HL Deb 23 April 1866 vol 182 c1867

My Lords, as your Lordships take a deep interest in all that concerns the Abyssinian captives, I have no doubt you will allow me to read a dispatch received this day at the Foreign Office. It is from Colonel Merewether, C.B., our Political Resident at Aden, and is dated Aden, March 28, 1866. My Lord,—I have the honour to report for your Lordship's information that the Victoria has just returned from Massowah, bringing news from Mr. Rassam up to the 7th of February, dated from Ajan Muder, in South Western Abyssinia, and stating that the Emperor had given him a most magnificent reception. A regularly constituted Embassy from England could not have been treated with greater honour and attention. A few hours after his first interview with His Majesty, the latter ordered the release of all the European prisoners, including the missionaries and the Frenchmen, and directed that they should all be made over to Mr. Rassam, to take out with him from Abyssinia, which he hoped to leave about the end of March, The King sent his chamberlain to Magdala to unfetter the prisoners, and to bring them to meet Mr. Rassam at Debra Tabor, to which place the latter and his companions were proceeding from the Court, then in Godjam, and where he expected to receive the released captives about the end of February. The Emperor has written a most polite letter to the Queen, which Mr. Rassam felt sure would please Her Majesty and the British nation. The Emperor had also made Mr. Rassam handsome presents, and was preparing more to give to the mission before leaving the country. The above was received at Massowah on the 18th of March. We may, therefore, expect to hear of Mr. Rassam having actually met and received the released captives about the 10th or 12th proximo, when the Victoria will again visit Massowah. I have the honour to be, my Lord, Tour Lordship's most obedient servant, W. L. MEREWETHER, Lieutenant Colonel, Resident.


said, that nothing could be more satisfactory than the despatch just read by the noble Earl. He was only sorry that his noble and learned Friend (Lord Chelmsford), who had taken such interest in this subject, was not in the House to share the gratification which he was sure their Lordships must feel at this early intelligence.