HC Deb 08 May 1879 vol 245 cc1964-5

I wish to ask the Secretary of State for War a Question, of which I have given him private Notice, Whether the Government have received any information to corroborate the alarming telegram which has appeared in the "Daily News" of this day concerning the safety of Natal; and, whether it is true that reinforcements have been sent to the extent named, or to any smaller amount, on the application of either the Lord High Commissioner or of Lord Chelmsford?


In answer to the Question of the hon. Baronet, I have to say that we have not received any information which corroborates the telegram in The Daily News of this date, as to the safety of Natal. A telegram was received by me on Tuesday night from Lord Chelmsford, stating that the garrisons of Natal and the Transvaal might require reinforcements, and that three battalions would be wanted. He also asked for stores—apparently to replace those lost in the Clyde. Steps have long ago been taken to replace those supplies; and the information contained in the telegram is considered to be so imperfect that we have decided not to take any action, beyond getting stores in readiness, until we receive the despatches covering the telegram.