HC Deb 25 April 1870 vol 200 cc1730-1

said, seeing the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in his place, he wished to know, Whether he could give the House any information connected with that most disastrous intelligence which has, within the last day or two, been received from Greece?


It is, Sir, with very deep regret that I have to state to the House that information has been received that the English captives who wore in the hands of brigands in Greece have been put to death by them—that is, the captives who remained after Lord Muncaster, who had been one of them, had been despatched to make terms for their release, and whose departure had been preceded by Lady Muncaster, Mrs. Lloyd, and her daughter. No effort had been wanting on the part of Her Majesty's Minister at Athens to endeavour to avert the sad fate that has befallen the captives. There has been no difficulty with regard to the payment of the sum demanded by the brigands as ransom for the persons in their power; nor had efforts been wanting on the part of Her Majesty's Minister to induce the Greek Government to grant an amnesty, which the brigands demanded as a condition of the release of the captives. Unfortunately, that concession was not made, and it appears that the brigands, being attacked by the Greek troops, did proceed to carry into effect the menace they had previously used, and put the captives in their possession to death. The intelligence was received at the Foreign Office on the afternoon of Saturday that Mr. Herbert and the Secretary of the Italian Legation had been put to death by the brigands, apparently under the pressure of an attack by the Greek troops; but Mr. Vyner had been carried off by the brigands, and nothing was known of Mr. Lloyd. That telegram was despatched from Athens at 2 a.m. on the day before that on which it was received at the Foreign Office. A later telegram, despatched from Athens at 1 p.m. on the day following—the 23rd, readied the Foreign Office on the same day, at 8 p. in., by which we learnt the further sad intelligence that Mr. Vyner and Mr. Lloyd had shared the fate of their companions, and that the former had been killed near Thebes. We are waiting with great anxiety the details of this massacre; but we do not expect to receive them before Friday week. In the meantime, the Secretary of State has empowered me to lay on the Table of the House all communications that have passed between him and Her Majesty's representative at Athens relating to the subject, both by despatch and by telegram. I have laid them on the Table this afternoon, and they will be distributed to Members as soon as possible.


Have you any information respecting Lord Muneaster?


said, there was every reason to believe that Lord Muncaster was in safety. The names of the victims had been telegraphed, and Lord Muncaster's name was not among them. There was, therefore, every reason to believe he was safe.