HC Deb 26 March 1858 vol 149 cc815-6

said, he wished to ask the Secretary for War whether the project for enlisting Kroomen or others on the coast of Africa has been definitely abandoned, or only deferred; and whether any steps have been taken to ascertain the practicability of enlisting Kafirs or other Natives in the Cape or elsewhere for service in India, or other places where the climate has proved destructive to the health of European troops?


said, he had to state that the project had been entertained by the Government of employing a certain number of Kroomen from the coast of Africa, who it was thought might be advantageously employed in the flotilla on the Ganges, in replacement of the Naval Brigade, who suffered very much from the heat and the nature of the climate; but it afterwards appeared that an alteration in the Mutiny Act would be necessary for the purpose; and as that Act had been passed through the House, the project, of course, fell to the ground. Various propositions had been submitted to the Government for the employment of Malays, Kafirs, Chinese, Hottentots, and other races in various parts of the world, but no decision had yet been come to on any of those suggestions.


said, he wished to know whether the Kroomen were to be employed in the service of Her Majesty or in that of the East India Company, whether the Government would have any objection to produce the instructions given to the officers who were to have been sent out to enlist Kroomen, and whether they would lay on the table the clause of the Mutiny Act which applied to this case?


said, he was unable to answer the question of the right hon. Gentleman at the moment, and hoped he would repeat it on a future occasion.