HC Deb 26 May 1879 vol 246 cc1234-5

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether it is true that, in the month of June 1876, certain native prisoners were, by order of the Governor of the Fiji Islands, marched into a proclaimed district, and there tried by court martial; condemned and executed in a barbarous manner in his presence—some being hung, others strangled and afterwards clubbed to death, and others shot; whether it is a fact that these men were thus illegally deprived of their right of appeal to the Supreme Court of the Colony; and, whether, if these facts are true, Her Majesty's Government are prepared to take cognizance of them?


Sir, these statements appeared in an article which was published in a New Zealand newspaper nearly three years ago. They are not true; and I must add, in justice to Sir Arthur Gordon, that I think the hon. Member would not have repeated them now, if whoever communicated them to him had had the fairness—I might say the honesty—to inform him that the newspaper in which they appeared, two months afterwards accepted the contradiction of them without reservation, and Frankly expressed regret for having given currency to statements not unlikely to excite serious prejudice against an officer of the Crown placed in a position of great difficulty, and, consequently, in no need of gratuitous or additional obstacles in the discharge of his duty.