HC Deb 28 February 1853 vol 124 cc737-8

said, he wished to ask a question of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies, of which he had not given notice, and therefore, if it was inconvenient to answer it now, he would postpone it till to-morrow. But his question was with reference to the intelligence brought by the Indiana today from the seat of war in South Africa. He had lately put a question to the hon. Gentleman relating to the advance of troops against a fresh tribe, a very warlike one; and the hon. Gentleman informed him that the troops had advanced to their territory, but that he did not think it was likely to lead to hostilities. Now, he wished to know if there was any further information that the hon. Gentleman could communicate to the House which would in any way give a more satisfactory account of the hostilities than the one that had appeared in the public papers of that day; and if he would also inform the House whether the extension of the war into a fresh territory was intended to be progressive, and whether the constitution which he had understood from the hon. Gentleman was certainly to go out by the next mail, would leave the conduct of the war and the defence of the frontier, the recapture of cattle, and the retaliation of depredations, to the Colony itself to maintain?


, in reply, said, that though the hon. Member had not given him any notice of his intention, yet, anticipating that he might ask some such question, he had taken the precaution of looking at General Cathcart's despatches received that morning. The hon. Member was aware that General Cathcart went into the Orange River territory for the purpose of compelling Moshesh to pay a fine which had been imposed on him in the early part of last year by the two Assistant Commissioners (Major Hogg and Mr. Owen), in consequence of robberies of cattle and horses committed by his people. General Cathcart proceeded into the territory,, and on the 13th of December called on Moshesh to pay a certain fine, which Moshesh objected to do. On the non-payment of the fine, an advance took place on the part of our troops, which terminated in an encounter, the particulars of which were accurately published in the papers of that morning. The result of that encounter, although attended with considerable loss of life to the Queen's troops, and to the 12th Lancers in particular, was the complete submission of the chief Moshesh; and, as a proof of the sincerity of his submission and of its reality, he (Mr. Peel) might mention, that the week afterwards one of the Assistant Commissioners (Mr. Owen) had an interview with that chief, who assisted him in burying the officers and soldiers killed on that occasion. General Cathcart had returned to Graham's Town; and he would read what that officer said with regard to the state of the territory in question, and the prospect of peace being re-established along the whole frontier. In a despatch from General Cathcart, dated Graham's Town, Jan. 13th, he wrote— The Orange River Territory is at peace, as well as the whole extent of the frontier, 400 miles of which I have traversed on my return. And, referring to certain terms he had offered to the chief Kreili beyond the Kei, General Cathcart added— These I have no doubt he will willingly subscribe to, and I think they will complete the final accomplishment of the task imposed on me when I assumed this command: that of the reduction of the rebellious Kafirs and Hottentots, their complete submission, and the restoration of permanent peace and security to the colonial frontiers.