HC Deb 04 June 1886 vol 306 cc1011-2
MR. HUTTON (Manchester, N.)

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether Her Majesty's Government is aware that, since the announcement in October 1884 of the establishment of the British protectorate in the Gulf of Guinea, in Western Africa, British commerce has materially declined and its interests have seriously suffered; and, whether, this altered condition of the trade being attributed in a great measure to delay on the part of Her Majesty's Government in providing adequate administration in this part of the dominions of Great Britain, Her Majesty's Government will take steps to remedy as soon as possible this unfavourable condition of an important future outlet for our manufactures?


Her Majesty's Government do not conceive that if British commerce has materially declined since the date specified in my hon. Friend's Question such decline is attributable to the cause suggested. Consul Hewett returned to his post in December, and has already dealt with difficulties which arose in his absence. Active steps are being taken to complete the administrative organization of the Protectorate, and to insure, so far as the action of the Government can, the development of a thriving trade in this productive region.