HC Deb 25 March 1881 vol 259 cc1933-4

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, To lay upon the Table a Copy of his letter to Messrs. KrÜger and Joubert, referred to in [C. 2838 South Africa, March 1881, page 24, and if he will further assure the House that measures will be taken to exclude from any amnesty, and to bring to justice, the leaders in the treacherous attack on Colonel Anstruther and the 94th Regiment, by which that officer and 57 men were killed, and 101 officers, men, and women wounded, see page 5 of same Paper?


Sir, the letter referred to in the first part of the right hon. and gallant Member's Question has been laid before Parliament, and is printed at page 464 of Parliamentary Paper C. 2676, August 1880. With respect to the remainder of the Question, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman is no doubt aware that a full and complete amnesty has been arranged in South Africa, which is to cover all acts that are conformable to the rules of civilized warfare. The Question, therefore, amounts to this—whether the attack on Colonel Anstruther and the 94th Regiment is covered by the rules of civilized warfare? We have not full information on the subject; but it was announced by my noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in his place in Parliament, that so far as we had information, it was covered by the rules of civilized warfare. We have not received any information which authorizes us to say whether or not it is excluded, and I can only answer the Question from such information as I possess.



I wish to ask a Question of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government with reference to the Papers connected with the Transvaal. I wish to know, When the Royal Commission will commence their labours; and, when the right hon. Gentleman will be in a position to lay the Instructions to the Royal Commissioners and any despatches on the general subject before Parliament? I may, perhaps, be allowed, in explanation, to say that the Papers, even supplemented by the telegrams, contain the barest possible information on a subject of the very greatest importance. As to the mode in which the Government intend to carry out the control of the foreign relations of the Transvaal and the liability for the Debt of the Province, the Papers contain very little information at all. If the right hon. Gentleman finds it inconvenient to answer the Question now, I will repeat it on Monday.


It would be convenient if the right hon. Gentleman would defer the Question till Monday, as it will give me the opportunity of communicating with my noble Friend, who intends to put his views in writing upon these questions. The right hon. Gentleman will very well understand from the immaturity of the proceedings and the nature of the telegraphic communications, that the subject will require of be handled with care. The despatch to Colonel Anstruther, giving his account of the attack on the 94th Regiment, will be published in The Gazette of Tuesday, and I also learn that further information accompanying that despatch has arrived, but has not yet been fully examined.