HC Deb 08 November 1888 vol 330 c646
DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether his attention has been called to the following passage in a letter, dated from Manchester, and signed James F. Hutton, which appeared in The Times, of the 5th instant:— Four weeks back, at a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce in this city, an English merchant, speaking in the presence of the Governor of Sierra Leone, relative to the action last year of a piratical chief at Sherbro, said, 'He swept down and took 900 captives out of British territory, 700 women and children and 200 men, all British subjects. Not a finger has been lifted to rescue these people from captivity, and the majority of them are in captivity to this day.' This statement was not contradicted at the time. It was published next day, but still remains unnoticed; and, if he would inform the House whether there is any, and, if so, what, foundation for the statement referred to?


My attention has been called to the letter. It is to be presumed that the speaker referred to the raid made on the Sulymah District in April of last year, the details of which are given at length in No. 80 of Blue Book C. 5,236. There is no information in the Colonial Office showing that 900 British subjects, or any similar number, were carried off by the raiders; but some were, no doubt, carried away. It was decided that there was no such prospect of effectually punishing the raiders and preventing further attacks as would justify a prolonged and very costly expedition to a long distance into the interior; but the Governor has been instructed to consider how a defensive force may best be organized; and, in the meantime, all practicable temporary measures have been taken.