§ MR. PARNELL
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether he has received information that, in addition to the Regular Troops and Native Contingent, considerable forces of Irregulars and Volunteers are employed in South Africa, recruited from the floating population of the Colonies and Diamond Fields; whether he has seen the statements in the last Mail News from South Africa that parties of these men, known as "Lonsdale's Horse," have taken to highway robbery in the neighbourhood of Durban; and, whether he is aware that Sir Arthur Conynghame, lately commanding in South Africa, has described these Volunteers as enlisting for the purpose of plundering, "fighting, not for Country, but cattle?"
§ SIB MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
Sir, it is the case that considerable Forces of Irregulars and Volunteers are employed in South Africa, and they have done excellent service. I have not seen the statements in the last Mail News from South Africa quoted by the hon. Member; he has not stated where they are to be found. I have heard nothing at all confirming them; but if any members of "Lonsdale's Horse" had been guilty of highway robbery, which I cannot believe, they could, of course, be made amenable by the civil and military authorities; and I am sure that that efficient and gallant officer, Commandant Lonsdale himself, would be the first to take steps for the purpose. Sir Arthur Cunynghame never, so far as I know, 32 described the Volunteers as enlisting for the purpose of plundering, " fighting, not for country, but cattle." He quotes, in his book, an opinion expressed by a speaker in South Africa to that effect; but he prefaces the quotation by saying that he had always had a high opinion of the Volunteers, and does not altogether agree with it.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, the statement was made by the correspondent of the Eastern Province Herald of Durban, who spoke of the Lonsdale Horse as a desperate set of roughs, who had committed open robbery in public, and defied everybody, including the police. On one night, after having received a month's pay, 20 of them were taken to the station for drunkenness, and three "run in" for theft.