HC Deb 25 April 1876 vol 228 cc1627-9

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether the Government have received from Barbadoes any information other than that which has appeared in the public papers in reference to riots in that Colony; and, if so, whether he can communicate the substance of the telegrams to the House?


also asked, What steps it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to take with regard to the riots?


I think, Sir, the most convenient form in which I can answer the Questions of the hon. Gentlemen will be to read, with the permission of the House, portions of some telegrams which have passed recently between the Colonial Office and the Governor of Barbadoes. The following is a copy of a telegram from Governor Hennessy to LORD Carnarvon, received on the 22nd instant:— In consequence of a robbery in a provision ground the police fired on the mob, and one man is said to be shot. Similar events have occurred in August last and in previous years. I am going at once to the scene of the disturbance; have ordered the troops to the country stations to replace the police on duty. A second telegram from Governor Hennessy to Lord Carnarvon, dated the 22nd instant, said— I have visited the several scenes of the disturbances. The planters are much alarmed, but the sugar works go on as usual. The police have taken 30 prisoners. The military have been posted in three parishes, but there has been no occasion for them. In consequence of the planters' panic I have telegraphed for more troops from Jamaica, Demerara, and Trinidad. On the same day (the 22nd instant) Lord Carnarvon telegraphed to Governor Hennessy as follows:— I have received your two telegrams respecting disturbances. The West India Committee have also given me a telegram describing affairs as being most serious, and asking for military aid to put down the disturbances. This, however, you have rightly anticipated. I greatly regret the necessity for the military, but the preservation of order is the first object. I need hardly remind you to combine firmness with temperate action. But urge earnestly on all parties to keep from political agitation, for which there is no justification after my despatches, and which must be put down firmly as being very dangerous. Keep me fully informed by telegraph. A telegram from Governor Hennessy to Lord Carnarvon, received on the 23rd instant, at 8 a.m., says— As tranquillity is being restored, the officer in command of the troops has countermanded reinforcements from Trinidad. At 6 p.m. a further telegram from Governor Hennessy to Lord Carnarvon was received. It was as follows:— April 23.—Walked all through town last night. Everything quiet. As tranquility appears restored, I have, after consultation with officer in command, countermanded reinforcements from the other islands. More plunderers captured by police. Troops patrolled in rural districts, but had no necessity to act. Proclamation issued announcing Special Commission for speedy trial of offenders. I may add that a subsequent telegram received yesterday from the Governor makes no reference to any renewal of disturbances. As, however, a private telegram—which has, I think, appeared in most of the daily newspapers—was communicated to my noble Friend the Secretary of State, he has to-day again telegraphed to the Governor, asking for immediate information as to the actual state of affairs.