§ SIR GILBERT PARKER (Gravesend)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can say how many troops the Natal Government now have ready for operations; how many mounted and how many infantry; the estimated number of rebels with Bambata and with Sigananda; and whether there is official information that Sigananda is in rebellion?
§ THE UNDER-SECRETARY FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. CHURCHILL,) Manchester, N.W.
It is not, I think, always desirable to give detailed information as to the composition and strength of forces about to be employed in active military operations. It is, I think, sufficient to state that the Zululand Field Force numbers about 2,000 men, the majority of whom are mounted. The rebels were reported on the 27th of April to have three strong impis, but I cannot say the numbers. The Governor telegraphed on 17th April that Sigananda's tribe had broken into open rebellion.
§ MR. MYER (Lambeth, N.)
asked whether the hon. Gentleman could explain with any kind of exactitude the phrase "state of rebellion."
§ MR. CHURCHILL
I presume a state of disorder which is menacing to life and property would constitute a state of rebellion.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
asked the hon. Gentleman whether he had not reason to believe that this unfortunate and lamentable state of affairs in South 550 Africa was the direct outcome of the recent summary execution of natives.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
No, Sir. I am bound to say I do not think there is any connection between the executions to which my hon. friend has referred and the rising in Zululand.
§ [No Answer was returned.]
§ MR. J. WARD (Stoke-on-Trent)
asked whether it was not a fact that the rebellion was almost entirely due to the imposition of the poll tax, and whether it was not an act of rebellion for a chief to leave his kraal without having committed any other offence.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
I think these are questions for which notice ought to be given. They do not properly arise out of the question on the paper.