HC Deb 14 March 1882 vol 267 cc883-4

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether, having regard to the fact that the period fixed for the acceptance by the Bastes of the ultimatum sent to them by the Cape Government will expire on Wednesday next, Her Majesty's Government are prepared to recommend that an extension of time be given to the Basutos, within which they may comply with the demands made upon them?


When Sir Hercules Robinson arrived at the Cape he found the Basutos at war with the Cape Government. On the 30th of January, 1881, he reported that he had received a Petition from Lerothodi and Joel Molappo, praying for his intercession in the interests of peace. After some negotiations, the arbitration of Sir Hercules Robinson was accepted on both sides, and on the 29th of April Sir Hercules Robinson gave his award. On the 12th of May Lerothodi, Joel Molappo, and 10 other Chiefs wrote to Sir Hercules Robinson accepting his award. Masupha not having signed the letter, it was doubtful whether he accepted. On the 13th of September, however, Sir Hercules Robinson telegraphed that Masupha had at length fully accepted all the terms of the award, and that they were being carried out in their integrity throughout the whole of Basutoland. On the 24th of November, however, he telegraphed that Masupha had broken all his promises of submission to the award, and was once more acting in defiance of the Government. The award was loyally accepted by the Cape Parliament, and the Cape Government continued to make strenuous efforts to obtain its fulfilment by the Basuto people; but these efforts were only partially successful, mainly owing to the opposition, of Masupha. On the 25th of January Sir Hercules Robinson telegraphed that the attempt to enforce the award on Masupha by the aid of the Basuto Chiefs and people having failed, Ministers advised that Parliament be convened for the 17th of March to consider the situation. On the 15th of February he telegraphed that the Ministers had sent to the Acting Governor's agent in Basutoland an intimation to be conveyed to the Basutos that the award must be complied with by the 15th of March, failing which it would be deemed cancelled. The matter thus lies entirely in the hands of the Cape Government and the Cape Parliament. It is within the power of the Cape Government to enlarge the time without reference to the Secretary of State; and if they intimated any intention to enlarge it this would be at once acquiesced in. But it would be improper in relation to the Cape Colony, and inconsiderate in relation to the Basutos themselves, for Her Majesty's Government to volunteer to the Cape Government a suggestion that the time should be enlarged.