HC Deb 25 March 1886 vol 303 cc1803-4
MR. HUTTON (Manchester, N.)

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, The nature of the Instructions given by Her Majesty's Government to the Governors or other officials of the Crown Colonies and Protectorates with respect to annual Reports being transmitted to Her Majesty's Government relative to the commerce, industries, and products of, as well as to emigration to these Colonies and Protectorates where they hold appointments; and, what is the course pursued by Her Majesty's Government and by the Colonial officials relative to these instructions, as also relative to Parliament receiving periodical and early publication of the Reports?


I think I can best answer the Question of the hon. Member by reading the Instruction given to Governors of Crown Colonies, which is as follows:— The Governor shall punctually forward to us from year to year, through one of our prin cipal Secretaries of State, the annual Book of Returns, commonly called the Blue Book, relating to the revenue and expenditure, defence, public works, legislation, civil establishments, pensions, population, schools, course of exchange, imports and exports, agricultural produce, manufactures, and other matters with reference to the state and condition of the colony. The Instructions sent to the Governors of self-governed Colonies, except Canada, are to the same effect, except that the Governor is requested to forward the annual Returns, which are prepared by the Colonies themselves. These Returns, or summaries thereof, or Reports on them under the title of "Papers relating to Her Majesty's Colonial Possessions," are laid before Parliament as soon as practicable after their receipt, and every effort is made to produce them without delay. It will be found, I think, that they give full information upon the subjects referred to in the Question; but more detailed and more recent particulars can at all times be obtained at the offices of the High Commissioner for Canada, and of the Agents General of the other Colonies represented in London, who have always shown themselves ready, and, indeed, anxious, to supply all the information in their power.