HC Deb 01 February 1900 vol 78 cc265-6

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether the attention of the Secretary of State for War has been directed to the statement of Lord Wolseley in November last in explanation of the British reverses in Natal, that we found the enemy much more powerful and numerous than we had anticipated, and to the statement on unimpeachable authority that the Report of the Director of Intelligence of the strength of the Boers in artillery corresponded exactly with the recently ascertained knowledge of what the enemy had put in the field; and that, moreover, as to numerical strength the Intelligence Department's estimate was rather over than under the totals now said to be arrayed against us; and whether there is any way in which these apparently contradictory statements of the Commander-in-Chief and of the Intelligence Department can be reconciled.


In the statement referred to the Commander-in-Chief did not question the accuracy of the informa- tion supplied to him by the Intelligence Branch as to the fighting strength of the Boer Republics. What he intended to convey was that we had encountered larger numbers of the enemy in the field, and that the military qualities exhibited by the Boers had been of a higher order than was generally anticipated.