HC Deb 12 May 1896 vol 40 cc1137-8

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies, whether his attention has been called to a telegraphic report that appeared in the newspapers on Sunday of a Speech made by Mr. Rhodes at Gwelo on Friday last, in which he is reported to have said that he intended that no time should be lost in thoroughly thrashing the natives, and giving them an everlasting lesson; whether Mr. Rhodes is in an independent command of forces in Matabeleland, and whether he is in any way directing the military operations there against the natives; and, whether he will, if this has not already been done, inform Sir Richard Martin that the action of the Imperial and of the Chartered Companies' authorities against the natives is to be conducted with due regard to humanity, and, subject to the protection of the lives and property of Europeans, with a view to bring about a pacific conclusion of the present trouble, and to secure to the Matabele the right to live and thrive in their native country?


The answer to the first Inquiry is in the affirmative. The answer to the second is in the negative. Pending the arrival in the field of Sir Frederick Carrington, Sir Richard Martin will be in supreme command of the forces. Mr. Rhodes, as I understand, is, as any other colonist might be, holding the township of Gwelo against the enemy at the head of a body of colonists like himself. In answer to the third question, I have to refer the hon. Member to the instructions to Sir Richard Martin and the instructions to Sir Frederick Carrington, from which it will be perceived that the former officer, who is a man of well-known humanity and moderation, is to be the judge as to what punitive measures are necessary and permissible, and as to accepting the submission of the rebels and other measures connected with the pacification of the country.