HC Deb 28 February 1839 vol 45 cc964-5
Mr. Goulburn

, seeing the Under Secretary for the Colonies in his place, wished to put a question to him relative to certain disturbances which it was rumoured had broken out on the frontier of Caffraria. It was stated, that a conflict had taken place between the emigrant boors at Port Natal and the Government troops, and that the soldiers were nearly all destroyed, and the officer in command and the son of the governor killed. He therefore wished to be informed, as these rumours had created much anxiety, whether the Government had received any information confirming or contradicting the reports to which he had alluded.

Mr. Labouchere

was aware of the anxiety created by the rumours to which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded, and he regretted he was unable to give any satisfactory information on the subject, as the Government had received no despatch from the colony since the time those disturbances were stated to have taken place. The last despatch from the governor was dated one day earlier than the accounts in which the reports of the conflict were contained, and so far from that despatch containing anything from which a confirmation of those reports could be inferred, they afforded every reason to believe, that no such conflict had taken place. Perhaps it would be satisfactory to the House, that he should read the last letter which had been received from the governor, and which contained the latest information which the Government possessed relative to the state of the colony. The letter was from the governor to Lord Glenelg, and was as follows:— Cape-town, December 28, 1838. My dear Lord Glenelg,—As the vessel is now weighing anchor for England, I have only time to give your Lordship a few lines by her to say, that within this hour I have received despatches from Major Charteris, dated Port Natal, the 12 instant, and a private letter of the 14th instant. All the troops, stores, guns, &c., were landed, and no sick, or accident of any kind. The boors had some time before sent a command against Dingaan. Major Charteris had sent a message to their commandment, Pretorius, to try and persuade him to return to Port Natal, but he feared his messenger would not be able to overtake him in time. Major Charteris had found the boors in much distress. I will forward the whole of his despatches, &c., by her Majesty's ship Wolf, which will sail on the 1st or 8d of next month. But, as I had half-an-hour only, I could not get my official despatch ready, and therefore wrote these few lines just to set your Lordship's mind at ease, as various reports had been spread concerning the failure of the expedition, and which may arrive in England before this reaches you. I am, &c., GEORGE NAPIER. That letter gave no ground to suppose, that any conflict was likely to take place between the boors and the troops, and he trusted in a few days to he able to contradict the rumours which had been circulated on the subject.

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