HC Deb 28 April 1881 vol 260 c1318

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether, after disasters had occurred to the British troops and before the cessation of hostilities in the Transvaal, many members of the Volunteer Rifle Association of South Australia offered through the Governor of South Australia to go on active service to the Transvaal to the assistance of Her Majesty's troops in South Africa; what reply was returned to this offer by the Imperial Government; and, whether, in the event of a renewal of hostilities in the Transvaal, the services of Volunteers from Australia and other British Colonies would be accepted by Her Majesty's Government?


Sir, in answer to the hon. and learned Member's first Question, I have to say that the statement therein contained is quite correct. About 300 well-trained Volunteers offered their services. In reply to his second Question, I have to say that the Governor was directed to inform the Volunteers that Her Majesty's Government were much gratified at the patriotic spirit evinced by their offer; but that they did not think it desirable to accept the services of Volunteers in the Transvaal War. In reply to the hon. and learned Member's third Question, I have to say that I make no doubt that the same decision would be taken if a similar offer were again made. There is one consideration which dominates the whole policy which the present Government or any other Government must maintain in South Africa, and that is the absolute necessity of preventing the development of race-hatred between the men of British and of Dutch descent.