§ MR. DISRAELI moved that the Orders of the Day and the first two Notices of Motions be postponed till after the Notice of Motion relating to the Gold Coast.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ MR. HANBURY
, in moving—That this House is of opinion that, in the interests of civilization and commerce, it would not now he deniable to withdraw from the administration of the affairs of the Gold Coast,said, that as this was the same Resolution that he had moved on the Motion to go into Committee of Supply, and which had been since withdrawn in order that it might be resumed as an independent Motion, he did not propose now to repeat any of the reasons which induced him to press it upon the attention of the House. He therefore hoped if, at a later period of the evening, he I should be called upon to reply, the 1593 House would take into consideration the self-restraint he was now exercising, and allow him a fair opportunity of meeting any objections that might be made to the Motion. He would now merely move the Resolution of which he had given Notice.
§ MR. ARTHUR MILLS
, in seconding the Motion, said, that while agreeing entirely with his hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth (Mr. Hanbury) that the Government was inextricably involved in the responsibilities they had assumed on the Gold Coast, he could not but think that people out-of-doors rather seriously under-rated the difficulties of the position. No doubt they were very proud of the achievements of Sir Garnet Wolseley, and the foresight and courage which had been displayed by his officers and men; but they were rather in danger of forgetting the lessons of the past, and of greatly under-rating the perils of the future. It might be said Sir Garnet Wolseley had crushed these Ashantees, and nothing more would be heard of them; but history repeated itself. So it was said some half-century ago. After a successful campaign in 1826 it was said the Ashantees had been effectually put down; but in four short years afterwards the state of affairs became so desperate that the Government resolved to retire from the Gold Coast altogether. He was not one who was disposed to recede from the responsibilities we had taken upon ourselves in that region; but at the same time we ought to look those responsibilities fully in the face, for we had no guarantee that history would not again repeat itself, He believed that our responsibilities were due in a very great degree to the policy pursued by the British Government, which had not only patronized the West African Slave Trade for two centuries, and thereby degraded the tribes we had taken under our protection, but had afterwards enervated them by teaching them to cower under the shelter of our forts. That was the decided opinion expressed by Colonel Harley in a despatch to Lord Kimberley of April in last year, and the Government must therefore gravely consider the responsibilities they had undertaken with reference to the feeble and dastardly tribes we had taken under our Imperial wing. We could not leave the friendly native tribes exposed to 1594 the revenge of their great enemy, the Ashantees; we could not honourably extricate ourselves from the obligation we had come under to protect them. The treaties we had entered into began only in this century; the most notable of them was that of 1831, but whatever their precise terms, taken together they involved us in what the native tribes called the protection of their interests. He had a decided objection to the very principle of civilized nations entering into those treaties with native races, whether Ashantees, Kaffirs, or Maoris. They were, at best, a mere caricature of diplomacy, and were a class of negotiations which had been fraught with disaster, and which would not bear the test of very close examination as to their policy or value. More than that they were generally misunderstood, and often broken by the superior power. But, whether disastrous or not, these treaties were binding on us. The policy pursued by Lord Grey in 1852, establishing something like a Negro Parliament, and imposing a poll-tax on the protected Natives, although nothing had been collected under it for many years, had riveted the responsibility of protection upon us. He should be very thankful if he could think we had come to a time when we could escape from our responsibilities, but our present position was one of considerable difficulty. We were not there for honour or for profit, but simply in fulfilment of a responsibility which we had incurred, and from which we could not, for the present at least, escape. The great question was, in what way could we so alter the condition of these tribes that we could honourably withdraw ourselves at some future day from a position we should never have taken up? The policy to be adopted was entirely for the Government to decide, but still he might humbly offer a suggestion or two, which would, of course, be taken for what they were worth; and first as to what we should not do. He trusted that there would be no more attempts to negotiate these treaties, and that there would be no endeavour on the part of the Colonial Office to extemporize a Negro Government and a Negro Parliament. They had seen enough of Negro Parliaments in Hayti and elsewhere, and he could not understand how a statesman like Earl Grey 1595 could support the establishment of a Negro Parliament. We had now some 24 forts on the Coast, and the Government ought to come to some agreement as to the best forts to be held, and the best system of administration to be adopted. Next, if he were permitted to make a suggestion as to what should be done, it would be to make Elmina our chief port on the coast. There were several reasons for that course. It had been held by Europeans some 400 years. It was believed to be healthy, it had a harbour, and it was desirable on those grounds to make it our chief port, and to make the Gold Coast a distinct Government. That would, he admitted, be at variance with the recommendations of the Committee of 18G5, of which he was a Member. Their Report was, however, almost disregarded, except that the seat of Government was established at Sierra Leone, while Lagos and other places on the coast were placed under the supreme government of the Governor of Sierra Leone. Great inconvenience, however, had resulted from the interference of the Governor of Sierra Leone with those who administered the affairs of dependencies, one or two of which were nearly 1,000 miles off, and he could not help thinking, if we meant to hold the Gold Coast, that the Governor should be allowed to act independently of all interference from the Governor of Sierra Leone. Beyond that, the Executive Government must be aware of the inconvenience of the correspondence that had been carried on, when they wanted to be in direct communication with some one on the spot. They should Try and find another Governor Maclean—who, perhaps, might, be found in Captain Glover—and make him directly responsible to the Home Government. There was another thing he had to urge upon the attention of the House, which was that, whatever might be the central seat of government, and whoever might be placed in it as Governor, he trusted that, something would be done to remove the scandal of the disgraceful sanitary condition of the ports generally on the Cape Coast, which had characterized our past connection with the place. The mortality among Governors and other officials was well known, and the Colonial Office ought to inquire whether this mortality at the Gold Coast, was irremovable. 1596 He wished that the money fooled away in presents to the King of Ashantee and other chiefs had been spent in sanitary improvements. It was idle to refer to the deadly nature of the climate as an effectual bar to improvement, for looking to India, successive Governments there had, under circumstances almost as unfavourable as those existing on this Coast, reduced the death-rate of Europeans in that country during the 17 years between 1854 and 1871, rather more than one-half—namely, from 69 per 1,000 to 34. That decrease of more than one-half was owing to the changes and improvements suggested by Miss Nightingale and others, and he believed it to be quite possible to make an important improvement in the sanitary condition of Cape Coast Castle, so as to make it a comparatively safe and healthy place of residence for Europeans. There were open drains all round Cape Coast Castle. The drinking water was absolutely poisonous, and the burial of the dead was very imperfectly carried out. His hon. Friend was, he feared, over sanguine in expecting that an orthodox Government would be able to put an entire stop to illegitimate trade. He doubted whether any Government which could be set up, whether managed by traders or by a regular Government, would repress, for example, illegitimate trade in rum or gunpowder. Civilization would, of course, bring its evils as well as its benefits wherever it was introduced: but in time, if it did bring evils, it would also bring the antidote for them. He doubted, however, whether any Government whatever could altogether prevent those unfavourable effects. His friend, the late Mr. Herman Merivale once related to him an incident showing how the importation of rum into Tortola brought about a political crisis in that island. In Tortola, there had been a Parliament very much like our House of Commons. On the occasion in question, the Speaker rode up to the House on horseback; and, having dismounted, handed his horse over to a boy to mind. The boy, instead of holding the horse, got on his back and rode him tip and down the street. The circumstance was reported to the House, and was by the House voted a breach of privilege, and the boy's father, who happened to be a licensed victualler, was 1597 fined nine bottles of rum. The Assembly consisted of nine Members, who drank up the rum between them, and, getting intoxicated, so great a scandal arose that Representative Government was abolished in the island. Whether they were dealing with negroes, or Kaffirs, or Maoris, no arrangements they could make could altogether prevent any evil results of civilization, and time would have to be relied upon for their cure. Tie was quite aware there were many difficulties in dealing with our intertropical dependencies, and it was but too common to urge that anyone who dwelt upon these topics was aiming at the dismemberment of the Empire, lie had shown that that was not his desire. He did not desire that we should shrink from our responsibilities in Western Africa, but he was anxious that they should not be under-rated. What he contended was, that we ought to maintain our Empire on the Coast without the sacrifice of human life which had hitherto been made, and which he believed to be capable of being avoided, and uphold, so far as lay in our power, the interests of lawful commerce and Christian civilization.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That this House is of opinion, that, in the interests of civilisation and commerce, it would not now he desirable to withdraw from the administration of the affairs of the Gold Coast."—(Mr. Hanbury.)
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
said, he was glad that the skilful arrangement of the Business of the House by the Prime Minister had enabled them to come to a fair issue upon this subject. The statements contained in the speech of the hon. Member opposite who had brought this subject forward (Mr. Hanbury). conclusively proved to his mind that our stay on the Gold Coast was not necessary in the interests either of civilization or commerce. He had, therefore, given Notice of an Amendment to the hon. Gentleman's Motion—namely, to leave out all the words after the words "commerce," and to insert the words—It is desirable to withdraw from all equivocal and entangling engagements with the tribes inhabiting the Gold Coast.Those words, however, did not express his meaning quite so fully as he could wish, for he was perfectly in accord with the sentiments expressed the other 1598 evening by the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms), who desired that steps should be taken for our leaving the Gold Coast, He had, however, high authority for using them, for they were the very words used by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), in his celebrated Greenwich manifesto, where he said that, although it was necessary we should sustain the honour of England with regard to the Ashantee Expedition, yet it should be a lesson to us to get rid of all equivocal and entangling engagements of that nature. That was the opinion of the late Prime Minister; and he might mention that, last autumn, the present Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs—Lord Derby—also expressed an opinion on the subject in the following terms—I doubt whether it was wise to take over Dutch forts, and I greatly doubt whether any man in or out of the Colonial Office exactly knows or could define the limits of our authority and of our responsibility in regard to the tribes included within the protected territory.He (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) maintained that our engagements and undertakings were not one whit clearer now than they were then. We had, as we all knew, just concluded what he supposed would be regarded as a necessary war; but if it were so, as far as it could be seen, the war was one-which would very likely recur. The conduct of the war, and the cause of it, had never yet been discussed in that House; and in connection with the point, he had read the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite at various agricultural gatherings last autumn, and saw that they were anxious that Parliament should be called together to discuss the cause of the war. The fact, however, was that there were always three ways of stopping any one who desired to discuss such a subject. If any hon. Member rose to make a Motion before the commencement of the war, the answer was—"You are interfering with negotiations; you are acting against the interests of peace, wait till it is finished." If the war was going on, they were told—"You are interfering with military operations and bringing great danger upon the country;" and if the war was concluded, the answer was—" The whole thing is over, and it is no use crying over spilt milk." He had no objection whatever to our feting 1599 the soldiers who had returned from the Coast, and giving them banquets, medals, and pensions, though foreigners were beginning to wonder how we proposed to reward our soldiers when they fought against the armies of civilized countries such as Russia and France, for it was against such countries that we were arming, if he might judge by the enormous expenditure we annually incurred in connection with our Army and Navy. The soldiers did not consider the cause, but they did what they had been ordered to do, and although we called ourselves a brave nation, it appeared to him that if we sent out our soldiers to fight for a cause that was not necessary, simply because we were not wise enough to settle the quarrel without fighting, we were acting in a cowardly manner, and could not make amends by cheering the survivors when they came home. He objected entirely to the police theory advocated by the hon. Gentleman opposite, who had said that we ought to maintain our position on the Gold Coast as police. It would be just as well that we should take the beam out of our own eye, before we attempted to act as policemen all over the world. Sir Samuel Baker, who knew Africa very well, had said the question might be raised whether we were quite civilized ourselves, and there were certainly night scenes in London which amazed foreigners, and which they all knew the Home Secretary was going to increase. With regard to our occupation of the Gold Coast, it appeared that in 1821 the Home Government took the Settlement away from the African Company into its own hands, and soon after that commenced what the hon. Member for Hackney roughly called the philanthrophic era, and a very pretty philanthropic era it was, for we had had no less than five wars with the Gold Coast tribes since that period. He did not propose in any way to go into the question of the Straits of Malacca, but in 1872 we entered into fresh equivocal and entangling engagements with the Dutch, and as the result of these engagements was that within the past 12 months the Dutch had been fighting in the country we had yielded them, and we had been fighting in the country we had received from the Dutch, the bargain would seem to have been one that was injurious to us both. Both parties had taken over people 1600 without in any way asking their consent. That we took over the people of Elmina without their consent was conclusively proved from the Papers. The Kings and Chiefs of Elmina declared in a solemn palaver, December 19, 1870—On no account will we become English; and if Governor Ussher has ordered Mr. Bartels only to tell us that, he had better hold Ins peace. The Elminas will serve under the Dutch Hag, but no other. We have suffered so much from the exchange of territory that we are tired and exhausted. Surely a man can be sold only once!That only showed how ignorant these Chiefs were of civilized life. Moreover, when the bargain was made, we came to no clear understanding with the King of Ashantee as to what his rights were, and we acted arbitrarily in shutting out his people from the Coast. The end of it was, the Ashantees invaded us, and we drove them back over the Prah into their own territory. Not content with that, however, we pursued them into their own district, and that was what he objected to. It was the same thing as Kinglake had described in the Crimean War, when, after we had driven the Russians out of the Danubian Principalities, he said—England had become so eager for conflict, that the idea of desisting from the war merely because the war had ceased to he necessary, was not tolerable to the people.In the end, everybody said the right thing to do was to march to Coomassie, and we accordingly did so, and then marched back again. The object of that, he confessed, he could never understand, for it irresistibly reminded him of the nursery rhyme—The King of France with twenty thousand men,Marched up a hill and then marched down again.He hoped some Member of the Government would inform the House what that march to Coomassie had to do with advancing the interests of civilization and commerce. Various reasons were given for it. Mr. H. M. Stanley, in his book on the Gold Coast, had said that we went to war with the Ashantees because we hoped to make a gain of it. Did we go in the interests of commerce? The hon. Member for Hackney had shown that we had in 20 years spent £2,090,000 on that country, and in return we had only had £2,300,000 worth of commerce. If that was the way in which we 1601 carried on commerce, we had better not have any at all. Not only that, but he thought it was a most extraordinary way to commence business by killing one's customers. Why, even the publicans in this country did not kill their customers intentionally, but kept them going as long as they could. With regard to the promotion of civilization, the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Han-bury) said, it was necessary to put a stop to the cannibalism and barbarous ceremonies at Coomassie; but, for his own part, he doubted whether that end could be obtained by such means, for an hon. Member whom he mot in the Lobby the other evening told him he had been on the Gold Coast, and added chat the hon. Member for Tamworth was wrong in thinking those terrible customs would be abolished, and that no fat man would ever have a chance nut there. Probably there was a good deal of exaggerated statement about the horrible customs said to have been in vogue; but, even assuming that was not the case, and that the Ashantees might be as bad as they could possibly be he might remark that it was entirely an after-thought that we went to Coomassie to put down that kind of atrocity, for the existence of similar customs had never been made a pretext for going to war with the King of Dahomey. Besides, he thought the country cared nothing for a kind of civilization which meant nothing more titan rum and gunpowder. Further than that, the civilization about which we bragged so much was simply the means of making money out of those wretched people in whatever way we could, and what we called improving them too frequently meant improving them off the face of the earth. That had been the case in every colony we had gone to except India, and there the people were too numerous to be dealt with in such a manner. The result of our boasted civilization in Africa was that every officer, Consul, and clergyman talked of the Natives as being the greatest blackguards the sun ever shone upon; and what guarantee had we that these people would be better subjects or more moral than they had been in the past? The Fantees liked the Ashantees as much as they did us, and, like sensible men, none of them could be got to fight for us except two companies of Christians. The only 1602 thing we had taught these Christians was how to fight. Outside the House it had been stated that the interests of religion were involved in shooting these black fellows, but, in his opinion, this was the very way to make them dislike religion. Would the House allow him to read a bit of a sermon? It was delivered by a garrison chaplain, the Rev. F. Short, of the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, at a thanksgiving service in connection with the Ashantee War. The rev. gentleman took a text which had reference to the stripling David going to battle with the giant Goliath.Like David," said the preacher, "the British soldiers went out to light from a sense of duty, without pausing to make any comparisons between their own strength and that of the for. When the English Army witnessed the superstitions and atrocities which had been committed in that city of murder (Coomassic), they must have, felt, like David, that it was God's battle they were fighting, and that the Lord of the whole earth must necessarily conquer. In burning Coomassic they overthrew one of the strongholds of the devil, and opened a channel for the inroads of Christianity.All he (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) had to say to that was, that if that was endorsed by the Government it was very alarming; for if they were to attack all the strongholds of Satan, Supplementary Estimates to a very large amount would have to be called for. For himself, he totally disapproved that method of spreading Christianity. If a Native of a foreign country, desiring to impress him with the truths of his religion. was to commence by invading his country, burning down his capital, firing upon and killing all his friends and relatives, and ultimately driving him naked into the jungle, he should not be prepossessed by that man's religious views: and if he told him afterwards that his religion was one of peace and brotherly love, he should not only tell him he considered him a scoundrel, but a most hypocritical scoundrel into the bargain. It might do very well for The Daily Telegraph and well-meaning clergymen to wrap up religion with politics, but he hoped there was not a single hon. Member in that House who would rise and say that such scenes as had been witnessed in Ashantee would tend to promote the religion of Christ. It was a curious thing, moreover, if the honour of England was to be raised up and magnified by setting one tribe of savages 1603 in Africa to fight against another; by collecting all the refuse and scum of Africa to fight against Ashantee, and upsetting the only strong Government in that part of the world, and teaching them the art of war so that the next time they fought they would not use old guns and slugs, but Snider rifles and bullets. That was not the prestige of wise men, but of fools; he did not wish to blame one party more than another, for both parties had meddled and muddled in the matter. Many people would be dazzled by our military success, but it was that very success which had emboldened him to speak as he had done on this question. Nobody could now say he was hampering a commander in the field, and endangering the success of an expedition. He was speaking of past occurrences, and in his judgment the time had arrived when the honour and the interest of England would be best promoted by our withdrawal from the Gold Coast. We could not, indeed, wipe out the past, but by carrying his Amendment the House might do something to check in the future that useless expenditure of public money, and that needless sacrifice of noble lives, which did nothing for the honour of this country, and conferred still less benefit on the world. The hon. Baronet concluded by moving the Amendment of which he had given Notice.
To leave out all the words from the word "commerce" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "it is desirable to withdraw from all equivocal and entangling engagements with the tribes inhabiting the Gold Coast."—(Sir fiid Lawson,)
§ Question proposed, 'That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN
said, that the House would not be surprised that he had been anxious to rise with as little delay as possible, in order to answer the charges which had been made against the Government, of whose Colonial policy he was lately the exponent in the House of Commons. He did not, indeed, complain of the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth (Mr. Hanbury), who moved 1604 the Resolution, for although he found fault generally with the policy pursued upon the West Coast of Africa since 1865, he made no specific charges against the late Government. There were, however, one or two points in his speech wherein he failed to give them the credit they deserved. Speaking, for instance, of defective sanitary arrangements, he might have mentioned that measures of sanitary improvement were urgently pressed upon the local authorities by the late Colonial Secretary, and that in accordance with the suggestion of Mr. Salmon, a plot of land was selected at Cape Coast, in November, 1872, for a cemetery, and the Chiefs had consented to relinquish the ancient but objectionable practice of burying their dead under the floors of their houses. Again, in giving credit to Sir Garnet Wolseley for having stipulated in the Treaty for the abolition of human sacrifice, he might have recollected that that was in obedience to the instructions given by Lord Kimberley upon the 10th September. 1873, who, in writing of the terms to be demanded of the King of Ashantee, concluded his despatch in these words—Lastly, the opportunity should not be lost for putting an end, if possible, to the human sacrifices and the slave-hunting, which, with other barbarities, prevail in the Ashantee kingdom.But, inasmuch as the hon. Gentleman dealt only with the question proposed in his Resolution—aye or no, should we leave the Gold Coast?—he (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) would have been content to deal with his speech in a few general remarks. It was, however, the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms) who had imparted a new character to the debate. Conscious of the importance of the subject, and the magnitude of the collateral issues involved, he opened up the whole question of our policy upon the Gold Coast, and, especially with reference to the last three years, and framed so heavy an indictment against the late Government, as to necessitate his (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen's) throwing himself upon the indulgence of the House, in order to make what he trusted would be a full and sufficient reply. The first charge which he understood his hon. Friend to make was this—in which he was followed by the hon. and amusing Baronet who had just sat down—that whereas the Select Committee of 1865 1605 recommended that we should reduce our responsibility with a view to ultimate withdrawal from the Gold Coast, the country had, through the agency of the late Government, found itself engaged in the greatest war we had ever had on that Coast, and that for the very purpose of extending our territory and increasing our responsibility. Well, in the first place, let them see what really were the recommendations of that Select Committee. The first was—That it is not possible to withdraw the British government, wholly or immediately, from any settlements or engagements on the West African Coast.The second—That all further extension of territory or assumption of government, or now treaties offering any protection to native tribes, would he inexpedient: and that the object of our policy should he to encourage in the natives the exercise of those qualities which may render it possible for us more and more to transfer to them the administration of all the governments, with a view to our ultimate withdrawal from all, except, probably, Sierra Leone.He might pause to ask whether the hon. Gentleman really thought that possibility, upon which our withdrawal was to be contingent, had actually arrived? Were the Natives as yet fit to administer government? If not, the argument for withdrawal, so far as it was founded upon the opinion of the Committee of 1865, fell to the ground. But he would beg the House to mark the following words in the Report—That this policy of non-extension admits of no exception, as regards new settlements, but cannot amount to an absolute prohibition of measures which, in peculiar cases, may be necessary for the more efficient and economical administration of the settlements we already possess.Upon these words he founded his justification for the acceptance of the Dutch Ports by the British Government, and he would prove his case with as much clearness as he was able. The hon. Gentleman had said that in 1867 the Government—which was Lord Derby's Government—did proceed to carry out the recommendation of the Committee, by effecting an exchange, by which the Dutch took the forts and the protectorate westward—the British eastward—of the Sweet River. But, said he, though this was wise, it was not wisely carried out, inasmuch as the Natives were not consulted. Now, he (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) was not there to attack Lord 1606 Derby's Government of 1867, but this he was bound to say—a similar proposal of exchange was made to Lord Palmerston's Government in 1860, and was declined because it was found that the Natives were averse to be transferred to Dutch protection. He could not find that any attempt was made in 1867 to ascertain the wishes of the Natives, and he said this emphatically—that it was the result and consequence of that transfer which brought about such a state of things as rendered absolutely necessary that cession to us of the Dutch Fort. From the moment of the exchange there was no peace or tranquillity in the Protectorate. The Natives transferred from Dutch to English protection acquiesced, but those transferred from English to Dutch protection violently opposed the change. Perhaps the House would think there was some reason for this. The Denkeras and Wassaws were the largest and most important tribes which thus passed from English to Dutch protection. The Denkeras, formerly vassals of the Ashantees, had been liberated after the great battle of Doodowa, in 1826, in which the English utterly defeated the Ashantee forces. Now, the Dutch being in alliance with the Ashantees, the Denkeras and people of Assim not unnaturally feared that they might again be brought under the yoke of that people. Therefore they refused to accept the Dutch Hag. Consequently, in 1868, the Dutch bombarded Commendah, and in 1869 assisted the Ashantees to destroy that part of Dix-cove whose inhabitants still hankered after English protection. Ever since the doubtful peace of 1864, the Ashantees had been quarrelling with the Fantees, and threatening invasion. But, after the exchange of 1867. the whole of the transferred English territory was in confusion, and the maintenance of peace and development of trade became simply impossible. The Fantees joined the Denkeras and Wassaws—they more than once invested Elmina; and, in fact, hostilities were only at last suspended through the agency of the English Government, and because the cession to England appeared probable. Now, let hint ask the hon. Member for Hackney what he would have had us do under these circumstances? Was that a moment to withdraw from the Coast? Surely he, who had such a respect for 1607 the Report of the Select Committee of 1865, would not have thought the time had come for the ultimate withdrawal which they contemplated? Well, then, were we to repudiate the exchange effected by our predecessors with the Dutch? That would hardly have been deemed right, either to the Dutch or to the Natives. What, then, was left to us but the course which appeared best both to the Netherlands and British Governments—namely, to put an end to the divided Protectorate, to leave only one European Power upon the Coast, and to unite the tribes under the protection of that Power which they appeared to prefer. Now, before he touched upon the manner in which this cession was made and accepted, let him call the attention of the House to the advantages which we might fairly have expected from it. And, first, he would call into the witness-box his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade (Sir Charles Adderley). He was Chairman of the Committee of 1865; he had always consistently condemned our protectorate of tribes as an undefined responsibility; but he prepared a draft Report for that Committee, in which he bore valuable evidence upon the point now under discussion. In the 10th paragraph of that Report he said—The Dutch—the only other European Power remaining on this coast besides the English—hold forts intermixed with the English and interfering with their government.And in Paragraph 55, he said again—On the Gold Coast there is no possibility of raising a sufficient revenue while the Dutch remain and thwart our policy.Nor must the House suppose that these were idle words, or only expressing the solo opinion of the hon. Gentleman, for they were sustained by a vast mass of evidence given before that Committee, to the effect that the colony could not be self-paying whilst the Dutch and English remained with conflicting authority upon the Coast, and that the acquisition of the Dutch Ports would be most desirable. He (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) would not take up the time of the House by reading extracts from the evidence; but in the evidence of Colonel Ord, Captain Burton, Sir Benjamin Pine, Mr. Richard Pine, Mr. Ross, and others would be found ample justification for the opinion expressed. He said, then, that we had every reason 1608 to expect that by the acquisition of the Dutch Ports, the following advantages would result:—1. Cape Coast would be rendered a self-supporting and prosperous Government. 2. Higher duties could be levied on arms, gunpowder, and mm, thus increasing the revenue, whilst decreasing the elements of war and demoralization of the Natives. 3. The trade of a country rich in gold would be developed. 4. The numerous tribes which objected to the Dutch Protectorate would be tranquillized; and 5. A harbour, pronounced by that eminent man Colonel Clarke in 18G5 to be "the only harbour on the Coast which deserves the name "would be obtained. Moreover, it must be remembered that the whole trade at Elmina was British and not Dutch, and that Sir Arthur Kennedy, one of the best Governors we had ever had in our West African Settlements, and one most competent to form an opinion, always strongly urged the acquisition of the Dutch Forts, and thus wrote of the proposed transfer on 3rd November, 1870—I regard the acquisition of St. George d'Elmina by Her Majesty's Government as one of the most important, and, as I feel convinced, one of the most successful steps which has ever been taken to promote commerce and civilization in "West Africa.He (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) said, then, that with that overwhelming weight of evidence to show that the acquisition of the Dutch Forts would, in the very words of the Committee, tend to "the more efficient and economical administration of the Settlements we already possess," Her Majesty's late Government were acting in accordance with, and not in defiance of, the recommendation of the Committee of 1865 in accepting the cession, and that the first charge of the hon. Member for Hackney could not for a moment be sustained. And now he came to the second and third charges of the hon. Member—namely, that we ignored the Kings of Elmina and of Ashantee, and that we did not consult the Natives. Now, it so happened that he was transferred from the Home to the Colonial Office as Under Secretary early in January, 1871, at the very moment the cession was being discussed, and was therefore able to speak with certainty to the fact that his noble Friend (Lord Kimberley), with whom he had many consultations upon the 1609 question, was entirely resolved that the cession of these Forts should not be accepted, except upon these conditions—I. That the Natives were willing to accept the substitution of the English flag for the Dutch. 2. That the claims of the King of Ashantee upon Elmina should be settled by the Dutch previously to the cession. And here he must complain of his hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, who argued his case not like a Judge, but like an advocate, and an advocate apparently retained against the late Government. Everything in the despatches which appeared to show our neglect or fault he read out with care and marked emphasis: but cither slurred over or entirely omitted all those despatches which proved to demonstration that we took every precaution possible with regard to the points he had mentioned. His hon. Friend quoted a despatch received on the 25th of January, 1874, in which an account was given of a meeting at Elmina on the 19th of December, 1870, at which the King of Elmina and others objected to receive the British flag; and his hon. Friend, rising to the height of virtuous indignation said, what a farce this meeting was—what nonsense our pretending to care for the wishes of the Natives when we actually signed the Treaty at the Hague, "which in effect settled the whole business," three days before we answered this despatch. Now let him (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) blow that charge to the winds. It was true that the Convention was signed at the Hague in February, 1871. By that Convention the King of the Netherlands agreed to cede to Her Majesty "all the rights of sovereignty, jurisdiction, and property which he possessed on the coast of Guinea," and it was idle to suppose that the Dutch would have allowed the Natives to be consulted as to what their rights were or whether they should cede them. But a Treaty was not a Treaty until it was ratified, and although in 1871 this Convention or Treaty was signed, which set forth what the Netherlands and British Governments were prepared to do as between themselves, it was not ratified until February, 1872. During the whole of that year, the British Government had the right and the power to decline to proceed with the Treaty, and that year was employed in ascertaining the feelings of the Natives 1610 and the position of the Ashantces with regard to Elmina. Did we ignore the question of the alleged claims of the King of Ashantee? On the 9th of October, 1870, Sir Arthur Kennedy wrote to Colonel Nagtlass, Dutch Governor of Elmina, asking him, among other inquiries—Does the Netherlands Government pay any tribute to the King of Ashantee, or has he any recognized or other claim upon the people or territory of Elmina?The Dutch Governor replied that a yearly stipend was paid to the King to encourage trade, but that he had no recognized claim upon the territory or people of Elmina. The true story seemed to be this—The "West Indian Company, to whom the forts originally belonged, granted an annual payment to the Eng of Denkera on the Coast to promote trade. The Ashantees conquered Denkera in 1719, and the pay-note fell into their hands. It would strike the House at once that when the British defeated the Ashantees and set Denkera free in 1820, the pay-note no longer belonged to the Ashantees, but either to the British or the Denkeras. However, the Dutch continued to pay it to the Ashantees, and the important point was this—The hon. Member truly said that the King of Ashantee wrote to Mr. Ussher, laying claim to Elmina, and stating that tribute had been paid to him and to his ancestors for it. But why did he stop there? We would not accept the cession until the point was cleared up, and after some correspondence the King of Ashantee, upon the 19th of August, 1871, signed a formal renunciation of his claim. That paper, called "Certificate of Apology," was to be found at Page 34 of the Paper presented to Parliament in February, 1872. In it the King solemnly declared—That the letter in which he had claimed tribute on account of Elmina was totally misrepresented on the part of parties intrusted with the writing and dictating it that he only meant board wages, or salary, and not tribute by right of arms from the Dutch Government, and that as to his letter to Mr. Ussher concerning the Elmina fort he 'must now write that the whole is a mistake.'He must confess his surprise that, with this document before his eyes, his hon. Friend should have abstained from saying one word about it, and should have left the House to suppose that we had received the Dutch Forts with the knowledge 1611 that the King of Ashantee had advanced a claim to them which remained unsettled. [Mr. HOLMS said, he had read that letter.] There were two despatches from Lord Kimberley which showed as clearly as possible our action in the matter. Lord Kimberley wrote to Lord Granville on the 3rd of February, 1871—His Lordship will perceive that the King of Ashantee claims Elmina as his own by right, and it is admitted that an annual payment o£ about £80 (which he represents as tribute) has long been paid him. Lord Kimberley considers it necessary, before proceeding further with the Convention, that the Dutch Government should procure, by such means as they think fit, the renunciation of the claim of the King of Ashantee to Elmina, else this Government may find itself involved in a war with the Ashantees.Lord Kimberley wrote to Governor Kennedy on the 28th of February—You will perceive that Her Majesty's Government require that the claims of the King of Ashantee to Elmina as his own by right, should be settled by the Motherlands Government before the Convention for the transfer is concluded, and that if this claim is renounced, they would not object to grant to the King of Ashantee an annual stipend, to be paid by the Government of the Gold Coast, as an inducement to him to maintain peace and to encourage trade, and they would readily facilitate the direct access to the sea of the Ashantecs for purposes of trade, under such conditions as might be required for the security of the inhabitants of the coast.Nor was that all. Writing to Mr. Pope Hennessy on the 19th of February, 1872, Lord Kimberley said—I wish you to consider whether, on the occasion of the transfer of the Elmina forts to the British Government, it may not be advisable to make some addition to the stipend paid to the King of Ashantee, on condition that he abstains from aggression upon the tribes under British protection, and give no encouragement to attempts to stir up had feeling among the Elminas against the British Government.In consequence of that despatch, a double stipend was offered to the King by Mr. Hennessy, in a letter which would be found at Page 87 of the Gold Coast Papers, 1873. Seeing, then, that we obtained a formal renunciation of his claim from the King of Ashantee before we consented to accept the forts; that we promised him an additional stipend, and to facilitate the access of his people to the coast, he (Mr. Knatchbull Hugessen) appealed to the House whether he had not triumphantly disposed of the charge that the late Government "ignored" the rights of the King of Ashantee? And now as to the charge of our not having 1612 considered the feelings of the Natives, His hon friend had spoken of the dislike of the King of Elmina and his people to the British flag. Let him make one remark upon the point. The Elmina tribe were not the only people transferred by this cession from Dutch to English protection, and his hon. Friend had spoken of hundreds of thousands of Natives. Be it so. But the Denkeras and Wassaws constituted the vast majority of the people transferred, and were most anxious for the transfer, owing to the hope of which alone they had been induced to suspend hostilities. Moreover, they had a strong claim upon us, having been formerly under British protection, and having been transferred to the Dutch entirely against their will at the time of the exchange in 1867. The Elmina tribe, of whom his hon. Friend made so much, was a small tribe of some 12,000 or 14,000 persons, among whom alone objection to the transfer was found. But even at the time of the meeting to which his hon. Friend had called such special attention, there were two parties in Elmina. His hon. Friend had quoted Mr. Ussher as a high authority, and so he was; but what did Mr. Ussher say in the very despatch in which he sent us the account of this meeting—By the enclosed report from Mr. Bartels, your Excellency will perceive that the King's party is the only one likely to be troublesome, and that by far the greater portion of the town is in our favour.He added these significant words—Although peace is not arrived at, the road to Elmina is quite safe and the Fantees are behaving well and with moderation. But I do not think they would for a moment entertain the question of peace apart from, the tranfer.The transfer was the only hope of peace, and, as events had shown, transfer or no transfer, the Ashantees had long been preparing and intended war, and the only result of the transfer as regarded the war was that, having Elmina in our possession, we were in a better position to meet it when it came. Mr. Bartel's report concluded with the words—I can truly say that eight-tenths of the entire population of Elmina are well disposed to become English and the remainder can be reasoned into it.The Dutch Governor, Colonel Nagtlass, had already informed Sir Arthur Kennedy that he thought "the trading community at Elmina had no objection as all to the transfer," and we had, therefore, 1613 every reason to believe in January, 1871, that while the vast majority of the Natives about to be transferred acquiesced in, and earnestly desired, the transfer, the only objectors were a minority of the small tribe of the Elminas. But even under these circumstances the late Government took still further precautions. At that time Mr. Pope Hennessy was about to leave the Government of Labuan for that of the Bahamas. Mr. Keate, who was to succeed Sir Arthur Kennedy upon the West Coast, was delayed at Natal, and Her Majesty's Government determined to send Mr. Pope Hennessy ad interim to the West Coast, especially to communicate with, and ascertain the feelings of the Natives, with regard to the proposed transfer. He was glad to bear witness—as he did at the time—to the great zeal and ability with which Mr. Pope Hennessy conducted the business of the transfer. The instructions given to Mr. Hennessy by Lord Kimberley upon the 12th of February, 1872, were as follow:—Her Majesty's 'Government have no intention of assuming a British Protectorate over those native tribes without their consent. It is probable that the natives of Denkera and the two Wassaws, who were formerly under the British Protectorate before the exchange of foils, may be desirous of becoming so again: but I wish to call your particular attention to the Elminas, a small tribe numbering about 12,000 or 14,000, in the immediate neighbourhood of the Dutch fort of St. George d'Elmina. The Elminas have hitherto been under the protection of the Dutch, and are also in alliance with the King of Ashantee. The position of affairs with regard to this tribe will require your earliest and most serious attention. They should be distinctly told that they will not he required to place themselves under British protection against their will. The objects which Her Majesty's Government have throughout had in view in negotiating this Treaty are not the acquisition of territory or the extension of the British power, but the maintenance of tranquillity and the promotion of peaceful commerce on the coast on will on no account employ force to compel the natives to acquiesce in the transfer of the forts, and if you should find that the attempt to assume possession of the forts on the part of the British authorities would probably be followed by resistance on the part of the surrounding native tribes, you will not accept the transfer of the forts, but will report the circumstances to Her Majesty's Government and await further instructions.Well, what state of feeling did Mr. Pope Hennessy find at Elmina? Admiral Harris, our Minister at the Hague, had already written home that—Intelligence had been received by the Dutch Government from Elmina that, a great change 1614 had taken place in the public feeling there, and that a majority of the population had declared themselves opposed to throwing any obstacle in the way of the transfer.'There had been angry discussions between those who were for and those who were against the transfer, the Ashantee Chief, Atjiempon, taking a prominent part with the latter. After a long palaver, the majority decided that the King Hobbema Edjin should be deposed on account of his having allowed himself to be advised and instigated by Atjiempon. During the year 1871 those who were opposed to the transfer had sent Mr. David Mill Graves, a mulatto, to the Hague to protest against it. So great had boon the change in public feeling that this man, with others who opposed the Treaty, met and welcomed Mr. Pope Hennessy in 1872. From the Papers which he (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) had presented on the 30th of June, 1873, it appeared that the concurrent testimony of all our correspondents upon the Gold Coast was, that all opposition to the transfer had ceased, and that, in the words of the Dutch Governor, "a better time could not be chosen for carrying the Treaty into effect." The cession was formally made upon the 6th of April, 1872. Writing on the same day, Mr. Pope Hennessy described the affair, and stated how, as each tribe was called, the chief man arose and publicly announced the agreement of his people to the transfer. By formal proclamation from the Dutch Governor, the Dutch tribes were discharged from the oath which they had taken not to accept other protection than that of the Netherlands. By a proclamation from Mr. Pope Hennessy it was declared that Her Majesty would extend her favour and protection as fully to the Elminas as to the Fantees, and in his subsequent despatches through the summer, Mr. Hennessy stated that the accounts which he received indicated confidence in the Government and a general revival of trade. So far he had proved conclusively—first, that the late Government did not contravene the Report of the Committee of 1865 in accepting that cession of the Dutch Forts which appeared necessary to the tranquillity and prosperity of the Gold Coast; and, secondly, that they neither ignored the King of Ashantee nor the wishes of the native tribes, but that, on the contrary, took every precaution to secure 1615 that the desired results should be obtained from the cession, and that peace should be established in the place of that discord and confusion which had previously prevailed. And now he came to speak of the causes of the war, of which the hon. Member for Hackney had complained that no official explanation had been given; its conduct he need say nothing of; universal testimony had been borne to the promptitude and energy with which the British Government acted and to the gallantry of the forces employed. One comment he must, however, make. The hon. Member for Hackney thought fit to read the history of one day of the war. He spoke of several villages destroyed, and then threw up his hands in horror at the thought that this should have been done by a nation which sent out more missionaries to preach the Gospel than any other nation in the world. He protested against such language. No man possessed of common feeling would desire to destroy one village, or to take one life unnecessarily. But when you were dealing with a country in the hands of, and overrun by a numerous and bloodthirsty enemy, military exigency might require the destruction of the places whence they were drawing their supplies, or where they could shelter themselves in order to attack our position with greater advantage. Those were matters which must of necessity be left to the discretion of the officer commanding the troops. The destruction of those villages, by forcing the retreat of the Ashantees, might have saved many lives; and to condemn the measure in the strain which his hon. Friend thought fit to adopt, was a misplaced exhibition of sentimentality which the House of Commons would know how to estimate at its true value. As to the causes of the war the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, speaking at Hanley in the autumn of last year, was reported to have said—His conviction was, that if the Conservatives had been in power during the last six months there would have been no Ashantee War, and he would toll them why. Their Friend and Colleague, Mr. Pope Hennessy, was Governor o£ the Gold Coast, and conducted the exchange of the Dutch territory to England, making the English the only European Power on that Coast. When the English took the Dutch territory, they took the. Dutch liabilities to Ashantee, and it was most unwise of the English to side with 1616 one tribe against another, for their only business was to keep the peace against them all. This Mr. Pope Hennessy saw, and he commenced negotiations with the natives, which were successful up to the time of his removal and promotion. As soon as he left, things got into the hands of certain military administrators not too anxious to avoid war. They embroiled themselves with the natives in the interests of certain merchants, trusting to the English Army to come and fight for them. That was the origin of this senseless war and he hardly knew-which to wish for—failure or success. Failure would lead to a loss of prestige, and success would entail permanent occupation of a most unwholesome; territory. No good could follow to the military or mercantile interests of the country.This was not a question of Conservative or Liberal, and he would say nothing of the patriotism evinced in the latter words of the right hon. Gentleman; but if he had read the Papers presented to Parliament, his remarks were unjustifiable, and if he had not read them they were still more so. The right hon. Gentleman spoke as if the war had broken out after Mr. Tope Hennessy had left the West Coast, and he appeared to endorse the opinion of that gentleman that the war was owing to the conduct of "certain military Administrators," by which all knew he meant Colonel Harley. In justice to that officer—whom he did not even know by sight—he must state the utter unfairness of this charge. Mr. Hennessy wrote from the Bahamas a very angry despatch, accusing him (Mr. Knatchhull-Hugessen) of having unjustly censured him, because he had stated in that House, in answer to a Question, that he had "misapprehended the nature and character of the Ashantee invasion." He passed no censure upon Mr. Hennessy, but he stated a simple fact which his noble Friend at the head of the Colonial Office had previously agreed that he ought to state. Mr. Hennessy had written home on 13th February, 1873, about "the alleged Ashantee invasion," and that "he did not believe that this is an Ashantee invasion, or the prelude to an Ashantee war," and that he "did not believe that the King was in any way mixed up in the matter," and moreover he had advised the recall of Colonel Harley, and had imputed the Ashantee attack to his conduct, to the brokerage dispute, and especially to a certain speech of his which was said to have given great offence. Well, Mr. Hennessy was quite wrong, and the best proof of his error 1617 as regarded Colonel Harley was this—The brokerage dispute occurred shortly before Colonel Harley's assumption of the government. Colonel Harley assumed the government on the 23rd of November, 1872, and the speech in question, if made at all which was denied, was made at an interview with the Chiefs upon the 29th of December, 1872, and the Ashantee army was proved to have marched from Coomassie on the 9th of December, nearly three weeks before the speech was delivered. Add to that the fact, that in his letters as to the war the King of Ashantee never alluded to any offence given by Colonel Harley, and the House would agree that there was no evidence whatever to show that the conduct of military administrators had anything to do with the matter. Let no one suppose for a moment that he imputed the war to any conduct on the part of Mr. Pope Hennessy. He thought Mr. Hennessy had been unjust to Colonel Harley, that he had probably been deceived by the King of Ashantee, and misled by an over-confidence in his own powers of managing native tribes. But he did not attribute the war to any conduct of Mr. Hennessy, although it was possible that his suspicions ought to have been awakened by the information given him by Mr. Salmon—that the Ashantees had been for some time making large purchases of arms and ammunition. What, then, were the causes which led to it? In the letter of the King of Ashantee he stated that he was coming to take his fort of Elmina, and also that Mr. Pope Hennessy's messenger—Hange, an Elmina man—had brought him threatening messages from Mr. Hennessy to the effect that his power was to be taken from him in four months. It had been suggested that Flange, for his own purposes, invented this message, but he was inclined to think the whole was an invention of the King's. Sonic time in February last there appeared a remarkable letter in The Standard newspaper from Colonel Nagtlass, formerly Dutch Governor of Elmina, which seemed to throw some light on the question. He explained the old grudge which the King of Ashantee had against the British Government, and he said that ever since the Ashantees lost Denkera and Assin after their great defeat at Doodowa, every Ashantee Monarch had been eager to reconquer 1618 those provinces, and they had always been looking for an opportunity to make another war. It was a curious corroboration of this view that, in all his letters, the King of Ashantee constantly alluded to the people of Denkera, Assin, and Akim as his slaves, and demanded that they should be restored to him. And Colonel Nagtlass used these words—Now, it was easy to conceive that the King of Ashantee, having already a grudge against the British Government, was excited to the utmost when the British Power was established on the whole Gold Coast. Not that he is in want of a seaport, for the Ashantee traders went always to Cape Coast and Azamaboc to buy their necessaries, and very seldom came to Elmina for this purpose. But the origin of this war must he chiefly attributed to the Kind's desire to avenge the defeat of Doodowa and to get back the authority over Assin and Denkera.He believed the truth to be that the Ashantees, a warlike and restless people, had long meditated war, believing themselves strong enough to drive the European powers from the Coast. They remembered their defeat at Doodowa, but they also remembered their victories and the death of Sir Charles M'Carthy, and believed themselves equal to the British in power. Up to the very moment of their invasion they were simulating friendship, and when their armies actually crossed the Prah, envoys from their King were at Cape Coast negotiating for the ransom of the missionaries whom they had carried off in 1869. The retirement of the Dutch might have precipitated the war; but he, believed it was inevitable, and that at the same time no human being could have foreseen it; and that neither any official upon the Coast, nor the Government at home were justly to be hold responsible for it. Before speaking of our future policy upon the Gold Coast he felt he must allude to an observation of the hon. Mover of this Resolution—to the effect that in time past we had refused to allow the Fantees to set up any means of defence for themselves. That was entirely an error. If the hon. Gentleman alluded to what had been called the Fantee Confederation, the answer was simple. That was a movement not really made by the native Chiefs, but by certain persons whose character and objects were at least doubtful. They did not consult the British Governor: they proposed, without such consultation, to levy taxes over districts where 1619 taxes were already being levied by the I British Government: and their action was afterwards repudiated by the very native Kings and Chiefs whom they pretended to represent. A real Fantee Con federation, properly carried out was what the British Government always desired, if the Natives became lit for it. But if the hon. Gentleman spoke merely of defence generally, he could only read to him the instructions of Lord Cardwell in 1864, which had been the text-book of our Government ever since. Lord Cardwell said—The duty of defending the extensive territory included in the Protectorate can only be satisfactorily discharged it the Chiefs to whom it belongs are united and resolute in their own defence. The proper course, therefore, is to take every possible means for bringing the Chiefs to au united and decided system of defence, and for tins purpose to give them advice. I to supply them judiciously with military stores, and in concert with the officer in command of the Forces, to furnish them with such assistance he may be able to afford without exposing Ms officers and men to any protracted residence in the interior, especially at the unhealthy season, "ad without weakening his Forces upon the Coast so as to endanger the safely of the Settlements themselves.Thai was precisely the course taken by Colonel Harley until the war assumed proportions which rendered further efforts necessary on the part of Her Majesty's Government, and in his opinion he did his duty well and faithfully. Upon him fell the first brunt of the battle; he had to encourage the Chiefs to go forth to battle: to supply the Natives with arms and ammunition—a difficult thing to do judiciously, owing to their inveterate habit of firing constantly in the air upon every opportunity;—and to receive and provide for crowds of fugitives after their defeat. He had to encounter the reality of war and the probability of famine; he had immense difficulties to contend against, and he was bound to say that in their recognition of his services, Her Majesty's. Government had not erred on the side of generosity. But, said the hon. Member for Hackney, why did we cross the Prah and go to Coomassie? Well, we went to Coomassie, because the warlike people of Coomassie came first to us; we went to Coomassie because our Protectorate had been invaded, our protected tribes slaughtered and enslaved, our flag insulted, and our forts attacked. We went to Coomassie because 1620 the most effectual way to vindicate the honour of our flag and to prevent the recurrence of those events was to strike a blow at the spot where the enemy believed himself to be most invulnerable. And he would say, in spite of the sneer of the hon. Member for Carlisle, that we went to Coomassie, in the interests of future peace, civilization, and progress, and he ventured to say that the course we took was one which had been approved by nine-tenths of the British people. He now came to consider the question of withdrawal which the hon. Member had brought forward in his Resolution. It was one which had long engaged the attention of those who had to consider our position upon the West Coast of Africa, and the early solution of which had been necessitated by recent events. It was one, however, upon which the late Government had, as a Government, come 10 no decision, inasmuch as they left office before the war was concluded, and therefore before it became necessary to decide the question. There were three varieties of opinion upon the subject—first, there were those who said, let us as soon as possible withdraw from the Coast altogether; secondly, there were those who said—let us take the opportunity of this successful war to extend and ramify our Protectorate, and establish the wider and more certain exercise of British influence in Western Africa; thirdly, there were those who desired that we should neither quit the Coast nor enlarge our possessions there, but retaining the forts for the protection of trade, should remain as quasi guardians of the peace among the native tribes, assisting in the promotion of civilization and the gradual development of the resources of the country. There was something to be said for each of those views. When he looked back upon the treasure which had been wasted and the blood shed upon the West Coast of Africa, and compared this loss with the small direct advantage which this country had received in return; when he found how unhealthy and how fatal to European life was the climate, and how many valuable men had thereby been sacrificed, and when he remembered the state in which our allied tribes had lately been found after more than 200 years' connection with this country, he could not but ask himself whether it was for 1621 their interests any more than for our: own that this connection should be continued? As far as the Fantees were concerned, it must be admitted that with a physique vastly superior to the Ashantees, their morale was immeasurably inferior, and they had proved them-selves to be fit for little else than to be mere hewers of wood and drawers of water. Then, as regarded ourselves, expense, trouble, complications with native tribes, wars such as that from which we had just emerged, might all be avoided for the future by our withdrawal from the Coast and adopting the advice given us upon that subject by persona whose opinions were deserving of every consideration. But there was another point of view from which this question might be regarded. The men who gave this advice had clear and definite views. They did not think England ought to interfere anywhere excepting where it could be shown that direct and substantial advantage would accrue, and they would never annex an acre or add a foot to British territory except in such a case. He need hardly point out to the House that if these principles had guided the past policy of this country we should have no colonial Empire to talk about to-day. But the existence of such a school of thought amongst us was a fortunate thing, if only because it tended to make us treat with care and caution such a question as the present. No doubt, in this case, the advantage to England of withdrawing from the West Coast of Africa would be so direct and palpable, that it would be the duty of Her Majesty's Government to weigh well the considerations upon the other side before they decided to remain. And what were the considerations on the other side? In his opinion, they resolved themselves into the answers to these two questions. Had we or had we not contracted engagements with the tribes on the "West Coast from which we could not in honour recede? And, had we or had we not incurred moral responsibilities which we could not. consistently with our duty, deny and avoid? When he spoke of engagements with native tribes, he did not speak of Treaty engagements alone. There might be no Treaty which bound us to remain upon the West Coast of Africa. But in the dealings of one country with another, and especially in the dealings of a great 1622 country like England with a number of petty nations, there were sometimes engagements equally binding with those which might be found within the four corners of a treaty. If by a long continuous course of uniform conduct towards the native tribes, interfering with their affairs, controlling and regulating their customs, and introducing our own, arbitrating in their quarrels, supplying those who were friendly with arms and ammunition, encouraging them to resist their enemies, and from time to time rendering them more active aid—if by this course of conduct we had led them to lean upon us and regard us as their protecting power, it might be doubted whether it would be consistent with our national honour suddenly to abandon them the moment it suited our own convenience to do so. Moreover, at that instant, what was our actual position? The late war had been, though short, in many respects the most extraordinary, complete, and important ever waged upon the West Coast of Africa. For the first time a white army had penetrated to the capital of Ashantee, and it seemed probable that the power of the King of that country had been broken. According to the degree in which that had been effected, the entire withdrawal of Great Britain would produce one of two things. If the power of Ashantee were completely shattered, there would probably follow a struggle for supremacy among the tribes emancipated from his yoke, and a time of wild confusion; if his power was only temporarily shaken, he would probably take a cruel and sanguinary revenge—first upon the tribes who had deserted him in his hour of weakness, and secondly upon those who had brought the "White man to his capital; and it became a serious question whether, having vindicated the honour of our flag, and exposed the most powerful Monarch in West Africa to a signal humiliation, we should be morally right in folding our arms and sauntering away from the Coast, leaving those whom we had encouraged to resist to the tender mercies of their exasperated and implacable enemy. No doubt, we had gained little from our West African possessions; but a country which claimed to be placed in the first rank of nations could not hold that position without being prepared to accept the responsibilities which were attached thereto. England could 1623 not deal with those questions upon considerations of material interest alone, and before Her Majesty's Government determined to withdraw from the Coast it would be their duty carefully to consider what those responsibilities were, and whether such a withdrawal would he consistent with the honour of the country and the due performance of her moral obligations. However that might he, he thought that what he had already said bore strongly upon the second proposition—namely, that we should enlarge our possessions and extend our influence in West Africa. If the advantages of the connection had been so comparatively small in the past, we might well pause before entertaining the question of an extended connection in the future. It had hitherto been one of a peculiar character. An undefined Protectorate, as a general rule, was the most unsatisfactory of all conditions. It entailed upon the protecting Power most of the responsibilities, without the advantages of government, and rarely possessed any special counter-balancing merits of its own. It might be asked, if this were so, and if we had been right in remaining upon the West Coast, why had we not assumed absolute territorial possession in those cases in which the native I tribes had been ready and anxious that we should do so? The great obstacle, supposing no other to have existed, had been the fact of slavery being one of the cherished institutions of the native tribes. He was not speaking now of the sale of Natives by one King to another, or of that unholy traffic which we had done so much to put an end to, but of the domestic slavery which existed among the tribes of the West Coast, and which they could hardly be prevailed upon to abandon. The slaves were generally well-treated and contented; but while on the one hand, it would evidently be undesirable to abolish by force an institution approved and cherished by the Natives, on the other hand, it could not be permitted that slavery should exist on British territory: and it was this which stood as a bar in the way of our assuming that absolute territorial authority over the protected tribes which would enable us to govern them effectually. Even if that obstacle did not exist, it might well be asked, whether, under any circumstances, the probable advantages of extended territorial power 1624 were such as to justify its contemplation by us? What were the probable advantages respectively to England and to the West African tribes? To us, perhaps, a security from such wars as that in which we had been lately engaged, extended trade, and new markets for our merchants. To them, the development of the resources of their country and the extension of the influences of civilization. Then came the question, whether all those advantages to cither side might not be equally well obtained without that territorial extension which would undoubtedly in other respects add to our obligations and responsibilities? And this brought him to the third proposal—namely, that we should remain on the Coast, but without any extension of territory. If that should be the decision of Her Majesty's Government, he hoped the opportunity would be taken to limit and define our position and our obligations for the future. Much of the evil of past years had undoubtedly arisen from the want of such limitation and definition. Our Protectorate had been undefined, and our very boundaries uncertain. There might be an improvement in that respect, and one advantage might certainly be derived from this war—namely, the, establishment and extension of that Houssa Force, for the efficiency of which we had to thank Captain Glover, and upon which the British Settlements must mainly rely for their defence in the future. It had been suggested that a Government of merchants, with a British Consul, was the thing to be desired. But expense to this country could not be averted by such a change. If the British flag were insulted, and British subjects attacked and slain, the spirit of England must have altered very much if she did not interfere, whether a Consul or Colonial Governor were concerned. What was really above all things necessary was, to make the Natives understand that it was for their good that we were upon the Coast, and that it was to their interest to trade with us. We should desire to teach them to regard us, not as a Power which wished to occupy their land and possess their territory, but one which was there for their sakes as well as for its own; and which, while able and ready to avenge insult to itself, really desired to benefit them, and to develop the resources of their country. If we could 1625 not teach them that, we should occupy our forts in vain; but if we succeeded; we might still hope to introduce extended trade, civilization, and Christianity into the heart of Africa. One word more upon the Resolution of the hon. Gentleman. He would advise him to be satisfied with the discussion which he had provoked, and to withdraw his Resolution. No doubt it was well that the subject should have been ventilated, and that the Government should have had the advantage of hearing the opinions which had been elicited. But with the Government must rest the responsibility of the ultimate decision of the question, and it was not the duty of the House of Commons cither to dictate to the Government the nature of that decision, or to press the Government to arrive at a hasty or premature conclusion. He would frankly own that while he was at the Colonial Office, no question came before him, upon which he found it more difficult to arrive at a conclusion absolutely satisfactory. No doubt, withdrawal at this moment was impossible, and the whole question was one surrounded with difficulties, and upon which from its very nature there must needs be much diversity of opinion. Nevertheless, it was one which certainly pressed for early solution, but that solution must be left to the responsible Advisers of the Crown. He said now, not for the first time, that these questions of the relationship between Great Britain and her distant Settlements were questions which ought never to be made the battlefield of party strife. The principles upon which they ought to be decided were principles common to the great majority of both sides of the House, and, whatever the decision at which Her Majesty's Government might arrive, let them be assured that it would receive from their Predecessors that fair and candid consideration which they had a right to expect, and which ought especially to be given to questions in which the national honour and national interests were involved, for upon those questions party feeling should give way to patriotism, and their only desire should be to do that which might best sustain the position and the character of our country.
§ SIR JOHN HAY
said, he agreed with many of the concluding remarks of his right hon. Friend, and believed that the Government would gather strength from 1626 the present discussion, to carry out a policy which would obtain the support of the country. After the speech of the hon. Member for Tamworth (Mr. Hanbury), and of the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms), he would not dwell on the commercial importance of the protected territory; but would refer to what had been the condition of the territory ceded by the Dutch at the time we took possession of it. The right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had adverted to the same point, and had asked the House to admire the promptitude and energy displayed by the late Government in their military operations. He, however, wished to remind the right hon. Gentleman how often the late Prime Minister and himself had been asked in vain last Session, by the right hon. Gentleman the present President of the Board of Trade and other hon. Gentlemen, to give the House an opportunity of discussing the war into which we were drifting. The whole of the difficulty arose from the fact that Colonel Harley was left without a sufficient force, having only 160 men to defend a frontier of 165 miles; but with the force at his disposal he did all that could be expected of him. It was in 1870, that Lord Cardwell, in order to save £20,000 per annum, reduced the numbers of the West India regiments, leaving the defence of Cape Coast in the hands of the Houssas, and it was not until the Ashantees were within 12 miles of Cape Coast Castle and Elmina that a small force of Houssas was brought up from Lagos to oppose them. The confusion that existed at the time of the occupation of the Dutch Ports and the conveyance of the Dutch territory to England was well known to all those who took any interest in the matter. In consequence of the arrangements made in 1866 and 1867, for resigning the British territory westward of the Sweet River, the tribes originally dependent upon England were dissatisfied with their new riders, and the Dutch not only resorted to force, but called in the aid of 3,000 or 4,000 Ashantees. These facts would make it very difficult for us to withdraw from the Coast. Moreover, it would be entirely contrary to British policy if after such a war as had just happened, we were suddenly to withdraw our protection from those who had relied upon us. It was perfectly true that great evils had 1627 arisen, as had been forcibly shown by the hon. Member for Tamworth, from the continuous change of Governors on the Coast; but as had been equally well pointed out by the hon. Member for Hackney, that change had been due rather to the effect of climate, than to any interference on the part of Her Majesty's Government. What we ought to do was to obtain our Governors by some law of natural selection. Governor Maclean was employed for 1" years under the African Company, and for three under the British Government, and during that period he maintained active and vigorous health when others failed. "What the Government, therefore, should do would be to select some such person as Captain Glover—who had so much distinguished himself, but with whom he had not the pleasure of being personally acquainted—who seemed to have the knack of governing these people, and conducting affairs successfully, while at the same time maintaining his constitution unimpaired. The force to be maintained ought undoubtedly to be composed of persons residing in the district—such as the Houssas, who, under proper discipline, would perform all the duties of the police, and nip in the bud any attempt at invasion by the Ashantees. With reference to future policy, the fact should be recognized that the Ashantees were much addicted to trade—lawful or unlawful—and though we could not encourage them in slave-dealing, we might do so in reference to every other kind of trade. But unless they had access to the Coast, instead of having to push their commerce through hostile tribes and over bad and ill-defended roads, so long would there be an ill feeling between them and the protected tribes, and so long should we fail to possess that control over them which legitimate commerce would give. Instead of having an iron-bound coast of 300 miles long, from which the Ashantees were excluded, it would be a great advantage to this country if they had access to the Volta, and that we encouraged trade with them on that river. The case of Dahomey would show what could be done by pursuing this policy. With that Kingdom we had always maintained amicable relations. They had a good port at Whydah. There we permitted every opportunity of trading, and a gunboat which we kept at Lagos could 1628 always be sent to Whydah, if our relations at all assumed a doubtful character. The result was, that the mere threat of closing the port was sufficient to keep order, and a similar course might be taken with the King of Ashantee when occasion required, if he had a port accessible to our vessels of war. Various suggestions had been made as to the propriety of changing the site of the Government, and certainly no place could be worse than Capo Coast. Elmina was healthier than Cape Coast, and had a better port, and its recent destruction by fire gave an opportunity of re-building it with some regard to sanitary conditions. Accra would probably be found infinitely healthier, and was only 27 miles from Akropong, which was situated on a high land 1,800 feet above the sea, where, at the station of the Basic Mission. Europeans easily recovered their health when suffering in the plains below, or on the sea-coast; and it was surrounded by loyal and active tribes, who were always ready to assist us as they had done in the late war; or we might remove it to some site upon the Volta, which was a perfectly navigable river, down which the Ashantees could send their trade direct to us. He trusted that after the discussion which had been held on the question, the hon. Member who had brought the subject forward would accept the suggestion of his right hon. Friend the late Under Secretary for the Colonies, and be content with the expression of opinion that had been given, and would consent to leave the matter in the hands of Her Majesty's Government. Had the Forms of the House, however, permitted, he should have been inclined to have moved the Previous Question.
§ SIR FRANCIS GOLDSMID
said, he was desirous to say a few words in order to express a view which had not yet been stated in the debate, but which, although he was not authorized to speak on behalf of any other hon. Members, he was convinced was entertained by many. He was quite willing to concede to his right hon. Friend the late Under Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) that the late Government had displayed great ability and energy with respect to all the matters under discussion. But the more fully that was admitted, the clearer it became how desirable it was to terminate, as 1629 soon as might he, our connection with a country in which all that ability and energy had been only just sufficient to save us from serious disaster. No one could carefully read the accounts of the late war without perceiving that our success was due not only to extraordinary military skill and courage, but also to remarkable good fortune: and he (Sir Francis Goldsmid) did not wish that we should again, unless it were absolutely necessary, expose ourselves both to a similar risk and to the certain loss of many valuable lives. He did not belong to the class spoken of by the right hon. Gentleman as insisting that England should never acquire an acre of territory, or incur a possibility of war; but he did desire to see that there was some adequate motive for making such acquisitions, or incurring such possibilities. In the present case, it appeared to him (Sir Francis Goldsmid) that every rational motive tended in a contrary direction. In Western Africa we had to deal with a pestilential climate, with barbarous hordes, and with the difficulty as to domestic slavery so clearly pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman. It was, as he explained, impossible to put an end to that abominable institution, except by force; and impossible to incur the discredit of permitting it to prevail in any country of which England was the Sovereign. The mode suggested, not of avoiding, but of half evading this difficulty, was to assume a Protectorate, instead of a Sovereignty, over some of these barbarous tribes; a Protectorate which appeared to him to mean, that we were to make ourselves responsible for the misdeeds of those whoso actions we could not really control. On the whole, he could not too strongly express his hope that so far and so soon as was consistent with honourable adherence to our engagements, we might retire from all connection with Western Africa.
§ SIR WILLIAM EDMONSTONE
said, that as he had been off and on the Coast, having been the officer in command of the West Coast of Africa for several years, he wished to enter a protest against the remarks of the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson), and the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms). It was quite evident that we must retain a position on the Gold Coast, and not leave the merchants established there to 1630 defend themselves in what was equivalent to an unprotected Protectorate, and therefore, if our merchants were to remain on the Gold Coast, our Forces must also be allowed to do so. If we withdrew and left the merchants to their own resources, what would be the result? The answer was easy; in a very short space of time the merchants would leave also, and another nation would take possession. It had happened more than once, that a nation had been forestalled owing to its dilatoriness in taking possession of that to which it was entitled, and it should be remembered that we held many places, not for our own advantage, but to prevent other nations holding them. He was aware of one instance at least of the character to which he had referred. A French admiral, when in command, had delayed taking possession of an important fort which was within his grasp. An English officer dining with the same admiral, and becoming aware, in the conversation which ensued, of the delay which was taking place, proceeded, after taking his leave, to take possession himself, and when the French admiral arrived the next morning at the spot, he found that he had bee" forestalled by his guest of the previous evening. A great deal—too much, as he considered—had been said as to the pestiferous character of the climate: but it was equally bad at Sierra Leone and Lagos, and it should also be borne in mind that if we withdrew from one pari of the Gold Coast, we must withdraw from other portions of that coast. If he had to organize a possession in Africa, he should certainly say, speaking with all respect for them, that he did not want the services of missionaries, for he was sorry to say that they were often at the bottom of any ill-feeling or difference of opinion between the Natives and the Government. On one occasion, in the course of his duties, he had to ask the missionaries not to attempt in any way to set the Natives against the operations which it was necessary he should carry out, and they refused to promise they would not do anything of the kind. He did hope that Her Majesty's Government would at all events for the present refrain from withdrawing the forces from the Gold Coast.
§ MR. RICHARD
, in supporting the I Amendment of the hon. Baronet the 1631 Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson), said, he was glad his hon. Friend the Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms) had given a somewhat wider scope to the discussion than the issue raised by the Motion and the speech of the hon. Member for Tamworth (Mr. Hanbury). Very often great questions of public policy, of International Law and morality, and of Ministerial responsibility, were altogether slurred over and seldom came before the House for discussion under the existing system, and it had been very much so in the present case. At that moment all were shouting, throwing up their caps, and indulging in loud and somewhat extravagant rejoicings upon the achievements on the West Coast of Africa; but nobody cared to ask if that "'as a just and a necessary war, or if the money we had expended, and the suffering and loss of life we had inflicted and endured, might not have been avoided by wiser counsel, and by a clearer understanding as to the nature and the limits of our responsibility on the West Coast of Africa. After wading as patiently as he could through the chaos of Blue Books that had been thrown before the House in connection with this matter, his conclusion was that it was not a just and necessary war: that it might have been avoided, and that it arose from a contemptuous disregard of notorious and acknowledged rights on the part of our adversary. There was no doubt that the Kings of Ashantee had sustained relations with, and exercised a kind of suzerainty over Elmina, almost from time immemorial. That was acknowledged on all hands. The King of Elmina admitted it by the payment of a tribute of £80; and when the Dutch assumed the Protectorate, they also acknowledged it by continuing to pay the tribute, although they called it a stipend. Our administrator there, Mr. Ussher, stated his conviction that the King of Ashantee had certain claims upon Elmina, and warned Her Majesty's Government against completing the negotiation for the transfer of the Protectorate to themselves from the Dutch until that point had been cleared up. Again. Lord Kimberley, in one of the despatches, said it would be necessary, before proceeding with the Convention, that the Dutch Government should procure a renunciation of the claim of the King of Ashantee. The late Under 1632 Secretary of State for the Colonies had, indeed, that day read to the House what he represented to be a formal renunciation of the claims of the; King of Ashantee, but it did not appear to him (Mr. Richard) to be at all a clear renunciation. It was wrung at the last moment from the King by the Dutch, and was contrary to his constant, persistent, and emphatic declarations of an opposite kind during the whole course of the negotiations. In fact, the assertion of his rights was not a more point of honour, but was of great and practical importance to the King of Ashantee, inasmuch as Elmina was the only place by which he could obtain access to the sea, for the Fantees did all they could to intercept the passage of the Ashantees to the Coast. Were they disposed to adopt the principle which was laid down by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States when slavery was prevalent in that country, when he announced from the Bench this maxim—that "black men have no rights which white men are bound to respect?" He feared the representatives of European Governments in foreign countries, too often when they came into contact with coloured people, seemed disposed to act upon the same principle; but it was not likely that the generality of Englishmen would endorse it. He had no wish to detract from the merits of those who had been engaged in the late Expedition; they performed the task allotted to them prudently, promptly, and successfully, and the officers and men engaged displayed the high qualities of discipline, courage, and endurance for which British soldiers were famed: but in the midst of their exultation over the victory they had won, he would ask, what had been gained by the enterprise? They knew to some extent what they had sacrificed. They had spent not much less than a million of money, for which they might have found a more profitable use. They had sacrificed a considerable number of valuable lives, either in battle, or from the pestilential nature of the climate, and it was the duty of a State to be careful of the lives of its subjects. Young officers of rare and singular promise had been lost to us, and he mourned that those lights had been prematurely quenched. They had destroyed the only Power that had anything like organization and stability 1633 in that part of the world, and left behind them nothing but anarchy and confusion. What had they got in return for it? They had penetrated 200 or 300 miles into the heart of a barbarous country, with arms of precision and other appliances which perverted science had placed at their disposal, and had encountered and easily conquered an army of bravo and ill-armed savages. They had destroyed thousands of those savages, burnt down their principal city, together with the villages and towns on the line of march, and had come back bringing with them an old umbrella, £10,000 worth of old barbaric jewellery, and a treaty not worth the paper on which it was written: for they had no guarantee for its observance—unless, indeed, they sent out another Expedition to enforce it. He could not but express his great regret, in common with the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle, at some of the things which had been done during the war. What possible good purpose, for instance, was answered by the destruction of Coomassie? He was not going to censure Sir Garnet Wolseley. That would not be safe; for he observed that naval and military officers, especially when they were successful, were the spoilt children of society. Like the Sovereign, they could do no wrong; but surely they might speak of the officers of the Queen as they could of the Advisers of the Queen, and he asked, what was the object to be gained by that act of Vandalism? Coomassie, he was told, was a town of between 60,000 and 70,000 inhabitants, and although their dwellings were slighter than those we inhabited, still they were the homes and the shelter of the people, among whom must have been many aged and suffering persons, and, in the language of the Liturgy—"Women labouring of child, sick persons, and young children." These were all turned out when the weather was most inclement—when, in fact, the torrents of rain which fell threatened, by the swelling of the rivers, to cut off the retreat of our soldiers. The condition of the sick and dying, the aged and the young, must, under those circumstances, have been such as to call forth the compassion of every humane person. What good end would be attained by such an act as that? The only answer he had heard given to that question was, that 1634 it was necessary to strike the terror of the British name into the Ashantees and the people of the countries round. For his part, he had no wish that the British name should be a sound of terror either in Ashantee or anywhere else; what he coveted for his country was that wherever its name was mentioned, it should be a sound to awaken emotions of reverence, gratitude, affection, and trust, and not of terror. He was told, too, that what had been done would be the means of preventing the repetition of similar acts on the part of the Ashantees. But that statement was based on the assumption that terror was the only or predominating passion in the human breast. That, however, was not so, for there were such things as pride, hatred, and the desire for revenge, and they knew from the records of history how often these feelings over-mastered fear, and drove men to the most desperate enterprises against those who had inflicted upon them intolerable wrong. No one was more anxious than he for the honour of his country; but there could be; no true honour apart from truthfulness and right dealing. Success, however decided and dazzling, was not honourable, if it were attained by a sacrifice of the great principles of justice and humanity. There were some things they had done within the last 20 years, upon which He thought scarcely any Englishman could look back with pride. The bombardment, of Canton—the burning and looting of the Emperor of China's Summer Palace—the burning of Kagosima—the demolition of Magdala—and now the destruction of Coomassie—those were things not worthy of a country which boasted that it stood at the head of Christian civilization. Those were not triumphs of Christian civilization, but of barbarism and brute force. He did not blame the Army or the Navy in the slightest degree, for they were only instruments in the hands of others; but they were acts which shocked very many people at home, and which he thought some hon. Member ought to denounce in that House. With regard to the question, whether we should maintain our position on the West Coast of Africa, he was prepared to support the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle. What were the reasons alleged for our remaining in that country? It was said we were there to advance civlization, commerce, and 1635 Christianity; but looking at the matter in the light of the past, he doubted whether we nor any other European Power had over as yet civilized any people. On the contrary, some of the saddest chapters of history were those which recorded the result of the contact of so-called civilized and Christian nations with primitive races. They had oppressed them, enslaved them, exterminated them, but never civilized them. Whatever had been done in that direction had been accomplished by Christian missionaries, who had laboured to improve and elevate those nations, and who would no doubt say that in any efforts to be made for the civilization of the heathen, the British Army must be put into the background. It was curious to observe that hon. Gentlemen who supported the Motion had given reasons for doing so which, in his mind, led to the inference that we had better leave the Coast altogether. The hon. Member for Tamworth himself said that the reason we should continue there was, that up to this time we had only demoralized, disorganized, and debauched the people; it had been said by another hon. Gentleman that the treaties entered into by us with savage nations were mere caricatures, and were a fraud upon, and disastrous to the people with whom they were negotiated: but if those treaties were disastrous to those nations, it could be no great crime to break away from them. He now came to the commercial question, and he believed the hon. Member for Hackney had made a complete reply to the Motion so far as it rested upon that consideration. He had shown that the maintenance of this dependency cost us more than the whole value of the commerce in which we were engaged there. Besides, while the nation paid for the establishment, and for the protection of commerce, the profits of the trade went into the pockets of the merchants resident there, by whom it was carried on. He was always of opinion that it was a great delusion to suppose that, commerce could be protected by armies, and forts, and squadrons. If a tradesman applied for the assistance of police to enable him to carry on his business with ease and certainty, and received it, he would probably find it a very good and profitable arrangement for him; but what would the ratepayers say to it? Did they obtain any return 1636 at all commensurate with the large sacrifices they were called upon to make? They had, moreover, some strong authorities on this subject. The late Duke of Wellington, writing in April, 1828, to Sir George Murray, said that an enormous expense of money and life was being annually incurred on the Coast of Africa for no purpose whatever, and he asked whether it could not be got rid of altogether. In another letter, written later in the same year, he pointed out that the cost of keeping up the dependency was greater than the whole amount of the exports and the imports together. The present Lord Derby also, in his speech at Liverpool, said that he believed it was a matter of fact that trade was found to grow quite as fast, if not faster, in places where we did not exercise political power as in those in which we did exercise such power. Then, as regarded Christian missions, he yielded to no man in the honour and reverence he felt for the men who were engaged in that noble work, and whom he regarded as the true heroes of modern times. They were men who took their lives in their hands, and were content to forego every comfort of civilized life, in order to sow amid barbarous tribes the seeds of Christian civilization. But he believed that the friends of missions committed a fatal mistake when they accepted the assistance of the armed power of this or any other Government, for it was not by such means that they could hope to prosper in their glorious enterprise. If the history of past times were consulted, it would be found that Christianity never required physical power for its propagation, and that missionaries had been successful in proportion as they had been unsupported by the British power, and he knew of cases in which the approach of a British ship of war was regarded by missionaries with dread as being calculated to raise suspicion and prejudice in the minds of the Natives. It was not by warlike prowess that their predecessors conquered the world, neither could their successors hope to attain their end by means of violence now. Some years ago, a mission to Central Africa was resolved upon by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. They sent out as their missionary Bishop Mackenzie, a man in every respect most estimable and gifted. In an evil moment, however, he was induced to have recourse to carnal weapons. He was defeated, 1637 his mission was broken up, and he died broken-hearted. A meeting of the promoters of the mission was held at Oxford after its failure, and at that meeting, while the Bishop was referred to in terms of respect and sympathy, a protest was made against the course which he had adopted by all the members of the Society. Dr. Jeremy said that the Christian missionary ought to know nothing of war. He (Mr. Richard) deprecated trust being placed in generals, ambassadors, or consuls, and still less in gunboats and cannon for the extension of Christianity. For his own part, he did not say that we should retire from the administration of affairs on the Coast abruptly, but he urged that we ought to prepare for as speedy a departure as possible. Convinced that neither civilization, Christianity, nor commerce had been advanced by our connection in the past, and that they were not likely to be promoted by it in the future, he would, with his whole heart, go into the lobby with the hon. Member for Carlisle, in asserting that we ought to withdraw as soon as possible from all entangling alliances with that country.
§ MR. ALDERMAN W. M'ARTHUR
said, he had listened with much interest and with some surprise to the speech of his hon. Friend who had just sat down (Mr. Richard.) The hon. Member was known as the Secretary of the Peace Preservation Society, and as an advocate for arbitration. He would go along with him in advocating the interests of peace so far as they were consistent with national dignity and honour; but he could not be an advocate for peace at any price, and he thought the war which had now happily terminated was a war which we could not possibly avoid, and in which we were not the aggressors. We did not go to Ashantee in order to enforce any treaty, nor to subdue its King for the mere sake of conquest. The King of Ashantee was the aggressor, and we were bound, consistently with the honour and dignity of the country, to repel his aggression and carry the war into his territory. His hon. Friend had asserted that we were to blame in connection with the cession of Elmina from the Dutch to our Government; but the views of the late Government on that subject had been, he (Mr. Alderman M'Arthur) thought, most successfully 1638 defended by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sandwich (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen.) His hon. Friend had also said that the only Power on that part of the African Coast was that of Ashantee, and had intimated that it was a beneficial power. He had no hesitation in saying that history could not parallel such awful atrocities as had been committed in connection with the Government of Ashantee, and he believed that in the interests of civilization and humanity we had accomplished a good work in shattering that power, and (hat we were under great obligations to the late Government for the course they had taken with reference to the subject. But if the war had had no other merit than that of drawing attention to the subject, it would still have done a great deal; but having done so, bethought the result would be that the policy advocated by the hon. Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson), and by the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms), was one which would not be responded to cither by that House or by the country at large, especially when it was considered that we had been on the Coast for 50 years, and had overcome difficulties connected with if: of the most formidable character. He believed we were now in the best possible position for conferring great advantages upon the protected territory, and for carrying on a large and successful trade. The great select had been that we had not had a definite policy on the West Coast of Africa, and, considering the way affairs had been managed for so many years past, the only wonder was that matters were not worse than they were. From 1841 to the present time, including Sir Garnet Wolseley, there had been no less than 26 Governors on the Gold Coast, and it was impossible with such continual changes of Government and changes of system that there could have been any prosperity or order maintained on the Coast. If we had a Governor there who understood the country and gave full attention to its affairs as Captain Glover had done at Lagos, we should have a different state of things, and in a few years see a large amount of prosperity. As it was, however, in 1853 the exports were only £60,000, and the imports £115,000, while in 1872 the one had reached £366,256, and the other, £444,848, an amount which might 1639 be expected to increase considerably now I there was no difficulty as to disputed ports, consequent on our acquisition of the Dutch territory. No reference had been made to the sanitary condition of; the Gold Coast. It had been said that; the Coast was very injurious to health, but he had no hesitation in saying that if proper attention were paid to sanitary matters, a considerable improvement would take place. A few years ago lie had brought forward a question with regard to the Cape Coast, which place might be described as one vast dunghill. That colony was in a disgraceful state, not only in respect to its sanitary condition, but also as regarded its supply of water, and he believed the same remarks would apply to other parts of the Coast. He might say the same with regard to other interests. The place, however, could be easily drained, and a good supply of water could be procured from the Sweet River, about seven miles off. The result was, of course, that great and very unnecessary mortality had occurred, and yet, in spite of all trade had been steadily increasing, and the resources of the Coast gradually developing themselves, while the education of the Natives had been utterly neglected. In Sierra Leone, although £36,000 a-year was paid for salaries and pensions, only £400 a-year was spent in education. Reference had been made to missionaries, and he was sorry to hear the hon. and gallant Member for Stirlingshire 'Sir William Edmonstone) say that wherever they had been introduced into a colony they had done mischief. That was the first time he had ever heard missionaries spoken of as doing evil in any form, for hitherto the value of their labours had invariably been acknowledged. With regard to this part of the subject, too, the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle had said that the only thing we had done with the Fantees was to make them Christians, and teach them to fight. What, however, were the facts with regard to the missionaries on the Gold Coast? Captain Glover in a despatch mentioned two companies of native Christians, numbering about 100 each, under two captains and accompanied by Bible readers, and said that in action with the enemy they were with the advance, and behaved gallantly; that their conduct was orderly and soldierly; and and that they had proved themselves 1640 the only reliable men among the native Force. The hon. and gallant Member for Stamford (Sir John Hay), too, in his work on "Ashantee and the Gold Coast," testified to the value of the services of the missionaries on the Gold Coast, and that was a testimony which might be put against the statement of the hon. and gallant Member for Stirlingshire. He also found that the Wesleyans had 11 missionaries on the Coast, and 2,309 Christian members. Of this he was quite sure, that the missionaries did not interfere in any way with the politics of the country, but, on the contrary, endeavoured to promote the best interests of the Natives and loyalty to the British Crown. He believed that if we withdrew from the Gold Coast it would be most disastrous to our prestige and power, and most injurious to the whole of the Natives; for he had no hesitation in saying that the moral influence which Great Britain had exercised on the Coast had extended very far beyond our Protectorate, and was every day increasing. He believed our Protectorate had been useful and satisfactory to the inhabitants, and he only regretted that we had not followed the advice of Governor Pine, and as far as possible exercised our influence more, and endeavoured to promote municipal Government among the people. He trusted we would not leave the country under any circumstances, believing that we were destined not only to confer still greater blessings upon the Gold Coast, but to carry them far into the interior.
§ MR. MUNTZ
thought that nothing would be more contemptible or more cruel than to withdraw from the Gold Coast, in the affairs of which we were so deeply interested, in order simply to save a few thousands of money. The question, however, was, whether we should enter into new treaties without first submitting them to the House of Commons, or whether we should be continually exposed to war, arising from the fact of a Minister having entered into treaties on his own responsibility. It certainly seemed extraordinary that in the teeth of the Resolution of the Committee of 1865 the Government should have thought fit to enter into a new Treaty with the King of the Netherlands by which we took upon ourselves all the burden of ruling the coast which was under the control of the Dutch, without making 1641 any inquiry as to the nature of the responsibility which we were about to assume. In adopting that course we, in disregard of our solemn obligations with the Sultan of Acheen, threw overboard our Treaty with him, and accepted from the Dutch the transfer of Elmina. He was convinced that if the whole matter had been submitted to the House, it would never have sanctioned the Treaty, for the very first question which arose out of the transaction was whether the Dutch had a right to convey to us not the Castle, but the little district of Elmina, and Lord Kimberley said that we could not accept the transfer of the territory until it was clearly proved that the Dutch had a right to make it over and that the King of Ashantee had no right over it. It now, however, appeared from the Blue Books, that the King of Ashantee had a joint protectorate over Elmina, and that he had entered into an agreement with the Dutch that he should have a right to trade with that place and to the sea without paying duties. It should be borne in mind that Elmina Castle and the territory of that name were entirely different things, and the King of Ashantee being applied to by the King of Elmina, sent down a force to take possession of the town. "When he had done that, not having threatened the Castle, Colonel Harley appeared on the scene, and the first thing he did was to declare martial law in Elmina by directions given to Colonel Festing, and then shell the town and destroy it. It was a question in his mind whether that proceeding was not the cause of the war; nor could he find any justification of the Treaty with the Dutch, by which we gave up our protectorate of the Sultan of Acheen and acquired the territory which they had ceded to us. But as to the question more immediately before the House he would observe that it might have been settled very easily after the recommendation made by the Committee of 1863. We were now, however, in a very different position, for having entered into the Treaty, we were bound to adhere to it. The question was not one of profit, or one in which it could be said that the country felt a deep interest, seeing that the trade, which consisted chiefly in dealings in rum, which made the people drunk, and old guns, which were likely to be more fatal to 1642 those who used them than to those against whom they were employed, was a very small one: but if we withdrew now from the West Coast of Africa, in connection with which the only bright recollection would be the bravery displayed by our troops, it would be said by the Ashantees and all the barbarians in their vicinity that we were afraid of them, and the Ashantees would probably revenge themselves on our allies. He could not therefore give his assent to the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle, nor could he, on the other hand, support the Resolution of the hon. Member for Tamworth, which would tie up the hands of the Government and bind them, as it were, to the adoption of a particular course of policy. It would be better, he thought, that it should be left to the Government to take steps to withdraw gradually from a territory which had been to us only a source of disease, misery, and expense. He hoped, therefore, the House would refuse its assent to both the proposals before it, and would leave it to the Government to take such steps in the matter as they might hereafter deem advisable.
§ SIR EARDLEY WILMOT
said, he should not have risen but that he wished to correct an unintentional misrepresentation put forward by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz) in the remark he had made as to the shelling of Elmina. The hon. Gentleman said, that Colonel Harley shelled Elmina, and that his doing so was the cause of the late Ashantee War. Now, that was not so. In February, 1873, in the midst of negotiations, without warning, the tide of Ashantee invasion flowed into the Protectorate. Colonel Harley assembled a force of Fantees and went in April to Mansu to meet the enemy. He sustained a disastrous defeat, and was driven back to Cape Coast Castle. He wrote home, and early in May, Colonel Festing, with 110 marines, was sent out, and arrived at Cape Coast Castle on the 7th of June. With that energy and. heroism for which he was distinguished, he and Lieutenant Wells—whose early death we had since to lament—and not Colonel Harley, shelled Elmina, killing, as was said, many thousands of the Ashantees, and obtained an important victory. With regard to the conduct of the Government, however, he had already expressed 1643 his opinion in that House that they were justly blameable for great delay, as they did not send out the officers until the 10th of September, and the troops not until December. He would therefore refrain from again alluding to the subject at the present time. As regarded the question before the House, he agreed entirely with the observations made by his right hon. Friend the Member for Sandwich (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen), for he considered that the honour and interests of the country demanded at a moment like the present, when we had induced a weak State to trust to us, that we should not withdraw from thy country and leave them to themselves. It was our duty to stand by them, and he hoped the name and force of England would lie maintained on the Gold Coast for that purpose. He was satisfied that Her Majesty's Government would maintain the honour and dignity of the Empire by the manner in which they would deal with this important question.
thought that the hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. Alderman M 'Arthur) had sufficiently vindicated the missionaries from the reflections which had been cast upon them. As to the climate of the Gold Coast, its unhealthiness might, he believed, be much mitigated by proper sanitary arrangements. He hoped that the Government at this critical moment: would employ Sir John Glover—who had shown himself fully competent, for the task, and had the entire confidence of the Natives—in restoring order on that Coast. If peace were once restored there, commerce would probably flow in its ordinary channels. He could not accept the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle as his leader on the question, for he thought the idea of abandoning the territory most absurd. It was impossible they could do so without inflicting the deepest injury on those immediately interested, and without prejudice to the cause they were at that moment pursuing—namely, the suppression of the slave trade.
said, that there was a circumstance connected with the late war which had struck him with astonishment. During the whole of the time the Government had at its immediate command two powerful squadrons, maintained at great expense by the country, for the special purpose that they 1644 might be prepared for any sudden emergency. He alluded to the Channel Fleet and the Flying Squadron, each consisting of six powerful ships, each ship manned with—on an average—500 men, having on board field-pieces, rockets, small arms, marine artillery, and, in fact, everything necessary for war, and yet they had not been utilized for the purposes of that expedition. Those squadrons might have been on the Gold Coast within a fortnight front the time of giving them orders, and they might easily have landed a force of two or three thousand men, who would have done good service before the troops sent out arrived. They might have greatly assisted Captain Glover, who had to wait to perfect his plans, and that delay was the principal cause of his not being the first to enter the city of Coomassie. He had never received any answer when he had inquired into the cause. He had heard of the Flying Squadron cheering the troop-ships as they passed Madeira, and of some of the ships taking part in a regatta on the coast of Spain. If Spanish affairs required that we should have a naval force there, surely the Mediterranean Fleet was all-sufficient for that purpose. He was quite at a loss what excuse could be made for the negligence of the late Government in not employing the Navy on that occasion, and wished to know the reason for such neglect? Now that it was all over, it was his firm belief that if this country withdrew from the Gold Coast, something worse than the horrors of slavery would commence. He had been two years senior officer on the Coast of Africa, and knew something as regarded the trade which we were invited to encourage. From what he saw, he should say there was a profitable trade in spirits, powder, and arms, and he was not surprised to hear the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms) rather inconsistently suggest, in the name of the merchants who traded there, that they should be left to themselves, without Government control or supervision, except an occasional visit from a gunboat. He (Admiral Elliot) knew exactly what that meant. First of all they would debauch the people by supplying them with spirits; then they would supply them with the means of warfare; and then, when they got into trouble, they would call in the gunboat to protect 1645 them. If the recommendations of the hon. Member were accepted, this country would be supporting by force of arms one of the most nefarious traffics in the world. He would recommend quite a different course. If there was trade at all, the sale of spirits, arms and powder, ought to be strictly prohibited, and there not being the same facilities for smuggling on the Coast as elsewhere, our men-of-war would be able to enforce the prohibition; but if there was to be no Government supervision, there ought to be no trade. He had once to go 40 miles up the Congo and capture two piratical vessels, to bring out which he had to use force against people on shore supplied with arms and gunpowder by our traders. On another occasion, he closely blockaded a part of the Coast where 2,000 slaves had been collected in the barracoons, and after some time the vessels left empty, finding they could not escape, if they embarked them. On inquiring what had become of the slaves, he was informed that as they could not be embarked and could no longer be fed, they had been turned adrift, and as it was freely admitted that they would never regain their own territory, they must have perished from starvation. After disturbing the country so much, it was our duty to civilize it. Our moral influence there was great, and our missionaries—if asked to speak—would say—" Take away the; trade, but leave us Government support, and the presence of men-of-war." "Well-regulated trade would conduce to civilization; but if there was a sincere desire to civilize the native tribes, spirits should be prohibited. As long as his men were at sea there was no occasion for severity, but he was always afraid to land them near a spot where there was British power, the result of access to rum causing breach of discipline and cases of sickness. Whether things had improved since, he could not say. If, however, it were proposed that we should abandon the Coast, we should look at the position in which we had left the native tribes since we had put an end to the slave trade. We had incurred vast expense in putting an end to the slave trade, and it was impossible we could now take any steps which would have the effect of producing worse evils—namely, human sacrifices.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, he hoped that the discussion would not close without some expression of opinion on the part of the Government as to what course they intended to take. Statements had been made without due consideration as to our colonial history. There were various countries in the world with which this country had been connected, and others with which she was still connected, each of which they had been obliged to treat in a different manner. First, there was North America, a vast region inhabited by warlike tribes of savages, who eternally made war upon and slaughtered each other, and hon. Members who were eloquent on this subject should consider whether it would have been better for the world had England never gone there and left it to the Natives? or was it in the interests of humanity and civilization that they did so? He thought it could not be disputed that those interests had been served by that colonization. Then there was another part of the world—India. We went to India, and we conquered it, and foreign nations considered that we were deserving of much credit and glory for having done so, and for having maintained our sovereignty there, but it was a question in his mind whether we had been justified in so doing. It was, perhaps, a glorious thing for England to have conquered India; but he could not help thinking that in the interest of humanity we ought never to have been there. Then there was Africa. Africa we found already peopled, and the introduction of European life impossible. There had been talk of our carrying the torch of civilization into Africa, and of our humanizing and Christianizing it; but what change had we effected during 200 years? Why, we had introduced gunpowder, arms, and rum. It might be said we had put down the slave trade; but he had been informed that the consequence had been an almost infinite increase in human sacrifices, owing to the population now pressing on the means of subsistence. They should take that fact into account, in considering the benefit they had conferred upon Africa by the abolition of the slave trade. But, again, it was said that our merchants were very much interested in the Gold Coast Settlements. So they were; but our merchants, he was afraid, were not very cautious or regardful of the principles 1647 of morality, where merchandize was concerned. He always found that where English commerce entered, there followed arms, and spirits, and gunpowder; so that wherever the British merchant went with his merchandize—or what he called civilization—he gave the means to the people of debauching themselves by drink, and of acquiring terrible habits thereby, and put into their hands more powerful means of slaughtering each other. That was the great aim of the increase of the merchandize of England. The question was, ought we, in such a stale of circumstances, to remain on the West Coast of Africa? He perfectly agreed with those hon. Gentlemen who said that we could not retire at once. To do so would simply be to increase anarchy, confusion, murder, and slaughter of every kind, and demoralization of a very hateful description. We might, however, so shape our policy as to govern the people with the understanding that we were preparing to go away and leave them to govern themselves, doing what we could meanwhile to assist them in the transition from their present state to that in which they would be when, after some time and consideration, we withdrew. He believed the true policy of England to be to hold the position she now held, but to give the people distinctly to understand that she would not hold it long. When this had been accomplished we should have done something to remove the danger and mischief which we had already done, and we should have done the utmost that we could do to aid the civilization of that country.
§ MR. E. JENKINS
said: Sir, if the intelligent foreigner" had had an opportunity of listening to the debate which has taken place on this question, he might well have said that the British nation is one of the most perverse and inconsistent in the world; for he would hare heard a proposal with regard to a territory one-half of which has been associated with British rule during more than 200 years, with respect to the other half of which the British Government has within two or three years assumed a protectorate, and with regard to the whole of which, during the last few months, a costly and difficult war has been crowned with victory and success—he would have heard an hon. Gentleman get up in this House and propose that 1648 we should relieve ourselves of all responsibility relating to that country. But the feeling of the "intelligent foreigner" with regard to our inconsistency would not have ended there. He would have observed that we are a Christian and a philanthropic nation; for so long as the slave trade existed we had maintained our position in the very territory which is in question both by force and by fraud; and now that the slave trade is abolished, it is proposed that we should forget the obligations which we undertook to protect the people; and, lastly, that having enervated them by a mixture of rum and Christianity, we should abandon them to the licence of a cruel and vindictive foe. Whether we regard this proposition as Christians, or as traders, or as Englishmen, this House will, I think, acknowledge that the proposition of the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms) is both ignoble and cowardly. And it is not because I believe for one moment that it is possible that either this House or the people of England will support the proposition of my hon. Friend (Sir Wilfrid Lawson), but because I believe the blush of shame will rise upon the cheek of every Englishman who hears the proposition, that I get up to protest against it. My hon. Friend has admitted that there was one administration, at all events, at the Gold Coast under which the affairs of the colony flourished—I mean the administration of Governor Maclean, which took place under a company of African merchants. If a company of African merchants could produce an administrator who for 11 years conducted the affairs of that territory with unexampled success, it appears to me that a nation such as Great Britain, which could give birth to a Maclean and a Wolseley to fight its battles, could also produce administrators capable of administering the affairs of the territory. It seems to me—and I hope my hon. Friend will forgive me—that it is not too much to characterize the proposition which he has brought forward as simply childish. The history of the British administration in this colony has been one of blunders and failures arising out of incapable administration on the spot, as well as an indeterminate policy on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers. I have no hesitatation whatever in saying that the cause 1649 of the laic war, like the cause of many wars which have arisen in the course of our colonial administration, was due to the absence of a candid and definite policy at the Colonial Office, and of due regard to our obligations entered into with a people with whom we had come into contact, and whom we affected to govern. It is certainly a proposition which has had support in high quarters, that when we find it difficult to govern our Colonies we should abandon them; but if it be shown that that has arisen from the deficiency of capable administration at home, the country will not be so ready to support a proposition such as this of my hon. Friend, that we should make up for the defects of our policy in the Colonies by abandoning them. What we in this House, acting on behalf of the country, have a right to insist upon is—that we should have from the Treasury Bench a declaration of general colonial policy, and a declaration of specific policy with regard to this colony. It seems to me that Her Majesty's Ministers suffer from a species of somnambulism, for they apparently walk about with their eyes open, but that their brains are shut. We had hoped, from the patriotic anxiety exhibited by the Prime Minister with regard to the Straits of Malacca, that we should have been able to receive from him some clear policy respecting Ashantee; but we look at the Treasury Bench for any utterance on this question in vain. The policy of the Ministers is a policy of silence, for we do not hear a single word as to the course they intend to pursue. Our colonial administration hitherto has been conducted on the basis of concealing from the country what the Ministers are doing, and the consequence is that we have had a succession of surprises sprung upon us from time to time respecting our Colonies in different parts of the world. I do not say this in any antagonistic spirit to the Ministry; but I contend that, so far as concerns Africa, we should have a thorough practical administration, and that the country should know what are the intentions of the Government. My right hon. Friend 'Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) reviewed, in the course of an exhaustive speech, the causes of the recent war with Ashantee. But I cannot agree with him in his account of the reasons for that war, or in his deductions from it. It seems to me, if it can 1650 be shown that the war was unnecessary; that it could have been avoided; and that we might have taken peaceful advantage of the cession to us by the Dutch of their West African Settlements, my hon. Friend's argument as to the Treaty is neutralized and enfeebled. That is the view which I desire for a moment to press upon the House. My theory is that we could have avoided this war—that a trade might have been established peaceably by Treaty, and the war not have been necessary at all. I agree with the statement made by an hon. Gentleman, and also enforced in a very able article in The Pall Mall Gazette, that the Ashantees had been preparing for the late war, and had for years made up their minds to it. Anyone who attentively studies the Blue Books on the subject will agree that that is not too strong a statement. The King of Ashantee did not himself desire to go to war, but he was urged on by his Chiefs. It is true, also, that the Kings of Ashantee and Elmina were not friendly to cession. But why were they not friendly? Because we had not enforced those treaty obligations into which we had entered. I look for the cause of the war to the negotiations for the cession by the Dutch to us of their African Forts, and to the circumstances of that cession. I am sorry to say that I cannot agree with the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) who has to-night, in his defence of the late Government, endeavoured to show that everything was done which ought to have been done regarding the cession to preserve peace in those territories. I am not going to attack the late Government, because I believe that, so far as they were informed by the despatches sent to them, they acted to the best of their ability to prevent the late war; but I believe I shall be able to show that the origin of the war was due to the mismanagement of the officials in these regions. I do not propose to attack the late Government for negotiating the transfer of the Dutch Forts to ourselves. It has been shown by the right hon. Gentleman to-night that such was the state of affairs in these colonies previous to the transfer, that there was nothing left to us in the interests of peace and in our own interests in that, part of the world, except to go in for the transfer. But while I distinctly approve of the policy of consolidation, I 1651 must criticise the manner in which that policy was carried out. The causes of the war were of a complex character. So far as the King of Ashantee was concerned, the causes of the war are easily told. First, there were his relations with the Dutch, and the transfer of Elmina from the Dutch to ourselves: secondly, there was an interference with his feudatory and tributary rights; and, thirdly, there was the difference between the Dutch and English policy with regard to Customs' duties. These three points were of great importance, and they did indeed suggest themselves to Her Majesty's Government in conducting the negotiations; but when we come to criticize the manner in which the negotiations were carried out, it appears to me that the Government did not exercise due caution. Let us ask, what was actually done? We have hoard from the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugesson) that Her Majesty's Government took every precaution to prevent collision with the various Chiefs interested in the transfer. We may take it for granted. Anyone who reads the despatches should read between the lines, and he will hear the plaintive voice; of Lord Kimberley saying to Mr. Pope Hennessy, Mr. Dasher, and Mr. Salmon—"My dear Sirs,—Do not complicate us with the Chiefs. Do not go into the transfer at all if we are likely to come into collision with the Chiefs." This is almost the first time in the history of the Colonial Office that they endeavoured to do a wise thing—namely, accept the transfer—and therefore they were cautious of anything like hostilities arising out of it. But what was done? The right hon. Gentleman has informed us that a gentleman of the name of Plange was sent by the Dutch agents to the King of Ashantee to ascertain what his claims were regarding Elmina. Well, the right hon. Gentleman has read a letter which was written by the King of Ashantee at the time, and I wish to call the attention of the House to it, because I do not put upon it the same interpretation as the right hon. Gentleman has done. This Mr. Plange, who is he? The right hon. Gentleman, forgetting that Mr. Flange was employed as the agent of the British Government in these negotiations, calls him the man Plange. He was a Black man, and was sent up by the Dutch Government to the 1652 King of Ashantee to get a repudiation of his claims upon Elmina. Just read the letter. The right hon. Gentleman read it, but I do not think the House saw what its true significance was. According to this letter, the King of Ashantee was got to declare that he had claims on Elmina for tribute to the extent of £80 sterling a-year, and he was got to say to Her Majesty's Ambassador, Mr. Plange—"I only meant board wages or salary."' That is a very wide and general term, and it seems to me that if I had been in the position of Her Majesty's Ambassador, and if I had been conducting a negotiation of this importance, I should have asked what the moaning of board wages or salary was. But the King of Ashantee afterwards declares that he has certain claims upon the King of Elmina, and at the close of the letter he says his expression was vague, and that the whole was a mistake. Upon that document, strange to say, Her Majesty's Government arrange the transfer to England of the Port of Elmina, and in order to satisfy the King of Ashantee with the transfer, the Government, or rather Mr. Pope Hennessy acting on behalf of Her Majesty, offered to the King, instead of £80 a-year, a double tribute of £160. Now, what I wish to say is simply this, that the transaction must have appeared on the face of it a futile one. What was the use of offering to a man receiving in tribute 20,000 ounces of gold per month, a sum of £160 as an acknowledgment of his tributary claims upon Elmina? I ask the House whether with such a letter as that, coming through so questionable a channel as Mr. Plange, Her Majesty's Government were justified in accepting as they did the transfer from the Dutch? It is perfectly clear what happened. The Dutch, as all diplomatists on the Continent appear to be, were altogether too sharp for us. The business of the Colonial Office is not diplomacy, and the only excuse we can otter is that if the matter had had been left in the hands of the Foreign Office it would have been equally mismanaged. But there is another point to which I wish to refer, because it shows how the war was brought about. We find that Mr. Pope Hennessy did all that could be expected of a gentleman in his position to bring about an arrangement. We find that he presented 1653 to the King of Ashantee a ring, marked with the 12 signs of the Zodiac, and with some affectionate sentiment engraved, and he also sent him on behalf of Her Majesty some gold-embroidered cloth, thinking these gifts were enough to satisfy him that his interests would not be affected by the cession. Why, what was done? The cession took place 15 or 20 days before the King of Ashantee was informed of it; and. at last, instead of informing him by means of an Embassy, which would have pleased him, he was made acquainted of the fact of the cession by a letter from Mr. Pope Hennessy. In dealing with these barbarians—as they have been called on both sides of the House—one would have expected the same delicacy of feeling to be exhibited by diplomatists as would be displayed by British merchants. We might, in the first instance, have sent an Embassy, and not Mr. Flange. If a proper Embassy had been sent, and the King of Ashantee had been assured that there was no intention on our part of interfering with his trade through Elmina, and that he would have free and open paths to the Gold Coast, I believe we should never have heard of the war at all. But of course when Mr. Salmon closed the ports and intercepted the Ashantee traders, who thus became liable to the extortions of the Fantees, they looked upon the matter as one of life or death. Well, the charge which I bring against the late Government is that, in negotiating the transfer of the Dutch ports, they ought to have done so in a way to give to the Ashantees the assurance that their trade to the Coast would not be interfered with. It seems that there was considerable excitement in Elmina at the time of the cession, and one of the most ludicrous incidents in that affair is the description given in the Blue Book of the way in which Mr. Pope Hennessy tried to "comb down" the King and his Chiefs. Governor Hennessy, it seems, held a palaver with the King, and told him the Government was willing to restore him to the stool. The Secretary goes on to say—"Governor Hennessy came to my office, where I was then writing, and asked me the name of the King, which I gave him, and he then returned and said, 'I recognize you as King of Elmina, and I send you a present of two puncheons 1654 of rum.' "When you consider that this was the manner in which this was done, and that it was done by a volatile Irishman—["Oh, oh!"]—who did not know even the name of the King with whom he was carrying on his negotiations, but was obliged to escape out of the palaver hall to get the name from his Secretary, and when he had done so he returned, called out the King's name, and said, "I recognize you as King of Elmina," you cannot be surprised at the result. It seems to me, therefore, that the defence of Mr. Hennessy is lost. If he did that which I have read in these negotiations with the King of Elmina, what would he do with the King of Ashantee? I cannot conceal that this is a matter in which it is most difficult to come to a conclusion. I feel it is a most difficult thing to sec how we are to balance our obligations to the poor creatures who are on the spot and our duties to the taxpayers who are at home. Whilst we have expended £2,090,000 in maintaining our power on this Coast our whole trade has only amounted to £2,300,000. If it was necessary that we should have gone to war, still we cannot throw into this account the: £800,000 that has gone to Ashantee. But what I am here to maintain is, that if we had had capable Administrator this war would never have taken place. It seems to me that if we had had men there properly trained and of proper abilities, we should have been able to avoid this war. The question is—what is to be our policy for the future? I trust the Government will be prepared to give a satisfactory answer to the question—for it seems to me that in our relations with our Colonies, and especially with Colonies holding the anomalous position of that on the Gold Coast, it is absolutely necessary that the Government should carry the country with it. What do Her Majesty's Ministers propose to do? We have heard suggestions from; both sides. If I have any suggestion; to make to the Government, it is this—that they should try to carry out the policy which was suggested by the Prime. Minister in 1853. We should try to form a Convention of native Chiefs, a Convention over which an able Administrator should preside on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, and to which we should invite the attendance of such British traders on the spot as are men of 1655 ability, and have a permanent interest. We ought no longer to send out as Governors, men who had already worn-out constitutions, and whose chances of success in their new duties were utterly hopeless. The British Governor should he a man of tried ability, experienced in public business. By offering a sufficient salary we should always be able to secure a healthy Administrator, who should live on the spot. All that had been said about the unhealthiness of the climate came to nothing in the face of the fact that Mr. Maclean had been Governor of the Colony for 14 years, and that an ex-Governor, an hon. and gallant officer, had only recently died at upwards of 80. I have heard the hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Richard) advocate the policy of abandoning the Coast on the ground of promoting peace. This is a kind of peace which, to my notion, "passeth, all understanding"—for it is a peace which has regard only to the pockets of the British taxpayer and ignores universal humanity. Is it a proper deduction from these principles that we are to abandon the native tribes, whom we have enervated by rum and Christianity, to their vindictive foes? We have incurred the moral obligation of defending them, from which we are not at liberty to recede—we cannot now repudiate engagements which we have sealed with the blood of our brave soldiers at Coomassie. If we take this course, the trade we have created and the civilization we have introduced will perish away—Christianity itself will be extinguished; and when her lights are extinguished, where is the Promethean torch which will re-illumine that gloom?
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
said, that he rose in reply to the challenge of the two hon. Gentlemen who had preceded him, to state the view which the Government took of the Motion and Amendment now before the House. In so doing, however, he should resist the temptation which had been, dangled before him by the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. E. Jenkins), and abstain from availing himself of the opportunity of making any general declaration of the colonial policy of the Government. He hardly thought that would be consistent with Order or with the convenience of the House. Neither was it his intention, in the 1656 remarks he was about to offer, to enter at all into the causes of the recent war which had just been brought to so I nippy a conclusion. In the first place, he was not officially in a condition to be informed of those matters, and the subject had been most fully and ably disposed of by the right hon. Gentleman who had preceded him in the office he had now the honour to hold. In the course of the debate—especially in the able speech of the hon. Member for Tarn worth (Mr. Hanbury)—attention was drawn to the Returns which had been laid on the Table regarding the Revenue and Expenditure of the British Settlements on the West Coast of Africa. He wished to make one or two remarks on the subject, because he thought hon. Members would have some reason to complain, if the Returns furnished to the House were not accurate; and from the remarks of his hon. Friend who brought forward this question, an impression was left on the minds of some that these Returns required some explanation. He wished, therefore, to say with regard to these Returns of Revenue and Expenditure on the Gold Coast, that the statement of some items appeared rather deceptive unless explained. His hon. Friend had asked how it was that there appeared this large balance under the head of "Remittances to the Crown Agents?" It would have made the Returns more intelligible if it had been stated that they were, in fact, the Colonial Treasurer's accounts of moneys which had passed through his hands during the year, and included under the head of expenditure the remittances to the Crown Agents, which were, of course, to the credit of the colony, and did not, on the other hand, include the payments, or a great part of them, made by the agents, on account of the colony, in England. He should also say that the Return of 1872 was made up after a slightly different fashion from that adopted in regard to the Return of the previous year. In 1872 the Expenditure was set down—taking it in round numbers—at £50,000 against a Revenue of £40,000, showing a deficit of £10,000; but it should have been stated that in the Revenue no account seemed to have been taken of a surplus from 1871, which would increase the amount to £ 47,900. There was a balance on the 31st December, 1872, in the Colonial 1657 Chest of £2,239; but at the same time the colony owed the Crown Agents £2,360, so that the deficit was £2,500. He might further observe that the expenditure of the colony had been considerably augmented of late years by the addition of that necessary article, a colonial steamer. Having explained these apparent inaccuracies, he would say as regarded the expenses of the colony, it was undoubtedly true, as stated by the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms), we did not and could not pretend that these colonies had been self-supporting. He did not in any way over-state the case. He frankly admitted that these wars, and the largo and various expenditures to which the hon. Gentleman and others had called attention during the debate, undoubtedly far eclipsed any increment of Revenue and any surplus accruing during our occupation. He would also admit with equal frankness, that the hon. Member for Hackney was substantially right in what he said in regard to the amount of trade on these Coasts. He drew a not unfair comparison between the total amount derived by traders and the amount which the Imperial Exchequer had been compelled to pay in respect of the Government of the Gold Coast, with regard to the justice of which, it would not be too much to say that it would be perfectly idle for anyone to rise in that House and attempt to make out that the trade of the Gold Coast had hitherto been, or would ever hereafter become, of such magnitude as to compensate us for the sacrifices we had been compelled to make. But the hon. Member went on to advocate the withdrawal of the British protection from the Gold Coast upon grounds which, to his mind, were not at all tenable. He appeared to think it sufficient to prove that these Settlements had not been commercially successful; that this country had not been actually in pocket by the transaction, in order to make good his case for an immediate withdrawal from the Coast. He drew a comparison between the ports within the British Protectorate and the ports in no way tinder our flag, and drew the inference that trade flourished as well and, as he said, perhaps, rather better where the British flag was not hoisted than where we were in occupation. His argument went to show, and he showed to his own 1658 satisfaction, that the first effect of our withdrawal from the Gold Coast would be a considerable augmentation to our trade. That brought him (Mr. Lowther) to an element in the debate which he looked upon as a great relief, and that was the interposition of the hon. Member for Carlisle Sir Wilfrid Lawson). Notwithstanding the very sober view which that hon. Gentleman took of that and all other subjects, his speech had had a most exhilarating effect upon him (Mr. Lowther), and, he thought, upon the House generally. What did his hon. Friend say in regard to that portion of the hon. Member for Hackney's remarks? The hon. Gentleman took exception to the British Protectorate upon the ground that we were the cause of introducing on the West Coast of Africa, and into the interior, a certain article of commerce, which it was well known the hon. Member viewed with especial abhorrence. The hon. Member for Hackney said, that if we withdrew from the Coast, trade would increase, while the other hon. Gentleman the Member for Carlisle said—" For goodness sake go away from the Coast, because that will destroy a trade which is the cause of injury to the Native races, and which is dependent for existence upon British occupation." He might fairly ask which hon. Gentleman was the better informed on the subject. The hon. Member for Carlisle had fairly stated the trade of the Gold Coast. It was perfectly true that in 1872, out of total imports of something like £260,000 odd, these items figured—£77,000 odd for spirits, and £6,000 for guns and gunpowder; and many of the other articles introduced, such as cutlery, might fairly be placed under the heading of illegitimate trade. For instance, the item of £18,000 for tobacco came within the category referred to by the hon. Member for Carlisle, though he (Mr. Lowther) did not wish to undervalue the soothing effects of the narcotic herb. The hon. Member would see that the withdrawal of British protection would not stop the importation of these articles, if, as the hon. Member for Hackney asserted, trade flourished as well without the British flag as with it. The action of the Government with regard to trade was confined to the imposition of duties on those very articles specially referred to by the hon. Member for Carlisle. 1659 for though the hon. Member for Hackney had referred to an ordinance of 1873 putting an ad valorem duty of 10 per cent on all other imports—with certain exceptions, that ordinance was speedily repealed. The hon. Member for Carlisle entertained peculiar views on the effects of a protective tariff; but he himself could not see that the imposition of duties on certain articles promoted their importation. As to the climate, which had very properly received much attention in the course of the debate, the hon. and gallant Member for Stirlingshire (Sir William Edmonstone) had said he had been upon this Coast oft and on. He was inclined to think the House might congratulate itself that he had been rather more off than on or it might not have had the advantage of listening to his observations. As it was, however, he should not be doing his duty if he held out the slightest expectation that the West Coast of Africa could be brought into the condition mentioned by the hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. Alderman M Arthur), and made a healthy station. It was true that the neglect of the most ordinary sanitary precautions, which had long prevailed, was responsible for no inconsiderable proportion of the sickness and mortality, and if any arrangements which might be in contemplation for the future government of the Coast should involve better attention to such precautions, a considerable abatement might be hoped for in that mortality; but no human agency could render the climate suitable for Europeans. The death-rate among Europeans on the West Coast generally was 21 per cent per annum, which was far in excess of that in any civilized community; but as many, perhaps, as actually expired within these tropical climates, returned home to linger a longer or shorter time, the effect of prolonged residence being eventually fatal in many more cases than those included in the death-rate. The frequent changes in the Government officials had been condemned; but the figures he had just quoted showed that past Governments had not been responsible for those changes. He regretted the severe condemnation passed by the hon. and learned Member (Mr. E. Jenkins) on the administration of Mr. Pope Hennessy, who was formerly an able and distinguished Member of the House, and was now 1660 known in the Colonial Office as a faithful servant of the Crown. Mr. Hennessy had to preside over the Gold Coast at a time of peculiar embarrassment, and had discharged very difficult duties to the satisfaction of all who had had the supervision of his administration. As to the future, the hon. Member for Carlisle might think he (Mr. Lowther) had gone a long way towards proving his case, by frankly admitting the position of the trade and the effects of the climate. He had felt bound to make those admissions, because no Government would be justified in undertaking to carry on the affairs of such a Settlement without clearly submitting all the facts; but he was by no means prepared to deduce from them the conclusions of the hon. Member. This country could not adapt its policy at any given moment to considerations of mere finance, He, however, could assure the hon. Gentleman that Her Majesty's Government had not the slightest intention of entering upon a crusade against barbarism, and calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer for unlimited supplies to penetrate all the strongholds of Satan, as they had been styled by the hon. Member. Although the present Government were disposed under no circumstances to disregard the obligation incumbent upon them, of discharging their duty towards all the subject-races which might come within Her Majesty's sway, or within the reach of Her officers, there was no intention of carrying that doctrine to the extreme length which had been referred to, and it was hardly likely that, with the death-rate he had mentioned, they would propose a Quixotic enterprise to offer up an annual hecatomb on the shrine of a mawkish philanthropy. Neither was there any intention of unduly accepting obligations, or of involving the country in the difficulties and dangers deprecated by the hon. Member. The question had been asked, what policy the Government intended to pursue; but it was much easier asked than answered. Asking a question required but a few minutes of reflection, while the answer might involve not only anxious consideration, but an accumulation of facts, not always within the immediate reach of those whose duty it was to form a judgment upon them. He would, however, say that the country having been so recently involved 1661 in war on the Coast. Her Majesty's Government would be most anxious to obtain the advice and assistance, of those distinguished naval, military, and civil officers who bad been engaged in conducting it, before arriving at any definite conclusion with regard to the future of the Gold Coast. He thought, therefore, he would not be asking too much of his hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle and the hon. Gentleman who had introduced the subject, if he urged them not to press for an immediate answer to a question, which upon their own showing required the most anxious and mature deliberation. He might, however, hint at one or two things which the Government were not prepared to do. He might say at once that "total and immediate withdrawal"—these he believed were the words used—was from various causes absolutely impossible. He would like at the same time to point out that the Government and the House would be most unwise in committing themselves to the affirmation of the principle that we were for ever to remain on the West Coast of Africa. It would, as he bad intimated, be the duty of the Government, in consultation with those who had been in a position practically to learn the lessons of this war, and form conclusions as to the future of the Gold Coast, to consider this? question, and, in the event of our continuing there proving to be a necessity, to see whether any modifications and alterations in the system of administration could with advantage be introduced. The House would excuse his giving any further details. The matter was now receiving the most anxious consideration from the Government. As soon as any definite conclusion was arrived at—he was not, of course, pretending that the matter was not already well-nigh matured, but certain modifications might yet occur—and as soon as the question was in a position to be placed fairly before the country, no time would be lost in laying the views of Her Majesty's Government before Parliament. In conclusion, he would address a word to his hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth, and ask him to withdraw the Motion which he had made. His hon. Friend would probably agree with him that he had succeeded in eliciting a most valuable expression of opinion from both sides, and ascertaining very clearly the general sense of the House of Commons 1662 on the subject. He would also make so bold as to address a similar appeal to the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle, His hon. Friend would see that there was a disposition on the part of Her Majesty's Government to view all the points he had placed before the House with impartiality and in a fair; and candid spirit, and he trusted, therefore, his hon. Friend would not feel bound to take the sense of the House upon his Amendment.
§ MR. HANBURY
said, he was quite willing to withdraw the Motion, provided the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) would consent to withdraw his Amendment.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he did not wish to detain the House, but thought he might be excused if after what had fallen from the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, he appealed to the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle not to persevere in pressing his Amendment. If his hon. Friend felt any doubt before as to what his conduct ought to be, that doubt should be greatly dissipated by the speech of the hon. Gentleman opposite. The hon. Gentleman had not announced any decision on the part of the Government, either in favour of remaining or retiring from the Gold Coast. There was no doubt that the discussion on the subject had been very valuable, and would greatly assist the Government to form an opinion; but to press the House to give their assent to an abstract Resolution, either such as that proposed by the hon. Member for Tam worth or the hon. Member for Carlisle, would not in any degree contribute to the settlement of the question. The question was not to be settled by abstract Resolutions; it was a matter of very difficult practical politics, and upon such a question the House had a right to expect they would receive the guidance of the Government; while the Government had no right to expect that the responsibility of a decision would be taken off its hands. His hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle could not promote his views by pressing his Amendment. If his hon. Friend yielded to the appeal made to him, he would have the satisfaction of knowing that his views had been ably advocated, and that he had received the assurances of the Government that they would receive the most candid consideration. 1663 But, if his hon. Friend pressed his Amendment, he would compel the House to give its decision, not only on his Amendment, but on the Resolution of the hon. Member for Tamworth; for if the Amendment was pressed, it would he impossible for the hon. Member for Tamworth to withdraw his Motion. He would, therefore, put it to his hon. Friend whether it would be of advantage to the views he entertained to force the House to give perhaps an overwhelming expression of opinion contrary to the policy which he approved.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, the Motion of the hon. Member for Tamworth and the Amendment of the hon. Member for Carlisle were now before the House. If the House would allow the hon. Member for Carlisle to withdraw his Amendment, another Amendment might be discussed.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
said, he did not intend to withdraw his Amendment. "What was worth discussing, was worth dividing upon.
§ SIR RAINALD KNIGHTLEY
said, that there was a general feeling in the House, that it was desirable not to divide either upon the Motion, or upon the Amendment; and under these circumstances, in order to get out of the difficulty in which the House was placed by the hon. Mover of the Amendment not withdrawing it, he would beg to move that the debate be adjourned, and if that Motion were earned, the House might appoint that day six months for the resumption of the debate, and so get rid of it altogether.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Sir Rainald Knightley.)
§ The House divided:—Ayes 311; Noes 75: Majority 236.
§ SIR RAINALD KNIGHTLEY
said, he would now propose the 31st of July as the day to which the debate should be adjourned.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
said, if the hon. Baronet the Member for South Northamptonshire had named a rational day he would not have said a word; but it was obvious that the hon. Baronet intended to prevent this subject coming before the House again. His hon. Friend the Under Secretary for the 1664 Colonies had stated that the subject was under the consideration of the Government, and unless the Government promised that before the end of the Session hon. Members should have an opportunity of fairly discussing this matter, he should he compelled to divide the House on an Amendment that the debate be adjourned till to-morrow, in order that the views of the Government might he fairly put before the House.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Sir, the subject of our Settlements on the Gold Coast, and the policy which we ought to adopt with regard to those Settlements, is under not only the immediate, but I may say, under the daily, consideration of Her Majesty's Government, and it was only this day that our attention was particularly called to the subject. The moment that we have arrived definitively at conclusions—which I have no hesitation in saying we have arrived at in great scope, though there are certain details yet to be matured—that policy will be brought before the consideration of Parliament by the Minister peculiarly responsible for that Department. Both in this House and in the other House of Parliament there will be opportunities given to canvass that policy, and that will be the legitimate time to call the attention of the House to the subject, and I think it would be better not to enter into any controversies now. I regard the course which the hon. Baronet the Member for South Northamptonshire has taken as the most sensible one, for it has extricated both sides of the House from a position in which we ought not to be involved.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
After the very satisfactory statement of the Prime Minister. I will not persevere in my intention.
§ Motion made, and Question. "That the Debate he adjourned till Friday the 31st day of July," put, and agreed to.
§ Debate adjourned till Friday 31st July.