HL Deb 23 March 1882 vol 267 cc1621-2

My Lords, I wish to call the attention of my noble Friend opposite, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, to a matter which has come under my notice very recently, and of which I have given him private Notice. I have just seen some information from the Transvaal in reference to a great festival which has been held there with a view, it seems, of celebrating the independence of the Transvaal Republic. The Landdrost of Pretoria was in the chair, and many were present whose names are familiar to us in this country, and amongst them were M. Joubert and the English Resident. Now, I observe that on this occasion there were four toasts proposed—1st, "The Independence of the People of the South African Republic;" 2nd, "The Volksraad as a Legislative Authority;" 3rd, "The Triumvirate and the Executive Council;" and, 4th, "The Queen, as Suzerain of the State;" and I notice that M. Joubert, who proposed the last toast, very judiciously said that he did not know what the word Suzerain meant. I beg your Lordships to observe that of the list of toasts the first was "The Independence of the Republic," and the last was that of "Her Majesty the Queen." I do not think it possible to infer anything else than that an insult, I may say a gross insult, was intended—a sarcasm was used in reference to the Suzerain, but it was an insult as it was used in regard to Her Majesty as an exalted Lady in that capacity—but in the arrangement of the toasts an insult was no doubt intended. I do not know what course my noble Friend has taken; but I wish to call his attention to the fact that the British Resident was present—and the British Resident, if the newspaper reports are correct, humbly and deferentially accepted that insult, and made answer to the toasts as the Representative of the Queen for the Queen. I am afraid that my noble Friend will have no power to deny the accuracy of the statement which I have just made; but, at all events, I do hope that my noble Friend will be able to tell your Lordships that his attention has been called to the event, and that he had expressed his sense of the very gross impropriety of such a proceeding.


My Lords, I do not believe that an insult was intended by the Boers, less do I believe that it was intended to be a gross insult; but it was a most unbecoming proceeding, and certainly not a proceeding at which the British Resident should have taken part. As soon as my attention was called to the circumstance, I sent a message to the British Resident that he was not to attend any public meeting in the Transvaal, unless he first learned what was proposed to be done, and that due respect would be paid to his Sovereign whom he represents there.

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