HL Deb 26 March 1885 vol 296 cc621-2

asked the noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether it was true, as reported in The Morning Post of yesterday, and telegraphed from Cape Town, that Sir Hercules Robinson had ordered the proceedings instituted by Sir Charles Warren with regard to the murderers of Mr. Bethell to be stayed, and had further arrested his general course of action in Bechuanaland?


My Lords, in answer to the Question of the noble Lord I have to say that we do not know anything at the Colonial Office of any proposal to stay the proceedings instituted with regard to the murder of Mr. Bethell; but as regards another matter to which it is possible the writer of the telegram may have referred, I may say that it is the fact that Sir Hercules Robinson has expressed an opinion that the proceedings against Mr. Niekerk for the murder of Mr. Honey are ill-advised. One of these transactions may have been confounded with the other; but I am not a ware that in that case any step has been taken by Sir Hercules Robinson to veto, or to put an end to those proceedings. I may add that there have been differences of opinion on points of policy between Sir Charles Warren and Sir Hercules Robinson; but nothing that has come to my knowledge would justify the statement which has been telegraphed that Sir Charles Warren's course has been arrested. Both Sir Charles Warren and Sir Hercules Robinson have referred their differences to Her Majesty's Government, and I am in telegraphic communication with them upon the subject. I need hardly say that both of these gentlemen are very able and efficient public servants, and I venture to hope that their differences will be made up, and that the country will not lose the advantage of their co-operation.


I wish to ask whether Sir Hercules Robinson has taken these proceedings upon the advice of his Ministers, or has he acted simply as an Imperial officer?


As to the case of Bechuanaland, I apprehend, as that is beyond the jurisdiction of the Cape Colony, he would be acting entirely upon his own responsibility as High. Commissioner, and not as Governor of the Colony; but no doubt he would consult his Legal Advisers.