HC Deb 17 August 1871 vol 208 cc1771-2

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, To state the circumstances under which Dr. Gordon was refused permission to wear the orders which were given to him by the authorities of France for the services which he rendered during the siege of Paris, and why a distinguished officer of the Coldstream Guards had been permitted to wear his?


Sir, as the services of Dr. Gordon in Paris last winter were performed with the knowledge of, and under the express direction of, the War office, he would, I apprehend, be permitted to accept and wear any distinction, not being the decoration of a Foreign Order, if the French Government had asked it for him; but I cannot ascertain that any such application has been made in his behalf. I should be glad to take this opportunity of assuring that gentleman, as well as Surgeon Major Wyatt, who performed such good and humane service during the siege of Paris in administering to the comforts of the sick and wounded, that my words last Friday evening had only reference to the volunteer ladies and gentlemen who worked so honourably under the Red Cross and not to them, as I was quite aware that these distinguished medical officers were acting under orders and authority from home; that they had sent in the report of their humane labours to the authorities of the War Office; and that their duties had been performed with earnestness and kindness; while, on the other hand, the work of the other ladies and gentlemen had been spontaneous and without the direct control or supervision of any Government officials, but not the less involving care, danger, and responsibility. I had to draw the distinction between the official and non-official character of the work done under the Geneva Convention.