HC Deb 08 May 1879 vol 245 cc1960-1

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether his attention has been directed to the following paragraph which appears in the "Daily News" of Friday May 2. The 'Cape Argus' says, 'The Queen has written an autograph letter to Lady Frere expressing Her Majesty's sympathy with her and Her Majesty's confidence in Sir Bartle Frere;' whether Her Majesty's Ministers have any knowledge of this letter, or, if not, whether they will inquire into it and inform Parliament thereof, as involving a grave constitutional question; whether it was forwarded, after its contents were known, through the Colonial Office; and, whether the despatch of such a communication addressed practically to an officer responsible to Parliament is in accordance with the laws, customs, and constitution of England?


Mr. Speaker, my attention has been directed to the paragraph quoted by the hon. Member, and I have already stated that I have no information with regard to it which I can communicate to the House, nor do I deem it to be my duty to take any steps in the matter. If any such letter has been written—of which I have no knowledge—the interpretation I should place upon it would be that Her Majesty, at a time of deep anxiety and trouble to Lady Frere, had exercised her right of expressing her sympathy with her subjects.