HC Deb 08 December 1893 vol 19 cc826-8
MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has observed a Dalziel telegram, published 6th December, in which it is stated, on the authority of the correspondent of The Cape Times, with the forces of the South Africa Chartered Company, that an expedition of 300 mounted men had been sent to Inyati, that they killed several natives, and captured their women and children, whom they afterwards released, and 1,000 head of cattle; and whether these natives attacked the 300 mounted men or were attacked by them, and sought to defend their women, children, and cattle from capture; whether he has observed a Dalziel telegram, published on the same day, in which it is stated, on the authority of Sir Henry Loch, that on 27th November letters had been received from Lobengula offering to negotiate; whether these letters (or their substance) have been forwarded to Her Majesty's Government; and whether Sir Henry Loch will be instructed to endeavour to enter into negotiations with Lobengula, should that monarch show any desire to treat; and whether Her Majesty's Government will agree to the appointment of a Committee of this House to inquire into the scope of the concessions granted by Lobengula, and now owned by the Chartered Company; the character of the pledges given to the King by Her Majesty, and which induced him to confirm the mining concession; the causes and origin of the war; and the mode in which the war was conducted, and will give the House an assurance that no ultimate settlement of the future relations of Matabeleland, either with the Empire or with the Chartered Company, will be made before this Committee has reported, and the House is in possession of the facts in regard to the a foresaid transactions?


As regards the first question, we have no information. As regards the second question, the information we have received from Sir H. Loch is briefly as follows: Dr. Jameson, about the beginning of November, sent Lobengula the message, which I have already quoted in the House, requesting the King to come in on a guarantee of his personal safety and good treatment in order to prevent further loss of life. In reply to this message, Lobengula said he would come into Buluwayo; but, after waiting five days, Dr. Jameson, hearing that Lobengula was trekking in the opposite direction, sent out Major Forbes' patrol. On the 26th of November two messengers came in to Buluwayo with a letter from Lobengula for Dr. Jameson, the purport of which was that the King wished Major Forbes' force to withdraw to allow him to come in and talk. This message was believed to be merely to gain time to collect people and food, as according to native information, Lobengula had made up his mind to cross the Zambesi, and had no intention of coming in. A message from Sir H. Loch assuring the King of honourable treatment if he surrendered, was sent by the King's messengers when they returned. Lobengula was then believed to be 100 miles down the Bubi River. Further, Babyane and four Indunas came in, saying that they were a deputation from the forces collected in the Matopo Hills and asking terms of peace. They were told that they must come in and deliver up their arms, and that they would then be allowed to return to their towns and could go on with their sowing. Finally, we yesterday received the following telegram from Sir Henry Loch:— Major Browne, Bechuanaland Border Police reports from Matopo Hills that several Matabele, including three Indunas, have laid down their arms and submitted, natives being allowed to return to their kraals. Latest intelligence from natives is that Lobengula is still on Bubi River, having halted there owing to illness; his intention of crossing Zambesi said to be abandoned. Colonel Goold-Adams was expecting Usher (a white man) from Matopo, and will endeavour to persuade him to be bearer of my message to Lobengula, in addition to the verbal message already sent. I am confident that Sir Henry Loch will neglect no opportunity of coming to terms with Lobengula so as to bring about, as speedily as possible, a peaceful settlement in Matabeleland. The answer to the third question is in the negative; but with respect to the ultimate settlement of Matabeleland, I can assure the House that we intend to adhere to the principles I have already more than once laid down, and that the rights and requirements of the natives will be adequately protected. Under these circumstances, I venture to hope that my hon. Friend and others will suspend their judgment until the Government are in a position to make a definite statement of their policy.

MR. PICTON (Leicester)

The hon. Gentleman in his answer spoke of "coming to terms" with Lobengula. Are we to understand that the demand of unconditional surrender is given up? What is meant by "coming to terms" if unconditional surrender is to be insisted upon?


The other day when I used the term unconditional surrender I went a little beyond my information, but I certainly gather that one of the terms Sir H. Loch will insist on is that Lobengula should come in.