HC Deb 22 February 1884 vol 284 cc1730-1

With reference to a Question which was put to my noble Friend (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice), as to the production of the Proclamation of General Gordon, I wish to intimate to the House at once, without binding myself to any particular conclusion, that Her Majesty's Government will consider it their duty to examine carefully the question how far it may be their duty to produce all the language used, all the views, and all the steps taken by General Gordon from day to day; or how far it may be their duty, in the interests of the great mission in which he is engaged, to reserve them. This is a grave and serious question, which we will carefully consider.


I wish to ask the Prime Minister a Question arising out of the statement he has just made. I wish to ask whether that statement refers to the Proclamation already issued by General Gordon, and versions of which have appeared in. the newspapers; or whether he considers himself entitled, under the circumstances of a public Proclamation made by General Gordon, to suppress its immediate communication to this House?


I am not quite sure whether the hon. Gentleman refers to the Proclamation which has been the subject of several Questions in regard to slavery. In regard to that matter, we have already given a virtual engagement that the Proclamation shall be produced. I draw a distinction between that Proclamation and the general proceedings of General Gordon; inasmuch as that Proclamation has touched much more a great philanthropic question than subjects of a political nature. What I said was meant to be prospective, and to refer to proceedings of a political character.