HC Deb 13 July 1896 vol 42 cc1308-9
MR. C. P. SCOTT (Lancashire, Leigh)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the notice reported as having been promulgated at Cape Town on 7th July, decreeing outlawry against the insurgents in Rhodesia, and declaring that all natives remaining under arms shall suffer the punishment of death; whether he can give the exact terms of this notice, and state by whose authority it has been issued; and whether this notice is to be taken as superseding the decree of clemency recently issued by Sir F. Carrington, with which it would appear to be in direct contradiction?


The Report referred to by the hon. Member is not accurate. I have not yet received the exact text of the proclamation; but, after stating what is undoubtedly the law, that natives bearing arms or aiding those in arms are liable to be apprehended as rebels, and upon trial and conviction may be sentenced to death or any lesser punishment, it goes on to say that, in order to secure protection from these penalties, they must surrender themselves immediately, and that those who do so before August 10 will not be proceeded against, unless they have been ringleaders or have been concerned in any murder or outrage. In effect it is a proclamation of amnesty, and gives those who are not ringleaders and have not taken part in murders or outrages outside the incidents of actual warfare the opportunity of laying down their arms, so that they may be treated with clemency. There is nothing in it inconsistent with Sir Frederick Carrington's order as to the conduct of operations in the field, which was read to the House on June 18. It was issued with my approval on the recommendation of the Acting High Commissioner and Sir Richard Martin.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say when he will be able to give us the text of the proclamation?


I do not know; when I receive it.