HC Deb 02 December 1867 vol 190 cc513-4

, in the absence of the hon. and gallant Member for Lichfield (Major Anson), asked the Secretary of State for War, "Whether the Stores for the Abyssinian Expedition are to be provided by the Indian Government; whether such Stores as may not be consumed or injured during the campaign are to be returned into store at Bombay, or whether they are to be kept by us, as was the case in China in 1860; and, if the latter is the arrangement come to, whether any officers have been sent out by the Treasury to watch the expenditure and protect our interests, so as to preclude our having to pay for Stores of an obsolete pattern?


The hon. Gentleman is aware that this expedition to Abyssinia is being principally organized at Bombay on behalf of the Imperial Government. I do not quite understand in what sense my hon. and gallant Friend, whose Question this is (Major Anson), uses the word "provided." If he means to ask whether the stores are to be provided at the cost of the Indian Government, I answer certainly not. The expense of providing the whole of these stores will be defrayed from Imperial sources; but the stores themselves will be supplied in a very large degree from Bombay, either furnished by the War Department on requisition from the Indian Government, or obtained by the Indian Government in open market. The answer to the second Question is, that I have no doubt that "such stores as may not be consumed or injured during the campaign" will be returned into store at Bombay, and will not be kept by us. This is an expedition fitted out by the Indian, and not by the Imperial Government, as the China expedition was. With regard to the last Question, a Treasury officer has been sent out to audit the general expenses, but no officers have been sent out with special reference to the stores supplied. When the campaign is over, British interests will receive ample protection. The probability is that the stores will be retained at Bombay; at all events, none of an obsolete pattern will be left on our hands.