HC Deb 14 March 1879 vol 244 cc933-4

I wish to give Notice that on Monday next I will ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether, on February the 24th, General Ponsonby, by direction of Her Majesty the Queen, sent a message to the Secretary of State for War, desiring him to telegraph to Lord Chelmsford that She sympathized with him most sincerely in regard to the painful loss sustained by the British arms, but that She placed entire confidence in him and the troops to maintain the honour and good name of the British Army; and, whether that message from Her Majesty was communicated to Lord Chelmsford by the Secretary of State for War?


I will answer that Question at once, with your permission, Sir. As to the terms, I have no reason to suppose that the hon. Member for Burnley has mis-stated them in any way. That message was forwarded to me by General Ponsonby from Her Majesty. That message I conceived it to be perfectly consistent with my duty to forward to Lord Chelmsford; and, I venture to add, so far as our humble expression of opinion goes, that it was a very natural expression of sympathy under the distressing circumstances under which that General Officer commanded the troops at the Cape.