§ LORD CHELMSFORD,
in rising to call the attention of the House to the Papers relating to the Imprisonment of British Subjects in Abyssinia, presented by command of Her Majesty, said, that a discussion had taken place elsewhere, in which great injustice had been done to Consul Cameron. In that debate circumstances were so jumbled together, facts were so misplaced, and such a mist was cast over all these transactions, that it was impossible to obtain a clear view of the circumstances; and that had been done for the purpose of exculpating the Foreign Office from the blame which attached to them, and of loading Captain Cameron with the obloquy, if he might so call it, of having been the author of his own sufferings. Mr. Layard stated that Captain Cameron was appointed Consul at Massowah, a small town on the Red Sea, and that he was directed most positively to refrain from interfering in any way whatever in the internal affairs of the country, to refrain from mixing himself up with intrigues, or attaching himself to any party in the country. He was merely to go to the King to deliver presents and then to return to Massowah, and there promote by every means in his power the trade of England with Abyssinia. The real fact was that he was accredited Consul in Abyssinia, as Mr. Plowden had been before him, and this was clearly established by the terms of the Treaty of 1849. On the 24th of July, 1860, Captain Cameron was gazetted in terms which proved that he was to act as Consul in Abyssinia. This had a most important bearing upon the case, because it was laid to the charge of Captain Cameron that he had no right at all to remain in Abyssinia after delivering the letters and presents with which he was charged, but should have returned at once to Massowah. Now, among other papers laid upon the table, were the instructions of Captain Cameron, and those instructions would satisfy their Lordships that he was not sent to Abyssinia merely to deliver presents, but was to remain there as Consul. The instructions sent him on the 2nd of February, 1861, were as follows:—Your first duty on arriving in Massowah, which you will consider as the head-quarter of your consulate, will be to make yourself acquainted with the general state of political affairs in Abys- 1146 sinia. Her Majesty's Government are so imperfectly informed in regard to what may have happened in that country since the death of your predecessor that I am unable to lay down any very precise rules for the guidance of your conduct. The civil war which prevailed at that time may have been brought to a conclusion decidedly favourable to one or other of the contending parties, or it may still prevail with the alternate success of either. It seems to Her Majesty's Government undesirable that you should avow yourself the partizan of either of the contending parties if the contest is still going on. Whatever interest Her Majesty's Government may have in Abyssinia can best be advanced by the tranquillity of the country; but if the British agent becomes the partizan of one side, the rivalry of European interests, which, however disavowed by the Governments of Europe, is almost invariably found to exist on the part of their agents in such countries as Abyssinia, will stimulate foreign agents to declare a partizanship for the other, and thus a civil contest will be promoted and encouraged, which would otherwise die out of itself, or very shortly be brought to a conclusion by the decided preponderance of a victorious party. The principles, therefore, on which you should act are—abstinence from any course of proceeding by which a preference for either party should be imputable to you; abstinence from all intrigues to set up an exclusive British influence in Abyssinia; and, lastly, the promotion of amicable arrangements between the rival candidates for power. Her Majesty's Government are aware that religious rivalry has contributed its share to promote dissension in Abyssinia, but such rivalry should receive no countenance from a British agent, on the contrary, his study should be to extend as far as possible general toleration of all Christian sects, as being most consistent with the doctrines of Christianity and with sound policy. The British Government claim no authority to set up or advocate in a foreign country one sect of Christianity in preference to another; all that they would urge upon the rulers of any such country is to show equal favour and toleration to the professors of all Christian sects. But, although it is not desirable that you should engage in a contest with the agent of any other Power for superiority of influence, or that you should openly exhibit suspicion or jealousy of his proceedings, or of the influence which he may be supposed to have acquired, it will be your duty closely to watch any proceedings which may tend to alter the state of possession either on the sea cast or in the interior of the country, and you will keep Her Majesty's Government at home, and Her Majesty's Governor General of India, fully informed of all matters of interest which may come under your observation, sending your despatches under flying seal in the one case through Her Majesty's agent and Consul General in Egypt, and in the other through the political agent at Aden. In addition to matters of a political or commercial nature, you will pay particular attention to any traffic in slaves which may be carried on within your district, and report fully upon the same; and you will further avail yourself of any suitable opportunity to impress upon any native rulers who may directly or indirectly encourage or permit such a traffic, the abhorrence in which it is held by the British Government, and the dislike with which any parties who may have recourse to it are likely to be re- 1147 garded in this country."—[Abyssinia Papers (1) P. 1]How would it have been possible for Captain Cameron to have acted up to those instructions if he had been constantly resident at Massowah, which was 400 miles from Gondar, the capital of Abyssinia? Captain Cameron had also seen all the official correspondence of his predecessor, Mr. Plowden, who had been continually in Abyssinia, and had absolutely received an allowance during the last twelve years of his life for travelling expenses in that country. Captain Cameron, therefore, naturally thought he was to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, and, acting under his instructions, remained in Abyssinia. Captain Cameron having arrived in that country in April, 1862, was unable to deliver the letters and presents to the King until October of that year, and he was then received in the most flattering manner. The King continued on amicable terms with him until March, 1863, when something occurred which induced the King to alter his conduct towards him. Now, Mr. Layard said—The Consul presented Earl Russell's letter, together with the presents, to the King, and at first was well received, but presently got a strong hint to leave the country. They began by cutting his provisions short; and the King, who at first had sent his provisions from his own house, gradually diminished the supply until he was nearly starved. He was surrounded by spies, and every effort was made to induce him to leave Gondar, which, according to his instructions, he ought to have done immediately on delivering his presents.There must be some confusion in dates in that statement, because it would appear from it that the King had endeavoured to force Captain Cameron away immediately on his arrival; whereas there was the strongest possible proof that down to the month of April, 1863, the King was on the best possible terms with him. It happened that when Captain Cameron arrived in Abyssinia the King had for a considerable time entertained a strong desire that an embassy should be sent from this country in pursuance of the Treaty of 1849. Captain Cameron, in reference to that matter, said—I wrote immediately (to the King), stating that I was deputed to present him with certain gifts and a letter of introduction; also to discuss with him regarding the future; that, when Mr. Plowden was killed, there were two points under discussion—1, a treaty; 2, the sending an embassy to England. I offered to take these up where Mr. Plowden had left them.1148 Mr. Layard says—Now, that was altogether contrary to the instructions he had received. So far was Consul Cameron from being instructed to propose an embassy to England from the King, that he was distinctly told that Her Majesty's Government would not entertain the idea of a mission unless he gave up all idea of conquering the Turks and invading Turkish territory. So that Consul Cameron was not justified in making such a proposal to the King.If such instructions were ever given to Captain Cameron, why had they not been laid upon the table? But the idea that such instructions had been given was unfounded. The Emperor, in reply to Captain Cameron's letter, sent an autograph letter to this country, which was delivered to Captain Cameron for the purpose of its being forwarded to England. What did Mr. Layard say? "I have reason to think" (the hon. Gentleman never gave any reason why he thought) "that this letter was entirely got up by Captain Cameron, who wished to come to this country with an embassy." Now, there were circumstances showing that this letter had been prepared long before Captain Cameron arrived in Abyssinia. The letter was received in the Foreign Office on the 12th of February, 1863. The despatch from Captain Cameron which accompanied it was not published in the papers on the subject, but there was a reference to a despatch from Consul Cameron of the 31st of October, and no doubt this was the despatch which had come with the King's letter. On the 2nd of April, nearly two months after the receipt of the letter, a communication was sent from the Foreign Office to Consul Cameron, and yet there was not in that communication the slightest intimation that such a letter had been received. If the letter was meant as an inducement to this country to engage in a war which the King had entered into against the Turks, why could not the Government have ascertained, in a space of two months, what would be the proper answer to give to it? The letter was answered in May, 1864, fifteen months after it had been received. It would appear, however, that Mr. Layard was of opinion it never ought to have been answered, for he said—A great deal has been said as to no answer having been sent to the letter from the King. I will ask any impartial person—knowing that that letter originated after a distinct understanding with the King that Her Majesty's Government would not receive a mission until he had given up all idea of conquest upon Turkey—after re- 1149 jecting a treaty which authorized him to send a mission to Europe—whether any person would have thought it necessary to answer that letter at all. I can only say that even now, after what has passed, if the letter were put into my hands I should say it did not require an answer. The first letter of the King had been answered, and we did not wish that Consul Cameron should come home on a mission. Having no wish to answer that letter, we sent it to the India Office to know whether they wished to answer it. Not a bit of it. They did not think it necessary that a mission should be sent to this country, the object of which was to get us to go to war with Turkey.He should like to know when it had been formally communicated to the King that we would not go to war with Turkey. When had a treaty been negotiated which authorized him to send a mission to Europe? He should like to know when an understanding had been come to with the King that a mission from him would not be received by Her Majesty's Government till he had given up all idea of conquest upon Turkey. He did not find any suggestion to that effect in the papers before their Lordships. He must say that, in his opinion, Mr. Layard's speech was not becoming the importance of the occasion, or the hon. Gentleman's official position, Did the noble Earl (Earl Russell) agree with him, and say that even now, after what had passed, if the letter were put into his hands, he should say it did not require an answer? The unfortunate captives had now been in prison for a period of about twenty months; but Mr. Layard threw the blame of the Consul's captivity on Consul Cameron himself. He said—In this case Consul Cameron had exceeded his instructions; he might have left the country, but he mixed himself up with its affairs, and at this moment it is impossible to say why he is imprisoned; but any one who reads the papers that have been laid upon the table will see that no one is to blame for what has happened but himself.The fact was that the King had been greatly mistaken by some publications of Mr. Stern, and other circumstances; but he contended that the greater part of the misery and mischief endured by the captives had been brought about in consequence of the King's letter not having been answered. They had one of the captives writing, "No hope of a release till a civil answer has been sent;" and what did Sir William Coghlan say?—There are probably several causes for his altered demeanour towards Captain Cameron, the British Consul; one only need now be specified, but that is believed to be the chief of them; it 1150 is the long delay in replying to the letter which he addressed to Her Majesty in December, 1862, or January, 1863, It is understood that his dignity is grievously wounded by the silence, which he accepts as an affront; and this sense of injury, coupled with other circumstances, has led to the deplorable state of a fairs now existing at Gondar.He thought, therefore, he was justified in saying that the neglect to answer the letter was the principal cause of the mischief. He had always maintained that when this unfortunate fate had fallen upon these unhappy people it was the duty of Her Majesty's Government to send out at the earliest period a mission, headed by an Englishman, with suitable presents to the Emperor of Abyssinia, in order to procure their release. That opinion he still maintained. Unfortunately, Mr. Rassam was appointed to this delicate mission. Mr. Layard had stated that Mr. Rassam had been misunderstood and vituperated. Certainly, however, Mr. Rassam had never been vituperated by him. What he (Lord Chelmsford) had stated on a former occasion was—That Mr. Rassam had been of great assistance to Mr. Layard in his operations at Nineveh. He was the assistant to the Political Resident at Aden, and no doubt a man of great ability, and one who might well have been intrusted with any other mission than this; but the fact of his being an Asiatic, and not an European, was entirely against any hope of success.That opinion he still entertained, and he thought that his belief was warranted by the result. Mr. Rassam arrived at Massowah; and though the Emperor knew that he had in his possession a letter addressed to himself, he had refused him an audience. He had mentioned on a former occasion that the Emperor sent two Abyssinians to see what sort of a mission was sent with Mr. Rassam. Mr. Layard, alluding to this subject, said—It was said that the Emperor was displeased at the smallness of Mr. Rassam's mission. But the mission did not consist of Mr. Rassam alone; he was accompanied by a medical man and other gentlemen, and had with him a small vessel of war. So far from the Emperor having been displeased by the smallness of the mission, I have reason to believe that he was frightened by the vessel of war.This course was a most extraordinary one to pursue. The noble Earl upon a former occasion advised them not to resort to any threats or menaces, because if that were done they might be sure that the Emperor of Abyssinia, instead of surrendering his prisoners, would wreak his anger upon his unhappy captives. Now, however, the Under Secretary of State for Foreign 1151 Affairs stated that he had reason to believe that the Emperor had been frightened by the small vessel of war. He had already shown that several persons of experience and knowledge of the country had offered to undertake the dangerous task of visiting Abyssinia, and that these offers had been made by gentlemen who entertained sanguine prospects of success. Among others he might mention the names of Dr. Beke and Sir William Coghlan, the latter of whom was a general officer. The Under Secretary of State, however, objected to a mission of this description, because if the Emperor were to seize these gentlemen and put them to death the Government would be responsible, and the Government shrunk from that responsibility. But, if there were persons generous enough to expose their lives for the sake of their fellow-creatures, he could not see why their offers should not be accepted. He was not aware what course had been pursued by the Government since Mr. Rassam had been unable to deliver this letter to the Emperor. He stated on a former occasion that, notwithstanding that the noble Earl said that it would not do to send presents to a semi-barbarous Sovereign, because it would lead to a belief on his part that presents were to be procured by ill-using foreigners, he understood that the noble Earl had sent out 500 stand of arms as a present to the Emperor. Therefore everything that ought to have been done originally that was not done had since been done. He repeated that it was an insult not to answer the letter of the King of Abyssinia for fifteen months, and the only reparation was by sending a mission, and thus endeavouring to release the captives. It was a reproach to England to allow these persons to languish in prison without using our utmost endeavours, and those pointed out by proper and experienced persons, to endeavour at least, though late, to relieve them from that misery which was mainly attributable to the noble Earl's conduct in this affair.
§ EARL RUSSELL
My Lords, the noble and learned Lord has to-night, as on a former occasion, shown himself to be entirely regardless of the safety of Consul Cameron and the other persons imprisoned by the Emperor of Abyssinia, in his solicitude, that the blame on this subject should be attributed to the conduct of the Government. Others who are also not friendly to the present Government, and who are much more intimately acquainted with the 1152 facts of the case and the character of the ruler of Abyssinia, have nevertheless abstained from pursuing the course adopted by the noble and learned Lord, feeling convinced that the case is one which ought to be dealt with by the Government of the day, and that they ought to be left at full liberty to issue such directions as they may deem expedient under the peculiar circumstances of the case. The noble and learned Lord must be perfectly aware that his reason for not disclosing on a former occasion all the information Her Majesty's Government possessed upon this matter was an anxiety to avoid taking any steps that might possibly provoke greater persecution or cruelty towards British subjects in Abyssinia. It was obvious, however, from the facts already made known that Consul Cameron had not executed the instructions which he had received from Her Majesty's Government. The noble and learned Lord had said that an entirely new policy had been adopted towards Abyssinia. [Lord CHELMSFORD dissented.] I understood the noble and learned Lord to say so; but, however, I will show him what has been done by my predecessor, Lord Clarendon. In 1849, the then ruler of Abyssinia—Ras Ali—made a treaty with this country, and it was part of that treaty that a mission should be sent from Abyssinia to this country. But in November 27, 1855, Lord Clarendon wrote to say that, though the establishment of friendly relations between the two countries would be of great advantage to both, and, though the Queen would have much pleasure in receiving a mission from the Emperor, yet it was solely on the condition that His Majesty should give a distinct assurance that he renounced all idea of conquest in Egypt and at Massowah. The noble and learned Lord says that there is no proof that the Emperor received that despatch; but, as Mr. Plowden received that despatch in 1856, and he lived there until 1860, there is every reason to believe that it was communicated to the Emperor. Ras Ali, however, was overthrown by the present King of Abyssinia. Dr. Beke, whom the noble and learned Lord represented as being exceedingly well acquainted with the affairs of Abyssinia, says of the present ruler, to whom Ras Ali had given one of his daughters to wife—With great talents and energy, ambition, combined with hypocrisy, treachery, and also cruelty, is a prominent feature of his character, and he was not long in revolting against his benefactor and father-in-law.1153 This is the opinion of the gentleman whom the noble and learned Lord is anxious that I should send out to intercede for the captives, and I am bound to say that he is perfectly willing to go. Now, we know perfectly well that Mr. Stern, a missionary, wrote books in this country in which he gave a similar account of the King of Abyssinia, and he took two of those books to Abyssinia. His servants were cruelly tortured, and he was afterwards imprisoned, owing very much to the information given to the King that he had written these books. And yet the noble and learned Lord recommended that I should accept the generous and courageous offer of Dr. Beke, and send out a man who is almost certain to be imprisoned by the King, as the fact of these books being published is certain to be made known to the King by the enemies of this country. Consul Plowden, in one of his journeys, was taken prisoner by one of the parties in rebellion, but he was ransomed, and died soon afterwards. We were at first under the impression that the ransom had been paid by the King, but we learned afterwards that it was paid by his relatives, who had raised the sum necessary. When Captain Cameron, who had filled the office of Vice Consul, was appointed Consul, I sent him the following instructions—It seems to Her Majesty's Government undesirable that you should avow yourself the partisan of either of the contending parties if the contest is still going on. Whatever interest Her Majesty's Government may have in Abyssinia can best be advanced by the tranquillity of the country; but if the British agent becomes the partisan of one side, the rivalry of European interests, which, however disavowed by the Governments of Europe, is almost invariably found to exist on the part of their agents in such countries as Abyssinia, will stimulate foreign agents to declare a partisanship for the other, and thus a civil contest will be promoted and encouraged, which would otherwise die out of itself, or very shortly be brought to a conclusion by the decided preponderance of a victorious party."—[p. 1.]Whether the policy were bad or good, these instructions, I should think, were at least clear and intelligible. The noble and learned Lord moved for a copy of the King's letter to the Queen, which is now before your Lordships. Be it remarked that Lord Clarendon had told Consul Plowden that the Government would not sanction any proceeding by the King of Abyssinia against Egypt and the Turks. In that letter the King says— 1154My fathers the Emperors having forgotten our Creator, He handed over their kingdom to the Gallas and Turks. But God created me, lifted me out of the dust, and restored this empire to my rule. He endowed me with power, and enbled me to stand in the place of my fathers. By his power I drove away the Gallas. But for the Turks I have told them to leave the land of my ancestors. They refuse. I am now going to wrestle with them."—[p. 3.]That is, he meant to go to war. He then goes on—Mr. Plowden, and my late Grand Chamberlain, the Englishman Bell, used to tell me that there is a great Christian Queen, who loves all Christians. When they said to me this, 'We are able to make you known to her, and to establish friendship between you,' then in those times I was very glad. I gave them my love, thinking that I had found your Majesty's goodwill. All men are subject to death, and my enemies, thinking to injure me, killed these my friends. But by the power of God I have exterminated those enemies, not leaving one alive, though they were of my own family, that I may get, by the power of God, your friendship."—[p. 3.]Now these persons—some say to the number of 300, some 800, and some 1,500—were massacred in cold blood after they had been defeated in battle and surrendered to the King. Now, was Her Majesty to be advised that the putting to death of persons in this manner was the way in which to gain Her Majesty's friendship? It was impossible for us to take any such course. I cannot imagine that the simple delay of a letter would, without other causes, account for the King's anger. Dr. Beke, speaking of the offence supposed to have been occasioned by this delay, says—If it is meant that this was the first cause of offence, the correctness of such an opinion may he questioned. It is true that many months had elapsed, but the reply to the letter sent at the same time to the Emperor Napoleon had only just arrived; and had there been no other cause of dissatisfaction, Theodore would not have been so unreasonable as not to have accepted the excuse which the British Consul might easily and most reasonably have offered for the delay—namely, that while the letter to the Emperor of the French had been conveyed immediately and directly from Massowah to Egypt, the one to the Queen of England had to lie at Massowah till an opportunity presented itself of forwarding it by the roundabout way of Aden.But we all know that the Abyssinians are most arbitrary in their notions of government; there is, therefore, no saying upon what slight ground they may have taken offence, and Her Majesty's Government plainly cannot be responsible for causes which may induce the Government of that country to imprison a British Consul. But what we do know and what we are quite 1155 certain of is that Consul Cameron, having had special directions not to interfere in the rivalries of parties in that country, did go to Gondar, and did interfere in local affairs. He says himself that he saved many lives there. But he did this by making himself a partisan, thereby disobeying the orders he had received. We did what we considered best under the circumstances. Consul Cameron himself points out that Mr. Rassam was a person of great importance in the place from which he came, next in position to the Governor, and therefore likely to be acceptable to the King of Abyssinia.
§ LORD CHELMSFORD
May I ask the noble Earl where the statement that he is now making is to be found?
§ EARL RUSSELL
If the noble and learned Lord wishes for detailed information as to all the sources of information possessed by the Foreign Office as to the character, position, and qualifications of the messengers whom they think proper to employ, the inquiry, I am afraid, will be a wide one.
§ EARL RUSSELL
The information that we received satisfied us that the position of Mr. Rassam was what I have already stated. My impression is that the refusal to receive the Queen's letter—if there was an actual refusal—was owing, not to its detention, the cause to which the noble and learned Lord refers it, but to other circumstances, one of these being that the King was unable to guarantee the safety of the persons conveying the letter, nearly the whole of the country about Massowah being occupied by forces in insurrection against his authority. That would have been a very natural reason why he should have declined to guarantee the safety of the bearer. Another explanation, and the one we are inclined to adopt, is that he may have wished to get a large British force into his power in order that he might threaten to put them to death in case the Queen did not comply with his wish to take part in operations directed against Turkey. To carry on that war was avowed originally to have been his object; it was so stated in his own letter. And what would the noble and learned Lord, anxious to lay blame on Her Majesty's Government, have said if we had actually sent a large mission to the King of Abyssinia, if the members of that mission had been imprisoned, and if, in an 1156 unwholesome country, Ave had been obliged to undertake warlike measures with a view to accomplish their release? How powerful would then have been the declamations of the noble and learned Lord, as in the case last year of the Ashantees. I trust that a better and safer way of establishing relations with the King of Abyssinia has been adopted by Her Majesty's Government. Sir William Coghlan, whom I consulted as to the course which he thought best under the circumstances, replied that the wisest course to pursue was to wait for further advices. The probability was that either King Theodore or his enemies would be completely defeated, and in either event negotiations might be entered upon more advantageously than they could be now. As regards the presents, for the same reason, we have pursued a cautious policy. If, without any ransom being required, we hear that the captives have been set free, we shall doubtless think it right to make the King some suitable acknowledgment. We are not, at all events, going to undertake a war on behalf of the King of Abyssinia, nor on behalf of a Consul who did not follow his instructions. The matter is one, no doubt, of considerable difficulty, nor am I at all surprised that the noble and learned Lord should have taken it up, seeing how repeatedly he and his Friends have made attacks on the Government for the policy which they have pursued in reference to other countries. Noble Lords opposite, for instance, have repeatedly expressed a wish that Italy should not be united; yet that object has been in a great degree accomplished with the approval of the Government, while we had the happiness, despite the machinations of interested parties, to see the contest in America brought to a close without breaking our neutrality. I have now stated the course which the Government have deemed it to be their duty to pursue in the present instance, and I think Captain Cameron will be restored to this country.
said, that he was personally acquainted with Consul Cameron, and expressed his admiration of the energy of his character as well as his regret that his noble Friend who had just spoken had not deemed it right to accept the proposal of Dr. Beke, who was a man of courage, sound judgment, and practical good sense. His noble Friend had, he thought, shown too much consideration for the dangers which Dr. Beke would incur, inasmuch he was perfectly capable of duly 1157 estimating himself the nature of the perils to which he would he exposed. For his own part, he attached great value to the exertions of so experienced a traveller, and be knew no other mode in which Consul Cameron was likely to be better served. It was, of course, possible that something might be done by means of mediation with the Egyptian Government; but how to do so without implicating ourselves involved important questions of foreign policy—for we could not take an active part in the controversy on one side or the other. Consul Cameron had probably interfered with the best possible intentions, but then there was no doubt that he had acted in distinct contravention of his noble Friend's instructions. He trusted, however, that the noble Earl would not refuse to entertain further the proposed interference of Dr. Beke in the matter, for he was a person whom, he believed, might safely be intrusted with the confidential mission which he sought.
§ THE EARL OF MALMESBURY
said, he would not follow the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs to Italy, whither he could only have wandered as being the shortest cut out of Abyssinia; but he would endeavour to impress upon him that it was most important to the interest and honour of this country that these captives should be released. The mode in which that object was most likely to be effected was by communicating with the Emperor of Abyssinia; but then there must be a medium of communication, and he would urge on the noble Earl the expediency of employing Dr. Beke as the medium. He had known Dr. Beke for twenty years, and he could state that he was a most intelligent man, while he possessed the further advantage of being on excellent terms with the Emperor of Abyssinia. The noble Earl, however, seemed to think that he would be incurring a grave responsibility in acceding to the proposal which he mentioned, because of the danger to which Dr. Beke would be exposed; but when Dr. Beke was prepared to take all the responsibility on himself, the noble Earl would, he thought, by giving way to those considerations of delicacy to which he referred, be doing his duty neither to the captives nor to his country. Dr. Beke had placed in his hands a paper, in which he stated that he had not the slightest doubt he should be able to obtain the liberation of the captives, as well as to convince the Emperor of Abyssinia of the wisdom of cultivating the arts of peace 1158 in preference to those of war, and developing the immense resources of his dominion. The noble Earl, therefore, had, he thought, no more right to refuse to aid Dr. Beke in embarking on so noble a mission than a commanding officer would have to prevent a brave soldier from leading a forlorn hope. It was the duty of the Government, he contended, to protect British subjects abroad by the arm of England, and we had no right to employ men in such places that that arm could not reach them. He hoped, under those circumstances, that the noble Earl would earnestly direct his attention during the leisure time which he was about to enjoy to the liberation of the men in question.