§ Supply considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ (1.) £860,276, Post Office Packet Service.1653
§ MR. CAVE,
in rising to put the question of which he bad given notice, in regard to the West India Contract, said, he wished to make a few remarks in explanation of his meaning. Early in the Session he had been surprised to receive at the West India Committee the copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury to the Colonial Office, dated the 11th of March, calling upon the colonies to contribute towards the expenses of the Packet Service. That letter contained some remarkable passages; among other things credit was taken for the liberality of the proposal only to desire the colonies to contribute where they are directly concerned. They were not to be asked, for instance, to pay for the service from St. Thomas to Mexico. It would certainly be somewhat astonishing to call upon a British colony to pay any portion of the expense of the packet service from one foreign country to another. The geographical knowledge of Government Departments bad been said to be limited, and a story had been told of a despatch addressed to "the Island of De marara," but he (Mr. Cave) would not suppose that the Treasury could be ignorant that St. Thomas was not a British island, but was, perhaps, by that time almost the only possession left to the unhappy King of Denmark. The last passage, however, of the letter was most worthy of note. It ran thus—It will be necessary that the payments to be made by the several colonies should be made not later than the 30th of June next, and the corresponding payments not later than the same day in each succeeding year.This looked so much like an attempt to tax the colonies without their consent, that he put a question to the Secretary to the Treasury, who informed the House that the meaning intended to be conveyed was that those colonies which wished to avail themselves of the packet service would be expected to contribute. He (Mr. Cave) then moved for the correspondence relating to these circumstances, which had lately been delivered to hon. Members. He there found that in 1862 there was a letter from the Treasury to the Colonial Office, stating the intention of Government to terminate the contract at the beginning of this year, indicating very vaguely, and, as it had turned out very incorrectly, the substance of the new contract, and suggesting that the West India Colonies should contribute in certain imperfectly explained proportions. The letter was communicated 1654 through the office to the West India Colonies. Owing to the vague and hypothetical nature of the communication but little attention was paid to it in the West Indies. Such replies, however, as were sent home were in the main decidedly unfavourable. Under such circumstances, he should have imagined that the Government would have gone more closely into the matter, fixed upon a maximum contribution for each colony, which might easily have been done, and then either left the conveyance of mails to open competition, or in case the replies received were sufficiently encouraging, entered upon the new contract only in respect of such colonies as came into their terms. But what did the Government do? They left the matter wholly in abeyance for two years, and sent no other message to the colonies, and entered into a fresh contract with the Royal Mail Company without giving the colonies any voice in the matter. They bound themselves for six years to pay nearly £173,000 a year, and passed the contract through the House in a hurry at the end of last Session, suspending the Standing Order which required contracts to be laid on the table for a month, or rather, inducing the House prematurely to approve of the contract, as it was impossible to comply with the order, and that with so little publicity that there was no trace of it in Hansard. He did not, however, complain either of the new contract or of the Royal Mail Company. He believed the terms were fair enough, as contracts went, if it was requisite to have a contract at all. And he quite concurred in the opinion expressed in the Postmaster General's last Report, that the company had done their part remarkably well. He (Mr. Cave) had every reason to speak well of them, The contract was approved by the House, and therefore was a matter of certainty at the end of last Session—namely, in July, 1863. Nothing was hinted about West India contributions, which might, of course, have been calculated by the same time; but on the 11th of March this year the peremptory demand to which he had alluded was made, which reached the West Indies about the beginning of May. This gave them two months to convene their Legislative Assemblies to pass the necessary Bills, after debate through both branches of their respective Legislatures, to raise and pay the money, amounting in the case of Jamaica alone, the most impoverished of the colonies, to no less than £11,634. Why, the 1655 demand of Austria and Prussia that the unhappy Danes should revoke their Patent of Constitution within an impossible time was not more unreasonable. No wonder if the replies were—as he had been informed they were—unfavourable; and yet credit was taken in these estimates for the whole amount of £37,554—a remarkable instance of reckoning chickens before they were hatched! Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman could give the House some information upon the point, as well as upon the course Her Majesty's Government intended to take. If the right hon. Gentleman replied that he would simply refuse to carry the mails, then—if he (Mr. Cave) might be pardoned for using a very ordinary expression—he would be cutting off his nose to spite his face, as he would lose the postage of the letters and yet be bound to pay the whole subsidy, nearly £173,000. He doubted whether the right hon. Gentleman would punish the colonies so much, after all, as he supposed. When the contract which had lately expired commenced, the West Indian waters were in the undisturbed possession of the Royal Mail Company. Now, no less than five competing steamship lines had appeared, or were in contemplation. There was, first, the heavily-subsidized French line of the Messagéries Impériales, sailing once a month, calling at the English Islands of St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, and Trinidad, and passing within hail of Jamaica. There was, secondly, the Spanish mail line from Havannah and Porto Rico, passing close to Jamaica, and not far from the Leeward Islands. There was, thirdly, the West India and Pacific Company, sailing four times a month from Liverpool, and calling at Jamaica and Trinidad. These three lines of steamers were actually running, and their days of sailing were advertized. Fourthly, a line was projected between Jamaica and New York in correspondence with Cunard's steamers; and, fifthly, a line was contemplated from England to Madeira and Demerara. The Government, while they were thus deprived of the power of sealing up the recusant colonies—which, if it could be done, would probably inflict greater inconvenience on this than on the other side the Atlantic—had positively tempted them, under any circumstances, to avoid sending their correspondence by Her Majesty's mails, because they had lately doubled the postage on letters sent by the Royal Mail steamers, and very much reduced that on letters sent by private 1656 ships, which would, of course, apply to every line he had enumerated, except, perhaps, the French and Spanish. He could not imagine on what principle the Government had acted in dealing with this postage. Formerly the postage to foreign countries was three times the amount to the British colonies; for example, it was 6d. to Jamaica and 1s. 6d. to Cuba, on the ground, as he had always understood, that foreign countries which contributed nothing directly should thus pay indirectly some portion of the subsidy. He asked the right hon. Gentleman last year, when the change was made, whether any part of the subsidy was now to be paid by these foreign countries. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to wonder at the question, and said that such a thing was never heard of. He would now give him a precedent. A correspondence had lately taken place between the Colonial Office and Mauritius, in which that Island had been called upon to pay £6,000 a year more to the Peninsular and Oriental Company on account of the refusal of the French colony of Réunion to pay any longer its proportion of £12,000 a year, the French Government having determined to run a line of its own. And he might add that the West India Telegraph Company had applied for a subsidy from those foreign colonies through which it might pass, and that those applications had been favourably received. Either this packet service was, according to one opinion, such a benefit to this country, both in maintenance of communication and securing large and swift vessels in case of emergency, that it ought to be kept up by the Imperial Exchequer; or, according to another view, it was of equal advantage to the countries to which the mails were carried, in which case we should neither demand payment from British colonies alone, nor continue to bear the whole loss of running mails to foreign countries. It was only fair to admit that the case was one of difficulty. The colonies and their correspondents here would doubtless have complained had the contract been abruptly terminated, and there would have been difficulties in the way of bringing all the colonies to an agreement; but there were two years to spare from the time that the idea was first propounded by the Postmaster General, and those difficulties would have been far less than these in which the Government found themselves involved by the course they had preferred. He, therefore, begged to ask what prospect there 1657 was of recovering the proportion to be paid by the colonies, £37,554, and what measures would be taken by Her Majesty's Government in the case of the colonies declining to contribute their quota?
thought that, upon whatever question of detail the hon. Gentleman might raise objections, he would not deny that the claims upon the West India Colonies were perfectly fair and legitimate. It was quite as much for the advantage of the West India Colonies as for the advantage of this country that regular postal communication should be maintained, and if they shared the benefit it was only reasonable that they should share the cost. The rule applied to those colonies was a rule generally adopted with respect to other colonies. In the case of India, one-half of the expense of the mail service was defrayed by the Indian Government; and in the case of Australia, one-half of the loss arising upon the postal service was paid by the different Australian Colonies. Canada and Mauritius maintained mail services at their own expense; and with respect to the Cape, which made no contribution, the proceeds of the postal charges were more than sufficient to meet the expenses. With respect to the mode in which the claims upon the colonies had been computed, he would observe that the mail line went direct to St. Thomas and there branched off in three directions, and no claim was made upon the West Indian Colonies for the expense of those portions of the service which extended beyond St. Thomas to Brazil or Mexico. The Correspondence upon the table showed that when the West India Mail Company was asked what reduction in their terms they could agree to if their service was confined to the West India Islands, and not extended to Mexico and other foreign ports, the answer was, that no reduction could be made, because it was precisely from those other portions of the service beyond the West Indian Colonies that they expected to derive a remuneration which would compensate for the loss upon other branches of the service. The hon. Gentleman had asked what answers had been received from the West Indian Colonies. He (Mr. Peel) had only seen three answers—of Jamaica, of Granada, and of British Guiana—all of which were unfavourable. What he had stated at the beginning of the Session was, that if the colonies were able to contribute but declined to do so, then the Government would consider what steps should be taken. But 1658 if it were proved that a colony was unable to pay the amount demanded, the Government would be disposed to treat it with every consideration. With respect to the difference between the treatment of our own colonies and those belonging to other countries, he would remind the hon. Gentleman that a very large proportion of the whole amount of sea-postage was derived from those foreign colonies—as much as £45,000 out of a total of £60,000 in 1860.
§ MR. CAVE
did not think the cases of India and Australia were quite in point. India had not self-government, and the consent of the Australian Colonies had been obtained before the contract was concluded, a course which ought to have been followed in regard to the West Indies. He did not object to the principle of the colonies paying their fair proportions; he objected most to the manner in which the demands upon them had been made. He thought the Government should have asked their consent, and should have waited for their answers before making arrangements.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) £1,600,000, Exchequer Bonds, agreed to.
(3.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £14,355, 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, 1865, for the Civil Establishments on the Western Coast of Africa.
§ SIR FRANCIS BARING
said, he had upon former occasions called attention to this Vote, and he felt bound to do so again, because recent occurrences had made it still more necessary that the attention of the Committee should be given to it. He did not desire to go into any discussion of the Asbantee war or of the transactions connected with it, but he wished to call the attention of the Committee to the imperfect control of Parliament over this Vote, with a view, if possible, of inducing the Government to make a better arrangement in future. For his own part he thought it a mistake to endeavour to extend our forts and our possessions in that part of the world. By such a course they did not advance the great cause which was the justification for the great sacrifice of life upon that coast—the suppression of the slave trade—while, on the other hand, these settlements were of little or no advantage in a commercial point of view. 1659 It appeared that at Lagos, of which place we took possession because of the once flourishing trade carried on there, since our occupation the trade had very much diminished. He was afraid that our occupation of Lagos had been in part the cause of some of the squabbles which we had got into in that part of the world. What he wanted to press upon the Committee was, that there ought to be some control over what was done on the African coast. At present Parliament knew hardly anything of what was going on until it was called upon to vote the money which had been spent. It was very difficult for the Secretary of State to control the Colonial Governors. They did what they thought proper, and when they told their story to the Colonial Secretary he had to choose between disavowing and recalling the Governor or of approving steps which, had he been consulted beforehand, he would probably never have sanctioned. There were in the colonies none of the checks which existed in this country; probably the resident Europeans were all for taking possession of their neighbours' property, desired to spread their power and influence, and looked at things in a light very different from that in which they were regarded in this country. Some check or control over the doings of these Governors was more than ever needed now, because there seemed to be among them a disposition to spread the territory of this country, seizing a bit here and a bit there in a manner which would produce difficulties that might ultimately take the form of war, like that with Ashantee. As an illustration of the sort of thing which went on upon this coast, he would mention what had occurred at Lagos. He did not intend to repeat any opinion upon the steps which had been taken—although he retained his original opinion, he would now say nothing about the occupation of Lagos itself; but what he complained of was that all these things were done without any check or control, and without Parliament knowing anything of what was being done. On the 14th of November, 1862, the Governor of Lagos issued a proclamation recalling from Abbeokuta all English residents in that place—a measure he should say of very doubtful legality, and one which was not brought to the knowledge of Parliament until the publication of the blue-book about a month ago. The difference which had caused the issuing of this proclamation led on the 2nd of March, 1660 1863, to a blockade of Abbeokuta, which had this unfortunate result—that although the King of Dahomey, who seemed to be rather in favour at present, was marching towards that place, the Abbeokutans were prevented from obtaining guns and gunpowder with which to defend themselves against him. Last year there was another small war which was only brought to the knowledge of that House by a private Member; and in the month of February Governor Freeman took possession of a small piece of territory, as he declared, because it interfered with his financial arrangements. These measures might be right, or they might be wrong, but they ought not to have been taken without the knowledge and without being subject to some control on the part of the Home Government and the Parliament of this country. He was afraid that the Secretary of State would always have difficulty in dealing with Colonial Governors; but in his opinion the best mode of protecting the country against their mistakes was, that all these matters should as early as possible be brought to the knowledge of Parliament. There was nothing like a discussion in that House for making men act with caution. If these Governors knew that within a certain time after they had taken a step it would be discussed in that House, he would answer for it that there would be considerable hesitation and delay before they took the initiative in wars, or seized upon territory. What he should recommend was, that the Secretary of State should address to all the Governors stringent directions in the spirit of those contained in his despatch to Governor Pine, forbidding them, except in cases of necessity, to seize territory or to go to war without previous communication with him; and that beyond that, whenever such an event occurred, the Government should, if Parliament was sitting, immediately, and if it was not, then within a few days after its meeting, lay upon the table papers explaining what had been done. He felt satisfied that if some such course were pursued, matters would be much more carefully conducted, and that the Secretary of State would be assisted in keeping a check on those whom, under existing circumstances, he was unable to keep in order.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he observed a charge of £2,000 a year for a steamer for the use of the Governor of Gambia. He should like to know what duties were performed by that steamer? There was 1661 also £4,000 for the maintenance of forts and establishments on the Gold Coast. Was there any need of such an outlay in order to keep off the poor blacks? The Vote of £4,600 for Lagos included £3,125 for works and buildings. He should be glad to know what those works and buildings were?
§ SIR JOHN HAY
said, he wished to draw the attention of the Committee to two items in the Vote—that of £500 for the relief of famine on the Gold Coast, and that of £2,000 for the Ashantee war. It was hardly just to the country, he thought, to lead it to suppose that the expenses of a war which would more probably cost £200,000 would be defrayed by the latter amount, or that the famine in question could be effectually relieved for the sum which the Committee was asked to vote for the purpose. Since, he might add, the question of the Ashantee war had been discussed in that House, some further papers with respect to it had been produced, and the Colonial Office had, he was bound to say, duly performed its part in that respect. He was, however, surprised to find that the military authorities had furnished no information as to the operations which had very recently taken place. But to return for a moment to the famine, he found at page 9 of the "Further Papers" to which he alluded, a despatch addressed to the Duke of Newcastle, and dated July 13, 1863, in which Governor Pine said—I highly approve and earnestly join in the prayer of the deputation, that your Grace will be pleased to provide this Government with supplies of provisions; for I firmly believe that the greatest distress will exist ere long, and that thereby, unless provided against, the movements which I so earnestly advocate, so soon as the rainy season shall be over, will be retarded,Now, shortly after that letter was written, 500 additional troops were landed on the Gold Coast, and in the month of October, the Governor having evidently received from the Colonial Office a letter which was not to be found in the papers wrote as follows:—I regret to perceive that your Grace is not in a position to hold out any promise of aid from Imperial funds with respect to a provision against the famine which I now regret to state is ravaging the country, in proof of which I have to mention that the price of a bushel of Indian corn, the staple article of food, has risen from 2s. 6d. to 13s. 6d., and I have not the slightest prospect of being able to alleviate the distress from colonial funds.1662 While such was the state of things, 1,600 men had been sent out to add to the distress, who never drew a trigger, who died, or were dying off, under the influence of the climate; and it, therefore, appeared to him absurd to come to the House of Commons to ask for such a sum as £500 to alleviate the famine which prevailed. Mr. Blanc, the Commissary General, had, he believed, endeavoured to make provision for the troops to a certain extent, and by his labours the distress had, no doubt, been diminished; but there must have been a large outlay of public money, which we should eventually have to pay. To advert, however, more particularly to the operations of the war, he must say that the papers with respect to it, which had been preceded by such a note of triumph, were not of the value which hon. Members had been led to hope. When he came to examine them he found they contained only the plan of operations of May, 1860, in which many places in which operations had now taken place were not mentioned. [Mr. CARDWELL: They relate to Major Cochrane's operations.] Exactly so; to Major Cochrane's operations four years ago, and not to those under discussion. There was no plan of the operations in which the troops were engaged which could be of any advantage in the present discussion. There was nothing about the Prah or the expedition to Comassie. Now, in the West African Times, which should be an authority on the matter, he perceived that great jubilation was expressed at the expenditure which was going on throughout the course of this year—something like £14,000 a month for the last fourteen months. To ask for a sum of £2,000 under those circumstances did, he must confess, seem to him to be somewhat absurd. He could, he might add, to some extent confirm what fell just before from the right hon. Baronet the Member for Portsmouth (Sir Francis Baring), because he had information to the effect that in the course of last autumn an English officer arrived at Sierra Leone, having with him some sick men, for whom he wished to provide; but he found the military hospital quite full, most of the cases arising from gunshot wounds, the result, as he was told, of a battle which had taken place at Lagos. Now, how was it, if that were so, that we had never heard of that battle? It was desirable, he thought, that the House of Commons should be enlightened as to when and why, 1663 and by whose orders a war was being conducted in Lagos. But to return to Cape Coast Castle; he believed that matters were worse than they were when the House discussed the question. He held in his hand a letter frem a medical officer, who was now the principal, and, indeed, the only medical man at the station, in which he said—I have now but bad news. There is no end of sickness here. I never had so much to do in my life; one of my assistants died in my room last Monday evening. His was a most melancholy case. He was sent out from the West Indies in charge of the troops which came to aid us, and which have only helped to crowd our house. He and Dr. Flynn, an old Trinity chum, were sent in charge, and with general orders to proceed at once back; but the great want of medical officers required that I should detain them. Dr. Flynn I sent on to Lima (after being two months here) with invalids. Dr. Greig, the other, I sent in charge of troops on the march to the Prah, with orders to return at once. On his return he took ill of fever and dysentery, not severe at first. I brought him out of his lodgings to stay with me in my own room, where I could often see him; but, notwithstanding all care, he died on the 31st of May. He was buried on the 1st of June, the first officer in the new burial ground. Since its use on the 1st of May a man has been buried every day nearly. I have now only one to help me, and he is constantly taken ill. I have been sometimes alone for the whole work. Since I have been here, of five officers four have died, three of the medical staff, and one engineer—nine altogether, and fourteen invalided home. An officer of the 2nd West arrived with the troops on the 9th of April. He brought his wife, an old traveller, well accustomed to the tropics. She was carried on board ship in a basket on the 14th of May, and died two days after at sea. Anything like the privation and abomination of this place it would be impossible to find. I forgot to mention that if the military staff had been invalided home every mail that leaves carries a freight of fever-stricken mortals, who are hoisted on board in a basket, and then have to bear a single sea voyage in the worst ocean-going steamers that leave England. Coal coasters at home are larger and better than this African line. I wish the English people knew the real cost in life and money of this attempt to put down slavery. I suppose that is the only reason for keeping up these settlements. I am convinced. What the war is for I don't believe is known in England, and what it is costing in the articles above mentioned, I don't think either is known; or else, if so, they must see some great value unappreciated out here in the natives or country. Well, this is all unpleasant, and so any news of this place is ever likely to be.That letter would prove that the statements which had been made upon the subject had not been exaggerated. No doubt the Government had had their attention directed to the letter from Commodore 1664 Wilmot, a man of consummate ability, and than whom no one was more competent to express an opinion upon matters relating to the West Coast of Africa. In that letter that officer spoke of the insane nature of our operations upon the coast, and urged upon the Government the impropriety of carrying out the scheme upon which they had determined. He was sorry that his noble Friend (Lord Clarence Paget) had hesitated to give him the information which he had asked for on a previous occasion, with reference to the speed of the squadron stationed on the West Coast of Africa; but as his noble Friend had hesitated to afford him that information, he had been compelled to obtain it from other sources. We maintained seventeen steamers on the coast, and of these he found that the Rattlesnake was the only vessel capable of going ten knots an hour, and that of the others the fastest could only go 8.3 knots an hour. This calculation of speed was made according to the measured mile, and, as they all knew, the measured mile was the greatest possible effort that could be made, for something always occurred to prevent such a rate of speed being attained when a ship came into actual service. The fact was that we had a squadron of about seventeen vessels on the coast, the speed generally being seven knots an hour, some of them not being even so fast. And this was the case when they knew that the very fastest American steamers were sold to the Spaniards for the purposes of the slave trade. He had in his pocket an account of a very fast vessel passing through four of our steamers, communicating with the shore, and going out again with impunity—in fact the traders laughed at our ships. The senior officer of a squadron had given orders to our steamers not to give chase to any vessels, because by such a course they would only be led off the station without doing any good, but to lay at anchor near the places where it was expected that slaves might be embarked. It was absurd to suppose we could put an end to the slave trade by spending £700,000 upon a squadron which was insufficient for the purpose, and that not owing to any fault of the officers or men on board the vessels themselves, In addition to this, we had had a war in the swamps of Africa in which we had lost more than half of our men without seeing an enemy, and had fought the battle of Lagos about which we had never heard a word. He 1665 maintained that we were spending a million of money in vain, and, unless we altered our tactics, the sooner we recalled our slave squadron and abandoned our forts on the coasts the better. He had himself seen service in that quarter of the world, and no one could be more anxious to see an end put to the abominable traffic in slaves, but he could not approve any policy which involved only loss of life to our men without affording us any corresponding advantage. To promote a famine by landing men when a famine already existed, and to come down to the House to ask for £2,500 for that which had cost £250,000, was nothing less than absurd.
Whereupon Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £12,105, 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, 1865, for the Civil Establishments on the Western Coast of Africa."—(Sir John Hay.)
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, he could give an answer to the question that had been put as to what we were doing in the colony, from a letter which he had received from a gentleman who was not connected with the army, but who was residing at Cape Coast Castle. This gentleman said that the protectorate was supported by the Imperial Government at a cost of £4,000 a year for the salaries of the Governor, the Chief Justice, the Colonial Secretary, the Collector of Customs, and the Police Magistrate; besides £750 a year for house rent for the Governor and other officials, Besides that amount the Governor borrowed £2,000 a year from the military chest, but it did not appear that he ever repaid that sum. It was to be returned when the protectorate was in a position to pay it. As the receipts from the customs were about£3,000, it was evident that the protectorate would never be able to support itself. In a war the Natives refused to render the slightest aid to the Government unless they were paid high wages, and they even declined to protect their own country unless they were paid for it. The gentleman whose letter he was quoting from said that the war was useless and unjust. It was useless, because no good could come of it, as there was not a single Ashantee on the coast; and to show that it was unjust he said a chief of the Ashantees having stolen a quantity of rock gold, and according to the law of his coun- 1666 try had incurred the penalty of death, he ran away to the protectorate and claimed protection of the Governor upon which the King of Ashantee sent to the Governor to give up the chief; the King was invited to a conference; but he replied that he could not hold a palaver with white men. Palaver was the phrase used to designate diplomatic proceedings, and a very good word it was for the purpose. The King, therefore, returned to his own country. Our troops were sent into the bush on the 14th of April and returned in June. They again took the field in January, and remained until June, when: this letter was written. Although the army had not met a single enemy, the small garrison had lost sixteen white officers, six white sergeants, and over 200 men, by fever and dysentery. Twenty-three officers had been invalided, and many of them would never be fit for duty again. Four West India regiments arrived in two divisions in August, and most of the officers were invalided. The military expenditure before the war was about £800 a month; it was now over £8,000, and that did not include stores sent from home. He might mention that one steamer took out £45,000 worth of stores, and received £5,000 for it. The surgeons had been particularly unfortunate, for out of five four were gone. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Portsmouth (Sir Francis Baring) asked what was to be done to check the Governors from entering upon transactions of this character, and he (Mr. Whiteside) answered him by saying that it should be a direct Vote of Censure upon the men who, though they might not be personally answerable for the results of the war, had given it their sanction; and although his hon. and gallant Friend (Sir John Hay) failed in such a Motion the other evening by some six or seven votes, yet both fact and argument were with him. It was inhuman to send our soldiers into the bush where the men died without meeting an enemy. The King of Ashantee left the climate to do the work which his troops could not so efficiently perform. Now, somebody must be responsible, The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Portsmouth had raised the question whether this thing should be repeated. They could not get at the Governor, but they could get at the Colonial Office. That office had acted most unwisely, and although they did not intend to do wrong, yet were they responsible. Directions had been given to aban- 1667 don the stores, which cost £45,000, and the King of Ashantee would find them very useful for the next campaign. Of course arrangements were made—they always were after a Vote of Censure had been passed—for removing the survivors from the Gold Coast; but had the Government calculated what the King of Ashantee would do? Might he not come down and remove Governor Pine and the rest of them? To invade his territory was just what irritated one of these Kings most. [Mr. T. G. BARING: The territory was not invaded.] No, but the army was sent for that purpose. They went, but they did nothing. If it had been intended to march against the capital and kill the King, they might have done that, but they did not. They did nothing but suffer and die. The Colonial Office was responsible for what had taken place, for the Governor would never have made war without their consent, and they had not taken any step to alleviate the suffering they had caused until a Vote of Censure threatened them in that House.
§ MR. CARDWELL
I entirely sympathize with every expression of regret for the sufferings of our soldiers on the Cape Coast, which has fallen from the hon. Member; but the right hon. Gentleman ought to have had the candour to acknowledge that the Colonial Office has done everything in its power to mitigate those sufferings the moment the news of thorn reached this country. The right hon. Gentleman, with that disregard for accuracy of dates which so frequently interfered with the good effect of his eloquence, has said that my proceedings were the natural result of a Vote of Censure. Now, so far from waiting for a Vote of Censure, the necessary measures were taken long before any Vote of Censure was heard of, and as soon as the news reached this country, as the right hon. Gentleman might have known if he had read the papers with any care. So, with regard to the stores also, the right hon. Gentleman might have known by reading the papers that special precaution was taken to prevent any part of the stores, particularly guns of any kind, falling into the hands of the King of Ashantee. There is quite enough to be regretted in this affair, and when we are speaking of a great public calamity it is just as well that hon. Gentlemen should be more accurate in their facts and their dates than the right hon. Gentleman has been. There 1668 are a few points on which I wish to offer an explanation to the hon. and gallant Member for Wakefield (Sir John Hay). The hon. and gallant Gentleman remarked very naturally that the item of £500 for the relief of famine was a very small one. But this item was the only sum which had been sanctioned by the Treasury as yet, and therefore was the only one proper to be introduced into the Vote. It has nothing whatever to do with the support of the troops, an item which will be included in the Military Estimates. It only related to the civil department. The hon. and gallant Baronet read a passage from a despatch of Governor Pine, in which he asked that supplies of provisions might be furnished to avert the distress which he believed would shortly exist; and in accordance with that request, with the sanction of the Treasury, twenty-seven tons of rice were sent out, at a cost of £390, which, with freight and sundries, came up to £500. Then the hon. and gallant Baronet said that this was a costly war, and that £2,000 could not possibly be the whole expense of it. That observation is, no doubt, perfectly correct. I am afraid it has been a costly war, and I am conscious of the evils of costly wars; but this item of £2,000 has nothing to do with the military expenditure—it relates only to charges incurred by the Civil Government, and civil charges only are comprised in the present Estimate. In the early part of this war the Governor sent home two items of expenditure, the first of which was £1,395, on account of this war, already paid by the Colonial Government. There was afterwards an account of £3,123 more spent in the war, but not paid, because the Colonial Government had not got the money—making a total of £4,158. The Treasury here declined to have anything to do with the £1,395, which they said was a charge properly belonging to the Colonial Government; and, with regard to the £3,123, they said they were not satisfied with the explanations they had received; but, looking to the urgency of the case, they would allow £2,000 on account until more satisfactory explanations were sent, and that is the sum set forth in this Vote. The hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. Williams) asked me why £2,000 was given to the Governor of Sierra Leone. Now, I must remind hon. Members that there has been a greater reduction on the Colonial Estimates of late years than on many others, as hon. Members will see on 1669 looking through the Votes. For myself, I am most anxious to co-operate with the House in further reductions in these Votes, but with regard to this £2,000 it has always been included in the Estimate. The £2,000 for the steamer was a part of the settlement with the colony, and has also been always included. Whether the Government of this country should pay for its maintenance is a question very different from the use and value of that steamer, which is undoubted and cannot be disputed. Of all the accessories of a colonial establishment a steamer, doing the work which this does, is the most valuable. Portions of the settlement are removed 150 miles from the mouth of the river, and the steamer affords the inhabitants a most invaluable means of communication. With regard to the £3,125 for buildings and works at Lagos, that sum is for buildings required in the colony, such as a courthouse, buildings for the Customs' service, a powder magazine, &c.
I believe I have now answered the questions which were put to me in detail, and all that remains for me is to notice the weighty matters referred to in the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth, who opened this discussion. I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend in most of the principles which he has laid down. I think the object of this country in establishing a settlement on the West Coast of Africa cannot be a self-interested one, having in view the increase of the wealth of England. The great design which has always interested this country in connection with our proceedings on that coast is the repression of the slave trade, and with it the introduction of legitimate commerce and of Christianity as the civilizing agent of mankind. An extension of territory in that country would be what no one would wish to see carried into effect; and certainly any desire of aggrandizement or territorial acquisition there would be foreign to our purpose and alien to our policy. What our policy should be and is was well laid down by a Committee of 1842, of which Lord Derby, Earl Russell, Mr. Speaker, and other distinguished men were Members. Speaking of the Western Coast of Africa they said—The relation of the Native tribes to the English Crown should be not the allegiance of subjects to which we have no right to pretend, and which it would entail an inconvenient responsibility to possess, but the deference of weaker 1670 Powers to a stronger and more enlightened neighbour, whoso protection and counsel they seek, and to whom they are bound by certain definite obligations.That policy may be right or it may be wrong—I am not now arguing that question; but in Lord Grey's book our policy is described in the same sense, and as it is the policy to which this country has adhered, I hold with my right hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth that to extend our territorial possessions on the West Coast of Africa is not the most desirable mode of giving it effect. Such a system of acquisition would be attended with many evils which, as far as possible, should be avoided. I am asked what the view of the Government is with respect to expeditions into the interior of Africa? I may answer that question by pointing to the policy which we have endeavoured to give effect to in reference to the expedition which has been brought under direct discussion. We have sent out orders to put an end, if possible, to expeditions on the Gold Coast. With respect to Lagos, I anticipated these discussions by announcing to the Governor of Lagos that our policy was to be one of abstaining from taking part in the disputes among Natives. A war that has been raging there between two tribes is very mischievous to trade, and inflicts great suffering on the Natives; but I do not think it would have been right for us to take a part in it, or to endeavour to put an end to it by force. It is difficult to lay down in clear terms what the details of a policy are. Those details must be complicated and difficult where our object is not the usual one of acquiring wealth or extending our power, but where our policy is solely and entirely a disinterested one—namely, at great inconvenience and no inconsiderable sacrifices to ourselves, to abolish a traffic disgraceful to human nature, and extend the advantages of religion, civilization, and legitimate commerce to the miserable inhabitants of Africa.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
said, he believed that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies had done all that could be done in the case which had been brought so prominently under the notice of the House. He thought that of the papers now before Parliament the most satisfactory one of all was the despatch of the right hon. Gentleman, in which certainly he showed a determination to apply a remedy to an existing evil, and to prevent a recurrence of the unfortunate complications 1671 and embarrassments that had given rise to it. But, unhappily, these steps had been taken too late. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Portsmouth (Sir Francis Baring) that under such circumstances remedial measures must come too late. That was the point which they had to consider. It was difficult to fix a censure and to say who was to blame, and, even if it was not, censure would be too late. What they wanted to do was to prevent a recurrence of circumstances in which it was useless to blame any one for disaster, and in respect to which information came too late. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies had stated to the House the expenditure which we had incurred accurately according to the Returns which had reached him; but he doubted whether these Returns gave all the military expenditure for recent operations.
§ MR. CARDWELL
It was not the military expenditure. I said we were on the Civil Service Estimates, and that these were expenses incurred by the Civil Governor on account of the war.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
He was, then, quite correct in thinking that they had not before them an estimate of the expenditure for the whole of the affair. The present case afforded a striking exemplification of the mistaken policy we had adopted on that coast. The policy of setting up a protecting Power on the West Coast of Africa was both wasteful and mischievous, and he took this opportunity of giving notice that on the first day of next Session he should move for a Select Committee, which might inquire into the whole subject, with the view of preventing a recurrence of such evils as those which we were now lamenting. By assuming the task of protecting barbarous tribes, we not only scattered our army to an unnecessary extent, but exposed our troops to a demoralizing and deadly service—not only by warfare, but by the pestilential climate of some of the most unhealthy parts of the world. It was folly enough for us to assist great colonies as vigorous as ourselves in their wars for self-defence, without setting up Protectorates on the coast of Africa to which barbarous tribes would look for aid in mutual hostilities, and for plunder for themselves. We have had experience enough to show us how insane a policy this was, and the sooner we backed out of it the better. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies told them 1672 he had written to the Governor of Lagos, urging as the wish of the Government a pacific policy. But would the Governor, with the English flag and the English Exchequer at his back, carry out the wishes and intentions of the Government in that respect? He would remind the right hon. Gentleman and the Committee of the saying of the first Napoleon, that the true policy of this country was to concentrate our forces at home, and send them abroad as they might be required; not to scatter them, as we do, in every direction, in search of service, and embroil ourselves with all the world; and he said that it was fortunate for mankind we so wasted our strength, which concentrated would make us almost too powerful for the rest of the world. It was said that the policy adopted by this country was necessary in the interests of commerce and of civilization. But the fact was that commerce was disturbed and impeded by such a policy. Look at what had taken place in the present instance. Governor Pine wrote home to say that it was useless talking of peace, for he had an arduous task to perform in defending an extensive line of coast, bordered by tribes, some of whom were under British protection, while they had rivals under other protection; and he seemed to have grand notions of his position, calling upon the Home Government to support him, but fortunately calling in vain. The time had come, he wrote rather magniloquently, when the question must be settled now and for ever, whether the English flag was to be trampled on by savage and sanguinary tribes. But, surely, there was a prior question to be settled, namely, whether the English flag should be trailed about all over the world as an Irishman trailed his coat-tails at a fair, to be trodden on and insulted by any one who had nothing to do, and nothing to lose. Governor Pine thought that good policy, economy, and mercy would be served by sending him a force sufficient to decide at once and for ever the supremacy of England over African barbarians. The House of Commons would probably be of opinion that none of these results would be so insured. Major Cochrane and Commander Wilmot both cautioned the Governor that the House of Commons would never stand such a course; but he was blind to their remonstrances, pressed on the Colonial Office the necessity of doing what he asked, and at last quarrelled with these two officers because they had so wisely cautioned him 1673 not to quarrel with the King of Ashantee. What made the absurdity the greater was, as appeared from Governor Pine's own statement, the war he proposed could only be carried on by the sacrifice for the time of the chief object for which we maintained this settlement—namely, by suspending our efforts for the abolition of the slave trade. He (Mr. Adderley) deprecated strongly the policy of sentimental colonization which was too much adopted by this country. He considered that a better case than this could hardly be brought forward to illustrate the impolicy of the course we were pursuing in this direction. He thought the time had now come to consider whether we had any inducement for exposing our officers and men any longer in a climate so deadly that when it was proposed at the end of the American war to make West Africa a convict station, Mr. Burke made a celebrated speech in this House, in which he described it as a place where "all death lives and all life dies"—a place too dreadful even for criminals to be sent there in commutation for death. He should take the first opportunity next Session of moving for a Committee of Inquiry into the use of our West African establishments, and he appealed to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies to enable him to prepare for it, and to have in readiness the evidence which would be necessary for a fair investigation. He hoped that that inquiry would lead to the abandonment of the Gold Coast forts, and the concentration of our settlements, or disposal of them otherwise. The right hon. Gentleman said that he was against all extension of our possessions on this coast. But with the best intentions this extension was going on, and would continue to go on unless they resolutely set their faces against it. Fifteen years ago the Gold Coast was only a lieutenant governorship under Sierra Leone. Then it was constituted a governorship. During Earl Grey's tenure of the Colonial Office we purchased the Danish forts there for £10,000; and the Dutch forts were now being offered us for sale. If, as the result of the inquiry he proposed, the Government could see their way clear to withdraw from the Gold Coast, and concentrate their forces in two places, or even in one, upon this coast, the greatest benefit would result from the appointment of a Committee. It should be remembered that whatever our squadron might have done for checking the slave trade, no such end had yet been in the least advanced by the troops, whom we 1674 had employed on shore, for they could do nothing but embroil us with the tribes along the coast, while they certainly did nothing for the civilization of the country. The slave trade could be best repressed by a differently composed squadron on the coast, and he quite agreed that it would be well to have faster and fewer vessels there. He hoped, however, that the Protectorate would be abandoned, for the only result had been a large loss of valuable lives, while neither commerce, nor suppression of the slave trade, nor civilization of the tribes, had apparently been promoted by it.
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
said, he was glad that the right hon. Gentleman was resolved to move for a Committee next Session: if he had not made the announcement he (Mr. Henry Seymour) should have done so himself, for he wished to see the whole question ventilated. He hoped, however, that in the meanwhile the Colonial Office would have devised some better means of managing the affairs of these settlements. He must say, however, that he thought the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) was riding his hobby too hard when he designed to confine England to the limits of these Islands; it seemed to him (Mr. Henry Seymour) absurd to talk of restraining this nation within such narrow limits.
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
remarked, that the natural course for a people so powerful, vigorous, and enterprising as that of England was to expand and to occupy nearly every region of the world; and if Napoleon had seen the present wealth, power, and influence of this country in all parts of the world, he would have approved the policy of the British Government for the last thirty or forty years. As to the outcry about these paltry military expenses, he would ask how our colonies could have become so prosperous if they had not been aided in their weakness by the mother country? While our colonies and possessions added largely, on the whole, to the wealth of the mother country, there must necessarily be some which, like the territories of the United States, required for a time an expenditure from the mother country in order that they might become the sources of wealth to the generation which followed. Instead, therefore, of restricting our present policy, he would extend it still further; and if this question were debated he 1675 should be prepared to prove, that our expenditure all over the world was returned to us a hundred-fold by the prosperity of our colonies and possessions. Take the case of Ceylon—we were now exporting from that colony 40,000,000 lb. of coffee a year, and British capital there was to a great extent bringing 10, 20, and 30 per cent per annum to those who laid it out. The imports into this country from the West Coast were increasing, but the products from the interior could not be obtained without the aid of posts established upon the coast; whereas on the east coast, where there were no British settlements, it appeared from accounts given by Captain Speke, that at a short distance from Mozambique towards the interior, the price of Manchester goods increased 2,500 per cent, in consequence of the difficulty, from want of possessions on the coast, of causing the goods to penetrate into the interior. Until they broke the outer crust of the continent they could not gain the interior. Then let them look to the progress of civilization. He thought the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) could not have examined the position of Sierra Leone and the Gambia, where schools and missionary stations were established, whereby Christianity and civilization had been extended, as well as commerce promoted. Then as to the suppression of the slave trade—Commodore Wilmot, in a valuable minute on the subject, had proposed the occupation of Quettah, as a means of putting an end to the slave trade on the only part of the western coast of Africa where it still prevailed to any extent. He wished to observe that our vessels on the coast were most inadequate in speed; not one of them could go more than nine miles an hour, whereas the slavers were notoriously the fastest vessels that could be built. It had been said that this squadron, besides its proper duties in suppressing the slave trade, could be relied upon as a squadron of reserve in case of war; but it would be of very little use against the fast vessels of other nations. He did not find fault with the policy of the Government, but with the way in which that policy was carried out. Why, slavery was acknowledged in British courts of justice in the limits of the Protectorate! We had done away with protectorates almost everywhere, and he did not see why the protectorates on the Gold Coast should not be done away with also. Reference had been made to the Dutch possessions, and the Minister for the Colonies was aware that a move- 1676 ment was taking place in the Chamber in Holland with regard to the Gold Coast, and it was said there, "either let us have our affairs managed better, or sell the territory to the British Government." The estimate of the revenue which might be obtained from these possessions was £50,000 a year. The cost of management was £20,000. Now, if we could settle the question satisfactorily with the Dutch the customs revenue might be divided, and the colony be made self-supporting. The climate was not so bad as had been represented, and was not nearly so injurious to health as the Gambia and Sierra Leone; and he trusted the Government would not abandon the coast, but that next year the subject would be thoroughly sifted by a Select Committee. There was one great defect in the Estimates, for it was impossible to ascertain how much these colonies cost this country. The civil expenditure was set out, but there was no statement as to the naval and military expenditure. The House ought to be furnished with an estimate of the expenditure of each colony. He believed that if we entered into any well-devised scheme for the suppression of the slave trade, Lagos would form an important portion of that scheme; but all the efforts that had hitherto been made had failed from want of administrative ability, for neither Mr. Freeman, at Lagos, nor Mr. Taylor, at Abeokuta, had conformed to the habits of the people. He should like to know when the account of the military expenditure of the Ashantee war would be laid upon the table, and what was its estimated cost for the coming year. It was understood that the Vote was to be postponed until that statement could be laid before the House, and until the policy of the Government could be explained. The question had been shirked by one Member of the Government, because it was not in his department, and he thought the responsible member of the Cabinet ought not to consider it beneath his dignity to give the necessary explanation as to the civil and military expenditure.
§ MR. ARTHUR MILLS
said, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had misunderstood the remarks of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Adderley). He did not understand that his right hon. Friend had stated his intention of moving for a Committee to inquire into the whole subject, but that the question of the Protectorate was one which ought to be inquired into; and in that opinion he (Mr. A. Mills) fully 1677 concurred. He should be sorry if the investigation was directed to particular acts of the Government on the Gold Coast. With respect to the policy which had been pursued by this country, people were asking who was to blame—the Admiralty, the War Office, or the Colonial Department? But if any body was to blame it was not any particular Ministry, or any one official Department, but Parliament itself, which had allowed a system to go on which might at any time explode in disasters similar to those at Lagos or the Gold Coast. He trusted the attention of Parliament would be aroused to the subject, and that an inquiry would be instituted for the purpose of ascertaining whether an attempt to protect the Native tribes was a wise course, and one likely to extinguish the hateful traffic which had been so long carried on. The case of Lagos showed one of the most remarkable failures of our policy resulting from an attempt to interfere in the quarrels of the Native tribes. That colony was founded for the purpose of extinguishing the slave trade; and no doubt that was a very laudable object, in which the country would sympathize if it could be carried out without an undue sacrifice of life and treasure. But what had been the result? Why, when Abeokuta was invaded, it had to depend on supplies of powder from Porto Novo, which was supplied by French traders in exchange for slaves. So that this colony of Lagos, which was planted for the specific purpose of abolishing the slave trade, became, through the foolish policy of the Governor, the means of carrying it on. How could they expect a proper man for Governor of such a colony as Lagos when the salary was only £500, not enough to tempt a country apothecary in fair practice? The whole question of our protectorate over Native tribes ought to be fairly and impartially discussed. The country did not grudge a moderate expenditure for the suppression of the slave trade, but it did grudge the indefinite expenditure involved in protecting Native tribes.
§ LORD CLARENCE PAGET
said, the hon. and gallant Member for Wakefield (Sir John Hay) had quoted a private letter from a personal friend, in which it was stated that our squadron on the coast of Africa was unable to cope with the slave trade. A similar statement was made the other night, when he (Lord Clarence Paget) stated that, he had no knowledge of any slaver having escaped from our squadron after a fair chase.
§ LORD CLARENCE PAGET
said, the statement of his hon. and gallant Friend was, that in spite of four steamers the slaver got away. All he could say was, that he had heard nothing of such a case, I nor had any information to that effect reached the Admiralty. His hon. and gallant Friend said that positive orders had been given to the various ships composing the squadron not to leave their station for the purpose of chasing slavers. But his hon. and gallant Friend knew that if our vessels were to leave their station it would be one of the most advantageous things that could happen for the slave dealers, as they would immediately take the opportunity of despatching slave ships during the temporary absence of the station ship. It was quite possible that a certain number of fast American steamers might be employed in the trade, and no doubt it would be advisable to match them by faster ships; but we wanted fast steamers all over the world, and to send a fresh squadron to the coast of Africa every year because fast American steamers were sent there would be attended with great inconvenience. The Admiralty were perfectly alive to the subject, and would not neglect any opportunity for providing for any contingency.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, the question before the Committee was, whether they should practically pass a Vote of Censure upon the Government by withdrawing this sum of £2,500. Now, it seemed to him most unfair to cast the blame for the present state of things upon the Government, who were simply carrying out a policy inaugurated in 1842 upon the re-commendation of a Committee of which Lord Derby was a Member, and adopted by successive Colonial Secretaries. The occasion of this war really was that the King of Ashantee had threatened the extermination of tribes which we were bound; to protect, and the Government would I have been wanting in their duty, if they had declined to afford their assistance. The loss of life on the occasion was, no; doubt, to be deplored; but according to Commodore Wilmot, if Major Cochrane had done his duty our troops would have marched to the capital of the King of Ashantee, and it was impossible for the Government to provide that all their officers serving on distant stations should be as efficient as could be desired.
§ SIR JOHN HAY
said, he had no wish 1679 to put the House to the trouble of dividing upon the Vote. The only reason why he had urged upon the Government the necessity of suspending the Vote, was that the sum of £2,500 altogether inadequately represented the expenses entailed upon the country by this war. He thought the Government ought to have laid a supplementary estimate upon the table, showing the expenses already incurred for this calamitous war. He believed that something like £250,000 had been expended, of which only this small item of £2,500 was to be found in the Votes.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, no statement of the military expenses incurred in this war had been laid on the table by the War Department, because it was quite impossible that such a statement could be made. The war had taken place in this and the last year, and the accounts for the military expenditure of last year were not yet laid upon the table, nor could they be included in this year's Estimates; but the commissariat charges and field allowances had been taken at an increased amount, in case the war should continue. The expense of organizing a large transport corps had been estimated, but it would be absolutely delusive to attempt to lay on the table an account of the actual expenses incurred. When the Army Expenditure of 1863 was laid before the House, it would be seen what expenditure the war had entailed.
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
asked if he was to understand the noble Marquess to say that all the military estimates were two years behindhand?
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
said, the Government for some time had been spending £1,200 a month for this war, and an account of the estimated expenditure ought to be laid upon the table, as he believed was done in the case of the China and Crimean wars.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that the expenses, so far as could be done, had been included in the Estimates which had been laid before the House; but the war was going on at the time.
SIR FREDERIC SMITH
said, it would be quite possible to give an approximate estimate of the expenses from time to time. To get an estimate two years after the event was of no use. It might as well not be printed.
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
asked, how 1680 it happened that while we were voting £2,000 a year in aid of the Government of the Gold Coast, the magnificent tanks which were in the country had been out of repair, so that no water could be had? He should move to reduce this Vote by £500, the salary of the Governor of Lagos, unless he should receive an assurance that Mr. Freeman was to be removed.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
asked for an explanation of the circumstance that Governor Pine was adverse to raising any taxes in the colony itself. He said in one of his despatches he had neither the face nor the courage to do so.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, that owing to the invasion of the King of Ashantee and the extraordinary severity of the season, there had been a great famine and great distress in the colony, and the passage to which his right hon. Friend had referred related to that state of things. It was only when the revenue of the colony was deficient that that House was asked to defray the expense. He had received no information as to why the tanks had been suffered to go out of repair. They ought to have been kept in repair out of the revenue of the colony itself. The salary of Mr. Freeman, at Lagos, was made up in this way—£500 was taken for him as Consul in the Consular Estimate, and £500 for him as Governor in that Vote.
§ MR. ARTHUR MILLS
asked, whether the right hon. Gentleman could give the Committee an estimate of what the revenue of Lagos was?
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, that in 1862, the last year of which he had any account, it was £7,120. The Estimate for the present year was considerably larger.
§ LORD HARRY VANE
quite agreed with the noble Marquess, that an exact estimate of the war expenses could not be furnished, but he did not see why an approximate estimate could not. It might be right or wrong to pursue the policy which we had adopted on the Gold Coast, but then it had been followed ever since 1842.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, his belief was that in the matter between Lagos and Abbeokuta the former was more sinned against than sinning. He held out hopes last year that Lagos would this year be able to pay its own expenses, and such was his belief at the time. But the reason why they were now obliged to ask a slight assistance for the colony was mainly because the neighbouring tribes had persisted in waging war among themselves, 1681 and because Abbeokuta, in spite of our advice, had carried on hostilities against its neighbours. He hoped that people would not be too elated by their recent victory over the King of Dahomey to adopt a policy of peace, that the trade of Lagos would make great advances, and that the colony would become self-supporting,
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, they were not fighting with Mr. Freeman—it was their neighbours that were fighting.
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
said, that the people of Abbeokuta had not been on good terms with them since Mr. Freeman had become Governor.
§ SIR JOHN HAY
said, he understood that the military correspondence was to have been laid upon the table, but it had not as yet been produced.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he was not aware that the military correspondence had been promised.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to,
§ (4.) £220,000, Ironclad ships El Tousson and El Monassir.
§ LORD CLARENCE PAGET
said, the Committee was perfectly aware of all the circumstances which had led the Government to recommend this purchase to Parliament, and therefore he would not take up time by making any statement upon the subject. He should be very happy, however, to answer any questions which might be put to him.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow, at twelve of the clock.