HC Deb 21 January 1897 vol 45 c188

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the recent expedition to the King of Benin was ordered or undertaken at the instance or with the knowledge or consent of Her Majesty's Government, or solely on the authority of the Royal Niger Company's Protectorate without the cognisance or assent of the Foreign Office; whether it is competent for the Royal Niger Company's officials to embark upon such expeditions without acquainting Her Majesty's Government with the purpose of the undertaking and the means to be employed for the successful execution thereof; and whether the officials of this Company can now command the services of Her Majesty's forces and the use of public moneys for the prosecution of a war?


The hon. Member is, I think, labouring under some misapprehension. The unfortunate mission to the King of Benin had nothing to do with the Niger Company, within the sphere of whose Protectorate Benin does not fall; but was undertaken by the officials of the Niger Coast Protectorate, whose duty it is, as opportunity may-serve, to make arrangements for visiting the different parts of their district, but who had not in this case sought the previous sanction of Her Majesty's Government.