HC Deb 18 February 1879 vol 243 cc1407-8

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether his attention has been called to statements in the Cape papers regarding a massacre of natives by Boer volunteers near Kuegas in Griqualand West; whether it is true that out of a party of eighty natives, possessing among them only two guns, upwards of forty, including thirteen women and children, were killed, and twenty-four women and children wounded; whether it is a fact that after the whole party of natives had been killed, wounded, or captured, orders were given by the commandant of the Burgher volunteers to kill such of the wounded as could not walk; and whether, as stated, these orders were carried out on men and women alike; whether it is a fact that all the wounded women and children were deported into Cape Colony to be placed at service there as soon as they were sufficiently recovered from their wounds; and, if so, under what law did the deportation take place; and, if he has not already ordered an investigation into the truth of the statements referred to, whether he will take steps to have them thoroughly investigated?


Sir, when my attention was called to these statements by the Notice of the hon. Member's Question, I thought they referred to some reports which reached this country last Summer, of occurrences which were alleged to have taken place in the suppression of the outbreak in Griqualand West. At that time I inquired into the truth of these reports, and on page 325 of the Cape Blue Book presented in December, and on page 116 of that last issued, will be found despatches from Colonel Lanyon denying the charges, and inclosing statements from the missionaries in support of his denial, forming in the whole, I think, quite a satisfactory answer to the charges that were made. The hon. Member has, however, been kind enough to forward me the newspaper extracts to which his Question alludes, in which the date of the events referred to is given as October 30; but I have no information as to anything of the kind which occurred at that date which would enable me to answer his Question. I will therefore cause inquiry to be made; but it is only fair to Colonel Lanyon, and those who fought under him in Griqualand West, to bear in mind the fact that previous statements very similar to these have been made and satisfactorily replied to.