HC Deb 02 April 1868 vol 191 c703

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for India, Whether he has received an Estimate of the Expense incurred in India for the Abyssinian Expedition, he having stated on the 18th of February that he had telegraphed to Bombay for this Estimate; and whether he will state its contents and lay it upon the table?


Sir, I have not received any complete Estimate from Bombay, but I have received several accounts more or less full, which I communicated to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. These accounts were carefully collated with the information which we had in this country; and it was upon the foundation of these accounts that my right hon. Friend gave his Answer a little time since with regard to the probable cost of the Expedition. I do not think the House would understand the accounts from Bombay; but in two or three weeks the Budget will, I hope, be brought forward, and by that time I trust we shall be able to give a tolerably accurate Estimate of the cost of the Expedition. It may interest the House, however, if I mention that Sir Robert Napier expected to be at Theodore's camp, which was about twenty-five miles from Magdala, by the end of March; and, as far as I can judge from the telegrams I have received from him, that expectation was likely to be fulfilled, so that we may expect by the time we re-assemble after the holidays, or within a few days afterwards, to hear the result of his coming into the immediate vicinity of Theodore. Probably by that time we shall know when the Expedition will begin to return; and, under these circumstances, I think it will be more convenient that we should delay any further communication regarding the Estimates until we are in a position, after the holidays, to speak with some confidence.