said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, If he has observed and can explain the remarkable difference in the dates in the two extracts given below from the Franco-Prussian Correspondence (No. 2), Despatch No. 5, page 4, Count Bismarck to Count Bernstorff—
Despatch No. 7, pages 5 and 6, Lord Augustus Loftus to Earl Granville—"When the more modest French designs with reference to Luxemburg had been counteracted by events which are publicly known, the more extensive propositions embracing Belgium and Southern Germany were renewed. It is at this time, in 1867, that Count Benedetti's manuscript was communicated to me."
And if it was not Count Bismarck who gave Lord Augustus Loftus the information on which his Despatch above quoted was based?"With reference to my telegram of yesterday, I have now the honour to transmit to your Lordship a lithographed copy of the draft of the Treaty of Alliance, offensive and defensive, which M. Beneditti proposed for the acceptance of the Prussian Government at the commencement of 1869, on the eve of the Belgian railway question."
Sir, the noble Lord is correct in the reference that he makes to the Papers he has quoted. But we are not aware that it was Count Bismarck who gave Lord Augustus Loftus the information upon which the despatch quoted was based. With regard to the affair of M. Benedetti, I think, considering the transactions between the two foreign Governments, and that it is possible the whole of the elucidations of those transactions have not yet been produced, it would be better that I should abstain from giving an explanation which might be imperfect.