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Volume 203: debated on Thursday 21 July 1870

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said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, If the Colonial Office has received a Copy of any Memorial addressed to Lieutenant Governor Longden by any British residents at Belize, pray- ing for compensation for losses sustained by the irruption into the Colony of Indians under the command of a General in the Mexican Army; the amount of such claims, and if any determination has been come to thereupon; if any redress has been demanded of the Mexican Authorities; and what steps have been taken to prevent such outrages in the future?

, in reply, said: The memorial referred to by the hon. Member has been received. It is signed by 10 inhabitants of the Northern Province of British Honduras. The schedule of the estimated amount of their respective losses is given as nearly £36,000. Those who have embarked capital in British Honduras must always have known what were the risks to be encountered from the Indians, and that any charge which Her Majesty's Government might incur for the protection of the colonists must necessarily bear some moderate proportion to the population of the Colony and the interests requiring to be protected. The revenue, taxation, and expenditure of the Colony have been exclusively under the control of the Assembly. But the Assembly has refused to contribute any sum towards the military expenditure. My answer, then, to my hon. Friend's first Question must be that while Her Majesty's Government are willing to provide for some portion of the military expenditure, they could not propose to supply from Imperial funds compensation for loss of property exposed by its owners to risks to which, they must have known it must be subject. As to the second Question, the steps to procure redress are under the consideration of Her Majesty's Government. It is intended to station two companies of a West India Regiment at British Honduras; but the proportion in which the cost of maintaining them is to be divided between the Imperial Government and the Colony has not yet been settled.