HC Deb 03 August 1882 vol 273 cc593-4

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether Her Majesty's Government is aware that bodies of Boers have been for some time past levying war on the native tribes on the western border of the Transvaal; armed Boers crossing and re-crossing the borders, and obtaining arms and ammunition within the Transvaal; whether it is true that the natives are prohibited from armed assistance or munitions of war from British territory; whether the attention of the Government has been called to a report of the Volksraad, in which it is admitted that the object of the Boers is to obtain more land from the natives than was given them by the Convention; and, what steps have been taken by the Imperial or Colonial Government to bring these hostilities to a close, and to protect the natives?


Boers and European adventurers, and, I regret to say, also some deserters from the British Army have been and still are taking an active part in alliance with one tribe to levy war on another, stimulated, no doubt, by hopes of plunder both of land and cattle. They have availed themselves frequently of the proximity of the Transvaal frontier to save both themselves and the cattle which they have stolen. The supply of munitions of war is regulated by the laws of the Colony, and both the Cape and the Orange Free State appear from all accounts to have severely enforced their regulations. A suggestion has, however, been made to them whether, on the cessation of actual war between the several tribes, sufficient ammunition should not be sold to the Native Chiefs to enable them to protect themselves from marauders. The Report and Resolution of the Volksraad to which reference is made affirm that the boundary, as laid down in the Convention, is the "inducing cause" of the present disturbances, and recommend that a Commission should be applied for to rectify the boundary, so as to include the territories of the tribes who are being stirred up by these adventurers. It does not appear to me that there is here any connection of cause and effect. The Government have agreed to a proposal that they should contribute to the expenses of a small body of mounted police—to be provided by the Cape Colony, the Transvaal Republic, and the Orange Free State in due proportions—and which will arrest those who are engaged in these illegal acts and carry them across the respective frontiers to be tried by due course of law. The Government have signified, at the same time, that they only join in this action— As a special and exceptional measure, in order to facilitate united action on. the part of the local Governments. They cannot undertake the duty of preserving order on the border, which properly belongs to the Governments of the adjoining countries.