HC Deb 11 May 1855 vol 138 c403

asked whether the noble Lord at the head of the Government had any objection to state to the House the nature of a telegraphic despatch which was said to have been that day received from the East?


said: I can assure the hon. Gentleman that there is no indisposition on the part of the Government to publish, so far as may be consistent with their public duty, any information which they may receive from the East, and which may be of public interest. I am informed that the substance of the telegraphic communication received to-day is in the evening papers. It refers to an attack which was made yesterday morning upon part of our lines by the Russians, and which was defeated with great gallantry and success by our troops. Before sitting down, I will suggest one consideration to the House. The telegraphic despatches from the Crimea necessarily come in cypher. Now, everybody who is conversant with these matters knows that if you have a cypher on one side, and a literal translation of it on the other, the cypher will very soon be of no use whatever. It is impossible, therefore, for the Government, in communicating intelligence which comes by telegraph in cypher, to give the exact words, or anything approaching to them.