HL Deb 09 July 1867 vol 188 cc1252-4

Seeing the noble Earl at the head of the Government in his place, I wish to ask a Question of which I have given him private notice. It relates to the fate of the Emperor Maximilian and the alleged unhappy termination of his career. I wish to ask my noble Friend, Whether he or the Government have received any official account of that Emperor's death; and whether, if such account has been received, it is the intention of the Government to move your Lordships to take any notice of the event, or to propose that the House should offer its condolence to Her Majesty on what must be to Her a subject of much affliction?

There is also another subject to which I wish to direct the noble Earl's attention—I mean the condition of the unfortunate Captives in Abyssinia. If I remember rightly, the noble Earl, in reply to a Question put by me some time since, said that the Government, before giving an answer, wished rather to wait until the result of a communication to the Emperor of which Mr. Flad was the bearer, should be known. I learn from the public papers that Mr. Flad was sent out as far back as the month of September, and that he is supposed to have arrived in Abyssinia. I should like, therefore, to know, Whether the Government have received any further information with respect to the Captives; and, Whether they intend to take any steps in the matter?


I received from my noble Friend within the last half hour an intimation that he wished to ask me two Questions. I should be obliged to him to postpone the one relating to the Captives in Abyssinia, as I have no information to communicate with respect to them. With regard to the first Question—that relating to the fate of the Emperor Maximilian—I have to state that I received within the last two hours a telegram from Paris which, unhappily, leaves it no longer a matter of doubt what the fate of Maximilian has been. This despatch has been received this day from Mr. Fane at Paris, and is dated at half past one. It is as follows:—


"Paris, July 9.—d., 1 30 p.m.; r., 3 30 p.m.

"Moustier has just received a telegram from French Minister at Mexico, dated 27th June. It reports that the Emperor Maximilian was shot on the 19th, in spite of every effort made to save him; the tone of the victorious party was defiant towards all foreign Powers, including United States; they refused to give up the Emperor's body; the French Minister was preparing to depart with his legation, but although hitherto unmolested, he thought he might be detained as a hostage for the surrender of General Almonte."

My Lords, I must say that I share in the feelings of all your Lordships at this most unnecessary, most cruel, and most barbarous murder—a murder which must excite horror in every civilized country. It is a murder purely gratuitous; and so far from producing any beneficial effect, can only add to the miseries of which that unhappy country has been for so many years the scene—and I fear it is only too probable that it will have to sustain similar miseries for many years to come. I hope my noble Friend will excuse me at the present moment for declining to give any opinion as to whether your Lordships will be invited to express your feelings on the subject by any public act.


said, that he had nothing to complain of in the answer of the noble Earl; but his own feelings on the subject were so strong that, using his right as a Member of that House, he begged to state that he would bring forward some Resolution on the subject in case Her Majesty's Government should hereafter decline inviting an expression of opinion from the House with regard to the matter on grounds which might appear insufficient to his judgment.