HL Deb 31 March 1898 vol 55 cc1444-64

Moved— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty for any instructions given by Her Majesty's Government to the Acting Commissioner at Kampala with respect to the Soudanese force to be attached to Macdonald's expedition, and other papers relating to the recent disturbances in Uganda."—(The Lord Stanmore.)


My Lords, I beg to move for any instructions given by Her Majesty's Government to the Acting Commissioner at Kampala with respect to the Soudanese Force to be attached to Macdonald's expedition, and other papers relating to the recent disturbances in Uganda; and to call the attention of the House to the present condition of affairs in that Protectorate. I have to ask your Lordships' indulgence for again trespassing upon your time with regard to the subject of Uganda. I am very unwilling to appear to weary the House again, but the subject is one which is not without its importance. The events of the last twelve months in Uganda have had very calamitous effects. They have had the effect of entirely wrecking one of the largest, most costly, and most important expeditions of exploration which was ever sent out by the British Government in Africa; they have disorganised the condition of the Protectorate of Uganda from top to bottom; they have practically stopped for a long time the work upon the railway, the completion of which is of such great importance; they have destroyed a force which was of great utility while it lasted; and they have cost the country a very large expenditure of money. Above all that, they have involved the loss of many valuable lives. It had been my original intention, in making the Motion of which I have given notice, to ask, in the first place, for certain papers, the possession of which by this House is, I think, essential if we are to form a just estimate of the proceedings which have taken place in those regions; in the next place to emphasise the reason which, in my opinion, and in the opinion of those who think with me, calls for an inquiry into the circumstances, and to point out more especially what are the leading points which should form the subject of inquiry. I had intended to begin by calling your Lordships' attention to the general condition of Uganda, the policy which has been pursued there, and the history of the Protectorate, but I think that in the necessary absence of my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, it would be undesirable to enter at any length into that branch of the subject. The other two matters, however, the noble Duke, the Lord President of the Council, has told me he has no objection to being brought forward, and I think it important to bring them forward now. In the first place, it is essential that we should have the Papers I have moved for if we are to form any correct judgment on the matter, and it is also desirable that, without loss of time, we should ascertain something more about the proposed inquiry. In the Debate which took place in the House of Commons the other day, the Government was understood to say that an inquiry of a searching description would take place. That announcement on the part of the Government had, of course, a considerable influence upon that Debate, and I for one took it for granted that such an inquiry was about to be made. I have since heard that questioned, and that it is not quite clear that any such inquiry was intended; and I hope the noble Duke will give us some information on this point before we separate this evening. For these reasons I intend to proceed with the two first parts of my Motion, and the Papers that are moved for will be mentioned as I give the reasons which call for inquiry. At the beginning of last year Mr. Berkeley, Her Majesty's Commissioner in Uganda, came home on leave of absence, and gave a most flourishing report of the condition of things in the Protectorate. It could not, according to his account, be more prosperous, more peaceful, and more satisfactory from every point of view. But six months after he left, the whole of Uganda was in a state of seething discontent. There were rebellions in various places, and disaffection everywhere. Now, of two things, one: Mr. Berkeley was either right in his report or he was wrong. I do not pretend to say whether he was right or wrong, but this is very interesting and important to know, and that is one of the points, and the first, to which inquiry should be directed. For if Mr. Berkeley was wrong, it naturally occurs to one to ask how he could have been deluded into giving such a flattering, but incorrect, view of the condition of affairs. If, on the other hand, he was right, and everything when he left Uganda was in the state which everyone would wish it to be, then it becomes a matter for inquiry, and for very serious inquiry, as to how it was that in six months the state of things was wholly altered. I do not say how it was altered, if it was altered; I only ask for inquiry. It may have been by administrative mismanagement. It may have been by causes of a totally different character. There may be some one to blame, or there may be nobody to blame; but at all events, an important state of things has arisen on the cause of which we should have some light thrown. The Government at home, most naturally and most properly, took the report of their Commissioner as being accurate and well-founded, and seeing that Uganda was in this peaceable, prosperous, and happy condition, they thought, also naturally enough, that it might be possible to dispense with some of the troops which were employed there; and as they had, at the same time, under taken to send to Africa an expedition of an exceedingly costly and extensive character, under Major Macdonald, they thought they might diminish that expense to some degree by attaching to the expedition three companies of the Soudanese soldiers, who were, at that time, serving in Uganda, and serving on the very lowest possible pay that one can conceive a military force being paid. Accordingly, orders were given that three companies of the Uganda Rifles should be attached to Major Macdonald's expedition, and should go with him into the Juba. Now, those instructions are the first Papers which I have moved for—namely, the instructions that were given by Her Majesty's Government to the local authorities in Uganda with regard to the dispatch of three companies to join Major Macdonald. Were those instructions peremptory instructions, or did they allow of any discretion on the part of the local authorities? If they were absolutely peremptory instructions that these men were to go under all circumstances, and at any risk, of course, the responsibility lies with Her Majesty's Government. If, on the other hand, as seems to be more likely, some discretion was given, the responsibility lies upon those who did not exercise that discretion. I do not pretend to say which it was, but this, again, is a subject for inquiry or for the production of the instructions. In the time which elapsed between the giving of these instructions and their receipt in Uganda, the state of affairs had completely altered. The circumstances were no longer the same. When the order was given in England, it was supposed that Uganda was perfectly quiet and perfectly prosperous, and that there was no danger. When the order arrived, it found, as I have said, disorder and disaffection, and if any discretion had been given one would have thought that it would have been exercised. But even if no discretion had been given, one would have supposed that the local authority, in the face of the circumstances existing, would have made some representations to Her Majesty's Government as to whether they wished, in the existing circumstances, that their orders should be carried out. The next question for inquiry is: What did they do in the circumstances? That we do not know. So far as the Blue Book shows us, no objection and no demur was raised by the local authorities in Uganda. All that they say is, that they will do their best, and they explain the steps which they are taking to supply the required force to Major Macdonald. But, though the Blue Book is silent, I do not mean to say that it is at all impossible that Major Ternan may have protested. I want an inquiry as to whether he did protest or not, or whether a protest was made by anybody against denuding Uganda of troops at such a time. Judging by the following extract from a private letter from an officer on the spot, it seems probable that the Home Government had been aware of this danger— The order (for the troops to joint the Expedition to the Italian Boundary) has only just arrived, and left England probably before Commissioner Berkeley had arrived in London, when he would probably tell the authorities that the Soudanese that are wanted for 'the job' cannot be spared. As a matter of fact there was ample time for Mr. Berkeley to have communicated with the Foreign Office, for he left Mombasa about the end of February. Therefore, it appears that it was known that they could not be spared. I think we may suppose that Major Ternan knew this also. But supposing that he had no discretion, and supposing that he was obliged to send this force, the next question which arises and suggests itself for inquiry is: Why were these three companies sent? They were companies which had been worked incessantly for months previously. They had been harassed, overworked, over-marched, sent hither and thither to quell risings in different parts of the country and out of the country; and then, just when they had thought their work was over, they were sent off to join this expedition to the north, a district which they always dreaded to go to. They very naturally thought that other companies which had been less heavily worked, which had been performing garrison duty, and which, therefore, were in a fitter condition to go, might have taken their place. They resented the treatment that had been meted out to them. That seems to me a perfectly legitimate grievance on their part; but, my Lords, that grievance did not stand alone. They had other grievances, some of them of a very serious character. The existence of some of these grievances is fully and frankly admitted in the correspondence. None of them are denied, and the admissions themselves are somewhat startling. It is admitted, in the first place, that these men were six months in arrear as to their pay. One hears of that sometimes with regard to coloured troops, or even uncoloured troops of minor States, and one always looks upon it with a superior air of pity; but the idea that troops in Her Majesty's Service, supposed to be troops in Her Majesty's pay, should be six months in arrear seems to be a startling fact, and likely enough to create disaffection. It is also fully admitted that their pay was ridiculously low, being only one-sixth of what was paid to other negro Soudanese troops with whom they were to act in conjunction. It is also alleged by them that they were irregularly and badly fed, and that allegation is to a great extent borne out by a private letter from an officer in that region, and it is not denied. Now, you have in these men, badly paid at best, not paid at all for six months, badly fed, overworked, and harassed in this way, all the conditions which predispose men to be mutineers. When they went to Major Macdonald's force, there were two additional causes of discontent added to those which already existed. In the first place, whether reasonable or unreasonable I do not pretend to say, but certainly as a matter of fact, Major Macdonald was not a persona grata with them. They disliked and feared going under his control, and, again, they suspected, and not untruly suspected, that they were to be marched off to a distant region to which they particularly objected to go, and to which, in their original Articles of Engagement, they had stipulated they should not be sent. Although these Articles of Engagement were not specifically renewed when the men entered Her Majesty's Service, they probably thought they continued as there was nothing said about their being abolished. Moreover, the instructions left by Sir Gerald Portal—they were very clear instructions—were, that this force was only to be used, except under the greatest emergency, for internal work in Uganda, and for its defence from outside. It was not to be employed out of Uganda. Therefore, they had some reason for their dissatisfaction in that direction. You have there a force labouring under grievances which predispose it to mutiny. Now, how should a force in that condition be handled? You have seen how it should be handled, I think. You may see how it should be handled from this very Blue Book, by looking at what Sir Arthur Hardinge did with the Soudanese in his part of the Protectorate. He took measures to redress their grievances, while, at the same time, keeping a firm band over them, and to prevent there being any just cause for complaint. Unfortunately, that course does not seem to have been followed, for what reason I do not know, with regard to these Soudanese in the Uganda Protectorate. There, again, comes a point for inquiry. There may be a perfectly good reason for what was done, but no reason has been given. The facts are, these grievances were not taken into account. There, again, a number of questions arise, about which the Blue Book tells us nothing. Were these grievances properly represented to Major Ternan, the Commissioner? If they were, what notice did he take? Did he make any report? Did he communicate the fact to Major Macdonald? Was any step taken to diminish the grievances? Apparently, speaking from the Blue Book, these grievances were totally unredressed. When these men made their representation, they were told by Major Macdonald to make it to a Native officer. He appears not to have made any further inquiry himself about it, and the only reason given for not doing so seems to me an exceedingly futile one. He says it was not his business, because they belonged to the Uganda Protectorate. That I do not think is a good reason, because once they were attached to his force they became part of it, and he, as its commanding officer, was bound to inquire into the grievances of the men serving under him. But supposing it was the affair of the Uganda Government, the Commissioner (Mr. Jackson) was in his (Major Macdonald's) camp at the time. He was actually with him, and could have spoken to him on the subject. However, nothing was done. Then came the last provocation. The men asked where they were going, and they were told, not where they were going, but they were told, through Mabruk Effendi (the only channel of communication allowed them by Major Macdonald), that they were going "where they were bid to go." [The LORD PRESIDENT of the COUNCIL: Where is that stated?] The actual words are, that they were to go "where they were required to go," which, I think, is equivalent to "where they were bid." It is on page 22, line 6. This statement is not (in the Blue Book, at any rate) denied by Major Macdonald. Well, after that we are told that they broke away, not deserting in a body as a military force, but in twos and threes, and ran towards the Ravine Station, eight miles distant. They were pursued, and an officer (Captain Kirkpatrick) was sent to give information at the Ravine Station of what was going on. The deserters did arrive there. They were then ordered to go into the fort, and on their refusing to do so they were, by Captain Kirkpatrick's order, but in opposition to the opinion of Lieutenant Feilding, who was in command there, fired upon. That, no doubt, converted them into absolute mutineers. After that, whatever may have been their intention before, they felt they had become mutineers. I hope your Lordships will forgive me for pressing this point about the legitimate grievances of the Uganda Rifles, because what I contend is this, that if those grievances had been inquired into, and if they had been redressed, there would have been no mutiny, and we should have escaped the loss of money, the loss of life, and all the other bad consequences which have followed. I do not pretend to say who is responsible, but I say a case is made out for inquiry as to who was responsible. Major Ternan may have been in ignorance of these grievances. If so, it is not complimentary to him. If he was not ignorant of them, he must have been apathetic. After being fired upon the mutineers made off elsewhere. Now, there comes a subject of inquiry which I ventured to mention when I last addressed your Lordships. Why were no efficient steps taken to intercept them on the way? Why were they not followed up more rapidly? Why did Major Macdonald's force take 22 days to perform a distance which Major Harrison and his force performed in 13 days? A great deal turns upon that, because if the force which Major Macdonald commanded had arrived at Fort Lubwas only 24 hours earlier than they did, the consequences which ensued would not have happened. That, I say, is another subject for inquiry. And, finally, of all the topics for inquiry, I should say the proceedings at Fort Lubwas itself deserve great consideration. We have an account of the proceedings there in the despatch from Major Macdonald, and I have no doubt that that despatch is perfectly correct; and where that despatch differs directly from other accounts I have seen, I have little doubt that the other accounts are incorrect. But, though all may be correct that is in the dispatch, there is a great deal that is not in it. It may be supplemented largely. Even in that remote and out-of-the-way part of the world there are newspaper correspondents—there was a correspondent of the Daily News there—and we have also private letters from private persons, and from missionaries; and from all these you have a great deal of supplementary information of a very curious character. Major Macdonald's dispatch is confined almost exclusively to the proceedings of the 19th, when the battle took place. But these other accounts all say that the mutineers sent an offer of submission the day before, of course on terms which might not, perhaps, be granted. At any rate they wanted to be parleyed with, and did not wish to fight. Again, when the fight was over they sent out a deputation begging for terms. There is no mention of that in the dispatch, but it is mentioned as a matter of notoriety by half-a-dozen people at least who have written to newspapers or to private friends on the subject. I think we should have some inquiry on that point. As to the subsequent proceedings, I do not wish to go into them. It seems to me that the whole of that history is one which establishes a fair case for an inquiry. We understood from the Debate in the House of Commons that the Government promised such an inquiry. If it does so, well and good; if not, I think your Lordships will agree with me that I have made out a case for such an inquiry. Well, my Lords, that is the second part of my Motion. With regard to the third part of my Motion—as to the general state of Uganda, the policy which has been pursued, and the policy which will be pursued—I do not think I should do well to go into that now, in the absence of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. But there are two or three points—established facts—which I do think it is worth calling your Lordships' attention to, and which I hope your Lordships will consider whenever we come to a real discussion upon the subject. The first is the entire want of continuity—the want of continuity of administration—in Uganda. During the last five years the post of Commissioner has been held by eight different people, the tenure of the longest not being more than a year. There has been a continual change of men and Measures, some of the administrators holding views very different from their predecessors. I think a good deal of the evil is due to that, but something is due, no doubt, to Uganda being largely administered from the Foreign Office. I do not often find myself in agreement with the senior Member for Northampton, but in this case I agree with him. I think that the permanent staff of the Foreign Office, valuable as their services are in their proper place, are about the very last people to whom I would entrust the direct government of a half-savage, half-barbarous Dependency. Of course, when I speak of the Foreign Office I do not include its head. If the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs were to look after it, it would be well and judiciously looked after, but my noble Friend has work enough upon his hands already as Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, and I do not think he is at all likely to add to those tasks the burden of being an amateur Colonial Secretary. With regard to the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, there is no man in whose hands I would rather see the administration of Uganda entrusted than in his. I think, from his knowledge of men and savage races, and other things, he is a man eminently fitted for it. I do not wish to lift a veil from the inner chamber of that mysterious Depart- ment, but if things are managed in the Foreign Office now, as they were in the days when I had a more intimate knowledge of it, the Parliamentary Secretary would have uncommonly little to do with it. Another thing I want to impress upon your mind is the extraordinary mystery there has been about the administration of Uganda. All the Colonies have a Blue Book issued annually, giving a report of their condition, stating what has been done there, and giving information as to their finances and administration. From some Protectorates, even under the Foreign Office, there are such reports, but from Uganda we really have no information whatever. I doubt whether any of your Lordships could tell us what the actual government of Uganda is. I do not know what laws there are there. I know the Orders in Council which rule British subjects, but that is a different thing. How is the law administered? Is the law made by the Commissioner? Who has the power of life and death? Is that exercised by the Commissioner or by natives? What are the finances? What are the taxes? What was the revenue last year? What was the expenditure? What works are carried on there? We have had absolutely no information whatever as to the domestic working of the Uganda Protectorate. I want finally to point out—everyone has a malicious satisfaction in seeing what one has predicted come true—how terribly the railway has been retarded, and how terribly costly it has become. I have ventured in this House before to urge the immense importance of attempting to carry that railway on as cheaply as it would have been carried on in America or even in Africa. You can see how the southern railway from the Cape has progressed, and how the military railway up the Nile has progressed, but of the Uganda Railway, which was begun before 1895, there are only 132 miles laid; that is to say there are 540 miles more to be laid, and that with a temporary wooden bridge at Mombasa. I fancy that the recent operations, the sending up of Major Macdonald's force, has practically put an end to the work. In a letter which I saw the other day, the magnificent solid stone stations, quays, and storehouses which were built there, were referred to with the most enthusiastic admiration. What you want are not solid stone stations, but the line laid down as quickly as you can. In the meantime, I see, from this Blue Book, that notwithstanding the making of the cart road, a great amount of goods are carried up by caravan, which is the most expensive and the most wasteful kind of carriage you can possibly have. I think it costs something like £180 a ton to get anything up to Kampala by caravan, and the loss of life is something terrific. The figures are so portentous that I cannot believe them. I am told that out of a caravan of something like 4,000, less than 1,000, making every allowance for desertions, returned. At one time, when there was a question of making the railway, it was suggested that the want of the railway might be supplied by having a couple of steamers on the take. One of these steamers was sent up, and it was sent up on men's heads by an enormous caravan. Eighteen cases of pieces of the steamer were lost on the way by the carriers. The steamer consequently could not be put together, and was of no use. Apparently the Government at home were aware of this, and thought they would send out another steamer. Another steamer was accordingly sent, but when we last heard from Africa that steamer was still at Mombasa. On the general question I am not going now to dilate. I merely mention a few facts which some day may be the subject of a Motion. At the present time, I will merely say that I think I have made out a case for inquiry. I beg, therefore, to move the Motion which stands in my name.


My Lords, with reference to the Papers which the noble Lord has given notice of his intention to move for, I have to state in reference to the first of them—the only one which he has specified in his notice—the instructions from the Foreign Office to the Acting Commissioner in Uganda, with reference to sending three companies of Soudanese troops to join Macdonald's expedition, the only instructions, so far as I know, to the Commissioner in Uganda were a copy of the instructions to Major Macdonald, which are contained in the Papers. These were sent to the Commissioner, and subse- quently the following telegram was sent as to the dispatch and preparation of the force. On May 20th, Lord Salisbury telegraphed to Mr. Hardinge— Send following to Uganda by special runner:—'Detail for service under Major Macdonald, 2 British officers, 300 Soudanese troops, including some Dinkas and Shilluks, 100 picked Swahilis, and 200 other porters, to be at Njemps, Lake Baringo, by the 10th September. Soudanese and picked Swahilis armed with Martinis and 100 rounds per man. Also 20 boxes reserve ammunition and 20 loads trade goods, with some medicines, tools, etc. Carry as much food as possible to Njemps, and 50 cattle and 100 sheep and goats at least.' These, my Lords, as far as I know, were the only instructions which could be produced, and the noble Lord will probably think it is scarcely necessary to embody them in a Parliamentary Paper. As regards the other Papers, for which he has given notice of his intention to move, but which he does not specify, I find, on reference to the Foreign Office, that they are all Papers which have not been sent home. Probably it is somewhat difficult to trace in each case what Papers the noble Lord refers to, but, at all events, they are not in the possession of the Foreign Office. Of course, I will call the attention of the Foreign Office to the wish which has been expressed by the noble Lord to see these Papers, which were enclosures, no doubt, in dispatches which have been sent home; and inquiries will, no doubt, be made as to whether these Papers can, at a subsequent date, be forwarded and included in any further Papers which may be laid upon the Table of the House. The chief object, however, as I gather, of the observations which have been made by the noble Lord was, generally, to ascertain of what character the inquiry we propose to make into certain portions of these events, and into the circumstances which led to them, will be. Before I state the nature of that inquiry, I have to observe that the noble Lord appears to have, within the course of this month, to a certain extent, changed his opinion, because, when putting a question on this subject early in the month, he stated that, our information being imperfect, we were not in a position either to apportion blame or praise in regard to those concerned in these events, and he regretted a Debate which was then taking place in the House of Commons in consequence of the absence of information on which it ought to have been based. At that time, while asking for information, he expressed his intention, when he had received it, of calling further attention to this matter, and to move a Resolution, which, I suppose, in some form or another, would ask the House to express an opinion upon the conduct of those who had been engaged in those transactions. Of course, the noble Lord must be aware that there has not been time for those against whom either charges or insinuations have been made to send home the necessary information which might give an answer to those charges. The noble Lord, however, has not thought it necessary to wait for further information, or for any reply from those who are implicated, and I have to tell him that we are not in possession of any further information than that which we possessed when he asked his first question, and that any further dispatches which we have received, and which no doubt will shortly be laid on the Table, refer not to those events to which he has called attention, but entirely to subsequent events. We are, therefore, in no degree in a better position to-day to discuss the merits of the question or to apportion praise or blame to those who were concerned in these transactions than we were a month ago, when the noble Lord expressed the opinion that a discussion on the subject was premature. The noble Lord, however, asks to what subjects the inquiry is to be directed. Mr. Berkeley, the Commissioner in Uganda, who was away on leave at the time these events took place, has now returned to Uganda, and has received instructions from the Foreign Office to inquire and report upon the causes of the mutiny and the demoralisation of the Soudanese troops. He has also been directed to inquire into all the circumstances preceding the arrival of Major Macdonald at Lubwas, and, as far as he is able, into the circumstances attending the capture and murder of Major Thurston, Major Scott, and Major Wilson. Those instructions seem to me to cover pretty well the whole ground gone over by the noble Lord. I am not aware precisely in what form Mr. Berkeley has been instructed to make this inquiry, but no doubt he will act in accordance with the instructions he has received, and make as complete an inquiry into all those circumstances as he may find it in his power to make. Now, my Lords, I think the noble Lord has not attributed at all too much importance to the mutiny as being by far the most material part of the case. It is by far the most important part, both as regards the past and the future. Only on further inquiry can it be shown whether any mistakes, as the noble Lord thinks, have been made in the past; and only inquiry can show what, in my opinion, is a far more important matter, what steps may be necessary in the future to prevent a recurrence of such unfortunate events. It appears that this disaffection and demoralisation of the Soudanese troops took our officers, who were on the spot, both military and civil, entirely by surprise. These Soudanese troops appear to have been recruited mainly from the remnant of Soudanese troops who served with Emin Pasha some years ago when he was employed in the Equatorial Provinces of Africa. A portion of these men were recruited by Sir Gerald Portal, and those who have succeeded him, and very complete confidence seems to have been felt in their courage, discipline, and fighting qualities by the officers in command of them. Some reference may be found to previous occasions on which some portions of this force had shown symptoms of insubordination, but, led as they were by British officers on many other occasions, they distinguished themselves very considerably, and displayed the qualities of very excellent soldiers. We have, it is true, some general, but very imperfect, knowledge of the nature of their complaints and their grievances. How far the grievances or complaints were well founded, or how far responsibility rests upon the officers concerned, I think that only further inquiry can show. The noble Lord has stated that one of the grievances was that their pay was six months in arrear. He thought that was an extremely obvious cause of disaffection. I am informed that it is true that owing to difficulties of transport, their pay had been in arrear for a period of something like six months, but that was a grievance which no longer existed. Before they were ordered to join Major Macdonald, they had been paid in full, and, therefore, that grievance had entirely disappeared. Major Ternan, who was invalided home just before these occurrences took place, himself was preceded from Uganda with 70 or 80 of these men who have been ordered to form part of Major Macdonald's force. He states that he was not aware, and had not the remotest conception, that any spirit of disaffection existed among them, and it was only after his departure that any signs of mutiny or insubordination took place. My Lords, the noble Lord, in the observations which have been made, has quoted the complaints of the Soudanese. Of course, I do not mean to say that he has stated them to your Lordship as being absolutely well founded, but when he quoted the statement as to the grievances of the mutineers, he did not mention that he was only quoting from their own statements. He did not think it necessary to refer to the account which Major Macdonald himself gave of those grievances which will be found on page 20 of the Papers. Major Macdonald enumerates briefly the grievances stated to him by the mutineers, and then he says— As I was, owing to heavy rain, unable to write down their statements at the time, I urged them to return to the fort with me, when I would go more fully into their grievances, at the same time promising that if they did so the rank and file would be pardoned. In the case of the officers and sergeants, I said I would do my best on their behalf, but that they must be dealt with by the military authorities. None, however, would accompany me at the time, but next morning four of them came in under a safe conduct to represent the others, and I took down their statements, a copy of which I beg to enclose herewith, together with a copy of the report of Captain Kirkpatrick and Lieutenant Feilding, for your Lordship's information. I see, my Lords, that this is Mr. Jackson's report, not Major Macdonald's. He goes on in the next paragraph to say— As most of these grievances relate to points that I must investigate in conjunction with the Commandant and officers of the Uganda Rifles, I propose to deal with them in a later dispatch, but I am in a position to say, from the statements of the men themselves, that their grievances regarding their women and insufficient food do not refer to the arrange- ments made by Major Macdonald after they joined him, excepting that he declined to halt here for a month whilst some of their women left behind at Kampala and Lubwas joined them, or until other companies were sent to relieve them, a demand which your Lordship will understand was quite out of the question. My Lords, we admit that there are certain matters which demand further inquiry, but I am bound to say, in justice to the officers concerned, that I do not see, on the face of these papers, that any remission or injustice or negligence was shown by any of them in dealing with complaints and grievances of the mutineers as soon as they were brought to their notice. Now, my Lords, the only other point to which the noble Lord has referred in detail is the want of promptitude and energy which he appears to consider was shown by Major Macdonald and the officers with him in not pressing forward to anticipate the rebels in reaching Uganda. Now, my Lords, in my opinion, it is a very idle and useless occupation to attempt, with the imperfect knowledge which we must possess of the circumstances of the country, and the circumstances in which these officers were placed, to discuss in detail the action which they took in consequence of this mutiny. There is nothing in the Papers to show that any delay which took place was not the result of indifference or want of energy, but was the result of a deliberate policy. The noble Lord appears to be entirely under a misapprehension as to the large force which Major Macdonald had with him after the mutiny had taken place. The force which Major Macdonald had with him at that time was not a large force. The greater part of his force, and that upon which he chiefly relied, was a Soudanese force—the larger part of which rebelled, and Major Macdonald was left with a very small number of Sikhs from India, partially trained Swahilis, and a certain number of porters. But the whole of his force was not available, because all his supplies had not been brought up, and a portion of the force which remained with him had to stop to bring up these supplies. The Paper shows that, though Major Macdonald and Mr. Jackson did not take the course which commends itself to the noble Lord's opinion, that action on their part was the result of deliberate and settled conviction. Mr. Jackson, in his dispatch of the 26th September, says— As the discontent as to pay, etc., would appear to be general and reports of any fighting would be greatly exaggerated, and could not fail to have a bad effect in Buddu, I have decided not to follow up the mutineers for the present; I have, however, informed Captain Bagnall of the state of affairs, and have instructed him to do everything in his power to prevent them from passing towards Uganda. I am, myself, hurrying forward by the old caravan road (Gaash Ngishm) accompanied by Major Macdonald's column to Mumias, where I shall be in close touch with Uganda and Nandi, and be in a position to take such steps as may be necessary. From that passage it is perfectly obvious that the policy which commends itself to Major Macdonald and Mr. Jackson, although it does not commend itself to the noble Lord, was not to press forward with this undisciplined force in immediate pursuit of the mutineers, but to endeavour to hem them in in a part of the Protectorate, where it was supposed they would not find supplies, and thus prevent them in that way from reaching Uganda. That policy may have been wise or unwise. Certainly, unhappily, it did not prove successful; but I do not think we are in a position to throw that blame upon the officers concerned—which the noble Lord seems to do—in the absence of further information. I fail to see the object with which the noble Lord has again put forward this Motion in the present state of the information which he possesses. If he considers that the Papers before us would have been made clear by any additions which have not been included he would only have had to make the necessary representation to the Foreign Office and he would have had it. Everything which is known, a full account of all these transactions, so far as they are known to the Foreign Office, has been made by my right hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Curzon, in the other House. But, assuming that there are parts of this information which require further explanation and inquiry, instructions have been given that that inquiry shall be made, and in the absence of that fuller information, which we hope to obtain, I think that statements such as those which have been made in the other House, and partially made in this House—charges or insinuations which are scarcely supported by any evidence before us—are certainly not generous, if, indeed, they are just, to the officers concerned. My Lords, I think that my noble Friend will see that there is nothing in the Motion which he has made for further Papers, which, at the present moment, can be complied with; and I can only give him an undertaking that I will bring his demand under the notice of the Foreign Office, in order to ascertain whether anything can with advantage to the public service be added to the Papers which we are already in possession of.


I entirely agree with the noble Duke that it is quite premature to enter upon a discussion of events with which we really are imperfectly acquainted, and I do not mean to lend myself to, or to associate myself with, the action of the noble Lord, or with his expression of opinion upon the conduct of the officers engaged upon this transaction. I think myself that very great care should be taken not in any way to censure officers placed in a situation of great difficulty until, at all events, we have the full facts before us; and far from myself, upon the facts before me, undertaking to censure them, I may say that whatever may have been the cause of the mutiny the conduct of our officers seems to have been well worthy of British officers placed in a difficult position, and they deserve the sympathy and approval of those who know the facts as far as we know them. In saying that I am alluding to the courage and determination with which they met difficulties of a very arduous nature. Indeed your Lordships probably know how very small a number of English officers there were in this immense district, and what a number of difficulties they all had to face, almost at the same time, because before the mutiny there had been an insurrection in the province of Buddu. King Mwanga had been driven out of the country, and the whole of that very large region—for it is large, much larger than your Lordships may imagine when you see it upon the map of Africa—had been in a disturbed and unsatisfactory state, and coming upon that condition of things arose this most disastrous mutiny. I say, then, we ought to be most chary of expressing any disapproval of what our officers did. But that does not in the least degree prevent me from saying that I agree with the noble Duke that it is very expedient that there should be an inquiry into the whole of the circumstances, not merely in regard to what has been done, but also, as the noble Duke himself justly observed, with a view to seeing what Measures can be taken to prevent a recurrence of such events in the future. I will only make one single further remark. I cannot help feeling some doubt as to whether it was expedient at all to send away a portion of the very small force in Uganda to such distant regions as those to which Major Macdonald's force was to be sent. The condition of Uganda has never been otherwise than somewhat of an unsatisfactory one, and the force being extremely small, I should have thought myself that it was somewhat hazardous to send away any considerable portion of that force. As regards the Soudanese themselves, the noble Duke has pointed out himself, that Major Turner did not observe any symptoms of discontent among them, and before that we certainly had experience of excellent service on the part of these Soudanese. At the same time, there is no doubt that a force of that kind, with a very small number of English officers and with no European troops, is a force concerning which one must always feel some anxiety. But, my Lords, although I have had something to do with the affairs of Uganda, and merely venture to express an opinion, I think it is highly undesirable that we should enter upon the discussion of these affairs until we know the facts, and as regards Mr. Berkeley, who is to conduct the inquiry, I feel bound to say that I believe him to be an officer well qualified to conduct that inquiry; and your Lordships will observe that, having been absent at the time from the country, he is in no way concerned in what took place there, and, therefore, no doubt, can be trusted to sift all the facts with absolute impartiality. More than that I really do not desire to say, and I do not think I should have made any remark at all excepting for saying that I strongly agree with the noble Duke in saying that this is not a time when we can enter usefully into a discussion of the whole matter.


Of course, my Lords, if the noble Duke has not got the Papers to produce I do not wish to call for them. I am quite satisfied with the assurances given me that they will be produced if they are forthcoming at all. They were the Papers which were referred to in the Blue Book, but which are not given there, being probably enclosures which had already been sent. I am perfectly satisfied to hear that there is to be an inquiry. The main object which induced me to trouble your Lordships was to press that question of inquiry, because I have heard from other sources that that inquiry would not take place, and I was very glad to hear that that is not the case, and that it will take place. I should have preferred to see that inquiry in the hands of some independent person like Sir John Kirk, but I have no doubt it will be very satisfactorily carried on by Mr. Berkeley. But I must be allowed to say one word before I sit down, and that is in regard to what the noble Duke said as to its not being generous or just to the officers concerned to make charges and insinuations. I have not done so the least in the world. I think we are not in a position to discuss the matter, because we have not got the proper knowledge before us, but what I did say was that the facts admitted, or before us, were sufficient to call for an inquiry, and that inquiry the Government has granted, and, therefore, has fully justified me in the position I took up. Till that inquiry has terminated, I do not think we are in a position to make any substantive Motion or to form any fixed opinion as to whether there was blame attributable to anyone or no one.


Then the noble Lord withdraws his Motion?


Yes, because there are no Papers to produce.