of herrings or other British produce, not being munitions of war, proceeding in German vessels to Stettin or any other German or Prussian Port, will be secure against capture and confiscation; and, whether it is in his power to give any information as to the probability or otherwise of the establishment by the French of a blockade of German Ports in the Baltic, by which all traffic, whether conducted in English or in Foreign bottoms would be prevented?

said, in reply, that in order to avoid any mistake in a matter of so much importance, he would beg to refer his hon. Friend to the declaration already made on this subject, and to assure him that Her Majesty's Government will immediately publish any further information that they may receive in this matter. Although an enemy's ship was liable to capture, the cargo on board was not liable to confiscation; but the burden of proof would be on the owner of the cargo to show its innocence. With regard to the latter part of the Question, it was quite out of his power to give any information of that character, and he should think it very improbable that the Government of a belligerent Power would give the information his hon. Friend seemed to desire.