§ * Sir SEYMOUR KING (Hull Central)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether it has been brought to his attention, officially or otherwise, that upon the 8th or 10th November, 1894, a British citizen named McDonald, who was employed as a foreman on the Beira Railway, at a place called Villa Beretto, about one and a half miles from the then terminus at Chimoio, in Portuguese territory, was shot by a Portuguese Commandant named Vascongellos, and died shortly after; whether he is aware that the circumstances of the tragedy have aroused considerable indignation in South Africa; whether any steps have been taken by the Portuguese authorities to bring the Commandant to trial, and with what result; whether Her Majesty's Government have been informed that the deceased left a widow and two children, now in a destitute condition; and whether any efforts have been made, or will be made, on their behalf to obtain from the Portuguese Government compensation for the outrage?
THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Mr. GEORGE CURZON,) Lancashire, Southport
Yes, Sir; the attention of Her Majesty's Government has been officially called to the death of McDonald under the circumstances mentioned. The trial of Vasconcellos took place at Beira in July last, and the finding of the Judge was that he had acted in self-defence. The prosecutor appealed to Lisbon, for which place Vasconcellos left soon after. Her Majesty's Minister has been promised that a report will shortly be furnished to him as to the present position of the appeal proceedings. We have heard that McDonald left a widow and family, but we have no information as to their condition. Pending the result of the appeal case it would be premature to speak of compensation.