HC Deb 24 April 1865 vol 178 cc957-8

said, he would beg to put a Question to the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in reference to British prisoners in Abyssinia. He wished to know, What is the present state of the negotiations with respect to the British captives in Abyssinia, whether the Government have reason to expect a successful issue to the mission of M. Rassam, and what steps they are prepared to take in the event of their not receiving good accounts from him?


replied, that he was afraid that he could not give the hon. Member much information on the subject, not that he wished to conceal anything, but that he considered it would be very unadvisable, considering the position of the prisoners, that anything should be said that might lead to greater complications. He would take this opportunity, therefore, of deprecating any mention in the press of what took place in that House or elsewhere with regard to those prisoners, as he had reason to believe that all these things were sent out to Abyssinia and got much exaggerated, and might lead to serious consequences to the prisoners who were held by the King. Every means had been taken by Her Majesty's Government to obtain their release. The Government were in communication with some of the authorities; they had lately heard from a good source that Captain Cameron and the missionaries, although in prison, were in good health; and letters received from M. Rassam within a few hours held out the hope that ere long the prisoners would obtain their release.