HC Deb 12 February 1908 vol 184 cc25-6

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if the Government has any further information to give the House as to how much longer martial law is to be allowed to prevail in certain districts in Natal.

MR. G. GREENWOOD (Peterborough)

May I also ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the proclamation of martial law in Natal is still in force; whether there is any state of war in that Colony; whether the ordinary criminal courts of the Colony are open for the trial of offenders; and whether he will press upon the Government of the Colony that the proclamation, if still in force, should be at once withdrawn, and that unless this is done His Majesty's Government may be constrained to disallow the Act of Indemnity.


Martial law, so far as I am aware, remains in force in Zululand despite the view of the Governor and the Secretary of State that it is not required. No date has yet been fixed for its withdrawal. The military forces which were called out at the time of the proclamation of martial law have been demobilised and the ordinary courts are open. Lord Elgin's opinion upon this question was made quite clear in his telegram of 27th December, published in the last Blue-Book, and my noble friend does not at present desire to make any further observations upon it. His Majesty's Government, as the Prime Minister stated, prefer not to discuss at this juncture so serious a step as that of advising His Majesty to signify disallowance of an Act of Indemnity.


asked if the Governor was not also commander-in-chief in the Colony, and being technically in command of the Imperial forces would it not be open for him to say that they shall not be used in this devil's work.


reply was inaudible.

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