That a sum, not exceeding £201,235, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1895. for the Expenses of Her Majesty's Embassies and Missions Abroad, and of the Consular Establishments Abroad, and other Expenditure chargeable on the Consular Vote,
SIR C. W. DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
said, it would be inhuman to detain the House in its present condition for many minutes, and though he felt that observations should at the present period of the Session be reduced to microscopic dimensions, yet there were subjects arising on this Vote which there had been no previous opportunity of mentioning, and which could not be allowed to be passed without being referred to. It was to be regretted that the present practice of the House led to too much time being devoted to the early Votes, and to such Votes as those con- 325 tained in Class V. passing without remark. It was, of course, possible to raise discussions on subjects falling under Class V. on the Votes on Account, but Votes on Account were always taken in the same order, and from the manner in which Votes on Account were taken in that order too much time was also given to the early Votes and too little to the later. That was highly inconvenient, and was reason for some change in the Forms of the House in dealing with these matters. In view of the fact that they had come to this period of the Session and the House was weary, he would make his remarks very few. Because the question of Egypt had not been raised this year, it must not be supposed that those who raised the question last year had changed the views which they then expressed. Their views remained as strong as they always had been; but the matter had not been raised this year, because they thought it had been sufficiently ventilated last year, and no sufficient change had occurred to justify its being again raised. But he wished to draw attention to two or three small matters of another kind. On page 403 of the Estimates there was a Vote of £1,000—a new Vote for the establishment of an International Maritime Bureau at Zanzibar in consequence of our obligations under the Berlin arrangement. He was bound to say that our position at Zanzibar in relation to the Slave Trade was hypocritical. While there was an increase in the money nominally spent on the suppression of the Slave Trade, a great market for slaves was left open by the existence of the legal status of slavery in Zanzibar and Pemba. There was no free labour there, and so long as that condition of things prevailed so long would all attempts to keep down slavery by votes of money be unavailing. He believed that the establishment of a Labour Bureau at Zanzibar was a mere blind to the country, because it was impossible to suppress the Slave Trade unless the legal status of slavery were abolished within our own Protectorate. He hoped that in future years the Uganda Votes would all be brought together. There was a Vote this year for the expenses of the Commission for carrying out the Agreement between Great Britain and France as to a neutral buffer State 326 between their possessions in Indo-China, as to which some documents wore presented to the House a few days ago. A great deal of time had passed since the Estimates were framed; but in spite of the pressure which had been put upon the Government in the matter no meeting of the Commission had been held, and the creation of the buffer State seemed as far off as ever. He should be glad if the Government would give the House some information as to whether anything like this buffer State was to be created. He doubted whether, in the circumstances of the district, it would be possible to establish a satisfactory buffer State. Such a State as Afghanistan would be valuable, but a purely artificial State such as was proposed would not be of the least value. But the Government attached great importance to such a State, and he hoped that they would curry out their own policy. As to the Vote for the escort to the Legation of Japan, such a guard was now wholly unnecessary, and as for unforeseen missions and services, why was double the amount taken this year than was taken last year?
SIR E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
said, the right hon. Baronet had made it appear as if the temporary maintenance of slavery in Zanzibar was the principal cause of that abhorent traffic in the East. He (Sir E. Ashmead-Bartlett) would point out that with reference to the Slave Trade the Anti-Slavery Society were of opinion that the best way of suppressing it would be the immediate building of the railway to Uganda. That was also the view of people who were best acquainted with the circumstances of Uganda, and who were impressed with the desirability of doing away with the enormous caravans of porters, for the most, part in a state of quasi-servitude, who at present had to carry the goods conveyed from the coast to Uganda.
§ MAJOR JONES
said, there could be no doubt that the Diplomatic Service of this country was decaying and the Consular Service growing and becoming more useful every day. For this reason he desired to appeal to his hon. Friend the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs 327 to do something for Consular officers abroad. It was a fact which reflected discreditably on this country that a great many of our Consular officers not only received no salary whatever and nothing at all against office rent, but were obliged to supply their own stationery and their own postage stamps. He would appeal to the Government to make provision, at any rate, for stationery and postage stamps. A circular might be issued to chief Consular officers authorising them to pay for the stationery and postage stamps of subordinate Consular officers in their various districts. He did not think that was a very exorbitant demand. When we required information as to the products and imports of given districts we had to apply to these officers for it, and surely it would be only reasonable to pay for their stationery and postage stamps.
SIR R. TEMPLE (Surrey, Kingston)
said, he hoped a specific reply would be given to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean. The question was whether the status of slavery existed in Zanzibar, and, if so, what steps the Government were taking to put an end to it? That question must be answered. Her Majesty's Government would have to justify themselves before the civilised world if they allowed this slavery to continue. It had existed, as they all knew, for centuries, and probably it could not be done away with at once, but were the Government taking steps to gradually, if not immediately, abolish it? He was apprehensive that the hon. Baronet would say that we were not administering that country—that the country was not under our control. That, however, would not be accepted by the civilised world outside, and he hoped it would not be accepted by the best and most influential opinion in England. With regard to the Uganda railway, he wished to impress upon the Government that if they had not the resources, financial and otherwise, for undertaking so great a work, they ought at any rate to begin it, and to construct the line from the sea to the first range of hills. That could be done easily and inexpensively.
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir E. GREY, Northumberland, Berwick)
said, that he had on previous occasions specifically stated that the status of slavery existed not only in Zanzibar, but in all Mahommedan protectorates in Africa. The universal practice where the Mahommedan law was in existence in British protectorates was that the institutions of the country were as far as possible undisturbed, though political influence outside these protectorates was placed entirely in the hands of the British Government. In Zanzibar there were three regulations, not all new, but which had only lately come under the influence of British officials. One of them was that whenever slaves were treated cruelly by their owners, and the cruelty was proved, they were set free. Another was that the slaves might not be inherited by anyone but the children of their owner, so that if the owner died and left no direct issue his slaves became free. The third was that slaves were not to be imported into the island, and that every man landing after a certain date became free. He believed that people in the status of slavery did not multiply rapidly; that the tendency was for the slave population not to perpetuate itself. That being so, it was obvious that, provided the Rules he had described were strictly enforced, the institution of slavery in Zanzibar must within a comparatively limited number of years die a natural death.
§ SIR E. GREY
said, he would deal with that point. The Regulations were being strictly enforced, although no doubt in some cases a certain number of slaves, comparatively few, did slip through the meshes of the rules and got into the island. In order that the Regulations might be better enforced they had lately placed a representative in the Island of Pemba. The strict enforcement of the Regulations and the fact that the number of slaves was decreasing must 329 have its effect upon the cultivation of the island. They were receiving more and more complaints as time went on of the difficulty in obtaining labour in Zanzibar, and therefore one of the great problems before them, assuming that it was the duty of the Government to see the Regulations enforced, was the introduction of free paid labour into Zanzibar for the cultivation of the land. Though there were great objections and difficulties to doing away with the status of slavery in Zanzibar, he quite admitted that it was the business of the Government to see that no mere economic considerations should be allowed to obscure and put on one side those large humane principles so deeply felt in this country with regard to the question of slavery. With regard to the Expedition to establish the limits of the buffer State in Siam, it could not be started, owing to climatic reasons, before October. Arrangements were actively in progress between the two Governments with the object of fixing the number of the escorts, the place where they were to meet, and what their programme was to be, and these arrangements had been pushed on in order that the work might be begun during the ensuing autumn. As for unforeseen missions and services the Vote was larger this year than last year, because the Vote for foreseen missions and services was smaller than last year. When the one class of missions was larger than usual it was anticipated that the other class would be smaller, and a sort of average was struck. With regard to what had fallen from the hon. and gallant Gentleman, he could not altogether agree with him. He could endorse the last part of his statement, that the Consular Service was growing in importance, but he could not admit that the Diplomatic Service was less important than previously.
§ MAJOR JONES
said, that when important International questions were raised special envoys were invariably sent out. He did not say that the gentlemen at present engaged in the Diplomatic Service were less conspicuous for ability than those engaged formerly, but he said that with the telegraph and modern means of communication the Diplomatic Service was waning and the 330 Consular Service growing in importance.
§ SIR E. GREY
said, the two Services were growing in importance together with the growth of the Empire. There were some Consuls paid and some unpaid. No doubt it would be more satisfactory if they not only had more Consuls, but if they paid them; but, after all, the number in the Services must depend on the demand. His own opinion was that whatever money the Treasury could be induced to allow for expending on the local services ought to be devoted rather to the pay of the officials than to any alteration of the existing system.
SIR R. TEMPLE
asked whether a person under British protection born of slave parents could be held up as a slave?
§ SIR E. GREY
said, that such a person would be a slave subject to conditions. When the owner died the slaves would not pass to strangers. He assumed that the claims on the fund would be few.
MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint, &c.)
said, that under British protectorate slavery would be an innovation, for it had been abolished by the British Government. The argument that it was necessary to make it an institution of the country might be equally applied in other cases. Another point with which the hon. Baronet had not dealt was the maintenance of a guard at Tokio. That was surely unnecessary at the present day. There was really no more need for a guard in Tokio than in Paris or Vienna. This guard itself proved its own inutility in case of actual disturbances arising, for it was obvious from the Vote that it was an exceedingly small one.
Resolution agreed to.
Thirty-third Resolution—That a sum, not exceeding £213, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1895, for Expenses in connection with the Suppression of the Slave Trade, and 331 the Expenses of the Maintenance of certain Liberated Africans,considered.
SIR C. W. DILKE
said, this was a very curious item. It had reference to tonnage bounties. For these the charge was double what it usually was, and he must ask the Secretary to the Treasury the reason for it, and whether he could throw any light upon the matter? As Her Majesty's ships had ceased to patrol Madagascar waters, and this Estimate was made in advance, he could not understand why there should be an increase in the sum charged for tonnage bounties on the East Coast of Africa. There used to be a good deal of work done in the Malagasy waters, but that was no longer the case, and he should have thought there would have been a decrease, therefore, instead of an increase in this amount. He should also be glad to hear a statement from the right hon. Gentleman as to the number of Africans relieved.
THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Sir J. T. HIBBERT,) Oldham
said, the increased provision for tonnage bounties was owing to the more numerous demands, which were likely to come in course of payment during the present year. He did not know how long the numbers of Liberated Africans would remain the same; but in going through the Estimates he had drawn attention to the matter, and a sharp eye would be kept upon it.
SIR R. TEMPLE
said, a strong opinion existed in this country that the efforts for the suppression of the Slave Trade in what were called foreign waters would continue to be ineffectual so long as the slave markets in the interior were allowed to be supplied. All the expenditure would continue to be non-effective until we took more active measures on land for the suppression of slavery. He hoped this point would be borne in mind in connection with our Protectorate in Uganda. But the first point was that the supplies to those markets were allowed to go on unchecked by Her Majesty's gunboats.
§ Resolution agreed to.332
That a sum, not exceeding £79,675 (including a supplementary sum of £5,750), be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1895, for similar Colonial Services, including Expenses incurred under 'New Pacific Islanders' Protection Act, 1875,' and certain Charges connected with South Africa,
SIR C. W. DILKE
said, the chief item in this large amount was in regard to Bechuanaland. He feared that the annual expenditure upon Bechuanaland would soon exceed £100,000, which had been stated as the maximum amount, there being already a deficit of £14,000 or £15,000, while the House could not count upon a less annual expenditure than £200,000 upon the row of posts in Central Africa which were not connected with one another—in Bechuanaland, Nyassaland, and Uganda. He desired to call attention to the matter as, in consequence of the action of Germany and the recent break-down of the Congo Convention, we had now no route through British Central Africa and Uganda to Egypt and the North. The negotiations appeared to have broken down, and there was no prospect of their ultimate success. We were adopting a new forward policy in Central Africa, though he himself was not in favour of it, believing that we had interests on and near the sea of much greater importance. He therefore pointed out that we were increasing our expenditure upon the stations in Central Africa, and there was little prospect that it would ever fall below £200,000 a year.
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. S. BUXTON,) Tower Hamlets, Poplar
said, in reference to Bechuanaland—Nyassaland and Uganda being under the control of the Foreign Office—he hoped that it would be possible not only to reduce the expenditure, but to increase the revenue as the country developed. Two causes were likely to have that effect—the attraction to Matabeleland of a large 333 number of emigrants, who, passing through Bechuanaland, would tend to develop that country, and the extension of the railway. Therefore, he did not share the view of the right hon. Gentleman, but believed that ultimately the British taxpayer might be relieved from burdens in carrying on the administration of that territory.
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ Thirty-fifth Resolution agreed to.
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £45,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1895, as a Grant in Aid of Expenses connected with Uganda and neighbouring Districts,
SIR C. W. DILKE
said, a promise had been given to consider the question of compensation to Roman Catholics for damages received during the war in Uganda while Captain Lugard was there. A special officer had been sent out to inquire into the reality and extent of the losses; and though this officer had made a Report, it had not been published. For some reason or other it was not, he believed, thought satisfactory. He did not know what its nature might be, and would be glad to hear what the hon. Gentleman could say as to the claim for compensation, which he believed affected not only French Roman Catholics, but some German subjects, who suffered damage in the fighting at the same time. This question of compensation should be borne in mind when settling the sum to be paid to the British East Africa Company for depriving them of their rights. These damages to Roman Catholics were incurred during the time the Company were holding Uganda, and it was a question whether this country ought to be called upon to pay them, more especially as Captain Lugard reported that in those very operations a large amount of booty was captured by him for the Company which would go a very long way, as he said, to meet the expenses of the war.
SIR E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
said, as this was the last opportunity 334 which would be afforded before the House rose of considering the question, he would make a short statement, without going at any length into details, in reference to the necessity of strengthening our position in Uganda and of establishing railway communication with that district. Everyone interested in the extension of our Imperial dominion in Central Africa had long recognised the importance of Uganda. He was much astonished to hear the right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean express himself in doubtful terms as to the enormous value of these vast regions. There had, however, been of late a distinct improvement in the tone of the right hon. Baronet. He now spoke less confidently than before against the value of Uganda. There was a time when people expressed doubt as to the value of our great dominions in Canada, Australia, and the Cape. Yet where would be the wealth and Imperial greatness of England now without those splendid colonies? The natural wealth of Uganda and the districts around it exceeded the natural wealth of almost any country in the world; and it was vital to the existence of our power in those regions that railway communication should be established as speedily as possible with the coast. The value of Uganda to this country, and of the districts near to it, was also to be found in the fact that in that region lay the sources of the Nile. Danger was now likely to arise from the advance of the French, in consequence of the breaking-down of the Anglo-Congo Agreement. Our great rival in those regions was now brought, by the Franco-Congo Treaty of August 14, very much nearer to Uganda and the Nile waterway. Therefore, in order to maintain our position at the sources as well as at the mouth of the Nile we must keep the waterway of that river clear from the control of any other European Power. On this point he would quote a letter to The Times of Major Roderic Owen, who had recently taken such a prominent part in Colonel Colville's expedition up the Nile from Uganda, and who from personal experience was well qualified to speak on the point. He commended this sentence in the letter to the attention of the Government— 335If we intend to remain in Egypt we must hold the Nile from its source to its mouth, and a clearly-defined margin to the west as well as to the east, either by acquisition or delimitation, and that considerably nearer the 25th degree than the 30th degree of east longitude.But the French had just driven the Congo State back from the 25th to the 30th degree. Both from a military and political point of view, therefore, it was of the utmost importance that a railway should be constructed at once from the coast to the Victoria Nyanza. Although Article III. of the Anglo-Congo Treaty had been cancelled to please Germany, we still have a right of transit across the territory from the Albert Nyanza to Lake Tanganyika. Though we had not the absolute control of the strip of territory between the two lakes, still we had power to make a railroad. This was the very fateful moment for our dominion in Central Africa. Upon the action of the Government within the next few months would depend the future of vast regions, to us of great political importance, of enormous natural wealth, and of great commercial potentiality. The Government, therefore, should adopt all possible means of strengthening our forces in Uganda and constructing as soon as possible a railway from the coast to the Nyanza. Our markets abroad were not too many, and had been shrinking of late years. Foreign tariffs everywhere placed British products at a disadvantage. Competition with our manufacturers in foreign markets was growing keener every day and this great region afforded us a much-required opportunity of extending our trade. The right hon. Member for Birmingham had demonstrated in that House that a railway could be constructed at comparatively small cost for £900,000 as far as Kukuyu, close to the Victoria Nyanza. All that was wanted was a guarantee of less than £30,000 a year for a certain time. That small expenditure would give us speedily a railway which would confer upon England political and commercial predominance in all those regions. At present the cost of transport from Victoria Nyanza to the sea was £300 a ton; a railway would reduce it to £8 a ton, and would do away with the necessity of importing thousands 336 of native porters, who were only slaves in disguise working under their taskmasters. A railway would simply be invaluable to us from a military, political, and commercial point of view as well as being of the greatest importance in checking the nearer advance towards the Nile of our European neighbours. He was glad to see that even Radical Members from North of the Tweed were in favour of a forward policy in this respect. One of the Radical Members for Durham also had pleaded for the construction of a railway. In those circumstances, he hoped Her Majesty's Government would be able to give an assurance of speedy action in the matter, and that they would see their way to grant a subsidy in order that the work of constructing the Uganda railway might be pushed forward without further delay.
§ SIR E. GREY
said, that the claims of the missionaries had already been considered, as the subject formed part of the general discussion between the British and French Governments. He did not think that the circumstances of the case required them to make further inquiries, because to do so would necessitate their going through an immense amount of evidence of what took place, in many cases, a very long time ago. With regard to the construction and maintenance of railways in Uganda, he could only repeat what he had said on Friday last, nor had he any fresh announcement to make, and he, therefore, could only refer the hon. Gentleman to what was said by the Prime Minister on this subject in the House of Lords when the first Vote on Uganda was introduced. As to the universal danger to British interests in Uganda, whatever danger existed it was not only not greater but certainly less than it was some time ago. When the railway scheme was first advocated the recent Anglo-Congo Treaty was not even thought of. Any danger that might arise would be due to difficulties with the natives, and the fact that the strip of land between the two parties was now occupied by the Belgians would materially lessen the chances of friction. As regarded the larger question, it was impossible for him to again refer to the general interests 337 existing between the English and French Governments. He had already given the House his views on that question, and to that statement he had nothing to add.
§ Resolution agreed to.
That a sum, not exceeding £35,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 301st day of March 1895, as a Grant in Aid of Expenses connected with the British Central African Protectorate.
SIR C. W. DILKE
said, that it was the first time that the House had been asked to make this grant, and if it had not been for the answer to a question put by him the other night, it would have been necessary to raise a discussion upon it. It had been hoped that this district—a rich planting one—would have paid its own expenses, but considerable wars had been undertaken as to which there were differences of opinion, and an opportunity ought to have been afforded for a Debate earlier in the Session. It was, however, too large a question for him to feel justified in raising a discussion upon it then, as he had given notice earlier in the Session that he intended to do.
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ Resolutions Thirty-eight to Fifty agreed to.