§ COLONEL SYKES
said, he rose to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether in the anticipated attack on the city of Shanghai by the Taepings, it is intended to preserve a strict neutrality between the Imperialists and the Taepings, due provision being made for the safety of the foreign settlements in the neighbourhood of Shanghai; and whether there is any foundation for a statement in a Paris paper—that the French representatives at 1306 Shanghai have invited the English Authorities to join in military operations for the recapture of Ningpoo from the Taepings?
§ MR. LAYARD
Sir, in answer to the question of the hon. and gallant Member, I have to state, that considering the great value of British property in Shanghai, amounting to many millions sterling; considering the policy of the Taepings, which is a policy of destruction and extermination; considering that hitherto no system of Government has been established by the Taepings; and considering the vast amount of British property that would be destroyed if Shanghai fell into their hands, Her Majesty's Government have deemed it their imperative duty to give orders that Shanghai shall be protected by naval means from the attack of the Taepings. I am not aware that there is any foundation for the statement in the Paris paper alluded to by my hon. and galland Friend. No such information has reached the Foreign Office.