HC Deb 19 February 1880 vol 250 cc922-3

I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will allow me to ask him, Whether the Government have received any information, in addition to that which has reached us through the ordinary channels, with regard to the recent atrocious attempt on the life of His Majesty the Emperor of Russia, which, I need hardly say, has excited universal horror and indignation?


Sir, I do not know that I am in a position to add anything material to the information which has already been communicated to the public. Her Majesty's Government received yesterday from Lord Dufferin, with the utmost horror, the account of what had taken place. It appears that the Emperor and the Imperial Family were on the point of going to dinner in the dining-room of the Winter Palace; but by an accidental, or rather, I may say, a Providential, circumstance, they were delayed, and in the few minutes of delay which arose the explosion of which we have all heard occurred. It appears to have been an explosion of dynamite, which must have been stored in a cellar two floors below the room in which they were about to dine. The effect of the explosion was to cause the deaths of nine persons, and some 40 or more have been wounded. There is no trace of gunpowder; and the circumstances rather point to the suspicion that the explosion must have been produced by some machinery, possibly clockwork. Evidently it was a carefully prepared and most diabolically wicked plot. I am thankful to be able to say that, according to the reports, neither His Majesty the Emperor nor the Duchess of Edinburgh has suffered in health; and I am also especially thankful to say that the health of the Empress of Russia, who was lying ill at the time, has not suffered, though, of course, the news of what had taken place, although she was not aware of it for the moment, must have been a very great shock to her. We have no more information that I could communicate. Indeed, we have received no information beyond that which has appeared in the newspapers, and I understand that the Russian Ambassador has no further news to communicate.