HL Deb 16 July 1888 vol 328 cc1351-3

My Lords, I wish to ask my noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies a Question of which I have given private Notice. I should be glad to hear from my noble Friend whether he has had recent information with regard to the progress of affairs in Zululand; and also I will ask him what are the number of troops which are at present available on the spot. I quite trust my noble Friend, who appreciates the gravity of the case, will lose no time in sending forward a full and adequate force. I would take this opportunity further of saying with what extreme regret I saw the announcement in to-day's paper of the death of that very eminent man Sir John Brand. My Lords, I think it is a very heavy loss, both Colonially and Imperially. I had personally many opportunities of knowing his worth and his great personal reliability, and I think that of the men I have known, I have been acquainted with none who united more completely strong practical sense with the most straightforward conduct. Of him it could be emphatically said that his word was his bond. My Lords, in South Africa there is no sounder head that I can call to mind and no firmer friend to this country, I particularly regret that his death should have occurred under the critical circumstances of South Africa at present; I can only trust his loss will not aggravate the difficulties of the present position.


My Lords, I cannot allow the observations of the noble Earl to pass without adding my testimony to the admirable qualities of the late head of the Orange Free State, Sir John Brand. He was a man who, while fully devoted to the interests of his own State, displayed on all occasions a spirit of friendship towards this country and a cordiality which in many difficult circumstances have been of the greatest service alike to the Empire and to South Africa. I feel especially bound myself to bear testimony to his merits, because, as your Lordships may remember, I was Secretary of State at the time when we were engaged in troubles in the Transvaal, and the circumstances in which he was then placed were those of peculiar difficulty, and I can say with perfect truth that nothing could have exceeded the fairness and the loyalty and the steadiness of purpose with which he conducted the affairs of the State through that very difficult time without involving them in any hostilities; and, while looking to the interests of his own burghers, he contributed largely to the restoration of peace in South Africa.


My Lords, I cannot refuse to add my testimony to that of my two noble Friends who have just spoken. Sir John Brand's death is a great loss to South Africa; he was an able and honest Minister, and a good friend of this country.


My Lords, it is hardly necessary for me to add anything to the very full testimony that has been given by the three noble Lords who have served in the position which I have now the honour to hold, of the merits, the transcendent merits, of Sir John Brand. I would only say this, that Sir John Brand has proved himself always to be a firm friend of this country through many difficulties, and that his death is a loss, not only to the Orange Free State, but to the whole of South Africa, whose peace he largely maintained by his ability, his good faith, and integrity of purpose. I would just add that I have been commanded by Her Majesty to express to the acting President of the Orange Free State her sincere regret at the death of Sir John Brand and at the loss South Africa has thereby sustained. As regards the Question of the noble Earl in respect of Zululand, I have nothing to add to the Answer given in both Houses of Parliament as to the number of troops. We know now that the 1st Battalion of the Royal Scots arrived at Ekowe on July 11. The exact disposition of the troops in Zululand I am not able to state; but with reference to some paragraphs that have appeared in the newspapers, I desire to state publicly that the General has complete control over all military operations. He is in full communication with the Governor, but the General has the full control of the actual movement of the troops. Another battalion has been ordered to go from Egypt to the Cape, and they will touch at Durban, so that if, as I hope will not be the case, further reinforcements are wanted in Zululand, they will at once land and proceed to the scene of the disturbances. I regret I cannot give any further information to the noble Earl, but I will keep him informed of the position of affairs.