HC Deb 04 August 1882 vol 273 cc789-91

rose, according to Notice, to call attention to the affairs of the Transvaal, and to the aggression of the Boers on the tribes of the Chiefs Montsioa and Monkoroane. It was well known, he said, that these Chiefs were loyal to us, and that in consequence they had been placed under a ban by the Boers, and subjected to every kind of oppression. The aggressions that had been made upon them had been attended with great atrocities, and were not in themselves justified by the offences which had been made the pretext for such proceedings. He hoped that the Government would do all in their power to impress upon the Boers that they must carry out the stipulation of the recent Treaty, for unless they did so, he was afraid that a large part of the territory of these tribes would be desolated. Representations had been made to Mr. Hudson; but Mr. Hudson evidently felt that the Colonial Office did not want to be troubled about the Transvaal, and tried to disbelieve the statements. He (Mr. R. N. Fowler) thought the good faith of England was involved in protecting these unfortunate Chiefs.


, in supporting the remarks of the hon. Member for the City of London (Mr. R. N. Fowler), said, it was known on the authority of a missionary, Mr. Mackenzie, who was labouring in the field once occupied by the venerable Dr. Moffat, that the marauders were carrying away cattle, destroying farmsteads, and shooting people, and thus retarding the civilization of a district in which European dress was worn, good houses were built, land cultivated, and the breeds of cattle improved. Unless the Government did something by strengthening the hands of Mr. Hudson, in order to put a stop to these ravages, which he believed were encouraged by the Boers, the race would be destroyed. They certainly ought to be allowed to purchase arms for their own defence.


said, that although his experience of the Colonial Office had been but short, it had been long enough for him to realize that the Transvaal was the region in the whole world where it was most difficult to get at the truth, although what had been said was more or less accurate. Such a contingency made it most difficult to form an impartial judgment, motive being so mixed up with everything said or done in this connection. But there was no indisposition on the part of the adjoining Resident, Mr. Hudson, or on the part of the Colonial Office, to receive representations, because they were unpleasant; and communications had passed between him and the Colonial Office in which he had gone very fully into the matter. He was, therefore, not subject to the implication of censure brought against him. His right of interference only extended to the tribes lying beyond the Transvaal; and he had no right whatever—and, therefore, he would have been exceeding his duty—to remonstrate with the Government of the Transvaal, which was an independent State, while we had no territorial rights or jurisdiction in the territory of the tribes, the Protectorate of whom we had declined. But we had a right to insist on the Transvaal Government, from whose territory the majority of the offenders came, observing the terms of their Convention with us, which he believed they were anxious to do, although the Transvaal Government and people had never cheerfully acquiesced in the award which assigned this territory to the tribes. Still, the Transvaal Government was, he believed, as desirous of standing well with European and English public opinion as any other Government, and they recognized the bounden duty that a civilized Government had to observe their promises, their engagements, and their Treaties; and to carry out the laws of right and justice. He believed his hon. Friend opposite (Mr. R. N. Fowler) would have done service in calling attention to these matters, and bringing to bear the force of public opinion on the authorities of the Transvaal. Although it was true that these Chiefs had been disposed to be friendly towards the English, yet we had never accepted their assistance; and, therefore, they had no claim upon us. He hoped the time was not far distant when they should get rid of the division of the Natives into friends of the Boers and friends of the English. What appeared to be necessary was the organization of a mounted police force to arrest the small bodies of freebooters, and take them over the border; and a comparatively small force would be sufficient. The Colonial Office would continue to impress on the Transvaal Government the necessity of observing the laws of right and justice and keeping the terms of the Convention.