HC Deb 26 June 1883 vol 280 cc1553-4

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether it is a fact, as stated in Thursday's papers, that Dr. Jorissen, the Attorney General for the Transvaal, has had an interview with Lord Derby, and has stated that the moral responsibility for all the troubles in Bechuanaland rests upon Sir Hercules Robinson; that the main cause for those troubles is to be looked for in inter-tribal struggles; that there is not, and has not been for thirty years past, anything like "veiled slavery" in the Transvaal; that the native chiefs in Bechuanaland spontaneously offered to the Transvaal Government to come under its jurisdiction; whether there is any foundation for the above statements; and, whether, or not, many Despatches proving the existence of "veiled slavery" among the Boers have been sent home from British Governors and other reliable persons in South Africa?


The conversation between the Secretary of State and Dr. Jorissen was entirely private and confidential, and therefore I am not able to say anything further about it except this—that with reference to the statements in the Question there seems to be no foundation for them. If Dr. Jorissen did. make those statements, I need hardly say that Her Majesty's Government does not agree with them. As to the last paragraph of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to a Blue Book of 1869, entitled "Correspondence relating to the alleged kidnapping and enslaving of young Africans by the people of the Transvaal." There the hon. Member will find all the information ho wants. But the aspect of the case as presented by the Transvaalers themselves will best be seen by reference to a later Blue Book—C. 1342, 1876—which contains a Memorandum drawn up for the Secretary of State by President Burgers, who in 1875 was in England on some financial business. In it he admits the past existence of kidnapping and slave-dealing practices; but says that since the Pretorius party finally prevailed in 1865 the abuses have been fairly put down, and ho challonges and appeals to Chiefs living under the Republic as to their good treatment. Lord Carnarvon, writing from the Colenial Office, communicated this Memorandum to the Governor of the Cape, with an expression of his satisfaction at its contents.