§ MR. J. A. PEASE (Northumberland, Tyneside)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies, with reference to the petition of John Ansah and Albert Ossoo Ansah, princes of the late kingdom of Ashanti, presented to Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, setting forth their grievances, whether he is aware that they rendered material assistance to the late Ashanti Expedition in advising the King of Ashanti to submit without resistance to the English forces; that they were arrested and charged with forgery, and were tried and acquitted of those charges, but nevertheless their property and effects were seized and carried away, and whether the house of one of them at Coomassie was levelled to the ground by order of the English authorities; and whether it is the intention of the Government to compensate the Ansahs for any damage done them, and whether they or any one of them will be allowed to resume the possession of any property which they or he may have owned or possessed, before the conquest of Ashanti, within the confines of that kingdom.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
I have no information as to the advice which was given by the Messrs. Ansah to the King of Ashanti. It is true that they were tried on a charge of forging their credentials, and acquitted; but Her Majesty's Government refused to entertain their claim for compensation, because, while not impugning the verdict, they considered that there was a case for trial and did not find that any suggestion to the contrary was made when the trial took place. The property found in the house of Mr. John Ansah at Coomassie was taken possession of by the police and handed over to their counsel, Mr. T. Hutton Mills, after the trial. No house was destroyed in connection with this case, but after their arrest certain native 1181 huts were removed in order to clear the ground in the vicinity of the fort at Coomassie, and I will inquire whether their house was one of them. Upon the question whether they can now be allowed to return to Coomassie I will consult the Governor of the Gold Coast. I do not know what property, if any, they possess in Ashanti.