HC Deb 14 April 1887 vol 313 cc871-3
SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with reference to the late affray between British officers and natives in Egypt, If he can yet state what was the Court which tried and punished the natives, how it was composed, and under what authority it acted, and who were the "military warders" who carried into execution the sentences of corporal punishments on the Sheiks and others; if he will explain what is to be the function of the Commission of Officers who are to inquire into the case, and what their powers; who are the offenders who will, if necessary, be punished by them, now that the natives have been already condemned and punished; whether this Commission has power to deal with British officers if they are found to be in any degree in fault; who are the officers named for the duty; and, whether the Egyptian officers are natives, and to what force they belong?


The Court in question was constituted by the Egyptian Government under the hand of the Khedive. It was composed of two Egyptian and one English officer—namely, the Mudir of the province, the Egyptian Procureur-Général, and Major Macdonald, Military Attaché to the British Agency. It was so specially appointed in order to avoid delays, and it had power to carry out such punishments as it might deem fitting. The Court sat on the 30th and 31st of March. It found that two officers being out shooting on the 27th of March, one, who fired at and killed a quail, also struck four or five natives passing at a distance of about 50 yards, one of them bleeding slightly from a wound from a single pellet of shot. Compensation was offered; but the natives closed with the officers, and, assisted by some villagers, seized their guns, one of which went off in the struggle and killed a man. The officers being overpowered, they were bound, plundered, and subjected to other indignities, and their lives actually endangered. The Court sentenced 14 persons concerned in these acts to various punishments of fine, imprisonment, and flogging (nine to the latter). The Commission directed that the sentences of flogging should be carried out by the British military authorities in accord with the Mudir of the province, which was done on the afternoon of the 31st, the punishment being inflicted by English prison warders in presence of a company of the Welsh Regiment, to which the officers belonged, and of the headmen and most of the inhabitants of the villages of the offenders. The Mudir of the province and the Egyptian authorities were also present. In every case the Court was unanimous. Sir Evelyn Baring, before the sentences wore carried out, saw the Procureur-Général, and was convinced that both he and the Mudir wore fully satisfied that the verdicts were just and the sentences not too severe. The officer to whom the gun belonged which went off and killed a native in the struggle has paid £30 to the family of the man, and both he and his regiment were willing to have paid any sum; but the Egyptian authorities considered that this was sufficient. The Commissioners were instructed to inquire into the affair without restriction; but there was no question of the wounding of four natives or the death of another being other than accidental.


asked, as a supplemental Question, whether it was true, as had appeared in the public Press, that much damage was done to the crops by shooting parties?


replied that he had received no such information. Sir Evelyn Baring had, however, suggested that officers going out shooting should be required in future to provide themselves with passes.

DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)

Would the right hon. Gentleman suggest to the authorities in Egypt that a licence should be taken out for the hooting of natives, in order to promote law and order?

[No reply.]