§ VISCOUNT SIDMOUTH
, in rising—(1) To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If it is true, as stated in the public prints, that a telegraphic despatch of his with reference to Angra Pequena has been communicated to the German Parliament by Prince Bismarck, and, if such should be the case, whether he will lay that despatch and others that have been made public on the Table of this House; (2) to move for a despatch or report addressed by the commanding officer of H. M. S. Valorous, a few years ago, to the Admiralty on the same subject; and, (3) to move for a, letter addressed by a mercantile house in the Cape Colony to the Colonial Office in 1654 July 1883, on the same subject; with the Secretary of State's answer to that document, said, that, years ago, the English flag had been hoisted on the islands close to Angra Pequena, and those islands had been granted to a firm of British merchants by the Crown. The territory on the mainland was purchased by the same firm from a duly-accredited Chief, who acted not for himself alone, but for others also. The head of the house, as he was informed, had sunk £30,000 in making improvements and putting up buildings. The firm had resigned property in Table Bay to the Cape Government entirely on the ground that they were to be allowed undisputed right to those islands. The islands were not really outside the harbour. There were one or two of them so near the mainland that at low water you could actually walk across. He was informed that H.M.S. Valorous visited the place some time ago, that formal possession was taken of the harbour, and that a Board which was set up claiming the territory was still there. About 15 months ago German settlers arrived in considerable numbers; they built a kind of fort, on which they placed cannon; and, finding that the British Government took no notice, they applied to Prince Bismarck, who they could not but admit had acted in a way in which many of them would wish our own Government should act. Immediately Germany discovered this country had no jurisdiction, the protection of that country was extended to the Colony. He was sorry that the protection of the Home Government had not been afforded to British subjects there in the manner which they had a right to expect.Moved, "That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty for Copy of a letter addressed by a mercantile house in the Cape Colony to the Colonial Office in July 1883, with reference to Angra Pequena, with the Secretary of State's answer to that document." — (The Viscount Sidmouth.)
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, he believed the noble Viscount had put a Question on this subject to his noble Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty (the Earl of Northbrook), who had replied to that part of the Question relating to the visit of a British ship to the Colony; and, if he remembered rightly, he put the same Question to himself a few days ago. He then gave reasons why he 1655 could not accede to the noble Viscount's Motion.
§ VISCOUNT SIDMOUTH
said, that the answer given by the First Lord of the Admiralty had reference to the visit of H.M.S. Boadicea in the autumn of last year. His present Question referred to the Valorous, which was there some years ago, and to the Report of the commanding officer of that vessel.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, that he must ask the noble Viscount to postpone that part of the Question. In answer to the first part, he might say that he had sent no telegraphic despatch such as the noble Viscount had described; but there was little doubt that the German Embassy did send a despatch, recording the result of the communications which had taken place between Her Majesty's Government and the German Embassy. The result of those communications gave every reason to hope that the question was likely to be settled, which, at one time, seemed calculated to lead to considerable friction. Her Majesty's Government, after considering the whole circumstances of the case, and after considering the statements of the German Government, and more especially with regard to the declarations made some years ago by the Government as to the limits of the Cape Colony, came to the conclusion that it was not possible nor desirable for them to oppose the protection of the German Empire being extended to German subjects having establishments in Angra Pequena. Her Majesty's Government would be ready to give a formal recognition to that protection after an agreement was come to which, he had no doubt, would secure all acquired rights, would prevent any chance of a convict establishment being founded there, and would secure the interests of British subjects, whether they had had concessions from the Native Chiefs, or whether they were Englishmen trading in those parts. As to the confines of the Colony, there was no doubt that, with regard to Wallfisch Bay, which was at some distance from Angra Pequena, and also with regard to the adjacent islands, they were British.
§ VISCOUNT SIDMOUTH
said, he hoped the Government understood the importance of the subject. He would point out that these islands were practically part of the mainland, being attached to 1656 it at low water. There was a very valuable property involved in the possession of the islands, for they were covered with guano; and if the Germans got possession of them, they might exclude us.
§ THE EARL or DERBY
, in answer to the third part of the Question of the noble Viscount, said he had no objection to lay on the Table the letter referred to. He presumed that the noble Viscount wished it to be produced with the rest of the Correspondence relating to the same subject when it was complete.
§ Motion (by leave of the House), withdrawn.