HC Deb 31 May 1883 vol 279 cc1309-10

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether he can state what amount of land has up to the present time been taken by Transvaal subjects from the Bechuana Nation, and been incorporated in the so-called "Stellaland Territory;" whether remonstrances on this subject are still being addressed by Her Majesty's Government to the Government of the Transvaal; and, whether Her Majesty's Government have still any reason to believe that such remonstrances will produce the slightest effect; also, whether it is true, as stated in a letter written by an Englishman at Taungs, in the Batlahin Territory, on April 2nd, and published in "England" of May 12th, that, about the month of May last year, one of the Captains of the Volunteer Boer Freebooters brought from Pretoria 300 rounds of cannon ammunition for use against Manko-roane, together with a letter, signed by Mr. Joubert, to the effect that the said ammunition was to be paid for to the Transvaal Government by the Boers fighting against Mankoroane, six months after delivery, and that such payment was to bear interest at the rate of six per cent.; and, whether the Transvaal Government still pretend that they are now manifesting, or have at any time manifested, the slightest desire to put a stop to the depredations committed by Transvaal subjects in the Territory of our late Bechuana allies?


Sir, the only information we have as to the amount of land taken by the Transvaal from Bechuana Chiefs is contained in a telegram from the Cape, in which it is said that, according to newspaper reports, there have been about 1,000 farms allotted. But, as most of these are merely farms on paper, this figure gives no clue whatever to the amount of land that has been actually taken. There have been no recent remonstrances addressed directly by Her Majesty's Government to the Government of the Transvaal, because the whole relations between the two Governments are under the consideration of Her Majesty's Government. In answer to the second Question of the hon. Member, I have to say that statements substantially similar to those contained in the Question have been made by a person with a Dutch name, but who requests his name to be kept secret. He sent the statement through Mankoroane himself to the Civil Commissioner at Barkly, but only quite recently, although they relate to matters alleged to have occurred a year ago. As to the second part of the Question, the Transvaal Government still profess to deplore the existing state of things in Bechuanaland; but maintain that as long as they are precluded by the Convention from taking any direct action in that country, they cannot be held responsible for what is going on there. They, however, recently sent Colonel Ferreira to the Border as their Special Commissioner, with a view—to use the words of his instructions—to "extirpate the band of cattle-robbers once for all," but not to cross the Border unless he secured the co-operation of all concerned. But, beyond restoring 75 head of cattle to Mankoroane, we have not yet heard of any result from this expedition.


Will the Papers to which the hon. Member has referred in his Answer be laid upon the Table of the House before the contemplated discussion on the affairs of the Transvaal? It will be necessary for us to have all the information possessed by the Government in connection with the last phase of that question?


I cannot say positively when the Papers will be laid before the House; but they are being prepared.