M. Ferry, during the debate on Tonquin on Wednesday week,
read a telegram from M. Tricou, French Charge d'Affaires in 'Chum, stating that the'Xiceroy, Li Hung Chang, had disavowed the Chinese Ambassador. The statement created much sensa- tion in the Chamber, and is believed to have influenced the divi. sion. As Chinese official discipline is strict, and as Li Hung Chang, though an important person, is in no way the superior of the Marquis Tseng, the story was received throughout Europe with incredulity, and has now been officially denied by the Government of Pekin. Li Hung Chang made no such dis- avowal, and the Foreign Office of Pekin is entirely satisfied with its Ambassador. A despatch in this sense will be sent to Paris, and meanwhile the Marquis Tseng is authorised to give the story a complete denial. It was expected that M. Ferry would offer some explanation of his well-timed credulity, but none has been forthcoming, nor is it at all clear that the Chamber will insist upon any. The Deputies, apparently, are will- ing to be deceived ; and the Opportunist organ, La Republique .Franr,afee, says it is highly unpatriotic to accept a Chinese statement, when it is opposed to one made by a French diplomatist. Nevertheless, no one doubts the comparative authenticity of the Chinese story, which, indeed, is self-evident; and the incident has greatly reduced the moral authority both of the Ministry and the Chamber. If the French Premier can- not be relied on for facts, and if the Deputies will not exact the truth from their own agents, they openly betray the trust they have received from the people. No incident more discreditable has occurred in France since the fall of the Empire.