HC Deb 14 March 1906 vol 153 cc1237-9
SIR J. JARDINE (Roxburghshire)

To ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in the year 1905, any Chinese coolies of the gold mines in the Transvaal were subjected to any flogging or corporal punishment otherwise than in accordance with Ordinances or other enactments; and, if so, how many persons were so treated, and what were the nature and extent of such flogging or corporal punishment; whether it was preceded by any judicial inquiry or inquiry by any public officer, and whether any record was made at the time of the reasons for, and amount of, the sentence; and whether Lord Milner gave a written or oral sanction to any such system, and whether he consulted the Lieutenant Governor or any law officer before so doing.


The hon. Member will find information to the effect that such corporal punishment took place, in Mr. Lyttelton's telegram of October 24th printed at page 44 of Cd. 2786. The Secretary of State is not aware how many †See (4) Debates, cliii., 913–14. persons were subjected to this illegal treatment. The permission given is stated to have been for slight corporal punishment as practised in public schools in England, but it is admitted that the permission was abused. It was not preceded by any judical inquiry or inquiry by any public officer, and so far as the Secretary of State is aware no records were kept. The sanction which Lord Milner is understood to have given by intimating that he would take no objection as stated in Mr. Lyttelton's telegram appears to have been oral. There is no information in the possession of the Secretary of State to show that Lord Milner consulted the Lieutenant Governor or any law officer.

* MR. BELLOC (Salford, S.)

asked the hon. Gentleman whether, in his opinion, there was any guarantee whatever that Lord Milner did not do any illegal thing if they had no record.


I think my hon. friend will see that there is no doubt whatever that in authorising illegal punishment of this character at the same time that his official superiors were denying that such punishment was being permitted Lord Milner committed a grave dereliction of public duty, and at the same time an undoubted infringement of the law.


Is Lord Milner still a member of the Privy Council?


Will the hon. Gentleman make inquiries of Lord Milner or of others, with a view to getting more information than is contained in the Blue-book, as to how this authority was given, whether orally, or by special intimation, or—


Order, order! Notice must be given of that Question.

MR. MACKARNESS (Berkshire, Newbury)

Has any information been sought from Mr. Evans on this matter?


No, I do not think that any information on this particular question has been sought from Mr. Evans. The fact that Lord Milner has himself publicly assumed responsibility for this transaction has placed Mr. Evans in a somewhat indirect position in regard to this matter.


(Stoke-on-Trent) asked whether it was the intention to apply to some one in authority on the Rand to ascertain how far this unauthorised torture was inflicted on the coolies.


I will ask the Secretary of State whether he will make inquiries on that subject.


Will the Attorney-General be asked whether the Public Prosecutor should be put in motion?

[No Answer was returned.]