HL Deb 23 June 1893 vol 13 cc1750-1

My Lords, seeing my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in his place, I beg to ask him a question of which I have given him private notice—namely, whether he is in a position to give the House any information as to the reported theft of documents from the British Embassy at Paris? Under ordinary circumstances, I should have been disposed to treat the matter as one unworthy of notice; but, inasmuch as it appears to have been made the subject of discussion in the French Chamber, perhaps my noble Friend may be willing to make some statement to the House in reference to it.


My Lords, it is, indeed, passing from tragedy of the darkest and most terrible kind to the lowest and dirtiest depths of comedy to have to say anything with regard to the question asked by my noble Friend. There was no theft of documents from the British Embassy; but there has been produced a forgery so gross and palpable that I should have hardly thought it would have imposed on the most innocent of human beings, for it was fabricated by someone who had not even a rudimentary knowledge of the English language for carrying the imposture out. I think we may leave the matter where it stands, in the well-merited ridicule which it mot with in the French Chamber, and which I am sure will be shared by your Lordships' House.