said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether the reports in the newspapers gave a correct interpretation of the words he had used on the previous day with respect to the Draft Treaty between France and Prussia; and, whether he is prepared to give any further information on the subject?
Sir, as to the first part of the Question which my hon. Friend has put to me, I have to say that when I spoke yesterday I intended to give to the House any information which, in the view of the Government, was available at that moment; and, with regard to the Question itself, I will now state that the Government has received this morning a telegram from Lord Augustus Loftus, dated Berlin, yesterday, according to the purport of which there was to be published this day—and therefore the telegram was entirely erroneous that it had been published by the Berlin papers—the text of a document corresponding to that which appeared in The Times of yestcrday — a document purporting to be without the name of the author, or any date or giving any means of direct evidence on which gentlemen may form their own opinion as to its authenticity. The document consists of five articles. Article 1. That the North German Confederation and all acquisitions made by Prussia be recognized by the Emperor. Article 2. The King of Prussia to consent to the acquisition of Luxemburg by France. Article 3. A more intimate union between the Northern and Southern Governments, even on the basis of a common Parliament to be permitted by the Emperor. Article 4. The incorporation of Belgium by France will not be objected to by the King of Prussia. Article 5. An offensive and defensive alliance, with a guarantee of the integrity of their Dominions. That document, there is every reason to believe, has now been published in Berlin, and it shows that the anticipation of the Government was wellfounded when we stated that the matter would, no doubt, be immediately taken up by both the parties, and full authoritative information be given by them. It is also stated by Lord Augustus Loftus that the original document on which this Treaty is framed is in the handwriting of Count Benedetti; but, of course, I cannot say how far that is the fact. That, however, is the result of the information which was communicated to him, and which is contained in his telegram.