HC Deb 14 March 1879 vol 244 cc930-1

It will be in the recollection of the House that yesterday, in answer to a Question from the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ritchie), I stated that certain arms had been exported from Cardiff last week—a number of muskets, and, I think, 560 lbs. of gunpowder—and that these articles had been shipped by two firms—Messrs. James Hutton, of Dale Street, Manchester, and Messrs. Hutton, of the Temple, Liverpool. Mr. James Hutton called upon me this morning, and has informed me that the only goods from his firm which were shipped in the Argus consisted of 180 bales of Manchester cotton goods, and that he would communicate with the firm on whose account these goods were shipped and send their reply to Her Majesty's Government. Mr. James Hutton also informed me that Messrs. Hutton and Co., of Liverpool, in whose firm he had no interest, shipped some flint-lock muskets and African trade powder by the Argus on account of a French house trading at Mozambique. I have just at this moment had a telegram from Mr. A. Hutton, of Liverpool, and I ought, perhaps, in justice to them, to be allowed to read their explanation. The telegram is as follows:— Will you kindly explain in the House tonight on my behalf that the 831 guns shipped by me were old flint guns, costing under 6s. each; that the gunpowder was ordinary African trade powder, costing under 30s. per barrel, whereas military powder is worth 100s. per barrel; and that for many years I have made four or five similar shipments annually to the same latitude, which is fully 1,000 miles from Zulu territory? I have had this order since the 23rd of November, and I emphatically deny that it is intended for that country. The voyage there will occupy four months. In justice to these two firms I have thought it necessary to make this explanation.


said, that Messrs. Hutton were well-known and respected Liverpool merchants, who traded regularly with Africa, and that there was nothing exceptional in the shipments to which allusion had been made. They were not intended for the enemies of our country, nor likely to reach the Zulus; but such shipments had long been a matter of regular trade and part of Messrs. Hutton's general business with the coast of Africa.