HC Deb 08 January 1894 vol 20 cc1026-8
MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to a speech made by the Prime Minister of the Cape Colony last week, a telegraphic summary of which has appeared in the newspapers, and particularly to the statement of MR. Rhodes, that, if unreasonable stipulations are imposed by the Imperial Government upon those who had shed their blood and spent their substance to effect the conquest of Matabeleland, his duty would be to resist it, whatever the consequences; whether, if any rights based upon having taken part in the conquest of that country, beyond those heretofore existing by concessions from its Monarch, or from Royal Charter, are intended to be granted, Parliament will be given an opportunity to consider them before the grant be made; and whether he will take care that, whatever may be done in this matter, the costs of that conquest incurred by the British taxpayer form a first charge upon any pecuniary advantages derived from the said conquest?


Yes, Sir; I read the report of Mr. Rhodes's speech that appeared in the newspapers on Thursday. I am unable to say how far the telegraphic summary actually or substantially represented what Mr. Rhodes actually did say. In regard to the second paragraph of the question, as I have already stated, the High Commissioner will submit to Her Majesty's Government a scheme, to be drawn up by himself and Mr. Rhodes, for the settlement of Matabeleland. The Government, in assenting to this or some amended scheme, will make themselves responsible for it, and will be amenable to Parliament for their action in the usual way. As regards the third question, the expenditure on the British Bechuanaland Police, which was incurred in defence of British territory, and in respect of the responsibilities of the Imperial Government, will be submitted to Parliament in a Supplementary Estimate at the proper time.


May I ask whether my hon. Friend has seen that Mr. Rhodes has, in a later speech, said he is exceedingly anxious that the British taxpayer shall not pay anything in respect of the Matabele campaign; and will my hon. Friend endeavour to carry out the wishes of Mr. Rhodes in that respect?


I can only repeat that I am not in a position to say how far the telegraphic summary of Mr. Rhodes's speeches in regard to the matter, and also in regard to my hon. Friend's later remark, are or are not correct.