MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)
I beg to ask the Under 908 Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Government have received an official confirmation of the recent fire at the Peking Palace; whether any evidence as to the cause of the conflagration has been discovered; and whether any estimate of the damage done to the palace and its contents can be given.
§ * THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Viscount CRANBORNE,) Rochester
His Majesty's Government have learned from His Majesty's Minister at Peking with very great regret that a part of the palace which was occupied by Field Marshal Count von Waldersee and his staff was burnt down on the night of the 17th instant, and that General Schwarzkoff, the Chief of the Staff, most unfortunately lost his life on that occasion. The origin of the fire was unknown. His Majesty's Government have not received any estimate of the damage done.