HC Deb 24 June 1879 vol 247 cc536-7

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether his attention has been directed to the letter of the special correspondent of the "Daily News," published in the issue of that paper on the 20th instant, in which the destruction of four native villages, by Colonel Lowe's command, is described; whether, in particular, ho has marked the following statement:— Lord Chelmsford had given orders that no kraals should be burned until the general advance, being anxious to utilize the woodwork of the huts as fuel; but these kraals were far away from the line of any possible advance, and Colonel Lowe determined to destroy them. Two laconic words from Long to his men, " set fire," sufficed to set them in a blaze, mere flimsy structures of wooden wattle as they were; and, whether the Government will make | inquiries as to any order given by Lord Chelmsford for the burning of native villages during the general advance into Zululand such as is here alleged?


Yes, Sir; my attention has been directed to the statements in the special correspondence of The Daily News quoted by the hon. Member; but the interpretation I should place upon them is that Lord Chelmsford had not ordered Native huts or villages to be burnt, but had directed them to be spared, in view of the possible necessity for using their materials as fuel during the advance into Zululand. The Government, of course, consider that these kraals should only be destroyed in case of military necessity; and my right hon. and gallant Friend the Secretary of State for War, with whom, rather than with me, this matter rests, has authorized me to state that if he saw reason to believe that any wanton destruction was permitted he would at once interfere.


I will take an early opportunity of bringing the matter under the notice of the Secretary of State for War.