HC Deb 13 February 1871 vol 204 c166

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether Her Majesty's Consul at Paris was absent from his post during the siege with the knowledge and by the permission of the Government; and, if yea, on what ground such permission was given?


, in reply, said, Lord Lyons being intrusted with discretionary powers on the subject by Her Majesty's Government, and acting in concert with his official colleagues in Paris, under the advice of M. Jules Favre, left that city on the 17th of September last. Some days previously he thought it advisable only to retain so many members of the Embassy as were absolutely necessary to carry on the current work. Mr. Lascelles and Mr. Atlee, who is attaché as well as Consul, were selected to leave; they were not, however, to quit France, and were to remain within reach. Previous to Lord Lyons leaving Paris, he did all he could to persuade the British residents to leave; and he urged on them the great risk and danger to which they would be subjected if they resided longer in that city whilst under a state of siege. Similar representations were afterwards made by Mr. Wodehouse, who remained for some time in charge of the Embassy. When at the commencement of the bombardment it was ascertained that many British residents were still in Paris, and difficulties arose as to any diplomatic or consular officer entering the city, the rank of Consul was conferred upon a gentleman well known in Paris, and who had used the most praiseworthy and generous exertions to succour and support the distressed British—by name Mr. Blount, and he has since been acting in that capacity. Mr. Wodehouse has, within the last few days, returned to Paris, and Mr. West is on his way there at the present moment.