§ SIR CHARLES CAMERON (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether his attention has been called to the statement that it was owing to the initiative taken by Messrs. Julius Weil and Company, Government contractors, or their agent, in storing at Mafeking a much larger stock of food supplies than that required by their contract, that the garrison and inhabitants of that town have been in a position to withstand the siege many weeks longer than they would otherwise have been able to do; whether he will cause inquiry to be made into the facts; and, if they be as stated, whether he will consider the propriety of suitably recognising the foresight of the person who, thus acting on his own responsibility, rendered possible the protracted defence of Mafeking. May I be permitted to add that I have heard since I put this question down that the initiative in this important matter was taken by a Member of this House?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
I have seen a report, which seems 170 to be authentic, that the initiative to which the hon. Baronet refers was due to Lord Edward Cecil, now shut up in Mafeking. I have not had an opportunity of consulting him or the gallant officer commanding in Mafeking, and therefore I cannot give any information on the subject at present.