Leaving for 'the Elsyian Fields'
Extract from Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, Third Series, Vol. 23 (London, 1876)
Parl. Deb. Eng. 333, cols. 1141-2
On 11 August 1876 Disraeli made his final appearance in the House of Commons, during the last debate of the session. His speech on the Bulgarian atrocities runs to nine columns of Hansard. The British Ambassador mentioned in the opening minutes was the Turcophile Sir Henry Elliot who, through a mixture of partisanship and ill-health, had been reluctant to press Turkey over the atrocities. Evidence for these was now incontrovertible though the number of casualties had been reduced from the initial reports of 25,000 to 12,000. Disraeli spoke of the 'horrible event which no one can think of without emotion' (col. 1142) but then struck the wrong note by refuting the argument that the losses amounted to depopulating a whole province. He ended with a pledge to defend the interests of the British Empire but later acknowledged to Derby the debate had damaged the Government.
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