HC Deb 29 July 1881 vol 264 cc126-7

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, What steps Her Majesty's Government intend to take in order to bring to justice the murderers of Captain Elliott and Mr. Malcolm, the persons accused of these crimes having just been acquitted against the weight of evidence; and to punish those who are responsible for the massacre of Colonel Anstruther's detachment at Brunker's Spruit?


said, he did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware of what was being done in the case of Dr. Barber; but it was desirable that the House should be made acquainted with what was intended in that case.


in reply, said, he had been requested by his right hon. Friend to reply to these Questions. With respect to the inquiry of the right hon. Baronet, he had to request that Notice should be given of it. With regard to the Question of the hon. Member, it was placed on the Paper at a late hour last night, and he had not since had any opportunity of seeing Lord Kimberley, or of reading the Papers in the Colonial Office on the subject. He would, therefore, ask that any part of the Question of the hon. Member, not covered by his answer, might be renewed at another time. A brief telegram from Sir Hercules Robinson had been received, which stated that with regard to the inquiry into the murder of Captain Elliott, the Chief Justice and the Attorney General both stated that the jury was a respectable one. That was all that the telegram said with regard to the justice or injustice of the verdict. As to Mr. Malcolm's case, Sir Hercules Robinson telegraphed on the 27th instant— Persons accused of Malcolm's marder acquitted. The Chief Justice considers that the evidence was conflicting on many material points. As regards the massacre of Colonel An- struther's detachment, he (Sir Charles W. Dilke) was not in a position to state whether any further steps were contemplated; but Her Majesty's Government had not received any information which indicated that the transactions were of such an exceptional nature as to bring them within the definition of acts contrary to civilized warfare.


inquired whether, when full Reports were received by the Government in reference to the cases, they would be presented to the House? It was most desirable that hon. Members should know in what way the investigation had been conducted, and what was the opinion of the Government on the subject.


said, he had no doubt that such Reports would be received; the first duty of the Government would then be to consider the Reports very carefully, because they related to matters which were grave in themselves. He did not know, however, that anything had happened which would justify the expression of any opinion; and he thought the right hon. Baronet would agree with him that it would be premature to give any pledge with respect to the production of the Papers until they had been received and considered.


asked whether any information would be given as regards the massacre at Brunker's Spruit?


said, he would be glad to answer the Question if the hon. Member would give Notice of it; and he repeated that the Colonial Office had no information that the transactions referred to were of such an exceptional nature as to bring them within the definition of acts contrary to civilized warfare.


said, he hoped that information in regard to the murder of those officers would be laid before Parliament before the end of the present Session; and, further, that the House would also be informed as to the steps which Government intended to take in reference to the matter.