HC Deb 06 March 1896 vol 38 cc362-4

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies—(1) whether he is aware, with reference to the alleged unconditional surrender of Dr. Jameson's force on 2nd January, that Sir John Willoughby replied to Commandant Cronje's Dispatch, already published, to the effect that they accepted the terms on the understanding that he guaranteed the lives of the whole force; that, on the receipt of this last Dispatch by the leader of the Transvaal forces, instructions were sent in accordance with which Dr. Jameson's force laid down their arms; and that, after the surrender had been effected, Commandant Malan reproved Commandant Cronje, in the presence of many witnesses, for having granted these terms; and (2) whether he will cause further inquiries to be made into all the circumstances of the case?


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies—(1) whether the offer in writing of Commandant Cronje, that the lives of Dr. Jameson and his whole force would be spared on condition of their laying down their arms and undertaking to pay an indemnity, was accepted in writing by Sir John Willoughby on behalf of the troops engaged; (2) whether he can inform the House why neither Sir Hercules Robinson nor Sir Jacobus de Wet made any attempt to find out from Dr. Jameson and his officers, during the 16 days they were in Pretoria gaol, what were the real terms of surrender; and (3) whether it is a fact that the Queen's High Commissioner, and the Representative of the Suzerain Power, was forbidden by President Kruger to communicate with the prisoners at Pretoria except as to subjects agreed to by President Kruger?


Perhaps the hon. Member for the Ecclesall Division of Sheffield will allow me to take the opportunity of answering his Question at the same time. The answer to the first part of both Questions is that a letter has been received in my Department from Sir John Willoughby's solicitor giving his client's recollection of what took place substantially as stated in the Questions. As regards the second and third parts of the Question of the hon. Member for the Ecclesall Division of Sheffield, I have already answered them in the reply given yesterday, and I have only to repeat that Sir Hercules Robinson and Sir Jacobus de Wet did not ask about the terms of the surrender because they believed, and had been informed, that they were unconditional. The Military Secretary was given a pass on condition that he would not discuss with the prisoners points other than those specified, but the prisoners might certainly have communicated the terms of their surrender to him if they had thought it necessary to do so. I suppose that they did not do so because they assumed that the terms were already known to the High Commissioner.

MR. J. H. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney-General, whether, with reference to the forthcoming Inquiry into the circumstances of Dr. Jameson's raid into the Transvaal, he is aware that Major Heaney, recently a member of Dr. Jameson's force, left England on Saturday for the United States; and, whether, before his departure was permitted, any steps were taken to ascertain whether or not he was in a position to tender important evidence in regard to the pending Inquiry?


In reply to the hon. Member I can only repeat the answer which I gave some days ago to the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty, and that is that I decline to answer any questions respecting the conduct of the proceedings which have been commenced against persons concerned in the transactions referred to in the hon. Member's Question.


May I ask the Attorney General whether it is not the case that the Major Heaney referred to arrived at Mafeking on the morning that Dr. Jameson started, by special train, and whether he will ascertain who paid for that special train?


I can give no further answer.

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