HC Deb 21 February 1896 vol 37 cc802-4
MR. C. HARRISON (Plymouth)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies, whether, on the personal request, on the 6th of November last, of four of the Chartered Company's directors, and with the approval of the Commissioner of the Bechuanaland police then in England, or on what request was any, and what, arrangement made to place the Imperial armaments, and ammunition and military equipment and stores for the field, or any field guns, Maxims, or Gatling guns, then under loan to the Chartered Company, or under the control or custody of the Imperial Bechuanaland police, in the hands of the Chartered Company or its officers or administrators; and, whether any, and what, armament of guns or military equipment was captured by the Burgher forces, and whether any of it has yet been identified as having belonged to either the Imperial or Colonial Government?


In answering this and the next question I wish to say that, while I am anxious to give every information, I think the House will see it is desirable I should not be questioned as to the impending trial. When I saw the directors of the British South Africa Company on November 6 they did not make any request such as that mentioned in the question. Major Goold Adams, who I suppose is referred to as the Commissioner of the Bechuanaland Police, held no position in that force and was merely present to advise on topographical details. As has been already made known, it was a feature of the settlement which I made between the native chiefs and the British South Africa Company that the latter should have the administration of the borders of the Protectorate, and I told the High Commissioner to allow the Border Police to enrol with the Company and to sell to the Company any surplus stores or unsalted horses not wanted for the new Native Police. In pursuance of this arrangement Dr. Jameson appears to have purchased a fair quantity of miscellaneous stores, such as pants, putties, saddles, hats, &c., also two Maxims and two mountain guns, but no rifles or rifle ammunition. I assume that these four pieces of artillery were taken into the South African Republic and fell into the hands of the Burghers. As the Imperial Government had no property in these guns at the time of capture, I have not taken any steps for their identification.


further asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether the territories (stated to be under the control of the British South Africa Company at the date of the incursion of an armed force into the South African Republic) extended to any area south of the 22nd parallel of south latitude, or northern boundary of the area declared by the Order in Council of the 27th January, 1885, to be Bechuanaland Protectorate, and to be bounded on the east by the South African Republic, or to any district south of the Molopo, formerly the northern boundary of the Bechuanaland Crown Colony declared by the Proclamation of the 30th September, 1885, to be British territory; (2) whether the armed force was collected and concentrated in the southern part of the Protectorate north of the Molopo and the Crown Colony, and in the Civil Commissioner and Resident Magistrate's District of Makefing in the Crown Colony, and in the town of Makefing, 230 miles south of the 22nd parallel of south latitude, from whence the road starts and runs due east to Krugersdorp; and (3) whether, when such armed force issued, on Sunday, the 29th December, 1895, into the South African Republican territories, the town and district of Makefing, and all the Crown Colony south of the Molopo, had become and formed, as and from the 15th November, in accordance with a Proclamation of the 9th November, 1895, part of the Cape Colony, under the British Bechuanaland Annexation Act, 1895, and, at the date of the incursion, subject to the Government and laws of that country?


In reply to the first paragraph of the hon. Member's question, I have to state that at the time referred to two areas south of the 22nd parallel of south latitude, videlicet the trans-Molopo territory of Montsioa and the territory of Ikaning, had been placed, by High Commissioner's Proclamation, under the direct administration of the British South Africa Company. No district south of the Molopo River was under the Company's jurisdiction. I am advised that the second paragraph of the question falls under the category of questions which will have to be dealt with at the trial of Dr. Jameson, and which I am therefore unable to answer in this House. The answer to the third paragraph is yes.

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