HC Deb 27 February 1879 vol 243 cc1830-1

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, with reference to the Despatch from Sir Bartle Frere, dated Dec. 10th (II. p. 182), in which he says— I can add little to what has been already said in previous Despatches on the subject of the Military necessity for the reinforcements asked for; but I would venture to add a few remarks on the observations in your Despatch, that 'all the information that has hitherto reached Her Majesty's Government with respect to the position of affairs in Zululand appears to them to justify a confident hope that, by the exercise of prudence, and by meeting the Zulus in a spirit of forbearance and reasonable compromise, it will be possible to avert the very serious evil of a war with Cetywayo.' I am, of course, not aware what information may have reached Her Majesty's Government on this subject other than what has passed through me. But I confess that, looking back at the information I have had the honour to submit to Her Majesty's Government for the past 12 months, I can find little ground for any such hope of avoiding a war with Cetywayo; whether he received this Despatch on Jan. 15th; whether he gave any other answer to this Despatch than what is contained in his Despatch of Jan. 23rd— It has, of course, been impossible for Her Majesty's Government as yet to examine the whole of the case as it is now placed before them; and, whether he will lay upon the Table "the general means of information" which outweighed the "official communications" before the latter had been examined by Her Majesty's Government?


The despatch from Sir Bartle Frere, dated December 10, was received by me on the date stated in the Papers that have been laid before the House; I think it was the 15th of January. It was answered, with other despatches from Sir Bartle Frere, generally, in my despatch of January 23, and in that whole despatch, not in the particular portion of a sentence quoted by the noble Lord in his Question. I do not quite understand the last portion of the Question; but I gather, from the words which he appears to quote in it, that it has reference to my despatch of October 17. That despatch, of course, refers to the means of information which were in the possession of the Government at that date, and not to despatches since received. So far as I know, everything that can be laid before the House in connection with that subject is already in the hands of hon. Members.