§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN (Kilkenny)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that two burghers were shot in Pretoria on Tuesday, and can he say what was the offence, and whether any British subjects were shot by the Boers in cold blood since the war began.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. BRODRICK, Surrey, Guildford)
Three Boers who were on parole attempted to leave Pretoria during the night of 9th June to join commandoes; two were armed and opened fire on the party sent to capture them, wounding one man. They were condemned to death by court-martial, and the two armed men were shot. All prisoners attempting to escape are liable to be shot. There are undoubted cases of shooting of British subjects by the Boers. I do not think it is desirable to deal with them, as there is no connection between these judicial sentences and excesses which have been, in certain instances, committed by the Boers.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
Can the right hon. Gentleman cite a 409 single instance where British prisoner have been shot in this way by the Boers when captured by them?
§ MR. BRODRICK
But I do not know of any cases in which British prisoners, having escaped, have fired on a patrol sent to capture them and wounded them, though I do know cases in which British subjects, for no valid offence, have been shot in cold blood by the Boers. [Cries of "Name" from Nationalist Members.] I might mention the cases of Boyd and another who were shot at Wolmaranstad about four months ago, and also the case of Esau, who was shot in cold blood.
§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
Is it not the fact that a large number of British prisoners imprisoned on the racecourse at Pretoria, while the capital was in the hands of the Transvaal Government, escaped; were any of them captured and shot, and was any attempt made to shoot the hon. Member for Oldham when he ran away?
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
Then, is it not the fact that the circumstances surrounding the cases mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman have been greatly in dispute, and particularly that the case of Esau was strenuously denied?
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! This matter cannot be investigated now. The right hon. Gentleman was asked to name cases, and he did so, but these cannot be discussed.