HC Deb 05 August 1875 vol 226 cc559-60

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether his attention has been drawn to a statement in the newspapers, and especially in "The Globe," of the 24th ultimo, to the effect that an affray had taken place near Quittah, on the Gold Coast, between the natives and police, in which seven out of twelve of the latter had been disabled, and that no medical attendance was available; and, whether it is the case that within the last year an outbreak of small-pox has occurred at Quittah, and that during that period and for the space of nearly one year there has been no medical officer stationed there?


Sir, the disturbance referred to by my hon. Friend occurred at a place called Atoko, 20 miles east of Quittah, which is occupied as a revenue station, and has a force of 10 Houssas and one landing agent quartered there. The affair originated through an ill-feeling which appears to have sprung up between the Houssas and some young natives, who made an attack upon the Houssas in spite of their chiefs and elders, who rendered every assistance to the authorities in the restoration of order. The Governor sent a Commission to the spot to inquire into the affair, and fines have been imposed upon the ringleaders. With respect to the latter part of the Question, I am happy to say that nothing is known at the Colonial Office as to any outbreak of small-pox at Quittah, and special inquiries which have been made, since my hon. Friend's Question appeared on the Notice Paper, justify me in expressing the opinion that the rumour is unfounded. As to the absence of a medical officer, my hon. Friend will agree with me that it would be impossible to insure the presence of a medical man at every station of minor importance; but the distribution of the medical staff is a subject which will receive attention.