HC Deb 25 June 1868 vol 192 cc2132-3

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether Her Majesty's Government is taking any steps, in conjunction with France and other civilized Powers, to induce the Portuguese Govern- ment to stop the Slave Trade carried on between Macao and Cuba and Peru, under the name of Coolie Emigration?


Sir, the abuses attending on the practice of Coolie emigration from Macao are grave and notorious. We have from time to time brought the matter under the notice of the Portuguese Government, and we have invited Portugal to co-operate with France, England, and other Powers in endeavouring to come to some satisfactory arrangement with the Chinese Government on the question of Coolie emigration generally. To that communication we have as yet received no answer from the Portuguese Government. With reference to the parallel drawn by the hon. Member between the Coolie emigration and the slave trade, I may remind him that in the case of the slave trade, wherever it is carried on, we have the right to interfere by treaty either with Portugal or with any other Power that may be concerned. In the case of the Coolie emigration, we have no right of interference whatever, except that right which every Government has to give such friendly advice to any other Government as it thinks fit. But beyond that we have no power.