HC Deb 25 March 1886 vol 303 cc1795-6

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether it is true that the Boers have captured ten waggons of merchandise en route for Swazieland, stating that, as the Swazies have refused to pay them taxes, they will not allow them to trade with the English; and, whether Her Majesty's Government will take steps to keep open a road so important to the commerce of Natal?


We have not received any information which I can identify with the statement quoted by the hon. Baronet; but a despatch was yesterday received at the Colonial Office from Natal, reporting that three waggons were stated by Natives to have been seized by Boers, two of them in the Usibebu country, which is near to Swazieland; and that on explanations being demanded, Mr. Esselen, who styles himself the "Government Secretary to the new Republic," replied that one waggon only, belonging to a man called Weber, who was not a British subject, had been sent to Vryheit to be dealt with, and that the owner had since been fined £10 for trading without a licence, and ordered to pay £7 10s. for the cost of a licence; that to defray this charge the goods had been sold for £21 12s. 5d., and that the balance. £4 2s. 5d., would be paid to Weber. With regard to the last Question, Sir Arthur Havelock, the Governor of Natal, is about to enter into personal communications with the Boers for the settlement of the Zululand Question; and I trust that, as part of those negotiations, satisfactory arrangements will shortly be made for keeping open the trade route from Natal to Swazieland.