HC Deb 28 November 1867 vol 190 cc336-7

said, he rose to move an Address for Copies of any Communications, with the dates, between the War Office and Messrs. Wetherell relative to their Contract for obtaining Mules in Spain for the Abyssinian Expedition, and of the Contract.


said, he had no objection to lay on the table the contract and the Correspondence at the proper time; but in the present state of the correspondence he hoped his hon. and gallant Friend would not press for them. The House was aware that a contract was entered into; but owing to circumstances connected with the manner in which the contract had been carried out, the Government found it necessary to send an officer to make an investigation. A Report had been received from him within the last three days, and that rendered further inquiry indispensable. When the investigation was completed he should have no objection to lay the correspondence and the contract on the table.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.


said, he rose to ask a Question with reference to the routes proposed to be taken into the interior of Abyssinia, and whether information has been received that the King of Shoa has captured Magdala, the place where the prisoners were supposed to be confined?


said, in reply, that he could not answer the Question so satisfactorily as he might have done had he received longer notice of it. He supposed the Question of the hon. and gallant Member referred to telegraphic information understood to have been lately received. The only telegram he (Sir Stafford Northcote) had seen was one received during the course of the debate on Tuesday night, and the principal portion of which was read to the House. One passage in it was not read because it seemed doubtful. It was to the effect that the ruler of Gobazye had joined with others and had taken Magdala, but it was added that the report was not credited. Under these circumstances, his noble Friend (Lord Stanley) thought it not right to read this part of the telegram. A similar message had since appeared in the newspapers. With regard to the other part of the Question of his hon. and gallant Friend, he had no telegraphic information upon the subject. He had several private letters from Colonel Merewether, who was making inquiries respecting all the passes in the neighbourhood of the spot selected for the landing. Some explorations had been more successful than others. One of the last letters mentioned that one of the last routes explored was found not to be available, not on account of the road itself being impracticable, but on account of the quality of the water. On the other hand, there were two routes he had every reason to suppose would be practicable. Colonel Merewether was making explorations every day, and reporting his progress. They were extremely well satisfied with the explorations he was conducting.