HC Deb 18 June 1889 vol 337 cc119-20
VISCOUNT EBRINGTON (Devonshire, Tavistock)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can give any information as to the alleged Boer expedition into Swaziland, or as to the application for Portuguese protection said to have been made by the Queen of the Amatongas?


May I also ask whether Her Majesty's Government has received confirmation or contradiction of recent newspaper reports from Natal to the effect that agents of the South African Republic have proceeded to Swaziland with a view to the annexation of that country, and that the Queen of Amatongaland has asked to be placed under the protection of Portugal; and, if either of these reports be true, whether the Government is prepared to sanction such proposed supercession of British influence in South Eastern Africa?


With the permission of the House, I will answer at the same time the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for the City of London. The President of the South African Republic has informed the Acting High Commissioner that the Vice President and State Attorney have started for a visit to Swaziland, with the concurrence of the Swazi King, in order amicably to discuss certain matters at issue, and to endeavour to prevent any outbreak or disturbance on the occasion of the re-election of the European Committee next month. The President states that it is not the intention of the Government of the South African Republic to interfere with Swaziland. No military escort accompanies the Transvaal officials, but two men belonging to the local artillery force have been taken as drivers. Her Majesty's Government are at present considering the propriety of a Commission of Inquiry into the affairs of Swaziland, and in the meantime Colonel Martin has been directed to visit the King, and report the actual circumstances of the position. It is true that Queen Zambile of Amatongaland has sent messengers to the Portuguese Government, but there is no reason to doubt that that Government will loyally adhere to the terms of the MacMahon award. I may add that the Queen of Amatongaland concluded a treaty with this country in July, 1887, by which she bound herself not to cede her territory to any foreign power.